Projects Update – September 2020

September hasn’t been a particularly productive month for hobby stuff. Real life has been busy trying to put the house up on the market and find somewhere to move to so have had to pack most of my hobby stuff away and do a lot of 1:1 scale work instead.

A few bits from earlier in the month before everything was packed away (some of which were spillover from August).

From the Trojan War project:

Chariots from the hollow lands and valleys of Lacedaemon.

Spearmen from the island of Salamis:

As with my other Trojan War ones, I’ll finish basing at the end so please ignore the bits of bluetac on the spearmen base as they would not stand up straight no matter how much I filed the bases!

Onto the Valley of Mexico now.

A unit of Eagle and Jaguar Warriors to serve as a back rank on my Bodyguard unit when I need to make it “deep”:

And with the bodyguard (bases are more similar than the picture would have you believe):

And another division for the army:

Other than a few casualty markers, the generals and maybe one more skirmisher base this army is almost finished (for phase 1 of course) and I can move into their opponents, either Tlaxcalans or Tarascans.

That’s all for now. Painting for the next little while will likely be fairly limited, though hopefully I can get a game in again soon. I have been spending a bit of time thinking and planning a few things, such as more pre-Contact American lists for TtS, as well as picked up on writing my own rules for Sengoku Jidai warfare, something I’ve dipped in and out of over the past little while. I’m sure I’ll have more on that in future, Japanese are a strong possibility for project slot once one of the ongoing ones is further along.

Thanks for reading,

Matthew

Projects Update – August 2020

August was a busy month in real life so hobby progress has been slow. Been clearing the house and packing things away in preparation for putting the house on the market, as well as having a number of family events and a pleasant break with a few days away. Managed to get a few pieces done though.

Qin cavalry, fairly quick paint job on them.

No matter how often I brush them off there always manages to be a stray bit of static grass somewhere on the models when I photo!

Took another pass at the 15mm Tanuki archers to brighten them up a bit. Much happier with them now.

Over to the Valley of Mexico, these guys are the bodyguard of the Tlatoani (the king) and the mightiest warriors with the most captives under their belts:

Yes the basing was still wet when I took these pictures. I’ll be taking better ones when the whole army is finished, which shouldn’t be too long now.

2 Trojan War units next. This is a bit of a cheat, while I painted most of them in August, one or two figures were held up in the post before I could properly finish them so they were completed in September.

From the hollow lands and valleys of Lacedaemon:

And from the island of Salamis:

As with my other Trojan War ones, I’ll finish basing at the end so please ignore the bits of bluetac on the spearmen base as they would not stand up straight no matter how much I filed the bases!

That’s it for August. I have a few units done already for Septembers batch, but they’ll have to await the next update as depending how house clearing goes they may be all I have to show for this month!

Until next time, thanks for reading,

Matthew

Projects Update – July 2020

Been able to keep things reasonably productive this month. Even got in a couple of games, some thinking around various projects and plenty of ideas for more projects in future. I’ve still been mostly using a dice roll to determine what my next piece of painting will be, though upped from a d6 to a d8 to include some bits that had been languishing unloved for a little too long. The two new additions came up during the month so that worked out well.


AVNICW Project

Ulster Protestant League Machine Gunner:

UPL infantry:

Civilian Militia – these will work as infantry for the socialist/communist factions as well as general militia defending their homes and maybe some guerilla fighters:

Figures all Pendraken.

Zombies

I think these are 35mm. The zombies from the original Zombicide game were some of the first figures I painted as was easy to cover up all the mistakes with bloodstains! Don’t think I’ve ever photographed them, but definitely having an easier time with these now after a few years experience. One day I’ll get photos of the original ones done.

Not sure what to do with the bases, just gone with a sandy brown for now then will maybe do something with them once I’ve them all painted so it’s consistent.

Nine down, sixty two to go…  

Japanese Folklore

15mm Tanuki (Japanese Racoon Dog) Archers for a HotT army based around Japanese Folklore. Not entirely happy with these, they’re a little too dark still, and the colours aren’t quite popping like I want. Think I’ll maybe redo them with dark browns rather than the dark grey and add some patterns to the clothes. Figures from Alternative Armies.

Aztecs

Some more of Pendraken’s lovely Aztec range, this colourful unit is led by the warrior priests who had a whole different military and rank structure from the secular military forces. I already had some of these painted up previously but finished off the rest of the units and based them all.

The poor slinger at the front has a bit of grass in his face, but like a true warrior he’s still slinging away.

