Monday, 12 July 2021

Visions of the Four Riders.


Lying awake last night recovering from the inevitable trauma of another penalty f@@k up I got thinking about wargaming post freedom??? day on the 18th July. I suppose it was a subconscious attempt to blot out my disappointment.  Anyway;

Will everything revert to how things were pre lockdown?

Will wargames shows initiate limited numbers to allay any fears from the clientele?

Or will things slowly return to normality?

With freedom day beckoning we again have division, rage and anger amongst the ill informed, deluded and downright dangerous. When is it ever safe to say 'go about ones business?' 

For some, perhaps never.

For others who deny the very existence of Covid it cant come soon enough, but of course they will still contend it was all part of a world conspiracy instigated by Bill Gates, the Jews, the Illuminati or whichever bollocks they believe in. 

Me? I would like to think I walk a middle way and recognise that we will have to live with Covid, just like we live with numerous other deadly illnesses and diseases. It will probably mean a yearly vaccination which is fine with me if it means some sort of acceptable normality. It will possibly mean a record of the said vaccination's on my passport which is again fine by me if it means I can have the option to travel again in the future. I refuse however to hide away when science has provided us with the means to live fairly freely. I refuse to run when someone wants to hug me [ all offers welcomed] and I certainly wont be dictated to by some social harridan who claims Im being irresponsible by not wearing a mask in the park.

But what has this to do with wargaming? I truly worry about my hobby. If I am able to attend a show this year I will be surprised. I hope, but somehow know its going to be a very slim chance of happening. Wargames clubs? Well not being a member of any said club I still think there will be additional issues especially if they contain a mix of Covid deniers and Covid zealots who demand various protections be set in place. Of course that wont be just wargames clubs, but  I do predict some issues re safety etc.

So the best of luck to all wargames show organisers and wargames clubs but I ask that common-sense be used at all times, if only in an attempt to introduce some normality in our hobby.

 Oh and well done Italy, my second favourite national team. 


In the latest edition of Miniature Wargames the editor, John Treadway wrote an interesting editorial titled 'sheep.' I mention it simply because he echoes my views re wargames shows and in particular the willingness for organisers to cancel shows instead of actually considering the risks and whether they can be managed instead of simply cancelling everything to the detriment of our hobby. Somehow I feel slightly vindicated regarding the risk averse attitude of certain section of the wargaming firmament.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

What now?

I have pretty large ECW armies but no Scots. They played a big part in the civil wars. One can always rely on the Scots to add to England's pain, God bless them. I really wanted to use old Scots figures but its very rare that they come up for sale on E Bay and when they do they are in such small quantities that its no use to me. So I bit the proverbial bullet and went modern?
John advised me to look at the Perry range, and yet again he was correct. I didn't want to use such well sculpted figures but they are just too nice not to paint. My intention is to paint enough to represent the Scots contingent at Marston Moor. They fought well at the battle and who doesn't love a big battle to command. 
I used to own a lot of Military Modelling magazines when wargames magazines didnt exist. The MM ran a brilliant series of battles of the Civil wars written by Start Asquith, unfortunately like a lot of things, I gave the magazines away many years ago. Of course I realised I wanted the series to base some ECW battles around and had to find the issues on E Bay. Talk about regretting my own generosity, but I now have the series again and will be using Asquith's article as the basis of Marston Moor.
So only a few more Jocks to buy and paint, but its probably best not to think too much about that. So 'Scots awa' as they say over the wall.


Friday, 25 June 2021

Weak willed wargamer, caves in again.

Wargamers are a strange breed at times and sadly Im no different. In my last post I solemnly announced that I had completed my small Wars of the Roses army and as looking for something else to paint. Well this unit of WOR archers was the result. I like to buy old and poorly painted figures to repaint as long as they are a cheap/fair price. These chaps were. I had bought this old knight a few weeks ago and wanted to place him in a new unit so thats my excuse which was a pretty poor one I admit. 

John had been keeping a new painting project secret during this lockdown and sprang them on me at our Sword and Spear battle a couple of weeks ago. Carthaginians. I quickly pointed up an early Republican army to face Hannibal and his conglomerate army.  
The battle was a cracker. Sword and Spear are a very clever set of rules that require some thinking and a bit of luck. My Romans contained a fair few poorly trained legionaries which caused them issues when they wanted to move but I would argue it reflected the Roman state at the time of Hannibal, lots of legions but most not to well trained up against a better led group of nations each fighting in a different style. 

Those damned elephants. I attempted to use my velites to weaken the pachyderm's progress but failed badly. They do pack a punch and look great on a battlefield. 
My general wisely hiding behind his best legionaries. Unfortunately his co consul was killed in combat on the right wing. My long history of getting my generals killed continues.

