Battleground 2018 Show

It’s nearing the end of November so it must be the Battleground Show in Stockton, ably organised by Leon and the chaps at Pendraken. Up early and a good run down the A19 saw me arrive with ten minutes to spare. It’s a good venue. Plenty of parking, easy to get to, and good lighting. And the event is free entry. What’s not to like. Only slight downside this year was that the student cafe was closed so there was a pie and sandwich van outside and drinks and little snacks in reception. They did at least have nice coffee and being vegan, I was glad I brought my own scran. The van apparently did very well and sold out and it seems that that will be the arrangement next year. 

As ever, some good games on display. There’s a gallery at the bottom of the page but the highlights for me were:

The Battle of Piercebridge by the Battlefield Trust. A very nicely done 2mm battlefield.

An excellent 10mm Battle of Blenheim by Stafford and District Wargames

And some lovely little figures in the Brompton Bankers Battle of the Standard

And mention must be made of the Lesser Spotted Peeler who with the Yorkshire Coast Gamers finally managed to turn up on the correct day and out in their DBN Waterloo game.

To be fair, all the other games were decent and above so no offence should be taken at not getting a special mention. See the gallery for more pics. It was great to chat with Tim W, Peeler, Goat Major, Bob, Norm, Dave J and many others. Thanks to Simon (Goat Major) for the loan of some AWI related rules things and to Peeler for delivering some Spencer Smith FPW Bavarians from Essex Boy. More to add to the Shinification.


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The Haul

So what did I buy, considering I was not desperate for anything. Theme of the day was Dark Age… I’d considered buying some civilian type figures from Newline as they have their sale in. But they didn’t have them. So they are coming in the post. I did buy some Viking Archers though. And then I popped to see Graham at Crann Tara. He was selling off a load of Early Saxon figures and some Crusader and other Normans. So a few packs of Normans were acquired and a few odd ‘character’ figures. The rummage boxes on Colonel Bill’s also saw a few cheap Norman types. 

And Crann Tara had a lovely new ADC on galloping horse that just had to be bought. And on the Tablestop sale I got five AWI Ammo wagons. Just need some horses with them. 

I tried not to buy some paint. Yet again I failed to check my stock so I’m sure at least a couple of these are unneeded. And I restricted myself to one pot of blue…

And Stuart H from the Tyneside Club had acquired some 15mm Samurai and amongst them were some FIW/AWI figures which he kindly passed to me. Not sure what make they are but they will fit in some where.

And finally, in the white envelope at the back in the top picture is another MDF paint rack from Warbases. I now need to sort my desk put to make room for it!

So, all in all a good day. There were some well attended talks upstairs during the day but I failed to make them. Hopefully they will repeat similar next time. So, thanks again to Leon and Co. for all the hard work for yet another excellent show.


Shinification Part 1

I have run out of steel bases so stage one of the Shinification Project is complete. This is most of the Swans/Altefritzenburg troops (guns, the band, and lancers to do) and most of the (N)Ottomans… Still cavalry to do as the bases I have are too big for the smaller RSM horses. 

So… here is the project so far:

Pasha Sultan Abdul Seyfi of K’ha’Ramel, Guardian of the Blood Red Moon and Protector of the Sacred Camel and Supreme Commander of the Ever Invincible Army has found his army to be less than invincible of late and has requested aid from the Franco-Braunschweig Alliance. A small contingent of Marines have arrived bringing with them the latest in killing technology.

The Sultan’s troops, although loyal and well trained are not the best armed….

Facing them are the troops of the Altefriztenburg Expeditionary Force comprising the 1st Altefritzenburg Regiment…

And the famed Savage Swans of Von Donovan’s Legion! All supported by the 1st Altefritzenburg Jaegers.

Because I’ve been rebasing units I made up for various Ayton events the number of figures and command varied depending on what vague plan I had for units that year! For the Swans I had a 30 figure unit including command so pulling out two 12 figure units and splitting out the command left me with 2 odd figures I’ll no doubt use somewhere. For the Altefritzenburgers I did 30 figures PLUS command so had six figures left over. I decided that I’d give them a white shoulder strap and class them as the ‘light’ company who will be crack shots! 

While removing figures from bases I only had one disaster with the mounted Altefritzenburg officer.

I’m not that adept at repairing figures but for this I drilled two of the legs and pinned the join and then glued the lot with epoxy resin. It seems fairly robust…

And with the Swans is their fearsome mascot, Ganymede!

And overseeing the events are the Archduke of Altefritzenburg and (in green) Field Marshall von Donovan. And recording all for posterity is Major Seymour Wittering (Retired), War Correspondent for the Britannic Times.

I’ve not got quite enough for a AGW game but I have sorted out the French FPW Spencer Smiths I have and if I order about another 8 figures I can add 5 units to that side. I also have some Bavarians coming. And I’m painting three figures to allow me to add another unit of 12 Ottoman infantry and somewhere I have some RSM Janissaries! And more steel bases are due next week!


Let there be light!

