Thursday 24 December 2020

Season's Greetings from Run Dingill.


A long overdue post, I really had to show my latest piece of  terrain , handmade for me by the very talented Geoff Solomon-Sims of Oakbound Studios. It is a model of Dun Ringill, an Iron age fort on the Isle of Skye. I've wanted to make this more many years, but something always got in the way of starting it. Happily, Geoff volunteered to make it, and in record time it was winging it's way to me. It's going to be called Run Dingill and is the headquarters of the Stormwatch led by Admiral Sirius, pictured here mustering outside the walls. The attention to detail is mind boggling and is fully documented here in one of Geoff's weekly videos which are well worth tuning into each Wednesday. So many many thanks Geoff... I'm sure I'll be asking you to make more terrain for me in the future, a frozen lake perhaps and some towering ice pinnacles.

It's been a very strange year of course, and I have been incredibly lucky (so far) in that the pandemic, really has had a minimal impact on my life. My work carried on as normal, my wife was furloughed on full salary and oldest son started Forestry college as planned. Having said that, my old Mum passed away just as the first lockdown started (at 93, non Covid related), and at the start of the year I was being knocked about by Hypo-Thyroidism, now thankfully under control, so 2020 is a year I won't remember fondly, but as things go, I think I got off pretty lightly.

I've got too many projects on the go of course. As always in the winter I get back into Dungeons and Dragons, and am determined to get some more figures finished for Monster Manual Monday and Fiend Folio Friday. My Joe Dever Minas Tirith collection is under way and I hope to be able to show some results soon, starting off with some Haradrim and Mumakil.

I've found I've had a lot less time to look at other peoples blogs and comment on them, so for this I apologise. Partially due to me wasting time looking at facebook groups. I really do prefer blogs rather than fleeting facebook posts, but they are more time consuming to put together. A happy medium may be Instagram....

Anyhow, I hope you all have as good a Christmas as you possibly can and we all look forward to a year without Trump, endless Brexit cock ups and perhaps even Covid-19.

Thursday 29 October 2020


Last week, I had a comment from a reader called Yaztromo's Confectioner , informing me of a battle report in the magazine GM, featuring Joe Dever's collection. Needless to say I was on eBay in seconds and found the correct issue April 1989 for a couple of quid. It arrived yesterday and I quickly flicked through to the correct pages. The first thing that struck me was the truly stunning mullet sported by one of the participants, but once I overcame my shock at seeing that I settled down to read the article called To Catch a Thief. The scenario appears to be set in the world of Lone Wolf, ie. Magnamund, but in most other respects it's a direct copy of the Thistlewood scenario in White Dwarf 45. We have a thief called Dal Khordas ( in Thistlewood he's Foro Malas) who has stolen a magic sceptre (TW a chalice). The good king Alin (TW Amias) has mobilised a small force to hunt it down aided by his ally Prince Pelethar (TW Baron Galen). The villain Kraagenskul ( TW Vassago) is keen to find the sceptre which the thief has hidden somewhere in the village of Marshbury ( Thistlewood). The forces have to hunt through the village looking for the magic artefact. There's even a teleporting tomb/ crypt and a magic sword which attracts undead just as there is in the Thistlewood scenario. Sadly there are no maps or army lists in this article, but several tantalising pictures where I can see stalwarts of Joe's collection as well as newer slotta based figures. This really is a great find and I'd like to thank Yaztromo's Confectioner for bringing it to my attention.

The resin church in the centre was in the last report I found. I have one of these, but don't know the manufacturer.

The unit of red cavalry was in the last report I found, and I believe they are Minifigs Cataphracts.
To the left we have an entire unit of LOTR mounted Nazgul...I can only assume Joe had access to cheap figures from Citadel.

Left foreground some Riders of Rohan from the 1985 Citadel range... behind them are Knights of Dol Amroth which featured in Joe's later games as Knights of Durendor from Lone Wolf.

Pretty sure I can see a big unit of Lone Wolf Giaks in the right foreground. Far left midground are the Red Minifigs knights that crop up in many of Joe's games, including Thistlewood.

Tuesday 15 September 2020


 A unit for my Prehammer collection. Fiend Factory zombies led by an Asgard Wight.  Tried out contrast paints properly for the first time . Straight from the pot over a white undercoat, so worked quite well I feel. I'd been treating them as a wash which isn't the right thing to do. They certainly made quick work of these. I want to have a go at applying them over black undercoat, dry brushed grey or white.

