Tuesday 31 May 2016

Get it while it's cheap...

UK readers who don't yet have a copy of "Band Of Brothers" may want to hit their local Tesco (via Paul Baldwin on Twitter):

Monday 30 May 2016

WIP Realm of Battle Board 3

Short update, as I've had a busy day followed by club.

The de-flocked board dried fine, and actually doesn't appear to need re-undercoating black. A quick run out to B&Q sourced the Holy Grail of terrain undercoats - Sandtex Bitter Chocolate, as promoted by the Mighty Dux himself, Rich Clarke. (Why it's so good I'll leave for the next Colour Concepts article!).

I have some black stone-textured spray paint (also from B&Q) which I used to overspray the filler that was hiding the skulls, as well as one of the more egregiously fantasy sections of cracked stone roadway. Only drawback with this was discovering it takes 24 hours to dry hard, so I wasn't going to get to wield a brush and the Bitter Chocolate, which was a shame as the sun came out.

Never mind. Next update not for a bit as there's this tedious thing called work...

Almost forgot - placed a big order with War World Scenics for lots of suitable grass.

Sunday 29 May 2016

De-flocking a Realm Of Battle Board

[Cor, lummee. More GW in the last week than in like forever.]

A quick stint outside when I got back from cricket, and I can reveal the quickest way of getting PVA'd flock off a Realm of Battle Board involves a bucket of hot water with a touch of washing up liquid, and a couple of green washing-up/pan scrubbers. Thanks to everyone on here and Twitter for their advice.

The advantage of it being hard plastic, of course, is that you can get it thoroughly wet without causing the underlying substrate (not being MDF, say) to swell and warp, and that you can be pretty rough.

Board section is now on its face on the laundry draining board, will get any remaining moisture removed with kitchen roll tomorrow morning. and then re-sprayed black prior to undercoating.

Saturday 28 May 2016

WIP on the Citadel Realm of Battle Board

Acquired a set of these last week - all bar one are just undercoated black, so I've started off with the important bit - filing the skull pits :D

[There is a theory afoot that the Warhammer Fantasy and 40K worlds are typically a few inches of topsoil laid on top of a couple of feet, or more, of skulls - either that or there are naturally occurring open-cast skull mines. Either way, this doesn't match the geology of the Iberian Peninsula!]

Managed to unearth some lightweight filler, so these are now out in the workshop (which is fortunately warm today) to dry.

The only problem I have left is the one board that the previous owner had started work on, which has been grassed, but sadly not in the colours I want, and a bit too evenly, as I'm looking for something more sun-bleached in general.

Anyone any good tips on removing PVA-attached grass? My immediate thought is get it very wet.

Friday 27 May 2016

4Track Models

I hadn't spotted these when they first appeared, but the folks from 4Ground have been busy putting their considerable talents at making MDF not look like MDF to use making model railway buildings in 00 (20mm) and N (10mm) scale. If you game in either scale, I'd suggest a look at 4Track Models, particularly for those of you doing VBCW, because they're REALLY nice, especially the 'Station Road' range and the industrial buildings.

Me, I'm hoping they do the range in 28mm as well - join me in asking on their Facebook page if you agree!

Thursday 26 May 2016

Rather pleased with myself...

Madly busy day in London with work followed by a band rehearsal today, and I am knackered.


I have just submitted my first paying article for one of the big three wargames magazines :D

Happy Mike.

Wednesday 25 May 2016


(to expand on what I said on Facebook earlier)

I seem to have just had a terrible accident at the Perry's webstore, to the tune of a ragtag (deliberately so) collection of Frenchmen as opposition for Sharpe. As well as lots more stuff from Tablescape, and hopefully the last big Warbases order for a bit...

Ah well. I suppose there are worse ways of spending bits of the bonus... and it makes up for buying next to nothing at Partizan.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Colour Concepts: 2 - What colour is.... white?

Ok - this might seem like a really strange way to kick off the series proper, but trust me, there's a reason for it. And this article is also technically "Photographing Miniatures 6: White Balance", for reasons which will become rapidly apparent.

To start with, then - how do we see colour? Why is a leaf green?

When light falls on something, three things happen to varying degrees depending on the colour/wavelength of light, namely it can be absorbed, scattered, or reflected. Reflected we'll leave for later (see... ohhh, I dunno? Water? Glass?) but what's scattered and what's absorbed determine its colour.

White light - pure white light - is made up of a spectrum of colours, as per the classic prism demonstration. If you look at your TV, your computer screen, or a LED colour-changing light, closely, you'll see that in fact you can make white (in fact most colours) from a combination of various proportions of red, green and blue (have a play with the link).

