Thursday 28 July 2011

Scratch Built Orky Deff Dread

I need more Dredds for my Big Mek Dread Mob. I try to make each orky vehicle different because da Meks don't use production lines. This little beauty is scratch built from all sorts of odd bits. I have gone for an upright look to contrast with GW dreads.

I always give da dreads close combat weapons and a burna - useful for winkling grots out dere hidey holes.

Note da sensa pack on da top.

Rear view wiv da heat exchanga for blowing off spare gas. Spare gas build up in a dread is a real problem, especially if the pilot has been on da squigg beer.

 Side pic showing power drive on da main cutta arm.

Against a GW dredd to show the scale.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Lazy sunday afternoon in Kent.

The crack of Leather on Willow.

And if Willow gets fed up you can always watch the village cricket.

Sunday 24 July 2011

British Army

I had forgotten how tedious it can be painting rank after rank of historical soldiers. Still, at least the Celts are colourful with bright striped clothes and decorated shields, to say nothing of trophy heads hanging everywhere. Celts are really the archetype Orks, heavy boozers, quarrelsome, violent, always up for a rumble anyplace, anywhere, any odds. They either fight in warbands or at speed, cavalry and British chariots and the tactic is to charge straight in and take a wild swing with an oversized slashing sword. The Romans by way of contrast were disciplined heavy infantry, well armed and heavily armoured, but the Celts usually had numbers on their side – assuming they could stop smashing seven bells out of each other first.
I have been rereading Caesar’s Gallic Wars and it struck me how like a Guard versus Orks the battles are and what a good 40K campaign Caeser’s conquest of Gaul, and his raids on Germany and Great Britain, would make.  Now there’s an idea.

This is the British Army in about 55BC, but it occurs to me that after the next round of spending cuts.......

A close up of Celtic shield decorations.

Models are plastic 28mm from Warlord Games and Wargames Factory.

Only three more warbands, a squadron of chariots and a couple of extra sub-generals to go.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Henry Moore

This is a Henry Moore sculpture that I photographed recently at Hatfield House.

I have to say that I do not see the attraction of Moore. Perhaps I am just a Philistine. What do you think?

Tuesday 19 July 2011

The Battle of Watling Street

The  battlefield layout for the Battle of Watling Street between the Romans and the British.

The History
"A treacherous lioness butchered the governors who had been left to give fuller voice and strength to the endeavours of Roman rule."
Gildas the Monk
“Tho' the Roman eagle shadow thee, tho' the gathering enemy narrow thee,
Thou shalt wax and he shall dwindle, thou shalt be the mighty one yet!
Thine the liberty, thine the glory, thine the deeds to be celebrated,
Thine the myriad-rolling ocean, light and shadow illimitable,
Thine the lands of lasting summer, many-blossoming Paradises,
Thine the North and thine the South and thine the battle-thunder of God."
Alfred Lord Tennyson

The photo above shows the battlefield layout for the Battle of Watling Street between the Romans and the British.
Somewhere around AD60, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, governor of Roman Britain, was leading a campaign against the island of Mona (Anglesey) in north Wales, which was a stronghold of the druids.
In Norfolk, the Iceni and Trinovantes rose in revolt under the leadership of Queen Boudica. They attacked Camulodunum (Colchester), the former Trinovantian capital and at that time a Roman colonia. They burnt the city to the ground.
Quintus Petillius Cerialis, commanding the 9th Legion Hispana, was ambushed in the Stour Valley on the Icknield Way to the west of Colchester. His legion destroyed. The commander and a handful of cavalry fled.
Boudica and her warriors marched south, torching Verulaimium (St Albans) and London and killing the inhabitants with great brutality.
Seutonius concentrated units of the 14th Legion Gemina and 20th Valeria Victrix with all available auxiliaries where the Fosse Way meets Watling Street. The 2nd Legion Augusta was down at Exeter and Seutonius summoned them to march up the Fosse Way to the rendezvous, but they unaccountably failed to respond. The Roman army was just ten thousand men.
Sutonius chose a position where his flanks were anchored and the British would have to go head to head with the legionaries, the best heavy infantry of the Ancient World. Cuttle Mill in Northamptonshire appears to match Tacitus’ description best although no battle debris has been found.
The size of Boudica’s army is unknown but was probably about twenty five thousand. There were many camp follows and the Celtic wagons full of women and children were drawn up across the battle field to hem the Romans in.
The Celts charged and were stopped by a massed pila barrage, then the legionaries stepped forward to begin the slaughter. The Celtic warriors were hemmed in by their numbers and their wagons such that they could not swing their long slashing swords. They were exterminated.

