Boromir and Gandalf

A much shorter blog this week. As I have already noted, work on the upgrade to my new wargames den is progressing well but I am still relegated to painting at the desk in my office. So rather than buying any new models or starting any new projects, I have continued to work through my lead pile.

Boromir was the ‘free’ figure from issue 11 of the ‘Battle Games in Middle Earth’ magazine series that I am working my way through. I actually painted him just before I lost the use of the garage but he hasn’t featured in my blog so I thought I would include him for continuity. As usual, I used the magazine as a reference as well as Youtube. I quite like the Planetmithril youtube channel and there is a wealth of painting advise and step by step tutorials to be found. There’s a link to the planetmithril web site below, if you would like more information.

Boromir in black!

I dont follow the guides exactly but use them as a help, particularly if I am not sure what colour to use. With Boromiir, I went for a much darker finish than the one in the video but this suited my style of painting.

Gandalf on the paint station

The next figure was Gandalf the Grey from issue 12 of the magazine. Again, the magazine and the you tube channel gave me all the help that I needed and again, I went for a darker look than the videos seem to show. The paint pallet was fairly limited – Gandalf the Grey is predominately , well, grey…

Gandalf, based and ready for action!

As these are fantasy figures, I feel that there is no need to slavishly follow a particular colour scheme. So long as the figure looks about right, it’s good enough for me. I have to confess to never having finished reading the ‘Lord of the Rings’. That’s probably heresy as far as Tolkien fans are concerned but for what ever reason, the book never caught my imagination. Quite the opposite, after 600 pages of second breakfasts, singing nonsense songs and endless descriptions of characters that seemed to do nothing, I gave up on the book. I think that I had come to LOTR too late in life and had been spoilt by watching the Peter Jackson films. Mind you, in the last of the films, the bum numbing rendition of ‘The Return of the King’ I was crying out for Bilbo to get on the fecking boat with the Elves at the end so I could go for a pint with the missus…It’s fair to say that whilst I did enjoy the films, I am not by any means an enthusiast of LOTR in particular and fantasy in general.

I digress slightly, I do like the painting the figures and they make a nice change from historical subjects. Perhaps when I have a large enough collection, I will try out the game. For now it’s back to the lead pile to choose my next subject.


The magazines that I am referring to are long out of print but still available on ebay should you wish to collect them.

If you need help in completing a project of your own we have a massive range of stock in the Arcane Scenery shop. Almost all of the paints, miniatures, bases, basing materials and anything that you are likely to need for your hobby are available from my shop here:


You can find plenty of links to the paining videos as well as painting tips on the Planet Mythril site here:


Happy Modelling!

No Fighting In The War Room

Yes, I stole the quote from the internet, via Dr Stangelove but it sort of sums up where I am at the moment. I decided to convert my integral garage into a proper games room/hobby room. I was spending a great deal of my spare time out there and at my age, I decided a bit of comfort would be nice. I had in effect closed the garage up and used some big sheets of marine ply, polystyrene foam sheet and some expanding foam to seal the door in an effort to make it a permanent den. My work bench was hand built and whilst functional, was not the greatest piece of carpentry that you would see! Add to that, I was sitting on a bar stool to paint and it’s little wonder that I have back issues!

The garage – empty but still boarded up and my trusty work bench in place!
Nearly stripped out!

That all said, it was a permanent set up that allowed me to pursue my hobby and paint and play when it wasn’t too cold or too hot. I was inspired by the gaming rooms that two of my friends have and I decided it was time that I had my own purpose built war games den! That was in October 2019 and I approached a local builder with my plans. These plans also included erecting a new shed in the garden to take the over spill of ‘stuff’ from the garage and a replacement for my 25 year old garden shed at the side of the house, that had rotted out so badly that I could see the house wall through the holes…

Boarding on door removed and insulation for floor going down
New floor laid
First fix electrics

The builder provided an estimate and work was due to start in the Spring of 2020. Well, we all know what happened next and thanks to the various COVID lock downs, massive pressure on the building industry and the difficulty in getting building materials, the project has proceeded at a slow pace. The sheds were completed back at the start of the summer and work was pencilled in to start on the garage conversion in August. In order for the work to start I had to empty the garage. Quite a task, not quite the Augean stables, the only live stock there being a huge number of spiders! This meant that all the ‘stuff’ ( an accumulation of 30 years of ‘That might come in handy one day…’)was moved either to fill my new shed, into the dining room or up into my office. Mrs W has been very patient as my ‘lead pile’ also occupied the tops of the wardrobes in the bedroom…

My new shed is full of my wargaming stuff….
So is the dining room….
And then there’s my collection of figures and book overflow…
And just some of my ‘lead pile’ stashed on the wardrobes
My temporary paint station

The result was that I no longer had a permanent set up and was reduced to painting and modelling on my office desk, using one of the granddaughters crafting trays as a paint station! If I have complained that my painting output was slow in the past, it was even worse now. Every time that I needed a new paint colour or tool, I had to ferret around in the various locations to try and find the required item.

