Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Salute 2011 Here I come!

Never before have I really planned four months ahead for a war games show. But now I have:0) I booked my table at Salute2011 in August, and wrote a speculative blurb about a 40mm French & Indian War game. Today it took shape.

I managed to get a game played today, an achievement in its own right these days. Ant one of my re-enacting wargaming buddies arrived at my house with some painted F&IW British figures and I broke out the Indians and Courier de Bois figures I have painted so far and within a short time we were skirmishing in the forests of up state New York.

We played a simple raid type scenario using the Legends system. I keep threatening to write my own skirmish system for this type of game but there really is little point Warhammer Historical’s Legends/GW’s LOTR system is pretty much the ultimate skirmish system in my opinion, apart from tweaking for stats for different troops and making sure the weapon rules suit the kind of game you want there just doesn’t seem any point messing with anything else.

The figures we us are mostly Sash & Saber 40mm figures with a few Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company figures as well. I was delighted to find that most of my existing terrain collection worked very well and with only a few additions in the future we will have everything we need for playing F&IW games.

Anyway the upshot of the game was that, I LOST:0( my French & Indians were beaten by a bunch of rangers and local militiamen. However it was great fun game, which led into a discussion about exactly what we are going to do for Salute. By the end of the session not only did we decide what the game would consist of, we had come up with a painting schedule (Yeah, I know!) and a modelling plan, and rough dates for when we will TEST? each part of the game.

Who knows it might even go to plan. I will be chuffed if it does as it will be a game produced in a year. We bought the figures at Salute 2010 and hopefully will have everything finished for Salute 2011. We will also aim to supply Old Glory UK ? Sash and Saber with some photos for their websites. Now I wonder if OGUK would like to sponsor us, we need some British Infantry and a Wagon afterall.

Make sure you come back and see how the plan progress.

Sorry about the quality of the photos they were taken in a rather ad hoc manner in dying light. I will try and take some better ones next time.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Warhammer Ahoy! Progress

Just a quick entry today.
Finally, after being down for nearly a year, the WARHAMMER AHOY! website is back up and running.

It is not complete as yet, I am using its state of uncompleteness as a carrot to get it finished. However I am really enjoying putting it together and working with various photos has reminded me what a cool game it is. I might be forced to put an undead ship and some high elf ships on my to do list.

So if you get time have a look

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Me distracted... Hell yeah.

Ok It's December and there is more snow on the ground than I have seen in this part of the world for decades. Recently I have made some progress with my EOE article for Wargames Illustrated, but otherwise wargaming has been on the work bench as I have been working on more NERF guns. the one I most pleased with is my Steampunked Maverick. Many Steampunked NERF guns on the net just have suitable paint job, usually brass and bronze. Like my NIte Finder I wanted to do something a little more. So diving in to my bitzbox that had previously had been reserved for Warhammer Ahoy! dwarf ships I set to work.

Steampunking this gun was great fun, I only had one thing in mind which was to use the funny twisty handle Burger King toy, but how I had no idea. this is how it turned out...

A friend of mine gave me a Dremel recently and my word is it a good tool, various bits got cut up with it and a quick swap of tool heads allowed me to grind off all the NERF logos. The picture above shows the various components glued on waiting for paint.

The sprayed gun. I LOVE CHAOS BLACK SPRAY! When I make models whether it is a piece of gaming scenery or a modded NERF gun, it is the addition of the undercoat that I love as it is this point where the whole thing comes together and starts to look like all one item that is meant to be.

The finished weapon. I love this view, the skull on the front is from a cheap Halloween toy. I have another one of these which will definitely feature on another gun in the future. You can also see small cross detail on the piping on the top of the gun. I used several Warhammer Empire shield bosses for some nice little details. In many ways the small details like this are more fun than the big features like the skull and the crank handle.

The finished item. I am dead pleased with this gun. It works quite well. This is the one that I experimented with various mods to imporve performance, some of which definitely didn't work. However I can't see me using this gun too much. It certainly wont take the kind of bashing that other guns will, so its performance is not quite as important.

