Sunday, 13 January 2019

Raising the clans

Hello again.

Apparently, in centuries past those north of the border in the northerly parts of this Hallowed Isle of Great Britain called each other to muster and battle by sending out a burning cross around the mountains and glens. If nothing else, it could have kept a few people warm in those sub-arctic climes of a Scottish summer, and perhaps kept the midges away.

So, I got to thinking, what would the Strath Clotans in "Burrows & Badgers" do in such circumstances? How would they send word that a muster was afoot? Why not use the same process!?

Scobie McSewer is the eldest of the four McSewer brothers, black rats all, and has an honoured place in his clan as the only one daft enough and strong enough to tote this thing around the highlands of his homeland. Actually, quite a number of beasts are daft enough, but the necessary muscle is a rare thing. Just look at the size of that cross! And it is mounted on a metal pole!!! It looks like they have dug it up from a cemetery somewhere rather than just nail a couple of planks on a spear staff. In a nod towards Health & Safety, however, they did at least put some strapping around the pole to ensure no one's hands froze to it whilst carrying it or were burnt as the heat conducted its way down the staff. They even supplied some arm protection to allow for the odd flame or piece of burning wood falling away onto the arm of whoever was carrying it. Civilisation may not be too far distant in the land of Strath Clota after all!

I came to the end of my regular, Oathsworn Miniatures-supplied Strath Clotans a little while ago with the conclusion of Clay Muir the ferret, but wanted more. Being the proud owner of more figures than I will ever get around to painting or using (!), I have a large Skaven army for Warhammer, a lot of which is built but unpainted, but I have boxes of unbuilt figures too, including Night Runners, and it is from one of these latter boxes that I sourced the parts for Scobie. He is pure GW in origin, with a bit of conversion work to make his cross. I used the arms that were supposed to hold a flail, for those of you who know your older Skaven figures, then simply drilled through for the cross. The cross itself is indeed an item of grave furniture, from the Renedra Gravestones pack I used examples of within my Witch Hunters band, and the "flames" are from a pack of coloured wool-like material from the "Flames of War" range of World War 2 stuff, designed to be torn up and used to show destroyed and bailed out vehicles I think.
I may well tat around with the flames and add some paint to try and make it look a little less like wool glued to a cross, but I am happy with what must be my first converted figure in quite a while, since I did my Medieval English for the Scottish Wars, I think. I also have a few more conversions in the offing, from the same figure source, to represent Scobie's three brothers and further round out my Strath Clotan band for "Burrows & Badgers". I will post those soon.
In the meantime, get those clansmen out of their beds. Scobie McSewer has come a-callin'.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Weak as I am...

Hello again.

No, I am not starting a new blog aimed at celebrating Skunk Anansie lyrics, but my weakness for the unusual and for simply supporting my many and varied interests within the hobby has seen me succumb to a minor spend.

Last Sunday, 6th January, saw my visit to the Penkridge Tabletop Sale at the Memorial Hall in that aforementioned, Staffordshire village of Penkridge. I saw a lot of stuff - some excellent ready to use and ready to paint scenery items, masses of secondhand figures, painted or otherwise, and often at very decent-looking prices, a plethora of books and rules on all manner of subjects, Nephew Nick with his Sleeping Dragon Hobby Shop offering various paint and scenic materials, among other things, and I encountered a new trader in the form of "Board in Brum", who, I believe, operate out of a unit off Bloxwich Lane near Walsall. WS2 8TL is their post code if you fancy a visit. I even managed to catch up with a few old acquaintances.

But what did I buy???

Well, back on the 7th January 2012, I posted on this very blog a set of pictures covering my fledgling sci-fi collection, with which I want to concentrate on the sort of gritty, small scale, down and dirty sort of conflict. That post featured some Colonial Marine types and some dog-like humanoids called K'Hiff, made at one time by Denizen Miniatures. Are they still going? Well, it matters not, as, on the very first stall I looked at, I saw a little plastic box, priced at a princely £4, holding no fewer than 20 of the canine-types. I have long wanted to boost my numbers so I can build a couple of squads for the aforementioned dirty/ gritty/ small scale affairs, so they are now mine! 20p each for metal figures that can be considered rare is what I deem a BARGAIN!!!

I have enough figures for two squads of 8-10 figures plus a command squad plus a couple or three specialists, so more than enough for the sort of games I expected to be playing 7 years ago when I first stuck the K'Hiff on the blog!