The outside garage door – it’s seen better days!
Window to the right bricked up and new wall to replace door
How it looks from the outside.

At last, though, the project is moving along with an end in sight. As you can see from the pictures running through the blog, the main building work has been completed and the first fix for the electrics has been done. The next phase is to get the walls plastered, the carpet or flooring down and of course to move everything back in. Well, perhaps everything…The plan is that the new ‘big shed in the back garden will be home to some of my ‘proper’ tools and decorating gear and any other paraphernalia that you usually find in a garage. The gardening tools and such are already neatly stored in the rebuilt garden shed at the side of the house.

So in theory, all that is going back in will be a nice new desk, my figure cabinets, a very much culled book and magazine collection and of course a war games table. Oh! and as part of the deal, Julie will have some proper cupboard space to store some of the cleaning stuff and ironing board, as well as a new fridge and freezer, both easily accessible from the kitchen. The fridge being particularly useful for storing my beer!

I hope to be back in and painting comfortably by mid October! An up date will follow!


I hope that you all enjoy your hobby as much as I do – remember that our web site will have much of what you need! Click here to see our shop:


Happy Modelling!

Bill Hooks BASH part 2 – the Battles!

This blog is an account of the battles that I was involved in at the Bill Hooks BASH held on September 4th at Boards and Swords in Derby. For more details of the actual event, please refer to my earlier blog, Bill Hooks BASH part one.

Sir Pete faces off against Sir Mike in the first battle

As always, it is difficult to participate in the battles, take photos and record exactly what happened. So the accounts are written after the event, from the brief notes that I made and of course, are totally biased from my perspective. As such, I suspect that makes my reports as reliable as the chroniclers of the time! If you get to talk to my opponents, they may hold a different view of what really happened! I must also apologise for not getting photos of every battle or even every army – there really was too much going on!

Sir Richard vs Sir Ian – game one
Sir Ralph prepares to Advance against Sir Robbie – Game one

BATTLE ONE vs Sir John Csonka

It’s worth mentioning that John had travelled all the way from Bournemouth on the coach to join us on the day. This was to be his first ever battle using the Bill Hooks rules. He had borrowed an army, very kindly supplied by one of the other players ( Robbie, I think), so as a result, he was limited in the options that he had for his troops. With an army composed of just Bows, Bills and Men At Arms, John adopted a defensive position on the top of a hill at the back of the table and invited me to attack and do my worst – I was happy to oblige!

Lord Hotspur approach’s John’s defensive position

The movement phase was a somewhat one sided affair as I redeployed my artillery and the battle opened with them opening fire without effect on the opposing army. I had moved my main ward within long range bowshot of John’s defensive position. The idea was that we would either tempt John off of the hill or let him use his arrow supplies at long range whilst I moved my MAA into position to charge. My opening bow shots caused a bit of damage to John’s archers. To my surprise, John’s opening shots at long range killed seven of my archers in Lord Harry Hotspurs unit. At the end of the turn they were forced to make a morale check. A roll of 8 + would be good enough, with a 5, 6 or 7 causing the unit to be daunted and to fall back. I rolled a 3 and a 1!

Just don’t roll a four….

This would cause the unit to rout! I used Harry Hotspur’s command status to reroll the 1. I rolled another one…The whole block, along with Sir Harry ran from the table – game over! With the benefit of hindsight, I only needed to test the archer unit’s morale as the casualties were caused by shooting. Once they failed, they would have routed back through Sir Harry and his MAA but not caused any further morale checks with the MAA as they would ignore the archers plight. However, Once I chose to use Sir Harry’s reroll it seemed only fair that he should abide by the result – served me right!

Gaps were appearing in Johns line but my army was struggling to find a way in.

As that battle had ended so quickly, John kindly suggested that I re instate Sir Harry ( less his cowardly troops!) and we carried on with the battle. A desperate struggle ensued, with Lord Harry Hotspur and his remaining ward and Sir Eric Die Hard grinding down Johns position and gradually temptimg them to advance. The Kern nearly won the battle for me. Having ground down a unit of MAA that were holding the flank and forced them to fall back daunted, the Kern nearly killed John’s isolated C in C. He escaped the combat with one wound, somewhat shaken but was able to re-join another unit and find safety.

The battle came to it’s second conclusion when Sir Daniel Rose charged his light cavalry unit at a unit of Billmen that had become exposed. If he could force a morale check, Johns army was in danger of routing. Although Sir Daniel won the combat 5 wounds to 4 he managed to roll another 1 when checking for wounds on the leader. As a dolt, he had only one wound and was killed. We decided that both units should test morale. The result was predictable and whilst John’s men stood, the few remaining light horse routed, giving a second decisive victory to John!

Battle Two vs Sir Ralph Dutton

Sir Ralph’s Household observes the battlefield!