And then not being satisfied with producing this gun I fancied using a wooden box that I had sitting around. Some Foamcore and green wool off cuts later and we have a display case. the outside pf the box needs some attention and a nice latch. I also have a box for my Steampunk Nitefinder.

Now all I need is some more guns. I fancy steampunking a NERF Longstrike with a wooden stock and telescopic site and then howz about a 40K Bolt Pistol, hmmm.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Recent Distractions

Ok been sidetracked this past couple of weeks. Last week we had a family holiday in Disneyland Paris. Great weather, great family, had a great time. The problem with going to Disney is that as a model maker I spend a great deal of time just appreciating the level of detail that has one into building each part of the park, that of course leads to the inevitable; I challenge any gamer to go to Disney and not come away wanting to build a new Wild West town , a pirate ship, a Caribbean port, an Arabic town or a medieval town and fortress or in my case all of ‘em. The only reason I haven’t added a Victorian town to that list is that I do have one of those.

I was definitely inspired to come home and look at Sash & Saber 40mm pirates and Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company Old West 40mm figures. But at the moment rationality has prevailed as I am busy painting 40mm French & Indian War figures from the aforementioned companies for my F&IW project which will lead to a participation game at Salute2011.

And then disaster… Another very cool thing to distract me from my purpose. This summer we discovered NERF whilst on the Isle of Wight. We were doing a medieval event at Appuldurcombe House on the Island and during the evening of the Saturday we played NERF zombies in the old cellars of the house. We had a fantastic time and at the next available opportunity we bought a couple of NERF Maverick six shot revolvers. Since then we have built a small arsenal of NERF weapons, pistols, SMGs, shotguns and the awesome automatic Stampede. We have often NERFED after our training sessions, but the real route to madness opened up recently as we have been invited to a Zombie LARP at the end of this month. LARPing is something I did 15 years or more ago and since then I have always looked on in scourn but the opportunity to go and shoot sevenbells out of willing volunteers is too good to miss. Now it could be said that some of us might take this a little too seriously, picking out kit including ordering patches for uniforms and most importantly Modding our weapons. NERF guns are Mod-able. You can take them apart and remove bits to improve their performance and paint the outside and modding has now become my guilty pleasure. Check them out. The first weapon to receive a paintjob is the single shot Nitefinder pistol.

The Nitefinder is a great little gun. Only a single shot gun, pretty powerful, and even better after modifying the airchamber. I was really pleased with thi one and then I found these cool LED torches and had to add one.

Having really enjoyed painting the Nitefinder I turned my attention to my CS6 Recon. This comes with various extra bits like the stock. I am modding the optional barrel to go on the front, but it won't get used in games as it has a huge negative effect on muzzle velocity.

After doing the semie real looking thing I fancied having a go at something a bit whacky. There are lots of Steampunk NERF guns on the net, some of them are stunning, whilst many only have a paintjob. Paintjob alone wouldn't do it for me so I dived in various bits boxes and the result was this. I love it and am going to steampunk some more, not that there is much point really as it is only cosmetic but they just look so cool.

I have really enjoyed turning my paintbrush to something else, working on a different 'canvas' is quite refreshing and the added bonus is I get to shoot people with 'em too. I am sure I will put up more pics of NERF as they get worked on.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Wargames Illustrated Photo Shoot

Ok, so it's the middle of October and I am still way behind. The Wargaming season has started fairly well for me, a new Necromunda campaign looms and I am busy painting figures for my 40mm French & Indian Wars game which I am taking to Salute 2011.

In the writing world I am actually working on new stuff for Warhammer Ahoy! including (finally) a new website, but writing for Wargames Illustrated is taking priority. In August I was visited by Dan, the UK editor who brought his camera gear and a minion to take some pics of End Of Empire, as I am gong to write a couple of articles about Victorian Adventure Gaming.
Now there are several distinct advantages with having the guys from WI coming to do a photo shoot; firstly I have an excuse to get EVERYTHING out for EOE (and by now we have tonnes of stuff) Secondly they bring proper lighting gear which means even I can get some pretty good shots and lastly I get my subscription renewed, huzzah.

