Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Best wishes for a Very Batty New Year!

Mate Ian came around today and fired up his camera.

He knows about "F" numbers, and other magic camera stuff!  This one is really worth a click...

Can I take this opportunity to wish all my fellow bloggers a Very Happy 2014!

Friday, 27 December 2013

A belated merry Xmas, and some fine Romans!

Hordes of invading relatives have meant I've been unable to post, so can I belatedly wish all my visitors a very late Merry Xmas and a rather early Happy New Year! May all your dice roll 6's (except when you need a 1!).

I bought these superb miniatures off fellow blogger Saxon Dog.  A huge thank you to David for thinking of me! They are far better than I could ever paint... but I hope I've complimented them with this Impetus basing scheme. The minis are mostly Foundry Perry (but the casualties and standard might be Warlord). All photos are clickable,do please have a look; the details are stunning!

As with the previous units, I have done the first element in combat poses, and the second element advancing slowly, as supports. I'll do this with all the legionary elements, and deploy them in 2 lines on the table. For some reason I think of these bases as centuries rather than the cohorts that my other EIR collection is formed in. I love the grouping above, with the centurion looking over at the wounded legionary. Such a fine casualty figure.

I now have six elements of Perry Romans, and will add a couple more each month.

Impetus basing also works very well with the "To the Strongest" rules I intend to publish next year, and I'll be using these in photos to illustrate aspects of the rules.  I will need some foes for them, too...

Monday, 23 December 2013

Legacy of Alexander

WS&S has landed and looks really interesting for an "Ancients" nut, with lots of material from Jeff Jonas.  Relic's Seleucid cataphracts look very good, too, on the cover.  Do please have a gander at my "Last Phalanx" piece on page 42; I'm delighted with how it came out.

It's very nice to see such an ancients focus in a wargames magazine, for a change.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Cereal Killer

Deadlines require that I need to assemble and paint my Swan-necked trade ship, the "Ceres", over the Xmas/New Year period, whilst simultaneously writing another article, and stuffing the turkey.  I fear that there won't be much time left over for blogging...

The piece on the left is going to be the stern-castle.  I need to sculpt a swan on the wire frame, and add the characteristic Roman railings around the outside. I have a mate working on making the railings, and a plan "B" in case his technology can't cut them.

Later I will need to assemble the masts, build a deck-cabin with bridge on top, and scratchbuild steering oars.

The expensive but beautiful Grand Manner equivalent resin casting is looking more appealing by the moment!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Away day

Yesterday I traveled to the wilds of Suffolk to play a game with some wily locals and a few others who had journeyed there, from far and wide.  I won't post pics of the minis, because the game is to form the basis of an article that Simon MacDowall is writing, but here is a photo of Simon MacDowall (left) and the opposing generals (Gary, Kevin and Dave) looking contemplative.

Below are my team; John and Adam, with Daniel from Wargames Illustrated in the background. From his body language, you can tell that John wasn't having all that much luck with his dice!

A fine time was had by all, and the hospitality was very generous. I look forward to seeing the piece in the magazine, in due course! 

Monday, 16 December 2013

Aventine Allied cavalry

These brave Aventine Italian Allied cavalry form part of my Winter Offensive.  The minis are delightful and were easy to paint.  I bought 6 from Redzed last year (on the left), and they have proved very useful in several games, since, so I decided to paint 3 more to complete the unit (on the right).  I think I managed to catch his style. 

I am falling slightly behind in my play to complete 52 units by the end of the year, but it is still just about achievable.  I have 48 in the bag... and several more photos to post this week!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Shipbuilding II

I've decided to revive an unfinished project from back in the summer, which is to convert the above Zvezda "Thomas" kit into a Roman trade ship. The hull is already assembled (and a fine hull it is, too; the quality is excellent), and next I need to start work on "Romanising" the the Medieval Superstructure. Watch this space...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Not Magnesia!

Mate Ian came round last night, bringing his 15mm collection, and helped me play-test the latest version of my "To the Strongest" rules, including the first army lists.  I had decided I wanted to explore the Polybian legion, and the Seleucids, as I want to tackle Magnesia next year, or perhaps in 2015. We picked two armies of around 180 points each, and set to!

Ian has an extensive collection of 18mm minis, which we don't use often enough.  Above, we used around 300 minis to depict a Roman and an allied legion.  The game could have been played with around half of the minis we used, but more looked prettier!  The Roman camp is below; I made that.  

Ian's Xyston Successors (above and below) are stunningly well painted.  Ian's Seleucid army for the games included a couple of units of tough cataphracts, some scythed chariots, escorted elephants and a mass of Galatians.

