Friday 31 December 2021

28mm - 1066 Norman Infantry - Victrix

A Happy New Year to you all!  I am just writing this in the last hours of 2021.  I know this is my 2nd post in less than a week after an absence of 6 months, but I wanted to do one more post to finish the year on.

These are the plastic 28mm Norman infantry from Victrix.  I must say that I really enjoyed building and painting these. There are many options of heads and weapons and I don't think that I have two in this selection (it is only about a third of the pack shown here!)  that are completely identical.  

The figures are slightly taller than the Old Glory, Conquest Miniatures, and Gripping Beast that my Norman Army is so far comprised of.  If I keep the Victrix figures in their own units then I think it will not cause issues.

I have been continuing to experiment with new painting techniques.  Mainly this is to try to speed up the process.  There are just so many things that I want to paint and spending a month on a unit is just too long.  I have bought a set of Army Painter washes and used these to do the lowlighting.

My method now subdivides into 4 'blocks': 1 Basic Painting - starting with  a black undercoat and then a semi drybrush of white to show details and yet leave black in the deepest creases. I then use light shades for the clothing and skin (in Foundry paint terms this is the lightest 'C' shade). This light method is continued on everything, wooden weapons shafts, leather etc. Only the weapons are not done with a silver but a medium metal shade.

This is then followed by 2. The Wash Phase - I apply appropriate washes. By appropriate I mean green wash over greens etc and flesh wash over skin etc.  Where there is no wash to match the colour I tend to use Army Painter soft tone.  Armour and weapons gets 2 coats of Strong tone.

Next is 3. The Highlight Phase - I go back over with the light colours on tops of creases and put detail on, such as eyes, lips etc, lace work,  hair and beards etc.

Finally phase 4. The Final Bits - this is black lining in (this should be minimal as the shades should have done the work), highlight metal with silver etc, dry brush Vallejo Iraqi Sand to bring out leather, wood, and hair detail. I also use a black paint pen to draw around the inside edge of the shields to sharpen them and introduce shadow.  Matt varnish spray and then semi gloss on plate armour and gloss varnish on sword blades and spear points.

I will no doubt change this process as I keep on doing, painting is a process of constant evolution after all.  I probably won't use this method on Napoleonics and will stick to my ABC Foundry/Dallimore system.  For troops of a more rough and ready era, the washes seem to do the trick and to be honest, I don't think they look any different to troops that I have spent considerably longer painting.

There are more pictures to follow below, but there is little more to say on the painting methods.  I am enjoying the quicker results for sure.

Interestingly I found a sheet of paper today that I wrote in 2013 listing my projects and future projects and giving them the status of 'not started', in progress, and 'playable armies'.   There were many armies either not started or in progress.  I was delighted to see that I could now turn most of these armies into 'playable' as the troops have increased in number since then.  

Each time I play a game now, I seem to make a list of anything that seems to be in too short a number and then proceed to place an order.  It does seem that each game I play now costs me around £50 now in orders made straight after the game to fill in troop gaps! 

Anyway, it's all part of the fun.

I wish you a HAPPY 2022!!!!

Friday 24 December 2021

Battle of Hastings 1066 and Happy Christmas


Well, I'm back! That was a longer absence than I expected!  I was determined to get at least one more post in before Christmas, mainly to thank you all for your kind comments on my posts during the year, but also to wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

I have been busy painting and playing some excellent games too.  Since July, blogging posts have taken a back seat as my second job became busy and also the shooting competition season started in earnest (after having been postponed for so long due to Covid).  Something had to give and it was the blog posts.

I have lots of freshly painted units to take photos of and post but this is all going to take time. This might well be where the holiday period comes in very handy.

The posts below are from a very recent Battle of Hastings game. Ian commanded the Normans and I took charge of the Anglo-Saxons: 

As per the historical battle, the Anglo Saxons awaited upon Senlac Hill for the advance of the Normans.  The rules used were 'Hail Caesar' which ,when tweaked for the period of history being played, we generally find to be excellent.  

A few skirmishers seen leaving the Anglo-Saxon position to hurl sling-shot at the approaching Normans.  Various extra rules have been put in place. For instance Huscarls form the front rank. As soon as a unit becomes worn, the rear Fyrd fill the front lines and their stats are used instead.  This represents the fatigue and disproportionate weight of combat wearing out the Huscarls.