Trojan War

As this is a somewhat finite project (naivety I’m sure) being based around the combatants in the Trojan War I’ve gone with bigger bases with the aim of doing more diorama style, especially for some of the more famous characters and units. At 80×40 they’ll still fit comfortably on a dining table sized game but give a bit more space for laying out, especially when it comes to chariots, amazons and great heroes. Using them with TtS! to start with though may try with other rules too.

First up is a reasonably simple unit of bronze age axemen I’m using as Halizonian troops on the Trojan side, led by Odius and Epistrophus. They are from Alybe far away, where is the birth-place of silver thought to be somewhere on the Black Sea. Not much else is known of them but quite liked the idea of some axemen in the mix so seemed as good a fit as any.

The leader has an axe made of that strange metal that falls from the stars, or iron as we now know it. They did have iron in the bronze age, just didn’t know how to smelt it from ore so pure sources were rare and precious, usually from meteorites.

I’ll likely add some grass tufts and scene dressing to the base down the line, but want to do them all together for the project so it’s consistent. So just a basic sandy brown for now.

Also did up a unit of archers. Both sets of figures are from MM, though have some figures from Newline on order for a lot of the units.

Pyraechmes led the Paeonians with their curved bows, from distant Amydon and the banks of the Axius, its waters the loveliest that flow on earth.

Crimean War

These 2mm beauties have been in my procrastination pile for a while, mostly as I needed to get out the airbrush to prime them all. Glad I did. Russians all done for the Crimea, French next.

2mm really does look good for massed battles, and can paint up a load in one sitting.

Also made use of a few of them for a super mini game of Black Powder (about 20cm a side for the game mat):

This was start of turn 2, the reds hold the village and repulsed a cavalry charge by the browns at the hill.

The battle for the village intensifies.

End of game, remaining Browns circled as they break and retreat.

Terrain

In my continued quest to pretty up my tables a bit with some terrain, I’ve put together a couple of hills, as well as painted up all of my 2mm terrain and building pieces.

And some 2mm terrain and building bits:

I have a pack of 2mm river sections (that should work okay as streams elsewhere) primed blue but not yet painted. I’ve also picked up a few 2mm pike and shot units which the above will work well with also.

Chinese Ancients

Just in under the wire this month, got these two bases of Qin infantry done:

Plans for Next Month

Keep rolling the dice and see what comes up! I’ll continue painting through my collection mostly guided by the dice roll against 8 different projects. There are quite a few other projects I’d like to start but trying to resist the temptation until I can get a few of these ones done to a playable phase 1.

I also need to get varnishing, the weather has been pretty changeable so I’m about two months behind on varnishing.

I hope to get a game or two in as well. Some more mini games with the 2mm might be fun, though would be good to get a bigger game out as well and use the hills.

As ever, thanks for reading,

Matthew

Projects Update – June 2020

I’ve made some good progress on a few things this month. Switching to doing smaller units has kept up a better momentum and I’ve finally been getting a bit more time to do hobby stuff this month. I also did some sorting and reorganising of my hobby space, partly to make a bit of space for working from home that was a bit of a change from the kitchen table, partly because I was running out of space to put things!


First up, got the basing on my Crusader infantry all done, figures are mostly Pendraken/TB Line but I also repainted and rebased some of my MM bill men, which were some of the first 10mm figures I ever painted! These were over 200 figures that I’ve been painting over the past while and as the bases I needed arrived this month it was good to get them all based up and finished.

Some crossbowmen. These can be fielded as their own unit or attached to infantry. I probably need to do another couple of packs if these at some point.

Attached

Knights of Jerusalem (TB Line). So much lovely turquoise.

Yes I’m a mad fool who paints his flags. Easy enough when they’re crosses though. Adds a certain homeliness to it.

Also in the mix are some some rebased MM knights as Men-At-Arms. I painted these a year or two back, but part of my gradual rebasing of my old Crusader cavalry from the 50mm to 40mm squares.

Finally a few bits for camps and bases:

Think the tents are Irregular Miniatures. The buildings were resins off eBay I got ages ago.

In the rest of my crusades queue I’ve a pack of foot knights to paint up, some Eastern infantry as Armenians, more tents and civilians, a bunch more mounted knights and a handful of marker pieces. For now. I’m not too far off being able to do Arsuf either, my original plan for this project, though will likely do Dorylaeum first and write the accompanying Flippant History. I’ve also a TtS! game prepared with them and will be starting a Soldiers of God campaign in the near future too, so keep an eye out for battle reports.


