Friday Round Up

We have received in our restocks of Expo Tools, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this range, Expo do a comprehensive range of tools for the modeller with everything from knives, files, drills, sprue cutters through to magnifying glasses and even reading glasses.

In addition Expo also supply the superb Albion Alloys range which includes brass tube, rod and sheet, aluminium tubing, and precision engineered microtube.

We have also received their new releases a plank bending tool, and two varieties of pin pusher.

You may not have heard of these tools before, they are invaluable for railway and boat modelling enthusiasts, but we also think they are extremely useful for all you scenery builders out there.

In scenery this week we have restocks and some new items. The Treemendus individual leaf packs allow you to super detail your bases, or even produce your own trees. We have restocks on Javis trees and scenic scatters.

We also have restocks on plasticard.

Friday round up part one…

Happy Good Friday, hope you’re all taking the opportunity that this Bank Holiday affords to get in some extra gaming in (maybe outdoors skirmishes in this lovely weather).

We have lots of new stock this week so there’s two roundups.

We now carry the full range of  Evergreen Plastics in the eBay shop having this week begun stocking the plastic strips…


For those that aren’t aware, evergreen plastic produce precision cut plastic strip, tube, rod and many other shapes that are invaluable for thos

e modellers wanting to convert or scratch build models. Evergreen has the advantage over some other similar products in that you are able to glue the plastic with normal polystyrene glue ( we recommend Revell contacta).

The HO strips, whilst designed with railway modellers in mind, are very useful because each pack in the range has strip produced to a set ratio, width to depth, and so will be ideal for modellers building small scale vehicles & tanks.








There is a new tank from Zvezda for Operation Barbarossa the Soviet Light BT-5.

This range is more than suitable for other table top wargames, including rules of engagement, rapid fire and rate of fire. Even better, the small scale tanks and aircraft make a very good and cost effective way of boosting your Flames of war forces!


Warlord have another new release, contrasting with the rules book Hail Caesar for ancient gaming fans we have their new plastic commandos set. Which at twenty pounds for twenty five figures with a multitude of configurations is an absolute bargain and a must have for all you WWII gamers.

And for Ancients fans there is another new rules set, from Great Escape comes Clash of Empires which will lead you through a variety of basics and we will review it in an forthcoming blog entry…

Hail Caesar Review

Hail Caesar is a game for those whom the gods have marked for glory-for men who do not quail at the sight of barbarian hordes nor quibble with what fate decrees at the roll of a dice. ” Foreword to Hail Caesar by Rick Priestley

The brand new book Hail Caesar (released 15 April 2011), is perfect for wargamers who enjoy the Roman, Greek and Egyptian periods. The main body of the book is devoted to the mechanics of game play , the latter section to battle reports and appendicies containing designer’s notes.

The book opens with  a little about the way the rules can be adapted to different sizes and types of game play, and the essential equipment: an army(!), six sided dice, tape measure and an opponent!

The first part of the mechanics is devoted assembling an army, either from scratch or building on existing troops, the different historical troop types and the fighting qualities of the different types of troop within the Hail Caesar rules. They then move onto the particular base sizes, and table sizes, most appropriate for gameplay. The section on formations discusses the various benefits of different arrangements of troops, how to move from one formation to another.

Games Rules and Command move onto the nitty gritty of playing the game, covering everything from the sequence of play to how to advance elephants through friendly troops. Briefly, the book moves into terrain and covers how this can best be utilised in battle, and also covers rules regarding use of terrain, such as buildings that can only be entered or assaulted by infantry.

The actual battling is covered in two comprehensive chapters, Ranged Attacks and Hand-to-Hand Combat. These chapters explain the intricacies of combat, from choosing your target, to how to respond to your opponent charging your rear, never a pleasant experience! Should combat not work out as well for your troops as hoped, your unit may have to take a break test, and this is conveniently covered in the following chapter. The book moves on to the various types of commander, and what to do should yours unfortunately meet his maker, and finally the gameplay section comes to the all important Victory and Defeat.

The next section of the book is quite data heavy, giving values for various troops on a range of qualities from their ability in combat to their morale and then a selection of Useful Rules which includes everything from wedge formations to what to do when your elephants stampede.

We then move into battle reports which give a good flavour of how Hail Caesar games can progress. The battles covered are:

  • The Battle of Kadesh 1274BC-between the Hittites and Egyptians.
  • 426BC-Athenians vs Spartans (yelling “I am Sparta” not obligatory)
  • Border Raid AD52-Romans endeavouring to crush the Britons, capture their women and send their livestock away.
  • 260 AD-Romans (again) battling the Persians.
  • 500AD-More Romans but this time against the Hun.
  • 937 AD-Viking alliance of Welsh and Celts versus The Saxons who accompanied by Viking poet Egil Skallagrimsson.
  • The Battle of Brada River 1148AD- King Baldwin III crusading against The Damascans.