My favourite shot of the game is the one above.  The Hastati and Principes were organised in units of 24, but with the elements staggered to look like maniples (Ian's idea; a good one!).  During the game, my legions piled into the phalanx, but weren't able to make much of an impression, although they came very close to breaking through towards the end of the battle.

Some Carthaginian chariots (proxying for scythed) almost saw my flank off.  Almost...

Ianichos piles on the pressure! I ran the game from a pdf version of the rules, on the iPad (right). I have come to prefer iPads to paper rules, especially when they have hyperlinks embedded in them.

It was a very enjoyable game, and nail-bitingly close.  I was ahead for much of it, but just couldn't kill the final unit I needed to slay, in order to win. Ian eventually caught up and his surviving elephant committed the coup de grace on my cavalry unit, for the win (below).

The rules worked out very well, and very little needs to be tweaked before the next game. The points values, used for the first time last night, seem to be quite well balanced.  Hopefully we'll get the next test game in, early in January!

If anyone would like a play-test copy (or a recently updated version if I've already sent you one), please do drop me a line at the address on the front of my blog.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


Back in April, I managed to get a much needed wargames storage cupboard, built into an old laundry cupboard.  Today I (finally!) got around to fitting a shelf, and I've started to pack away the gaming boards that have, for several years, stood against the wall of my dining room.

It's rather more than 8' tall and will hold all of my 4' by 2' gaming boards, in 2 stacks, one above the other.  There should also be enough additional space in case I need to add a third set of gaming boards, down the line!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

My painting table overfloweth

On the painting.basing tray, some of Saxon Dog's Foundry Perry EIRs have joined the Foundry Perry LIRs, Numidians and Greek cavalry, and the Aventine Polybians.  3 Roman periods on the go at once!  Now where are my A&A MIRs...

Monday, 9 December 2013


I came across an old photo of the eponymous Crimson Bat, that I built in 2004, and couldn't resist posting it!  Batty has a wingspan of around 30", and is a one of a kind.  I really need to get the old Gloranthan toys out, in 2015...

I've also attached some other photos showing how I made her.

I'd should also take some new photos of the finished model, to show her in her full majesty...

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The hills are alive, with a charge of static

Last week, I re-flocked my old, balding, terrain boards using my zapper. During this week's game of Longstreet, the new, improved boards made my one colour spring-green hills stick out like a sore thumb, so I have added two different blends of flock on the hills, too. I have found that a 4mm grass in a summer green works particularly well.

In the longer term, I intend to add more colours to the boards, and perhaps even patches of flowers, to break them even less uniform.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Forming up

I've been busy painting and basing this week, with nothing complete enough to post, in the last few days. However here are the WIPs, for what they are worth. Clockwise from the top:-

  • An extra base of Aventine Polybian cavalry
  • A Foundry late Imperial Legion, 6 figures completing an eBay purchase
  • A rhomboid formation of later (shielded) Thessalians
  • My twelfth (and final?) unit of Numidian horse
Eclectic, neh? After these are finished, I'll crack on with the Perry EIRs.  My 52 unit target is slipping away from me... :-(

Monday, 2 December 2013

Impetus gaining momentum

Some more Romans based for Impetus; again Warlords, from the small but beautifully painted army that I bought from David Imrie.  I went with a 4cm deep base, and a few more minis than others might use.

This is the 4th element, I hope to reach 10  by the early New Year... and I'll need to think about collecting a suitable army for them to fight.  

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Impetus Auxilia

I bought these (clickable) chaps off Saxon Dog, recently; they are from his Last of the Free! collection. I've re-based them for Impetus (and my own To The Strongest! ruleset), for my EIR2 project, which is really starting to roll along, now.

The paint jobs are beautiful, better than I could do, and I didn't touch them at all, except to muddy up the shields.  Which seemed almost criminal.  I'm also very impressed with these particular Warlord castings; so dynamic!  

I also have some archers, and two elements-worth of David's legionaries, which I hope to base next week. I'm ploughing on towards my 52 unit target for the year.  I'm currently at 41, but have a couple more close to completion...  

(Note to self- Base coat is Steel Legion Drab, highlighted with SLD + Buff Titanium and the lightest drybrush of Buff Titanium with a little SLD.  Shields are washed with Strong Tone, then stippled with SLD, SLD light tone and the very lightest drybrush of Buff Titanium.  After tufting, wash the bases with matt varnish with Army Painter Strong Tone ink added)

Thursday, 28 November 2013


These are the supporting archers of the Petulantes, a particularly famous Late Roman Auxilia Palatina regiment.

