Saturday, 30 November 2019

For Joshua - First knights and a Dragon

Hi folks,

A little more progress this week. I'm currently still enjoying the ease of painting the 10mm stuff and the fact I can be a little less strict with myself. These are also the first models I've done where the basing is not as much effort as painting the models. Both sets are from Magister Militums 10mm range.

First up, some knights. But not just any knights. These are the 'Queensguard', a unit of specially selected female knights who have been tasked by the queen to look after the king. To help with this task, they have been mounted on Megacerops (a cross between a horse like creature and a Rhino). The idea being that if the king needs help, nothing will stop these gals.

Their colours include purple (picked by Amy) while their shields have the kings colours and a stripe of purple.

In opposition, we have a big bad for my Bad guys. Specifically some wizard like figure on a bone dragon. This may end up being the leader of the evil army!

This guy was big enough to warrant a 50mm base. So far, the only flying unit in the undead armies.

So more knights in the painting queue. Also, a load of 15mm sci fi which I plan to give a similar quick paint job.

Off tomorrow to the Stockton-on-Tees wargame show (Battleground), which should be a decent few hours and some shopping.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

For Joshua - First finished units

Hi folks,

Over the course of this week I've worked on my first few skelly units for the baddies. These are very much the prototype units for the project.

Just as a recap for those new to the blog, these models are for a charity project I am undertaking in order to raise funds for two local organisations who helped my family recently following the loss of our son Joshua at 34 weeks. More information can be found here and here, or on my youtube video on the subject.

For basing, I went for as simple an option as possible. A little checking about online and in the Pendraken 'Warband' rule book, and I decided to go for some mixed courseness sand and a few patches of 'summer' grass.

The 100mm by 50mm bases had some blotz dice holders added at the rear corners (just in case, we are planning on using various rules so I thought the holders might be useful). I painted the whole base my usual basing colour (Vallejo Flat Earth), put the models on the bases and then added the sand via PVA. The idea was that the sand would prevent a need for the bases being painted.

I then added 'random' patches of 'Summer' 2mm static grass. Nice and quick (relatively) and easily repeatable. Lessons learnt include that the larger stones tend to come out first when pouring sand, so aim away until this calms down.

The vast majority of these models are from Pendraken, with a single Magister Militum 10mm figure leading one of the regiments. As previously mentioned, I deliberately concentrated on having two units of melee skellies and one of spears, using the Army Pack. Melee units were bulked out by the leftover spearmen (with spearheads snipped off) as well as some of the catapult crews.

Flags were added via simple conversions of spear holding skellies using paperclip wire. The patterns painted on the flags roughly match those of the units shields. I used just regular paper for the flags, painted.

On the painting table, I am preparing the first of the knights along with some 15mm sci-fi models I plan to add in when I need a change of pace. I've also registered for this years AHPC challenge, in an effort to keep up my focus over the winter.

I'm thinking that units of knights might be slower going, as I am unsure as to how uniform to make them, but time will tell.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

For Joshua - Some progress

Hi folks,

I've been working hard to get past my usual indecision inaction when it comes to painting new models and started to progress the first of the undead units for my 10mm fantasy project.

These are 10mm Pendraken skellies, from the undead army pack they donated to the cause. I had initially primed these figures grey, before giving them a coat of Vallejo Ivory (from a bottle so old the number has been worn off). Each unit is 28 figures strong (4 ranks of 7 models each).

I then blocked in the other colours. Shields in black with some red unit markings, weapons a mix of Hull Red and metallic (steel), clubs and spears Mahogany Brown.

What I did do with the army pack was break up the warrior skellies into three units. One with spears and two with hand weapons. The spearmen I used a bit of brute strength and ignorance one - pushing the upright spears closer to bodies in order to make them more upright. I also took three spearmen and turned them into standard bearers by chopping off the spear tip, drilling and adding in a length of paperclip. The paperclip section will be hidden when I later add simple black flags.

For the 2nd hand weapon unit, I was running out of figures, so some leftover spearmen were used with the spear tips chopped off (to make mauls or clubs). I had to also add in some of the catapault crewmen and another figure from my human models (painted to look like a revenant or some sort of armour wearing ghoul) as a unit leader. A couple of figures lost arms and the likes while I was messing with poses - I just stuck them in. Possibly the bodies were missing those bones when they were dug up...

Units were arranged on their bases in ranks, and then each rank transferred to a stick for painting.

Once all the details were blocked in, a transformative 'soft tone' wash (armypainter) was added.

