Friday, 19 December 2014

Roger Mortimer's Retinue - 28mm Second Baron's War

Another batch of Baron's War figures. This time they're all Fireforge plastics, taken from the Templar Infantry boxed set. I like these because there's some real dynamic poses. I decided to paint them as Roger Mortimer's Retinue (De Montfort's nemesis on the Battlefield of Evesham), because I'd already got a number of Baronial rebels and thought it was about time to get some Royalists on the go. These particular figures won't be used at the Salute show and I'm instead doing them for a number of upcoming club games using the Lion Rampant rules.

As an interesting addition I've been watching "Britain's Bloodiest Dynasty - The Plantagenets" on Channel 5. It covered the Second Baron's War in an early episode and is a very good introduction to the period. Dan Brown (the author who presents it and whose book it is based on) seems to be receiving a lot of positive reviews, and I must say I enjoy his writing and presenting style. His latest book "The Wars of the Roses - The Hollow Crown" is perhaps one of the most accessible histories I've seen.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Simon De Montfort's Retinue - 28mm

Some more figures for The Second Baron's War at Salute next year. All are Gripping Beast minis. The paint job started with a GW Khorne Red layer, then a Vallejo Flat Red followed by Vallejo Carmine Red as a highlight. The white was done with a Colour Party 'Sand' layer, then CP 'Linen' concluding in a Vallejo White highlight.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Napoleonic French and British Command Figures 15mm

I finished painting these Eureka Miniatures for my mate Chris last weekend. It's been a while since I did any 15mm stuff, as the majority of my collection is 28mm. I love the detail and poses in these particular models and I'm feeling well tempted to just buy a few bags for myself! The Club did a couple of big Sunday games a few years back using them (Borodino is one that springs to mind) and having so many laid out across the table is visually very impressive.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Second Baron's War Mounted Knights 28mm

We had the good fortune of a visit from Dan and Wayne from Wargames Illustrated Magazine a few weeks ago. The idea is for our Club (The Sons of Simon de Montfort no less) to give a hand with their Second Baron's War (1265) table at Salute 2015, and the Battle of Evesham Anniversary event in Evesham itself later the same year. Naturally we're thrilled to be taking part along with being given the opportunity to paint some of these very lovely Gripping Beast Medieval figures.

I received the first retinue of 12 mounted and 12 foot figures about a fortnight ago, and cleared some space to get cracking on them immediately. Due to them being used to represent not only our Club and WI, but the hobby itself at the Evesham Anniversary, I decided to make some extra special effort in getting them to look the business.

I started with the usual undercoat of black primer before doing the horses, I then used Colour Party 'Sand' as the first layer on the cloth (both for horses and riders). Next I used a 'Linen' from the same range to start building up the highlights. I reckon any off-white paint colour would do. Next I added some Vallejo white to the Linen (about 50/50) then finished with a touch of GW White. For the Blue I used similar layers starting with Vallejo Dark Blue, then Flat Blue and finally adding a Pastel Blue to create a highlight. The horses were inspired by Artmaster Studios excellent Youtube videos. Very easy to follow and provides some good hints and tips to get them looking effective.

The directives for the shields and Lances was that not all knights would be identical - only sharing their leader's basic colour scheme. In this instance it's the retinue of John de Beauchamp who was killed at Evesham supporting Simon de Montfort. From a painting perspective this means you can allow your imagination a bit of leeway, rather than painting the same shield design again and again.

The bases were done with Basetex, then painted with Vallejo Flat Brown and drybrushed by adding Cork Brown to 50% Flat Brown (a good hint from Artmaster Studios: don't mix those reddy browns with white paint as you'll get a pink colour. Instead add a lighter Brown shade).

Primed, and horses painted.

Lances and Livery.


Basetex sorted.

Finished item.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

French Indian Wars British Mounted Officer - 28mm

This is another little gem I picked up at this year's Derby World Wargames. It comes from AW Miniatiures extensive and ever growing 28mm range ( They're great figures and comparable to Front Rank in both size and detail. A quick glance at the website reveals they've also released their range of Zulu Wars models too (which includes an awesome "Rorke's Drift Victoria Cross Character Set"!). Aside from this period and FiW they also produce an Indian Mutiny range and 15mm Napoleonic Peninsular War.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Late Crusader Commander and Standard Bearer - 28mm

These are both slightly converted figures using Fireforge Mounted Sergeants and Conquest Games Norman Knights boxed sets. They were mainly leftover from the haul I bought from the Triples Bring n Buy and thought they'd be perfect for playing Lion Rampant or Crescent and Cross. The standard isn't historically accurate and was made simply to fit the general colour scheme I'd chosen. After reading some background history on the Crusades I was aware of the vast amount of those knights who "took the cross", enough to guess that there was likely a huge array of different banners and standards on each campaign.