The book finishes with some notes from the designer on the devlopement of the game of Hail Caesar from Black Powder, some hints on playing with smaller models, how armies were composed in ancient times and all the rules.

Hail Caesar is an attractive and well illustrated tome, providing a comprehensive introduction to the rules and strategies for playing ancient battles. There are full colour photographs throughout of battle scenes, troops and individual soldiers. There are also snippets of interesting historic information covering everything from Spanish swords to cooking molluscs daft enough to be caught;  Welsh poems and of course those all important period insults! Clearly, a great deal of research has gone into compiling this attractive book, a reflection of the expertise and enthusiasm of the authors, in particular, the rules maestro himself, Rick Priestley. Hail Caesar continues Warlord Games’ tradition of producing high quality, beautifully illustrated rules books that are ideal for both the novice to the hobby and those more experienced.

Invest in Hail Caesar and revive some Roman or Barbarian glories, unless you are a raven starver [see page 161] that is…

Reviewer Arcane Scenery’s Girl Friday.

Wagons Roll!

Although some time has passed since my last Blog I have been busy on the hobby front and so I thought that my first post should be to show you my latest modelling project. I’ll get back on stream with new releases and reviews in my subsequent posts!

I have been gradually building my Napoleonic Army and I now have 3 battalions of infantry and an Artillery battery completed along with a few officers. I was looking for my next project when the Trent Plank sided wagon caught my eye. Although a supply wagon isn’t the most glamorous subject, I thought that every army shop should have one! I’d also been tempted by the Renedra barrel set, Again, not the most attractive model subject, but these things just appeal to me, I like to see the mundane equipment represented in my armies!

I did some very basic research and from what I could gather, it seems that the British Army was happy to requisition transport locally, so there was likely to be a big variety of wagons in service in the 1815 campaign. As the Trent Miniatures wagon is based on a Dutch Farm design, I thought that it would be ideal. Again, from the cursory research that I did, there doesn’t seem to be very much information on the colours of such wagons so I decided to make up my own background….

‘the wagon has been requisitioned by the foot artillery to serve as a supply cart for the battery and the officer in charge has decided to repaint it in Artillery colours to ensure that the locals wouldn’t reclaim it so that it looks part of his unit’

Now that might not be historically accurate but it’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

The wagon kit from Trent Miniatures is perhaps a bit on the big size and certainly contains a lot of metal. That said, with a bit of filing to remove the flash lines, it fits together beautifully, even without glue! I also liked that fact that the horses came with their traces to hook up with the wagon. I decided to follow convention when painting the horses and finish them as bays. I had also read that the British usually docked the tails of their horses, so I took a pair of clippers to them and did some docking myself.

Once the models had been cleaned up, and glued using super glue and accelerant, I sprayed the wagon & traces grey and the horses, brown, to give a solid undercoat and make the painting easier. The horses were then gradually highlighted using bestial brown with desert yellow added as the highlights were built up. I used straight Vallejo black for the tails & manes, highlighted with a touch of grey and used dark brown and white for the socks and face flashes. The tack was painted black with steel accessories and the traces, a shade of desert yellow with artillery grey for the wooden bits….

The wagon was painted using Foundry artillery grey blue and highlighted by adding in white. I tend to use a dry brush technique on large surfaces like this, as it brings out the texture of the moulding. The metal attachments were painted black, including the wheel rims and then I used various shades of brown to ‘dirty up’ the areas around the wheels and used bolt gun metal to represent paint chipping off of the metal areas.

The entire model was carefully painted with Army painter Dark tone Quick shade and when dry, varnished with army painter matt varnish. Now using army painter products is a whole blog entry in itself, but for now I confess to being a fan of this product. It’s a great way of adding shading and weathering to your models and of course also protects them. I prefer to paint the stuff onto my models rather than use the dip method as it allows me a degree of control. Not only that, I’m far to ‘careful’ (tight fisted) to be flicking excess paint down the garden! Once you’ve matted down the Quick shade the finish is superb.

The load was made using renedra barrels, assembly being very straight forward, with a bit of a cleanup and then undercoated in brown. I added highlights with lighter shades of brown and the the hoops were picked out in black. Again I finished them with Quick shade to bring out the wood grain and then they were ready for the wagon. The final bit of the load was to make some sacks out of green stuff. Just roll out a sausage of the stuff, cut it into 1cms lengths and gently flatten the bits out to make sacks. I lined the wagon with tin foil and then pressed the sacks into place to make a stack of sacks. Once they were dry, I removed them, carefully peeled off the tin foil and painted then in desert yellow, highlighting with white and then giving them the quick shade treatment.