So the articles are underway, Dan has sent me a PDF of the best shots he took which I can use when writing and as I can't use any of them til the articles are out I have put up some of mine taken on the day instead. Enjoy!

Sunday, 3 October 2010


Well, where did the summer go? It is safe to say it got a tad busy in August and the start of the new year is always mental, so here I am start of October with a bit of catching up to do. So...

This August saw the MSS return to its spiritual home of Bodiam Castle in East Sussex and as luck would have it we had decided to make this the event where we tried to get as many of us as possible in Suffolk colours. The castle is aNational Trust controlled site and so the MSS had to go with many of their wishes including having the main Living History encampments ina show field behind the castle, which was a shame and they organisers were a tad touchy when it came to the number of tents the society were bringing and where they would all go. However when we had got over the admin hassles the weekend turned out pretty well.

This was partly due to the fact that the script used for the siege of Bodiam Castle was written by yours truely which meant if nothing else we got to win, Huzzah! Writing scripts is good fun, something I am hoping to do more of. The amusing part is that apart from actual historic events (See Tewkesbury, Bosworth & Edgcote) most events want something from the period which ties the venue to it. In this case the NT wanted the script to be Bodiam orientated. "Fair enough" I hear you cry. However the problem arises when the venue, although right for the period, missed all the action, in this case the siege of Bodiam did occur in 1483 and fortunately for the budding script writer it lasted about 10 minutes which means I had to employ some poetic license. The biggest problem with script writing is getting some of the other commanders to read the damn thing before the battle.

Saying that the script went mostly out of the window on the Saturday as we had to move the location of the battle due to a nasty accident on the jousting field, which led to the demise of a horse:0( this meant we fought elsewhere to dsitract the public. Prior to the battle the weather was horrendous. Several warriors thought better of kitting up in full armour during a thunder storm so we had slightly less on the field than we wanted nevertheless the battle went pretty well considering we had made most of it up and with no PA several commentators were used along the public line and I am pretty sure that the stories were different depending where you stood.

Sunday's battle was much better, the sun shone, the Duke's Blue and Gold was resplendant and we did indeed field a large force, most of which got to command (seeing I was the bloke on our side who knew what the hell was going on) and we won the siege of Bodiam for the second day on the trot, Huzzah! Don't mess with the Duke of Suffolk.

We had a great weekend, joined by a whole host of friends who indulged us in wearing our colours. We also managed to get some NERFing in. Bodiam has a WW2 pillbox which is ideal for setting up Ant's Havoc belt fed blaster and we took great pleasure in assualting the bunker. Much silliness ensued. And the bets bit about ending the Bodiam event was that Bosworth was only a week away...

Monday, 16 August 2010

An oppurtunity too good to miss

Well this isn’t a scheduled entry, but one of those wonderful moments which you just can’t pass up. I HAD to go up to West Yorkshire this weekend to collect my first gun; an Elizabethan Caliver. (more about the gun another time) I arranged to stay at Cunning Will’s place in Pickering, on the other side of York and having picked up the gun I was in no particular rush so took the scenic route, which just happened to take in the battlefield of Towton.

Towton was fought on Palm Sunday in 1461. One of the most important battles during the War of the Roses and the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil. It is believed to have been fought by anything up to 90,000 (And there were as many as 25000 casualties) which, compared to some battles elsewhere doesn’t sound that much, but when you think that the population of England at the time was probably about 1.5 million then this number represent 6% of the population, that’s like a battle taking place nowadays with 3 million troops. So pretty huge really.

The battlefield lies between the villages of Towton and Saxton. I went to Saxton church first to find the grave of Lord Dacre, the commander of the Lancastrian right Flank. He was buried with his horse in the graveyard of the church. He was lucky he only had to share his grave with his horse most of the Lancastrian dead were buried in a nearby mass grave. Next to Dacre’s grave is a memorial for some unknown soldiers from the battle who were recently found.