A new project next, moving to ancient China for the late Warring States/Early Imperial period. These are based on a 40mm frontage initially, though long term hope to upgrade to 80mm frontage. Initially doing some Qin and Chu forces, though will be also doing a Han army and probably some rebel factions in the future. Figures are mostly from Newline, though a few (like the spearmen) are from MM’s range. The MM figures are a little more squat and cartoonish than the Newline ones but fit okay on separate bases.

First up Qin mixed infantry (Ji halberd and crossbow) needing a bit of static grass brushed off their shoulders:

And some more:

Qin Heavy Cavalry:

Qin chariots:

Qin General:

Then onto some Chu infantry (Ji halberd and swordsmen):

And from a different division of the army:

Some (un)impressed spearmen:

Some Chu crossbowmen:

The Chu will be organised into two large army divisions with a small detached overall command, hence the white and grey and white and purple colour schemes.

The Qin will have four smaller army divisions plus a command division.

This is to represent the difference between the more militaristic Qin who gave greater autonomy to their well trained troops and the largely poorly trained conscript armies of the Chu under often competing noble commanders.

My Han army lists are different still, to give each it’s own distinct flavour and play style. More on those in a future post.


I have been having a go at filling the biggest hole in my wargaming collection…terrain! The trees I got on eBay a while ago so they’ve been mounted on thick card and flocked.

This is thick cardboard cut to shape then flocked and scatter added. Took ages to dry!
This scatter piece has a card base then the shape was carved from polystyrene then covered in wall filler. Then painted, flocked, etc.

I’ve also got two hills made of card and polystyrene to paint and flock but will hit them next time I’ve the airbrush out. Finally I’ll have terrain that isn’t just bits of card with colouring pencil terrain drawn on! I’ve also done some more experiments with the gridded battle board idea. Magnetic grid points make it pretty reusable for other things, but is a bit more fiddly to do. The tile spacers, doubled up for height then painted or flocked to fit in with the board are actually looking pretty decent and may be the way I go. Also need to think about the terrain style for the board, I’m thinking fairly lush and use for my Aztecs since I intend to keep them at a 40mm frontage and not double up to the 80mm like I do with some other projects. The 70mm grid that my foam board will allow will also suit them well, whereas it would be too small for many of my other projects which will need an 80-100mm grid.


I’ve also started working on a Trojan War project, though as it’ll be a reasonably “fixed size” project in terms of number of units I’m tempted to go for bigger bases for a more diorama look. I’ve a handful of figures painted but not based yet. I could go with my current basing style and use it as the seed of a broader bronze age project, but think it might be nice to do something a little more special for this epic conflict. I may make a battle board for this some point in the future too with fixed terrain, though that’ll be a while off yet.

Experiments and test figures

Finally, I started working a project I got some samples for last year but haven’t done anything with yet. This is moving things into the 20th Century for a bit of alternative history based around the “A Very British Civil War” scenario, though in my own region of Northern Ireland/Ulster. I’ll have some more posts in the future about the back story and factions I’ve been thinking about but started with a unit of infantry for the Ulster Protestant League, a faction of extreme Protestant fascists. Black and purple have a strong link to Protestantism in the region along with the better known orange. As orange tends to be a bit more political associated and purple a bit more religious associated I’m saving the orange for a faction of government loyalists and using purple and black as the UPL faction.

The figures are Carlist Requetes from Pendraken’s Spanish Civil War range. I understand the historical troops were ultra-Catholic nationalists, so there’s a bit of delicious irony in them being used as ultra-Protestant nationalists. I didn’t realise this when I picked them, I had just envisioned these guys in berets and the figures seemed appropriate. The sashes were blankets for the original troops, but I felt the sash more thematically appropriate than a blanket.

I’ve a few more bases in progress from this project, but that’ll just have to wait until the July update.

I confess to being a complete novice when it comes to 20th-century warfare and equipment, having been more interested in history than hardware. I’ve a decent knowledge of the broad historical strokes but when people start talking about gillies vs boots and what helmet that division wore in that region and whether Mark III or Mark IV of the J-33 “Doddler” Tank was in use in a particular battle (yes I made that up…) I’m completely lost. So the alternative history mishmash of WW1, SCW and WW2 that AVBCW (or AVNICW – A Verry No’rn Ayrush Civul Warr*) offers is a nice gateway to the period without getting bogged down in the details. Though in truth it may evolve into an Ireland wide conflict given some of the alt-history I’ve been putting together! More on that in another post to come soon.

