Monday, 17 September 2018

A Bit Of Muscle (Aka "Thug goes rock-pooling")

Hello again.

After all the small stuff for the good ship "Blackberry", it was perhaps inevitable that something a little more meaty would eventually come forth form the sweet-scented hold of that fair vessel. More anthropomorphic magic from the talented people at Oathsworn in the form of a badger, the "heavy-hitters"/ Tiger tanks of the Burrows & Badgers world.

Badgers come in a couple of varieties in the range so far, the first one being armoured soldiery you really do NOT want to mess with, the second being Thug, an unarmoured, ill-tempered bruiser you really do NOT want to mess with. Thug comes with his very own shrew minder/ tormentor in the form of Gnarls (see Shrew with whip in the previous post). In my world, Gnarls rescued Thug from his brutal existence in some hellish fighting pit, so the two are almost friends, as far as that concept goes in Thug's dense grey matter, and the whip is more a status symbol than a threat, but you never know.

The problem with Thug is that he only has chains to fight with, other than fist, tooth and claw, so would suffer combat penalties if you let him loose on his own in the real world against all those proper weapons. However, if you make him second-in-command, you can give him a skill, and "Unarmed Fighter" is my skill of choice! On the other hand, I could always talk an opponent into believing that he is adept at the chain-wielding thing so it does count as a proper weapon. Hmmm.

Anyway, the project continues apace and the beach theme continues with my attempt at a bit of a rock pool. Thug likes anemones and starfish, especially with a splash of chilli sauce, and crab is to die for...


Thug in all his brutal, sartorially-challenged glory

The rocky part of the base was built up with layers of card and plastic, then the edges in-filled with sand-coloured, textured paint from Coat d'Arms, all suitably washed and drybrushed until I was happy with the "it hasn't rained for a few days so it's dry" beach look I wanted

I rarely, if ever, do water blue, but wanted something pure looking and contrasting with the evident brutality of Thug's rags and chains.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

"You won't get me, I'm part of the Shrew-nion"

Hello again.

With all due apologies to The Strawbs for abusing one of their songs for the title of this post, I felt it was time to add a few extras to my burgeoning crew of animal pirates for "Burrows & Badgers". The game features a number of "lesser creatures", the sort of thing that seems to get a short deal in the real animal world, comprising mice, rats, shrews and the like. I went with the shrew option for my first, lowly crew members.

This figure just had to feature in my pirate crew. He might only be small, but the sartorial elegance and obvious attitude won me over!

And he is almost as menacing from the back!

This figure too has obvious pirate heritage, veritably screaming "Mary Reade" at the camera.

A nice line in throwing daggers is a bonus too. Missile troops are a bit thin on the ground so far in my piratical assembly.

This figure is marketed simply as a "Shrew-zerker" by Oathsworn, but again the obvious attitude and more than borderline Napoleon syndrome on display meant he was "in" as well.

As you may have noticed, I have kept the beach theme running through the bases. This chap gets a mooring post and lengthy of rope for company, simply made with a scrap of MDF from a Commission Figurines storage tray and a length of suitable cotton.
One of the usual perks of fantasy games, and "Burrows & Badgers" is no exception, is the inclusion of magic. Here we have a Shrew Shaman trying his best to look menacing despite his small stature.

One of the treats of this project has been to paint fur again, surely one of the easiest paint jobs to make a reasonable show of. The strange, grey spike at the bottom right of his base is another piece of driftwood courtesy of the Woodland Scenics plastic tree armatures.

Finally, we have Gnarls, who features in a set with a sort of Badger Pit-fighter called "Thug". He looks rather older than his crewmates, but the metal barb on that whip must surely hurt anyone unlucky enough to be on the end of it...
And the obligatory (?) rear view shot.

This will not be the end for the crew of the good ship, "Blackberry", as I have several other figures already that would be suitable to join the crew and ring some changes in eventual games. Some much-needed muscle to accompany all the tiny shrews would not go amiss and maybe some more mid-ranged potential as provided by another weasel, a ferret, perhaps even a rogue otter, would blend in nicely.

