Monday, 30 March 2009


Just a quick word to update on progress and thoughts.

Due to working nights last night and tonight I have had no time to sort out my purchases to add to the pledge. Dont think it will tip me over into negative equity! Might be close though.

I have now painted 7 units for Bloody Barons so cracking along nicely. Thats just 8 days from project start. If i can complete by end of June I will be very pleased. Then onto Samurai. I do have a head start on this with the stuff done by Jase at the Bunker.

I won an early war Russian PBI army on Ebay at the weekend. Great timing as I was planning some Russians to fight my early war Germans bought at Alumwell. They are on snow bases too which I had i mind for when I get the Germans done.

Triples at the weekend. No major purchases planned but I am sure something will catch my eye. After tonight I am off until next Monday. I plan to try and paint another 4 units ( 96 figures) for Bloody Barons. We'll see.

On the book front I have ordered the Osprey Campaign books on Bosworth and Towton and have also succumbed to the Militairy Book Club again to take advantage of their offer on the 'Gettysburg Companion.' Also getting a couple of good books on WW2 and the 'Trafalger Companion'. Looking forward to those. I generally only join for the 12 months and then leave and always rnd up having saved a great deal of money on books I would probably have bought anyway.

More soon.

Saturday, 28 March 2009


So this morning at 0630hrs I left home for my journey down to the big smoke. Everything went to plan, the train picking me up from Stafford at 0740hrs and arriving on time at London Euston at 0900hrs. After a few minutes orientating myself I found the Euston Underground and the Northern Line, then onto the DLR and eventually joined the que outside Excel at 1000hrs.

Whilst in the line some pretty girls were selling the relaunched 'Miniature Wargames' which I have to say looks very promising. It is now unrecognizable from its previous incarnation and I am looking foward to how it progresses.

One amusing aside was a Spanish gent standing behind me who periodically looked down the rather long line winding its way towards the Salute entrance and repeatedly smacked his forehead!

The que reduced remarkably quickly and I was at the entrance by 1015hrs. Reassuringly the first thing I saw past the crowds was a flying pink pig! I tried to photograph this strange phenomenon but with now luck (still no new camera you see!).

So once inside I headed straight to Peter Pig new AK47 Gamette. Me and Martin taking on Rob Roriston who was defending. I have to say Martin and the team have put some real effort into the look of the on table game and the off table display material, which you
can see below. I love the line 'Dont worry if you get slaughtered'!.

As you can see an authentic fake animal skin is the backdrop for the game! This picture shows the set up for the gamette, Rob is to the left. At the far end of the table just to the right of the road is a lovely little 'police station' with a couple of Mercedes police cars. Unofrtunately in our game my militia failed to storm the village to my front and my armoured column consisting of two T55's a Panhard AC with tank gun and jeep technical suffered at the hands of Robs RPG troops. Martin did even worse on his flank with his unit of regulars routing in turn 2. Oh well!

Here is a picture of Martin demonstrating the finer points of war in Watumba. Rob and Julie look on.

The gamette was busy all day. Having played the playtest and now actually played the game with Martin and Rob, I have to say I am loving the new version of AK. Some real improvements on the original. I'm very tempted to steal the idea of the khaki coloured cloth with painted on patches. It looked really effective. I am also going to build myself a local police station (obvious really). Martin anticipated these will be out by June, so not long now! I may look at sprucing up some of the paint jobs on my AK stuff too.
Some nice games on show but not as many as I expected. There wer probably 4 or 5 that I would say werev of a 'Partizan' standard. However all the games seemed interesting with a lot of participation games. Stand out 'showcase' games were the Perry twins Napoleonic bash with their plastics to the fore. A large ECW game using Warlord plastics was nice too. Pictured below is the Loughton Strike Forces 'Attack on the Reichstag'. Lovely 15mm WW2 action in Berlin. some nice touches like the statues made out of Airfix '100 Years War' figures, some Greatcoated Peter Pig Germans and the Reichstag itself. Lovely model this but at £80 a pop a bit pricey! This picture shows Russians in the ruins of Berlin about to press on to the Reichstag. This was probably my favourite demo at the show.

