Sunday, 14 March 2021

War Dogs for WOR.

Well these are the Never Mind the Billhooks light cavalry finally done. In theory that should mean I have completed what I envisaged for my three wards for the period. Needless to say and once again enforcing the law that wargamers are never satisfied I have a new unit of levy archers to add to this collection. I had been trawling the net as one does and fixed upon David Imrie's wonderful range of archers from his lovely Claymore Castings range. They reminded me of the Brettonians I once possessed and so another purchase was made. I've no reason to have them, they will probably never see the games table, but once again a wargamer has succumbed to that toy soldier thing.
To add a bit of a narrative to them I included a couple of spare war hounds from my Celtic warbands. I just thought why not. The units aren't my best by a country mile but then I've managed to put my back out again while clambering over a barbed wire fence in pursuit of one of my itinerant cats. When did decrepitude set in? So my hand isn't as steady as it should be. 
Talking of Celts? I was re boxing my ancients and saw that a couple of my Warlord Celtic cavalry had snapped spears. This shouldn't be much of a surprise given the figures are prominently carrying spears except I've noticed that Warlords resin which they use for all their new ranges seems very susceptible to breaking. They seem to go brittle very quickly and lose their slight bendiness far quicker than plastic.
Unlike other veteran wargamers I am quite happy to switch between plastic and metal toy soldiers, especially the well sculpted Victrix ranges but a few companies have opted for some magical resin stuff and it certainly seems that Warlords stuff isn't as good as it maybe it should be. 
The old Spencer Smith plastics and Airfix figures take decades to succumb to the brittleness malaise, but Warlord's resin? Maybe I got a bad batch. 
To show balance I've had a similar complaint about Foundry's Persian heavy cavalry but that is more to do with the weight of their metal horses balancing on two very thing legs. So more of a design fault than pants materials.


Tuesday, 23 February 2021

The Gok Wan archer company.

So we have light at the end of this long tunnel. I will receive my first injection this week and it feels good. The next few weeks will probably be the longest of this lockdown but hopefully the weather will improve enough to get outside. Im only two units away from completing my Wars of the Roses project. Due to space issues [not the space] I know I cant keep painting units for Never Mind the Billhooks.   
So these well dressed chaps are my peasant unit with a couple of hounds thrown in for good measure. I found these Perry figures smaller than others of their ranges and I needed to create some interest and fill in the base a bit.
Next my final unit of levy archers resplendent in a livery designed by Gok Wan**. I had a jar of deep pink?? so I thought why not. Obviously no self respecting levy would be as well dressed as these chaps, but I do like them. In the background is another large tent where Wan worked his magic again. Dots are the new fashion for the spring. 
I fished out another Marcus Hinton figure and used him as a standard bearer. I know the levy wouldn't be given such a thing but I was a figure short and I wanted colour.
Just in case anyone is wondering, I have taken myself off Facebook. Certainly for the foreseeing future. As a recruiting system for my blog it was a huge failure and unfortunately the karma was becoming stressful from various sources. Wargamers are no issue and the vast majority are great, but its other lost souls who have become an issue. Its no big deal. 

** For overseas viewers, Gok Wan is a fashion advisor to lost souls like myself. He enjoys bright colours etc. So heres to all wargames shows post lockdown. 


Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Bretonnians anyone?

I was never a follower of Games Workshop and couldn't understand the attraction with Warhammer etc; however I always found their figures a work of art. As a consequence I collected and painted up a Bretonnian army using their early and later ranges. I must admit I made a good job of the figures but then ended up selling the whole lot after one game. Another sale I now regret. Anyway I was looking around for some figures to make into a levy archer unit for Never Mind the Billhooks and chanced upon some old plastic Bretonnian archers on E Bay. The rest is history. I still had some heads from my original Bretonnian army so chopped a few heads off to give them some variety.  
I couldnt bring myself to make them look too levy like and painted them in a semi uniform attire. I like them. Yes they are fantasy figures, yes they dont look like a motley crew but Im happy with them. So happy Ive started another unit of archers.  
Oh and by the way, I was shocked at just how much Bretonnian figures now cost second-hand. I wouldnt like to think how much my old army would have been worth some twenty years on.

