Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Seventh Marca

Today I managed to finish the last of the seven Gripping Beast Arthurian cavalrymen I bought a few years back. He wasn't used in our battle this evening, but makes a welcome addition to our forces.

We now have 8 cavalry, 20-odd unarmoured infantry and half a dozen veteran and hero types painted up between us. We still have maybe 20 or so armoured infantry and that pack of 8 archers I bought at Salute to start on. We should have a decent sized Romano-British army when these are completed. We also did a bit of surfing to look for some enemies for them and came across some Pict minis that would go down well. I can't remember the manufacturer, but I am sure we will be able to find them again easily enough.

I was also able to put a bit more paint on the remaining Broo minis, as well as three adventurers, some Dragonewts and my first ever shop-bought figure - a 1976 Ral Partha centaur. He was my first ever Runequest character a few years later.

Monday, 25 April 2011

First Brytenwalda Battle Report

Alex and I decided to try out our first Brytenwalda game this evening. It was only to be a run through to familiarise ourselves with the rules a little. We pulled together the minis needed for the 600 Solidus armies and rolled for Defender and Attacker. We agreed on a 25% Solidus loss level to mark the end of the game.

Alex rolled higher and decided he wanted to be the Attacker. I set up a small 2' by 2' board with each player having a hill to their left flank and a small wood to their right. As Alex was Attacker he could swap two items of scenery and he decided he wanted the hills on his side and the woods on mine.

Here's Alex's army set up from my point of view.

Here's my army set up from Alex's point of view.

Turn 0

As Defender I set up first, with my cavalry on the right flank and the infantry holding the centre. Alex set up exactly the same way. We set up within 10 centimetres of our respective board edges.

Turn 1

I won Initiative so moved my cavalry through the woods towards Alex's infantry. I then moved my infantry directly forward in one large group. Alex basically copied my move, advancing his infantry towards my cavalry to cut them off and his cavalry to attack my infantry.

Turn 2

I won Initiative again, but failed my order roll. Luckily my infantry unit had a hero with them so could re-roll and luckily they passed second time round. So, both units moved forward a little more. Alex did the same. It looked like it would become two infantry versus cavalry battles in this skirmish.

Turn 3

Alex won initiative. With a roar his pendragon and marca hurtled into my infantry. Combat resolution was swift and bloody. I lost 5 aulue and Alex lost his marca. I lost the battle, so my unit was pushed back 1 inch. Both sides passed their Morale checks.

My part of the turn saw my cavalry return the compliment. Alex lost 3 aulue but I didn't lose any troops in the melee. As Alex lost the combat, his unit retreated 1 inch. Both sides passed their Morale checks.

We totted up the losses and found we had both lost more than 25% of our forces, so each side retreated (plus it was past Alex's bed time, so this worked out fortuitously). I lost 170 solidus and Alex lost 164, so we decided it was as near as dammit a draw, even though Alex edged it points wise.

Conclusions and observations...

The board we used was rather small, but this was a run through battle to just see how things played. Next time we'll have to at least double the size of the board to allow for 28mm scale movement as opposed to using the 15mm scale measurements.

Neither of us used the missile weapons of our marca - they had throwing spears.

I think we totted up the Combat rolls incorrectly, so 1 cavalryman would have had the same effect as 11 as against the 12 man infantry units in our game. Results would have been quite different otherwise.

It seems the whole unit is affected by combat as opposed to just those in base-to-base combat. We may look at changing this methodology for combat resolution in future games. That said, if we had smaller units then the effects would have made more sense.

This was a very quick game that took longer to read the relevant rules and set up than to run. That said, it was quite good fun despite our mistakes. Next time we will make a few amendments to our interpretation of the rules and maybe I will pit my daughters against Alex for a bit of sibling rivalry, as the two girls were asking why they couldn't play.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Battle of Darkwood village

Alex and I went down to the local GW this afternoon; he had an invite to game by bringing a leader, a unit and one other thing. He was to pair up with another player against two adversaries who did the same.

Darkwood village had been suffering from night-time raids for the last few weeks. Each night one or two villagers would go missing and never return. Eventually, the nerve of the raiders grew and the raids became more daring, with attacks happening in broad daylight. The villagers saw that their enemy was an unholy alliance between skaven and ogres. The local lord, Duke Behemond, called upon his fiefdom to turn out to counter the threat, and through the magic of the local woods, the Darkwood of the village's name, the elves of the local area joined them. Battle would commence the next time the ogres and rat-men tried to raid the village.