So, why are leaves green? Because they've evolved to absorb the red and blue ends of the spectrum for photosynthesis, and scatter the rest, i.e. green wavelengths - result? A green leaf [1]. If something absorbs all wavelengths, it'll be black - and often that means it absorbs the infra-red off the red end of the spectrum as well, and is why black objects get hotter in the sun.

However... the important thing to note is that an object can only scatter what's falling on it. Allow me to demonstrate, with the aid of a camera, my shiny new LED colour-changing living room lights (which use combinations of red, green and blue to make a wide spectrum of possible colours), and a colour balance test card.

The card under 'pure' white.

For the colour-blind (like my wife) the strips are:
top to bottom left:
blue, red, magenta, green, cyan, yellow, grey.
middle small strips:
white, black, cyan, black, magenta, grey, blue
right side:
black, 3 narrow shades of dark grey, black, purple, white, dark blue
Red light

Green light (not very good green, more a sickly greenish-
white, but it's the best the fittings will do)
Blue light

Purple light
Neat, huh? Notice how the white stops being white, because there isn't a full rainbow of colour for it to reflect, and how all the other colours change. Also notice how, for example, you can't pick out the red from the white under red light [2].

Which leads us to the question in the title. Let's have a look again at the test card under fluorescent light, and under warm and cold white from the living room lights.

Very 'Warm' white light (as far down the 'warm' end as my
lights will let me).

About the equivalent of old-school incandescent lights

About the same as natural sunlight.

Natural shade (a very 'cold' blue white).

Under the fluorescents in the kitchen :D
The interesting thing is that what you see in the photos is NOT how your brain processes what your eyes give you - if you looked at any of those in isolation, your brain would correct for the white, as cameras can be set up to do automatically or manually. In this case, obviously, I've deliberately set the camera not to compensate for the different lighting: it's locked to 'daylight in the shade' as that's what I had it set to for the light at Partizan, and you will notice that (for example) the card under the fluorescent strips in our kitchen has a noticeable orange cast, because there's not enough blue wavelengths in the output from the tube).

Of course, how YOU see the above images will also depend on what your monitor thinks 'white' is :D

[1] So why do blue and yellow paint (as opposed to light) make green? 
[2] My wife once wrote a set of crib notes for a set list with our band in red ink. You can imagine her consternation when the stage lights turned out to be predominantly red.

Monday 23 May 2016

Dear Diary, today...

...I appear to have mostly been a responsible adult thinly disguised as a gamer.

  • Conducted a club EGM to determine our vote for GCN Secretary;
  • Minuted the above;
  • Conducted a club committee meeting to clarify our position on things before writing to people;
  • Updated the club forum and FB page;
  • Tidied the scenery cupboard (thanks Reuben and Dan);
  • Sorted out 40 figures for painting by someone else;
  • Outlined two articles for magazines.

Sunday 22 May 2016

Back from Partizan...

...and a very pleasant day chatting with folks, taking photos and helping run our Men Who Would Be Kings game with AndyH, AndyMac, Ash and Pippa. Huge thanks to Osprey, who've been letting us run amok with a pre-release version of the rules for a while now.

I do, though, seem to have spent more for the club (a big hit on Last Valley) than on me, by a LONG way...

Total swag: four sets of LBM shield transfers, two sets of CoC jump-off points and a Warbases armoured car.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Heads up re website for Partizan...

If you're looking for the website for tomorrow's show, it would appear that there's been a bit of a SNAFU with their hosting provider - were I a betting man, I'd suspect it was not unconnected with the fact that the domain's renewal date is marked as the 16 May, and it was last updated today :D

There is a backup site at http://s521436612.websitehome.co.uk/ if you need any info.

Friday 20 May 2016

Colour Concepts: 1 - Introduction

I seem to have been thinking a lot about colour, lately - what colour things are, and, almost as importantly, what colour things aren't. We have as human beings a lot of pre-conceived ideas as to what colour things are - ask a child, and they'll tell you water is blue, earth is brown, sand is yellow, etc - and a lot of these are actually quite startlingly wrong if you actually look at the thing in question. And a lot of those misconceptions we carry into adulthood.

So, with that in mind, it's past time we had another series on this blog, and so here's 'Colour Concepts', a series of ponderings on what colour things actually are.

