Friday, 17 March 2017

The Latest Loot

Hello again.

Every show is something of a cornucopia for wargamers, and the WMMS is no exception, despite various "gaps" in the trader line up, but what exactly did I buy? Read on!

I went with a list of stuff I "needed" (henceforth "NEED") and had vague intentions of sticking to that list. A lot of stuff below was definitely "not on the list" (henceforth "NOL") however!


First up is a book I found on the always-useful and enlightening CALIVER BOOKS stand. For those who cannot read or understand German, the title translates as "Flags and standards from the time of the 30 Years' War, part 4". This is definitely "NOL", but could well have been a "NEED" had I known about parts 1 to 3!!! It is chock full of colour plates of artists' renditions of various flags, this volume covering Saxony - towns, areas within Saxony and individual colonel's regiments, including cavalry and dragoons. I have a paperback booklet covering this area in some detail, but this volume is more conclusive, covers far more options and is in lovely technicolour!!! I still have several regiments-worth of figures to paint towards my own 30 Years' War collection, so this purchase will certainly help that process when the time comes. Now I just have to find volumes 1, 2  and 3...

Pure indulgence and definitely "NOL". CALIVER BOOKS supplied the book, PENDRAKEN the figures. I blame watching "The Charge of the Light Brigade" twice over the past couple of months. I also blame my desire to fulfil my megalomania to get seriously into wargaming the mid-19th Century. Quite why I am not concentrating on Austrian 1859 or 1866 (I have figures for both!), Piedmontese-Sardinian for 1859 (again, I have figures), Prussian for 1866 or 1870 (yep, you guessed it...) or my 10mm ACW collection (which has grown in metal terms but has still not been started in painting terms) is something of a quandary. One to watch. I am unclear on rules for this era too. I have a set by Ray Lucas entitled "Voice of the Guns", I have "There Are Your Guns" by Dennis Williams, I have Principles of War", I have the set by Neil Thomas in his book on wargaming the 19th Century, I have "Regimental Fire & Fury" (which I will be using for ACW and 1859/ 66 when I finally get started on those) and no doubt one or two more options lying around somewhere. Perhaps RF&F will convert to the Crimea too? But can I be bothered with all those markers to go with it???

My usual visit to MAGNETIC DISPLAYS (very definitely on the "NEED" list) yielded the customary purchasing of steel paper and magnetic sheet. I also needed some brown Basetex, some more 25mm diameter round bases and some more grass to texture bases with, so tick, tick, tick and all on the "NEED" list. I also added a pack of 60mm round bases pending the creation of some 28mm command vignettes for one of my growing collections. Missing from the shot is the matt varnish I picked up from them, or, at least, paid for. It did not seem to make it to the bag they gave me and certainly has not come home with me...

More pure indulgence, but on the "NEED" list. My desire to wargame the Austrians in various eras was missing a biggie, namely the Seven Years' War. I still do not have any figures at all for this conflict, but thought buying this might spur me on in due course. CALIVER BOOKS were again kind enough to supply me with a copy.

And indulgence does not come any deeper than this! OAKBOUND STUDIO were making their debut at the WMMS show (at least, I had never seen or heard of them before), but chatting with the chap on the stall and seeing some of their product in the flesh convinced me this was a good buy, though certainly "NOL". I bought the "Secrets of Shandisholm" sourcebook, the "Barrow Ring Burning" campaign book, got a little tool for use with their house rules (the light brown thing that looks like a crown) and a box of Spriggans to start me off. Many years ago when I was but a teen and heavily into RPG's, I was getting away from the usual Vikings/ Medieval vibe and checking out Celtic folklore, reading the Tain etc. This is it. If only this had been around in my mid-teens, I could have died happy!!! I have been reading the sourcebook and my initial enthusiasm is still very high almost a week later!!! I heartily recommend you check the website out ( and I cannot wait for their forthcoming post-apocalypse rules "Factious Waste". In addition to Spriggans, they do such worthies as Phooka, Wulven (werewolves to you and I), Fae Rades (nasty faerie-types who like to manipulate the world and its denizens) and the book is littered with pictures of Warlord Celts and Gripping Beast Irish. I have figures to use for this already!!! Bonus! And not only does the website have the house rules as a free download, but they also feature in the sourcebook, so you can start playing straight away! This game should be up there with "Frostgrave" if not higher.

Definitely not an indulgence and on the "NEED" list were some reinforcements for my FIW project. MAGNETIC| DISPLAYS furnished the Indian canoes and Redoubt the various figures. I bought more Rangers, some Colonial Militia, some Indian civilians and a French artillery piece with crew. Unfortunately, the man seems to have given me a mortar instead. However, that did at least spark interest in what I might do for a future show game, interest piqued by watching "The Last Of The Mohicans" again recently...

