Tuesday 27 September 2011

First Clash over the North Sea, 1890.

It's the Anglo-Russian War of 1890. Prussia attempts to relieve the Royal Navy's blockade of the North Sea by an aeronef attack on the British Fleet. The raiders include two battleships, one battlecruiser, one armoured cruiser, one light cruiser and six escorts. The raiders are spotted by a Naval Intelligence Department spy and a warning sent top London by telegram over the undersea cables.

The Royal Navy's fast aeronef flotilla sails from Aberdeen to intercept with two battlecruisers and escorts.

Two fast battleships and a heavy cruiser with escorts are scrambled from their base in the Firth of Forth.

The British fast flotilla spots the German fleet through a gap in the clouds and an exchange of fire commences.

The German fire was ineffectual but the British destroy four of the German escorts (yes, I was astonished as well).

The Royal Navy battle force enters the fight. The British cruiser is smashed by overwhelming fire but one of the German battleships is crippled.

The German fleet abandons its mission and escapes into a cloudbank. The two German battleships are destroyed gallantly while trying to defend the lighter vessels. The sea is littered with burning wreckage and the British escorts alight onto the water to rescue survivors.

The models are from Brigade Miniatures. I used my own rules, which are optimised for fleet play and so do not require written records or orders.

Another Cunning Plan

Caught next door's cat in another cunning plan to catch a birdie while disguised as a bush. So far the mighty hunter has only brought down moths and, on one notable occasion, a baby frog but you have to admire his persistence.

Saturday 24 September 2011

NASA asks for its satellite back

NASA asks for its satellite back. Professor Wulfgang von Stalheim at NASA said "We must have dropped it somewhere. We know we had it yesterday but when we checked in the back of the van it had gone." NASA's crack team of astrologers have narrowed down the location of the missing item from the study of chicken entrails to Canada or Africa,or perhaps the Indian, Atlantic or Pacific Oceans.

NASA reminds any finder that the satellite is theirs, unless it has dropped on someone's head, in which case it is Russian.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Princess Elana & Retinue

The sculpting on the faces are not quite right but otherwise these are great models from Reaper.

I have to sand down and clean the base but otherwise it is finished.

If only I could work out what to do wuith them.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Wallet Alert!

I will resist. I will not spend any more money. I will not get out my credit card. Oh shit!

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Important Announcement

Dear Shareholders and Clients

It may have come to your notice from utterly irresponsible press reporting that there has been an unfortunate incident at the Bank's London Branch. Wildly inaccurate journalism has claimed that our star trader, Mr Karaoke, lost £2B of the Bank's money by placing it on red at the Wonga-Wonga Casino in Soho.

This is entirely inaccurate. It was $2.3B.
I had every reason to trust Mr Karaoke's ability to predict the dropping of balls into small holes as he assured me that he had the second sight inherited from his maternal grandfather who was a Druid. So the fault lies entirely with Mr Karaoke and no blame should be laid at the door of myself or other members of the corporate management.

I must also lay to rest the scurrilous press rumour that Mister Karaoke was betting with clients' money. The $2.3B was merely some loose change that we found down the back of a sofa while looking for a lost remote control.

I am aware that gambling debts are not enforceable under English law but was persuaded by the Wonga-Wonga Casino's Customer Relations Executive, a Mr Tony Soprano, that it would be in our best interests to pay up.

The lost $2.3B can easily be recovered by sacking unimportant Bank employees such as counter staff and compliance officers.

We must now look to the future stability of the Bank. As such, it is vital that we retain key management staff so we will be doubling corporate management bonuses this year. I have been reluctantly persuaded that I must lead from the front by immediately awarding myself a 473% pay rise.

Herman Grubber
CEO The Cuckoo Bank of Switzerland
The Old Bunker

Friday 16 September 2011

London Defence Laser Test

The next alien battlefleet to appear over London is in for a hell of a shock. Torchwood successfully tested the new aerospace battlelaser last night on a Ryan Air flight out of Luton. It successfuly disintegrated the airliner putting the passengers out of their misery. The new weapon was designed by a brilliant Cambridge physicist known only as 'The Doctor' and built by Sontaran Industries in Texas.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Tuesday 13 September 2011

The Durotriges

Chief Weetobix, Queen Ginga and the Princess Tottytrix at their hillfort.

Two light cavalry units.
One chariot unit.
Six warbands.
One small slinger unit.

Cars Trains and Aeroplanes

Travel was been a little tricky in Britain yesterday as the tail end of Hurricane K reached our hallowed shores. Being British, we carried on regardless. Stiff upper lips all round chaps.
(pictures taken from the Daily Mail).

Monday 12 September 2011

British Hill Fort - Finished

And here is the finished fort.

I undercoated it with white acrylic spray and then Tamira olive green spray.

Mud was put on with Winsor & Newton acrylics. The rocks were painted Citadel granite acrylic and then layered with dilute light grey. Finally, static grass was sprinkled on top of diluted white glue to give a grass effect.

Job done.