When I started this project, the old cogs started whirring about different warband options, story threads and the like. Whilst I freely admit that this sort of set up is not to everyone's taste by any stretch of the imagination, I would also argue that neither are Napoleonics or World War 2, that broad range of options being an oft-quoted boon of this marvellous hobby of ours. For me, some decent-looking figures on a decent-looking table, a decent set of rules and a good scenario/ story are the optimum, regardless of period. Finally, even though I favour bigger games with armies rather than bands, my work/ life balance and other factors mean I am very firmly in the "bands territory" for the foreseeable. Whilst I will obviously try and build up my bigger forces when the mood takes me (FIW, Crimean War, some of the GW stuff I have waiting for me, for example), this little diversion will more than satisfy my need to apply paint to metal or plastic for a while yet!


Monday, 10 September 2018

Wild Weasel

Hello again.

Now, it may surprise you to know, but this particular Wild Weasel has absolutely nothing to do with aircraft equipped to take out enemy radar and SAM defences, but it is a weasel and it may well be wild.

Yes, I give you yet another offering in the growing range of Oathsworn Miniatures' anthropomorphic animals range for "Badgers & Burrows" which, for those who have missed it, is a skirmish game of the "Frostgrave"/ "Mordheim"/ "Ghost Archipelago"/ insert any sort of fantasy or swords skirmish game to taste that pits small bands against each other for treasure or whatever and enables them to develop between games in a campaign-like way. This one is specifically branded as a "Weasel Rogue". With his club and semi-hidden dagger, I see him more in line for pressganging some poor unfortunates so have roped him in as accomplice to the Black Pi-Rat I posted about a week or so ago. So, with that in mind, it looks like the first band will be pirate-themed and you can expect more scurrilous characters going forwards.

I must say that after painting regiments of British and French for most of the past 12 to 18 months, painting single figures is a welcome change. Whilst I always try and shade and highlight all my regiments, not to mention painting the flags by hand, I can go a bit further still with single figures, especially on some of the bases. I selected a beach theme for my pirates, so will pursue that option, especially with some of the bigger figures that might join the Black Pi-Rat's nefarious schemes. But the option to paint in the eyes, to add an extra highlight, to experiment a little with rust or other effects is there and I intend to use it on these single figures.

For those who have battled through these last few fantasy-orientated posts, please note that I am still painting "proper" stuff - His Majesty's 35th Regiment of Foot is underway, for example - but I am also hooked by the need to paint less than a dozen, quality figures in the vain hope of getting a game some time soon. And, make no bones about it, the Oathsworn Miniatures range is quality in my opinion, spawning not only a lot of ideas for different groups but also bringing some joy back into my painting, as it had become a little bit of a chore churning through 18th Century infantry.

"What about the need to research?" I hear you cry.

Well, whilst I may not need to check out my Haythornthwaites, Funckens and Ospreys, who knows what colour a shrew is? What about a weasel? What varieties are there? What colour eyes and claws do they have?

Another much-valued aspect of this project has been the need to check out images of our countryside's natives (no, not some Yorkshire farmer tending his flock!), the small, hardly noticed but always present inhabitants of our land who go about short and often brutal lives missed by everyone until one turns up on TV and we all go "ahhh". For the record, my weasels will be reddish brown, like the Common Weasel variety, and my shrews will be tricolour brown, starting with a dark brown back and fading around to light at the front. I had to do research to find that out!


As the figure stoops somewhat as it walks, getting both the head and the body in focus was a challenge, especially for my limited photographic skills.

The beach theme is here typified not only by the sand but by some driftwood. This is a piece of plastic armature sold by Woodland Scenics to make trees from, aimed primarily at the model railway fraternity, but eminently suitable for wargames purposes too. You might just pick out the rust tinge on the dagger in this shot too.

Club at the ready to pressgang some poor unfortunate into the crew of the Blackberry. And more signs of rust development on his scavenged pieces of armour.

Saturday, 8 September 2018


Hello again.

There I was, minding my own business, when up on the TV screen pops an interesting little advert about a new part work - "Warhammer 40000: Conquest", blah blah, weekly in so many parts, blah blah, issue 1 only £1.99.

"Check it out!" I say to myself.

I did. I bought a copy.

