Thursday, 23 December 2021

Merry Christmas, one and all!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Reflecting on the past 12 months, it's been an interesting year from a wargaming point of view.
My output is quite low for the year (320 of my 'painting points' ... ie a point each for foot figure, horse gun, etc). Much of that was painted in the first part of the year. Something happened mid-year that threw me off balance a bit I reckon! 
But at least I managed to have a few games, and in particular it was good to get some WAB games in with new-found pals, The Old Berks (Andy, John, Steve), and also to have the odd game with John Boadle and Garry Broom (our most recent being a Napoleonic bash the other evening).

As every year, I am grateful to all the commenters and visitors to the blog. Thank you. 

I'll post more thoughts on planning for the coming year in due course.

For now, I wish you compliments of the season. May you and your families and loved ones enjoy peace and goodwill at a time when we could all do with a whole load of peace and goodwill.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 5 December 2021

Table set-ups

This weekend, I promised myself I  would just lay out a few scenes on the tabletop; not a game, not a 'parade'  as such, but scenes that convey a narrative perhaps. They're not dioramas, they're more like 'set-pieces'. 


I chose to potter around with the Wars of the Vaubarian Succession (WVS, c 1704) collection...

All figures and flags painted by yours truly. Buildings constructed by several very good modelers, as noted.

First up: Astrovian Grenadiers defend a hilltop position against Vaubarian cuirassiers...

Next; Astrovian infantry and artillery on the march.
The building was made, and painted, by John Boadle.

Below: Vaubarians defend a village.
Buildings are by Brian Rigelsford, painted by me.

Finally; Vaubarian Hussars on patrol.
Building is my own simple scratch-built model. 

Is it just me, or does anyone else set up tabletop scenes too?

It allowed my mind to wander off a little. It also made me realise that I need a few more vignettes to add to further scenes. Better get back to the paint desk...

Friday, 26 November 2021

The Croats arrive - at last!

As part of my ongoing 'finishing spree' another unit which has been long in the pipeline is a bunch of Thirty Years War Croats.

Over a decade ago, I did a lot of TYW stuff (some may remember my Breitenfeld Blog which showcased that particular project back then).

Brian Rigelsford had a habit of sending me 'rudimentary sketches' (works of art to us mere mortals, but 'rudimentary sketches' to Brian). He would then describe over the phone how he would do the figure 'master conversions' and then ask if there were any that I didn't want!! A master salesman as well as a terrific artist (a rare combo). 

Of course, I could hardly resist, and lo and behold a few days later a parcel would arrive with the figures inside... a mass of miliput, a few bits of original metal showing, but mostly miliput. Even the horses for these Croats were 'cut and shut' jobs allowing for all sorts of active poses.

For most figures, I painted them myself, but some I sent away to get professionally painted. In the case of these Croats, I sent them to David Jarvis to get his masterful treatment.

They arrived back and I was delighted with them. To my eternal shame, they then sat in a box for a few years and I simply didn't get round to basing them and doing the flag...until last week.

So here they are at last, after about a decade! Good job it was the thirty years war, not the ten years war, or they might never have made it to the battlefield!

Here is the unit with Brian's original concept sketch.

Finally, in addition to the unit itself, as a 'bonus piece', Brian produced a lovely little vignette, hinting at the nature of the TYW where many innocents were caught up in "Europe's Tragedy".

That's all for now...

Until next time, I hope your "Black Friday" is going as well as can be expected.

Monday, 15 November 2021

Finishing Spree

I am currently on what I can only describe as a "Finishing Spree"... 

Before moving onto anything fresh, I am tidying up some loose ends... This may take several months. Who knows?

Anyway, I have started with a regiment which has been half finished for something like a decade!

The Classic Collection is really just a shelf-parade these days for me, although that may change soon.

But the Constantinov Regt needed to be finished, just to tick a box on my hobby project planner... So here are a couple of snaps as they rolled off the workbench (figuratively) at the weekend:


There are a few more images and further details on my other blog  - Classic Wargaming.

Other items in the finishing pile range from Ancients to TYW, to Marlburian (Wars of the Vaubartian Succession), to many more.

I'm not sure what precipitated the desire to tidy up such loose ends... maybe it was the fact that I have been in hospital for a small procedure relating to my Prostate Cancer. It's been almost 5 years since my first diagnosis, and I'm still here... a couple of things from most recent surveillance (blood tests and MRI scan) were causing the medics some concern, so more prodding and poking was needed (I think they just want an excuse!). Nothing to report back yet, but perhaps that is what has put me in the mood to finish up some things.

Who knows... but to the many who have enquired about my well-being, thank you. The big message for me, and from me, is to just enjoy your hobby - it is the most glorious escape, especially when you do it your way!

Thursday, 4 November 2021

A New Blog on the Block...

Over the years, I have admired the modelling work of John Boadle.