Excel is a huge venue and to be honest in places looked empty. There were several games with large empty spaces around them. This I feel detracted somewhat from the atmosphere of the show which is a shame really. Olympia seemed to have far more of a buzz to it.
My main motivation for going today was to get to play in the AK game. I doubt I will make the trip next year. With Triples (Sheffield) next weekend it was a bit of an extravagance to make the trip but I am glad I did. Picked up the Samurai I preordered plus the obligatory extra few bits including 3 ships for Pieces of Eight. This will be a side project most likely not seeing the light of day until next year now, but I have a hankering to paint up a couple. Unlike Alumwell I have no energy to paint tonight but I may try to fit a bit in tomorrow. Lisa is back from France in the afternoon so I will have to try and squeeze it in in the morning.
Thats all for now....more soon!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Pledge

As of today I am on 693 points, closing in on the half way point of last years total. Of course last year I did not include any scenary and I also painted 2,500 points of Empire troops for Warhammer Fantasy Battles (which I am contemplating selling) and also a 6mm WW2 Russian army for Blitzkrieg Commander. I used these once and didn't particulalry enjoy the game so these may go to.

I am thinking of selling all of my GW stuff which includes the Empire, an Orc and Goblin army (both painted) and a Skaven army (unpainted) as well as a whole load of Lord of the Rings stuff and 40K. No passion for it any more although I do enjoy some of the ficiton particularly the 40K Heresy stuff. I will keep a small Wood Elf army so I have something to play with at the club. This isn't painted yet but it can wait until inspiration hits me.

I took collection of another Kaiser Rushworth case and some trays to fill a case I got last year designed to hold GW stuff. Now at last my PITS stuff has a home!

I really must get the WW1 stuff on the painting table soon. With my order from Salute I may try and kerb spending until September Partizan. I have more than enough to keep me going, and it would be good to see my lead pile reducing considerably this year.

Some discussion on the RFCM YahooGroup about Hammerin Iron hex sizes got me thinking of getting the ships out again. Maybe a couple more ships to add to the collection wouldn't hurt!

More soon

While the cats away...

I waved Lisa away on her hols on Sunday and no sooner had the door shut on her than I got out the brushes and kicked my Bloody Barons painting into gear.

As of today I have 4 units done with some household troops nearly finished. I have been slower than I thought, mainly due to unfamiliarity with the figures, but I think I will soon pick up to my usual speed. This afternoon I have prepared 4 more units which I aim to have done by the weekend. I am pinching the basing for these figures from Stewart Meecham. My usual basing is brown flock followed by a light drybrush with a creamy colour followed by patches of static grass. However following a conversation at my club on Friday I have had a rethink about how I do things. A valid point was made that the trend of an earthy coloured base with patches of grass is all well and good if your base boards are in the same style. The idea of nice bases is to blend them into their surroundings. Yet most games are played on green mats or sheets of one kind or another save for perhaps a lucky few with purpose built scenary. As Mal at the club pointed out, the earth/grass mix can look a bit odd marching across a pure green mat, reducing the aesthetic somewhat.

Hence I have nicked Stewarts basing method of mixing green flock with a bit of brown and a little bit of gravel and clump foliage. Then PVA the base, dip in your mix, use a spray varnish to fix and your done. Like most gamers I am always tinkering with how I do things. The Bloody Barons collection is now commited to this style of base. Not saying I wont change my mind for the next collection but I am happy with the result so far.

Watched 'Gods and Generals' this afternoon. Now I know this was slated by critics and the gaming population at large, but I love it. The character scenes are slightly 'twee', particulalry between Jackson and his servant but on the whole I would give this film 4/5. The battle scenes are inspirational. Trouble is it makes me want to paint some Union troops in greatcoats which of course Peter Pig dont do. I may have to look to Essex at Salute on Saturday for a unit to model with an Irish flag.