The armies lined up as follows (bear in mind I am unfamiliar with the unit names, so only approximate labels will be given):

The Forces of Light

Duke Behemond
9 Knights of the Realm (including leader, banner and musician)
16 Archers

The Elves of Darkwood
Elf mage (Level 3)
5 High Elf cavalry
12 High Elf infantry

The Forces of Darkness

The Clan Rats
Skaven mage (level 3)
2 Rat Ogres and master
20 Clan Rats
20 Clan Rats (reinforcements at Turn 4)

The Gutbuckets
Ogre Mage with large cauldron (level 3)
2 Gorgers
12 Ogres

Turn 1

Everbody advanced towards the enemy their maximum moves. Nobody was in range for Magic, Archery or combat.

The Ogres advance into the village looking for man-flesh to satiate their hunger. The Clan rats did the same but the Gorgers were hidden in the forest but never emerged.

Turn 2

Magic was quite uneventful except the elf mage was able to cast Shield of Thorns (or something similar sounding) onto the Bretonnian Knights to bolster them for extra attacks at the end of their combat. The Elf riders were able to charge into combat. They hit the Rat Ogres and destroyed one of them. On retaliation, the Rat Ogres were able to kill two Elf riders. The Rat Ogres lost the combat and fled through the Clan Rats that were following them up, but caused no problems for them. The Elf Riders careered into the Clan Rats instead. Elsewhere, the Bretonnian Knights charged into the Ogres on their right flank. They were able to kill one Ogre and the Ogres returned the favour, but the Knights won the combat. They caused the Ogres to flee but were unable to follow up and finish them off with the Shield of Thorns extra attacks - they also stopped an inch short of the Ogres.

Turn 3

The Bretonnian archers managed to make it up the hill but realised the fight was moving away from them, so moved to the other side of the hill in order to be able to take pot-shots at any who came within range. Magic was uneventful on both sides again. The Gorgers were still stuck inside the forest. The Bretonnian Knights charged into the Ogres again, causing two to be killed, and lost two knights again in return. The Ogres turned and fled again after losing the combat but this time the Knights followed up successfully and destroyed them to an Ogre. The Clan rats duked it out with the Elf cavalry and for the loss of three rats managed to kill two elves. The Clan Rats lost the combat and fled, with the solitary Elf rider catching them and annihilating them. It was quite amazing that both the remaining Elf Rider and Bretonnian Knights rolls left them barely an inch short of following off the table and being lost to the battle!

Turn 4

Magic was still relatively uneventful for the Good side, but the Elf Mage managed to resurrect a couple of the Elf Riders. A Clan Rat reinforcement unit emerged from the left flank and engaged the Elf Spearmen. The Bretonnian Knights saw the Ogre Mage may hit them in the rear, so did a 180 and fled back up the hill, just outside of his field of combat. The three Elf Riders were able to hit the Ogre, but he also managed to turn and face them. Unfortunately the combat was short and bloody - all three Elf Riders were destroyed. The newly arrived Clan Rats were shot at by the Bretonnian archers with one arrow clinking off the leader's armour before being engaged by the Elf spearmen and mage. The Elves managed to cause 4 casualties before being wiped off the table by being beaten in the combat and fleeing whilst being pursued. The Clan Rat mage launched some sort of Fireball at the Bretonnian archers, killing 5 in the process. They held their nerve as they were within the leadership range of the Bretonnian Lord. The gorgers, at long last, managed to leave the woods, but failed their charge rolls and barely managed to move, which was very lucky for the Bretonnian knights as they'd have almost certainly have been destroyed as it would have been a rear attack.

It as at this point we had to leave the game as time had run out. The Games Workshop staff decided it was a draw as both sides had lost units; on reflection, I think the Baddies lost three units to the Goddies' two. Anyway, it doesn't really matter as it was a close game and anything could have happened. The main thing was that Alex enjoyed himself playing his first Warhammer game.

King John

Alex picked this figure up at Salute a couple of years ago. I think it only cost him about £1 from the Miniature Wargames stall. He was never really sure what to do with it but just liked the look of it. Anyway, he managed to get it painted up over the last couple of weeks, and here's the results...

