Monday, 29 April 2013


These are the last bunch of recruits for the Raphia project*.   They will be the rear rankers for the Machimoi phalanx.  Pikes have not yet been issued; in their absence, at the rear right, you may be able to make out a couple of miniatures practicing their karate moves.

*...but I'm currently chewing my nails over the 150 miniatures still out with a painter

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Elephants and Cretans

These are the Ptolemaic Raphia elephants; mostly based now (no tufts, yet), but no crew.

I have enough additional escorts (not shown) for one more elephant, and think I should add one more as 5 is a bit of a random number, and 6 would enable me to use them un-escorted, in pairs.

I had a bit of good news yesterday; I've got a large table to take an enlarged version of my Thapsus game, to SELWG, on October 13th.  This will enable me to take my rules on a new outing.  I'll want to get a load more legionaries painted... luckily I have quite a few that Nick painted for me last year, ready to base.  I'll also need some more terrain, including some Roman ships...

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Cretans WIP

There is going to be a 1 metre wide screen of Cretans, Neocretans and elephants, screening the front of the wings of the Ptolemaic army.  The below were beautifully painted by mate Nick Speller, and will be based shortly...

It's not very clear in the above photo, but they are painted in 3 different shades of red, and are a mix of Foundry and Gorgon archer miniatures.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

BigRedBat's Salute Highlights

I spent yesterday dashing madly around Salute, abut only managed to get a few snaps of games that "grabbed me", and often didn't record the groups that produced them.  I'm afraid it is a selective and incomplete list, but here goes!

The above game is Wargames Soldiers and Strategy's Wrath of Heaven, where I helped out for an hour.  The terrain was beautifully detailed, and the minis delightful, mostly painted by one of the WSS staffers (Christine?).  Mark who ran it was a natural GM, and the kids who played had a lot of fun.  Even the one whose ninja he cruelly slaughtered. ;-)   I very much enjoyed hanging out with the WSS crowd, including Guy and Jasper.

The above Siege of New Victoria game, set on Mars, was an absolute corker; half a dozen airshps battled above the fortress.  Oshiro model terrain did the terrain, and I believe Red Planet Miniatures the models.

The above "30 Seconds to Dog Green" Battlegroup Overlord, game was absolutely stunning, especially the cliffs, beach and bunkers.

This 28mm Normandy  game was called "Inland from Utah".  I was very taken with the column of obsolescent German (ex-French) armour.  I didn't recognise the Airfix Le Haye Saint until tonight!

Talking of armoured columns... the South London Warlord's Slammers game was a stunner.  The buildings were incredibly detailed, a labour of love.

The table was about a mile long!  These guys seemed to be lurking in ambush.

The other Warlords game was all Harryhausen, in 1/12 scale, such a brilliant idea.  The skeletons were scary... and I was worried what the Talos might get up to.

Above is a lovely Troy, Aeneas and family were busy escaping from it.  Run by the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp.

I spent a very happy 20 minutes discussing the Austro-Prussian war of 1866, with a chap at this table.  Very nice 10mm Pendragon miniatures, and plenty of them.

Above and below is the 54mm Victrix game.  The detail on the minis was astonishing, I was very taken with the hobnails on the boots (below).

Last but not least, the Dux Bellorum games run by Guitarhero Andy, James Morris and Steve (Jones?).  The games looked great, we had a nice chat and I gather that they deservedly won an award.

I forgot to take pictures of the huge, and stunning, Waterloo game.

I didn't manage to meet half of the people I wanted to, and have probably forgotten half of those I did meet.  However I did meet a whole "list" of gaming bloggers, including Big Lee, Postie, The Angry Lurker, Tamsin, Sebastien and Stephen of the Legatus blogs.  I also met various Lardies, my mate Nick Speller who gave me some newly painted toys (of which more anon), Simon Comitatus MacDowall, and an old friend, Craig Cartmell, who wrote "In Her Majesties Name", which last demo looked superb, but which I also failed to photograph.   Apologies if I also met you and have forgotten to mention it!

It was a very enjoyable day.  It seemed very busy, compared to last year, but not unduly crowded.  On the whole I felt that there were fewer impressive demo games, but it didn't seem to matter, as much fun was had by all!  I'm very glad that I went, after all.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Spring cleaning...

I’m having a “flash sale” of minis (if they don’t go today, it’s the Salute Bring and Buy for them!)