To get the wagon ready for the gaming table, I made a basic movement tray and finished in the style of the rest of my army – that’s another blog entry….

That’s as far as I’ve got with the project and the wagon has already seen action on the wargames table but there’s still a bit more to do. I’m now working on a driver, passenger and escort as well as a few accessories to add so there’s more to follow.

All in all though, it was a most enjoyable project, so much so that I’ll be adding the Trent Miniatures ladder sided wagon to my collection soon!

Continue reading

Sharp Practice – My first major skirmish!

Having started the conversion from Warhammer 40k player to historical wargamer I found that there were two major challenges to overcome. The first was, of course, to assemble and paint some models, the second was to find a rules set that suited my style of play. I had already used Black Powder and I have no doubt that I will again return to these rules, but they are written for brigade sized armies at least and are more suited for fighting battles involving large numbers of figures.

Although my painting is moving along at a reasonable pace I still only have around 100 figures completed and I wanted to get them on the war games table. It was fortunate that I happened upon the rules set written by the Too Fat Lardies, ‘Sharp Practice’. They were just what I was looking for and are ideal for playing a skirmish type game for the size of army that I could muster.

To be honest, I found that the rules were so different to what I was used to, I couldn’t make head nor tail of them. Once again, fortune smiled in the form of Mick Rood, one of the 1st Veterans club members, who, having had a background in historical war gaming, was able to show me where to start. Looking back I’m not sure why I was so confused, the rules play superbly and make for an enjoyable, relaxed game with a narrative running through that keeps you engaged throughout. After two games, not only was I hooked, but I felt sufficiently confident to come up with a very simple scenario for our third game.

So here it is, with Mick Rood fielding his French Napoleonic detachment against my British, my biased account of the battle of Chateau Chesney……

Scenario Set Up

The French were to defend Chateau Chesney and had a cannon & crew and a unit ( or group as per the rules) commanded by Major Tirez Les Brits. However, they were running dangerously low on vin rouge and so were awaiting a resupply. This was on its way with a cart full of wine, sacks of bread & cheese and reinforcements, all making their way along a walled road to the Chateau. The cart was guarded by three units of troops, all deployed in column. The officers commanding these units were Captain du Pain, Lieutenant du Vin and Sergeant Boursin! The French were aware that the British might be in the area and so were permitted to place piquets outside both of the convoy and the chateau to look out for trouble. The French were to stay in formation, with one unit in the vanguard, next the cart and then two further troop units following behind. However, once they spotted the British or heard the cannon firing from the Chateau, they could break formation and deploy as they saw fit, to chase off the Brits.

The British were to set up anywhere on the table edge and were permitted to set up as ‘blinds’ with two dummy cards to add to the French confusion. The British force consisted of one cannon and crew and a detachment of redcoats commanded by Captain Young, two groups of the 4th Kings Own, commanded by Lieutenant Carruthers Winstanley-Wormwood , a detachment of Hanoverian Verden Landwehr commanded by Sgt Barker and the Officer in charge was Major Dick Blunt, commanding a detachment of 95th Rifles and a detachment of redcoats. The British outnumbered the French by two groups (24 men) but the French had the advantage of the defensive position in the Chateau.

The rules for ‘Sharp Practice’ run according to the turn of a pre designed deck of cards. Each phase of play ends when the ‘Tiffin’ card is turned. Rather than describe each round, I’ll split the battle into 3 phases.

Phase 1 – The opening Shots 

The British had deployed in ‘blinds’ and the plan was to move quickly into position to assault the Chateau and ambush the convoy. Major Dick Blunt had decided to lead the assault on the Chateau, whilst the rest of the force would deal with the supply convoy. However, the French piquets were on the alert and quickly spotted the British, causing them to deploy before they could move. This meant that the British cannon was unable to see the French convoy and could only fire on the Chateau. As well as spotting the British, the French had made good progress along the road and with the French Voltigeurs leading the way, they were confident of completing the resupply mission.

Winstanley-Wormwood led his detachment into the woods adjacent to the road and opened fire on the French Convoy. Sergeant Barker bravely led his Hanoverians to cut the road in front of the Chateau. Captain Young brought his artillery piece to bear on the Chateau but, sensing that Sergeant Barker would need support, also sent his detachment of redcoats to cut the road. The French were quite undeterred and in a brief exchange of fire inflicted sufficient casualties on Winstanley-Wormwood’s group causing them to fall back, leaving a unit of Redcoats in the trees without leadership. Furthermore, the cannon in the Chateau opened fire on the Hanoverians, causing casualties in this group as well.