The heraldry on the shield was hand painted by Alex. I think he has done a sterling job on this.

We are now both off to Games Workshop for an afternoon of him playing some Warhammer. He will be taking some of his Bretonnians. He needs to take: a leader, a unit, plus one other thing. Alex is taking a Duke, some archers and some knights. We don't know who his opponent is yet, so he could be up against any other army.

Friday, 22 April 2011


Well, here they are at long last, my first set of Runequest minis. They are a warband of Broo for use with HotT. I was also able to base up and put more paint onto some more Runequest stuff ready for skirmish gaming. Anyway, these chaps (billies?) were from a boxed set of 9 Runequest Broo I bought way back in the eighties out of my Saturday morning job money. I used to get £5 per morning and I usually popped straight over the road after work to the hobby shop and bought either the latest vinyl LP of whoever was my fave band at the time or a bunch of gaming minis. These cost me a week's wages back then!

They will be used as a mercenary warband for one of my armies I am building; most likely the orcs/goblins army or the barbarians.

15mm Dungeon Delvers

My friend Colin was able to collect a load of his 15mm fantasy minis together that we use for our game Dark Realm and get them photographed. I have posted them below with his comments...


The goblins are mostly Tin Soldier. The two more evolved ones on the far left are AD&D. The bat (which isn't very clear) is Chariot. They come on swarms and have to be separated if you want all individual bats. Some are more easily separated off than others.

The delvers

Back row (left to right)

a. Minifigs Russ commander
b. The same mage figure as described in the Magi section below
c. An Eastern commander

First row:

a. Tin Soldier Dwarf
b. Chariot elven thief
c. Minifigs Irish leader
d. Tin Soldier Cleric
e. Another converted Minifigs staff slinger
f. This started life as a Minifigs late medieval pikeman. Its slight stature loaned itself to gender reassignment. A shield and sword have been added.



These are all Minifigs, some being subject to more conversion than others. The Goblins are almost entirely Tin Soldier.

Back row (left to right):

a. Originally an "ancients" staff slinger, with the head removed and replaced with that of a Norman Knight and an axe blade fashioned from plastic packaging (the same as the clear bases).

b. A medieval knight with the head changed to that of a mounted Teutonic knight. It is a shame Minifigs does not do on foot figures for their mounted ones, but I have just bought 2 packs of the "personalities" and used the heads. I will do some pictures of the knights I have done so far with a mounted and foot version of each character, showing the charges on their shields.

c. A Viking archer, as manufactured. Quite a nice figure, although as it already has lots of character, it bit difficult to personalise further to make a number of different personalities.

Front row (left to right)

a. A Medieval standard bearer with his banner changed for a sword.

b. Byzantian unit commander (as manufactured)

c. A Medieval unit commander with his weapon changed to a home made axe. The delicate shield design is perhaps a little incongruous with a crude axe. I may change the weapon some time in the future.

d. Another staff slinger with a Milliput gender reassignment, assisted by a bit of trimming to make a better waist. The head is of a saxon warrior from another manufacturer. The hammerhead is Milliput.

The staff slinger figure, being a rather strapping chap, is one of my favourites for converting to any large statured hero.

Lil' Fellows

I'm not sure where the inspiration came for this bizarre party, although their appearance has a familiar ring about it. The short chaps with the pointy ears and no shoes are Tin Soldier and the fellow (although I am not sure of what College) in grey is a Peter Pig Russian Priest without his crucifix and wearing a rather improbable Milliput hat.

MAGES (Perhaps that should be Magi?)

The skeletons are AD&D. The Magi are of various makes and most involved a degree of conversion and adaption. The two on the right are Chariot and were painted as they came.

The back row are (left to right):

A Minfigs monk with a different Minifigs head.

A Minifigs monk with a Chariot head that has had Milliput beard and long hair added. The monk was carrying a religious emblem that has been shortened to a magic staff, tipped with a small glass bead.

A Peter Pig Russian Priest. His crucifix has been replaced with a gem from an American nails kit.

Front row (left to right):

A Peter Pig Russian Priest, with a Milliput hat and elaborated beard. His staff has been tipped with a a gem from an American nails kit.