The top row shows two figures with a sort of BAR-type light (semi-)automatic rifle and a single figure with a las-rifle for chewing up soft vehicle targets or similar. The second row has basic squaddies with rifle, the third basic squaddies with carbine. The final row has a set of specialists covering two with grenade launchers, two snipers and a figure with a RPG. No leader figure, but that just means the leader I have painted becomes a force commander rather than simply a squad commander.

I mentioned "Board in Brum" above and they tempted me with a box of Junkers 88's and another of Bristol Blenheims, but the main draw was the boxed game below. I first encountered "Carnevale" on offer at the "Wargamer" show a few years back, but did not dip in then as I had so much else to do. Now, nothing has changed on that front, but I simply could not resist this offering. However, I had to resist, because they were not taking cards and I had only a modest amount of cash on me!!! Not to be deterred however, I am now the proud owner of "Carnevale" as you can see form the photos below.

Apart from a bit of box damage, don't you think this artwork is a massive lure? Skullduggery and derring-do behind the mask of Venice at carnival time! Think Casanova meets Jack the Ripper and throw in some almost-Cthulhu elements.

And the game is chockfull of bits and pieces - figures for two factions, terrain boards, card buildings, rules, scenarios, game tools, dice and even a gondola!!! I cannot wait to get a more thorough look at this over the next couple of days, but it only came to me this morning, so I just took a couple of photos and here you are!
The premise is that a rift has appeared near late 18th Century Venice and some strange creatures are starting to appear within the canals and allies of the Maritime Republic, contesting the night with various gangs of robbers, thieves, smugglers and the like, whilst the authorities try to play down the strange sightings and the city tries to stay afloat and go about its business. I hope to give the game an outing soon.

So, I am already up and running and the boxed game quantity has already grown by one since the new year. Incorrigible? Hopeless? Yeah, I reckon I am both!!!


Saturday, 5 January 2019

Penkridge Tabletop Sale

Hello again.

Just a quick reminder, for anyone who may need it, that the Penkridge Tabletop Sale is tomorrow at the Memorial Hall in Penkridge, Staffordshire. Start time is around 10 I think, possibly earlier, and I would expect the same line up of traders and private individuals selling spare, pre-loved, excess and other no longer required bits and bobs. Usual suspects on the trader front are the likes of Walter at Commission Figurines, with his ranges of MDF buildings, storage options, etc., and Nephew Nick with Sleeping Dragon Hobby Shop, who will have his usual ranges of paint and scenic materials for sale.

The venue is just down a side street opposite the White Hart pub in the middle of Penkridge if you have not been before. Just get on the A449 Stafford to Wolverhampton road and stop anywhere in Penkridge and you will not be far away - Penkridge is not very big! Entry is traditionally free and what you spend is up to you!!! There are plenty of free parking options around the village, but you will have to contend for these with the other show goers and the church parishioners, so get there early or walk a few more yards to the venue - it's up to you again.


Tuesday, 1 January 2019

2019 is upon us!

Hello again!

2019 is indeed now upon us, so a Happy New Year to everyone!

2018 was not the best for all sorts of reasons from a personal perspective, so I am rather glad to be into a new one, albeit still less than a day old as it is.

Before I started writing this post, I had a quick look at what I started the year with twelve months ago and, it appears, some things do not change. Last year, I was some way through the lengthy process of finishing my British Grenadiers for the French & Indian Wars and this year, I have a unit of British foot for the same conflict part done. I also find myself contemplating some sort of agenda for my hobby activities which, as with last year, I am most unlikely to stick to. "Agenda" is clearly the wrong word for me to use. As someone who is usually pretty disciplined at work, it is somewhat odd how the butterfly takes over when I get into my hobbies...

"Agenda" somehow morphs into "whim".

In 2018, I was supposed to be preparing a gang or two fro "Necromunda". I was supposed to be moving my FIW collection back to Europa for regular Seven Years' War games. I even thought I might get my French Wars of Religion project going or return to my Williamite Wars in Ireland  project that stalled a few years back. As you can see above, I have not even finished the British forces for my FIW games yet! Let alone moved back across the pond!!!

No, 2018 saw activity in mainly three places on the painting front and two main areas on the purchasing front:
  1. French & Indian Wars, ready for the Barrage Show back in July.
  2. Crimean War, initially with a view to converting Regimental Fire & Fury, but now with Black Powder 2 in mind.
  3. Oathsworn Miniatures and their "Burrows & Badgers" offerings.
  4. Boxed games - HOW MANY did I buy last year?!?!?!?
  5. See point 3...
2018 was not a classic year for quantity, but I had a great time painting single figures again. Those "anthropomorphic animals" are very more-ish indeed!

