Saturday, 28 December 2013

Let's Get This Show Back On The Road


Before it drifted off into the realm of cynicism and p*ss taking as a result of watching one particularly well known wargames forum digging itself further into the clarts over how and by whom it was run, this blog was really just meant as a means of keeping a record of what painting I'd done plus the occasional games report. I really think it's time to stop rubbernecking at the trainwreck that the Dark Place has become and spend the time painting!

Looking forward to next year the first thing that I really need to get done is clear the desk of all the bits of things that are already on it. At present this amounts to:
8 15mm Spanish Napoleonic Artillerymen for the Talavera Scenario
2 15mm 12Pdr Guns that will double as French and Spanish
12 10mm Crimean War Infantry.



I think 2014 needs to be a terrain year. In 2013 I changed the way I set up the table using terrain mats with hills created by "stuffing things underneath". This was mainly inspired by Jeff Knudsen at
I've been following Jeff's site for a while as the the rules he's written, "Napoleonic Command" have intrigued me for several years. There have been some great reports of his games posted on Flickr and linked to at the Dark Place. The terrain is exceptional and all done with terrain mats contoured by putting toy stuffing underneath. The settings are also realistically sprinkled with minor terrain items too, but here's where the genius of his rules come in - walls, hedges and minor streams have no effect unless want them to. Major walls yes, wide streams, yes, but bog standard walls and things that require you to lose 1/3 of a move every 
time you cross them or prevent charges or whatever have no effect other than to make the table look bloody great.
So I want to get some more terrain features and try to get the table looking something like Jeff and his group's table, but I don't want to get into too much scratch building, so I think a few more orders will be going in to:

I have been really impressed with their prepainted rivers and I think I will be getting some more plus a couple of their tiles for hamlets/villages, etc. If you order them painted you have to be prepared to wait a while, but the end product is well worth it.
As far as trees, etc. are concerned, the landscape-architect-son-in-law has just given me a load of various forms of trees and Woodland Scenics stuff left over from his degree so it will be an order to ERM miniatures for some of their MDF woodland bases in the New Year.

Figures-wise I will continue adding to the Napoleonics for the scenarios in "Wellington's Victories". The additional number of units required gets less of a problem for each scenario - well at least until the two cavalry scenarios anyway.

I want the Thirty Years War project finished this year. As I mentioned above, the Swedes are virtually finished and just need the bases done. I've stopped using static grass for new units - it's too much of a pain in the backside to use and no matter how much you try some always gets left on the desk and stuck in the varnish, so from now on it's ready made tufts from:
When the  Swedes are done I need to paint up a few pikemen for the Imperialists and rebase the rest and that's it!

Then there's the 10mm Crimea business. I said I'd do this with Scotty, but his ability to paint by telekinesis from work during the day coupled with my slow pace and timewasting on sundry internet wargames forums has left me miles behind. I need to complete a division with artillery plus a cavalry brigade at least to ease my conscience.

All the other bits; Flodden, Greeks and rebasing the Hundred Years War Armies on Impetus bases will just be there to relieve the monotony this year.


There will be a two week gaming hiatus in April as we are going back to Toronto for the opening home games of the 2014 season. This will doubtless be another year when the Bluejays  greatly under achieve and  languish at the bottom of the AL East, but as I follow ( I don't actively support) Newcastle United I am used to this sort of thing. The major difference is that going to the Rogers Centre in Toronto is a friendly, pleasant experience whereas I won't even set foot in THE TOON on a match day.

Anyway, no matter what the result against the Yankees on April 4th, it should be a great experience. FF to 1:50 on the following video - cant wait:

All the best for 2014.

Monday, 23 December 2013

What not to do With Black Powder

Of doubtful interest.........



Monday, 16 December 2013

Wings of War Game

Of possible interest.

Wings of war at the club


Let's be honest, this is a damn sight easier than actually writing  blog!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Lego Paint Rack

 Of possible interest.......

