Wednesday 7 December 2022

The Men Who Would be Kings

 I went to play a quick game with my regular opponent Speckled Jim last night, and he cracked open his 15mm collection for a colonial game using the Osprey rules.

I was playing the Beja or Hadenedowa, defending their village against an Anglo Egyptian force, and I didn't do terribly well, not actually getting anywhere near the enemy before being gunned down, so relatively historically accurate.

I learned a few lessons so if we play again I'll try and wait until I can charge him en masse so he can't concentrate his fire.

It was a fun game though.

Initial deployment. Some of my tribesmen in the village, the rest on the table edge nearest the camera.

The Anglo Egyptian force move forward and I try to outflank them with my camelry on the far right.... the Egyptian cavalry although inferior roll some damn lucky dice with their carbine shooting and pin me before I can contact.
Meanwhile I despatched a unit of tribesmen through the oasis , but they again get pinned.

Jim's firing line form a crescent facing the village so any Beja who stirs is targeted.

My casualties.... A sorry sight.

A fun quick game. Years since I played a colonial game, and I'm sorry my generalship didn't do the Beja justice.

As Corporal Jones would say
"They didn't like it up 'em."

Thursday 27 October 2022


 One of George's schoolfriends has an Italian dad and they visit Italy several times a year. Last time they went I asked him to pick up these 2 books.

One on the battle of Anghiari by Massimo Predonzani who has written the recent Helion publications on the Italian Wars, and one about the Siege of Padua in 1509 called The Lion, the Eagle and the Cat (Venetian Lion, Imperial Eagle and the main defensive bastion of Padua was called The Bastion of the Cat).

Both in Italian which I can just about manage, using my O level Latin and Google translate. Full of fascinating details.

Sunday 23 October 2022


 Yeah, real life completely manic at the moment, and I'm not posting everything I get finished, but here's a picture of some Stradiots for my retro Italian Wars project.... also usable with Oldhammer Tileans. Inspired by pictures in 1980s issues of Miniature Wargames.

Figures by QT, Venexia and Hinchliffe.

Apologies to blogging friends as I'm not commenting on your blogs as often as I would like. A combination of time constraints and general ennui with a dose of black dog sees me wasting valuable hobby time doing nothing. 

Thursday 23 June 2022


 I had an afternoon off on Tuesday and spent a jolly few hours at Oakbound Studios trying out some of the Mythic World moulds I bought from East Riding Miniatures last year. So far some very nice figures. I have put pictures on the Broadsword Miniatures page of this blog, but here are a few tasters.

Some wood elves

assorted skeletons

a pugnacious boarman

a gnarly goatman

centaurs which fit in well with the Hinchliffe ones.

I hope to get up to Geoff's again soon to try out the dwarf moulds.... some very nice beardies there.

Tuesday 7 June 2022


 I don't think I've ever ranted on this blog, but I'm of an age it's considered acceptable, or even expected. So here goes...

I've recently joined a few historical wargaming Facebook groups, mainly to find out what's going on and to look at other people's Italian Wars armies. This was about a week ago, and in that time I've seen several posts along the lines of "I'm new to the period...what figures do I need and how should I paint my army". 

FFS, go out and do a bit of research! You don't even have to spend any money as it's all online,  but you could even buy a book or two, and read them.

Back in my day ( I've always wanted to use that phrase) we had George Gush's Renaissance Armies and an Osprey book and that was about it other than the library ( do they still exist?), but now everything you could possibly need is available at the click of a button and still these people need to be told what to do.

Even on fantasy FB groups, I see similar questions. USE YOUR IMAGINATION.

It seems to be a general trend as well. Every day now at work I get the phrase "what should I plant in my garden?" Countered by "What do you like?" The response being invariably "I don't know."

Would these people go into Sainsbury's and ask "What shall I have for dinner?". Only a matter of time until that happens.


Saturday 28 May 2022


 In the Project Aon battle day pictures is this splendid unit of green Hobgoblins and orcs.

 It was about 60% depleted when I took charge of it, with missing or rotted figures. I've tried to replace them like for like and paint them as they were originally done. Joe used a lot of inks on these, so Citadel contrast paints were really useful. When I came to take the pictures here, I was pleased that I had a job telling which were original and which were mine.


above are the survivors, below the rotted.

below, the regiment back to strength as far as I can know. One figure is being repaired by Geoff at Oakbound Studio, and I need to work on the banner I think they had.

Below, Joe's and mine mixed. I hope you can't tell the difference.

Below, a few shots of the replaced figures on the left, and the rotted orginals on the right. I haven't shown them all, but just a few to give an idea of how I copied the paint schemes.

It was a really fun project to complete, and I hope they will see battle soon.

Friday 27 May 2022


 Over on the Project Aon site here

is a description from lucky fellow who attended a battle day at Joe's house. I was ecstatic to find these pictures as they provide another glimpse of Joe's collection. I'm lucky enough to be custodian of many of the regiments shown, but those I don't have, I am recreating.

The commander of the evil forces on the centre left of the first picture appears to be a Ral Partha necromancer with Minifigs Monk Spirit attendants.