As a free starter, which if you aren't a regular reader of this blog you can go catch up on, and if you are you should know already:

There's no such thing as a brown horse (well, actually, there is, but it's rarer than you think!). And white horses often aren't white

Thursday 19 May 2016

Today's goodies

Sadly no photos, as one of the new arrivals is outside in the workshop and my phone camera is also nearly flat.


One awesome set of Saxon Miniatures Winter King character figures. They are just stunning.


An intact Citadel Realm of Battle board, in case, undercoated black. Soon to be acquiring a layer or two of filler to get rid of the skulls, and then will be tarted up as a bit of Sharpe country. Hence the question on Twitter earlier - why does everyone paint rocks and stonework grey???

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Kickstarter Watch - 28mm undead

Were I considering a Kings of War Undead army, which I was for a while, I'd definitely go for some of these.

It has a day to go, and thanks to some promotion by (among others) Annie the Dice Bag Lady, it's funded, but I ought also to hold it up as an example of what the good Lord intended Kickstarters to be for, namely raising funds to do stuff that couldn't be done without it. Congratulations, Rene!

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Administrivia - updates, show, Meeples and pretty things

Apologies for lack of a Lardy List directory update - I had one scheduled for tonight, but after a day's spent Java coding (which I detest with a passion), I took pity on my wife's struggles with maintaining an online FAQ in a really rather rubbish web-based rich text editor, which means I've used up my eye for the night :( (There's still something in it, but I'm pretty sure it's the contact lens :D)

I will be at Partizan on Sunday - look out for the me in a blue Peterborough Wargames Club hoodie with a DSLR. If I'm not wandering around the gaming tables handing out show flyers and taking photos, you can find myself and the Andy's Hawes and McTaggert in the far left corner by the café entrance with the club's NW Frontier game of Men Who Would Be King.

One other thing: for those who aren't followers of Neil's blog, due to unforeseen circumstances, Neil is taking a brief hiatus from recording the podcast. And I quote:
Podcast Episode #171 will be published at some point in the near future, but the next podcast will then not be published until the 15th June, and it will be covering the UK Games Expo and Operation Market Larden #4.
Everything's as fine as it can be, and we'll be back in your lug'oles as soon as we can.

And my Saxon Miniatures order shipped today. Squeeeeeee!

Monday 16 May 2016

General on Winged Beast for Kings of War

So, as you may be aware, I'm (ab)using some of my WAB forces for a Kingdoms of Men army, pending getting my elves painted. Tonight I switched my single horde of 20 Parthians for 40 Norman knights, and found a better rider for my winged beast...

This is a Fireforge mounted Sergeants rider (from a batch I speed painted a while back) mounted (via BluTak and with permission!) on one of Anne's collection of Mythic Dragons' pewter dragons. It needs a base, but it looks way cool!

Sunday 15 May 2016

Coming round full circle...

It's no good, if I'm going to spend Sunday afternoon and early evening watching James play cricket, I either need to blog in the morning or get an anti-glare screen guard for my iPad. I may need the latter anyway, since I've committed to being the Sunday 2nd XI's scorer when my eye recovers. :D

Herewith, given it's now gone 10 and we've only just finished supper, some slightly disjointed thought that may pass for a blog post.

I find it amusing how things come full circle: for a decade I worked for CricInfo.com, and if you were a fan of their live text commentary in the mid-to-late 90s, and sometimes as late as 2004, one of the commentary 'voices' and scorers was me. Given I'd changed jobs, and given up playing cricket (as I was keen to preserve my fingers in an unbroken state to play guitar) I wasn't expecting to wind up scoring again.

Equally, thinking back, the first wargames army I owned was I think several boxes of Airfix 20mm plastic Napoleonics: guess what's queued up for a painting service now? (Not Airfix - I wouldn't pay someone to paint that plastic! :D)

And then there's Sekrit Projekt P. More in a couple of weeks, but let's just say that I've come right back to the incidental skills I learned in my first ever paying job.

Saturday 14 May 2016

Natural dye colours for Dark Ages figures

As I've just been speccing up how I'd like a batch of my Romano-British painted (eye's on the mend, not completely fixed, remember :D), I dug out a couple of useful posts from my blog a couple summers ago when we wandered round some Dark Ages/early Mediaeval historical sites in France.

Specifically, these two posts have links to images of wool dyed using various natural substances like madder, woad and weld.

Friday 13 May 2016

Brief eye update

Those following my grousing on the Meeples and Miniatures podcast will know I still have an eye problem, and those following on Facebook will note I've been off to Hull for the day for round... um... about 10... of visiting various members of the medial profession to stick various tests and chemicals in my right eye.