Models on the left are post wash, on right are pre-wash
The wash over the basic white gave a really nice effect. In fact, I'm not sure I'm going to do much more to these figures in the way of highlights.

The figures look a lot brighter on camera than they do 'in the flesh'. This is the revenant led unit.

I also got the characters from the army pack painted, which will form one 50mm round with the evil rock and summoners, and a 25mm round with a skellie hero, standard bearer and drummer. Another 50mm by 100mm base will have the two catapults.

I've another army pack on order (along with some chariots and ballista), which should allow me to get a full unit of archers, with the crossbow armed skellies going to form some skirmish bases. More skellie archers may be required, but the baddies will no doubt be getting other ranged support from elsewhere (I hope!). The current plan is archers will be in two ranks rather than 4.

I just need to sort basing out for these painted guys, do some standards and think about how I'm going to paint knights...

As ever, thanks for all the messages of support and offers of help. The more the merrier, so if anyone fancies contributing a unit to the charity project, please drop me a line (!

Friday, 8 November 2019

Travelling, filming and Progress

Hi folks,

Not much blog posting recently, though I have made some progress towards the fantasy charity project. I've managed to clean up all the models which I had ordered, and sorted some of the Undead figures into units.

I've decided to go with foot units which consist of four ranks of 7 models. Ranged units will be in two ranks to make them obvious on the table.

So far I have prepped and basecoated a unit of undead spear and two of hand weapons, as well as the catapults and hero models.

My aim is to progress these in order to have some examples done.

In other news, myself, Dave and Martin had a bit of a jaunt off to Paris with a portion of Dave's Sudan collection which was being used to film a documentary. I won't go into the ins and outs of it, but it was a proper studio and a lot more work than we anticipated. Very interesting, if exhausting.

Some pictures I took over the course of the two days:

1st time on the Chunnel. Pleasant expience, much better than the ferry. Arrived in France in no time at all. Course, a random Sunday morning just after Breshit was supposed to happen would have helped. 

A proper sized room - film studio we would be using

Initial setup we used. 4 tables, none of which were the same shape or size. Sand used to conceal bases, mixed with some flock and clump foliage. This is a representation of the battle of Omduman. 

Initial setup, you can see the greeness mixed in with the sand, along with the rive gunboats.

While we were getting setup, the crew were setting up their equipment. 

A lot of equipment. 

However, there were issues with the camera wobbling and the height of the table, as well as the fact it was rather messy looking table (as that was what they provided). We then had to disassemble the setup and rebuild it on a much shorter table. Much aching of knees and backs.  
But the rehersals for the filming started. 

The following morning, we got a chance to do some more work on the setup, and I added in some more clump to try and make the village a little more verdant and realistic. We also received more sand to help cover all the bases. The Director was very keen that all the bases be covered. 

The amount of equipment kept growing.

We were asked quite often to make changes, moving troops about, building up areas of terrain to get better visuals, etc. Much was the further aching of knees. 

More re-jigging. All infantry concentrated in one corner for sweeping shots. This also included us having to build up the rear corner to make it higher. By this point we were searching for suitable materials to use under the cloth. 

It looks hella impressive both on the table and via the camera, which was only a few inches off the table. 

As cool as it looked, using sand during a wargame would NOT be practicle. 

Requests included pairing down the amound of Brit, moving bits around, etc. 

Martin and Daving making yet more changes. These ranged from moving whole units to individual models being tweaked. As well as covering bases which might show up on camera. As the sand dried and settled, it seemed to show the edges again. 

The inside of the main studio building. Very impressive. An old power station, we think. 
All in all it was a interesting experience... but hard work. Definately more involved than we imagined it would be. Definately a good run out for some of Dave collection!

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Charity Project - For Joshua (blog 2)

Hi folks,

Having now moved into our new home and given some more thought on this project, and having had Joshua's cremation service yesterday, I wanted to do a blog post to update those who had very kindly offered to contribute.

For those who might not be aware, I posted here about the passing of my unborn son, Joshua, at the end of September. I felt that I should do something in order to try and raise some money for the maternity unit who had provided us so much support and the charity which had provided the memory box for us. A little further research would indicate that this project would aim to benefit the following two charities:

4Louis - a charity which supports families through miscarriage, stillbirth and loss.
North Tees and Hartlepool Together, NHS Charitable Trust - a charity working within the hospitals locally to improve the comfort of patients and to support NHS staff.

