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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Finwe's Finest Finally Feature

Hello again.

The High Elves are here!

I actually painted the vast majority of the figures last year, but basing them has taken until this year to accomplish, as I have busied myself with other things, notably Vikings and Irish and then French & Indian Wars.

But the wait (for me at least!) is now over and the Goblins have some opposition of note (apart from fighting amongst themselves, at any rate).

The figures are all 10mm size and hail from the ranges of Pendraken. As with the Goblins, I bought the first ones at the Derby Show in 2015, buying one of the starter armies available at the time (and available still I believe, though the choices have expanded since then).

Blue is the theme colour and features on virtually all the figures to tie them together as a whole, unlike the rather more random look of the Goblins.

Now, I will show you the pictures as this juncture, but please tune in for the next post, as there are a couple of major considerations with these whole unit bases when it comes to texturing the bases that I would like to notify you about, should you ever choose to go the "Warband" route. I will do that next time...

So, till next time, here are Finwe's Finest.

G

The "Starter Army plus bits", which is still not the whole force available! The starter force is actually just 8 units, so this is a starter and a half!!!

The COMMAND stand, a mix of figures from the original command pack plus some additions.

The High Elf Sorcerers with pet statuette. It seems all the magician packs, regardless of which army they are for, get a pet statuette, rock or similar.

Massed ARCHERS!

And a close up to show my attempts to shade and highlight 10mm figures just as I would 28mm.

The open grave on the back left corner of each base is to hold a small d6 which shows unit strength in the "Warband" rules.

BOLT SHOOTERS, resplendent primarily in yellow, but with that almost ever-present blue visible too, which ties them in with the army as a whole. My thought process was that blue was their colour, but different units or types of units might have different main uniform colours, hence the yellow here and... 

...the green of the SCOUTS (again matched with blue).

But those mounted types are rather more fanciful and independent-minded, so blue may not feature at all, as on this unit, the BLOOD KNIGHTS.

The knights of the STAR LORDS regiment are mostly blue-clad, however.

The STAR OF THE AINUR regiment. The banners in all cases are simply pieces of self-adhesive label folded in half around the pole of a normal spearman figure in the case of the infantry.

The RED WINGS regiment.

The SWAN GUARD regiment.

And the two-handed swordsmen of the GOLDEN OAK regiment.

And another ultra-close up showing my attempt to shade and highlight these 10mm figures.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Goblin gribblies

Hello again.

A major part of the first few months of last year was taken up with building and painting my first ever 10mm scale army (well, size, as 10mm is not a scale, which would actually be about 1:180 I think). That army was Goblins, bought at Derby on October 2015 from Pendraken, along with a High Elf army as opposition, and both were to form my endeavours to get in some games of "Warband", the fantasy rules also published by Pendraken.

Well, I have yet to get a game in at all, but, during my break from having a show project to take up my time, I have now based all of the High Elves, having painted them last year too, and, as I will show in the pictures below, added a reinforcement to my Goblins, which is the main subject of this post. (I will show the Elves in all their frippery some time soon).

The long and the short of it is that I now have both sides to furnish some "Warband" games, if ever I get the time and find an opponent who is available when I am!

Anyway, the reinforcement...

Long time players of Orc and Goblin armies to that doyen of fantasy rules, "Warhammer" version 1 to whatever, will know these things as Squigs. They were usually fielded with some sort of handlers. Pendraken know them as Squogglers, so that is what we shall call them here seeing as how they are Pendraken figures. I am sure all the copyright stuff is done and dusted...

The "bouncy ball with teeth and attitude" idea is the same as far as I can see and, though I have no games under my belt to prove the notion, I suspect their usage in the two games is also similar. I have even included some spare Goblin/ Orc figures as handlers, all based on a 100x50mm rectangle of thin MDF, this base size being the one used for all units in "Warband" (I think...)

