Friday, February 24, 2017

Toggy's Cossacks - a splash of colour

Nothing quite like polish on the Polish! - Toggy's winter work.

A splash of colour in a dull world, no. I am not talking about Toggy Bob I am talking about his lovely unit of Cossacks!.. although, Toggy has his moments!

In an effort to persuade him to spend less time with dead fish and rotting fruit I hope to encourage his undoubted but rarely deployed talents away from collecting truck number plates and toward beautiful little metal men who require loving attention from acrylic paint and 00 brushes.

The pointing chap is a TAG model I think - Foundry horse though.

As he takes great pains to tell me what a twat I can be with all my travel and work I thought I would, in the nicest possible way, ask him to sup the medicine from his own spoon by featuring what he is capable of when not keeping the world moving on 18 wheels.

I thought the blue banner and lance theme went well with the way Bob painted the minis.

These models are from Foundry, sculpted by the Twins many moons ago but still fantastic little pieces. My only complaint is that Foundry don't seem to love their moulds the way they should and for the price they are charging you would expect to get fully formed hands and not something that looks like a blob on the end of the arm.

The white undercoat really helps these colour combinations

The practical output is that the lance has to be rested on the dobbin's head to stop it falling out every time the wind blows.

Toggy uses a white undercoat and this brings out the colours in a very natural way. The wee blokey in the chain mail is a TAGer I think. Nice touch. When I based them I thought I'd lean a banner against him which adds further interest. Originally I was going to make it a lance but what the hell, there was a flag left over and you can never have enough flags in a Polish army.

Confused and caught in the daylight - Togwitis Nocturna

Another squadron or two of these will do nicely thanks Togwit. I will resist any further references to Yorkie bars, checked shirts and tachographs (I never understood why truckers monitored their intake of Mexican fast food anyway). Step away from the shiny Scania and move over to the painting table, you know that is where you really belong! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Warfare Miniatures USA

Clarence Harrison - Ok, I've been really quiet around here for a while. I've not been idle, but I haven't really had time to post. I spent the last few months setting up the new online store for Warfare Miniatures USA. There's been lots of dealing with bureaucrats and banks, fiddling with HTML, doing math (ugh), and sorting piles of toy soldiers. Quindia Studios and Warfare Miniatures USA are officially licensed (and taxed) businesses!

There are over 150 codes available in the shop not including the flag sheets which feature more than 400 regiments. You can also order Donnybrook from the shop and any of the PDF's we offer.

There are still some items missing, but the store is growing and by this summer I should have the entire range of Warfare Miniatures available. The shop will be open for business on March 1st, 2017 at, but you can head over to the link now and sign up for the mailing list (once I figure out how that works)!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tactica 2017 - Back to the future?

Our bare-naked table

And.. with the troops - The Swedish view

And the Russian

Well, Toggy and I made it back to Wilhelmsburg this year via Bremen although we lost Mrs H missing in action with melted credit card in hand and crushed under an avalanche of shopping bags.

The Poles finally made their debut and saw considerable action

We know Hamburg's public transport system almost as well as our fellow travellers Phil and DT but defer to their local knowledge of the saltier areas around the Hauptbahnhof and The Reeperbahn. wherever that is.

The Russo-Polish army had 13 battalions and 13 squadrons

This year we sacrificed trade space for a larger participation table which proved a wise decision. It allowed us to concentrate on providing a quality gaming experience for the fourteen players we picked up over the two days.

The Swedes had 10 squadrons, 4 battalions and 4 guns

Tactica is a gaming show with trade as opposed to a trade show with games. The majority of the games were bijou and beautiful and we felt we presented a bit of old fashioned theatre with a biggish table and lots of toys. Dull and Historical or, interesting and informative? I think we came out on the right side of the ledger.

The Poles were very popular with iphone users

Gaming or is it gamers? has (have) developed a preoccupation with low effort skirmishing  over the last few years and the trade is sucking on that particular teat pretty hard as far as I can see.

We played four games - the Russians attacked a lot

Why do I mention this? well, the last three punters we had during Sunday were German lads aged about 20 who had been brought up on skirmish gaming and had never played a 'proper' wargame (what they said). They passed our table several times on the Saturday, stopped, looked, pointed, talked to the dice-chucking punters but no more.

