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...

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Volontaires Etrangers

Hello again.

I actually managed to get a game of something back on Sunday, 29th January! Having pushed through a heavy workload, life's general detritus and working Nights (which limited even what poor quality light we have had in Central England recently to just minutes a day for the most part, because I was sleeping for the rest!!!), I actually managed to finish off my first batch of French & Indian Wars figures to enable me to run a 400pt game of "Muskets & Tomahawks".

This was our first outing with these rules, which I must have purchased three or four years ago. I bought the figures a while back too - at least two years ago as I did not go to the Derby Show last year but got my French and British troops from there, courtesy of AW Miniatures.

Just to complicate things further, I wrote the scenario and special rules myself rather than use something from the book and, with Nephew Nick and Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev as guinea pigs, a jolly good time was had, if I say so myself.

The French won narrowly.

I forgot the camera AGAIN, so that is all you get!!!

However, I have included some photos of the "French" regulars in this post. The word "French" is in inverted commas because the unit is actually not French at all but mostly German, being as it is the Volontaires Etrangers.

Now, you may ask, why choose those? Well, I had meant to do an actual French unit and had already bought the figures. Doing a bit of background reading, my sources stated that the native French units in America during the FIW were supplied by the navy so had coats without collars. My figures had collared coats and, being a bit anal about such stuff, I had to find a unit that wore them. Cue the picture in the relevant Osprey on Louis XV's foreign troops and, centre stage, is a figure from the Volontaires Etrangers wearing, yes, a collared coat.

I knew they had been in North America because a former work colleague and friend of mine was a re-enactor for this unit and imparted various bits of knowledge about them many years ago, some of which must have stuck in Brain of G.

So, two 8-figure units of Volontaires Etrangers, plus an officer. form the current regular section of my fledgling French forces.

More pics to follow soon. And I may even get more painted soon enough, as I have loads more Indians, some Highlanders, some Compagnies Franches de la Marine, more Coureurs de Bois, etc in the "box".


Two companies of eight figures, AW Miniatures as stated in the text

Sergeant and Fusiliers

And the other flank


Monday, 16 January 2017

Really useful things


Firstly, a disclaimer:
I have absolutely no connection with any of the companies or services mentioned below, except as a satisfied customer. Other companies or services may be available that are every bit as suitable/ good/ useful/ other as the ones I have used. Pay your money and make your choice!

Yesterday saw me visit the Penkridge Tabletop Wargames event in Penkridge, Staffordshire, an annual affair I do not normally get the chance to go to and one which is basically a jumble sale/ car boot/ flea market for wargames figures and material and I mean absolutely no disrespect by that. There are a few traders who attend but a lot of what is on offer seems to be Joe Public selling off spares.

I went with one thing in mind - a visit to Commission Figurines to check out and possibly acquire some of their MDF trays that fit inside Really Useful Boxes, available from places such as your local DIY or hardware store.

Having checked the website ( and confirmed that Walter Anstiss would indeed be there in his guise of head of Commission Figurines, I set off to the bank, drew out some cash and went along to the show.

Follow the story below!

The trays come in various depths, ranging from 20mm to 70mm - see the bar at the right of the packaging. I bought 2x70mm, 4x50mm and 1x40mm. NOTE: THE DEPTH INCLUDES THE DEPTH OF THE MDF (2mm), SO FACTOR THIS IN WHEN YOU CHOOSE THE SIZE YOU WANT. As you can also see, they are designed to fit either the 4 Litre or 9 Litre boxes and you buy enough to enable you to fill the box from top to bottom, or 140mm in the case of the 9 Litre box I chose.

The pieces laid out. Depending on how you glue them together, either with or without cross-pieces, you may even have some spare to use for terrain, bases, etc.

One box, glued using normal white PVA glue and held together during the drying process with a trio of elastic bands. This represents about fifteen minutes work, including poking out the little slots to use those pieces as log piles, fence posts, etc.

Spare bits from one pack - a decent sized piece for terrain and some of the aforementioned fence posts or whatever.

The tray lined with standard 200x150mm steel paper sheets from Magnetic Displays.

And now I have a home for my fledgling French troops for the French & Indian Wars.

And also for the corresponding British troops. With both the French and the British, I have more available, in the form of Compagnies Franches de la Marine, Highlanders and loads of Indians, as well as officers for both sides.

2x50mm and 1x40mm trays in place, tightly but safely fitted into one 9 Litre Really Useful Box.

And the uppermost tray, too shallow at just 40mm to hold 28mm infantry, is there to hold the rules, cards, tokens, dice and other basic game materials required. Job done!

I plan on using the other four trays for some French Wars of Religion troops. The lower, 50mm deep tray will hold arquebusiers, the upper 70mm tray holding pikemen, who can have their "long sticks" protruding by 15mm or so without fouling on the box lid.

Finally, how much did each MDF tray cost me???

A paltry £3 each!!! They retail at £3.50 each unless you buy three or more. BARGAIN!!!

I have made my own such trays before to put into deep boxes to maximise space, but it is a chore. This product removes that chore at a low price and high quality. RECOMMENDED. All three trays took me just 45 minutes to make, then were left to dry overnight.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017


Happy New Year to you all!

A bit late, I know, seeing as how it is now 4th January, but it is an earnest wish!

Is anyone else having such trouble with the light here in good, old Blighty? What with the festivities, my work schedule and the climatic conditions, I am getting little painting done. And my Man Cave is a south-facing conservatory!!!

So, what to do about the problem?