So, what do I THINK will happen on the painting, gaming and collecting front this year?
  1. Boxed games - there is "Necromunda", for which I have all the gangs available to go at as well as many of the supplements. I have "Kill Team". I have "Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game". I have "Blood Red Skies". I have "Strontium Dog". I have "Gorechosen". I have "Battle in a Box". I have terrain for all those games in this list that can use it.
  2. More "Burrows & Badgers". I have completed a paltry 24 figures so far, have four more underway and seven more undercoated. That just leaves around a score remaining to do something with and the muse does not seem to be leaving me yet.
  3. Crimean War. I simply MUST crack on with some more Russians, but those British NEED to see the light of day first. (If only to stop my dog taking a shine to the unpainted castings and taking them off on holiday to the back garden like he did with the Light Brigade back in the summer...
  4. Finish the last British Foot regiment as the 35th before they become lost in a sea of dust on my painting table.
  5. I may even look to sell off some of the stuff I feel will never get an(other) outing!!!
And after that, it is fair game.

  • There are a couple of interesting looking games/ rules sets on the way, such as "Cruel Seas".
  • There are my 10mm Sassanids, eagerly awaiting a set of rules I like for 10mm Ancients games, and they will need opponents.
  • And then there are the numerous part-done and never-started projects that weigh heavily upon the house's foundations:
Romano-British vs Saxons in 28mm;
Hellenistics in 28mm;
French Wars of Religion in 28mm;
Williamite Wars in Ireland in 28mm;
Japanese WW2 in 28mm, who will also need opponents;
Lord of the Rings in, yes, something like 28mm;
Warhammer 40K in more like 38mm;
20mm Bolsheviks to take on my WW1 Russians, aka Whites;
20mm Vietnam War US & VC forces;
20mm something or other to fight my Taliban (probably Russians in the 1980's);
15mm Ostfront Russians for WW2;
15mm Austrians/ Prussians/ Italians for 1848 to 1866;
54mm WW2 skirmish.
As well as the potential to add units to the projects I have "finished"...
But I also fancy finishing off some terrain, getting a few more games in this year than I have in the past couple of years, getting some sort of work/ life balance back into vogue and jumping on whatever wargaming whim flits past this Spring as I wander lazily around a show!
Enjoy 2019 folks! It could be a bumpy ride!!!


Friday, 28 December 2018

Clay Muir

Hello again.

I trust you all had a most merry Christmas and Santa brought you something other than socks and underwear. If not, get yourself out to one of the early 2019 shows for some retail therapy at your favourite figure supplier or log on and fill that void in your life!

It is rather an idle time on the hobby front, but I have managed to complete the subject of this post, a Strath Clotan who shall go by the name of Clay Muir, if only because:

a) It sounds Scottish, I mean, Strath Clotan;
b) He is wielding a two-handed sword not dissimilar to a claymore, so it is a play on words, and:
c) "Wild-looking, tartan-clad ferret with a big chopper" is not really a good name for anyone...

Clay is the latest offering for my fledgling Dun Ringill warband, keen to leave the sunny uplands of Strath Clota (sic) for the rich pickings of a raid into Northymbra as part of the on-going expansion of my forces for "Burrows & Badgers". Until I get my hands on something who looks the part as a leader to fear, he may even take on that mantle himself. In the aforementioned game, and I have not done any particular science on this, I reckon ferrets are possibly the biggest bang for your buck of those creatures who masquerade as "small" or "medium" in game terms. Reasonable stats coupled with the FEARLESS trait means they can take on most things. Adding a suitable skill, a stat update as leader and a two-hander means he can pack a very decent punch.

Further additions to this warband are underway, using conversions and parts from other ranges, but they are unlikely to see the light of day as completed items before the new year dawns. They will be the first figures I have had any hand in making for this project though, so I look forward to getting them done. They will receive their own post(s) in due course.

Finally, I mentioned a trip to a show or a visit online to acquire some figures if you were left short of your miniatures fix by the festive giving. I got what I requested, in the form of a box of Van Saar gang members for "Necromunda". As we have no plans for a show outing with a demo game for the coming year. I am looking to try and plan some activities on the hobby front for 2019, and "Necromunda" is on that agenda. The only trouble is that I have around 24 months of stuff I want to do and 12 months to do it in! Something has to give...