Sunday 11 September 2011

British Hill Fort

There are more than ten thousand Celtic  "hill forts" in England and Wales. They are somewhat misnamed because most are not forts and many are not on hills. They served as restricted areas for livestock, grain storage, religious centres and aristocratic strongholds. They presented only a minor obstacle to am organised army and were captured by the Romans by direct assault with artillery support, not siege works.

I built this example for Hail Caesar games. I am not the world's greatest modeller so I kept it simple. I bought an Amera plastic 'large hill' with a flat top for the princely sum of a fiver. This is 33cm by 29cm and has a flat top. It is robust and has a central support underneath so you can stand metal models on it without disaster.

Three packs of two part epoxy putty for seven fifty provided the earthworks and three pieces of North downs flint from my back garden completed it. The gate barriers are from a Warlord Plastic Scorpion Box.

Total cost so far: £12.50

It is designed to be representational, rather than literal. Under the Hail Caesar rules it counts as a 'building' with no rules modifications except that it is garrisoned by one standard infantry unit (a warband) and one small infantry unit (slingers).

Thursday 8 September 2011

Into the Hinterland - Caption Contest

"Into The Hinterlands" is out in the USA. This is the authors picture that got left off the sleeve of the book for reasons of space (photo by Jo Drake). I am the one in the red shirt.

A signed copy to the best caption.

What have I just said to Dave?

Sunday 4 September 2011

Caesar's Legions

I have been painting furiously over the last few weeks.

From left to right:

Four Warbands of 10-12 models on a 10 by 7cm base
Two Cavalry Units each of two 7.5 by 5cm bases that can be used side by side or one after the other.

Warrior Queen on chariot
Small unit of slingers, individually mounted
Two Warbands
Chariots on 4 by 9cm base, used in pairs for a standard-sized unit or singly for a small unit

Roman Legionaires
General with hunting dog
Mounted in groups of ten models on 5 by 10cm bases

Roman Auxiliaries
Medium Infantry mounted as Legionaires
Cavalry mounted as Gauls
'Cretan' Archers, ten models on a 7 by 10cm base

Cavalry/infantry, six to eight models on a 7 by 10cm base
Warband, as Gauls

I play Hail Caesar at a roughly 50% unit size from the examples given in the rules. This is much better for a two player game on a home dining table. The original scale is designed for multiplayer games on a large table, for people with lots of models.

The 50% scale is convenient because it is easy to double up units to get back to the original scale if necessary. I mount the models together on a single stand because it is so much more convenient for both storage and playing. They are mounted on plastic card which could easily be cut up with a pair of scissors without removing the models.

A standard game would be ten units divided into two divisions with a general and subgeneral to command each. Point values for each stand are irrelevant and can be ignored. I suggest that a player be allowed to employ up to two 'large' units for every two 'small' unit that he fields.

This is biased slightly against the Celts.

To add some unpredictible spice the Celtic Player can roll a D6 die against the table below to modify the Celtic Army Size.
Die Roll        Result
1.                 -1 Unit
2.                 No Effect
3.                 No Effect
4.                 No Effect
5.                 +1 Unit
6.                 +2 Units

Saturday 3 September 2011

Warlord Roman Auxiliaries

Warlord Roman Auxiliaries

Given my usual quick paint job with shading/varnishing carried out simultaneously using Army Painter Dark Tone, finished with Vallejo Satin to 'take the shine off' and stick down the static grass on the base.

Friday 2 September 2011


I have agreed with Rick Priestley to write a Campaign Supplement for Hail Caesar with the working title of Hail Britannia. As you might guess, it will be about the Roman conquest of Britain.

The hardback version of Into The Hinterland is out in the USA. I now have to knuckle down and finish Wolf In Shadow as Dave is already writing the plan for the second in The Citizen series.

And today is my 33rd Wedding Anniversary!

The pic today is of a Thames Barge leaving the Medway to pass out into the mouth of the Thames.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Ancient German Cavalry

Caesar describes German cavalry in his description of battle against Ariovistus.  Cavalry were deployed with lightly armed infantry in a 1:1 ratio and they would work together. He foot were selected for their speed and they clung to the horses to keep up. German horse did not use the Gallic saddle so could not fight so well mounted. But they slipped easily on and off the horses as circumstances required. They were highly aggressive and were happy to attack horse using saddles, such as Celts or Romans.

I created infantry-supported cavalry for my ancient German army using a 7.5cm by 7.5 cm base.

The stats are as follows:
1)      Cavalry so move 9”
2)      Clash 7
3)      Sustained 6
4)      Short range 3
5)      Long range 0
6)      Morale Save 5+
7)      Stamina 6
I raised the sustained and save stats by one from standard light cavalry to indicate the staying power of the infantry in the formation.

I used Wargames Factory models.  A pack of cavalry and one of infantry costs around £35 and makes four cavalry units and one warband, which I treat as if it was Celtic.

One point is that WF German cavalry have Gallic saddles. These can be omitted from the models by gently bending in the riders’ legs until they fit the horse.