Its reduced the amount of space taken up by the pots on the desk. It took me about 1/2 hour to make

Friday, 13 December 2013

X wing and an update

Of possible interest




Friday, 22 November 2013

Welcome Home Fusiliers - Morpeth 22.11.13

Another fine regiment prepares to be consigned to the dustbin of history

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Viva El Presidente

I'm sure you will all join me in congratulating Assistant Editor Dave on his election to the post of President of the Border Reivers Wargames Society.

This is a remarkable appointment and replaces the former role of Chairman.

I would encourage all non supporting members to upgrade to supporting membership so that we can provide a celebratory bottle of champagne.

The Editor

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Introducing Assistant Editors Dave And Scotty

Regulars will have noticed that I've not had much time to post lately as I have been working hard on the code for The Rearguard V10.357a. This is going to do away with that annoying period from 0:00 to 23:58 every day when the system has to be down for maintenance.

In order to try and restore some order I have appointed two Assistant Editors who assure me they know absolutely nothing about wargaming. They live in the darkest depths of Northumberland and therefore it was necessary to install electricity for them before they could begin work.

Thanks to the efforts of our supporting members we have been able to supply them with generators, hamster wheels and a couple of tame rodents. I would ask that non-supporting members consider upgrading to supporting membership so that we can ensure the supply of hamster food to keep them online.

They have already begun work in their new roles and the fruits of their labours can be found at the following links

Assistant Editor Dave has a report on the Battle of Durot here.

He also has a report on the Battle of the Denmark Straits here.

Assistant Editor Scotty has various reports and an article on how to paint an entire 15mm Napoleonic Corps in 2 days here

I'm sure you will all join with me in extending a very warm welcome to them both.

The Editor

Saturday, 26 October 2013

No time to post

I think I need some assistant editors.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Maple Leaf Forever

(Toronto, Baseball and Hot Dogs)

Here are some pics of our holiday in Toronto, which was a totally brilliant experience. 3 Baseball games; 1 with the youngest daughter's boyfriend and 2 with the Missus who was only going to grudgingly go to 1 (with her Kindle because she would be bored) and then decided that we had to go back to see another one. So Two games against the Yankees ( 1-7, 7-2,) and then one against the Kansas City Royals (4-2).

A-Rod was playing in the two Yankees games and he didn't half get some stick. Every time he came up to bat there was a crescendo of 40,000+ boos, but it was all a bit Pantomime Villain stuff. They treat him a bit differently in Boston:-

Anyway here's some baseball pics from the Rogers Centre, Toronto, home of the Bluejays:

Rogers Centre (Formerly the Skydome)

Obligatory Hot Dog before the game

Inside the ballpark with the roof closed

 Roof opening

Roof open and the CN Tower lit up

We weave our usual social magic at the Royals game

Then it's off to "The Keg" for a "Baseball Top Steak and Twice Baked Potato"

The City from Central Island and a schooner on Lake Ontario at the Harbour Front

Harbour Front

You can just about make out the roof opening in this video (I-Phone so not brilliant)

It has to be said that Toronto is an amazing city, can't wait to go back.

Friday, 30 August 2013


Not a Wargames related post, just had to be said is all :)

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Ventosa Part 2 - Stalemate

The two French battalions eventually break their opponent and one heads off down the ridge to engage an isolated British unit. The other heads towards the flank of smallest unit in Ferguson's brigade. Things are looking bad for the British.

The  pressure begins to tell , forcing back the small battalion  but British musketry is gradually wearing down the French.

The  French  brig forward their skirmishers to harass the British Square.

Full time, and basically it's stalemate with the British having two uncommitted  battalions and the French one. 

 At the beginning of this session things looked bad for the British and I think we all expected the line to fold, but the French attack gradually ran out of steam.

Next it's Talavera,..........