The paint I used was a Vallejo Flat Blue and Vallejo Flat Yellow, after which I used a Citadel Agrax Earth Shade ink wash. Lastly I added some White to the original colours to produce a highlight.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

28mm Napoleonic Game 1814

Today's big Napoleonic game was based around a scenario in the Black Powder Rulebook - A Russian and Prussian Army making a fighting withdrawl towards a bridge held by a small force of French (actually Neopolitans) and pursued by a French allied force also consisting of Italians and Polish. Myself and Ian played the French with Simon and Lawrence in the role of the quarry. The rules we used were Barry Hilton's rather excellent Republic to Empire.

At first glance the French would have seemed to be at a considerable advantage, but it quickly became apparent we were going to have our problems. One thing being the large Russian battery placed across the centre of the table and a regiment of cavalry hovering each side. Another was the huge amount of Russian Jaegers facing Ian ready to pot shot at us as we filed out of the streets of the nearby town to form up for any attack.

True to expectations the buzz of cannonballs and crack of musketry rolled across our front as the first French regiments appeared on open ground. Luckily the huge Russian battery only managed two hits on our Westphalian's due to some bad dice rolling, and the Russian Jaeger's were also not racking up enough hits to stall the attack. On the far side near the bridge our Neopolitans were watching from behind their barricades as the Russians started to make for the escape route.

On the French left their Cavalry division were collecting behind a hill ready to launch themselves at a Prussian battery and an attached Infantry brigade. The hope for us was that the Cavalry would stampede enough of the enemy to create a bottleneck at the bridge behind, then we could bring up the guns and infantry to fire into the mass. In practice this was only half successful with the Polish Lancers charging and decimating the Prussian gunners just after they'd fired their cannons at a French regiment nearer the town but a hussar regiment pulling up sharp as the Prussian infantry managed to form square. The latter managed to hold on as a Prussian cavalry regiment then bounced into the French horses sending them reeling away. The Polish were also charged by Russian dragoons but standing their ground a large melee flared up with both both sides suffering heavy casualties. Another success was scored by the cavalry however when the French Chasseur a Cheval regiment ran down the Russian artillery crews in the centre when their fire was distracted by Italians advancing on their left. Further on this side of the field Ian was rolling forward and charging successfully against Russian units (including those pesky Jaegers). On the reverse near the bridge the Neopolitans had cut down as many of the Russians and Prussians as they could, but were finally succumbing to superior numbers. The first enemy units were getting across the bridge but a Russian morale test on the enemy left caused many units to start breaking. So in conclusion, a handful of Russians made their escape but not enough to give them a victory.

The view from the barricades

Russian Jaegers

Coming through the town with the Russians waiting outside

Italian Brigade with Cavalry in front

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Zombicide miniatures...

Last week my copy of the Zombicide board game turned up, and once opened it was a delight to see how much time and effort had gone into the presentation. Really high quality gaming tiles, fantastic illustrations...and these nicely done zombie figures. I'd already seen online how the company were producing sets of paints for those eager to cover up the plain grey plastic gaming pieces - but to my surprise it was actually my partner's suggestion that we spend an afternoon painting them all. I knew she was a big zombie movie/book/etc fan, so it undoubtedly ticked all the right boxes. My efforts are at the top (ok. I did go slightly wild with the blood!) and hers are underneath. I particularly love the 'runner' zombie she did, and also how quickly she grasped ink washes to pick out the detail.......hmm, now to entice her to paint up a few of those Perry Napoleonics I have!....

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Königstiger - 20mm Skytrex

I recently bought a fair amount of assorted unpainted figures from a friend whose neighbour was having a clearout. The first lot included a box of 20mm WW2 vehicles of various makes and nationalities. I decided the first to be painted would be this Konigstiger, which we deduced was probably an old Skytrex model. Being completely metal it had some real weight to it! (as compared to most mixed resin/metal models around these days).

I must say I had a lot of pleasure in restoring some of these older figures and getting them painted up as they had originally intended to be. I know quite a few folks would critique 70's and 80's sculpts whilst extolling the superiority of more modern manufacturers, but being a somewhat older fellow I've a certain nostalgia for the early stuff. I must say it's always great to see things like early Skytrex or Essex models still in use at Wargames Shows or Club events - adequately holding their own and still much loved by those who own them.

Anyway, back to the Konigstiger. I decided on an Ardennes style camo job which involved a GW blue/grey (Ulthan?) undercoat combined with a Vallejo German Camo Beige and Vallejo Dark Bluegrey. The tracks were painted in Vallejo German Grey then covered with patches of Vallejo Light Mud.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

King Richard III and WotR Archers 28mm

The first photo was taken at our Club night last week when we decided to put on a brief Wars of the Roses game for the benefit of the guys visiting from Wargames Illustrated Magazine. Both the Command Stand and the infantry were finished only a couple of hours before the game started, so I was feeling slightly under pressure. As it is I didn't think they were my best paint jobs to date - but for some reason the other attendees said otherwise! Richard III and his standard bearer are both Front Rank figures, whilst the Archers are all Perry Miniatures plastics. Those others in the background were lent to us courtesy of Rich Keenan. Nice figures with lots of character, poses etc but we'd no clue what make they were!