So, with Giants, Ogres and war machines still to add to the green ranks, (but safely mined from the Lead Mountain in readiness), I have at least finished these fellows by way of something slightly different to the usual fare of warbands, trolls and wolf riders with which Orc and Goblin armies are so replete.

G

The whole unit, simply based on one base, which I think is one of the strengths of the "Warband" rules.

I painted all my 10mm figures as if they were my usual 28mm, i.e. with base coat, wash and highlights. The Squogglers started, unusually for me, with a white undercoat. The base coat was a bright red, which I highlighted with a bright orange, then "knocked back" with a wash of red ink from GW. Although the photo might not show it clearly, there is a distinct graduation of colour on their flesh. The Orcs/ Goblins have the same minimum three-stage paint job too, by the way!




Thursday, 4 May 2017

Sleeping Dragon Hobbyshop

Hello again.

Just a quick post to bring to your attention the arrival on the scene of a new source for your paint and scenic material needs, together with whatever they expand into over the coming months and years.

Nephew Nick is now Nephew Nick the Entrepreneur!

He has gone into business with his wife, Claire, as The Sleeping Dragon Hobbyshop, with the intention of providing a range of those various non-figure options we all need as wargamers to enhance the look of our various projects. They are looking to attend various shows in the future and develop their product base, so check out www.sleepingdragonhobbyshop.co.uk and check them out.

At the risk of being accused of rampant and unbounded nepotism, let me just say in all honesty that I have known Nick all his life (!) and he is seriously passionate about our hobby, has a "right" way of doing things and has considerable experience in a customer service environment. He simply will not let you down. I would certainly trust him with my order and my money and I do not say that lightly or just because we are related!!!

I truly wish him all the very best with this venture and heartily encourage all of you to check out the growing product list on the web and/ or at a show sometime soon.

G

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Coureurs de Bois

Hello again.

My last post (at the end of April, covering my Compagnies Franches de la Marine contingent for the FIW) showed how some of the figures for that contingent were not quite so uniformed and, therefore, suitable for other uses, such as Coureurs de Bois.

Well, here are my actual Coureurs de Bois, who may or may not benefit from the possibility of reinforcements.

Compare and contrast the two posts if you wish to see what I mean.

I am not generally a fan of the "this counts as" school of thought, having had bad experiences in the past when, for example, Thracian light cavalry morphed into Companions during a Hoplites vs Macedonians game I recall, to my decided disadvantage...

I would generally much rather buy and paint the real thing, whatever that thing might be. I do not even like units masquerading as each other - the Stipsicz Hussars are the Stipsicz Hussars, not the Ott Hussars, etc, though I can of course understand in games the size of a Waterloo refight where such things are necessary and agree with that necessity. But how often do any of us play a game of that magnitude and do that?
I would far prefer to build a unit and use it as that unit in whatever games, but that is a personal preference I freely admit others might not share. However, Cressingham's retinue for my Medieval English is always Cressingham's, the Loebl regiment for my 30 Years' War Imperialists is always Loebl, etc. When I finally get around to building my 10mm ACW armies however, they will be based on the respective 1st Corps of both sides at Gettysburg so, again, the 1st Texans will always be the 1st Texans in reality, but I can conceive of using them as something else given that they are only 10mm and the scale of the ACW is such that I will not always fight something from Gettysburg. They might very well become Georgians of Alabamans for a day...

Perhaps it is a scale thing (either battle size or figure size). Perhaps it is a period thing. Some units tend to be more generic than others, especially as camouflage and khaki take over from the colour of yesteryear, perhaps.

But this is one occasion when dual purpose is indeed on offer and this is a colourful period too.

Again, the figures are from the North Star "French Wilderness Force" box.

G

In "Muskets & Tomahawks", Coureurs de Bois come in units of 6 to 8 figures. Compagnies Franches de la Marine come in units of 8 to 12. I have 6 CdB and 10 CFDLM. Easy maths!!!


I like the character of these figures - well sculpted, well detailed and looking the part IMO.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Compagnies Franches de la Marine

Hello again.