These (clickable) chaps are some of my favourite minis. I bought 8 of them from Saxon Dog around 2005. I don't believe they were actually painted by David, but understand he finished and perhaps based them. Whoever did them they were very nicely painted, and I learned a great deal about painting and basing from them (indeed, all my minis are based to a similar standard). As part of my Winter Offensive, I've painted 2 more minis to match (one is the officer), and tarted up the bases to my current standard.

At some point I will need to paint the rest of the unit, and the associated Celtae regiment. But there are lots of other units to finish, first! There is a real danger that I may soon have enough Late Romans, to be able to play a game with.

In other news, Graham at Scotiaalbion has been experimenting with my rules, and has made up some lovely cards featuring illustrations from Ironmitten's blog. I look forward to seeing the cards in action...

Monday, 25 November 2013


These chaps used to be past of the old Whitecross display stand, before the range was sold to Chiltern Miniatures (now OOP, I fear).  I bought them perhaps 5 years back.  I've recently added 2 more minis, painted in the same style (red tunics), and brought the bases up to my modern standard.  They will serve in my Pontic army.  

I'm currently trying to base up as many minis as possible, in an attempt to finish 52 units this year.  It's touch and go...

Friday, 22 November 2013

Flocked Indian

Last night I finished basing the Vendel Indian Elephant that Raglan very generously gave me. It is a resin model, with metal crew, and very nicely sculpted. 

The escorting light infantry are miniatures that I bought already painted, in 3 separate lots, though eBay. Luckily they matched pretty well.  I painted the crew lighter-skinned, as I picture them as being higher caste.

In the "To the Strongest!" rule-set I'm developing, a generously-sized escort postpones the inevitable moment when one's elephant rampages back through one's phalanx.  ;-)

I'd like to add a second beast, but unfortunately this range is no longer manufactured in the UK. Should anyone have any Vendel Indians lurking in their lead mountain, I'd be very pleased to swap or buy some. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013


I've noticed that my green terrain boards have been "balding" around the edges, where gamers such as I lean on them, during play.  I thought I'd try out my new static flocker on them.

It seems to work very well, although I'll have a better idea when the glue has dried and I've shaken away the spare flock.  Previous experience suggests 2 coats will be required.  I'm using a blend with some darker grass in it, which I hope will break the lurid spring-green expanse up, somewhat.  

This time, per the instructions, I diluted my PVA 50% with water, and added a drop of detergent to get rid of the surface tension.  This is a big help.  I have been able to observe the flock standing stock upright on the latest set of bases, so the static principle is clearly working fine.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Indian nellie WIP

I couldn't resist posting this WIP shot of a Vendel Indian elephant that I've just painted. I still need to add the rest of the crew, and base with the escorting archers and swordsmen.  

Raglan very generously sent me the miniature.  The elephant is a very nice model, and I now regret not buying more Vendel when they were in the UK.  Their Indians were nice, and the Persian heavy cavalry, also.

Friday, 15 November 2013


This is my latest attempt to base some Thessalians in a convincing manner. I have another unit that has been based twice, and now needs to be re-based again, in the same style. These are the front six figures of a unit of nine. When complete the unit will be in the form of a rhombus, 19.5 cm long. As usual, Nick painted the minis very nicely, and I added shield decals, highlights and stained.

Below is the traffic jam on the painting tray.  These include Numidians, Scythians, Celts, Romans and a nellie!  There are so many minis that I want to paint, just now...

Monday, 11 November 2013

My fifth Blogiversary, and a new major project

My first ever blog post was on 8th November 2008, and I have realised that I have just passed my fifth Blogiversary! Since then, I appear to have made no fewer than 675 posts, and have had just over 570K page views. Can I offer a huge thanks to all of the visitors, who make this such an enjoyable activity! 

For my next major project, I've decided to assemble a second* Early Imperial Roman army from the delightful Foundry Perry range, based for Impetus (or my own "To the Strongest!" rules) on a 12cm frontage. Do 'ave a click!  I do like the look of Impetus basing.

With this army, I'm going for a deliberately wet, muddy look, based upon my impression of the opening scene of the film Gladiator.  All the miniatures will be pre-owned, purchased from eBay, and "tarted up" as described in my recent article in Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy Issue 69. I aspire to approximately 10 elements of legionaries, 6 of auxiliaries, 2 of Praetorians and 4 cavalry together with lights, generals and artillery. Even using pre-painted minis, this may take a little time...

*Ultimately there will also be a third, Aventine, late-Early Imperial army