From Saxton I drove towards Towton, right across the battlefield, which is wide open farm land now. As I was driving I glanced a white board attached to fence by the road, and as I drove past I realised there was a large cross visible in my rearview mirror, which had been obscured from the road by a large bush. So I reversed up the road and parked in the layby. This turned out to be Dacre’s Cross and marks the spot where he fell. It is also the main memorial for the battle and there were the remains of many red and white roses place upon it. I regret I had neither to leave, next time maybe.

I put on my livery coat and strolled across the fields from the road to the River Cock and ‘Bloody Meadow’ the site of a great slaughter of Lancastrians. The river and meadows look like the have changed little since the battle.

I was really pleased that I was able to stop here. Having recently fought at Tewkesbury, which felt like a battle, I was able to reflect on how it might have felt to stand on this field of battle. In truth it wasn’t possible, apart from anything else it was a lovely summer’s day, the sun glinted on the water of the River Cock and apart from the odd car going down the road there was nothing to hear except skylarks. The battle was fought in a blizzard and the sound I should think was intolerable. Nevertheless I enjoyed the solitude of the moment and paid my respects to the long fallen.

Post Script

Coming from down south where nothing closes, I couldn’t believe that the Rockingham Arms, the only pub in Towton was closed on a Sunday afternoon. So my toast to the King had to wait until I arrived in Pickering. I did notice the pub is also up for sale…now there’s an opportunity. I could have a lounge bar for Yorkists and the Lancastrians would have to be served in the yard:0)

A York A York!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Wargaming in August? Blimey!

Well it might be August and the Re-enactment season is well under way, but I still manage to squeeze the odd game in. Today's game was brought to you by a case of Ned's gyppy tummy which meant we couldn't take him to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford (Tomorrow maybe) so I was forced to stay home and find something else to do. Fortunately we were going with Kieran, one of my Living History and gaming buddies and he stayed and played.

We then had the usual dilemma, what to play? This has to be solved quickly , because if it doesn't we all too often end up talking about but never actually playing any wargames. So we plumped for 1588And All That, our 16th century England Invaded game.
We followed up a chat about Special characters in other games by breaking out the 'Three Cannoneers' table top representations of us and a further friend, Ant, and created a scenario for them.

The basic premise was that the Cannoneers were in a roadside inn, The Black Prince, with a few local militia men. The commander of nearby Spanish forces knew their whereabouts and wanted them captured, so he dispatched a small force to do so.

The Cannoneers have to avoid capture, the Spanish have to beat the three heroes in melee before the take 50% casualties. We played the game through twice. The second game being a little closer having made a few tweaks from play through one. Both games were great fun, the gun fire reverberated around, arrows whistled overhead and sword rang on sword. The results: Cannoneers lost one, won one.

Interestingly the game threw up some good talking points and as we are still tweaking we will be changing a few minor things on the website and wll definitely be adding this to the scenaraios section.

Now all I need to do now is get on with End Of Empire touch ups and scenery finishing, as I have a photoshoot for Wargames Illustrated later this month, and I need to settle on something to take to SELWG, as I have been invited again but have no idea what to take. All great problems to solve.

Monday, 2 August 2010

TEWKESBURY, The battle of

Well it's been a few weeks and they have been a tad busy, work gets in the way you know. Now however as the weeks of the Summer holidays roll on I have some time to catch up. The Re-enactment world is pretty busy at this time of year. It is almost impossible to visit a site of historical interest in the UK these days without there being some costumed wierdo bringing the whole thing to life, and I thoroughly enjoy being one of those wierdos:0)

One of the highlights of the year is the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, in Gloucestershire. It is a free event for the public and the whole town (and surrounding locality I should think) gets involved. The climax of the festival is the re-enactment of the battle fought in 1471, where Edward iv secured his throne and brought England into a short period of peace.

The battle was fought over quite a large area, the reenactment is fought on part of the battlefield named 'Bloody Meadow'. A handful of the Suffolk Free Company were invited to join some friends who form the Household of Sir James Tyrrel a Yorkist knight who was knighted on the field during the battle. We leapt at the opportunity to fight for the King in his Vanguard.