Imitating myself.. in the style of the 8 gun French Napoleonic battery of  a few years back

When Bob and I decided we'd had enough of public participation about lunchtime on Sunday they actually pleaded for a chance to play the big game. How could we refuse? That is why we were there in the first place.

Down on the farm...

Two men who took the wrong turning at Rochdale

They were not period nerds and didn't know the history of the GNW but they were smart young men and caught the spirit very quickly. They really enjoyed their 90 minutes of cavalry charges, cossacks and cannon and were so happy that it lived up to expectations.

Aggressive Sunday play from the Swedes put the Russians on the defensive

They asked plenty of questions about tactics, weapons and characters. They wanted to know the history, who was who and why were the Swedes so successful? To me it appeared their eyes had been opened a little wider to the possibilities of a different wargaming experience than they were used to.

This Swedish regiment saw most action over the two days

These chaps are the future of the hobby and if large scale figure gaming is to survive beyond my generation we need wargamers who feel the burn of putting effort into larger collections which involve more sweat and grunt than painting 20 plastic miniatures and moving on to another 20 in a different setting two months hence.

Sub section 1

Sub section 2

It is true that designers will go on sculpting outlandish and wonderful creations from Snowland, Planet Bonk and the jungles of the lost African kingdom of Mondobondage but as fad skirmish settings come and go the dusty old periods of Ancients, Napoleonics, ACW, Pike and Shot and WW2 demonstrate the staying power necessary for long term success.

This regiment survived both days but the Streltsi were destroyed on day 2

A glance at the books Aly Morrison had brought along to Hamburg reaffirmed the power of tradition. His 1960s magazines featured the Napoleonic and Franco Prussian games which inspired him into the hobby. Weighty articles, hundreds of minis and battle scale games. Even the grainy black and white shots did not diminish the impact of these great spectacles.

The Russians won two games from four!

The bridge was a focal point for the action

Today's hobby is mirroring the modern consumer/disposable society. Well marketed but largely hollow creations which shimmer and sparkle for a while as you twist them in the sunlight. Many are however fading as quickly as they flower. This is not necessarily a pop at populism but rather a recognition that many gamers are still searching for that silver bullet, nirvana, holy grail, Shangri-la table top moment.

Lots of charging from these boys

Not one single Swedish infantry charge all weekend

To my mind it is far more likely to be found by putting a little more cooking effort in a period they are already familiar with rather than gorging on the pop-tart experience indigestion created by endless reheats of Sherlock Holmes, Flash Gordon, Bram Stoker, The Lost World, African Queen and Lord of the Rings cloning.

Very successful weekend for the Cossaksi

Arguments about space, affordability, painting time and no opponents all have some validity but what did we do 25 years ago? We found a way to make it work.

We may see you next year Hamburg

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Things to do with carts.. creativity with mundane items

Cart convoy - moving the army the hard way

I like all that nonsense you can create for the table which is not about men with weapons killing each other. I have made it a bit of an LoA trademark  over the years with battery positions, wagons, civilian vignettes and the like.

Muddy waters under the cart - made using yacht varnish

The arrival of the extensive Swedish artillerymen many of whom are open handed has spurred one of these creative phases and combined with items from Warfare Miniatures' siege equipment range and various wagons, I have created a variety of visually interesting pieces to dress specifically my Great Northern War tables but which could also be used more generally.

Original with Foundry horse

Mark 2 using all Warfare components

Tactica provided the spur to get on with this labour of love and this post is all about interesting things you can do with rather prosaic items like, well, carts.

The commercial model

prototype experimentation

I saw the pushing yer wagon out of the mud opportunities early on and have now produced two iterations of this. On uses an old Foundry artillery horse which looks more like a pony based on the diminutive size of Foundry models pre-2010.

Civilian leading the horse

Having displayed this piece at a few shows and received requests about where it could be purchased I realized that I couldn't sell a commercial piece using someone else's horses. I thus built a second piece using all Warfare components and happily this is now available from the shop.

front the front

I was pretty content with the dirty puddle effect under the cart created using yacht varnish in a couple of layers. I painted one of the men in this version as a civilian and another as an infantryman with his coat tails unbuttoned. The loads in the carts are also slightly different.