Obviously, the intention is that I do not financially or materially benefit from this project. My aim is to do something to help memorialise my lost little boy, and to make some money for charity.

The plan:

The plan is, with help from the community, to build two opposing 10mm fantasy armies. To then use these forces to hold games at a variety of UK wargames shows, then to potentially raffle the whole collection off with the proceeds going to the above charities. Hopefully, with the raffle idea tickets could also be sold as the game tours.

If enough units are contributed for there to be more than one opposing armies, the forces may be split into multiple opposing armies to be raffled. The aim is to maintain the prizes as fully fledged games, with two sides, play aids, etc.

The model stuff:

From some initial experiments done with 10mm Undead figures kindly provided to me free by Pendraken Miniatures, unit bases are planned to be 100mm by 50mm (standard base size for Warband, Pendraken's own rules). These bases give nice, chunky and busy looking units. For figures per base we will be trying to stick to default pack sizes:

- Formed Cavalry units will be around 12 figures, skirmish units (light scouting cavalry) or 'heavy' units (Rhino riding heavy cavalry) may be less that this (probably 6).

Early experiments with 12 undead cavalry on a 10cm by 50cm base

- Formed infantry units will be around 20 to 30 figures (the average pack size for most manufacturers). Skirmish units (Elven Rangers, etc) may be less that this (10 to 15).
- Artillery will generally be 2 or 3 warmachines per base, as well creatures such as giants. 'Smaller' large creatures, such as trolls or Ogres will be around 6 per base. Unusual war machines such as dwarven airships or gyrocopters will be on a case by case basis.

However, in the interests of high fantasy and good old character inclusion, I am planning on also using round bases for mini 'hero' dioramas. There would be 25mm rounds for low level hero's on foot or mounted (champions, wizards, adventurers, etc), while 'mighty heros' such as army leaders, adventuring bands of very large creatures (Dragons, etc) will be on 50mm rounds. These bases would ideally be little dioramas (so a general with a few guard and army standard, or a small group of adventurers together, etc).


With basing units, I am going to suggest that anyone who contributes can elect to sent me unbased painted figures and I will base them. This saves people having to buy specific bases they might never need for anything else, and also helps keep a uniformity to basing style. It should also make postage easier!

I will try and come up with a standard basing scheme. At the moment the plan is for a mix of static grass and patches of bare earth with a scattering of stones and the usual small tufts.

I plan to do a little print out on the underside of each base, which some brief details about the painter, where the models were painted, details of the unit or the imagi-nation that they hail from or any other info the contributer wishes to include. This way even when the collection moves on the contribution is recorded.

The armies:

There will be two 'sided' planned. Undead/Orcs/Goblins/evil versus the forces of the free/living world. Please note that all painted units (or even unpainted units) will be happily accepted, but more baddies may be needed than good guys! While I would like to keep the core as the above 'evil' races, Dark Elves, evil humans, etc, will also be welcome. But don't let that stop you from contributing some good guys as well!

For the baddies, the paint scheme should be drab, with lots of bone, rusted metal, blacks and small amounts or reds. Banners are encouraged! Any type of unit would be welcome, infantry, cavalry, monsters, etc. The more infantry, the better! But again, any unit would be gratefully received.

For the free forces, literally whatever you want. I mean it. Fancy painting some imagination 10mm Spartans, Romans, Mongolians, Templar knights, Italian infantry, Cavaliers or other historical unit more or less prior to the Napoleonic period - feel free. Anything that would be suitable in a fantasy setting up to and including basic firearms and gunpowder artillery - there is almost no limit in what historical units you could pick that fits within a rough definition of 'fantasy'.

Just keep them bright and colourful, give banners where you can and really don't stress - the idea is these are units which have answered the call from all over the world to come and fight the big bad. Mercenaries, national armies, volunteers, conscripts, lords, freemen and peasants. Think the old Warhammer/Warmaster range of tech and magic. The idea is that tech levels (in a fantasy context), dress style, etc will all vary depending on what kingdom the good forces come from.

Good old human spearmen, men at arms, archers, billmen, pikemen, peasants, etc, will be more than welcome. But as will human handgunners, landschneckt, cannon, steamtanks, etc.

