Sunday, 30 November 2014

Dark Age Britain

Another period in history that interests me is Dark Age Britain, the period after the Romans left until the arrival of the Normans in 1066. It is also a period I have not modelled in 1/72nd scale. A company named 'Gripping Beast' have brought out three plastic box sets, each contain approximately 40 figures for £18. Currently they have released: Saxon Thegns, Viking Hirdmen and Dark Age Warriors. The figures are excellent sculpts and can be arranged in various poses.
Saxon Thegns box set.
I bought some shield transfers separately and am very pleased with how they look.
 A variety of shield transfers.
 The Warlord wearing a red cloak.
 A mixture of swordsmen, axemen and spearmen.

The figures look great even with my mediocre painting, for the first time I used an acrylic wash on the miniatures and was pleased with the result.
The 120 or so figures in the three boxes I purchased are more than enough to fight small skirmish battles on a small table measuring 3 x 3 (feet) using an excellent set of rules known as Saga.
The book contains the very simple rules, and four battle boards that are used in conjuction with die rolls. Battles are fought with less than 30 figures per side, an excellent way to start miniature wargaming.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Solo War gaming

Out of necessity, having a wheel chair bound wife, I spend all of my evenings at time at home, I enjoy painting the soldiers and will happily spend a couple of hours of an evening doing just that. Beats watching the rubbish on television. When I decided to war game, I didn't know anyone who would be interested in the hobby, not locally anyway. Solo was the way for me to go. It does have advantages, my opponent is always available when I am, he doesn't drink my beer, doesn't mind me tinkering with the rules in mid-game. The disadvantages are I need to collect and build two armies, there is no banter such a game would undoubtedly encourage. No surprise tactics or movements. 


I use the Pike & Shotte rules by Warlord Games, in a modified form that suits me, I don't like all the rules in the book and as such modify them to my own taste. I also base my troops on some plastic bases I have had for a number of years, each base holds three horsemen or up to twelve figures. I also single base my figures as I like the flexibility that it gives. I would of course have problems going up or down a hill of course.


Unlike a model railway layout, the terrain for a war gaming table needs to be constantly changed so no gluing or fixing down of scenery. Also I use the kitchen table and 'She who must be obeyed,' would not wear that. I am shortly going to purchase an 8 x 4 (feet) sheet of MDF, cut into two 4 x 4 boards. I shall hinge it in the middle and when not in use will be stored in the garden shed. Having a folding board will make it much simpler to store and of course to carry around.
Currently my battles are restricted to the size of my kitchen table top 5 x 3 (feet). Not ideal, the whole table is covered by a sheet of green cloth obtained from a local store for a couple of pounds, the yellow crop fields are simply squares of felt that cost 50 pence each. The same price was paid for the grey felt that was cut into strips for a road. The houses are resin and came unpainted, at a very reasonable price, as was the ruined church at the bottom of the photograph. Hedges and trees were home made using balsa or MDF, lichen and scatter materials. A simple, but I think an acceptable battlefield.
The two houses represent the outskirts of a village, the road passing through. The hedgerows beside the road are home made as mentioned above. You can also see the bases I use in this shot.
Another shot looking along the whole length of the battlefield. The Royalists on the left and Parliament on the right, defending the village.

Prince Rupert (right) his Dragoon leader (centre) and a Brigade commander (left) discuss tactics on the road leading to the village.
 The church having been primed with spray paint is arranged on its MDF base.
 As you can see the detailing is very good.

The largest piece is the end with the remains of a window frame.
 Here it has been glued down, base painted and flock added, it is still drying in these photographs.
Bushes, trees and rocks still need to be added.
 A small stone cottage painted up and ready for use on the game table.

 A two storey timber framed house also ready for use.
The house is photographed in a small diorama box. This is an old cardboard box with the top and front removed. A grass mat added and a model railway photographic back scene (N Gauge) added. I also made a tree from a piece of privet hedge and lichen, and the bushes too are lichen. Makes the photographs of the buildings and the troops more pleasing, I think.
 A regiment of Foot in formation in the diorama box.
 All ready to face any foe.
Take aim!
 Two regiments of Horse. With more shots of them in the following photographs.

It almost brings them to life.
Next some home made forest/wood pieces using Sea Moss for trees, MDF bases, lichen bushes, rocks and scatter.

 I cut the bases so that both pieces could be placed together to form a larger forest/wood.

Some troops added for scale. 

Put down a piece of brown felt and you have a winding muddy track through the woods.

Or a road.

Even a river.

Placed end to end for a longer wood.

Well, I hope you found all that of some interest.
I have taken delivery of a baggage train consisting of four carts, cart horses, a mule train and horse walkers. I shall be building and painting all that during the month of December. I will of course keep you updated on the blog.

Friday, 28 November 2014

A few of my troops.

I started the Civil War army with the Battalia Set from Warlord Games. The box contained enough figures for two regiments of foot, two regiments of horse and a storming party.

The foot regiments consist of three sprues containing 13 figures each plus a command sprue of two officers and a drummer/fifer. Enough to construct 42 figures and initially that was indeed what I did. At the time I had the idea to war game with the figures in the future and after painting a couple of full foot regiments, realised on the small table I currently have access to, 5 feet x 3 feet, they would be too large so I now build foot regiments of 28/29 figures. Each horse regiment is 12 figures strong.
Part of the Parliamentary Army. Dragoons at the front, four regiments of Foot and a regiment of Horse at the rear. Oliver Cromwell raises his hat to his men.
A pair of Royalist regiments in the foreground, part of the artillery and six regiments of Horse on display.

The Marquis of Newcastle's Foot (Royalist) move to occupy the church ruins.
Taking up defensive positions among the church ruins.
Two regiments of Parliamentary Horse enter the field.
The Horse launch an attack.
The battle in full swing.

I don't claim to be a great painter, but to be fair, you don't need to be. The mass of figures grouped together, draw the attention not each single figure.

I shall post more photographs in my next update.