A Minifigs medieval peasant. This figure is a bit androgynous, but I have painted it to further suggest femininity, including giving her bright lips. I have also extended her weapon to a staff and added a gem from a card-art kit. The gem is a little large, but this hedge-wizard is clearly working some significant power.

The gems work very well on the table, adding a bit of "magic" sparkle. Like the gloss paint, they don't work so well in the kind of flash photos I am able to take.

Thanks to Colin for sharing these with us. I should be getting some more of my minis up on here over the weekend, and I think Alex has a fair few minis ready for photographing too. Alex also has a trip to GW planned for tomorrow where he can get a game in with his Bretonnians and the staff will help him with painting up a small unit, maybe his Pegasus Knights. Its just down to me to get them prepared for him (cutting and glueing)!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Salute 2011

I attended Salute yesterday and managed to get the few items on my list that I need to complete a few armies for the future; well, they'll probably wind up on the lead/plastic mountains for a while before I get round to doing anything with them, but at least I have them.

It seemed to be quite busy at the show and the two queues outside prior to kick-off were quite long. Miniature Wargames magazine hired on some pretty young ladies to sell their magazine to the punters in the queue outside the venue, and the juxtaposition between these glamorous young ladies and the majority overweight, middle-aged geeks/chaps (myself included) in the queue was quite funny to behold and I found myself chuckling a little at the thought.

I didn't actually get to take part in any games but did chat to a few manufacturers about future releases etc. Dark Age/Medieval rule books seem to have come out in abundance with Warlord Games's Hail Caesar, another set called Clash of Armies and a soon to be released skirmish game from Gripping Beast which was showcased with a lovely display battle.

This was great for me as I caught up on my Dark Age/Medieval purchases in the form of a couple each of the new Gripping Beast plastic sets (Saxon Thegns and Viking Hirdmen) and a blister of 8 Arthurian archers for Brytenwalda. I will have to read up on the reviews of the above rules to see which set will suit me best and if I'll buy any as a result. I must admit, I do like to buy rules just for the sake of a good read and having something to put up on my bookshelf to look pretty.

I also managed to pick up a set of polyhedral dice in plain black to match in with my GW d6 dice set, so I can start to run AD&D again - I'll probably get a few more sets at the next show as they were only a few quid per set. Whilst at the show I got a reminder call from the wife who said not to forget to get the girls a set of dice each after they had lost all of my old dice enjoying playing games with them. I managed to get them a couple of sets of polyhedrals in pink and in purple - the lady behind the counter empathising with the needs of daughters. When I got home I asked my daughters what their favourite colour was and luckily they chose the colours I had bought them - result!

Finally I picked up all the usual magazines; Wargames Illustrated, Miniature Wargames (albeit not from the girls outside), and the re-released Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. I am looking forward to reading all of these, especially WSS as the sister publication Medieval Warfare comes out soon.

I am pleased with my purchases and enjoyed the day. I forgot to mention that Alex was with me and he enjoyed the daily equally as much. He had a good look round but his pocket money only went on a set of metal Knights Hospitallers from Perry. We also grabbed a few packs of round slotta-bases in readiness for any new project we have in mind in the next year or so.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Brytenwalda Aulue 2

Finally got these Brytenwalda aulue finished. They are the twelve that Alex will be using in his games against me. They are the so-called green warband, but there were only enough transfers to do eight of them in green, so the rest had to have red. Hopefully we can get a game going in the next couple of weeks. All figures are Gripping Beast and the shield transfers are from LBMS. Here's the first picture, showing the swordsman and banner bearer (without banner at the moment) front-centre.

Next up is a more bird's eye view, showing off most of the shields.

Finally, here's a shot from where the banner bearer is looking.

I managed to finish off the dip last night and after the time it had taken to dry over night, I was able to finish off the bases and spray varnish them.

I also put a bit more paint on a few more Broo and several of them are now ready for basing and/or varnishing. I managed to base up a few this afternoon but they won't be ready for finishing until next weekend or one evening during the week if the weather (and light) holds up.


I got my order through for the dip the other day and got to work on my Runequest miniatures. Here's a picture of what I buy to do the job. It is quite expensive at £16 a tin, but it saves me a lot of time considering I paint quite slowly and need full daylight to allow me to focus properly on what I am doing.

I had a good sort through my Runequest miniatures yesterday. I don't have as many as I used to as I sold off a massive bunch of them several years ago, which I am now regretting, but that's life.

