David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Friday 30 March 2018

Borgia! Borgia!

A brief post to showcase the growing force for the Papal States in our Italian Wars project ~

There are still several bases of figures awaiting their moment in the limelight on my painting desk, but I’m pressing on while I can! I’ve one final crossbowman to complete and that base will be finished leaving me with six bases of figures to complete: two bases of Gendarmes; a base of halberdiers; a base of Italian handgunners; a Landsknecht Pike block and a Command base. 
In addition I recently received a package from Tim Hall containing figures I can add to the project as a gift. Wonderful folk in our hobby mostly I’ve found! (To that I should add the set of VBCW Source Books Colin Ashton sent me last week.) I’ve put some figures in Detol for a couple of days to strip the paint off as they are a little too dark for my army, but they will give me another base of Gendarmes and more Landsknechts for my pike block. The latter are Dixon Miniatures and seem to fit well size wise with my Warlord/ProGloria and Tiger Miniatures. We shall have to see how they turn out! 

Wednesday 28 March 2018

My Italian Wars Real Estate...

I have now assembled and textured with rough filler the four buildings I bought to populate the table top battlefield here in GHQ for forthcoming Italian Wars games. As you may have read in earlier Blog posts, I feel these will be enough for our needs, but like most wargamers I wouldn’t be surprised if more appeared at some stage, as if by magic!
I bought four of the five Warbases Modular Buildings, together with a small Roman Tower and several sets of extras: balconys, doors, windows, shutters and the like. I used these to make two buildings, a small walled farm with a defensive tower and a more imposing house of two stories with a portico. I used Wills plastic pantile roofing sheets to cover the MDF roofs on these buildings. At the recent snowy WMMS I bought two buildings from Charlie Foxtrot‘s range of Pantile Buildings, the Small Store and the Hermitag ~

Phil has several of their kits in his Spanish terrain collection, so I know they look nice but had no idea if they would prove as ‘idiot friendly’ as the Warbases’ kits when it was time to assemble them! I needn’t have worried, they went together with little fuss, beyond trimming the resin inserts to the walls and the roof pieces to fit. No sanding required there, just a trim with a sharp modelling knife! The combination of MDF walling and a cast resin pantile roof is a clever solution to the problem of MDF and the 3D effect of the roof. Pity though the resin is not stained Terracotta, it would simplify painting! And here are the four buildings together ~

I’ll not be doing any more to them until later in the Spring or early Summer, as I want to press on with the figures while I can safely sit at my painting desk. Besides the crossbowmen I'm working on at present I have a base of Italian handgunners; a base of Italian halberdiers, both from TAG;two bases of Gendarmes from Foundry; a Landsknecht pike block from Warlord Games/ProGloria; and a furthe Landsknecht Command base from the same source. About 60 figures in all. Let’s see how far I get then...

Monday 26 March 2018

Italian Spearmen

As I mentioned in the previous Blog post I’ve completed a base of spearmen for our Italian Wars project. The figures are by TAG, the flags are by Pete’s Flags via eBay, and the base was made for us to our specification by Warbases ~

 I really enjoyed the riot of colours on these figures, although each one has some Foundry Phlegm Green applied somewhere to tie the unit loosely together. I’ve also assembled the Charlie Foxtrot Hermitage/Chapel and Store/Hovel and have applied a coat of filler for texture. I’m working on a base of crossbowmen with pavise now; one pair finished and one pair with all the basic colours applied. I hope to finish these by the end of the month if I can.

Saturday 24 March 2018

Pope Alexander VI

Every Papal States army needs a Pope! Well, perhaps not, but mine has one now thanks to a very kind gift from Andrew Taylor of Antediluvian Miniatures. The figure is from their latest release of character figures sculpted by Matt. I’ve based him on his own for now, though I have bigger plans for him in due course ~

And finally, here Pope Alexander VI is accompanied by his Pontifical Guard, Cardinal Bicclione and his Confessor ~

I’ve also finished the base of Italian spearmen. The TAG figures are a joy to paint and the riot of colour is just fun. I have got to wash the base’s texture and then apply static grass and clumps of grass and flowers, but they will be along shortly I’m sure.

Friday 23 March 2018

Roberto the Builder has been busy.

I mentioned in an earlier Blog post that my order from Warbases which I had hoped to collect at Hammerhead arrived eventually. I bought a number of their modular buildings, a small Roman tower,  a gateway, a portico, a balcony set, a set of high walls and pillars and various extra doors and windows/shutters. I have made up two buildings using these, a walled farm with a defensive tower and a rather grander house with a balconied tower and portico front to the main living area. I’ve coated the walls with rough textured filler and topped the roofs and walls with pantile sheets from Wills. I will order 3mm MDF bases from Warbases now I know the configuration of the buildings and their overall dimensions. This is what they look like at present, I hope to do bits as and when after the hip replacement ~

I have also got two Charlie Foxtrot MDF and resin buildings yet to be assembled and textured, the hermitage/small chapel and the store/small hovel. Together with my Warbases buildings these will be enough to populate my gaming table here in GHQ when we play Italian Wars games later in the year.