Hopefully, next month will be as much of a varied mix. I’ve taken to deciding what unit to paint next based on a dice roll against a table of potential projects, which is quite a nice way to keep the momentum going on different things. I doubt I’d have started the AVBCW project any time soon if it hadn’t come up on the dice and there are a few more unstarted or untouched projects on the list that may come up at the whim of the dice roll!

It’s also been some time since I played a game, so I’m hoping this month to get the Crusades forces out again for a game of To The Strongest! and possibly kick off a Soldiers of God campaign.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Matthew


* For those unfamiliar with N. Irish regional accents, this should be said quickly, somewhere between the back of the throat and the nasal passage, with proper emphasis put on the Rs at the end of words. I’m looking at you non-rhotic English speakers – excepting the Yanks, the Scottish, West Country folk, and pirates who all have a proper appreciation of the arr!

What am I at?

This year has been one of the busiest of my life, both in work and personally. Hobby time overall has been pretty small compared to what I’d like due to time and budgetary constraints.

However, while work continues apace, my personal life has become a bit quieter and a bit less expensive for the moment so all being well I can focus some more time on hobbies!

The past few weeks I’ve been getting into my lead hillock and clearing it down a bit. First up, some additions to the Islamics for the crusades. This was primarily Arab tribal units and horse archer units with figures mostly from Irregular miniatures, though a few from Pendraken too.

Arab light infantry/skirmishers
Horse archer (Pendraken) marker unit
Arabic tribal light cavalry
Arabic tribal light cavalry
Horse archers
More horse archers
Even more horse archers

I’ve also made up a few “minor” command bases for the Crusaders. These can operate as sub commanders, though I intend to use them as the main commanders in a campaign that I plan to do between two minor (imaginary) Crusader and Islamic states. Figures are again a mix of Irregular and Pendraken.

Next up a little preview of some work in progress. I’ve settled on the Crimean War as my 2mm project and have started putting together the British units. Still toying with basing design and flags.

There’ll be plenty more to follow in the near future. Initially I’m doing the Battle of the Alma with BBB so will need to fill out the British, French, Russians and a few Turkish too. Depending how I feel about things after this I may expand the forces out to cover the entire set of BBB Crimean War scenarios.

This week also marks the arrival of a fairly large order from Pendraken:

This contains the seeds of multiple projects to keep me going for the next little while, plus expansions to existing ones.

The main new project is from their Aztec range, where I’m hoping to do some of the pre-Columbian wars between the various states such as the Mexicans, Tarascans and Tepanecs.

There was also a few models from their early 20th Century ranges and a copy of Blitzkrieg Commander IV to experiment with a “Very Nor’n Irish Civul Whar” project, more on that in future posts.

There’s a stack of figures from their fantastic fantasy/dungeon ranges to have a stab at some fantasy RPG games. I’m mostly interested in historical, but the odd foray into fantasy can be fun and it’s a good way to draw others in.

There are several figures to round out my ECW armies, as well as some packs from their newly (re)published TB Line medievals to expand out the Crusader armies. Their figures, especially the cavalry, are a bit bigger than Pendraken’s normal cavalry figures, which works well as most of my knights are currently from Magister Militum, which are generally a bit chunkier and taller anyway.

Lots to keep me busy! I’m sure I’ll also be getting back to the Flippant History posts at some point too, though they’ll probably take a back seat for a while to painting.

Thanks for reading!

Matthew

English Civil War Progress Update

As I’ve mentioned a few times in past blog posts, I’ve been working on an English Civil War, or British Civil War, or War of the Three Kingdoms (but that just makes me think of China and all the potential there…) project. It has been somewhat slow going, mostly due to this being a pretty busy year (one of the busiest of my life to be honest) so in the past ten months I’ve only been able to produce a couple of small forces.

I’m basing the project on the Battle of Naseby, a turning point in the Civil War that saw the Parliamentarian New Model Army overcome the rag tag Royalist veterans. I de-scoped my initial plans a bit to focus on producing two smallish forces that I can game with, then add to and expand into the full order of battle I want.

I’ve now (finally!) finished these small forces and as of today have them varnished and drying. I decided this would be a good time to photograph them as well. Alas my photography skills are poor, and I’ve only my phone camera and poor lighting. Though typically the sun came out after I was finished! Awh well.

I’ll be putting together an order to “finish” the project in future, but want to take a break from the period for a while and focus on other things. I’ve a bunch of odds and ends for the Crusades projects to paint up and I think I’ve settled on a 2mm Crimean War project next.

So without further ado…here are the pictures. You can click on them to enlarge.

The Royalists

Parliamentarian New Model Army

Bits and Bobs

Various markers that can be used for attached shot, hero markers, etc. I’ve some casualty markers too, but I haven’t photographed them, so you’ll have to wait for when I get a game in for that!