I also had a few spare? Citadel mounted men at arms, so cobbled together a second unit of mounted knights, just in case I fight a large battle. The Perry plastic knights are slightly bigger than the Citadel ones, but I can live with it just about.    

I said I wanted a figure to represent the Irish peer, the Earl of Kildare, so pushing reality a tad this is my Kildare, resplendent as a Irish chieftain. Totally inaccurate, but I thought why not. To reinforce the Irishness? I added a Redoubt Kern.

Finally I had some spare Perry men at arms so knocked out a spare? unit for the wards I have. Not the best Ive painted, but they look okay. All I need now is to fight some games and blood the damned army.


Friday, 12 February 2021

Nearly completed.

In nearing completion of this lttle project. I have really enjoyed the painting exercise although some of the figure painting was marred by having to stand as opposed to sitting. Not recommended. The first images are Kildare's completed ward, minus Kildare which I havent started painting yet. In reality he never left Ireland and sent his brother across instead where he was killed at Stoke Field along with the kern and gallowglass. The Irish who werent  killed on the battlefield were hung when captured. Strange how we seemed to do that regularly.

I had another large Marcus Hinton figure going spare so painted him up  as a standard bearer.

A  review of the army minus the cavalry which aren't completed yet. Considering Andy Callan recommends a 100 point battle as the norm, I overdid the whole thing. Still one cant change the habit of a lifetime. It does mean John and I can use them for Pike and Shotte as well. 


Many years  ago I had some lovely medieval tents created by Hales Models, like most things I sold them and regretted it later. I have managed to locate something similar but not as detailed. The one in the background is the first of what will be the camp.


A lot of the armies during the wars were classed as a levy. This is the first one made up of various archer figures. I couldn't help myself by giving them a fairly uniform look. Its my OCD I think.
So a very pleasant painting interlude albeit a tad expensive, stil it has kept my mind off the Covid bollocks.


Thursday, 4 February 2021

Kildare's ward nearly completed.

Well I'm on the home stretch now as these belong to my final ward for Never Mind the Billhooks project. These colourful chaps belong to the Earl of Kildare who fought for York in the later attempts to seize the throne. One thing I've noticed about the Wars of the Roses is there isn't a lot of books about the period. Yes one can obtain a couple of decent general histories but apart from that there isn't too much meat to go at. Well that's my reason for adding Gallowglass and kern to this ward. In my mind, they are from Ireland and who wouldn't want decent quality mercenaries when you go on campaign.
I hope to finish the said mercenaries very soon, depending on back pain, procrastination and the like. I must admit I am tempted to paint some figures in red and white stripes in tribute to my local team, but given they are still struggling to get out of the mess they find themselves in, I better not push my luck.
This chap is an early Marcus Hinton figure and very nice he is too. I was lucky enough to locate a few and chopped the implement he had been holding out of his hand. The trumpeter is a Perry plastic just to add a bit of interest.
I had? to paint some heavy cavalry to use in this period, although given the number of gendarmes and the like I have in my Italian Wars armies, they really weren't needed. I'll be very honest I still think the old Citadel range of figures for the Wars are amongst the best even though they must be 40+ years old. If only they were the same price as when they were first released. Foundry now charge £5.00 per cavalryman which is a bit steep considering their age etc. I managed to scrape a few together courtesy of E Bay, but even they were pretty expensive. But I really wanted some, its pathetic really. 

Kildare's new units resplendent in red and white. It reminds me of the Stadium of light pre Covid. Happy days. 


Sunday, 24 January 2021

Ethics? Is there a place in wargaming for such a thing?