  1. Well, although I exclusively paint in daylight, I really must seriously consider buying a good quality modelling lamp and experiment with daylight bulbs.
  2. I am fortunate in having some smaller scale (i.e. more quickly finished) figures available to work on until the situation improves.
  3. I have a passion for the bigger skirmish games such as Sharp Practice 2, so they should not take me too long to get up and running. I already have a lot done for the French & Indian Wars, for example.
  4. I can find another job that does not require quite such an investment in time and energy!
In the meantime, I have a stock of things I have not yet published on here and hope to get a few games in soon enough to write about too. Add to that the stuff I am slowly completing and I hope to be able to post rather more than the paltry sum of posts I managed last year...

See you soon.


Thursday, 29 December 2016

Santa's been!!!

Hello again.

As 2016 wends its way towards conclusion, I thought it time to recap on what this month of gifts and goodies has brought me, starting with my purchases at "Wargamer" back on 4th and working my way through to the destruction of various sheets of coloured paper as I eagerly unveiled my presents on 25th!

For a small show, I managed to spend WAAAAAYYYY too much at "Wargamer". I bought myself a copy of "Escape from Colditz", now published by Osprey, and backed that up on the gaming front with a Fantasy Flight Games offering called "Age of War", which is a dice game and a sort of cross between Yahtzee, Risk and Happy Families. It is set in the classic age of the samurai and the object is to win control of various cards, representing castles, by rolling appropriate combinations of dice, each of which has various icons which may or may not be of use. The castles can form a set, which grants more points to their holder and the person with the most points wins. That person has so far mainly been daughter Eleanor...

I bought some stuff from Ainsty, who are carrying the SAGA ranges from Gripping Beast nowadays, so my fledgling Anglo-Saxons/ Anglo-Danes acquired Harold, Gyrth and Leofwine Godwinson, some huscarls, Hereward the Wake, some "Sons of Death" to add to my Irish excursion and William the (insert your epithet of choice) to add to my Normans, who are eagerly awaiting their turn on the painting table, along with Saracen and Military Orders forces for "The Crescent and The Cross". I also bought some Highlander reinforcements and a starter set of Compagnies Franches de la Marine for my "Sharp Practice 2/ Muskets & Tomahawks" foray into the French and Indian Wars.

Dave Lanchester furnished me with a copy of Neil Thomas' "Wargaming 19th Century Europe, 1815 to 1878", which I have read with gusto, and, last but not least, Tiger Miniatures very kindly sold me some of their Renaissance figures, including artillery, some arquebusiers and some cavalry, who have joined the ranks of my proposed French Wars of Religion project. Daughter Eleanor conned me into buying her her own set of dice (soft touch that I am) and I think that is about it.

Just before Christmas, I took delivery of some basing sheets from the ever-helpful Coritani/ Magnetic Displays (fantastic service as usual and highly recommended to all who would buy from them - Trevor even sent me a nice Christmas good wishes message, which only goes to show how good their service is!). To that I added a package from Pendraken consisting of some reinforcements/ alternatives for both my proposed 10mm American Civil War project and my "Warband" fantasy project that I spent most of last spring working on. They too deserve a lot of credit for their service quality, as I missed the posting deadline for Christmas quoted on the website but still got my order well before Christmas. Many thanks!

Christmas itself saw the opening of a parcel from Caliver Books containing a copy of "The Italian Campaign of 1859", edited by Dr. Stephen Summerfield, which I have again eagerly devoured. I also got a turntable, so I can play my old, vinyl records, many of which I do not have on CD, which has nothing to do with wargaming or the blog as a whole but just shows how much my lady wife loves me!!! I still wait with anticipation for the latest "Wargaming in History" offering on Koniggraetz, but Dave Ryan has my order and warned me it was unlikely to arrive pre-Christmas as it has not been published yet!

After all that, it is again time to decide on where my focus lies for 2017.
  1. I still have a passion for anything involving the Austrians, so 1859 and 1866 feature a lot in my thoughts.
  2. I want to get some ACW actions going to take advantage of all those readily-available battle reports and orbats, in my chosen 10mm scale.
  3. I want to fill out my Dark Ages pretensions and have now built an entire Anglo-Saxon/ Anglo-Danish force for SAGA which I need to paint.
  4. I want to add the extras to my 10mm "Warband" fantasy forces.
  5. I want to thresh out my FIW stuff and get some games of "Sharp Practice 2" and "Muskets & Tomahawks" in.
  6. I eagerly await Nephew Nick's commitment to the Marlburian Wars so I can kick-start my 1690 project and take him on! It will be just the excuse I need to add some more French and Irish units to my existing stock...
  7. I am torn between Germans vs Hottentots in what is now Namibia, Maori Wars or Sudan Wars for "The Men Who Would Be Kings", but seriously want to get something up and running soon for that era and rules set.

And then there is the large scale WW2 skirmish figures I bought last year, the Arthurians that have been lying around for ages, a large Macedonian army I have had for upwards of ten years that I still have stowed away, the Peninsular War stuff I bought back in July for "SP2", 15mm WW2 Ostfront c. Kursk, Bolsheviks to take on my WW1 Russians/ "Whites" and, of course, the French Wars of Religion project I want to get off the ground, ideally for 2019 and the 450th anniversary of the likes of Moncontour and Jarnac. I suppose I could stretch out that last option to 2022 and the 450th anniversary of the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre, but I prefer battles to massacres...

The good news is that my interest in this massively absorbing hobby has not waned one iota and I do not have a project to focus on specifically for 2017, as 2018's show game is decided upon already and I have the armies already too! (I could always rustle up an extra unit or two though, or perhaps a terrain piece or feature piece or...)

I love this hobby of ours!