The game itself was a mix of tragedy and comedy, with myself getting bored of defensive tactics and pounding down off the hill to meet Dave and Paul's Lancastrians (bad idea).

I'm aware most of my posts have been museum's or days out recently, but rest assured behind the scenes I've been painting away like an absolute madman. All in a bold attempt to reduce the lead mountain accumulated from two previous wargames shows (Triples and Derby World wargames). So expect more updates very soon.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, RAF Coningsby 2014

Got home from a breathtaking afternoon at RAF Coningsby watching the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. This was my first time seeing the flight close-up and was at the suggestion of my Uncle who had two members tickets for the event. It was certainly packed out, and for anyone thinking of buying a subscription and going, it's a wise move to take along some folding chairs and cold drinks. There's a fair bit of waiting around as the aircraft are prepared, and like we did it's good to pick a spot and stick to it.

The hangar area had plenty of stalls selling merchandise of different sorts, plus some interesting charitable ones - such as the campaign to restore a Mosquito to flying condition. I took full advantage to buy a few art prints and get them signed by Sgt Pilot Eric Quinney who flew one of the Lancasters in the 1955 Dambusters film.

The photos probably don't do the flight justice. The Spitfires did a number of 'crosses' and other stunts before climaxing in Victory Rolls. However, the noise as the planes roared overhead in the 'big' formation (two Spitfires, two Hurricanes, the Dakota and the Lancaster) made the hairs stand up on my neck. Unbelievable stuff, and apparently the only time each year you'll get to see this happen.

Do yourself a favour, buy a membership (it's cheap) and get along to next year's!!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

National Museum of Ireland - Military Collection.

Last weekend myself and my partner had the good fortune to visit Dublin to see some friends. I'd been on a number of occasions previously, but hadn't considered a trip to the Museum situated at the Collins Barracks site. Thankfully these days many parts of Dublin City Centre which were once a mission to walk to are now connected by a tram system and you can buy a three day travel pass for just 20 Euros.

It's surprising to most that the National Museum even has a military collection, as it's not exactly well promoted through the official website and naturally most of the tourists seem more inclined toward Celtic art, traditional music (and Guiness perhaps). The Collins Barracks site itself is a fantastic feature and was quite central to the British military occupation prior to Independence when it was called The Royal Barracks. I'd just mention that it's good for a family visit because it also houses the Decorative Arts collection and has a nice cafeteria to boot.

A significant part is given over to the 1916 Rising, and anyone who's visiting Dublin with that particular theme in mind should definitely drop by the museum. It has some of the Mauser rifles that were smuggled into Howth and were used during the struggle (the one owned by Irish Revolutionary leader Thomas Clarke is featured below) along with many other original and interesting items. My favourite however was a fantastic artillery piece captured during the Anglo-Sikh War (again pictured below). There's also an Anti-Aircraft Gun, some items from the Irish Guards and their involvement in the Arnhem Campaign plus some displays dedicated to the development of the Irish Defence Forces.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Victory Show, Cosby, Leicestershire 2014

Last weekend saw myself, my partner and my uncle venturing off to the Victory Show. Last time I went was a couple of years ago, and I'd been itching to get back there again. The turnout seemed very good (perhaps due to the anniversary of Arnhem and D-Day) and the weather couldn't have been better - I even got a touch of sunburn!

First stop was the trade stalls, and I could feel the strong urge to spend well over my set budget within five minutes. A vast array of deactivated weapons got me considering a few additions to the collection. In the end my partner stepped in with some well timed financial advice. But it didn't prevent me coming away with a lovely German Civilian Gas Mask in issue box and some Home Guard shoulder titles for a display I'm planning.

Next came a walk around the Arnhem re-enactors site. Really impressive stuff. Most were dug into the tree line overlooking a field, complete with slit trenches, radio sets etc. We then went to view the vehicles which included some awe inspiring half-tracks, a T34, a Panzer III and a StuG (above). It was also good to stand and chat to some of the people from the re-enactors groups, of which there was a huge array. I took a great photo of my girlfriend stood with three SS Panzergrenadier officers who looked the absolute business! Unfortunately she wouldn't let me post the picture up on the internet!

Finally special praise was reserved for the Air Show. The B25 Mitchell was marvellous as it banked and circled around. But the outstanding moment for me was watching the P51 Mustang. The guy flew low over the crowd several times before looping over and putting it into a steep dive - just so the engines gave out that slight whine - then vroom!! banking away again. I was just rooted to the spot! Absolutely immense day out and one I'd definitely recommend to others.