And, last but not least, and another definite "NEED", are a couple of reinforcements for my Mordor Orcs. I have been looking to add Trolls to their ranks for some time and toured the usual suppliers of secondhand figures, as well as firsthand ones, to no avail over the course of several shows. Then I saw the drummer on such a secondhand figure stand (whose name sadly escapes me) and, duly bought, I asked the chap if he had any more, as none were on show. Returning five minutes later, he had found me a metal figure representing a Mordor Troll Captain, we agreed a price and away I went, happy and joyful! I knew those 60mm bases from MAGNETIC DISPLAYS would come in handy!!! And I got both figures for less than I would have got a brand new one from the GW webstore! To top it all, Nephew Paul insists he has another one going free, so I could be breeding trolls for a while yet. All I have to do now is find some ancient article on how to paint them...

And so concludes the tale of the WEST MIDLANDS MILITARY SHOW, 2017. I by no means got everything I was looking for (I was desperately looking to add Reiter to my fledgling French Wars of Religion collection, but TIGER MINIATURES brought none to the show and FOUNDRY were not there at all), which probably explains why I came away with Crimean War Russians and a book to boot on that conflict. I had to spend the money on something! Smoking pockets syndrome...


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Show Report - WMMS, 2017

Hello again.

Well, the West Midlands Military Show, known to all and sundry as "Alumwell" after the host club and former venue, has now been and gone.

Sunday, 12th March saw a plethora of gamers, traders and visitors, along with a few staff, spend several hopefully happy hours at the Aldersley Leisure Village near Wolverhampton, engaged in the various pursuits found around the average wargames show - spending money, taking money, chatting, gaming, renewing acquaintances, eating, drinking, arguing about rules and then going home again!

What did I think? Well, this show is always one I like to go to, not least because it is local but also because I get to spend too much on various whims and fancies, lay on a game and speak to like-minded individuals without the usual jibes about "toy soldiers" and references to Peter Pan's refusal to become an adult...

The footfall seemed high this year, perhaps more so than recent years, which can only be a good thing. Trying to get down some of the aisles at different times would certainly back up my view on this, but only the organisers would know for sure. And the aisles are not even narrow compared with some shows I have been to!

There were some notable absences on the trader front from recent years, however, at least how I remember them. No Lancashire Games, no Foundry, no Baccus 6mm, no one seemingly willing to turn up with a job lot of wargames buildings for sale. Booksellers were also few and far between. This must be the first show I have been to where I did not see Dave Lanchester.Yet there were still plenty of opportunities to hand over the hard-earned, opportunities which I duly took with my usual abandon!

One highlight for me was a company I had not previously encountered, namely "Oakbound Studio" from Bristol, first time attendees and purveyors of a marvellous-looking, Celtic-inspired skirmish/ roleplaying range of books and figures called "THE WOODS". I'll cover my loot in a separate post, but suffice to say that this small company took some of my money and I was most happy to be relieved of it! I am reading through the main sourcebook for the system and enthusiasm is VERY high.

The standard of games ranged from the sort of club night affair run for fun to some truly awesome-looking events, with all things in between. We ran our "Storri's Trek 2: The Rath of Cahan" game, slightly amended from our last outing as is our way (never exactly the same game twice), so when you next see it (at the BARRAGE SHOW in STAFFORD on JULY 9TH), it will be different again. Telford, Wyre Forest, Shrewsbury and others were all in evidence, but best in show went to the excellent-looking (and magazine featured) "Siege of Athlone" game.

The venue is light, airy and BIG ENOUGH for the purpose to which we put it. Most importantly of all, it was the first year in many that we had no fire alarm to disturb the fun!

Overall, I enjoyed the show immensely and hope the growing footfall (IMO) continues. Popular shows means more traders (I think). Why else do such concerns exist if it is not to make money, so the more people, the more intake of cash!

Finally, a massive THANK YOU to the guys at the Chase Wargames Club, from whom I acquired a large number of wargaming and military magazines to plough through for various bits of source material, completely free of charge. They are still in the car, because if there is one thing about my hobby that my wife hates, it is all the magazines and books, that are slowly causing our little pile of bricks to sink into the Staffordshire landscape under their combined weight!!! I will get around to sorting through them and keeping articles I like the look of...

WYRLEY RETINUE: Nephew Paul's command formed of Nephew Nick's Vikings, with a few of mine sneaking into shot bottom left.

WYRLEY RETINUE: Daughter Eleanor had charge of the Norse-Gael contingent of the Irish forces in her on-going battle for most wins with Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev.

WYRLEY RETINUE: the Irish mass for battle under control of Nephew Nick. They lost (AGAIN!!!)