My main desk lamp on the painting desk has been struggling for a while. I’ve had it years but the fitting inside the shade has snapped off, the whole lamp/shade part broke many years ago and has to be wrapped around the arm to hold in place, and the springs and levers are all broken and need wedging in place with bits of wood to stop them collapsing… All in all, like me, it’s a bit knackered…

So when one of my not cheap super day light bulbs went I started looking at options. I’d looked at various blogs and forums for advice on lamps but the really good options all seemed a bit expensive. Then I stumbled on a video ( about using cheap angle poise lamps from IKEA with decent bulbs in. I had the bulbs (had already got a replacement one one I decided costs looked to make a new lamp prohibitive) so yesterday it was off to IKEA! 

All I wanted was two lamps. £9 each. But as family were in tow we also came out with 4 cushions, 3 cushion covers, tea towels, two mats and a bulb… Such is IKEA…

So now we have the new solution! Two lamps clamped to the desk and giving good light and easy to move out of the way to see the monitors.

OK. So they no longer do them in black…and the yellow ones were out of stock…so they only had pink… Still, it’s not like anyone’s going to see them and take the piss is it?… Oh…hang on…


The Shiny Bug…

OK. The recent 42mm Shiny game has rather drawn me back to the days of gloss varnished figures. When I returned to wargaming in the early 90s and started my Mid-Republican Romans I gloss varnished them. Doing that seemed to make the colours pop. As I played a few more games and atteneded shows it became evident that gloss varnish was no longer trendy so everything got a matt varnish and that’s what I’ve been doing since. But following the game a few weeks ago and a chat with Simon (Goat Major) a little plan was hatched…

Two of the Ayton games have been C19th games. One an ‘alternative’ ACW game and the other a Colonial game. All involved assorted forces from peoples ImagiNation armies which some of us had painted up variants for the period. I, inevitably, did the Savage Swans and other units of the Legion and then added units for Altefritzenburg. The majority of the figures were from the Spencer Smith Classic Franco-Prussian War range with a few specials from Stadden. However, I’ve never used these figures for anything else. Recently I’d pondered using them for Sharp Practice but I’m not sure the rules work too well for the later period. I’ve looked at other rules for the period but still done nothing. Then the chat with Simon came up with the idea of re-basing them all on single bases, glossing them, and then using the forthcoming A Gentleman’s War rules.

I decided I’d use the same 20x25mm basing as the 42mm figures so I could just order a load and use for both projects. As I had one base left I picked a single figure from the force and applied the gloss!

Quite pleased with the result. I decided to keep the base matt as I may paint my MDF sheets the same green to sue for ‘old school’ type games. So, as more bases are still on order I COULD have started removing from bases and glossing the existing figures but…in the current spirit of clearing up batches of figures I’ve had sat around for ages (sometimes years!) I dug out some Spencer Smith FPW French Marines and a Mitrailleuse and crew that have been sat primed and on bottle tops for a loooonng time! Although I’ve painted them as French they will really form part of a French-like nation who are acting as advisors/support for my Ottoman themed troops (which will also be getting the Shiny treatment!) so I’m not 100% obsessed with accuracy of detail.

Anyway, I’ve painted a dozen of them and an officer and the Mitrailleuse and crew. I’m still waiting on the steel bases arriving so once they do they’ll be based up properly but for now you get the idea.

Slightly frustrating with the amount of equipment on them – takes ages to paint – but I’m quite pleased with them. I’ve painted them ‘properly’ rather than the block colours of the 42mm as that is how the rest of the project is done. When the bases arrived I’ll finish them fully and then start re-basing the rest… and maybe paint some regular French troops…

Shiny Happy People!


Yet another slight diversion…

Having completed the Shiny Toy soldier game and coming away enthused to buy more, and with a large 15mm AWI game planned for next Ayton, and with the Vikings to start for my Dark Age project…it seemed sensible to dive in and paint some 15mm Macedonian Pikemen! Now, to be fair, I’ve had this little batch sat in my workbench for about three years. I got a little box of Old Glory figures from Iain Burt (Essex Boy) probably a year before that. The little batch of 16 figures with lovely little pikes fitted and Dremel’d by Iain have been frequently dusted but never work on in all that time. Someone over on the LAW forum mentioned pikemen (possibly in response to a comment about the large pile I have sat in a box from the second Forged in Battle Kickstarter!) and that clearly planted the seed… So on my return from Fram that was what was dusted off and started.

I also took delivery of a little lightbox from China (recommended by Jeremy on LAW) and for just over £5 delivered it was worth a look…

It’s a little basic with a strip of LEDs on the top front edge. I’m not sure if that edge is meant to fold in more to focus the light on the interior but it seems bright enough. It just plugs in to the USB port on my PC. So I thought I’d give it a go.

It seems OK. Pictures cropped to cut out the back corners of the box. And it’s clearly not big enough for a whole unit of 28mm figures! But for small stuff and odd figures it does the job. It also comes with a black backdrop which I’ve yet to try. 

So there we have the first little block of pike. I got another lot of the same figure and then it will be time to move onto the Forged in Battle stuff. But I need Iain to do me some more of the nice pikes!

Oh… and he’s already christened them Smurfs! Git…


Musings of an easily distracted wargamer