As a sometime dabbler and would be dabbler in various GW things, rather than a committed "hobbyist" (sic), it is most debateable whether I would ever want/ need/ desire the three Space Marines supplied with issue 1. It is highly uncertain whether I will read the little magazine that comes with part 1 or whether I will now feel a massive need to actually crack on with a 40K project (of which I have at least a couple of part done examples...) It is wholly incredulous to imagine I will collect the whole thing, however many parts are involved, or will take up any of the special offers advertised with this issue...

So why buy it?

Three pots of usable, decent colour (i.e. not weird stuff, despite the names) paint, that's why! Issue 1 comes with not only 3 Space Marines but 3 pots of paint, namely a dark blue, a bronze and black (whatever they are actually called in the GW range, my description suits well enough). That is 66.3 pence per pot! BARGAIN!!! Issue 2 also comes with 3 pots of paint and 3 more figures, but the cost rises to £4.99, but that is still just £1.66 per pot. ANOTHER (not quite so lucrative) BARGAIN!!! Future issues will feature brushes, probably more paint, some terrain and probably more figures, but they are at the usual price of £7.99 I believe. Probably time to tip out at this point for me.

Even if you do not play GW games, I am sure you can think of a few options to dispose of the non-paint bits. The figures could go to a relative who does play, or to a young person who might like to if given such a start. You might play sci-fi but not 40K, so paint them up as combat robots or something. Some schools at least have games clubs, so you could donate them there. Or just swap or sell them on if that is your wish.

See you soon.


Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Black Pi-Rat

Hello again.

When I first heard about "Burrows & Badgers: A Skirmish Game of Anthropomorphic Animals", written by Michael Lovejoy and published by Osprey Games, I was enthused. When I found a copy whilst browsing around Asgard Games in Walsall on my first ever visit there, I had to buy a copy.

The game looked interesting. The genre looked like engaging. But where to find the figures? Oathsworn Miniatures was the answer to that one and, a quick order later, coupled with a hefty purchase at the Barrage Show, I was in possession of a number of widely varying animal warriors and magicians, ne'er-do-wells and malcontents, heroes and rogues, not to mention a multitude of ideas for how to form them into disparate warbands for the aforementioned games.

How about a Military Order led by a Border Terrier? What about a band of brave-hearted brigands from north of the border led by a ferocious wildcat? How about a beleaguered police force trying to protect the waterways of the land from piracy, led by an otter or two? What about the pirates and rogues out to smuggle, murder, steal and generally keep said river police busy? Then there are the nefarious schemes of foxes, the depraved depths of society as epitomised by a colony of rats, the inscrutable, dreamy plans of the cold-bloods. A multitude of choice, a plethora of options, a veritable cornucopia of potential gaming fun in a world ripe for imagination and creativity.

All of those and so many more are there for the making!

These figures are not cheap - the cheapest is £3 and they range through to around £12 I think for something like a badger - but you only need around six or seven for a band. I do feel they are fairly priced given the likely sales volume - these are not exactly your "I need a couple of hundred line infantry" Napoleonics! I also like the quality of the figures and, with the rules being self-contained, your outlay will not break too many banks. Unless, of course, you are like me and enjoy the collecting and painting probably more than the actual game...The figures are also metal, do not need gluing together and come with a base sized appropriately for their role in the game (30 or 40mm circular slottabases). As each figure is usable with every other one, as you make your own warband up from whatever you want up to your starting figure of 350 pennies, there is never likely to be a wasted figure. Also, the rules contain campaign rules too, so your little group can grow in stature and numbers as you play the game.

So, first up, is a figure I bought at Barrage, which I do not believe was available when I placed my first order. The fact that the range is expanding is a good thing and a good sign.

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, I give you...

The Black Pi-Rat!

Having a sort of soft spot for historical pirates (if only as a game subject - I am not sure I would want to meet or get involved with any of them!), it was a fair guess that some sort of pirate theme would emerge at some point. I have a liking for many of these figures, but this guy is one of my overall favourites, so he got first dibs on the paint, brushes and my time.


"Come and have a go, you scurvy dogs!" could be taken very literally in "Burrows & Badgers"!!!

Rather than do generic bases, I thought a bit about what sort of base would suit a pirate. Perhaps the boards of a ship? Yes, but limited for land-based games. How about a quayside? Yes again, but a bit too specific. So, I went for a beach, which would also pass for sandy soil. For a bit of added interest, I added a small section of broken down breakwater/ fence.