Angry officer of Engineers - get that ramrod out!

Another iteration of 'cart-ing' is a static cart being used as a supervisory platform by an officer of engineers or artillery. Various items of siege equipment are scattered round the cart in a busy scene from behind the gun line.

Lots of things going on around the cart
An interesting twig used as a dead tree trunk

This stand alone piece can be used alone or in larger arrangements 

The officer had to have his base removed and metal pins drilled into his heels to prevent the model being accidentally knocked out of the cart. I am tempted to put one or two small items into the already busy picture such as a linstock but probably wont.

Busy action around the hoist - repairing and digging

Not content with this cart-wittery an even more ambitious piece of work involved jacking up a damaged cart under the ubiquitous artillery gin (hoist frame).  Lots going on on this base. A man is moving the new wheel to the cart.

Watch yer toes Sven!

Another is adjusting the mechanism on the hoist. A third is getting down and dirty with his wheel barrow and shovel. Numerous little items are being used in this peice and it is my favourite based on the amount of activity I have managed to crammed into an 80 x 100mm space.

Hard at work!

Am I out of patter? Not by a long chalk. What I didn't manage to get finished were two other pieces of cart-art. The first is a wagon which has toppled and shed its load with the cargo strewn across the ground and men picking through the debris. The second is an exploding cart with barrels of powder on fire and men furiously trying to dowse the conflagration.

For anyone interested in their own cart-ography you may want to look at the following Warfare Miniatures items;

WLOA904 Tumbril cart
WLOA918 Baskets, barrels, bells and sieves
WLOA925 Gun gin
WLOA926 Gabions under construction including wheel barrow and tools
SA1, SA2,SA3 Swedish Artillery crews (three sets)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Winged Hussars - a joy to behold

Ooh - look at that! Lovely work by Rob G

A little more detail about the fine unit of Winged Hussars commissioned for our 2017 show season.
The models are from Warlord. Nice sculpts with my only criticism being the fragility of the horses ankles which will in some cases undoubtedly lead to fractures if very careful handling is not undertaken at all times.

First squadron in detail

Rob Goodyer did a very fine job on these and the combination of his painting and the interesting sculpts has made for a very fine unit indeed.

First squadron opposite view

I particularly like the chap I chose as the banner bearer with his fur hat and imposing moustache.

The commander is an imposing sculpt

The bases are my standard now for Pike and Shot era cavalry - 75mm frontage by 80mm deep which allows the sense of movement to really be built into the unit.

You can feel the heft of these laddies!

The lance pennons were a bit of a fiddle and If I had had the time I would have hand painted these double sided on a single piece of paper to avoid the fiddly cutting and glue-ing of something which is fraught with cutting inaccuracy. Flag sheet was overall good though - a nice find by Bob, the company is called Battle Flag and can be found at

The preferred Swedish view whether in 1620 or 1704

The basing is now coming out consistently the way I want. If you fancy trying it here is the method:

1. Milliput the horses to the base and blend away the metal stand on the model horse. Allow to set.
2. Lightly skim the base in plaster. Leave over night.
3. Apply a coat of dark Chocolate household emulsion. Leave overnight.
4. Patch on PVA or wood glue and sprinkle with builders sand. Leave overnight.
5. Paint  sand patches with the emulsion.
6. Dry brush in a mid brown.
7. Dry brush in khaki.

Second squadron - nice trumpet banner from Rob

8. Dry brush stones in pale sand.
9. Apply ink washes under the horses to form shadows.
10. Dilute a Sepia wash and run over all sand patches.
11. Paint base edges in Olive Drab.
12. Patch PVA and sprinkle with Woodland Scenics static grass - any colour.

Another view of the second squadron

13. Dry brush static grass with Japanese uniform to get a nice effect.
14. Patch on dry brush patches of mid green.
15. Patch on stipples of light green.
16. Apply tufts to suit.
17. Dry brush some tufts.


If you ever doubted your hobby - look at these and breathe in! Feel better?

Good basing can lift average figures to a new level and excellently painted work like Rob's deserves the best you can achieve.

I think Toggy is combing the web for more Poles!

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