Television is rather a frightening business. But I get all the relaxation I want from my collection of model soldiers.
Peter Cushing

Saturday 30 July 2016

Mojo Rising

I found my mojo. 

And the reason? I had some help:

"The knight is on a dinosaur, Daddy. It's perfect."

I am happy he is so easily pleased. In this case it was a dark elf on Cold One; so pretty much a knight on a dinosaur. 

The Norman Knight bravely attacks the Dragon. The other Knight is living on the Mountain. There were quite a lot of dead knights by the end of things. 

I don't mind admiting a certain level of nervousness especially when he starting flinging the carnosaur about but, at the end of the day, they're toys. No point being precious about them. I refuse to be That Guy. 

I'm going to try and get them shaded and highlighted tomorrow. 


Anyone seen it? I'm sure I had it a couple of weeks ago...

Obligatory blog is not dead post, just collapsed at the end of term. Will hopefully get something done this weekend. 

Saturday 16 July 2016


The crush that is the end of term means that progress on anything hobby related has been slow. But Saturday Night can only mean one thing - party time!

Yes, watching Deep Space 9 and building toy soldiers. Rock and roll. 

I have finished building the second unit of Norman knights. 

As per usual I converted a couple of the figures to get more dynamic poses. 

The ever popular foot on rock pose reaches the far ages. 

And there is also a casualty marker in the box set. So I added a little something to that as well. 
No guts, no glory. 

Again the Conquest plastics continue to impress. Highly recommended. 

Hopefully I'll be able to slap some paint on them next week. 

Sunday 10 July 2016

Men Of The North

So the Dark Ages project is off to a good start. This terrifies me, frankly, as it means something is going to go horrible wrong somewhere along the line.

In any case, the Saxons are really a sideshow. The core of the project is enough Normans to refight the rebellions of the 1070s and that is going well with the arrival of this box from the magnificent Dice Bag Lady. Fantastic service, a couple of lollies for the kids and great communication. If you haven't ordered from her, you really should.

So the box arrived.

They went together very easily - there's not a huge amount of variation in the poses, but given the cheapness and the ease of converting plastic I'm not going to quibble. Basically, I would recommend the conquest plastics as a great way to build a force swiftly.

As you can see, they paint up very well.

I also converted one of the horses into a more dynamic pose for the lord commander of the Knights.

As previously mentioned, I'm enjoying the latitude allowed by the colours and sigils of the Norman period, so I was able to have a bit of fun with these shields as well.

And I couldn't really resist having a look to see what a charge at a shield wall would look like.

So the next step will be another six Norman knights. Then a few more Saxons; if I have a bit of time left I might do a few Vikings as well. Then next month a big old load of Norman foot troops.

Wednesday 6 July 2016

For Wodens Day

I've completed my first Dark Ages chaps. These Anglo-Saxons were basically an experiment in trying to produce a slightly darker palette than the medieval forces a produced last year. The darker overall look was created by heavy shading and washes with a highlight of the base colour only, so the whole thing was brought back up to mid tones rather than my usual method of using bleached bone to warm and lighten the highlights. 

They wouldn't be Anglo-Saxons without a shieldwall: 

The biggest surprise for me was the range of colours available in the early medieval period, which is certainly going to inform my painting of the Normans which will be the centrepiece of this project. Anyone interested in this should definitely check out this fascinating article about the colours and methods of production. 

Overall very happy with these; my first experience of Gripping Beast plastics and they paint up very, very well. Only took a few hours to get sorted. The new project is starting suspiciously well...

Sunday 3 July 2016

The Dark Times Are Coming

Having got my Bloodbowl teams up and running, thoughts turn naturally to the next project.

Next year we're teaching a new GCSE History course and - for the first time in my career, I'm only teaching one subject so I will have brain space to devote to other things that just keeping on top of 7 different exam specifications (2013-14, a very hard year). 

So I've been thinkin about the Norman period, as this is our Depth Study. In glorious serendipity, last month's WSS had a lovely article on gaming the rebellions in the 1070s. 

You can see where this is going, can't you?

So I've made a small start on some Saxons using the Gripping Beast minis from my birthday 2 years ago:

And I mussed up the shields a tad as I always like my miniatures to look like they've been round the block a few times. 

I've also ordered some Conquest Norman Knights from Annie at Bad Squiddo - excellent price and she offers the extra Knight to make up the Saga units as standard, which makes her both a scholar and a gentlewoman. Send some business her way if you don't already. 

This should be relatively easy* - a few units for Lion Rampant or SAGA ready for Open Evening in September. 

*please don't remind me I said this is December. 

Friday 1 July 2016

"He's dumped off on the Witch Elf!" "Can't make the hair any worse, Bob" - a Bloodbowl Match Report

"Hello sports fans, and welcome to the first match in the inaugural Old Blokes League."

"Yes indeedy, Jim, this promises to be a feast of middle aged men pretending they can still do sports. So who do you like in tonight's match?"

"Well, Bob, it's a tricky one. We have the Niflheim Ravens, who haven't been on the field for 20 years. And on the other hand we the Multiple Scoregasms, a brand new human team. Franky, it's as finely balanced as a prima ballerina on point."

"When did you learn so much about ballet, Jim?"

"I'm a man of many talents, Bob. The crowd has settled in, and that's got to be a boost for the Multiples - they have well over fourty thousand fans cheering them on. Can you see the Ravens' fanbase, Bob?"

"I think that's him over to left there, eating a rat on a stick, Jim."

"And here we go, Bob. It's the Multiples to kick off. Oh, and it's sailed off the field and into the crowd. The Dark elf runner has taken the ball and it powering down the centre of the pitch."

"That's right, Jim - and there goes the Witch Elf to try and block off any chance of pursuit and -- oh, she's down! That's not a good start.