The Roman Army:
A: Governor Seutonius
B: 20th Valeria Victrix. Three units classed as 'green'
C: 14th Legion Gemina. Four  units (one small) classed as 'veteran'
D:  Auxilliaries. Two units (one small)
E: Gallic auxilliary cavalry

The British Army:
1. Three generals (one is challenging Seutonius to single combat)
2. Four Warbands (wild fighters)
3. Large Warband (wild fighters)
4. Celtic cavalry unit (large)
5. British Chariot Squadron

Hail Caeser
Standard unit frontage 10-12 cm frontage, infantry10-12 models, cavalry six models

1. The Romans held their ground and allowed the British to make the running and close. 
2. The British  advance into the 'funnel' and the British line gets compressed, the left wing outrunning the rest. The crack 14th Legion and the auxilliary cavalry charge.

Astonishingly, the chariots (1.) and large British cavalry unit (2.) are broken  by the outnumbered Roman attackers and flee. A battle rages on the new British left flank (3.)

1. Cohorts of the 14th push back the engaged warband.
2. The auxilliary cavalry turn to engage the next warband down the line as it is charged by fresh cohorts of the 14th.
3. The remaining cohorts of the 14th march forward to plug and opening gap in the Roman line.

1. The large warband charges through the gap and hits the unengaged cohorts of the 14th which manages to take the shock without breaking.
2. Cohorts of the 20th prepare to support.
3. The warband on the Roman right is forced back.

1. Cohorts of  the 20th charge in to support the 14th leaving only the auxilliary infantry on the left as a reserve. The warband is huge and capable of absorbing losses.
2. Attacked to the flank by cohorts of the 14th and charged to their front by the Gallic auxilliary cavalry, the right flank warband breaks.

Seeing this the remaining warriors lose heart and flee, to be cut down in their thousands by Setonius' troops.
Roman Victory - as it occured in history.
Hail Caeser worked brilliantly allowing Shaun and I to play out a wonderful historical recreation with modest numbers of 28mm figures on a home table. Shaun laid out the battlefield and, I think you will agree, did a grat job.
As an aside, I live alongside Watling Street where it runs south of the Thames.

"Regions Caesar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway."

Prince Albert commissioned a large bronze statue of Boudica on her chariot (complete with anachronistic scythes) from ThomasThorneycroft. It stands by the Thames in Westminster by the Houses of Parliament. The Rebel Queen who fought imperialism became a symbol in the Capital  City of an Empire greater than Rome. Thus are we mocked by the gods.

Friday 15 July 2011

Pontic-era army

I have added a cuple of elephants to my Anatolian Pontic-era army.

From left to right:

Two Galatian (Celtic) warbands.
A unit of Galatian medium cavalry.
A unit of Iranian spear/bow-armed medium infantry.
A unit of Iranian medium cavalry
A unit of Iranian bow-armed  light infantry.
A unit of Iranian horse archers.
Two Hellenistic elephants.

A nine unit army in all, which would use an Iranian-Hellenistic general and possibly a Galatian sub-general. Quite a small army but one that presents tactical challenges as it lacks any heavy troops to act as an anchor. Elephants are a mixed blessing. This army will need clever tactical manouvre to survive contact with Romans or a Hellenistic Pike army.

The Warbands are Warlord Games, the rest Wargames Factory, and I don't know who made the Elephants as I bought them for a very reasonable price second hand on eBay.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Another Triumph for British Education.

They are shutting down Classical Studies at Royal Holloway, London University.

But don't worry. The taxpayer will still be supporting courses in surfing, kite flying, curry making, and endless media studies degrees in various ex-tech colleges, where presumablythey train you in phone hacking, blagging, and bribing policemen. So much more useful than the training in plumbing, electric, building etc that they used to give.

Another triumph for British education. It appears that the windbags in the House of Shame are determined to do to the universities what they have already done for state schools.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Back to the 60s

The skyline of London has changed a bit since the 60s, as have the Daleks.

They are now in more toy-friendly bright 'plastic'colours

Thursday 7 July 2011

Battle of the Barbarians

The Wild Celts of the Lesser Swamp challenged the Goblins of the Fungal Forest to a rumble. The celts turned up with two large warbands, two warbands and a cavalry unit. The warbands were Wild Fighters.The Goblins had three units of spider medium cavalry, Fanatics and Wild Fighters - its the magic mushrooms, plus three units of village Goblin medium infantry, Militia. Two small units of Goblin skirmishers accompanied the force.

The armies met at the fords at the Blue River.

Two units of Goblin cavalry rode off into the wild yonder (1 & 2), one crossing the river (2).  The rest of the Goblin army fell into confusion and refused to move. The Celts split their forces to match, a warband crossing the north ford (A). The rest straggled into a column south of the river (B to C).