I have a large number of Foundry World of the Greeks phalangites, all in attacking poses to take levelled pikes.

3 packs of armoured phalangites

4 packs of unarmoured phalangites 
3 packs of Eastern phalangites
42 loose unarmoured phalangites
24 loose armoured phalangites
4 loose painted armoured phalangites

Total 150 minis.  I’ll do the lot for £90 plus postage, less than half the price from Foundry.

I also have 42 Crusader Successor pike, including command, like these.

I'm looking for 60p a figure (half the list price!), for a total £25.20, plus postage. If you are at Salute, I could give them to you there.

Finally, I have 96 Crusader Early Imperial Romans spare- 87 legionaries, and 3 each centurions, signifers and cornicens, like these.
I'm looking for 60p each plus postage (£57.60), which is also about half the list price. I could deliver at Salute. 

Alternatively, I'll potentially trade for other Ancients ranges.  

Cheers, Simon

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

30 more pikemen

These are the last of the Foundry Ptolemaics.  They need staining, highlights and varnishing.  Then I have a final 50-odd un-armoured pike to face (who will hopefully be quick to paint), and a scary amount of basing...

Monday, 15 April 2013

New walls

Not the walls of a 28mm model city....

...but the walls of our new bathroom, finished at last, which is clearly inspired by the walls of a 28mm model city.  And below is the icing on the cake, my new (but as yet unshelved) wargames storage space.  This is around 70cm square by 2.4m tall, an awkward shape but I have a cunning plan to maximise the useful space.  I'm currently giving some thought to shelving.

If you live in the USA or Australia, this probably doesn't look like much, but in London every spare cubic centimetre counts!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Thapsus- part the second

Returning to The Thapsus in Dug's shed last Wednesday, from where we left the action, with the Optimates' elephants plunging into V Alaudae (the veteran "larks").  

The elephants were quickly slain, but inflicted losses upon the veterans, who were immediately set upon by a unit of Numidian militia.  Alaudae were the best unit on the battlefield, and the militia, probably the worst, but some phenomenal dice-rolling by Boot, saw the veterans broken, and the militia through the line into open fields beyond (below)!

Unfortunately, for them, the Caesarians were able to contain the breakthrough by bringing up reserves. 

Both sides committed their second line of cohorts, as the fighting became general (below).

By this stage, most cohorts on either side had run out of pila, and were badly bruised.  However, the superior elan of the Caesarian legionaries gave them an edge in every melee.  Below, Scipio is getting a bit nervous...

...and the Caesarians more confident.

Eventually one of the Pompeian militia units broke, and a cascade of morale test failures swept away half of their cohorts: the battle was lost.  

Interestingly, the paper copies of the rules I had brought along weren't used (except for the charts), as four  of us had iPads (below) with the PDF version on them, hyperlinks and all.

Finally, here are the gamers, all together in front of the shed (now officially renamed the "Dug-out")  Nigel, Daz, Dave, Boot, and Fletch (back), and Carlo, Mark and Dug (front).  Thanks for the play test, chaps!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

To Bletchley!

I took a posse of North London gamers up to Bletchley today, for the Society of Ancients Chalons Battleday.  The Battelday is about using as many different ancient rules as possible.  We played with Simon MacDowall's attractive miniatures, and his Comitatus rules.  Here are some shots, first my "Romans" and their allied Germans (foreground):-

And opposite, the dastardly Hun and their own German allies:-

I led the Roman side, as Aetius.  After a lengthy scrap, the battle resolved into 3 combats; on our left, under my son Harry, the Romans were ascendant and the foe on the back foot:-

On the right, though, "our" Goths were badly bruised and either running for home, or thinking about getting off, soonish:-

In the centre, where I was (as Aetius), with our reluctant Alans, there was a terribly confusing kettle melee, which swung first one way, and then the other.  Eventually, after killing one of Attila's sons in melee, I charged the man himself, in an attempt to win the battle before dusk fell:-

... and challenged him to single combat.  Unfortunately...

...he killed me!  (but I did, at least, wound him).  This turned the battle into a defeat, for us.

It was a very enjoyable day.  Simon MacDowall gave a very informative presentation about the battle, Richard Lockwood had everything nicely organised, and I got to chat to a couple of other gamers including Rob Broom and Phil Steele.  Rob Broom's War and Conquest game is below, and looked rahter fine:-

There was also a very impressive Armati game, with a hi-tech table including magnetic hills and edges, which I intend to copy at some stage...