Short summary - very unexpected next step, and I'm seeing better than I have for a while: still not perfect, and the seeing better is actually an accidental side effect of the treatment :D More details on FB if you follow me, but that's it for posting today as I do have a mild eyestrain headache, and something in my eye (namely a soft 4-week continuous wear contact lens!)

Thursday 12 May 2016

It's started...


First advert copy generated for this year's show for a wargames magazine.

Amazing how every single magazine, despite all being fundamentally the same page size, are a few mm different in required advert size.

Aaaaaaanyway :D

Look out for show ads in Tabletop Gaming, Miniature Wargames, Wargames Illustrated and Wargames Soldiers and Strategy over the summer (which is y'cumen in real soon, as the song has it, if that burst of sunshine this week wasn't it!). Tell your friends. Sign up to bring a participation game! And look out for the current trader list which is going up tomorrow.

Wednesday 11 May 2016

SAGA Hereward Melée

We’re delighted to announce that tickets are now on sale for the official SAGA Melée at Hereward Wargames show, with thanks to our sponsors Gripping Beast, who have even promised to provide us a judge :D

More details here!

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Survey Results so far

Well, that was certainly interesting.

If I was willing to pay SurveyMonkey for a pro account (which is well down my list of things to spend money on in the wargames industry), I could provide more detailed breakdowns, but...

Results are here.

Interesting takeaways:

  • a hair under 75% of respondents rated printed rules as a 1 (Essential) or 2, compared to only just over 50% for a PDF.
  • my guesses at average prices and the premium for colour were pretty close... viz:
    • 32 page PDF/B&W print/Colour print - £7/9/12
    • 64 page - £10/14/18
    • 100 page - £14/19/25
Comments noted re 'it depends on what the contents are like'. I accept that was kind of omitted, but was assuming, given my audience, that you're all people of excellent taste and discernment (after all, you read this! :D) and wouldn't be paying for rubbish :D

So - thanks for the replies, all 43 of you - the poll is still open if anyone else wants to offer their tuppence worth. Very useful information, especially combined wth the price list from the folks I'm talking to at present.

Monday 9 May 2016

Some more goodies from those nice folks at Warbases

The thud of a parcel on the mat, and that unmistakable aroma of freshly-lasered MDF...

Today we have:

  • several 2 x 1 1p trays for skirmishers
  • several 3 x 2 1p trays ditto
  • several more 4 x 2 1p trays for line infantry
  • a couple of 10 figure 1p trays for mobs
  • some 4 x 1 x 40mm pill trays for cxvalry

All nicely pre-drilled for 5mm x 2mm neodymium magnets (also supplied). In addition:

  • a bag of 40mm pill bases
  • the horses for the SP2 wagons I forgot last time
As ever, a huge tip of the hat to Martin and Diane, who are awesome and put up with me adding things, asking for customisations and changing my mind far more than I would! :D.

Sunday 8 May 2016

Wargames publishing poll

Ok. Summer is officially here.

Just spent a very pleasant afternoon on the pavilion benches at Market Deeping Cricket Club watching my son play for the Sunday 2nd XI, with a very nice pint of Harvest Pale.

It being somewhat sunny, and the data connection there not being at all stellar, I have had little to do today but watch cricket and ponder various things. As a result of that pondering, I have some questions for you :D

I know I've asked some of these before, as have Tor Gaming in a poll they declined to publish the results of, but that was a while ago, so....

Here you go...

Saturday 7 May 2016

Club banners and an offer

Having just done two new banners for the club, (as part of a day of catching up on assorted projects) and knowing that I've been asked about this in the past, I thought I'd reiterate where and how I get my banners done. Those who've seen our Dambusters game or either Royal Armouries game will have seen how good they are.

 I use sign.print.lab on eBay - specifically, they have a recurring Buy It Now item for their banner service. Costs including printing on a nice 2m tall pull up banner with display stand and carrying bag run from £31.99 to £43.99 depending on width, and they do next working day delivery for free if you get them the art before 11am on a working day.

The one thing you need to be aware of is they need 300dpi artwork in one of a range of formats. Specifically, this means for one of their narrower banners you need to have software that can manage and edit an image that is nearly a quarter of a gigapixel in size (10040 x 24100), and a machine with enough memory not to fall over in a heap trying to edit it (and enough Dropbox space to store it!). Also, if you're using photos, be aware that you're going to need some pretty high-resolution images - an iPhone 6s at full resolution is probably acceptable for a 50cm wide image, but anything under 10MP is going to be quite small on the banner.