 The Goblin cavalry south of the river (G1) charged two warbands and forced them back in disorder (C3). A militia unit was emboldened to follow (G3) but they refused to get to close to the Celts. The Celtic cavalry trotted in support, stopping occasionally to admire the wild flowers (C1).

The forces north of the river stood around picking their noses.

The first spider cavalry (G1) clashed with the Celtic warbands (C3) and got a nasty surprise. The Celts had been at the distilled grain juice and thrashed them. The cavalry fled, leaving the militia unsupported except for skirmishers (G2). The cavalry north of the river woke up and charged across the ford putting the celtic cavalry to flight.

The third goblin cavalry unit (1) came out of reserve and crossed the river to support the militia, forcing back the Celtic warbands, which were now surrounded. It was all over bar the slaughter.

Afterthoughts.: Both Shaun and I underestimated the command control problems in Hail Caeser. Complicated plans involving pincer movements etc are a bad idea. One of the pincers will be out of easy command control. My goblins won simply because Shaun forced my army back on itself so it went into command control.

Monday 4 July 2011

Reagan Honoured in London

A bronze statue of Ex President Reagon is unveiled today in London's Grosvenor Square where he will join a small and illustrious group of American Presidents thus honoured by The City that include Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Lincoln, and Washington.

Ms Condoleezza Rice will be representing the Reagon family and has been invited to give the keynote speech at the celebratory dinner in The Guildhall.

A piece of the Berlin wall will be laid at the feet of the statue in honour of the Anglo-American Alliance during the Cold War.

The American Embassy will be leaving Grosvenor Square, a prestigious West End location, for an armoured bunker south of the river. It has been in the the square since 1938. During WWII the square was nicknamed little America as it also hosted General Eisenhower's Headquarters.

Perry Miniatures

Sigh, so many great models, so little time, so little money.

While I was round at Shaun's place he showed me his Perry plastic Medieval pikemen. Drool.

Saturday 2 July 2011

Problems with GW Fine-Cast

Be warned, there are manufacturing and quality control problems with Games Workshop's fine cast model range.

The above picture is one of a number on the Wayland Games website.

Wayland have taken the whole range off sale until the problems are resolved as the rejection rate was running at 50%.

It would probably be a good idea to examine any purchases carefuly before parting with your hard-earned until this is sorted.

Friday 1 July 2011

Kleftiko's Greatest Battles - The Rancid Ford

Introduction: The Ruler of Armenia, King Nastartes, has been getting a bit of stick from Persian merchants about his inability to stop Gataltian (Celtic) raids down onto the plains of Armenia. There is talk of a petition to the King of Kings in Parthia about sponsoring a change of rulers. Nastartes hires the famous Greek mercenary General Kleftico to raise an army of mercenaries to contain the Galations.

Kleftico bribes a unit of Parthian horse archers and Iranian cavalry to join his force, and bullies the Greek cities on the Black Sea coast to provide enough peltasts for three units. These are Hellenistic peltasts, light infantry with long spears, rather than the Thracian sort. Best of all, Kleftiko bribes Graspo, the commander of a Roman fort on the border to join him with his veteran legionaries. Graspos men have not been paid for some time and are keen for loot.

As it happens, by a strange coincidence, The Galatian chieftan, Needafix (aka Shaun) has assembled a force to carry out some impromptu tax collecting from the Armenian towns. He has two warbands and a band of cavalry.

Kleftiko takes up a blocking position at the Rancid Ford. He places his peltasts on a hill overlooking the ford. Their morale is suspect and he regards them as mostly for show. He blocks the pass below the hill with his Iranian cavalry and Roman veterans, the only two reliable units in the army, and keeps the Parthians in reserve.

The Gataltians cavalry cross the ford supported by a warband. The Parthians are sent out to harass them with arrow fire.

The Parthians completely underestimate how fast a bunch of raggedy barbarians can move when given the chance of horses to steal. The warband runs down the Parthians. The Galatian cavalry piles into the Iranian cavalry and Romans and are comprehensively hand-bagged, fleeing back across the river. Graspo promptly charges the second warband supported by the Iranians and breaks them, the cavalry gleefully cutting down the routing Celts.

Needafix and the first warband decide that the omens are no longer auspicious and swim to the safety of the far bank of the river.

The Romans and Iranians spend their time looting gold torcs, bracelets and rings off the slain Galatians by the expediancy of chopping away limbs.

It occurs to Kleftico that he has won a famous victory. It also occurs to him that he should double his fees.

Hail Caeser was used for the game.