He is glimpsed in a couple of other shots too, below in the graveyard to the right of the turquoise statue.

and below from the rear exhorting the dead to arise no doubt. You can see his wraith like monk spirit attendants a bit closer here.

I have a hunch that this is the figure used by Joe to represent Lord Vassago in the Thistlewood scenario in WD43. Certainly the red and gold cavalry (Minifigs Parthian cataphracts btw) on the left in the first picture carry a banner which reads Emperor Vassago ( I have the banner, rather than unnaturally good eyesight).

Anyhow, as I didn't have the evil overlord and attendants, I set about copying Joe's. 

Tuesday 24 May 2022


 Lurking in Joe's collection were this handful of Citadel Fantasy Tribes orcs. 9 survivors and 2 with leadrot in the right.

 These guys are in the centre of this black and white picture showing part of the Battle of Thistlewood in WD43.

 They are named as Vile Rune Orcs, part of a unit of 50. I don't know if there ever were 39 more, as Joe's collection doesn't always correspond with the army lists in his articles. I made the unit up to 50 anyhow, painted to match the survivors. 

Hopefully you can't tell which ones are Joe's 40 year old paint jobs and which are mine. The yellowing metallics on the original figures was mimicked by a wash of GW Seraphim Sepia over GW Ironbreaker. 

The Vile Rune Orcs appear to have been invented by Gary Gygax and first mentioned in a Wargamers Newsletter battle report in 1971. Gygax in a later interview mentions that their symbol was a fist with a raised digit. They are again mentioned in The Monster Manual 1977. Joe Dever was of course a champion D&D player, so would no doubt knew the name before he used it in the Thistlewood scenario and later in Bloodbath at Orcs Drift.

I painted the banner as described by Gary Gygax, but added a few runes from the Vile Rune orc banner shown in Bloodbath at Orcs Drift. Finally I topped the standard with an early 80s Citadel Broo head I had knocking about in my bits box.

Saturday 21 May 2022


 I've been repairing some of the regiments in Joe Dever's collection, either doing repairs or replacing rotting or missing miniatures.

These sinister demons sculpted by Barry Minot were missing a few wings. As they are fairly unusual figures, I didn't think I'd be able to find replacements, but happily a seller on Old School Miniatures Facebook group listed some recently so I snapped them up ( one of the many advantages of liking bizarre and eclectic niche figures is there are few people to compete against).

Below are the wing donors as they arrived. A more detailed paintjob perhaps, but gloss Humbrol black makes the demons look particularly creepy.

Another strange miniature in the collection is this disturbing chap.

A Minifigs sci fi figure, but definitely the stuff of nightmares.

You may notice a Peco railway backdrop here. I recently bought a few of the more rural scenes to use with my old school figures.

Tuesday 10 May 2022


 One of the issues I've struggled with in the past few years is having too many projects on the go and not enough time. When I do get the chance to do any hobby stuff, I'm overwhelmed by the list of things I'd like to get on with, so usually end up not  doing anything at all. Added to which my painting room is so untidy and disorganized, I find it a bit depressing to be in sometimes. A good hour long tidy up uses up valuable painting time, and invariably the room reverts to chaos again very quickly.

However, I'm often inspired by other bloggers, not least Secundus at IRON MITTEN blog. This guy always has several inspiring projects on the go at once, remembers to take pictures of work in progress and posts regularly. Well worth a look if by chance you haven't seen it.

I'm going to try and take a leaf out of his book and post figures even before they are finished and more general hobby stuff. 

I grabbed the nearest lithic from the foothills of the lead mountain, which turned out to be some primed minis I prepared last year for part of my Robin of Sherwood project. I've been painting for a few years to build this collection up , but never posted any of them...that is going to change and I'll hopefully show what I've done so far over the next few weeks.

These minis are going to represent Owen of Club and his hairy rabble.

They appear in the first two episodes ( Herne's Son parts one and two) of series 3 of Robin of Sherwood, and are kitted up for battle towards the end of part two

from around 44.50

 Standard 80's  barbarian attire, rags, fur, studded leather and backbrushed mullets, as seen in Highlander and Braveheart. Owen himself is played by the lupine Oliver Cotton, shown here surrounded by Sherwood outlaws.

Happily , there was a figure available of Owen. I can't remember the name of the manufacturer ( Loaded Gun Miniatures?) and I snapped him up. I added a shield and a proper Roman groin protector/cingulum as the original mini was lacking a proper one. Owen and his nobles wear a sort of leather lorica segmentata and plaid to distinguish themselves from the grunts so I made a few up using Warlord legionary sprues and Gripping Beast Viking parts, with green stuff fur here and there. The circular chestplates are 15mm shields. Green stuff fur was then added.

The grunts were constructed either using the plastic sprues mentioned, or were Scythians? from Black Tree, which happily were clad in fur and had bowl like helmets just like Owen's men. Shields from EM4 match the cowhide shields or targets used. More green stuff fur was added.

Work in progress. Lots of dull muddy colours drybrushed cream. They will then be washed with Agrax Earthshade.

More to come soon hopefully. In the meantime a shot of the painting table in all its unholy chaos.

and the foothills of the lead mountain are creeping ever closer.