ATHLONE: Danish contingent march to battle

ATHLONE: more Danes

ATHLONE: some Jacobites on the other side of the river to the Danes

ATHLONE: the aforementioned river - Jacobites to the right, Williamites to the left

COBRIDGE?: the Battle of Ramillies done in 10mm. I am not sure about the basing convention though. Surely the two lines of troops in each battalion should be rather closer than this? Couldn't you just argue about aesthetics all day!?!?!?

COBRIDGE?: the full Ramillies table, complete with zorbing event in the foreground

A Peninsular War skirmish game by an unknown (to me) group

WYRE FOREST: a Tiger tank trundling down a lane near you (if you live in Normandy at any rate)

WYRE FOREST: more bits of Normandy

My 10 year old son wants a Willy's Jeep when he grows up, so I took this shot for him. He also wants a Bugatti Veyron...

Rorke's Drift by an unknown group

SHREWSBURY: another good looker from the Borderers of the Welsh Marches in what seems to be their favourite period, the 18th Century

SHREWSBURY: and they also seem to like boats a lot over in Shropshire

SHREWSBURY: my favourite scene of any game on the day - simple but very well done

A Fokker DVII's view of his next kill.
So that concludes a brief round-up of some of my favourite bits of the show, together with a shameless plug for the Wyrley Retinue!!!


Thursday, 9 March 2017


Hello again.

Just a brief reminder that this Sunday, 12th March, sees the annual extravaganza that is the WEST MIDLANDS MODELLING SHOW.

Venue: Aldersley Leisure Village, Aldersley, Wolverhampton, UK

It starts at 1000hrs and there are a host of traders set to attend, a myriad of games both participation and demo and it is altogether well worth a visit.

On the plus side, the WYRLEY RETINUE will be there with our "Storri's Trek 2: The Rath of Cahan" game, so drop by and say "Hello!"

There is a show website (I just typed in "WMMS 2017" to my search engine because I can never remember addresses...)

See you there.


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Healthy Competition

Hello again.

This was going to be a post about my receipt of something I have been looking forward to for a while, but then sort of mutated in my head into a quandary I have yet to resolve.

Being a fan f the SAGA series of games and supplements, I was keen to get my hands on the proposed Arthurian version when it finally arrived. Well, now it is indeed here.

The new SAGA rulebook, with the Romans/ British dice set.

In all its hardbacked glory, it arrived here Chez G on Monday morning. It looks gorgeous, is full of eye candy and will get plenty of outings, I suspect. I had already checked out a couple of reviews (Type SAGA Aetius Arthur into your search engine and you will find many, but I would recommend the run through Wargames Illustrated gives it). The main criticism seems to be that there are numerous references to other titles in the SAGA series, which is problematic if you do not own them. I do own them, having bought into the series in a big way, but I can fully understand that a reference to the effect that "see page x in supplement y" is less than helpful to those who do not have that access. However, what you get is not only good to look at and will probably play well, but is also another six forces to use as well as notes for using other, previously detailed forces too. Of special note to me is the ability to use my Irish as Scotti, which means I only need to paint up one other force to start some games, unless I use the "counts as" line of thought and backdate my Vikings as Saxons or whatever. I would recommend this book heartily, warts and all.


Other, more big battle orientated sets I also like the look of.


I had in mind some other sets for the period and that is where the quandary arose from.

SAGA is a game for singly-based figures, unlike the two below (though you can do so with Age of Arthur if you want to spend all day setting up and moving).
I have based all my SAGA forces on 25mm round bases (50x25mm for cavalry).
I have a horde of figures for the period, and want to use them all where possible, so mixed basing styles possibly would not suit.
I can use sabot bases, but don't tend to like the look of them and in a WAB game, anything that has a wider frontage per figure tends to lose out.
Dux Bellorum uses whole unit bases, so sabots may work here as with WAB, but there is still the aesthetics to overcome.

I will of course sort these little issues out one way or other.

The main thing is that I now have even more reason to paint all the Saxons and Arthurians I have stashed away. And I even have a box of Huns stowed away somewhere for something slightly different! I may even buy myself a box of Gripping Beasts Late Roman plastics, though, if I stay with SAGA for this period and indeed forego other sets, I no doubt have enough to do a large Late Roman and a British force already.

In the current absence of any defined project for 2018 for a show game or whatever, I hope to get started on this very soon, once reinforcements for my FIW forces have been completed.

Now, how exactly does a wargames magpie solve such conundrums as which project to do next and how to stop buying more stuff???


Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Leinster Light Horse

Hello again.

Rather a grandiose and potentially misleading title for this post perhaps, but "Dark Age Irish Cavalry" is a bit dull...

When the "Wyrley Retinue" were preparing this year's show game, "Storri's Trek 2: The Rath of Cahan", I decided we needed loads more figures than our SAGA collections would provide.