Also took myself to see 'Watchmen' yesterday. Having read the graphic novel in the late 80's and hearing some of the less than complimentary reviews I was cautious but in the end needn't have worried. It really was excellent, but feel Lisa would have struggled with it. Knowledge of the plot cerainly helped me and I feel a novice might struggle with the plot. This really is a dark film with some graphic violence. Rating 4/5.

Some pictures will be coming of the basing I talked about as well as a planned step by step of my painting technique for those interested.

More soon.

Friday, 20 March 2009


Looking foward to Salute on 28th March.

I have placed my preorder with Peter Pig, mainly for Samurai for Battles in the Age of War. Stewart Meecham of the Levellers Wargames group in Weymouth has arranged a games day on 15th August 2009. I have a couple units painted by Jase Hurst of the Bunker and should be picking some more up tonight. With the order from Salute I will have enough for two 800 point armies.

Other exciting news is that Miles Milton of STAB in Bournemouth has announced dates for a PBI day on 16th May and a CWB day on 26th September, and Ivan Angel on the RFCM YahooGroup is organising a RFCM day in June. Typically I am due to work all of the above dates but have managed to arrange leave for all of them. Whether I make all i dont know but I intend to. With the aid of SatNav, that makes several 4 1/2 hour trips to the south coast but what the heck!

Details of the events can be found at

Painting wise a bit of a slow down this week. 20 Naval infantry for PITS done, just because they have been around for a while. A lot of work on scenary, sprucing up my S&A scenics hills and templates. I also bought a GW battle mat. This is the static grass mat on a material backing meaning it can be folded up and wont tear.

More soon.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Painting Desk

I have been meaning to post this for a while. It seems the 'in thing' to post a picture of you your work area so here is mine. Quite tidy at the minute! If you look closely you can see a Vietnam theme with a Peter Pig Vietnam hut and some M113s to the left. Also there is a Regiment of Foote unit waiting for the base to be finished and a Mercedes from the AK47 range. Interesting eh?


Martyn and Keith came ove last night for a game of Regiment of Foote. They played out my 'Edgehill' scenario, It was Keiths first time with the rules but he picked them up really quickly.

The battle was historically a stalemate, althought it did mean the war continued whereas if the King had lost badly it could of all been over by Christmas.

The terrain was very open, with a slight rise in the ground towards the Parliament positions and some enclosures on each flank.

The armies used are pretty much those contained in the Peter Pig 'Black Box' range of ready made armies. I bought one each of the early war Royalist and Parliament armies. I have added to them since.

Again we used the proposed modifications fight sheet with an amendment for charger cavalry, giving them +2D6 on the turn they charge in. We thought they worked really well.

We played until 11pm and with the turn count down to 2, we called it a day. Keith who took the part of the King won the day with a narrow victory despite being outnumbered slghtly and asked to attack. After the first turn in which he suffered a couple of reverses, I think Keith thought he had his work cut out and was blaming the scenario designer for stacking the odds against him, however things came good with the Royalist horse outclassing their Roundhead counterparts on both wings.

Here we see Keith in the role of King Charles I, dunking a digestive.

Martyn, playing the Roundheads thought it a good idea to hide some musketeers in the enclosures on Keiths right wing. Sneaky!

Here we see first clash of ruperts horse (on the left) against the puritanical Parliamentarians. Trained horse verses Conscript. Although the Roundheads held their own initially Ruperts boys took the day and true to form rode off to loot the baggage train.

Push of pike with the Kings foote to the left, outnumbered but giving it their all.

Martyn, in the guise of the Earl of Essex indicates to the camera that he has just lost two units in two succesive fights. A bit careless, but there you go!

The end is nigh. Martyn had some bad luck. He rolled snakeeyes for succesive motivation rolls and Keith in one exchange of musketry in the centre delivered the most devastating volley I have seen causing the loss of two whole bases. Combined with some damage from artillery in the same turn, Martyn had to put alot of soldiers back into their box. Keith won the day on the wings. Although he had the upper hand in the centre, neither side could get their troops to engage.