Monday 14 September 2020

Saturday 12 September 2020


I don't seem to spend as much time just surfing the net nowadays, so was delighted to find a little write up  here , from a lucky fellow who attended a Lone Wolf Battle Day hosted by Joe Dever himself. I must admit that the Lone Wolf books came along just as I was losing interest in fantasy gaming and in particular Fighting Fantasy style books (what was I thinking of.... beer and wimmen probably), so I'm not well versed in the lore of Magnamund where the books are set, but although the battle shown here features Lone Wolf and also slotta figures, there are plenty of Joe's older collection to be spotted, including units that appear at Thistlewood!

I reckon this game took place in late '86 or '87 (one of the photos in the write up shows some Games Day awards dated 85 and 86). I have copied some of the pictures below which I believe were taken by Joe Dever himself. If I am breaching any copyright or similar, please let me know and I'll remove them.

Here we have initial deployment. The units at the bottom left are Hinchliffe Yonderley Men and featured in a picture illustrating Thistlewood. I reckon the red Minifigs knights on the right were there as well!

Some splendid green hobgoblins and orcs charge some foresters... many of these figures are outside my comfort zone being slotta castings (mounted on card here), but I can see a Citadel FA ranger, and the cavalry are Minifigs... possibly painted up to use as Haradrim.

Minifigs red AX knights, and a Garrison king charging some chaos warriors. the red goblins bottom left are Lone Wolf Giaks.

a close up of two of the Hinchliffe Yonderley men... so nice to see them in colour. The bald chap in the foreground is a Ral Partha necromancer, flanked by Minifigs Monk Spirits.

Some Citadel HYW crossbowmen defending a wall against undead. Perhaps these chaps fought at Thistlewood too?

Some action taking place indoors, using Dungeon Floorplans as recommended in the Thistlewood article. Some converted Dixon ashigaru and Citadel Easterlings tackle some Citadel DA vikings. In the foreground right is another Hinchliffe Yonderley Man.

So, very exciting for me to see some more of Joe's collection in colour. I love the whole set up with the terrain tiles which were very in vogue then, and the simple no nonsense basing of the figures. Take a look at the other pictures in the original article.



Wednesday 2 September 2020


 Today I managed to get hold of something of a holy grail for my collection. Another of the original units featured in the Thistlewood scenario in WD43, from Joe Dever's collection. This time the Royal Centaurs of King Amias. Figures by Asgard, I was hoping to collect enough to create the unit myself, but I've only ever been able to buy three, so presumably quite a rare figure.

Here they are in the picture of the army deployment in the article.

And in another of Joe's battles

and finally arriving, perhaps a bit battered, to the attic. I'll need to replace the spears, some of which are cocktail sticks, but I won't interfere with the bases or painting.

Sunday 21 June 2020


Finally finished these this morning and took advantage of Father's Day to claim some more time in the attic to photograph them. 

A mixed unit of warriors and archers

another regiment.

Some cavalry. Assault Group Russians, with a few added plumes. They fit in well with the Eastern European look of the Aly Morrison High Elves. I painted the facial hair as part of the armour as the infantry don't sport any whiskers.

Travellers have to have some caravans, and these are based on not only Jackie Morris illustrations, but also the logo of the band Vintage Caravan

The caravans were MDF kits, and the bears faithful old plastic Britain's .

I added some chimneys, and the emblems of the Pewter Moon and the Sun Child, arch enemies of the Crimson King.

The whole tribe, including a wizard and mounted warrior I forgot to photograph separately.

Wednesday 8 April 2020


Managed to complete the second lockdown challenge set by Geoff. To paint the figure that you've had longest in your lead pile. Well I bought this Ral Partha dwarf in 1979 and was given a duplicate at the same time. The first chap sported a fine coating of Humbrol gloss enamels, and was my first D&D character, a dwarf called Gent. I'm not sure what happened to that version, but his twin had languished in the lowest strata of the lead mountain for 41 years, so it's high time he was painted.
The colour scheme ties in with some other dwarfs I've painted which I'll show soon.

Next shot is progress so far on my Travellers on the Endless Wastes from the last post. About halfway through these lovely Aly Morrison sculpts.