The Normans advance solidly onwards.  The Normans are a mix of Conquest Games, Old Glory and Gripping Beast.  I have just added Victrix Normans to their army (these are slightly larger but look fantastic).

The infantry melee begins!  The red dragon banner of Wessex in the foreground with King Harold attached ready for combat.

The red pipe-cleaners denote 'worn' status. The Normans attacking uphill into the axes and spears of elite troops suffer but they achieve their goal of wearing down the Huscarls.

Casualty markers increase among the Anglo-Saxons (Aeronautica Imperialis flight bases - most useful for the Stamina and excess casualties stats - they do need to be made prettier though!)

The worn markers start to appear too as the Norman cavalry rip holes in the Anglo-Saxon line. I might need to reduce the size of the pipe cleaners - it's interesting to see the pics and realise how ugly too many markers can appear

With the cavalry beaten off the Norman infantry return. This time they force the ridge.

Great gaps appear in the line.  In the picture above we see a Norman unit in retreat towards the retreating Anglo-Saxons. The reason for this is that the Norman unit had managed to flank the Anglo-Saxon's and the latter had to turn a unit to fight them. Having won, the Norman's run in the wrong direction. Alas the Anglo-Saxons now have an enemy to their own rear.

A view from the Norman lines as the gaps are ripped in the Anglo-Saxon shield wall and units break.  Ian commands the Normans to a great victory.  There are many losses to the Normans but that  means more booty to share among among the victors!  Another fabulous game!

As usual after a game, I look at the troops where I have shortfalls, and how a collection can be improved. Inspired by the game I usually make an order within a day or two and get painting on the new units.  I ordered Victrix Norman Infantry after this game. They really are superb figures and I still have 2/3rds of the order to paint up!

Anyway, Have a great Christmas and superb 2021 if I don't get to post again before!

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Great War 1918 - Chain of Command Battle - 28mm

This is not so much a battle report but a brief overview of a game I had at the weekend using the WW2 Chain of Command rules produced by Too Fat Lardies.  The interesting thing here was using the rules for WW1 and seeing how they played for that period.

I have only played a few games of Chain of Command, almost all of these were solo.  I have never really been a fan of skirmish games, but the great things I heard about this rule set made me curious to try to them.  I must say that I have not been disappointed.  

I played several games solo last week just to remind myself of the rules.  Even playing solo, it really does give a great game. Throwing the command dice gives a whole range of decisions to make every game turn.  Nothing is guaranteed. Friction abounds and plans become unstuck. Unit's won't move and the enemy may yet interrupt your turn if they have built up enough Chain of Command points to seize the initiative.  Great fun!

I played the British this time and set up on the long right side of the 8ft x4 ft board.  Ian played the Germans and was on the long left side.

The terrain had plentiful areas of cover. Wooded copses and hedgerows covered the board as well as some fields and stone enclosures.  A river meandered across the table with a bridge allowing a road to cross it...there were some sheep nearby too!

I really wanted to get all of my recently painted troops on the board.  I had slowly built up the troop types and weaponry as I play tested until I felt happy using snipers, tanks, anti-tank guns and a flamethrower.  Points and support lists were not even considered. This was a game with lots of interest added!  I wanted it all on the table!


1 x Rifle Section
1 x Bomber Section
1 x LMG Section (2 x Lewis guns)
1 x Rifle Grenade Section
1 x Vickers MMG

1 x MkIV male Tank
1 x Whippet Tank


3 x Rifle Sections
1 x LMG Section
1 x Maxim 08/15 MMG
1 x Guard Pioneer Flamethrower
1 x Sniper
1 x Granatenwerfer
1 x 3.7cm Anti-Tank Gun
1 x Mauser Gerwehr-T Anti Tank Rifle

Scenario Overview:

It's August 1918 the German front lines have broken around Amiens and the Germans are in retreat.

The Allies need to maintain the pressure and take key geographic points to enable the advance to continue.

The 5th Royal Berkshire Regiment have been tasked to despatch a platoon to hold a key bridge.  1 Platoon must take and hold the bridge to allow tanks at a future time.  1 Platoon must hold the bridge until nightfall when an Australian unit will relieve them.

The Germans have realised the importance of the bridge almost too late and have hastily sent a platoon of 246th Reserve Regiment to prepare its defence.  The first section of barbed wire has been set up as the first British Troops come into view.