Friends again! It was hard fought and Martyn bore his bad luck well. It was tea,biscuits and chat afterwards. A good game with a lot of laughs.
I am pleased with the scenario, which I think is ready to go.
During the day yesterday I painted 62 more figures. 24 were some 'boy soldiers' for my AK47 collection and 38 Scots Lowland foote for my Marston Moore scenario. All had the Army Painter 'Strong' dip applied which looks nice.
More painting today, probably 10th New York for CWB. They are a Zouave unit with brown jackets and turbans. Finished up my templates yesterday and started to paint the S&A scenics bits to fit in more with my figure basing.
Things are moving along well. I am preparing my order for Salute which will consist of mainly 15mm Samurai. I was planning on getting these at Newark but I hope to play in Stewart Meechams 'Battles in the Age of War' day on 15th August 2009 so I need to get going as soon as possible on these. I am pseaking to Jase Hurst of the 'Bunker' painting service later to see if he can squeeze in a few units for me. He is a member of my club so hopefully see him tonight. I am planning a test of my 'Naseby' scenario at the club tonight so I'll let you know how that goes.
I am travelling to Salute by train which is a first for me. Should be quite exciting. I should get into London at 9am which gives me an hour to get to Excell. According to various public transport websites for London, it is an hour from Euston to Excell, so pending any disaster I should be there at opening time or just after. I imagine there will be a sizeable que anyway so no big deal if I am half an hour late or so. Really looking forward to having a go at Peter Pigs AK47 gamette, demoing the new rules. Other bits I would like are a few 'bits' terrain wise, a Louisana flag for my Tigers in 15mm, maybe some more Army Painter and the 15mm ACW bands from Essex! Oh and some standing generals as well for a couple of dioramas I have planned. These may well be the only none Peter Pig figures I buy this year and thats only because they dont do a 15mm band!
More soon.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Meeples and Miniatures

One last thing for the day. A shout out for Meeples and Miniatures podcast. Probably the best wargaming fun you can have with an iPod. Check it out at

Especially good for long drives to wargames shows!

The Pledge

With todays purchases my total points bought for the year is at 322 so I am still up on the year with over 400 painted already. But I need to keep ahead so lots of painting coming up in the next few weeks. I am setting a target of 200 points prior to Salute, which seems alot but as Lisa my wife is away skiing for a week at the end of the month I am planning a couple of 'paint fests'.

2000pts for the year seems a long way off but with two Wars of the Roses armies, two Samurai armies, PBI, BAIT, Square Bashing, PITS and some AK stuff I wont be short of subject matter.

Even More Photos and Alumwell.

Firstly some photos from a recent playtest of the new AK47 Republic. These are coming along nicely and I think the doom mongers and naysayers will be pleasantly suprised. They are a definate step foward. The game lloks different to the old system due to the 6x3 table and foot bases having to form groups of 3 bases in what I think of as 'fireteams'. Systems will be familiar to people who play other RFCM games. The pre-game system is great. I think initially people were worried that it may take too long but it has been streamlined and in the game from which the pictures were taken, from sitting down at the table to moving the first unit in anger took less than 20 minutes which I think is quite acceptable. That will reduce further with familiarity. It included setting up of terrain, sorting out troops in the reserve box and other bits as well as '15 Days to War' which I think is an improvement on the old political flow charts. The new army types are great too!

Here we see Martyn blowing up my tanks which I thought was a bit mean, but then thats war.

This is Martyn showing off his 'Reserve Box'. Unluckily for him not much of this actually got on the table. He also failed to achieve any success with the 'Assets' system which would of helped his cause. I wont go into how assets work, but its good fun!

Here are some of my troops sheltering in a village. Not much happened here but its a nice picture.