So, with that in mind, here's an offer. If you want a club banner for a show, and don't have the facilities to produce one, get in touch with me and I'll work with you for a small fee to work something up. Fee will depend on whether you simply need me to drive my software and paste up your photos and logo, or whether there's more work involved. Answering questions is free :D

Friday 6 May 2016

Lardy List Directory update

I've just trawled the forums, Facebook and Y! group for updates to the Unofficial Lardy List Directory, as well as half a dozen list submissions (which I'm still working through, and am sufficiently tired I may finish tomorrow - Andy Duffel, you're prolific, mate!!)

If your list isn't there and you think it should be, do fill out the submission form on the list!

Thursday 5 May 2016

More stuff to get painted :D

So I've managed a useful trade with Grahame from the club, who wants LOTS of late Roman archers: he took my box of GB plastics away last week, extracted the archers from the sprues and returned me the unarmoured spearmen from his box in return.

That plus the armoured men from my box (8) and a Saxon Miniatures Winter King hero pack (15) - which I have just this second ordered - will give me 30 warriors + levy, 6 elites, lots of heros and a bunch of spares for a Dux Romano-British army....

Aren't these Saxon Miniatures Winter King figures just gorgeous?
It's not that I don't like AndyH's figures, far from it. It's just that borrowing HIS gorgeous bits of paintwork makes me nervous!

Wednesday 4 May 2016

New version of the CoC QRS

Thanks to Akseli Anttila, for spotting a very minor error in the Bad Things Happen table.

V2.2 is now up in the usual places.

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Battle Report - 02 May 2016 - Kings of War

My first KoW game ever, and not with the still-unpainted elves either.

This was a Kingdoms of Men army with a lot of scout cavalry, a horde of Knights and a bunch of infantry and chariots. Blog regulars will probably figure out that it was a combination of my Parthian and Roman armies with some chariots from my Brigantes :D

Initial impressions?

You have to discard a few preconceived ideas from other rulesets. Specifically, three things:

  • Nerve tests are the crux of things: you pile damage on a unit, which keeps adding on, but it remains in full fighting fitness until it fails a test (2d6 + hits taken >= nerve value). Some people, I know, had real difficulty with this one.
  • if you charge into combat, ONLY you attack. The opponents don't get to fight back - if they pass a nerve test, you fall back 1" and they get to counter attack next turn if they want to.
  • You roll all the dice in your turn for everything. This takes a bit of getting used to, but it does mean that time-limit games (chess clocks are, I gather, popular in tournaments) much fairer
With these in mind, you do have to think very carefully about movement, as you don't want to charge someone and leave a flank exposed. And you really do want to invest in movement trays! (hohum. More War-bases orders!)

Also? Magic items are well worth investing in.

That said? I beat Carl quite handily, apart from losing my general in melée near the end :D We made a couple of mistakes, but noting too hard to fix. I need more practice for the scout cavalry to be useful, but I may well trade the ballistae and a unit of foot for another heavy cavalry horde. 

Monday 2 May 2016

The Unofficial Lardy List Directory

....formerly known as Sekrit Projekt L.

I have been collating a repository of all the currently published lists for CoC and SP2 that I can find, which is now up at http://wordpress.altrion.org/lardy-lists/

I am aware that Rich has just said
With the publication of the second edition of Sharp Practice, one of the things we are very keen to do is to work with other Lardy gamers to get as wide a range of Army Lists available for all sorts of different conflicts which the rules can be used for.  This must be a co-operative process with gamers taking the lead in telling us what Lists they want to see and getting involved in producing these.  We are very happy indeed to work with you on producing lists, all we need is for you to work with us to get them produced.  We can then make sure that they are available for other gamers all around the world to use and enjoy.
and obviously I'm not intending to tread on his toes with this. The aim has always been to produce a link farm grouped by system and campaign period/era that allowed folks to track down if/whether a listed exists yet, if it's official, who's working on it etc etc.

To that end, the Directory is structured as one Wordpress post per individual list (even if a document contains multiple lists). As well as giving the ability to comment on individual lists, there's also a form to allow you to submit new lists (even if they're only draft/WIP).

Note this list isn't quite complete, as I've run out of time before club tonight, so the CoC España list are still to be added. 

Sunday 1 May 2016

Oh ye of little faith...

There are distinct advantages to having a wife who's a role-player and boardgamer.

I am happy to announce that, assuming I remember to buy a membership or three, I (and probably 'Er Indoors and my son and heir) will be at Historicon for Friday July 15th. Catch me around and say hi, do!
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