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Ventosa - The Game - Part One

We are playing this scenario with Black Powder, Albion Triumphant 2. Originally it was going to be with General De Brigade, but I didn't quite have enough figures painted and wanted to get on with it before I go on holiday.
French - Dave

Allies - Scotty

"Impartial" umpire - me

We have got up to turn 9 and Scotty has a report here:

Here are  the pics I've taken so far:


Solignac's brigade start to move forward.

"We know they're up there somewhere!"

After obstinately refusing to move for a while, Bowes' Brigade moves forward to support the line. Perhaps they suspected that they would be needed somewhere other than where they were ordered to go......

Because once they started to move forward, Brennier's brigade appeared on the flank.By this time Solignac's Brigade was broken.

Two attack columns go in.......

and eventually break one of Ferguson's battalions. One of Bowes' battalions forms square in the face of an attack by French Dragoons.


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Table for "The Action At Ventosa"

I still have a few figures to paint yet, but here's the table set up for the scenario in "Wellington's Victories". The wheat fields surrounding the village are cut out of a cheap doormat from the local Boundary Mills store. We went for a walk to St Mary's Island last Sunday but didn't quite get there because my sandles disintegrated so we ended up at the store to buy another pair and they had 3X2 mats for £3.99. It was  one of those situations when you think - hmmmmmmm!

Teddy bear fur for the smaller fields on the reverse slope. The church tower is just visible to the right of the road beneath the handles of the "exercise" bike.

This is as close as we got walking along the cliff from Old Hartley.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Mid Year Malaise

Just  a quick update, more for my own benefit than anything else, as to where I am with the world of lead at the moment.

Not really got a lot done recently. I've had a long term sinus infection which has now cleared up thanks to some anti-biotics, but it seems to have left my right eye prone to dry-eye and more than usually susceptible to pollen this year. After a computer-heavy day at work the dry-eye was really aggravating and the last thing I felt like doing was painting. When the pollen started coming back down in the evening it only made matters worse. Fortunately I've now found some drops that keep the dry-eye away and some more that are keeping the allergy down, so today I'm picking up the brush for the first time in a while.

Romans Vs Palmyrans Game

Dave and I finished the game due to Scotty being unable to make it - totally went out of our heads until the end that it was supposed to be the start of a campaign. If the chaps are up for it we'll have to start again because it was totally wrong to inflict my dice throwing on Scotty's side at the start of the campaign.
Needless to say the Romans stuffed the Palmyran centre once they got into contact.
I have some more figures to change the makeup of these armies but see below.........

10mm Crimean War
If you look at Scotty's blog you'll see that he's left me way behind on this project already.
 Hopefully I can catch up a bit now. I've deliberately chosen figures in greatcoats to get the army built more quickly, so they are really easy to paint - almost just grey with a black wash. I've just discovered "Sharpie" gold and silver pens which make the rifle barrels and badges a doddle too. They will also work brilliantly for shako and shabraque lace on Napoleonics.
The games I've played for this era up until now have been with the Wye Forest Gamers' F&F adaption, but now I see that there is an"official" set coming out. The playsheet is already up on .It looks as though the groundscale is shorter than we are used to, but the infantry basing has gone back (I think) to F&F orientation rather than the narrow edge forward, 2 wide, 2 deep arrangement in the Napoleonic "Age of Eagles". It also seems to have skirmishers ,which AofE doesn't.