Friday, 14 December 2018

What do Witch Hunters hunt?

Witches, of course!

Hello again.

Taking a wee break from the Highland clans theme (although there is no reason why Lagoog cannot actually join the Dun Ringill boys for a scrimash or two), I painted another rat figure I rather like the look of in the form of this Black Rat Witch. Now, we could have her all wrong, and she may well be a healer, soothsayer, midwife or other clean-living type in commune with the good spirits of nature. She may well use the sort of beneficial magic that calms and soothes and prove no threat to anyone other than a bit of plant life she uses in her potions and remedies...

But that would be too easy!

In any case, what sort of high-minded character would have war paint made to look like blood streaming from their eyes? What loyal, law-abiding member of society would have a giant tarantula-esque spider atop her walking staff? What sort of friendly, lovable old dear would see the need for a shimmer cloak to protect her from enemies she would not make in the first place?

But this verminous harridan has all three of the above! Not to mention a bag full of spell ingredients and no doubt a few phials of poison! So Lagoog (with apologies to H. Rider Haggard for the anagram of one of his characters for the name) is anything but wholesome and sweet in my world. She is just the sort of twisted, dangerous, plotting individual that makes you want to go "Mwahahaha" like all good, pantomime villains. She is Abenaazer, the Wicked Witch of the West, Sauron, Nagash and all manner of evil all rolled up into one, handy, rat-shaped, man-sized package. And splashing her with water will not make a blind bit of difference any more than throwing some of her jewellery into a volcano will harm her in any way. The intention is that she is rock hard and dangerous with it!

So, cue some fiddling with the "Burrows & Badgers" rulebook to create something rather nastier and meaner than your average starter mage, with a couple of handy items to make her someone to really watch out for. Without going over the top, of course. This is not the latest incarnation of the bad old days of Warhammer, where every new army made all others largely obsolete, after all! Cue also the makings of a campaign idea or two. All good campaigns need a recurring villain and Lagoog could very well be mine...

And even without the campaign, she will form some nice opposition and point of focus for Rufus and his witch hunting fellowship. All she needs now is some followers/ henchmen/ cannon fodder to accompany her!


The Oathsworn Miniature entitled "Black Rat Witch" is the source for Lagoog, with just a paint job to finish her off. I do quite like the evil look in her eye from this angle! Her eye looks almost snake-like.

And who would not want a giant tarantula for a familiar? I see her using her staff as a projector of said venomous beastie which would also give her a ranged attack other than spells!

I thought I would paint a few indistinct runes on her cloak to show it has some sort of magical power. I am running with the idea of a shimmer cloak currently, so she appears to be somewhat displaced form where she actually stands, making all attacks harder to hit her.

And her eye from this angle looks as though she is giving someone an evil stare ("You're next!"), backed up by the pointing of her sickle, which is surely a poisoned weapon.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Murdo McQueak

Hello again.

Hot on the heels of "Mad" Hedge McHogg comes his sidekick, Murdo. A different tartan, a different species, a hat rather than warpaint, but still a sword and targe, the latter emblazoned with the white thistle emblem of Dun Ringill. Yes, Dun Ringill, a name stolen wholesale from the back catalogue of Jethro Tull. So, will this duo be part of the Dun Ringill Reavers? Or will they cry "Freedom!" for the Dun Ringill Wappinshaw? What about the Dun Ringill Doom Brothers of Dun Ringill Sons of Death? Starting to get a little early 11th Century Ireland with that last one...

So, the Highlanders may be in need of a name for their hairy, shouty collective, but their numbers are growing and set to grow further. Plans are afoot to increase the clansmen numbers and, in due course, acquire them a leader figure too. But I can only paint what I have for the moment and decide on what I have in my current batch of figures that would suit the cause.

As before, Murdo is a standard Oathsworn Miniature, painted by yours truly, and set to join his mate "Mad" Hedge on a muirside (hm, moorside...) somewhere near you fairly soon. I even fancy the idea of a conversion of one figure or other to make a standard bearer sporting either a banner with the white thistle or perhaps the burning cross sent out historically to raise the clans. That would be something different indeed! That donor figure will be out there somewhere...


Even the smaller Oathsworn figures have bags of character and are a joy to paint.

The detail is fantastic and simply cries out to the painter to try and bring out the full glory of each model.

The white thistle of Dun Ringill!

But you won't find that tartan in any Victorian tartan pattern book as far as I know!