Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Horus Heresy Word Bearer's - Betrayal at Calth

After my experiences of Dreadfleet and Age of Sigmar, I swore I was off GW games for good but my local flgs advised me that Betrayal at Calth was actually pretty good - so I succumbed.

And it is pretty good. I haven't played yet but the components are high quality and value for money - and the game rules look simple but interesting.

I have so far painted up a single tactical force - my God, I'm painting more space marines - and have been charmed by their retro appearance. Very nostalgiac.

We are in the land of the winter dark here in southern England at the moment so it is difficult to get a decent photo. I took this one with natural light (ha ha) from the right and a bounce flash off a distant wall to the left.

Calth is apparently flying off the shelves. After the Dreadfleet and Age of Sigmar debacles this might just have saved GW's Xmas.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Lullingstone Villa

Known buildings of the villa complex.

Roman villas are plentifully scattered across the English lowlands, mostly alongside the military zone but also in the London zone. The River Darent had a villa every two kilometres or so along the bank. The one at Lullingstone was built in the first century AD.

The artwork depicts  Lullingstone in the 4th Century, showing the known buildings: (i) the main villa on a levelled shelf cut back into the hill, (ii) immediately behind it a kitchen building, a mausoleum up on the hill to the right containing lead coffins with a man and woman in their mid twenties, and (iv) a massive barn to the right to store agricultural products for shipping down the Darent into the Thames.

It went through roughly three phases (i) as a farming estate with a manor house, (ii) as a high status country retreat possibly for the Governor of Britain, and (iii) as a major grain supplier probably for the Roman Army in Gaul.

The villa had an expensively imported bust of Pertinax, son of a freedman, teacher soldier, Governor of Britain and finally Emperor of Rome (192-193 AD).

Lullingstone is quite small but was always more than just another villa. A deep cellar-like cult room for veneration of river nymphs was built under the left wing (top right in the photo) with external exit for use by the community.

External access was blocked off, presumably in the second phase when the villa was used by senior officials.

Eventually a Christian chapel was built in the room over the pagan cult centre in the fourth century.

A Chi-Rho from the chapel.

One of the paintings of worshippers from the chapel. Note if this looks Byzantine, that's because it's late 4th Century Rome.

The main dining room at the back of the villa.

A high-status dinner party for the elite, say 380 AD

Note the mosaics in the dining room are pagan, built at the same time as the Christian chapel.

So what happened to the cult room? It was accessed by a wooden ladder from a trapdoor in the floor of the chapel and was still used to venerate the river gods.

The pagan Anglo-Saxon burial at Sutton Hoo has a mixture of Christian and pagan symbols - but so does the late Roman villa at Lullingstone.

The villa and estate reached its peak in the last years of the fourth century and then it burned down in the early fifth and was never rebuilt. The next record we have of any activity at Lullingstone is the estate recorded in the Domesday book. The hamlet is now dominated by a 15th Century Manor House that has always been owned by the Hart-Dyke family.

In between the fifth and eleventh centuries there is only minimal evidence of Anglo-Saxon activity. Lullingstone translates into modern English as something like The Enclosure of The People of Lull.

In 390 there was a massive agricultural complex along the Darent exporting food across Europe. One generation later in 420 it was all gone - and we don't really understand why.

Imperial Skys Wargame

Robin Fitton, games designer of this parish, has a new kickstarter out for an aeronef set of rules.

The rules are designed to work with Brigade Models miniatures and Army Painter stuff.

I intend to get a copy of the rules.

The kickstarter is here.

Note: You are an investor not a customer. Although I judge this a low risk project it could go tits up if Robin is struck by lightning or something. Always pledge only what you can afford to lose.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Review Perrys Foot Knights

 Foot Knights 1450-1500 Set

The Perry twins hardly need an introduction from me. Since they left GW they have built up a successful historical model range including many plastic sets.

Their set of 38 late medieval plate-armoured dismounted knights retails at £20, making them superb value for money. These are multipose figures that can be a little tricky to put together but on the other hand there is so much variation on offer that no two need be the same.

 Ten Man Unit With Swords

The models are a true 28mm and with a slim rather than heroic build and are nicely detailed - detail that is easily brought out with a simple black wash.

Twenty Man Unit With Two-Handed Weapons.

Bulked together the models look great, even with a very simple two-colour ad a wash paint job.

King And Standard Bearer

As well as six identical sprues, each with six figures, you get a leader sprue consisting of a King/Baron (change head as required) and Standard Bearer. Incidentally, the box includes a number of coloured flags to cut out - mainly English and French.

All I have added are some bases.

A great box of figures and superb value for money at £20.

Highly Recommended.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

VBCW Spode's Blackshorts - Mechanised Platoon

I have finished a 12 unit army of Spodes Blackshorts: mechanised platoon.

Spode, Viscount of Sidcup and would be dictator of Britain, is able to acquire the very best equipment from Mosley's BUF. To whit:

Command Section: Strike Leader Egbert 'Eggy' Phipps-Prinkle with standard bearer, radio-man, and Jaguar command vehicle.

Three Storm Sections each of: Storm Leader with Tommy Gun, VB grenade launcher, bren-gun team and four riflemen.

Support Weapons: Two inch mortar, and bren-gun team.

Artillery: 18 pdr medium howitzer with bren-gun armed van serving as a prime mover.

Open-Topped armoured lorry with fire ports to lift a storm section.

Improvised armoured car with bren-gun.

Vickers 6 ton light tank armed with a 3pdr light howitzer and a coaxial mg.

Hornet medium C tank armed with a 6pdr naval medium anti-tank gun, various mgs and the platoon mascot spot.

I think you will agree that these will present a fearsome challenge to the Chatham Soviet