Saturday 28 November 2020

British Laager

   I've definitely mentioned this before, but my Wagons, Carts & Civilians* label is probably my favourite option in my blog side bar as it lets you do some really fun things, although it was in writing this post that I realised I have a lot less wagons than I thought I had - something to rectify. This post was particularly fun to get ready and will hopefully address the balance a bit..

   Laager was not a word in my mental dictionary until I sent Simon Miller from TheBigRedBatCave a message asking where he got his Celtic Wagons from as I couldn't see any mention in his Celtic label search of manufacturers. At the point I asked, I'd bought 3 wagons from a couple of different sources** but wanted a bit more variety and my google-fu was failing me. Simon's very helpful response included where he thought they had come from but also told me to search Laager on his blog and it was an eye opener.

   A few of orders later (that escalated somewhat) and I had bought another 9 wagons from various sources for this project and for a couple of other projects. For this project I ended up with; 2 from 1st Corps, 2 from Front Rank, 1 from Redoubt Miniatures and 1 from Wargames Foundry along some screaming women for heckling purposes. This ends up being just less than 2 foot of Laager if you are using the Simon Miller method of counting wagons - must try harder.

*Slightly amended  

 **One of which was later requisitioned by the Romans

Front Rank

Redoubt Miniatures

Front Rank

Wargames Foundry

1st Corps

   I am now in the weird position where I can rank different companies wagons in a single post and while I don't think there are any bad kits in this batch, some deserve a bit of praise. 

   The 1st Corps wagons are my go to place when I first decide I need a wagon, but I do think the lack of variety is a bit of a shame, saying that they go together really nicely. The Redoubt Miniatures wagon was a dream to put together but the other wagons I picked up for my ECW project - coming soon - were a bit more of a puzzle to get built, although, as some of the cheapest wagons on this list, they definitely rank highly. The single Foundry Miniatures wagon went together fairly easily and is a really good basic wagon, but it is the Front Rank wagons that I want to really single out as they were a dream to put together and left me wishing I had bought another one or two**.

   The figures are a mix of the Foundry Germanic women (heartily recommended to me by Simon), a couple from Crusader Miniatures and one or two from Warlord Games. The woman holding a baby in one hand and a Roman helmet in the other was a limited edition figure from Warlord, I think you got free when you placed an order, and I knew I had one somewhere - it turned out I had a few of them. I've still got a few more non-combatant type figures to do for this project but if I keep waiting for everything to be finished I'll never post this up.

**I did but that's a story for another day

Thanks for reading

Wednesday 25 November 2020

The Dreaded Praetorian Guard

    The Praetorian Guard is a unit that I had no plans to include in this project, but a chat with a mate on the best source of replacement shields for GW's Minas Tirith troops* reminded me that Wargames Illustrated had two free Roman sprues in a row, I've already used the Veteran Legionaries (mixed into my Legionary units) but I also had something else. A search through my Pile of Potential and I found it was a sprue of Praetorians. So, on my last (so far) Warlord Games orders I added a couple of packs of decals for their shields and an extra sprue to make them a useable number, figuring if I didn't paint them as part of this project they would languish in my sprue pile forever.

*If anyone has any ideas we are still stuck

   Then a couple of weekends ago my Podcast mates decided to do a hangout and hobby session to have a catch up during Lockdown 2 and I decided that instead of doing the next thing in my painting queue, I would use the chance of being 'forced' to paint to get on with a project I wasn't looking forward to, a few things came to mind, but a full batch of 20 models won. I don't like painting in batches bigger than 6 (which allows me to do a Lion Rampant unit in 2 batches rather than 2 and a bit of most people's 5 in a batch) but as my Romans had already been worked in batches of 12, what I really wanted to avoid was painting the 12 I needed then leaving the rest of the unit in my painting queue to catch up with later.

   While painting 20 models at a time is horrible and I don't know how you people that do it, actually do it, doing the boring bits while having a chat was a better experience than I expected (damned with faint praise?) and it meant the project was well on it's way by the time we called it and got back on with our weekends.

   I've also given them pretty bad stats, instead of making them an elite unit as other games seem to, for Lion Rampant and at this point I'm sort of looking forward to another player finding that out mid game . . .