And the first one is done. Now for some crew to sail on the good ship "Blackberry".

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Finally at full strength

Hello again.

It was always my intention to build my French units for the Seven Years' War up to the same standard strength as those of my British, so I have done just that. Those who have followed this project may well remember that I initially built my French at 20 figures per line regiment vs the 24 for the British. This was for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to show that they were historically smaller on average than their British counterparts for the fighting in North America.
  2. I wanted a visual representation also of the better firepower of British regiments and, on the basis of "size is important", I went that way.
However, with the plan to move my forces to Europe in the offing, a return to the "standard" size grew more pressing. When I increase my French infantry forces further, I will also start on European-based regiments, so future units will not only be 24 figures strong, but will also feature a Colonel's flag and be based to my usual four figures on a 40mm square base format.

Thus, with five bases each of four figures to add to, I decided on a couple of "wings" per regiment, each wing having two figures rather than four and being 20x40mm not 40x40. Thus, I now have my three initial regiments up to strength, the Royal-Roussillon, La Reine and Bearn.

I also decided to paint the sole remaining regiment of figures as a regiment from the French & Indian Wars, so Regiment Berry has now come into being too, based in the same way as its sisters. As previously, all figures are Eagle Figures, the flag my usual hand painted on calico affair. I added a conversion for a bit of variety in the form of a spare ensign, whose standard has been replaced by a halberd from the bits box, so Berry uniquely has a sergeant urging on the troops. All my material informs me that halberds were given up in favour of a musket, but it's my unit so I'm doing it my way!!!

When we emerge from hibernation to once again take "The Relief of Fort Nummanmason" to a show to demo, these will take to the field. Therefore, I had better get cracking on some more British as soon as possible or game balance will fly out of the window!


Regiment Berry, all 24 figures of it from the start

The purple on the flag looked blue on the original photo, but seems to have come out in the correct purple after all

The converted sergeant figure at the back of this pair was an easy job, simply entailing switching a flag for a halberd from the bits box. This was even easier when you consider that the French ensigns from Eagle Figures are cast without their staff, unlike their British counterparts.

The "wings" that make my existing regiments up to 24 figures each. From the left of shot, we have Royal-Roussillon, La Reine and finally Bearn.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Just a quickie

Hello again.

It has been almost a month since I last posted and, with lengthy Summer holidays now over (boo!) and after returning to work post holidays (much, much bigger BOOOOOO!!!), I thought I would once again say "Hello!"

Although I do not have any pictures this time, I have been busy and will regale you with the tales and depictions of my activities very soon. I have made a few decisions, however, and am looking forward to some tasty looking kit which I hope to acquire in the next couple of weeks.

1) I have decided to keep my dog! It was a close run thing, as Wellington might have said, but he very nearly ruined the Light Brigade all over again, not with confused orders but simply out of what perhaps passes for canine curiosity. I'll explain...
I wandered out into my garden a couple of weeks back and saw something shiny on the patio. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a 10mm cavalryman, with a few others I had previously not noticed close by. Looking around the garden and fearing the worst, I noticed a pile of silvery things down near the big shed. It was the rest of the Light Brigade from my Crimean War lead pimple!!! My very own four-legged terror had helped himself to the Magister Militum boxed set of the Light Brigade, had torn the box to shreds and scattered the contents. Luckily for the world's naughtiest Border Collie puppy, he had obviously not liked the taste and I duly accounted for all 48 cavalrymen and the three artillery pieces with crews. PHEW!!! NOTE TO SELF - keep the dog out of the Mancave!

2) I have abandoned my pretensions to game the Crimean War using "Regimental Fire & Fury" and, having enjoyed them so much at Barrage, settled on "Black Powder" as my rules of choice for this conflict, with "Rank & File" for back up. Having made this choice, I might even get a couple of forces finished in a rather quicker fashion than RF&F would have allowed.

3) I am most desirous of the new Games Workshop "Lord of the Rings: Battle of the Pelennor Fields" boxed set, which is due out next weekend, I think. I already have a decent Mordor Orc collection and the figures in this set will not only add seamlessly to what I have, but give me a start on some adversaries. A "Must Have" if ever I saw one!

So, next time out, I will have some piccies of a couple of very different projects I have been working on, but until then, enjoy the last of the summer!