"That's right, Bob. They've got to close him down before he can reach the endzone for the first - and easiest - touchdown in League history. But what's this? A terrible block attempt has left him free to romp home!"

"Well Jim, that's one up for the Ravens!"

"Yes indeed, Bob. They glided that one in like Ponce de Lyon dancing the lead in Swan Lake."

"You're starting to scare me now, Jim. And so they've set up for the next kick off, and the Multiples have gone for a quite aggressive set up."

"Look at them go, Bob! I thought the Elvish teams were supposed to be fast. There's a break up in the wide zone there as the Thrower prepares himself in the centre. The Ravens really need to close this down pretty damned quick, Bob."

"They're trying, Jim - a massive push forward by the defensive line and a fairly brutal cage on the catcher up in the wide zone."

"Oh my word, Bob - look at that! The other catcher has made a break down the opposite wide zone while the Ravens were distracted! He's slipping down there like an elf's hand down a male dancer's thigh!"

"We seriously need to talk, Jim, but not right now as the Thrower has dodged wide and is going for a long pass. All he needs is a good throw--"

"--and there it is. TOUCHDOWN!"

"That was one hell of a break down there and a well deserved equaliser from the Multiples."

"There's only a few minutes left in the first half in a match that's turned out to be quite a nailbiter, Jim."

"Like the long slim nails of lithe young acrobat, Bob?"

"Maybe, Jim, maybe - but we don't have time to ponder that now as the Raven's have got off a quick snap - a very aggressive play by the Dark Elves there."

"And they've capitalised on it, Bob - they're driving down the centre again with the assassin and witch elf running interference for the runner. This is the tactic that worked for them before and they've exploited a massive hole in the Multiple's defence. Could they retake the lead?"

"They've certainly hammered that defensive line - but look, the Multiples have closed the runner off and he's done a dump off to the Witch Elf -"

"-can't make the hair any worse, Bob-"

"- can she complete the play?"

"No Bob, she can't. She's tripped under the weight of her power ballad hair and hit the deck. The ball is on the ground!"

"The Multiples have snatched it up and are running like halflings towards the pantry up the field - can they possibly snatch a touchdown, Jim?"

"Not when the Ravens pile into them like that, Bob."

"Well, Jim , as we come into the half time break and the teams have a conflab, where is your money?"

"Not in ten year gilts since the Dwarvish Referendum, Bob. Dwexit has knackered my pension fund but good."

"And so teams change half for the second go and it is all to play for."

"My word, Jim, look at that - have you ever seen something like that?"

"That's not any cage, Bob - that's a Morks and Spankers Cage (proud sponsors of this stadium). There's no way you can see the Ravens taking that on!"

"Not unless you were a barely restrained psychpathic reject from a Teenorc Turner music video, Jim - and look, there's the Witch Elf slamming in with support from half the linesmen. She's pushing them back like a row of dominos!"

"She's in a full Frenzy there, Bob, and she's managed to drive a catcher into the crowd!"

"She's followed it up with a swift heel to the nadgers, Jim - but the ref has seen it and sent her off."

"Let that be a warning, Bob - a man's nadgers are his own private kingdom. But that doesn't help them because that deluxe cage of theirs has become a trap for the ball."

"It looks bad for the Multiples here  - but look at that, they've got some air game. The ball has sailed over to the opposite wide zone! The Ravens have to try and scramble up there Jim, surely they do?"

"Yes Bob and there they go--"

"And look at that, Jim - they've lobbed the ball bac down to the other end! What a great play - the Ravens are totally out of position and the Blitzer is running the ball down the side and he's got plenty of support!"

"The Ravens are sprinting down there like the angel of death itself is breathing down their necks!"

"I believe he's the new assistant coach, Jim. And the runner has slammed into the Blitzer and taken him down! The ball has scattered to the Dark Elf runner - but he fumbles the catch and the ball scatters again - AND THE MULTIPLE'S LINESMAN HAS CAUGHT IT! UNBELIEVABLE!"

"There is literally no one to stop him from strolling into the endzone other than the runner and - yes! - that's a successful block and another TOUCHDOWN!"

"2-1 to the Multiples, Jim; there's not long left on the clock. Do you think the Ravens can equalise?"

"I honestly don't know, Bob - this is closer than I ever though possible and it's going right down the wire."

"They've kicked off and the Ravens have taken a leaf from the Multiple's own book and broken down the wide zone. The linesman zips down into the endzone. If the runner can simple throw a good pass--"

"That's not a good, pass, Bob, anything but."

"That's given the Multiple's linesman the chance to run in and grab the ball - all he has to do is pick it up -- and he's fumbled it!"

"On my word, Bob, there's seconds on the clock before the end of the match and the ball is just sitting there in the end zone. All the Raven's Linesman has to do is bend over and pick it up and they've equalized. 

"He's stepped up and is standing right over the ball, Jim. All he has to do is pick up the ball. Just pick up the ball and----"

"He screwed the pooch on that one, Bob."

"Certainly did, Jim. So at full time that's a win for the Multiple Scoregasms who take the purse of 20,000 gold pieces with two touchdowns to one. How happy do you think the Raven's Coach, Sven Gorkan Erikson, is right now?"

"Not very Bob, given what he's just done to the linesman."

"Terrible thing to happen to a growing lad, Jim. Good night, sports fans!"

"Fancy going to the ballet, Bob?"


Another fantastic game of Bloodbowl that really did come down the last roll on the last turn with less than a minute to go on the clock. I have to say - and those of you who have read the various AAR on the blog or paid attention to the title will appreciate the full horror of this - I had even worse dice rolls than usual. Truly horrific dice rolls.

Not helped, it has to be said, but the fact that I really couldn't remember how to play the Dark Elves. Still looking forward to the next league match.