Thursday 22 March 2018

A (Very) small piece of Ordnance for the Italian Wars project

At the Penkridge Tabletop Sale last January I found this small offering from Warlord/ProGloria, a very light Landsknecht gun and crew of two. I thought it would be a quick piece to add a base to my Italian Wars project. Wrong! I estimate  the two figure crew took me about three times as long to complete as any other figures have. On that score alone I’m not looking forward to painting my Landsknecht pike block at all ~

The separate female figure was amongst my first order from TAG, one of a number of free castings I received.

On reflection I might have cluttered the base up a bit more, they look a bit lost, but they will have to do...

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Two For The Price Of One

It was a tad chilly in GHQ this Monday as temperatures struggled above freezing after the weekend’s snowstorms. Phil and I decided on two small games, one either side of a hot lunch provided by Sue. In the morning we played a Late Roman game, using our adaptations of Neil Thomas’s Ancient and Medieval rules, and in the afternoon a Norman’s v Saxons game using our first attempt at modifications of the rules for this period.
I only took one picture of the morning game for some reason. The table at the end of the game, with Pompus Maximus having once more beaten off the usurper Baldinus ~

In the afternoon session, fortified by a fine burger with blue cheese provided kindly by Sue, we had a first run through with our adaptation of Neil Thomas’s rules for the Conquest period. Phil took command of the Normans and I took the Saxons ~

The game swung first one way and then the other, with the Saxon line being bent right back on their left while on their right a feint charge and flight led to one unit of the General Fyrd being drawn off out of the line ~

The Norman crossbows proved particularly galling for the Saxon Huscarls, goading them into breaking their line and charging the crossbowmen. Once Combat was joined in earnest the Norman knights had a hard time of it against the Saxon Fyrd, while the Norman heavy infantry made heavy going against their opponents.

When time ran out both armies were near exhaustion with no clear indication of which one might have been able to win, so we shook hands on a hard fought and bloody draw ~

I really enjoyed both of these smallish games today and feel the rules are shaping up nicely for the sort of games we play in this period. I hope you will excuse the bare MDF bases by the way, but I’ve not got around to texturing them as yet. Before anyone asks, each base is a unit, as in Impetus, with 4 Combat and firing dice at full strength, reducing by one dice for each 4 casualties caused.

Monday 19 March 2018

At last, Cesare Borgia has been based!

I had made a pre-show order with Warbases for collection at Hammerhead, some buildings and detailing extras for my Italian Wars project and one 80mm round 3mm base.As many will know, the weather gods were against us and the blizzards put paid to the show. Having opted to have my order delivered by post it was then further delayed by illness chez Warbases and postal backlogs! It finally arrived on Saturday and so Cesare and his entourage are now based and ready for their first showing. I hope you will approve ~

For those interested in such things the figures are by TAG from their Tudor English range, Howard and standard bearer and trumpeter. The flag is by Pete’s Flags via eBay ~ 

I’ve started the next base of TAG figures for the Italian Wars project, a base of Italian spearmen who are proving a riot of colour and a joy to paint. I hope they will be finished this week, so pop back for a look later...

Sunday 18 March 2018

I have been to...

...WMMS 2018. I see it was the 42nd show today. As Phil and I were the main organisers from the second in 1977 until the mid 1980’s when my job took me away from the club it holds a special place for me. In its present incarnation at Aldersley Leisure Village it is only 1.6 miles from my front door, so it really is my local show. I was doubly pleased to go today with Phil: firstly, because I was expecting to be an invalid from my (now rescheduled) hip replacement; and secondly, because the weather gods dumped 4” of snow on us overnight! Are they related to the dice gods I wonder?

As traders had made a splendid effort to get there I felt obliged to make an effort to spend my money with a number of them. Charlie Foxtrot, coming all the way from Cornwall, deserves a special mention. I bought two buildings for my Italian Wars project, a small Hermitage and the smaller Store, which will do for a peasant hovel I think. Added to my Warbases buildings which arrived and were assembled yesterday I will have all I need for games in GHQ, at least for now...

From Colonel Bill’s I was able to pick up a pack of Steel Fist Foot Knights to add to some bases I hope to start work on next week

From the chaps who took over from Andy Dumelow ~ apologise for forgetting the newer name ~ I got a bargain blister of Front Rank halberdiers, again for the Italian Wars project for £8.00 ~

And for my VBCW project another pack of flag bearers from Footsore Miniatures, who had travelled from Manchester, via Nottingham, to WMMS~

Hats off to the Centre staff and organisers, especially David and Paul; the traders and club members; and finally all the wargamers who collectively braved the elements to bring the show to life. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there: I bought some toys, saw some grand games and chatted with some good friends: what’s not to like? Roll on WMMS 2019!