At a quick count up I have 3 human adventurers, 12 Broo, 8 Dragnonewts and a Centaur. These will all be making an appearance on the blog over the next couple of weeks. I have put 5 of the Broo onto a HotT base to use as a Warband of mercenaries for either my barbarian or orc/goblin armies. The rest I have mounted on 2p coins to set them apart from my other RPG minis which are on 1p coins. I used to have a big stack of ducks and baboons, but these were amongst the minis I sold off - shame really as they would have worked well as more HotT units and some Runequest RPG characters/monsters. I may see if they are still available on the net somewhere and pick up a few.

I also dug out my Avalon Hill Runequest rules box set - we have just rearranged all of our books on the new shelves bought a few weeks back and all the rule books were separated out. I may see about knocking up a couple of characters just for fun.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Doggerland - 10th Campaign Turn

Just thought I'd update the blog with a copy of the map from the 10th Campaign Turn of Doggerland - we are around 1/3rd of the way through the game now. Things have really moved on since Turn 3. We have had one war leader loss and one new player join (albeit being under referee random rolling control). Things are very much in the balance at the moment, so it is still anyone's game.

Run out of dip

I finished off the actual painting of the last of those Brytenwalda troops last night only to find that when I got to the stage of washing the figures themselves, I found that it had completely dried up in the tin! There wasn't much left, but it still came as a shock. I suppose it is at this point I should mention my standard painting technique. It is very simple really, but I think I get fairly OK results; good enough for the table-top, which is all I am aiming at really.

1. Block paint the figure neatly with bold colours
2. Paint on the wash/dip (this acts as a quick shade and first base coat of gloss varnish)
3. Complete the base...
a. Glue on sand
b. Ink it
c. Paint it brown
d. Dry brush it a lighter shade (usually bleached bone)
e. Glue on static grass or flock
4. Spray on matt varnish to dull down the dip (gives a less glossy finish) and fix the base

Products used...
Games Workshop acrylic paints, sand and static grass
Army Painter Quickshade Dip (Strong Tone)

Seeing as I am not going to be able to completely finish any minis for a while, I will have to get cracking on painting some of the rest of my backlog to the point of dipping. I dug out my EIR Eastern auxiliary archers and another unit of EIR auxiliary spearmen. These will be painted to represent another contingent to add to my EIR Century already completed a year or two back. My plan for this army is as follows...

1 Command unit (legate, primus pilus etc)
1 complete Century of Roman Legionaries (80 + command)
1 unit of Roman cavalry swordsmen (10)
1 unit of Roman cavalry spearmen (10) - not purchased yet
1 scorpion and 1 onager

1 unit of Western archers (16)
1 unit of Western auxiliary spearmen (24 + command)
1 unit of Celtic cavalry (10)
1 scorpion

1 unit of Eastern archers (16)
1 unit of Eastern auxiliary spearmen (24 + command) - the minis are western but I'll paint them as eastern
1 unit of Numidian cavalry (10)
1 unit of Roman camel riders (3) - not purchased yet
1 scorpion

I am not sure what else to add to this force, but elephants would be a good bet if Warlord Games ever release any. Aventine Miniatures have released some beautiful elephants but the crews are a little too early for what I need; Hellenistic and Pyrrhus. I may be able to convert some of my EIRs to fit the bill though, but they would probably not do the elephant figures any justice. I may also add some Praetorians and/or some veterans, but I will wait and see as I have plenty to be getting on with at the moment.

My idea for this unit is that they are based on the borderlands of the Empire (Britain or Germany in the west or somewhere like Syria in the east) and will be hit by rebellious locals. The size of the unit is flexible enough that I can play large scale table-top battles with all of the minis used to represent units rather than individuals or small scale skirmishes where each man represents a man.

Other minis I am working on are those Broo. I managed to put some paint onto them yesterday too. Hopefully I can get them to the dipping stage within the next couple of weeks too so that when the order comes through I can get a whole stack of minis completed all at once.

I have also been thinking about running some solo AD&D adventures to get used to the rules again. I have aload of really old White Dwarfs and Imagine magazines from which I can choose. If these run well, I can hopefully pbem them with my gaming buddies.

Lots to think on and do, I just hope I can keep up with my ambitions!