Like so many I was bored last night and somehow ended up watching a podcast called Veteran Wargamer. The podcast is run by an American bloke called Jay Arnold and seems well put together, well it does to my Luddite eyes. The latest podcast was with a group of what were described as wargaming luminaries?? including Jasper Oorthuys, Sam Mustafa, Annie Norman and Ilan Mitchell- Smith. Obviously I have heard of Sam Mustafa and have always been impressed by his rule writing. Jasper Oorthuys is a leading light with Wargames Soldiers and Strategy, as for the other two, Im sorry but I haven't a Scoobies who they were, but then I'm probably not down with the kids as it were.
Anyway the discussion was regarding ethics in wargaming???
 Basically it revolved around the age old argument of what people game and why certain periods are avoided by certain gamers. I think we all possess a period in history that we have deliberately avoided simply because we had either been a part of the history that was to be wargamed, we had family that had taken part in the conflict or simply the memories were just too fresh for it to be trivialised by a game with toy soldiers. The discussion group touched upon the whole idea of wargaming and whether it was something that in its own right was the correct thing to hobby, especially if you subscibe to the idea that it glorifies war.
  I would like to think that anyone who knows me would realise that ethics isnt something that bothers me too much where wargaming and painting soldiers is concerned. I certainly wouldnt buy and paint up figures meant to depict genocide etc, but that wouldnt be an ethical issue, because it simply wouldnt be right on so many levels.
There were however two things that struck me about the podcast, one was that the group felt there was a need to discuss the subject at all, especially given the makeup of the wargaming population who are in the vast majority knowledgeable regarding military history and understanding of the actual horrors of war better than most laymen and therefore pretty decent people, well except where dice throwing is concerned.  The second was why do people nowadays feel the need to look too deeply at what is an innocent pastime almost desperate to find issues where none exist. 
 In this day and age of pseudo victimisation, distress at innocent mis-speaking [ is there such a word?] and people being cancelled left, right and centre the last thing wargaming needs is a group of people creating a movement stopping us playing with toy soldiers.
As for this group of luminaries I would refer them to Robbie's basic law of life which is, 
 ''if it looks like a turd and smells like a turd then it will probably be one.'' 
  Its never steered me wrong yet.*** 

And now onto more upbeat things. I am still making steady progress with my Wars of the Roses small project and have completed a few more items to add to my growing band..
Like a lot of wargamers of a certain age we forget just what we have painted, well I clean forgot that I had created a few bits and bobs that are perfect for my Never Mind the Billhooks project.
Perry's Margarette of Anjou was discovered hiding in my draw of Italian Wars figures, along with a couple of other bases. They have been seconded to my army. Well except the Queen, who will have to stand around looking angry as the Yorkists hopefully batter the Lancastrians.

                                   A 'spare' Perry light gun, perfect for the ward of Kildare.

I also completed my second unit of mercenary pike which was a relief. I know they are an anachronism as Landsknechts didnt really come to the fore until the 1490's but they will do. 

Because I like Pete's Flags my final ward will belong to the Earl of Kildare which gives me a great excuse to add a further unit of Kern. I also intend to field a unit of Gallowglass and Bonnachts to fill out the ward. Clearly not historically accurate but I like the idea it could have happened. 
 Regarding history, I am currently reading the history of the Wars of the Roses by Hugh Bicheno which is a very good couple of books, except at the end of book one he totally poo poos what happened at the Battle of Towton, especially Fauconberg's famous trick with his Yorkist archers. You know the one, where he orders his longbowmen to fire one volley at the Lancastrians using the wind and the snow to antagonise the Lancastrians to recklessly fire off all their arrows in reply, famously they fell short. 
 I always loved that idea, anyway it never happened! 
  Discuss please.
 Secondly he pours coldwater on the Lancastrian army as it marched towards London allegedly full of wild Scots and Northerners intent on rape and pillage, again he believes it never happened! Having seen his evidence it does make for a good discussion. Perhaps the Veteran Wargamer could create a podcast such as that. 
*** I know it will be surprising to some but I actually attended a university where I was 'taught' ethics. I came away with the clear understanding that if the end justifies the means then its fine as long as one can handle the means and the end. 


My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating