We all have one, a grot box, a box or shelf of shame, that place where unfinished models go after we've lost interest in them. No don't confuse this with your lead or plastic mountain of untouched kits or figures - this is models we've started and lost interest, perhaps it's a dull sculpt and doesn't inspire, or we've moved on to another project.
There is a good selection of bits in mine and I'm working towards clearing it out, mixing it in with my current projects.
This week I've managed to finish a few bits and pieces. Firstly a Frostgrave bard, also good for D&D.
Next a couple of French officers, originally from Victrix but now no longer in their catalogue.
Finally a Front Rank civilian flanked by two Warlord British Officers suitable for the Peninsula War.
Recently I had the opportunity to visit friends who had moved to France, flying to Basel, we drove down the motorway through Alsace, you can see a graffiti covered pillbox in the shot below.
The Romans were also here, all that remains of the town of Epomanduodurum is the amphitheatre.
Most significantly, the city of Belfort was besieged three times during the nineteenth century, twice during the Napoleonic wars and once more in the Franco Prussian War. The statue below commemorates the leaders in each of those sieges.
The city was protected by fortifications designed by Vauban. The city successfully resisted the Prussians and the defenders marched out with their weapons after the armistice. Because of this success, this part of Alsace was not handed over to new German empire.
After the 1871 war, the French built more forts in this area, their large cannon would give mutually supporting fire. This example Fort du Mont Bart was only open to school parties on the day we were passing.
The French like to leave anachronistic vehicles at their historical sites, Belfort had a Sherman, Mont Bart had this Panhard EBR.
The recent change in Photobucket terms and conditions have made massive waves across the hobby. Many forums have had much of their content replaced with the "upgrade your account" message, online retailers have also been affected.
Ultimately we have to wonder to their business model, income was from, I believe, from ads which we were displayed when users accessed online albums. Only problem was, they weren't. PB become the go to site for photo storage specifically so people could host images on forums, in the Internet age storage is incredibly cheap, bandwidth is not and nor is it predictable.
With the Internet as always "If you're paying for the product, you are the product" most definitely definately being true, users are trying to download the photos and move them to alternate sites although they might just be causing the same problem elsewhere, we will have to wait and see.
Years ago, when I started taking digital photos I started using a site called Fotki, currently about half the photos from this site are hosted on there. When I started blogging directly from my iPad I started loading photos directly in to Blogger. Fotki has managed to lose some photos as they have become corrupted in their database, also links to files became broken as some photos had their file paths changed somehow, this on top of a confusing cost structure caused me to give up.
I'm currently replacing all the old linked images with ones uploaded on to Blogger, so if old posts are appearing in your feeds, my apologies. Swapping images out has lead me to read some old posts and remind me of old games and projects.
Here's a couple;
Uncharted Seas - Easy to paint models, straight forward rules and still may favourite of all the Spartan games.
Lost Worlds - I have cave men, neanderthals and dinosaurs but it's never seen the light of day, I never found rules I was happy with.
6mm ACW - Really disappointed I'd never managed to get a playable force together, messed about with rules and basing before settling on 60mm x 30mm and Black Powder, not to mention I wasn't happy with the black undercoat. Galvanised in to action I have grabbed some started strips and cracked on.
Here's the Renedra barn, bought from a club member as a kit. This is a very simple job to assemble, primed with some cheap black primer from The Range and then base coated with Halford's brown camouflage spray. Some dry brushing later and we have something that will easily cover 400 years of history from English Civil War to the twentieth century.
It's important to remember those are wooden shingles on the roof and not slate tiles so it might be a little more American than European but it would be an easy task to cover with thatching, if done right it could just pop on when needed. I'll get some cheap towelling and give it a try before popping it on a base.
Next up is the first batch of my forces for The Pikemans Lament, I've started with one of the cheap plastic infantry boxes, I effectively got 2 for the price of 1. The figures are a little simple in places, showing their age but they are a quick paint.
I have managed to get the full 42 figures from the box, the box says 40. The secret is to have the firelocks box, which has two sets of arms for each body as so plenty of spares. This gives me 2 12 man shot groups, a 12 man pike group and 4 command figures which can be incorporated in those groups.
I settled on a generic blue colour scheme, Blue was worn by both the Royalist forces occupying Evesham during the Civil War and the Gloucester Trained Bands who were part of the Parliamentarian forces who stormed and took the town in May 1645.
These figures need a varnish, grass and tufts - that's a job for the weekend. Before starting on the next batch I shall tackle a few pieces from the 'grot' box - models long started but never seem to inspire me to complete them.
It's been ages since I've posted, it has been too warm to paint here but I've finally got somethings finished
Last night we dragged our ACW collections out of storage for a run through Sharp Practice 2. I'm told it's been years, this is the first outing under the second edition of the rules and I'm converted to using the chips rather than a card deck. Card decks quickly become a bit tatty with all the handling, chips are so more resilient.
We played the Encounter scenario, in 1864, with the base forces brought up to 100 points, we were quickly in to the swing of it and we took our time with the game. We had a race to the high ground, the Union were fortunate and were able to first onto the Rebel line. Both Rebel groups were badly shot up, whilst their C in C was traumatised by stepping in something smelly.
A lone group of Rebel skirmishers made a break for the Union deployment point, their numbers were depleted by a group racing off after ladies of dubious virtue. At the end of play, A Union victory was declared as they had more troops on table and a higher force morale.
The General about to mess his boots up.
Meet the Ladies
The glue is still wet on the flock
In my last game of Antares, I managed to have my skimmer team crash, Warlord made an objective marker so it seemed like an ideal purchase.
I stocked up on drones, adding Targeters, Batters, Compression and Weapons drones, all in my red Algoryn colour scheme.
Nolzur's Magnificent Miniatures
Earlier this year Wizkids, in partnership with Wizards of The Coast, released the first wave of their primed plastics for D&D. Wizkids had done a similar deal with Piazo, there is also a Pathfinder range, both ranges are quite interchangeable.
Banshee and Ghost
Coming soon - the first box of ECW figures for Pikeman's Lament.
Today I made a trip to Shadow Games in Rugby to pick up some of the goodies for Free RPG day.
I got the Runquest and Starfinder books I was after as well as the Numerera quick-start rules as recommended by the shop keeper. I did buy the 'Call of Cthulhu' Keepers screen whilst I was there as grabbing free stuff and running out the door is a bit unfair on the stores who participate in this promotion, they have to pay for the freebies.
Shadow Games is a modern, well stocked store with some gaming space and a well stocked board game library.
Last weekend was Games Expo at the NEC, I popped up on the Friday after managing to get a slot in a game of D&D. Expo has grown to be the third largest game convention in the world, after only Gencon and Essen.
The show is massively different from the wargame shows I'm used to, not only three days and a big focus on gaming but the audience is very different with a good mix of ages and sexes. The trade is now all together in Hall 1, a massive hall which is quite easy to lose yourself in, perhaps exit signs up high would be a good idea.
There was a few familiar faces like Warlord, Magister Militum, Crooked Dice and War Bases but I'm not sure how they would have done with the additional costs of all the hotel costs, people were loading up on board games and RPG books.
After an enjoyable game of D&D fighting off kobolds, I did a little shopping picking up the keepers book for Call of Cthulhu ( a tenner off retail! ) as well a book of short scenarios from Chaosium. They had PDFs in my inbox before I went to bed - excellent service. I also managed to pick up a couple of packs of drones for my Gates of Antares Algoryn army.
Ian Livingstone, of GW and Fighting Fantasy fame did a great seminar on his career in the industry with some great slides.
In all a great experience, next year I'm planning for two days!
Pershore Bridge was the centre of a skirmish in June 1644. King Charles was returning to Worcester from the siege of Oxford with Parliamentarian troops in pursuit. Charles ordered the bridge destroyed but the task was only partially complete when their pursuers caught up with them. In the ensuing melted the bridge was blown and 40 men drowned.
With the outbreak of WW2, the bridge was blocked with concrete anti tank obstacles.
Managed to get a little painting done, some more skimmers and drones for my Algoryn forces for Beyond the Gates of Antares.
I've started work on the ECW forces for The Pikemans Lament and I have another Stryker book to read on my hols for inspiration.
We can find the inspiration for our gaming in many different places, we often overlook the most local sources. Living in Britain we are never far away from history, when you think of Evesham, my home town, the obvious thought is of the Baron's War battle in 1265. That battle took place on the hill outside the town, however in 1645, Parliamentarian forces stormed and captured the town.
Evesham, stood out in Worcestershire as being one of the few towns to favour Parliament over the King. The town itself lies in a strategic location, not only is Parliamentarian Warwickshire just a few miles away but it lies on Parliament's route to Gloucester and the west country from Coventry, and on the major Royalist supply route between Worcester and Oxford.