Otherwise, feel free to pick units from any of the fantasy ranges available. This could be Halfling Ostritch Riders, Elven Spearmen, Dwarf Warriors, Horse Tribe Mounted Archers, or any other 10mm scale unit you fancy. And there are a lot of really cool models out there, including armed penguins, Eskimos, Aztec warriors, elves riding stags, samurai, dragon warriors, etc. Some producers that are worth checking out include:

Copplestone Castings
Magister Militum
Old Glory
Rebel Minis
Fighting 15's
Warmonger Miniatures
Trolls under the Bridge
Newline Designs
Laran Miniatures

I am really not fussy, so long as the unit isn't science fiction, it can fit. For you historical painters, this is a chance to just pick a period you have always liked and paint up a unit or two. I would add that Pendraken have been fantastic in supporting my initial idea and have provided me with a free undead army pack and rule book, as well as having a chat with me about other support they can offer.

My own contribution:

Currently, I have figures to start both sides in the form of a collection of Kights and Undead units. I aim to paint both up for inclusion in the project. The Knights will very much be styled on Warhammer Bretonnians, and will include (hopefully) some Pegasus Riders and a Lord on a large flying monster. As well as a lot of units of heavy Knights!

However, as mentioned above, I also aim to help base figures received as well as picking up the play aides and such which might be needed, as well as trying to source terrain and the likes.

How you can help:

After my initial post, I have several people kindly offer their brush to the project. I'm am extremely grateful for any help in this that I receive. The support from the guys at the Old Guard Wargames Club has already blown me away, with plans afoot for various forces. Others have contacted me via facebook or through blog comments and offered to help or offered support for me. I very much appreciate this, and I will take up those offers.

As I am UK based, I understand that there are cost implications of international post. I also appreciate that models are not cheap, and that everyone has their own lead mountains and personal burdens to carry. Therefor offers of help of contributions are extremely gratefully received, no matter the size. I know that time, and hobby time, is the most precious thing that anyone can contribute - and that people would contribute that for my wee boy is the most generous thing I can imagine. You'll be helping a dad feel like he is doing something when there is nothing else to be done.

Whether you decide to donate a single monster, hero, a single unit or multiple units, your contribution is gratefully received. If the models are painted, all the better. At the same time, 10mm suitable terrain would also be welcome. 

If you would like to help, to contribute in any way, please drop me a line via I can provide more information, answer questions and provide a postal address.

Other help, such as shout outs to the project on blogs, facebook, podcasts or Youtube are also welcome.

Finally, I have never done anything like this previously, so any advice or guidance that can be offered would be welcome!



Tuesday, 24 September 2019

For Joshua

Hi folks,

Apologies for the not strictly wargaming content.

Regular blog readers may have noticed my comment a few weeks ago that I was going to be a dad again. My second child and my wife's first. Our baby was due in early October (due to be induced at 37 weeks).

Unfortunately, on Monday 16th September, my wife felt unwell. This resulted in an emergency scan being undertaken and as a result it was found that our baby, at 34 weeks and 2 days, had no heartbeat.

No words can even begin to describe the level of grief and pain that our baby's passing has lead to. Made all the more difficult and cruel by the requirement that my wife deliver our baby. She did this on the early hours of Friday 20th of September. We are both, obviously, extremely upset. I suspect we will remain so for some time.

Following his delivery we had the opportunity to meet our little boy, Joshua, to tell him he was loved and that we were sorry. And for him to have an all too brief cuddle with his mum and dad before he went on to the next stage of his journey in this world.

We endured, and continue to endure, the unendurable - mainly due to the love and support of our family and friends. Nut also through the dedication, care and empathy of the NHS staff who we dealt with.

We spent the last week staying in a suite at the local hospital, where I was also fed and looked after. We were provided with a separate entrance and a room with a double bed to stay while we waited for the medication to induce Amy to take effect. When our son was born, he was treated with utter care and attention by the staff. We were given, free of charge, clothes which would fit him as well as a memory box of items to help us record our son's time with us, clay and ink materials with which to take prints of his hands and feet, cot cards and name tags, all for us to keep and treasure.

I would like to repay this kindness in some way, and to do something for Joshua. I would like to undertake a project with some contributions from the community with a view of selling or raffling off the completed project. 

My current idea is a 10mm project - fantasy undead and orcs versus the 'free people'. The free people would be eclectic - a mix of whatever anyone wanted to contribute or paint that fitted the 'fantasy' setting. Arthurian knights, Elves, Dwarfs, Humans of any variety, Lizardmen, etc, etc - anything and everything from medieval or late medieval model ranges or fantasy ranges.

The baddies would be in black with a little red.

The set would then do some of the wargames shows in the UK, as a display or demo game.