On the far left of the field of battle Major Blunt and his mixed force of Riflemen & redcoats were making extremely slow progress towards the Chateau. So slow in fact, that the French largely ignored them….

Phase 2 – It’s getting hot out there!

The only real problem that the French had at this point was that the redcoats in the trees adjacent to the convoy were still tying up Lieutenant du Pain and his unit, causing a bit of a road block that prevented the supply wagon from moving up the road. This meant that Sgt Boursin was also prevented from joining the action. Winstanley-Wormwood’s group had now left the field, although he had stayed and was shouting encouragement to his remaining troops from a distance, whilst ambling back to the action.

Major Blunt was still edging his group towards the Chateau and had given fire, causing the odd casualty, but was still not unduly worrying the French. In fact, they were more pre occupied with pounding poor Sgt Barker & his Hanoverians. A lesser man would have run away, but brave Sgt Barker, supported by the Artillery detachment, had moved into position to block the road.

This was enough provocation for the French. Captain du Pain, leading his elite Voltigeurs, moved down the road and engaged the Hanoverians, reducing them to just seven men and pushing them back. Only the towering presence of Sgt Barker stopped them from breaking completely. Lieutenant du Vin led his unit over the wall to flush out the Brits in the trees and opened the road to allow Sgt Boursin to move his group up in support of the Voltigeurs, whilst moving the supply wagon further towards the Chateau.

All that the British artillery could do was to pound the French artillery in the hope that they would stop the guns or at least keep the French gunners’ heads down enough to spoil their aim. As the game continued the British aim improved and gradually enough shock points were inflicted to reduce the French gunners effectiveness.

At last Major Blunt and his men reached the Chateau walls and at point blank range opened up on the defenders. After unleashing a fearsome volley of rifle and musket fire, the smoke cleared to reveal that the dastardly French had ducked behind cover and not one of them had been hit. To add insult to injury, they were now shouting rude words and making rude gestures at Major Blunt. This was just too much to take!



Phase 3 – The Finale

The last phase saw the British fortunes take a turn for the better. Winstanley-Wormwood had finally rejoined the remainder of his unit in the woods and with his encouragement their rate of fire increased to the point that Lieutenant du Vin and his unit were forced to retreat back down the road, having taken a number of casualties.

Sgt Barker had steadied his men and, reinforced by the detachment from Captain Young, had re imposed the road block and was holding Captain du Pain and Sgt Boursin at bay.

Back at the Chateau, the taunting from the French had become too much for Major Blunt to bear and he decided to resort to Fisticuffs! He led his men over the walls to assault the French. Major Tirez les Brits, although heavily outnumbered, put up a brave fight and initially resisted the assault, inflicting as many casualties as his men had taken. However, the superior numbers of the British began to count and Major Tirez decided enough was enough and left with his remaining men via the back door of the Chateau. Major Dick Blunt had won the day!

Although the supply cart was still with the French, the Chateau was captured. The British had a warm place to billet and the French went off to drown their sorrows!

On Reflection


The simple scenario worked well and gave the game a narrative to make it fun throughout. Mick was most generous throughout the game and suggested a couple of changes to the rules that made life more difficult for his French. The first was to allow the British cannon to fire as though the Chateau was soft cover rather than hard cover. This was to allow for the fact that no damage was being logged on the building and that the British could have been firing Shrapnel rather than round shot.

The second change was to remove the Tiffin card for the last round of the battle, allowing all units the chance to fight. It was this factor that allowed the British to assault the Chateau. Had the cards come in a different order the result may well have been very different. In future games we will use two tiffin cards as there were a number of turns where tiffin happened very early in the turn sequence, with the result that many units were left standing around – hence the length of time it took for the Rifles to get to the Chateau.

Other than those observations, the game was great and I am now hooked. We are  planning a larger campaign. Watch out for more adventurers of Major Blunt and his men!

Continue reading

Just in from Pegasus – French Infantry

We’ just received our latest re stock in from Pegasus Hobbies. Pegasus are an American Company that are imported into the UK by Pocketbond and they have an interesting range of model kits, scenery items and model soldiers sets that covers a huge range of subjects.

The latest releases to reach us are the new sets of French Infantry in 1/72nd scale. Pegasus have released a set of late World War One French infantry and a set of Early WorldWar Two French infantry. Each set contains 40 figures in 15 different poses. It seems as though Pegasus have used similar masters as the poses in each set are very similar and in some cases the weapons look the same! Evidence, perhaps, of the lack of progress that the French made in re arming between the wars!

The World War Two French are particularly welcome, as these are very under represented for collectors and war gamers.

They are available from my ebay shop at £6.99. We also sell the Pocketbond catalogue if you would like to see the full range of Pegasus models. It is just £1.99 post free from my shop.