Saturday, 14 November 2015

Famous By My Sword, Helion & Company

This book 'Famous By My Sword': The Army of Montrose and the Military Revolution to give its full title is part of a new series 'Century of the Soldier 1618 - 1721'. published by Helion.
Written in an easy going style by Charles Singleton "Famous by the sword" covers the campaigns of James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose. This commander of the Scottish Royalist army fought, and won, against several larger Scottish Covenanter forces in the mid 17th century. The book gives a good coverage of the battles, including maps and tactics, which can be used for setting up your games. 

If you already have an interest in this period then you may find this book challenges a number of preconceived ideas such as: 
  • The traditional makeup and image of the highland army, 
  • The aggressive use of the pike units, 
  • Equipment used by the majority of army, 
  • Influence of contemporary Europe (or to be more precise Swedish) military practices, 
  • Effective use of cavalry, especially lancers, during the period, 
  • The actual roll of Highlanders in battle. 
I won't detail the myth-busting as I don't want to give away any spoilers but I was genuinely surprised by a number of the revelations revealed within the book. 

The book also gives details of the Irish Brigade under the leadership of Alastair MacColla plus, unusually for a book of its size, full contemporary accounts of the campaigns and battles. 

The book follows an Osprey Publishing style with a brief history of the conflicts with colour illustrations and photographs of uniforms and equipment. The illustrations are by Peter Dennis and Anthony Barton. There are several (nine) clear battlefield maps and a number of useful colour photographs of re-enactors. 

Highly recommended for anyone interested in 17th century military history. The publishers are actively looking for submissions for this series so if you are interested in getting a book in print get in touch with them.

For anyone who likes the technical bits: 
Helion and Company, February 2015 Paperback. 248mm x 185mm 80 pages c 20 b/w ills, 9 maps, 8pp colour plates. 

Although hundreds of miles from Scotland, Scottish troops formed the largest part of Charles II army during 1651. During the retreat from Worcester a large group of the cavalry were ambushed in Kidderminster town centre, an event witnessed by the midland preacher Richard Baxter. During 2016 I plan to paint up a number of Warlord's Scottish lancers. I already have far too many cavalry units but I like the look of them on the tabletop.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Hittite Spearman (standing), Wargames Foundry

This particular set from Wargames Foundry were labelled as 'Hittite Spearman (standing)' so I based my painting scheme on an illustration from an appropriate Osprey book.  

This was the final batch of painting for Wargames Foundry. I did actually complete a command group of figures for the same range but in the rush to finish and post them I failed to take any photographs. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Hittite Spearmen (advancing), Wargames Foundry

Keeping on the theme of Wargames Foundry here are another set of figures that I don't believe were ever released by the company. They don't feature on their current webpage as far as I can tell. They may have appeared in the past but as Biblical gaming is not an interest I haven't regularly checked (Using the Art of The Covenant must be the Top Trump in any game).

These were nicely sculptured and balanced figures but I quickly realised that I hadn’t a clue how to paint them. As usual Google Images came to the rescue, hurrah! A quick search revealed that Osprey had produced a book ‘Hittite Warrior’ with their usual high quality illustrations, in this case supplied by Adam Hook, which gave me all the information I needed. A common feature with the illustrations appeared to be the detail colours so to maintain a ‘uniform’ look I painted all the figures with a blue trim and an inner parallel red stripe.

Foundry actual supplied all the required spears, round bases plus the paint to finish the base. All I had to do was paint, assemble and base them.

The figures themselves are painted with Citadel paints as I don't have the necessary Foundry triad paints. Citadel's (Dwarf) Bronze is too dark for my liking to represent realistic bronze (which when highly polished looks like gold). As I never seem to be able to get a decent gold finish I now paint the base coat of silver and build up the watered down Citadel's 'Burnished Gold' and 'Shining Gold'. Flesh wash is used to create a feeling of depth and warm that bronze seems to have.