One doesnt have to be a genius to know a large angry beast hitting you in the flank wasnt going to end well. But what a game and lovely to see elephants on my table. So another close but enjoyable defeat.                             

I was bitterly disappointed last week when it was announced that Hammerhead which was due to be staged on the 31st July had been cancelled. Henry Hyde provided a valid excuse/explanation of the cancellation but whilst understanding the reason I disagreed.

 It was inevitable as we stagger towards national immunity that it would be very difficult to finally be released from lockdown and given how the governments fingers were burned during the Christmas debacle they are now overly cautious. 

My view is that given the average age of people who would be attending Hammerhead I would hazard an educated guess that a minimum of 90% would have received their 2 doses of vaccine by the 31st July. A cursory check by the people taking the cash at the entrance would have given a decent level of reassurance to even the most fainthearted of wargamers that all was safe. But no.

 Unfortunately the concept of risk aversion has inveigled its way into all aspects of our lives. Now before anyone jumps in and thinks Im one of those headcases who believes Covid is just a bad case of flu and created by the 'controllers' ie poor Bill Gates Im not. In fact I have a very healthy respect for the insidious disease having contracted it when the crisis first struck. But what I will say is that we have to make the last stuttering steps towards something like normality and cancelling events which could have gone a long way to showing us things were okay would have been a good thing.

  I will admit my judgement is a tad clouded by simply wanting to enjoy the interaction of being with other wargamers but by the same token we seem to have now entered a period of being transfixed by an unknown fear that is potentially manageable with a bit of common-sense and understanding the risk.

 I never thought I would admit that I miss the smell of unwashed bodies and barely washed tee shirts.   

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

The final Wars of the Roses units done.

So as we finally drag ourselves out of lockdown I thought I should complete and I mean that's it, my Wars of the Roses army. I picked up some decently priced old Citadel WOR figures which are still good quality figures and set to.
I 'needed' these extra figures because Pete of Pete's flags had released a new Yorkist set of standards that I had to buy. Most wargamers understand these two words, 'want' and 'need.' They are important words often used in the wargamers world, when in reality we dont really need them, its just we have to feed the addiction. 
These chaps belong to the ward of John de Pole and are in my favourite livery colours.
 So hopefully as the weeks progress we will finally end up playing regular wargames and attending wargame shows. I appreciate there is the fear of the consequences of the Indian variant, but looking on the brightside I'm expecting things to slowly relax back into something like normality.


Thursday, 6 May 2021

Yes I am still here!!!

Well here we are, a new [ish] month and finally a new post. It finally occurred to me that I was simply posting for postings sake during lockdown and since I didnt have much to report since my last post I should simply wait until I had something to say, albeit not much.
I thought that the months leading up to the end of any sort of lockdown would be very slow moving and I must admit I am right. Waiting to resume some sort of life has moved at a snails pace, not helped by the unseasonable crap weather which doesnt encourage much physical activity. Well thats my excuse. I have found things difficult. 
Anyway I have done a little bit of painting to keep my hand in whilst I ponder, what next? Im still pottering around with various units of Wars of the Roses figures even though I definitely have enough for a Never Mind the Billhooks game. These archers are from Claymore Castings and represent a levy archer unit. Yes they are figures from their Scots War range but they are beautiful figures and look quite leviish? to me. Wargamers are so lucky honestly. Yes I know we all go on about it but we truly are.

 Having done a bit of reading about the world of 3d printing, I can see another shift in the wargaming firmament happening over the next couple of years as prices drop and the technology improves. Already there are some amazing items being created which can be obtained pretty easily but expensively. But how long before we put in an order for a unit of infantry and watch as they are printed an hour later. Im not certain if it will be a good thing for the many figure producers but I can definitely see changes occurring. In the 1930's to possess round figures was looked down upon by true collectors who owned beautiful collections of flats. At the moment plastic is sneered at to a certain extent, but with 3D, that will probably blow some peoples minds. Still it might help our numbers.    

The vast majority of wargamers are generous souls and Iain Macmillan very kindly sent me some Old School figures to paint. These Celts are Willie, and are quality figures with a lot of character and life. I've added plastic shields and accoutrements. They will hopefully lead some warbands.
The two chaps heading this page are Marcus Hinton figures and are full of life. They were a pleasure to paint and will stand about my table shouting advice to the poor units fighting
I felt incredibly old the other night as I watched Gogglebox and saw two of the participants? laughing at Dominic Cummings possessing a blog? Its seems its a dying facility and ignored by the young ie. under 40 years old. Here was I thinking I was cutting edge and down with the bloody kids,[not]
To be very honest I really dont care because writing a blog and sharing our thoughts, information etc with each other is a great comfort and has proved invaluable and anyway being of a certain age being invisible to the young is inevitable. So sod them.


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.


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