Friday 16 March 2018

Making use of those annoying odd figures!

I’ve never really forgiven Foundry for starting the trend of selling historical wargame figures in blister packs. I always enjoyed building up my units to suit the look I wanted by choosing individual figures. As the trend to blistering spread I’m sure I’m not alone in having a box of odd figures left over from units or projects. Having chosen TAG for the core of my Italian Wars collection I find the situation is no different, having currently two orphan Command figures. I combined these with a spare Foundry Gendarme command figure and an odd figure sculpted by Matt which I picked up at last December’s Wargamer show. The result is a Command vignette base which we will be using as sub commanders in our games. The bases are the same 100x50x3mm bases that other units are on as Sub Commanders can fight either on their own or by joining other units, at least in the current version of our rules!

I’m quite pleased by the way these odds and sods have meshed together. The General appears to be consulting his chief spy, a master of disguise, feared throughout Italy, Matteo Bicclione. An aide stands by to carry off the expected order, while the General’s personal standard flutters prominently in the breeze as a focus for his command. A bit of whimsy I know, but it’s a hobby and it’s meant to be fun remember. Next up should be the great man himself, Cesare Borgia, and his entourage, at least when the base turns up from Warbases.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

A base of (very) Large Ordnance completed.

Back in early January I went to the Penkridge Table Top Sale. While the majority of stuff on view is for Fantasy and Sci-Fi gamers I’ve had one or two real bargains there over the years. This year I got some Front Rank handgunners, which have already featured on the blog, and a Warlord Games/Pro Gloria Landsknecht Light Gun and crew, which is primed and nearing the head of the painting queue. But I also got this monstrosity, a large gun and Empire crew from Games Workshop for just £7.00 I recall. Now, I know it’s strictly not historical at all, but it was fun to paint and it makes a talking point in games and perhaps even here on the blog, you never know. Here it is ~

I hope to be at WMMS with Phil on Sunday, at least for a little while. I wasn’t expecting to go as you will know, but I shall make the most of my opportunity and look to buy some scenic stuff for the Italian Wars project, perhaps from Charlie Foxtrot for instance. If you see me on Sunday don’t hesitate to say hello.

Friday 9 March 2018

Some better pictures of the Italian Wars collection

I've been messing around with taking photos of my progress so far on the Italian Wars collection. I think these pictures are better than the earlier ones I posted and you may agree ~

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Light Ordnance base completed.

I’ve managed to complete the groundwork and vegetation on my base of light ordnance for my Italian Wars project. The gun is the TAG light ordnance piece and the crew is from the Neapolitan/Spanish listing. The mantlets are from Wargames Foundry and the base from Warbases. I thought the mantlets should be a bit of a feature, hence the red and yellow colour scheme. For the bare wood I used Foundry Spearshaft with a wash of their Brown Ink. I am really enjoying painting for this project, the figures are really paint friendly and the riot of colour is fun to work with. Anyhow, you can make up your own mind I’m sure ~

I’m working on three mounted TAG figures now as a command base for the whole Papal States army.  I’ll hope to finish them next week. Why so long, you ask? Well, we have the plasterer and decorators in over the next fortnight so things are a bit disrupted. Not least GHQ, which is now a furniture and picture store!

Monday 5 March 2018

The Pontifical Guard

The latest base of figures to join my part of our joint Italian Wars project is a unit representing the Pontifical Guard. The figures are by TAG and the flags by Pete’s Flags, via eBay. I chose a colour scheme for the figures loosely based on images of near contemporary members of the Guard, Robbie Rodiss’s rendition on his Aut Cesare blog, and the day to day wear of the modern iteration of the Guard ~

Next to be completed should be a more vignette style base depicting some field artillery. I just have the basework to do on that and it’s finished. More later in the week on this I expect.

Thursday 1 March 2018


Well, the Pre~Operation appointment didn’t go to plan, throwing up something unexpected. As a result I’m off to see a further specialist in due course and the hip replacement is postponed for now at least. In a way it’s a convenient outcome as we are having some replastering done this week following on from last year’s water leaks. That would have meant the painter was here while I was in hospital, putting a double strain on Sue. That’s not the case now of course. However, there will still be a break in games in GHQ as it’s now a store for furniture and so on from the living room and landing. I’ll try to post a few updates and news as and when I have some. In the meantime, you may take your ease...

In the meantime you can always browse older posts and leave new comments to keep me on my toes!

See you soon!