Welcome to my wargaming blog,
I'm Dave and live in Morpeth, Northumberland in the UK.
This may or may not be a regular thing, we'll just have to see how it goes.

I am a painter/collector of figures first and a wargamer second. My thrill in this great hobby of ours is to place that final well researched & painted unit into the cabinet. The actual gaming with the figures is an important but secondary experience, we all like to win, but it isn't the be all and end all of it, being with good friends and having fun is.
Hope you will enjoy reading this blog as much as I will writing in it.
Just to remind the visitor to scroll down the various pages and click on 'older posts' to see more.

Monday 26 May 2014

Front Rank/Claymore Castings.

Well as promised here are the completed Otterburn figures I have painted for Derek, one of the lads at the club. He gave me a mix of Front Rank and Claymore Castings which I decided to base separately as I feel that this way he has the option of keeping them in different units. These guys shouldn't be mixed on the same bases as the style of each manufacturer is so different.
Each has it's own good and bad points:
Front Rank - are chunkier with a more formal look about them, there are only two different poses for the halberdiers but the detail in the sculpting is crisp and precise.
Claymore Castings - as mentioned previously I did have difficulty getting the weapons fixed in their hands as a number of the castings (not all) hands didn't line up so either the shafts had to be bent to fit or quite a bit of carving had to be done, but that aside these are very nice figures to paint. Each one  has a slightly different pose so you get quite a bit of variation (which I prefer), and they are particularly animated in their movement.
You do have to paint them, I know this seems an odd statement but they are like Perry figures in this respect, you couldn't just get away with throwing a wash over them. You will have to give them two or three shades of paint to get the best out of them, but when you do they look good.
Elite figures on the other hand can get to a decent standard by simply block painting them in a lighter shade than usual then brushing over a wash, if you then want to go into more detail to 'tart them up' then so be it but as the sculpting is cut in deeper than say Perry and you can get away with an acceptable standard with just the wash.
Of the two my preference, even with the hassle of the weapons is for the Claymore Castings. Front rank are great for SYW and periods where the troops had a more formal look to them but I do like figures with a bit of movement about them. Everything is of course down to the individual and (thank goodness) we are all different in our tastes!
The unit is representative of Sir Ralph Redman's force at the battle of Otterburn in 1388. The standard and shield is hand painted.
Here are the pics:

The whole unit, Front Rank figures the two stands on the left of the photograph, Claymore the three on the right.

You can really see the size difference in the two types of figure here.

Some photographs of the Front Rank figures.

Claymore Castings.

Of course both these ranges have their pluses and negatives, it's up to you. Hope you found this helpful.

Saturday 24 May 2014

Otterburn 1388, the demo.

Well, four years after completing the armies I have actually re-fought the battle for which they were painted up for. That isn't to say these lads haven't been on the table before, they've been beating the doo dar out of each other for quite awhile but not in a re-fight of the battle of Otterburn 1388 (for more info on the battle look under the 'Medieval' label at the top of the home page on this blog).
What finally clinched it was getting round to painting up the resin tent models I got from Ainsty castings as I'd been looking for suitable scruffy looking medieval types of tents for quite a while before I came across these. Classic medieval 'jousting type tents were of course no use for marauding Scot's who even if they got their hands on them would only have cut them up for clothing! So scruffy tents it had to be.
The figures shown here are a mix of Old Glory and (I think) Ebor Miniatures. Claymore castings hadn't started producing their range when I researched and painted  this lot and I must say that even given my annoyance when putting them together (see the last post) I have found them good to paint and pretty accurate in their research, but more of that in the next post when I will put up photos of the finished items.
So on to the pretty pictures, I stayed very historical, pretty much making Hotspur and his chaps do what they did and having Douglas appear on his right flank, so the result was always going to be the same given the circumstance. Some may say why re-fight and do the same things as the men on the day, but that's what I wanted so that's what I did. No one else was involved so what the hey!
I based the game on my (and Charlie Wesencraft's) research/interpretation, with the battle taking place on the high ground just north of the village itself, Hospur haring off with his battle and the archers et al trying desperately to keep up. I'm sure that if he had shot up the Scots for a while then (as usual) things would have been very different, but he wasn't called 'Hotspur' for nothing!

The battlefield with the village of Otterburn in the centre, Sir Henry Percy (Hotspur) on the English right just behind the village heading towards the (only) visible Scots on the hill and Sir Ralph Redman on the left about to destroy what he thought was the main Scots camp on the flat ground beside the river Rede.