Sundry cries of "Megalomaniac!" later, not to mention claims that I did not understand what a "small game" was, and I had enough Vikings and Irish to field several SAGA forces. In my defence, I was not just thinking about SAGA, but had the WAB "Shieldwall" and "Age of Arthur" supplements in mind too and now, and soon to be winging its way onto G's doorstep, the SAGA "Aetius Arthur" edition of the game. I might finally get my British and Early Saxons done!!! And, in my defence, units under the "Lion Rampant" rules we are using for the show game are larger than their SAGA counterparts.

Anyway, I wanted some Irish cavalry, so looked around for a few suitable figures. I found a few bits at Colonel Bill's (though the horses were massive), and I could have thrown in a few Picts or similar, but felt they were too early in style for the 10th Century, or thereabouts. So I settled on some Crusader Miniatures and Gripping Beast figures, with a hint of mail armour and a spangenhelm or two for some melee-orientated types, as depicted here, together with a leader figure, whose provenance I am unsure of (as a figure anyway. I am sure his provenance as a leader is first class!)

I have just finished painting a more skirmish-orientated unit of cavalry too, who will make their debut at WMMS in March (12th to be precise, at the Aldersley Leisure Centre near Wolverhampton in the UK), together with some more Vikings, some more Norse-Gael and perhaps a few other bits and bobs - we do like to slightly alter our games between outings so you see something just a little different each time. However, I will post pictures of those later on.

So, for now, here is the Leinster Light Horse in all its finery.


Fergus mac Cormac, in all his finery, ready to take the fight to the Norsemen. He will certainly be taking the fight to the Norsemen if Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev gets to command his unit again. I think my dear brother believes all cavalry are British Heavies from Napoleonic times and uses them accordingly...I think I will try him out with something like Huns in future to test the notion further.

Fergus is clearly a Christian and likes blue.

And the view my Vikings prefer of him.

Fergus' hearthguard or comitatus or whatever. Fianna, that's it.

Raging Ruaridh likes one to one.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Colleagues of Mr Rogers

Hello again.

Here are the last few photos of my FIW collection to date, built initially with "Muskets & Tomahawks" in mind but latterly with a view to sampling "Sharp Practice 2" as well.

These are Rangers, the "British" equivalent to the various French irregulars found in North America in the mid-18th Century.

The figures were bought from Ainsty Castings in a blister pack from their "Reinforcements" options for M&T and are marketed by North Star in the UK, I believe. You can also get a boxed starter set of rangers, along with British regulars, French regulars, French and British irregulars, Indians and, no doubt, a few other bits and bobs.

I have mixed and matched uniforms with non-uniforms to try and get that irregular feel to them, not just fresh out of barracks. And I know the green is too bright, but that is intentional. The "correct" dark green (whatever "correct" is for uniforms dyed before modern times and subjected to the vagaries of use and weather) is very dark and looks almost black at normal viewing ranges. That might make them suitably camouflaged in the forests of North America, but it also makes them disappear as 28mm figures on the average tabletop. I simply wanted to be able to SEE them as the visual aspects of a game some of the most important for my gaming pleasure.

Next up, but some way off, are more Indians, some Highlanders and some Compagnies Franches de la Marine, as well as various officers, but whatever order they appear in and when is entirely unclear!


A paltry six figures, but they fight like tigers, so very much quality over quantity.

Perhaps the "classic" image of Ranger uniform, but only one of many found in books or on the web.

And classic Ranger headgear vs Tam o'shanter.

Together with no uniform at all in some cases.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

His Majesty's 44th Regiment of Foot

Hello again.

Hot on the heels of their regular opposition (see the "Volontaires Etrangers" post) come His Majesty's 44th Regiment of Foot.

Fresh from a narrow defeat at the hands of the "French", these fellows can hold their heads high as, despite heavy casualties, they took on superior numbers and held on long enough to allow the civilians they had been sent to meet and escort to safety to do just that. The fact that one company fell to a man to some savage natives and the remnants of the other eventually legged it is neither here nor there...

Of especial note is that they bested their French adversaries, routed a unit of Canadian Militia (i.e. Milice Canadien) in short order, held off other units of militia, Indians and regulars and achieved their primary objective.

But they still died almost to a man...

Once again, these are AW Miniatures, bought at the Derby Show a couple of years back and soon to be joined by some more officers, some highlanders, more Indians and no doubt some militia or other less martial types in due course.


His Majesty's 44th Regiment of Foot

The right flank

Left flank

"Sir". He at least survived the encounter in our first FIW outing a couple of weekends ago, escaping into the forest after the last of his gallant forces had bravely laid down their lives, with the exception of one other very lucky soul. I smell a revenge scenario...