   Then with the Praetorian Guard being painted the next obvious thing was someone for them to guard. As Claudius only got involved in the invasion at the point where it was basically a photo op and Nero had other problems on his hands during Boudica's uprising (fiddling while Rome burned?) I didn't want it to be an emperor, so I went for a Legate or Tribune. I'm pretty sure this pair are from Warlord, although I have got a bit lost in where bits are from at this point. I only plan to use a single one in a game, but it's nice to have options. The extra figure is a mob figure from Gangs of Rome that I have spare and I plan to use him as a freedman of some sort to give the leader some advice during the battle.

Thanks for reading

Monday 23 November 2020

Hit And Run

    I'm at that awkward point in what I have started dubbing my Britannia AD43 project (just because it sounds flashier than Britannia somewhere between AD43 and AD60-61 but with the option of AD83 - sorry Boudica) where I can see the end of the project looming and that means it's easy to take the eye off the ball and let the last units drift down the painting queue (like pretty much every other project I have done in the last year or few). I'm trying to show a bit of self discipline and make sure everything for this project is built and sprayed, then close to hand so painting carries on with as few distractions as possible.

   That is where this post comes in. I have made no qualms about my dislike of painting cavalry in the past, and as this project only has 2 units of cavalry a side (actually really small numbers all things considered) they could so easily become the casualties of my end of project drifting, so I'm aiming to make sure I have some horses on my painting desk at all times now.

   I finished the first unit of Roman cavalry a couple of weeks back, so this time it is the turn of some British cavalry. I've mixed horse colours as I normally try to I've basically just been adding a horseman or two each time I've painted a batch of warriors to try and keep a mix of clothing colours and patterns.

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Friday 20 November 2020

Last of the English Archers

    Another slight detour from my painting plan but linked to another recent project. Posting about the wooden stakes for my 100 Years War project got me thinking about the last few units that still needed to be finished. There is still another plastic box set I'd like to buy to complete (?) both sides, but first I have another few units that I already own that need to be done.

   For the English I have 3 units left to do and it dawned on me that I should really get them built and sprayed ready to fit into my plans. The archers (already having been built) were the closest to being ready, so they jumped the queue and got onto my painting table.

   There isn't a huge amount to say about these, they are Perry Miniatures plastics like the rest and I painted them to match a couple of the banners in my stock pile.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday 17 November 2020


    This is the first chariot that I've given it's own post to, rather than hiding it behind a full unit and that's because I've got a few bits to say about this model.

   The model is the Warlord Games Boudica Chariot and I bought it to be one of the chariots in my only planned unit, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted the option of whether Boudica is involved in the chariot charge or not. In some games I think she makes more sense as a command element at the back of the board, while in other games she shouldn't be on the board at all - Mons Graupius for example - so being able to swap her in and out made more sense.

   Then the model itself, the way Warlord sell the model with Boudica at the front and a big bloke with a Roman standard behind her pushes Boudica herself into second place on her own model, looking more like the driver than the queen of the Iceni. So the obvious answer to that was to make the bloke at the back fight on foot and add a new driver to the chariot, giving Boudica pride of place again.

   Lastly, paint jobs. I've purposely given the chariot two different colour horses which is something I've been avoiding doing so far - I have a weird memory from a tv program that reckoned horse siblings make a better team than two unrelated horses, whether this is true or not is a different matter, but its been a guideline I've worked to. But with this chariot, I wanted something to make it stand out even if* I get more chariots, plus I'm reading the Boudica series of novels by Manda Scott and in the first her two horses are grey and brown, so that's what I did. Also going with that series of novels, each tribe wears a different colour cloak, with the Iceni being blue so, again, I made sure I included that**.


**ignoring the fact Boudica wears grey in the books 

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Wednesday 11 November 2020

The rambling post about warmachines and distractions

    I've been building up to this post for a while with multiple bits needing to be finished to make it work. 

   It all started when I had a bit of a tidy up and found I had bought two Black Tree 100 Years War ballista*, these were added to my spreadsheet of unbuilt models and pushed to the top of my to do list, but didn't get any further than being sprayed before they got left on the side.

   I've painted them pretty roughly to match the rest of the collection - it turns out my painting style has got a lot better since then. I doubt these will ever see the table and I still have no idea why I bought them but they are nice to have.

*Still not actually sure when these were actually bought.