Today I went to the Alumwell show, now held at the Aldersey Leisure Village just outside Wolverhampton. The old show was one of the best of the year and it has taken some time for it to find its feet at the new venue but I think it is getting there. The major draw for me is Peter Pigs attendance meaning a 10% discount on pre show orders and a chance to chat to Martin and the team. I played the Battles in the Age of War gamette, playing the defender with a very enthusiastic chap called Vince. We lost but I had good fun routing one of attackers mounted Samurai units and then winning a challenge at the end of the game.
Had a good long chat with Stuart Meecham about the Piggy hobby and inparticular painting and collecting. Discussed some bits with Martin about the new AK. Nigel very kindly designed me a PBI German early war army for Stalingrad using mostly the new greatcoat figures. Cant wait to get them going.
Stuart invited me down to Weymouth for a Battles in the Age of War day which I hopefully can attend.

Nice figures from the Samurai game.

Martin discussing the finer points of Battles in the Age of War.

I restricted myself to my preorder with Peter Pig as well as a few other essentials including flock and some Army Painter Strong tone. Some nice games on display as usual. David Bickley and Phil Robinson had a lovely 28mm ACW using Dixon figures. There was aslo a great looking ECW siege game with troops attacking a castle. Lots of teddy bear fur terrain in evidence which looks good but I dont feel would suit 15mm. AWI, Seven Years War, Zulus and WW2 were in evidence too.
Next up show wise is Salute. Not sure I am definately going yet. If Tom and John from the club go, I may join them or get the train. Then its Triples in April.
Got home around 5pm and got stuck into painting the Lousiana Tigers for CWB which I had been putting off for a while. Got through them in no time and they look not too bad. Used the strong tone Army Painter on them so will be interesting tomorrow to see how they come out (its difficult to see when they are still wet under artificial light).
More soon.


Three photos from Berlin. I didn't take many becaucse they are on my phone and the quality is not great!

This is actually a photo of a photo! It is on display on a wall close to Checkpoint Charlie with others documenting the history of the area. It shows Soviet and American tanks facing off across the Checkpoint. I suspect this is the closest the two super powers troops ever came to eaxh other. Just imagine what one slip of the finger could of done here!

The Brandenburg Gate. Having just watched 'The Nazis - A Warning from History' which has a scene of a torch lit parade walking towards where I am standing sometime in the mid 1930's at the height of Hitlers powers. Awe inspiring.

This is a bit random. It is the Brandenburg gate from the top of the Reichstag. It is on the opposite side of to where the Russian soldier raised the red fkag.
More shortly!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Berlin or Bust

Just back from a city break to Berlin. For a history buff the city has familiar landmarks at every turn. The weather was wet and grey mostly but we stayed in a lovely hotel (the Adina) just around the corner from Check Point Charlie. We were in the old 'East' sector which still bears evidence of its communist past, particulalry in the grey apartment blocks.

The Brandenburg Gate is an awe inspiring structure and it was easy to imagine those torch lit Nazi parades passing through it. The Reichstag was equally impressive and standing on the roof the picture of the Russian soldier hoisting the red flag above it with the ruined city below came to mind.

The German Historical Musuem on Unter Den Linden was fascinating charting German history from Roman times to the fall of the wall. Particulalry interesting was the rise of Hitler. There was a wealth of photographs and period material that I had never seen before. I did get the impression that certain facts had been sanitised. The holocaust is covered but there are none of the images of the death and suffering we see at the Imperial War Museum for instance.

There is a fantastic museum at Check Point Charlie covering the rise and fall of the wall and the effects on the people of the city. There is little of the wall left standing, only a couple of hundred metres for posterity.

Highly recommended.

Wargaming wise not much to report. The painting continues apace with a unit of Union foot, a Regiment of Horse for ECW, a Reb Divisional Command base for CWB and 5 bases of Fuzzies for PITS. Ecclectic mix eh?

WMMS show at the weekend. Quite excited about it. The order is placed with Peter Pig. I am bound to pick up a few other bits from them. I will also look for a few scenic bits from TSS, a tin of Army Painter Strong Tone, some static grass and a maybe a book or two.

Still no digital camera so pictures are few and far between, sorry. Hopefully correct this situation soon.