This area also proved to be an excellent recruiting ground for the Clubmen movement, several thousand were known to have congregated on Bredon Hill for a meeting in 1645 before declaring their support for Parliament.
Malcolm Atkin, a former county archaeologist, is a respected author on the Civil Wars and I have four of his books, covering the events in Worcestershire and in a slim volume, on the storming of Evesham itself. There is some great detail to be found here, raids and skirmishes were commonplace during this time, just the sort of thing to be recreated with The Pikeman's Lament. Some of my books are shown below;
Michael Arnold writes a series of books based in the English Civil War, with a 'Sharpe' like character called Stryker, a veteran of the Thirty Years War in mainland Europe. Lots more inspiration and ideas for scenarios here. In the fourth instalment, Assassin's Reign, Stryker finds himself down the road at the Siege of Gloucester. Knowing the city I've had fun looking at Google Earth and seeing where the defences were located.
Unbelievably this isnt this first time I tried to do ECW, over the years I bought 6mm, 10mm, 15mm and 28mm both twice. Previously I have been focused on the big battle but Im more motivated zooming down to skirmish level. I've started putting my figures together ( currently all Warlord) and what I've built and undercoated so far is shown below;
As with my WoTR project, I'm going to cover both sides, luckily all this needs is additional command figures painted with their Red or Tawney Orange sashes and the figures can swap sides. I'm going to paint up the troops in fairly generic colours.
My first box of the plastics are going to be blue, (not only were the Gloucester Trained Bands dressed in Blue but so were some of the opposing Evesham garrison) I'm thinking of green for the second box, the Dragoons will be in red and the firelock armed troops perhaps grey.
I'll post another update on this project as I move it forward, luckily Amazon have delivered the next two paperbacks in the Stryker series.
A couple of years ago I started playing D&D again regularly joining in a localish adventure league game. AL is an organised play program organised by participating retailers, sessions are limited to 2 hours and characters will not rise above 4th level, as fun as this is, players can easily drop in and out as needed, its rather like starting a book and giving up after a few chapters.
Early this year I managed to find another group locally. To start we played a few sessions of "The Black Hack" an old school inspired cut down fantasy game. The rules are available from their publisher Squarehex at a bargain price of £7.50 including the DM screen and a scenario.
We have know progressed on to Labyrinth Lord, a classic clone of D&D (and AD&D with the advanced supplement), this is available as a free download or as a printed version with added artwork.
My character, a cleric called Bartholomew, is mastering turning zombies and casting "Cure Light Wounds" whilst we battle through the lair of a long dead wizard. Great fun!
All this has proved so much fun that we've started another campaign playing "Call of Cthulhu", another game I've not played since the mid 90's. There's a new 7th edition out now and all existing material is backwardly compatible.
I plan running my own Cthulhu game too but I will move the action to Victorian England rather than 1920s New England.
We recently payed a visit to Snowshill Manor, a quite local National Trust property which contained the collection of eccentric former owner, Charles Paget Wade. Wade collected anything which interested him, the collection became so large, he moved out of the house and in to a former priests house in the grounds.
There's lots to interest visitors but nothing is labelled and any questions on the objects have to be directed to the volunteer guides which is a bit of a pain. But whats there to interest the wargamer and history buff?
Wade seem to have taken a liking to the orient and managed to collect a great selection of Samurai weapons and armour.
Here's me wearing a heavy reproduction helmet and face mask.
Some Civil War period breastplates and helmets, here paired with buff coats.
An eclectic mix of the medieval and renaissance weapons, including a pair of German Two Handed Swords, "Zweihänder" wielded by the Landschneckt.
So just before the end of January I popped up to the Warlord Games grand opening of their onsite store and played a demo of Beyond The Gates of Antares. I liked the look of the Algoryn faction - I though they would make great generic aliens for many games.
I split the newer, smaller starter set with Dane and I have added a few bits from eBay sellers and from Warlord at Hammerhead. Just less than two months, they are complete! Well as complete as any army can be, there are some skimmer bikes heading this way from eBay as we speak!
Here is the complete force now its been flocked and tufted.
In real life there is a little more contrast in the red shades but otherwise its a pretty standard paint scheme.
Here's the metal command squad - soon to be replaced by a plastic multi part kit.
Mag Light Support
Avenger Attack Skimmer with Mag Cannon
Armoured Infantry Assault Squad
They have already had one game, which true to form with newly painted figures, they lost although I'm sure we got a few things wrong.