   Then just before lockdown I had placed a Gripping Beast order and I added a Scorpion for my Arthurian-British army partly to get into the free postage bracket and partly as a nice stand alone project, this didn't even get to the building stage before I got distracted. 

   The extra character on the left with sword and round shield turned up in my pile of potential a while back, I suspect he is from a Gripping Beast Roman-British command pack I bought a while back but I'm not sure, made sense to paint him at the same time as the crew for the scorpion, though.

   Lastly, we have the plastic Warlord Games Scorpions for my Early Imperial Roman army and it was at this point when I was sitting in my man cave building them ready to slot into my painting backlog and I saw the ballista on the shelf behind me and this weird thought in my head told me to do a post with all 5 warmachines in.

   So off I went and got on with them, until another thought jostled in for attention. One of the things I wanted to do with my projects this year was make these small armies look more like they could be able to move through the landscape, so my cannons (nearly) all have limbers now** and are starting to get ammunition wagons too etc, and the early imperial Roman scorpions shouldn't be an exception (he says ignoring the other 3 weapons for the moment). I've been buying wagons for a Celtic wagon train (Laager) / battlefield obstacle (think Wattling Street) since the first order I placed while in Northumbria and one of those wagons was the Warlord Games Roman/Celtic wagon which looks like a perfect fit for a Scorpion, so the Roman army requisitioned the one I had and got a second in my last order, with a suitable replacement wagon found for the Britons elsewhere. 

**More sitting on my painting table

   I added the auxiliary instead of a slave on the first base as I wanted to emphasise the Roman feel of these units and not make it look like I'm just using a few of my Celtic wagons on the Roman side for a game and while it is a legionnaire unit, it felt more appropriate to have the wagon guard be auxiliary than legionnarie. I plan to paint a few extra auxiliaries to have scattered around the wagons too.

   While the second wagon I left a bit plainer and left a bit of the wagon off to make it look a bit different. I had planned to put a pack mule on the base but found I just didn't have the space, so that will end up being painted at a later date - I have a new plan for it now anyway. 

Thanks for reading

Sunday 8 November 2020

Rock & Rock Pt.II

    Another strange post that doesn't fit anywhere but something I am quite proud of. When I was painting up my English archers for my late 100 years war armies all those months ago, I wanted to do something with the stakes that came on the sprues, but I wasn't sure how to base them. I eventually decided to do them in blocks that could be lined up in front of the movement trays I use, but needed a big enough Warbases order to make the postage worth it.

   The bases are 80mm by 25mm so it takes two to match the length of my trays, but allows for more uses if I'm playing a skirmish game or with smaller units. There are enough to protect 4 units of archers which does mean I have a 4th unit of archers waiting to be painted . . .

Thanks for reading

Friday 6 November 2020

More Yellow Shields

    With a bit of a delay, here are the promised 3rd unit of Roman Auxiliary troops, the same Warlord Games plastics as the last two. I have one more unit of these left to do - but it includes more metal figures and the command elements, so that should break up my routine a bit.

   I'm going to work on the theory that I failed in my self imposed challenge for last week and have succeeded this week instead of trying to rush to catch up, but lets see what else I can get done with my free time as the week goes on.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday 4 November 2020

How Many Of Them Are There?

    So I missed my self imposed deadline to post my second unit for the week and while I hadn't finished the promised unit of Romans, I had finished another unit of Ancient Britons that I had planned to post after them, as it is the start of a fresh week, lets look at them now and try to finish the Romans for later.

   First up is the unit of regular warriors, a complete mix of models from a chief, slinger, skyclad and more Warlord plastics. There are also a couple of Crusader Miniatures models in here from their Religious Fanatics set to mix a the look up a bit. I also tried some new checks on the fabric in her shameless stolen from the internet, although I have no idea from who, and I've also started to paint the shield rims in different colours to add even more brightness to the units on the table. In time all my units will get mixed in, so it won't end up with a single unit with painted shield rims and other units with plain.

   Next up is the last chariot for the unit of chariots. I had bought 3 Warlord Games chariots, but I've moved one into its own thing - coming later - and replaced it with a Wargames Foundry chariot which mixes in really nicely. The only real difference between them is the length of the shaft connecting the horses to the body of the chariot, but as they are hand made (in different places) I'm not expecting them to be perfect matches of each other.

Thanks for reading