We go for the battle only, unlike other re-enactments where we do the whole Living History thing, Tewkesbury is a great opportunity to go 'light' when I say light we still take a shed load of kit just no trailer and got three adults in the car (Kids stayed with Nanny). The Festival has a great market and a great beer tent.

Friday night was spent in the beer/cider tent and the Suffolks all returned to their encampment a little worse for wear, some more than others, so it was with no right whatsoever that I was able to get up as sparkily as I did on Saturday. First stop Full English, second stop Kasto the Czech armourer. I bought new pauldrons, with attached Spoulders and Heidi a set of legs. Now fully tinned up we were able to enjoy the rest of the day. Which culminated in the battle...

The battle is fought twice (with the result being the same both times, 2 nil to the House of York) Saturday was one of the hottest days of the year. and due to excessive numbers of visitors there was an hour delay marching on. This meant that we stood around in 50lbs of armour for an hour and half before we even started to move towards the battlefield. Blimey it was hot!

Finally, walking onto the battlefield, two things struck me (neither of them were arrows) First the crowd was immense , over 16000 on Saturday, a huge body of people had turned ou on this the hottest day of the year to watch us beat Lancastrians to a pulp. Secondly Tewkesbury is getting towards proper battle numbers, best part of 1000 combatants on each side. For the likes of me the closest (hopefully) I would ever get to a real battle.

The noise is incredible, drums, handguns, cannon. Shouts and screams and the constant clash of steel on steel. FANTASTIC. The banners bobbing above the blocks of billmen, indicating rallying points or where our forces had got to. Our block fought with the King with the Burgundian mercenaries on our right. And although we had not fought together as a unit before we fought like a well oiled machine. The Lancastrians in front of us, were on the whole pretty good but disorganised and they could not stand up to our ability to replace ranks by expanding our frontage to allow one line to have abreather and the next rank take up the fight.

It is amazing how little you know of what is going on on the field, you are concerned with what is immedietaly in front of you and to your left and right. You are made aware of cannon lanes (where you shouldn't stray due to big guns going bang) and the rest you really hope someone else is not wading in but watching and directing. Even in a pretend battle the adrenyline really pumps and it is not really until the battle is over and you have to march off back up the hill to where you are camped do you realised how knackered you are. It took me over an hour to recover from the heat and had it not been for Francis and Lorna getting me out of my armour and up ending several litres of water over me I should think I would have passed out.

The hottest yet, coolest thing I have done in along time.

Tewksbury was an excellent opportunity for Living History. Granted I didn't lose any limbs and none of my friends went down horribly maimed or killed, there was little in the way of screaming and Bloody Meadow only saw a few drops of blood, nevertheless I experienced some of the intensity of a medieval battle, the disorientation, the excitment and exhaustion. The other bits my imagination will have to fill in. I think I have it covered.

Thanks to all who played, the Tyrrels, and 1415 who we fought with see you at Bosworth:0)

There are more pics to come soon.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Kentwell 1538

This is the first (I should think) of some entries covering the Grand Recreation Of Tudor Life at Kentwell Hall, Suffolk. Just a quick one really. This year I have only been able to do the weekends of the event, and have missed the weekdays which are for school parties. In some ways I am cool with this, I have done four years of main events which is more than many teachers and the route days (Tudor Conveyor Belt) I don't enjoy that much. But having gone up on Wednesday night this week to take the kids, Ned & Beanie, so they could spend the back end of the week, I did realise that I miss the camaraderie.

The other thing about posting here about Kentwell is that we rarely get decent pictures ourselves and are reliant on others coming up with some. This is due to the first person nature of the event where the reenactors are 'in the 16th century' which means we can't break out cameras when ever we fancy. Any way here are a few pics from the event so far (I am sure there will be more) The first I took of my Goodwife, Bess and two other Landsknechts Kit on the left and Blue on the right a Dopplesolder. The other two pics were taken by Hodge a Tudor baker who spent his last day on the manor as member of the public so he could get some pictures. I am sparring with Blue. He can turn his hand to pretty much any medieval and Tudor weapon and is pretty bloody useful with any of them.