I’ve since noticed how often people seem to paint Bronze Age figures with iron/steel coloured weaponry.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Bronze Age Chariot, Wargames Foundry - Part 2 of 2

This is the second set of (lost?) models painted for Wargames Foundry painted around four years ago. Another example can be found [here]. As mentioned previously I don't believe these chariot models were ever released commercially by Wargames Foundry but if any readers have a set please let me know.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Bronze Age Chariot, Wargames Foundry - Part 1 of 2

The miniatures featured in the following posts are quite unusual for this blog for a couple of reasons. One is that although I'm interested in ancient history (on my travels I've visited places such as Mycenae and Troy, locations associated with these figures) I'm not that interested in playing games set in the period. Another reason is that because, as far as I can tell, these figures have never actually been available to buy from the manufacturer, Wargames Foundry. These figures were painted around four years ago.
It was only after my brother reminded me about them that I had a rummage for the photographs. Eventually after a long search I found them. The models depict Mycenaean Bronze Age chariots. I say this because the models weren't labelled but appear to be based on an illustration by Angus McBride from an Osprey book 'The Mycenaeans c.1650–1100 BC (ELITE 130) an image from which can be seen [here].

In the famous siege of Troy the armour worn by the warriors would have been very similar to an example discovered at Dendra.  It's interesting to note that when the warrior was carrying a shield the only part of the body left exposed would have been the back of the leg i.e. the Achilles heel region.

Note the boar tusk decoration on the helmet.

Wargames Foundry have a massive range of figures and they were pioneers of the wargaming miniature market, being an early employer of the Perry brothers for example. I think these particular models got misplaced (literally by the looks of it) during the management changes that took place over the last few years when the son of the owner, Bryan Ansell, eventually took charge. 

As seems to be a regular pattern within the wargaming world that for a period companies become almost social pariahs for some reason or the other. A few years ago Wargames Foundry received an awful lot of negative comments on certain sites whenever they were mentioned, mainly it seems for their price/packaging structure and shipping costs. With the change of management it seems they have restored their image/reputation and now can be seen regularly at wargame shows.

Despite this golden age of affordable plastic miniatures Foundry still produce some very attractive and sometimes obscure metal figures. I recently purchased from them some very nice 17th century civilians to decorate my tabletop for ECW games.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Purple Shark (Warzone Resurrection), Prodos Games

And now for something completely different...
Purple Shark & Spotty Herbert
Made by Prodos Games this piece, called the Purple Shark, is taken from one of their Capitol starter kits in the Warzone Resurrection range. From what I've seen Prodos make some very nice resin models. I assume they use 3D printers to create the prototype as on (very) close inspection you can just about see the thin layers that made up the original model. The chaps from Prodos have visited the local gaming shop (Asgard Games Uk) where I got the chance to speak to one of them. His options and thoughts on why Games Workshop's FineCast were plagued with technical issues was very interesting but probably best not committed to paper (or online if that makes sense).
Purple Shark
Purple Shark
Purple Shark
Purple Shark
On a recent visit to the shop and during a break in playing various new (to me at least) games I happened to see this gamer's brand new purchase, the model shown here. After admiring it I offered to paint it up for him as I had a flash of inspiration for the paint scheme, which is pretty much as it looks here. The model struck me as having similar styling to an American 30's fighter or car, hence the stars and strips detailing. The figures supplied with the starter set are very loosely based on futuristic style US Marines (I think) so I gave the driver/rider and desert/urban paint job with light and dark spots added to give the impression of camo. I quite like the juxtaposition of colorful, metallic machine and the rider's outfit (mind you, I should do seeing as I painted it).

Looking at the finished work I think I may been overly influenced by Kevin O'Neill's artwork and in particular his work for Pat Mill's Marshall Law comic.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Sheep, Irregular Miniatures

Staying on an animal theme, these are a few more animals to decorate the tabletop. Not a lot to say about these. An animal generally considered dull but one that transformed the landscape and generated vast wealth for areas such as East Anglia. If you've ever travelled through countryside dotted with numerous medieval churches the chances are they were created through the wool trade.
Primarily for use as terrain (eye candy as our American cousins might say) I suppose they could be used as loot markers for certain scenarios.