Many readers will be familiar with the brilliant buildings John creates.

Well... I have some great news!
John asked me if I thought he should have a blog. And if so, would I be willing to help him get it set up.

You can imagine how keen I was to do so...

And so, a new blog is born.

John Boadle - Hand-Built History. (click link)

Pop over and have a look.

Expect John to be adding images from his extensive back-catalogue of models, and also some new stuff over the weeks and months ahead.

Monday, 1 November 2021

A WABtastic weekend... and more!

The past few days have been a great weekend of gaming, comraderie, socialising, and generally being middle-aged bloke-ish, within the confines of our hobby.

Steve Gill came over for the weekend, and we were joined on the Saturday by Andy Moran and John Kersey for a game of WAB.

We decided to pack a 6x4 table with a doubles game (each of us fielding 1500 points worth). My Rise of Macedon army allied with Andy's Greeks, and we faced up to John (all round WAB Oriental guru) and Steve fielding a couple of armies from John's vast collection.

The banter, the spirit, and the desire to have a fun game shone through. Here are just a few pictures from the game. There were some crucial moments (not least my hard-pressed Hypaspists fighting an army general, army standard bearer, and sundry other chaps, needing to pass an Ld test on a 3, and getting snake-eyes!) I'm sure a fuller report will be forthcoming on Andy's blog (see previous post) as he tends to keep a more accurate eye on proceedings! John Kersey has provided an outline report on the Facebook WAB group, including mention of the flaming bull ruse that the Chinese Yin general (played by Steve) tried to unleash towards the end. A young Prince Alexander narrowly escaped being gored and flame-grilled!

A couple of people have asked why we are playing on such plain, featureless, terrain-less tables using WAB. Well, the simple explanation is that we are just getting used to the rules again, and want to keep things simple for the moment. However, that may change very soon...

And here are the gang. We're referring to ourselves as The Old Berks (a reference to Berkswell, the village where I live). In this picture, we are toasting my first grandchild with suitable refreshments!

l-r: Steve, John, Andy, myself.

After the WAB game, and the departure of Andy and John, Steve and I set up a quick game of... wait for it... Dragon Rampant, using figures I have had in boxes since the 1980s. 

Well, it was Halloween weekend, after all, and the end of what some people refer to as "Orctober".

I had picked up a few old plastic goblins on ebay and over the past week did a bit of converting and painted them up for the game. I decided not to do green-skin and go more for a Middle Earth look as I had imagined it when I first read The Hobbit back in 1973!

Anyway, that was the Action at Bumbleberry Bridge where Steve commanded the Dwarves to a victory against the Orc/ goblin/ Troll force. A suitable end to a great day's gaming.

Meanwhile, on the paint desk, I've been dabbling - here are a few Han Chinese figures I have been experimenting with. That Mr Kersey can be a bad influence!!

Right now, I'm starting to put together plans for a winter of 'finishing' where I plan to tidy up a few loose ends around certain projects. We'll see.

We are also looking at the diary and planning more Old Berks gatherings.

Hope all blog visitors are well in these challenging and uncertain times. May your hobby flourish!

All the best...

Friday, 8 October 2021

Looking for Inspiration?

Just a short post:

If you are looking for inspiration, allow me to draw your attention to a new blog by my regular WAB opponent, Andy Moran.

It's full of ancient goodness, and I really like some of the graphics he uses in the battle reports.

Looking forward to seeing more.

On the theme of inspiration, I will be at Partizan this weekend... I get the feeling this is going to be a very busy show. Personally, I can't wait.

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Another Hellenistic WAB bash

First, a bit of news... I have become a Grandad. My first grandchild, Elijah, arrived last Wednesday... I am thrilled. Of course, he will now be prime heir to my wargaming collection, if he ever becomes interested! I have time to 'groom' him for that.

Back to the tabletop...

Once again Andy came over for a game of WAB yesterday, bringing with him a Phokian Greek army to face my Rise of Macedon army.

I had Philip of Macedon in command, and the young Alexander as a Hipparch leading the Companions.

What I hadn't prepared for was the appearance of three Phokian stone throwers... or as they became known the phlippin' Phokian ph*****g stone phrowers!

They did a lot of damage to my phalanxes as the latter moved across the table. My Agrianians also managed to throw a 1 on their fire and flee move, got caught by pursuers and were wiped out, and it all went from bad to worse. I manasged some minor 'victories' during the game, but the day couldn't be saved! In the end it was a 'losing draw' for me. Back to the drawing board for next time I face the war machines... it was a good learning process.

As we are coming to expect from these WAB games, it was great fun, the afternoon very enjoyable, and we have more games planned.

Here are just a few snaps of the game which will give you a flavour of the action. I have included some close up photos of some of the units in Andy's very nice army too.

In a couple of weeks time, I'll be at Partizan. Hope to see many of you there.