English stragglers doing their best to catch up.

The Scots camp, this was actually the camp followers and baggage area, Douglas actual camp was on the hill behind the wooded area in the top picture so Redman was attacking in the wrong place, he and his men naturally found this particularly easy and revenge was sweet but they contributed virtually nothing to the actual battle where Hotspur had to fight on unsupported.

 Scots archers, they didn't have many but the few they did have were just as good as the English.

Redman's battle advancing towards the Scots camp.

The view from Hotspur's position emerging from the village of Otterburn, this was the only Scots force he could see (the Earl of March's battle), so being the man he was he went straight at em!

 Hotspur's battle with some archers lagging behind.

Douglas battle after having marched round the right flank of Hotspur's force, he was screened by a dip in the ground and the trees to his front. His standard is in the centre of the picture.

The view from his position as he approaches the English flank.

The Scottish reserve.

The situation just before contact.

Hotspur's battle charges uphill, slamming into the stationary Scots of the Earl of March, the fight is hard and bloody, the English forcing the Scots back when Douglas's flank attack comes in on the English right.

Redman pushes through the Scots camp slaughtering everything in his path.

The Scottish reserve arrives.

The end is nigh, a general view of the field as Hotspur's force begins to break up, Douglas is cut down just as victory is secured while Hotspur along with many of his retinue is captured later to be ransomed for huge sums of money.

All the Knights, Esquires etc have accurate livery and were there at the battle, everything on these figures was hand painted as when these lads were done there were no flags or transfers for this battle so everything had to be researched through (if possible) original sources (again see the Medieval label at the top of the page for details. However if people are interested in this particular period (and remember this will cover Humbleton Hill 1402 and Shrewsbury 1403) then for all my reservations regarding the fitting of weapons to some of their figures I wouldn't go much further than claymorecastings they carry a full range plus standards/transfers and their figures paint up well. they will of course mix in well with Old Glory for a bit of variation.
I hope this has been informative and entertaining as it's an encounter that I have a particular fascination for, plus it's local, just up the road actually.

Saturday 3 May 2014

Quality test for goodness sake!

Don't usually post as often as this but I'm bloody anoyed.
Got some figures out that I'm painting for one of the lads at the club, medieval, one lot Front Rank, I don't mind this manufacturer for WSS Seven years war and at a push Naps but their medieval are too regimented (formal if you like) and the other Claymore Castings. I have never painted these before and truthfully there not bad, not the best but I've seen allot worse.
Then I came to fit the separate weapons (halberds/pole arms). Now don't get me wrong, I'm quite prepared to take flash off figures, shave a bit off the inside of hands etc to get the weapons to fit, but when you pick up a figure you expect the sculpture/designer to have made some kind of effort to align the hands/arms positions so that you don't have to practically redesign the bloody thing yourself.
As you will see from the pictures below with a couple of figures I had to take great chunks out of hips, legs, manipulate hands and failing that bending the shaft of the weapon till it ended up looking as if the guy had chopped off a gnarly branch from a tree and stuck a blade on the end!
What the hell is going on here, when a manufacturer gets the original sculpture back from the designer surely the manufacturer puts various weapons in the figures hands to find out if the product that he has just paid the designer a deal of money for can actually get the weapon into the figures hands. I presume that in this particular instance the manufacturer has either not bothered his arse to do this, or has done so, found nothing lines up and has said fuck the buyer (you, me, whoever) let him do all the work!
What should have been a ten minute cleaning up job turned out to take forty five minutes out of my life.
 You can see the hip replacement operation carried out on this guy to get the shaft of the pole arm to fit.

 Couldn't get this weapon any lower, I would have had to take off half of his leg. No body would have carried a pole arm as high up as this.

As you can see the sculptor has designed this guys right hand to take the weapon at this angle, note how far away from lining up with the left (higher) hand. The only way of solving this was the gnarly stick look mentioned above.

This is a poor show by this manufacturer. I mentioned their name above but won't do so again, nor would I put this on any other wargames site, this is my blog and I will (within reason) put on what I want and I wouldn't want his business to suffer in any way because of anything I did (not that I would have any impact on what other people would do) but I have no time for incompetence or laziness, shame as the sculptings themselves aren't bad.
When I get them painted up I'll put them on here.

Thursday 1 May 2014

Scruffy French.

Just finished the first of three 28mm French battalions. 1st batt, 101st ligne:

All figures are Elite.