Friday 3 April 2020


Most of my ideas for fantasy armies and units remain firmly in my head as I never get round to doing anything about them, or if I do it is sometimes literally decades later.  I like basing armies and units on prog rock songs and imagery such as my Broadsword ship and I have several ideas for figures inspired by the songs of Jethro Tull. One song (The Clasp) on the Broadsword and the Beast album starts "We travellers on the endless wastes..." which has always conjured up images in my head of characters battling against driving snow or at least walking through an endless snowy landscape, a bit like the elf like figures in this Jackie Morris picture above, and perhaps these Dark Elves by John Blanche in The Seven Serpents by Steve Jackson.

I've been casting around for figures to suit the look I'm after and the solid base Citadel High elves are just the ticket... sculpted by Aly Morrison and released in 1984, they are fur clad, have slightly Slavic features and Russian looking armour so scream "cold endless steppes" to me. I've collected about 30 which will be enough for a couple of units. Combined with some Polar bears, gypsy caravans and a suitable paint job they should do the job.

I've so far painted about 14, and it's slow progress as I'm getting  2 hours a week painting done, but we'll get there.

Monday 30 March 2020


In answer to Geoff's clarion call mentioned in my last post to paint a shonky figure from your lead pile. I present the last member of the Gubbins clan, Cousin Scruton. Not sure if he was the worst figure I have but he is pretty flaky. An Irregular chap I think which is a shame as they do produce some good figures and the service is excellent.

Saturday 28 March 2020


We are living in surreal and frightening times, although there is a sense among my younger boys of battening down the hatches, turning the house into a fortress and I suspect a feeling of cosiness and safety as the world collapses outside... can't say I feel it myself (more abject terror and worry) , such is the burden of adulthood, but I can remember the feeling from when I was a child and either being snowed in or having the power cut off frequently.

Last summer, Sprinks issued a challenge to complete an army for £30, which I have finally done hurrah. In fact I have spent about £40, but remove the extra tenners worth and you still have a playable army. The final piece was one of these fellows below, but as I had 2 beetle kits I had to make them both up. I had £4.99 left to spend and I picked these Heller kits up from the now deceased Wells Model Centre about 15 years ago for £4.50 each. The howdahs and crossbows are scratchbuilt and the 3 crew are from EM4 and were about 15p each (in fact I've just ordered another 50 of each pose), so I think I scrape in at £29.95... trumpet fanfare dwindling off discordantly as I realise I am 8 months too late.

Giant Beetles from the mossy gorges of Shatford

When I saw these WOLDLICE from Oakbound Studios, I had to grab some, and I thought they would fit in with the army but not as part of the challenge. The army is lacking in quick moving units as wolves don't really fit in with the narrative of the Gubbins Tribe. I have renamed them Mossfleas and imagine they can jump unnerving distances.

Here's the army as it stands, with a unit of extra archers. Wilderness and wood dwelling orcs should have loads of bowmen I think. The trees came from the pet department of the local garden centre and were in a sale. They have a real Roger Dean look about them, and I hope to base them and tart them up a bit... in fact the whole clan could do with some bespoke terrain when time allows.

There is one more figure to come which I have to get done as part of the Lockdown Challenge issued by Geoff of Oakbound. Paint up the most minging badly sculpted figure you have in a week! Hmmm.. well I have quite a few that could fit the bill but I'll show you the polished turd in a few days with some luck.

Sunday 1 March 2020


Here are some Hinchliffe goblins I painted last year, using a white undercoat as an experiment. I like the sculpted faces on these figures as they look really mean and sneaky, and they have an old school Hobbit vibe so the Red Eye was pushed into service again although I may change this in the future. Peter Gilder was a giant in the wargaming world when I started gaming in the late 70s, but I've only recently started appreciating his sculpting.

I'm working with Ian Hinds who now owns Hinchliffe Models to get the Fantasy range back into production. Ian had already made a lot of new moulds, and I have sent him some more masters to increase the range, including these chaps. Watch this space (if you are interested).

Thursday 6 February 2020


I managed to get King Lodwick and his trusty steed finished . The king is a figure from the Lionheart game and the dragon is a Russian Tehnolog model from eBay.

Here is Merkin's familiar, a pelican called Valise. He's a re-painted Britain's toy.

and a unit of foresters. Mainly Citadel 90's plastics, od which I only had 11. The twelfth figure is a Blue Moon Robin Hood chap.