British must take and hold the bridge at nightfall (last turn) or break the enemy.

Germans must keep the bridge at the last turn of the game or break the enemy.

If neither side hold the bridge by nightfall (the last turn) or it is still contested and possession is in doubt then the side with the highest force morale will win.


All woods provide cover. Hedges provide light cover. Stone walls are minor obstacles but hard cover.

River can be forded by infantry, treating it as a medium obstacle.

Tanks cannot cross the river.

Barbed wire can be cut by troops using the rules in the book.

Special Rules:

Germans use 'Handgranaten!' special rule which allows the grenadiers in a section to unleash a storm of grenades prior to making a close assault.

Ambush Troops:  Sniper and Anti Tank rifle are permitted to use Jump off Points to perform ambushes.

The British MkIV tank arrives on Turn 2.

The British Whippet can arrive from Turn 4 on an escalating dice throw

Most of the rules were modified with the amendments in the Too Fat Lardies Christmas Special 2014 which has a brilliant piece on converting the main Chain of Command rules for WW1.  There is an excellent section on tactics in the late war period in the 'Mud and Blood' rules by the Lardies.  Additional supplements for WW1 small scale actions have also been produced by them.

There are some great little tweaks to the main rules which make it more suitable for WW1.  One example being that by throwing 4 x 5's on the Command Roll D6 dice, a random gas shell will land on the battlefield affecting the whole area for a complete turn and causing effects on shooting and movement due to poor visibility.

The game started out well enough for both sides early on.  We were both keen to deploy most of our forces and put our focus on this rather than move up too rapidly.  

Ian placed his sniper in the trees to his right side near his deployment zone.  There are no silly short distances in this game.  Most weapons will fire off the board and a long way on from there too!  The full size of the board probably only reflects about 400 yards maximum.  So a well placed sniper can cover a lot of the field.

This is where I started making mistakes.  I placed two sections including my very strong Lewis gun section on' Overwatch' in woods to try to get his sniper.  Unfortunately this effectively hobbled my army as my advance slowed to nothing.  Ian in the meantime kept pushing his troops forward to try to get around a flank.

Above we see nasty lane where a vicious close quarter battle wiped out my bomber section and the Junior leader.  I was suddenly 4 x Force Morale points down.  The Lewis gun team have been redeployed too late to stop the German team from then attacking my Rifle Grenadiers in the flank.  However we can see their shock points adding up and their numbers thinning out.

Ian organised his men well and took up good fire positions and ensured he outflanked any determined moves on my part.

I can honestly say that on no part of the battlefield did I gain the upper hand.  Instead my mistakes were punished badly and Ian's good plans meant that he gained his objective of the bridge very effectively and with little loss.

The flamethrower didn't play a big part in this particular game.

I did manage to get my MkIV tank on to the board but Ian's anti-tank gun made short work of it, and knocked it out with his first shot on target!

In the end my Force Morale Points crumbled away to nothing while Ian still had 10 Force Morale points remaining.  This gave Ian a decisive and well deserved win.

Despite my massive defeat, I thought the game was excellent.  Interesting my two previous solo playtests saw the Germans heavily defeated instead so I cannot blame it on the scenario!

My plan now is to use the rules for other skirmish games including WW2. I am still continuing to slowly build my WW1 units and now have extra incentive after playing this.  With these superb Great War Miniatures troops inspiration comes very easily!

Friday 18 June 2021

Late Romans - 28mm - Gripping Beast

So, how late are these Late Romans?  About 18 months actually!  I painted these up amongst some other Late Roman's and completely forgot to post the photos up.

The troops are from the plastic boxed set by Gripping Beast.  I have long had a liking for the striking colours of the Late Romans. What makes them extra interesting is that the shield designs and units were recorded in the Notitia Dignitatum book.

My Late Roman army is so far very small but is approaching playable status, slowly but surely.

I seem to recall that the shield transfers are by Little Big Man Studios.

 This might appear to be a departure from my recent projects, but another Zulu regiment has been completed.  I'm just not sure what to do next.  I have several things built ready to continue with but I just need the inspiration to get on with things.  

Other hobbies and the fine weather have distracted me of late.  I have also been purchasing books on the 8th Army in WW2 and reading some classic desert war literature including Alan Moorehead's very interesting account of the campaign.  It could yet be tanks on the painting table...we shall see!