I’ll be expanding there forces gradually over time. More horse, more foot, some dragoons are all on the agenda. I’ll also try and get a game in at some point as I’ve been looking forward to trying out the For King and Parliament rules.

Thanks for reading,

Matthew

Paper Wars

After my recent experiment in 2D wargaming I’ve been busy expanding the project further. I’ve now created digital copies of the troop types than can easily be recoloured and printed.

To solve the issue with the card being too thin to be practical I decided to use magnetic tape I found on eBay. The tape is a couple of mm thick so provides a good weight to the counter and being 25mm is easy to cut to shape. It’s adhesive backed as well so can add the printed and cut paper straight onto it. I also picked up a half width one to use with status indicators.

I like the magnetic tape a lot and may use it as bases for my 2mm armies when I settle on what I do for them. The Crimean being the current front runner, though if I find I like using these counters enough I may just start on 2mm 3D terrain to be multi functional instead.

The benefit of using magnetic material over thick card or MDF is I can affix them all the ferrous sheets for ease of viewing and access, rather than having to rummage around in a bag for the rights bits. It also allows me to make flexible movement trays if I need them.

I’ve also been making unit labels as counters in their own right so that they can be used in the unit and padded out with the generic troop counters. This will be useful for games where there can be a lot of different unit types and stats, or for people new to wargaming as an easy reference.

As you may have guessed from above, Gettysburg is one of the battles on the roadmap. As I’ve a family gathering for a week in June and a father and brother who could be cajoled into a game or three, these counters will provide a good ability to put on some games without being tied down to my meagre miniatures collection, which would be difficult to transport regardless.

My dad tends to be most interested in 17th-19th century conflicts, so it was no major surprises when I asked if there were any battles he’d be interested in recreating. He said the Boyne, Culloden and Gettysburg.

I’ve decided to use the excellent looking Gettysburg scenario from BBB as it seems like it will give a great sense of the conflict. I may need to make some modifications depending on how much space is available for play at where we’re staying, I doubt we’ll get a 6×4 unless we play on the floor so may have to adapt or compress things.

For Culloden, Black Powder seems a good fit, and I found a good order of battle on Junior General that I’ve used to make up the units. Keeping it fairly simple with only a few special rules to add character to the units.

The Battle of the Boyne is an interesting one. I’ve decided to focus on the actual crossing at Oldbridge and Drybridge as that was the significant action of the battle and provides a fun scenario of a weaker force defending the crossing against a large and well equipped enemy. I’m going to use Pike and Shot rules for it and have put together some special modifications to give the scenario a bit more flavour. I’ve based the OOB on this superb project.

I’ve sourced, made or modified some top down printable terrain as well so I can at least add a little more visual appeal than my quick and scrappy sketch approach last time.

There’ll be more to follow as work through the projects and assuming the battles go ahead, some battle reports to follow. I have most of the scenario design and digital work done, so now I’ve a lot of printing, cutting and sticking to do!

I may need to find some way to protect the printed counters from sticky fingers. Brush on varnish tends to smudge, and spray on isn’t much better…

Oh well!

Thanks for reading,

Matthew

Crusades progress update

Taking a break from the ECW for a bit, I decided to tidy up some of the bits of the Crusaders backlog along with one or two other things I found to do.

First up, after listening my way through Dan Jones excellent narrative history “The Templars”, I’ve learned that the Knights of the Temple went into battle under the fabled piebald banner, or the Baucent, the black to symbolise the Templar’s ferocity towards their enemies and the white their kindness towards their friends. I’ve updated the Templar command banner accordingly.

I also found a few painted knights lurking at the bottom of one of the figure boxes. At the time I’d not wanted to include them with the general knights as they were too heavily armoured for the period, but they work well as hero characters, markers or even lower level command figures. I’ve based them so they can be used as such.

Next up, first installment of the horse archers for the Saracens.

And finally, the biggest job of all, was rebasing the Sudanese infantry. If you look back on my earlier posts the Sudanese were spread in loose formation on huge bases. I’d intended this as a warband look but it never really worked out. I’ve rebased them into tighter formations to match the rest of the army and converted a few figures to standard bearers. Banners are hand painted because I’m slightly insane that way (and it’s a good way to learn how to get better at detail painting) and the writing on them says “God is Great” in stylised Arabic. Or so Google tells me. Didn’t quite have enough for three standard units having used some on command bases, so have it done so they can be run as two standard, two large or four small units.

Thanks for reading,

Matthew