Monday, 22 April 2019

The Miller's Tale - Episode 6

Episode 6: In which Mike talks about responsibility.... (ooo! scary!)
Links to things mentioned in the podcast
If there's anything I missed, please let me know. I'm keen for any feedback, obviously enough - you can comment here, or if you'd rather it wasn't public, by email to

[Apologies - I do appear, on editing this episode, to have had more of the tail end of a cold than I remember - I've done my best to edit out the heavy breathing where I can :D]

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Beach boards 6 - more rock experiments

A happy Easter those of my friends who celebrate. Been a bit of a fragmented day today, largely due to two visits to church and sorting out a parental crisis (Mum's Kindle - 7 years old - died, and she's pretty lost without stuff to read (has eyesight worse than mine, so the ability to essentially make any book large print is a huge win for her, and Amazon in their wisdom only have one Kindle with page turn buttons any more), so there was much sorting out of how to get her a new Kindle Oasis ASAP)...

I managed to pop in and out and do some more rock tests, and negotiate a free morning with the Domestic Goddess tomorrow to edit and post the podcast. Re the former...

Another spare bit of pink foam. This time I hacked it about a bit with a long-bladed craft knife.
Note: for this you really need XPS foam (extruded, not expanded) variously available in grey, pink and blue these days. The white expanded stuff used for packing won't take the detail. 
Texture applied with foil rollers as before.
And then hacked about a bit with the blunt serrated knife, then undercoated with an equal parts mix of mid grey emulsion, white acrylic, PVA and water. Slightly runnier, so it got into the cracks a bit better.
I can't remember *exaclty* what we have here, but I think it's (L-R in the seven bands):
- Dilute yellow ochre
- not sure
- Vallejo wash over dilute yellow ochre
- not sure
- rather lightly applied Vallejo wash
- AP Dark Tone
- Vallejo wash and a dry brush of pale cream acrylic

Yes, I should have taken notes.
I think on the whole, the first test from yesterday is the winner. maybe with a much gentler dry brush of pale cream.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Beach boards 5 - rocks part 2 - OMG! WOW!

Holy freaking.....

Anne is wondering why I'm dancing around and cheering, having just got back from the parents at 10pm, popped in to the workshop to .... ok.


Step back, Mike.  Upload the pictures and add captions:

Take some cheap white acrylic, semi-drybrush on the rocks (the Terrain Tutor calls this 'overbrushing') just to lighten up the base coat.
And this is still grey, which is not a good limestone colour. So.... Allow to dry while spending Easter Saturday with parents (mmm, fresh baked hot cross buns by my friend Piers in Doncaster - if you're anywhere near, just BUY the man's bread!)...
Next step. Take a big brush, and a pot of Vallejo's Game Colour Wash.... apply fairly liberally. 

Friday, 19 April 2019

Beach board 4 - experimenting with rocks

Only just got back from church band rehearsal after a busy day, so didn't really have time to edit the podcast as have to be off to parents early.

Did have time to do a little on the beach boards, specifically seeing if I can figure out a way to do the limestone rocks on a tester piece. This gallery is a combination of Mal the Terrain Tutor and Ballan Parkway's methods - follow the captions.

Here's a left over piece of pink foam from the
promontory/bay build the other day.  If I could have been bothered I'd
have roughly carved the surface with a craft knife to be less flat, but
for the purposes of this test piece it doesn't matter.

And this is just a piece of freshly screwed up baking foil.
All you do is roll it, pressing quite hard, on the surface of the foam... 
And presto! instant texture.
Same again, but this is the lid from a Gü cheesecake pot,
so it's noticeably stiffer foil. This I more pressed than rolled,
almost using it as a stamp.
...and even more texture. If you just wanted some random
rock, this would do fine. However, I want limestone...
Ideally what I wanted was the double-toothed saw blade off
my previous Swiss Army knife, but in the absence of that, this
old kid's safety knife from our kitchen drawer will do
(with Anne's blessing! 
(Slight focus issue, sorry)
Just use it to gouge horizontal strata in the rock face. The reason for the wider,
blunter blade is it leaves wide gouges and it also tends to rip bits from
the edges, which makes it look less even.
Final stage for tonight, paint with some neutral coloured emulsion and
leave to dry, With hindsight I might recoat with a paint/water/PVA
mix to seal it even better. Yes, I know rocks aren't grey.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Dux on a budget

Apropos of a question on the Facebook group, I've been doing the maths to see what the minimum investment is in figures to play Dux Britanniarum.