The whole project would then be raffled (or auctioned) off - The proceeds would then go towards an appropriate charity in honour of my little boy whom I will never get a chance to share my hobby with.

This may take some time to organise, paint, set up, etc. Possibly it would take more than 12 months.

However, I would love if you, dear reader, could contribute in some way. Whether it be donating some unpainted 10mm figures, providing some painted 10mm figures or bits of terrain, etc, I would be grateful. It would mean a lot to me if someone out there would take some time to paint something for my little boy, that I could then use to raise some money for a cause which helped me and my wife when we needed it most. Either for a donation to the maternity ward or to the charity who provided the memory box we received.

I've not settled on unit sizes or base sizes yet - It would be more about look (massed ranks, ala Warhammer or Warmaster), with me either coming up with some simple rules or adapting something off the shelf. My initial idea is also that I would base the models, to keep both armies using the same basing technique.

If you think you would be able and willing to help, please let me know. This is very early in my thought process but the outline is there and I hope others can see my purpose and are willing to help.


James - dad of Joshua.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Finished!: 3mm Titans and Duxford

Hi folks,

A bit of a delay since my last post. A mix of being on holiday and not painting a huge amount.

After the last batch of WW2 mini's, I decided to do something a bit more arty and unusual, so started work on a couple of 3mm scale 3D printed titans acquired last year. I used some of the Vanguard Stalker arms, which with a bit of whittling I got to fit. These have been painted up in a similar style as the Vanguard Cybershadow 3mm Stalkers I previously did. These are in my version of the Legio Praesagius colour scheme.

I used some 40k decals I picked up on the cheap to add some interest.

I'm not sure they look too great in the pictures, but they look a lot better on the table. I've now got 6 of these 'medium' scale robots, which I plan to use for Vanguards own rules and a 3mm version of Titanicus.

Painting wise, that's been it. I think the potential house move in September has put a bit of a dampener on my painting mojo. I've not mentioned it here previously, but in addition to the move, I'm going to be a dad again in the autumn. Suffice to say all this is having an impact on what else is happening with my time! I am planning to clear some of the stuff on my painting desk before the move though.

This year for holidays we were down on the south coast, in Hastings.

79 years ago, you might have been able to watch the RAF and Luftwaffe tussle high in the sky above the channel here. 

As you can see, the weather was rather changeable!

I did go on a visit to Battle, the supposed site of the Battle of Hastings. Bit of a waste of time and money, to be honest. I didn't find the information available about the battle particularly interesting (in all honesty, the Bannockburn museum was smaller and far more interesting and interactive). I was particularly annoyed to find, having paid the extortionate entry fee, that a large part of the abbey is a private school with no access to visitors. Money goes to money I suppose.

On the journey down to Hastings, I had the opportunity to stop by a proper museum in the form of the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. Properly cool (although a very warm day)! Here I had the joy of a Mustang and a Hurricane being towed past me as I walked through the museum. I took so many pictures by phone died. Some pictures below:

My mothers dad did his national service in Scotland as an armourer in the RAF. He served over by Stranraer (Wig Bay, I think), which at the time was a base for post war Sunderland Flying Boats. 

Airborne Assault Museum



Vickers MMG

German weapons

Briefing boards used for planning and teaching the troops prior to the Pegasus Bridge attack

Another planning map from WW2 - I can't remember what operation this was for. The maps are 3d reliefs, which was pretty cool. 

Better view of the Sunderland

B17G out on the tarmac

The Mustang in RAF Invasion markings which was towed past me. I have a cool video of that!

PR Spit? Late mark, I think. 

Later mark Spit. There were a lot of these!

Earlier Battle of Britain Spit. 

Crashed Battle of Britain Me109

The sweet looking Hurricane which I filmed being towed past. I think this took off later but I missed it as I was in one of the hangers. 

B25 in the American Airforce Museum


A10 - bringing the Brrrrt

British 2-pdr


German diorama with a Pak38

Some more German guns. A 15cm IG and a 105mm arty gun. 

88 Diorama - that gun is pointing directly at the tank commander...

Sweet little LCA model

20mm display of rear areas forward to fighting troops. Pretty cool. 

Frontline part of the diorama

Another view of the frontline

Some nice lifelike dioramas

For my own reference, an artillery tank LCT(A)
Whilst on holiday I picked up a book on the 8th Airforce and one for Dave on the rise and fall of the Mahdi's. I managed to build 3 M5A3 Stuarts for my Poles, along with several 28mm Necromunda Goliaths. Back to work this week though...