I'm afraid I didn't have time to photograph any other games, but it was a great day.  I'm knacked!

If you aren't a member of the Society of Ancients, it's an excellent idea to join for the magazine, Slingshot, and to support excellent wargaming events, such as this one.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Thapsus, part the first

As I mentioned yesterday, Dug, mates and I re-fought the Roman Civil War battle of Thapsus 46BC, on Wednesday, using my draft ancients rules.  I won't dwell too long on the background to the battle, as I'll be writing it up as a magazine article, but here are Dug and my photos; all pics are clickable!

Above is a shot along the table (8' wide by 6' deep), with Caesar's Populares on the left, and the Pompeian Optimates, with their Numidian allies, on the right.  North is towards the bottom of the picture.  On on the near flank the table is bordered by the sea, and on the far flank a salt lagoon (neither shown).

The Optimates (above) looked a bit scruffy, especially the natives; the Caesarians (below, background) look like that scene in Spartacus...

Above, Caesar's slingers getting the range of the Numidian elephants (below).

The slingers have found the range of the elephants; but the deceased pachyderms provide a useful vantage-point for Titus Labienus, on the Pompeian left.

Above, the Caesarian centre rushes forward, as in the historical battle.

...and finally, for today, the surviving elephants plough into a cohort of V Alaudae, supported by a mass of Numidian city militia.

Tomorrow I'll be at the SOA Battle Day in Bletchley, and hope to see you there!  So Thapsus part II will likely hit this blog, on Sunday.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Road trip!

Yesterday I spent a very jolly day in a shed in Cambridge, with Dug Page-Croft (below, with wife Jen) and his mates. 

Dug very kindly hosted a re-fight of the battle of Thapsus, using my draft set of ancient wargaming rules, and my Caesarian Roman and Numidian armies, on the Zama boards.  

It all seemed to go very well, and the sun even came out!  I'll do a proper write-up tomorrow, when I have a bit more time, but here's a couple of (clickable) photos to be going with...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


I went to buy my Salute 2013 queue busters earlier tonight, and found that the ship has sailed; apparently they stop selling them 2 weeks before the event.  Doh.  

I could still buy at the door, but I now find myself in two minds about whether or not to go this year, partly because of the expense, and partly because there's nothing that is really saying "you must see this" or "you must buy this", to me.  I don't tend to play in the participation games at Salute, either, I prefer to do that with friends, or at more intimate venues.  

Shall I have a lay-in and paint some minis, instead?  Hmmm...

EDIT- I have now located a ticket, and thought of a couple of good reasons for making the trip, so I'll be there, Saturday week!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Ghost phalanx...

...being the final 80-something phalangite minis I need to paint from scratch for the phalanx, by the end of April.  There are another 200 minis off with painters, too, that will need to be finished and based in May.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Aventine African Elephants WIP II

Since my last post, I have finished the howdahs, stained and varnished.  I was very pleased with how the howdahs came up, Rawhide!  Now they just need crews, and escorts...

I based the trapping colours on those of a rug I bought in Marrakech 10 years ago, that is on our lounge floor.  Post Raphia, when time permits, I will probably go back and add some more detail to the trappings.

When the crew are added, I might add a very fine dry-brush of dust to the completed models.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Agemata Basilikoi

I've not had a chance to photograph these until now, these are the Ptolemaic guard, with the Agemata on the right, and the Peltastoi on the left, they are clickable.  

The peltastoi are the junior unit.  There is some controversy about how they were equipped; whether with a full length or shortened sarissa, or even as light infantry.  I went for the full 100mm.

A lousy photo, I'm afraid, I'll take a proper one when they are finished (they aren't flocked yet).      The minis are a mix of Foundry (mostly) and Polemarch.  Flocking will have to wait, as I want to focus on painting all the remaining pike minis, first (6 down, 5 to go).  Then I'll have a week or two of flocking hell, to face.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Aventine African Elephants WIP

A quick WIP shot of my new Africans.  The beasts and the cloths are painted and stained.  I've added padding under the howdahs, as suggested by Olicana Lad.  Hopefully I'll finish the howdahs tonight, and then the project can wait until Nick can do the crews for me.  At the moment I'm not going to bother with shields, we'll assume that the rawhide towers offer sufficient protection to the crew.