Obviously, your best bet at least for starters is going to be Gripping Beast plastics, namely one box of Late Romans, one box of Saxon Thegns, one box of Dark Ages Warriors. Lets have a look:

Dark Ages Warriors: 40 figures
  • 40 with spears (you end up using 18)
  • 16 with javelins 
  • 8 with swords
  • 32! with slings (you will use 8)
Saxon Thegns: 44 figures
  • 32 with spears (you end up using 30)
  • 36 with swords or axes (you end up using 2)
  • 2 officers, 2 standard bearers (you use the officers)
Late Romans: 44 figures
  • 16 with bow (find someone with a late Roman or Byzantine army to sell them to :D)
  • 24 with spear (you end up using 18)
  • 16 with sword - same body as spearmen (you end up using 2)
  • 2 officers, 2 musician/standard bearers (you use the officers)

Currently, GB will sell you this for £60 as a three box deal. You'll probably then need about 6 or 7 sheets of shield transfers if you don't want to hand paint them, at £3 a sheet.

For a starter Dux force, you will need

  • 12 elite
    • 12 from the Thegns box
  • 18 warriors
    • 18 from the Thegns box, or mix in some unarmored and/or bareheaded spearmen in each group from the Dark Age Warriors box so you can distinguish them from the elites
  • 4 slingers
    • from the Dark Age Warriors box
  • 3 Lords and a champion
    • two Lords, plus two figures with axe or sword from the Thegns box.

  • 6 elite
    • 6 from the Late Romans box
  • 12 warriors
    • 12 from the Late Romans box (I'd distinguish these and the elites by using different shield designs - I have these on my elites, for example, and these on my warriors and levy, giving the levy the ones with white backgrounds)
  • 18 levy
    • 18 spearmen from the Dark Age Warriors box, but use heads and oval shields from the Late Romans box (or leave them bare-headed)
  • 4 slingers
    • from the Dark Age Warriors box
  • 3 Lords and a champion
    • use the two Lords, plus a couple with swords from the Late Roman box
This usefully leaves you enough figures to produce:
  • 2 Saxon warrior reinforcements (more if you used some of the Dark Ages Warriors)
  • 4 British warrior reinforcements 
  • 12 mercenary javelinmen
And yes, I know, the Thegns aren't perfect, being a bit late for the era, but it hasn't bothered me or my opponents (or apparently anyone reading this blog) in 5 years of playing Dux :D The other downside is that your missile troops are slingers, not archers (as the late Roman archers are armoured and thus not really right), but this isn't a huge problem IMO.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019


In fact, done recording the Miller's Tale episode 6 take... um... 3. Complete, and has had its first pass at editing and tidy up done. I am however, told by the Domestic Goddess that I am Done For The Evening, so the assemble edit and final tidy will have to wait till tomorrow. 

Posh Lard 2019

Yesterday's hobby activity was mostly planning Posh Lard 2019.

Provisionally, then (subject to enough interest) it'll be Sunday 2nd June at the club's premises in Peterborough. Entry £5 to cover the room rental. On site free parking, handy Wetherspoons/McD's/Subway/Waitrose for lunch. Handy very nice Thai restaiurant/real ale pub about 5 mins walk away for post-game meal, two hotels within walking distance for those who've come a long way, 3 mins walk from the station, 10 mins from the A1.

Assuming it goes ahead, there will be at least:
- Bloody Omaha - 15mm IABSM game run by the club: you can dip in for a morning or afternoon or both if you're mad enough
- 82nd @ St Mére Église - 28mm CoC courtesy of the Gravesend folks
- possibly a second IABSM game if there are enough folks and I can get one of the other club members to run Omaha. :D

I'd be ideally looking for another game or two - we *might* have Brecourt Manor as a CoC scenario if Gary from our club is free.

Rich has said he'll try and make it up for part of the day.

Need really a minimum of 10 folks to make this viable. If you could express an interest on here or anywhere else its mentioned before the end of April, then I can give it the nod or not.
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