Watch this space for more. This weekend coming should be fun. I might get shot at if I can get all my armour on in the heat.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

AHOY! new pics

Ahoy! is my oldest running wargaming project and is in its tenth year, the website was looking very out of date with news from 2005 (which is the kind of thing that bugs me, don't mention my PatrolClash site:0( ) and I am now working on a new version.

So I finally had some time to start taking photos for my rebbuild of the Warhammer Ahoy! website and thought while I am working on the site I would post some here.

The first ship here is a Chaos Longship, Blooddrinker, she is a Small ship, with a crew of maruaders. She is dedicated to Khorne. Ship by me, crew painted by Dan Tunbridge.

The second ship to be featured is my Dark Elf skiff. I made this model some time ago and aim to make bigger ones too. The ship is based on a Gripping Beast Viking Fishing boat, heavily converted with Dark Eldar pieces. The crew are all V.old Maruader Dark Elves. The new models will get crews of the newest plastic Dark Elves as they are awesome.

In the new edition of AHOY! I have produced rules for the Lore of the Waves and the spells include ones to raise creatures from the deep. The tentacles come from the Honourable Lead Bolier Suit Company and no prizes for guessing what the Leviathan is made from. Sadly the kid at a show I told many years ago that I had made it from Greenstuff was mislead a tad! Plenty more to come and new models (hopefully) in the summer break.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

End Of Empire scenery

Some gaming stuff at last! This is a very busy time of year for me, re-enactments galore and a tonne of stuff to do in work. Anyone looking at my Facebook status recently will have noticed the odd rant about having to write school reports *!?**!!&%^ Gaming often comes a poor third in the early summer months. So I recently decided to have a look at what stuff needs finishing… answer… MOST OF IT!

Most wargamers I know usually have more than one project on the go, some big ones, some side ones and often piles of unpainted lead and plastic. Now in recent years I have got better at avoiding piles of unpainted toys, and I get far more finished all round. But again like most gamers I am usually thinking about the next projects before I have finished all the current ones.

So with the summer ahead of me and more potential Wargames Illustrated articles to write I thought I would go back to some of my End Of Empire models. End Of Empire is five years old now and I don’t think I will ever think it’s finished, there will always be a new model to make or new campaign to write, but many of the models have been made for shows and this has often meant they have not been quite finished off, especially the interiors. All EOE buildings come apart to allow access, the problem with this is it drastically increases the amount of painting. A couple of years ago I discovered FRONTLINE WARGAMING a splendid company (well one man band named Tim, all the best people are, really) who make resin furniture in 28mm and they just hit the spot. I bought loads of bits and immediately built an unpainted resin mountain. Tim was a great bloke to chat with and always open to ideas. He designed his library set at my bequest cos I wanted one for the home of Colonel Sir Henry Templeton Smyth.

Last week I decided to do something about the unpainted resin pile and chose to get on with some interiors. First problem: To stick in or not to stick in? If you stick in then it’s permanent, if you don’t they all fall over. Blu-tac leaves residue or damages walls. Solution Make false floors for the rooms. This means that I can strip out a house if I want but have stable furniture for regular layouts. Smaller models won’t get this treatment I am not going to buy furniture for every two up two down. I started with the Town house of Sir Edward Grey. When I first built this model it was a bigger house. No it’s a bit on the small side, but I like it never the less. I think I might add some more floors during the summer holidays.

All furniture FRONTLINE WARGAMING Building by me:0)
The Green Dragon Public House next and the newspaper offices. Plus some F&IW figs this time from the Honourable LEad Boiler Suit Company
. And don't get me started on Warhammer Ancient Battles 2nd edition which needs buying or the fantastic looking new WFB rulebook. Too much hobby not enough time. Right i'm off to the 16th century, ANON!