Thirty Years War
I've finally got my mind around how I want "Pike & Shotte" to work for this period. I've also looked logically at the table size I have available and decided upon the size of the armies I am going to do.
Basically, on a 6 X 4 table, with a bit of space on the flanks, there is room for 4 Swedish Brigades in 2 lines with 6 cavalry regiments on each flank in 2 lines with attached commaded shot. This equates to 6 Imperialist Battalia with the same number of cavalry.
I've decided that an Imperialist unit of 1000 men will be represented by 3 units of 2 bases so: 2 musket, 2 pike, 2 musket. This gives a scale of 1 base = 166 men. I'm doing Swedish Brigades of 3 units of 2 musket and 3 units of 1 Pike. I'm going to leave all Pike units as 2 ranks deep because a) I believe they were drawn up at the same depth as the muskets b) there are less figures involved. If I ever need to model deeper Imperialist formations, 2 pike units will be placed 1 in front of the other so the rear unit gives support to the front one as per the rules. 
I've now got all the scenario PDFs for Steven Danes "FAther Tilly" rules and can adapt them to this scale too.
So for this project is almost complete painting-wise, just a few more Imperialist pikes to paint. Now for the basing............
I've been basing these figures as per the WRG/FOG standard, mainly on the "if I ever sell them, they'll go quicker" basis. I'd started putting them in movement trays to make up the units, but to be honest they looked awful like that. So in the light of Tim Beresford's article in Miniature Wargames 362 (see below), I'm doing the following..........
The basing needed to look better with no trays, so everything except battalion guns is going on 40mmX40mm bases. 8 Pikes in 2 ranks, 6 Muskets (instead of 8) and 3 cavalry. Skirmish cavalry and dragoons will be on single bases as per P&S but I don't envisage many of the latter. Battalion guns will go on 30mm square bases. 
This will make them:
1. Look bettter
2. Easier to move
3.Easier to define the forward, rear and flank zones. Just draw lines through the diagonally opposite base corners and that defines the arc of fire and flank zones, etc.

Small units  = 1 base, standard units 2 bases, large units 3 bases. SORTED!

Tim Beresford's article "Think Tank" in MW 362
I really like what Henry Hyde is doing with the magazine. Articles on games are now articles on games, not 3 pages of history with two paragraphs on the game with no real idea about rules or how to actually translate it to the tabletop. There are also more general articles about the hobby and this one is a real thought-provoker for those up us with lead mountains and more unfinished than finished projects. Basically he's arguing that detail is detracting from the hobby - making figures take longer to paint and by extension, projects longer to complete.
But detail has another serious affect on people like me who have to "get things right", especially with Napoleonics in my case. E.G. It took me ages to get enough figures together for the General de Brigade Vimeiro scenario that appears earlier on my blog. This was because I was determined that the British units should have the correct facings for the regiments they represented. This is really a form of obsessive-compulsive madness that results in fewer games and too much angst. I've now adopted the attitude that as long as a red coated regiment has red coats, the facing colours are irrelevant - what matters is the label on the base that  defines it. 
The same goes for the (thankfully) more generic French. I was going to make sure that the 2 battalions of light infantry required for the Ventosa scenario had blue trousers and white metal fittings. This despite the fact that I have enough line battalions to do the job - so bugger it - two line battalions will represent the two legere units and the base labels will do the rest.
On the subject of base labels: In WHS in Morpeth I discovered some post-it notes that are 100% sticky on the reverse side - so now no more permanently labelled units. Do a set of labels for each F&F or GdeB (or any rules for that matter) scenario and you can put them on and take them off to your heart's content. Keep them stuck to a piece of paper and file them when not in use.
So now I am painting up some more British for the Ventosa scenario from "Wellington's Victories" and the only reason I am doing so is because I don't have enough figures, not because the facings are the wrong color!

I think that's enough for one day - I'm off to lie down in a darkened room.

P.S I am not at all upset, envious or jealous that Dave got to see a baseball game before me.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Two finished Tudor Bases

Finally finished a couple of "Impetus" bases for the Early Tudors. I'll probably use theses for "Pike and Shotte"

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Romans Vs Palmyrans

Opening Moves

The start of a game of a Hail Caesar with Scotty as Queen Zenobia (left) and Dave in the more comfortable role of Aurelian (right)

Demilancers and 10mm Crimean British

15mm English Demilancers (Essex) on Impetus Base

10mm Crimean British In Greatcoats (Magister Militum)

Friday, 24 May 2013

Tudor English and Scots

These have been hanging around for a long time. I've decided to do two Basic Impetus armies and this is the start.

Essex Early Tudor Billmen

Essex Early Tudor Archers

Feudal Castings Flodden Scots
(Sadly no longer available in the UK)