The great thing about certain conflicts, such as the majority of the French & Indian Wars, and skirmish wargaming in particular is the speed with which one can throw together a force to use, often with a lot of inherent variety. This, for me at least, is the main attraction of the aforementioned French & Indian Wars, but also games such as Sharp Practice, Muskets & Tomahawks, the various SAGA incarnations, etc.

So here, hot on the heels of the Highlanders I posted about earlier this month, are the "French light infantry" contingent for my own FIW forces, in the form of some Compagnies Franches de la Marine.

The figures I got as part of the North Start "French Wilderness Force" for Muskets & tomahawks. The other components are Indians and Coureurs de Bois. What I specifically like about these particular figures, and the make up of this box, is that you get several figures that are identifiably Compagnies FDLM and some that are a mix and, therefore, useable not just as Compagnies FDLM but also as militia or Coureurs de Bois, to boost  their numbers.

Two for the price of one you might say, but I view it more as options to vary the force a bit more.

To finish on a slightly our note, I must confess to having painted nothing in the last month or so. Work, work, work is the lot of many of us, but a boost in role coupled with a change in hours to perform said role has left little or no time to crack on with the brushwork. I have managed to finish a number of units' bases (such as the Compaginies, Highlanders and others I will show soon enough), but have barely touched a paint job throughout the tail end of March and all of April. This also means that the lead and plastic mountains are getting no smaller and the roof joists will continue to wilt under the weight...

Actually, to sweeten the sourness of that final note a little, as this is the first year in several when I have not had a defined project on the go, with concomitant deadlines, it s not too much of a disaster after all. Silver linings and all that! The solidity of the house will just have to soldier on for a little while yet.

G

The whole 11 figures I can use as Compagnies FDLM

Sous-Lieutenant du Plicity

A couple of the "Either/Or" figures referred to above. The centre one clearly has a Compagnies hat, but the other two could be militia or Coureurs de Bois.

A few of les garcons in close up

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Inspiration and motivation

Hello again.

When I started painting my fledgling French & Indian Wars collection, I already had a few articles and even books covering suitable subjects - Rene Chartrand's Osprey volumes on Louis XV's army, North Star's boxed sets. the "Muskets & Tomahawks" rulebook, etc.

They enabled me to varying degrees to cover all I had done up to that point.

But then I bought some Highlanders...

And then my generally useful memory kicked in and I knew I had a suitable picture somewhere. Where? Hm...It was definitely in a Wargamers' Annual. Hm, which one?

Found it!

"Wargamers' Annual" volume 1, with artwork by the late, highly talented Bob Marrion, had an article on light troops in the 18th Century. The first plate was the exact picture I had recalled, of a member of the 42nd Foot in their initial uniform, 1758. Spot on!

Now these figures, all six of them, came via Ainsty from the North Star "M&T" range and, a tad annoyingly, are in a mix of uniforms and with mixed equipment. One figure alone is a ringer for the picture in the annual, two are sort of intermediate Highland infantrymen and the remaining three have the light infantry equipment with tomahawk, etc. Nevertheless, I was good to go and have now been and gone.

I should also say at this point that not only does Bob Marrion's work inspire me whenever I see it, but the whole Wargamers' Annual project has been a massive boon to me and all credit to the authors, contributors, publishers, etc. I make use of this material simply to show my admiration for what this series has done in my opinion for the wider hobby and in no way seek to tread on toes or anything untoward. I hope they will not mind me using the material and also hope it might in some small way also inspire anyone reading this to go and find the books and buy them.

So, for your perusal, on the very eve of that most English of saint's days ("Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George!" and all that), I give you some Scotsmen...

G
The very tome, the first of the series, and the source of the picture I had stored away in the grey matter just for when it might become useful.

And the picture in question.

My version of the very figure depicted in the picture



And the complete unit, ready to take on the Frenchies in North America













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 (www.oakbound.co.uk) 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...

G

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!!!

G