Sir Ralphs army livery was based on his family name and his home location. The army was fairly ‘bow heavy’ and Sir Ralph adopted an aggressive strategy, advancing rapidly to bring his superior firepower into range of his opponents. The opening moves saw two significant events. I drew my first and only special event card of the day and caused a rainstorm preventing any firing in the first turn. Under cover of the rain, my Kern were able to advance quickly down the left flank, threatening the rear of Sir Ralph’s army. I was also move towards Sir Ralphs Bow men line safe in the knowledge that he would be unable to unleash an arrow storm for the time being.

The army is ready to advance!

As the rain storm ended, my Skirmishers were again activated. The bad news was that my Artillery piece blew up killing it’s crew. The good news was that the Kern had closed with the opposition skirmishers and put them to flight in combat. They continued to harry the left flank, disposing of another batch of crossbowmen and distracting the units on that side of the table throughout the game.

On the right, the two opposing units of Light horse charged each other. This time, after 2 rounds of combat, Sir Daniel Rose was victorious, routing his opponent. This left the right flank under pressure with my light horse threatening the bow men from this side, turning them away from my centre with a flank attack.

This looks like it’s going to hurt….wait they’ve missed – pile in boys!

In the centre, Sir Ralph finally unleashed his arrow storm but seemed to be suffering from damp bowstrings as casualties amongst my wards were extremely light. In reply to the arrow storm, Sir Eric Diehard was able to charge home, tying up one of Sir Ralphs ward and preventing its commander from giving orders. This allowed me to concentrate my fire on the formation of bowmen in line. They were out shot and routed.

Sir Ralphs MAA close in but have to weather an arrow storm!

Sir Ralph then attempted to charge my units but fell short. Surrounded by archers , they were almost annihilated and failed their morale bringing the battle to a close. Victory for Lord Harry Hotspur! In this game, apart from the episode with the artillery, my dice throws had been much kinder. I was lucky to take minimal casualties from Sir Ralph’s opening arrow storm, whilst my own troops were far more effective with their dice, with over average numbers of 6’s being thrown at each attempt.

Only four men left standing! Even the crossbowmen skirmishers get in on the act!

This was the first time that I had faced archers in a line formation in a ‘real battle’. We had play tested the formation and whilst it is devastating if it has the initiative – an arrow storm could be 48 dice! – we found it to be extremely fragile when in melee and of course vulnerable to a cavalry charge. Although light cavalry are vulnerable to arrows, an unsupported bow line is still going to struggle against a head on charge, even with a closing shot. I’ll leave you to do the maths!

Battle Three vs Sir Richard Robinson

Richard is now a veteran of Bill Hooks, being Peter Harris’s regular opponent. His well balanced army would be a formidable test. From the start, Sir Richard adopted a no nonsense ‘up and at ’em’ philosophy, with his army advancing rapidly towards me. Once again, my Kern were able to work their way down the left flank to cause mayhem with Sir Richards skirmishers and threaten to get behind his army. And once again, my artillery blew up in the opening turn!

The centre of each army closes. My light cavalry are lurking just out side of camera shot!

Despite that minor set back I managed to position my light horse to launch a flank attack on Sir Richards two units of archers in line. This caused them to pivot at right angles to my army, exposing his C in C and his ward of MAA. Although my light horse were beaten off and then ridden down by Sir Richards light horse, his battle line was in chaos, pulled to the left by the Kern and to the right by the light horse. After inflicting a couple of casualties on Sir Richards MAA, Lord Harry Hotspur ( rated as a Hero for this game) charged home with his MAA.

The archers have had to swing around to turn and face – Hotspur sees that gap and he’s in!

Lord Hotspur comfortably won the ensuing melee and was able to follow up in the next turn, pushing The opposing army commander off of the table. Another victory for Lord Hotspur! Once again, the dice goodess had been exceptionally kind to me. I think that I used my bad throws up in the first game!

Another superbly painted unit – I’m not sure who these are fighting for.
Like wise, I’m not sure who these fellows represent but the units looked lovely and the round basing in trays works really well.

So three great games, all with different highs and lows and three great opponents. All three games could have turned out differently with a change of the order of the cards or better or worse dice. I think that is part of the charm of the rules. No matter how good your initial strategy, lady luck will have her say. Which means that win or lose, you have something to talk about and the urge to fight another battle!

Clever use of spare arrows to count down the volleys!
Sir Robbie’s Irish Bonachts. There will be more on Irish troops in Bill Hooks Volume 2! You will have to wait though!


I hope that you all enjoy your hobby as much as I do – remember that our web site will have much of what you need! Click here to see our shop:


We also have a category devoted to Never Mind the Bill Hooks:


Happy Modelling!

Bill Hooks BASH part 1- Overview

The first Bill hooks BASH was held at Boards and Swords Gaming venue in Derby on Saturday September 4th. The event was organised by Peter Harris and 14 gamers signed up for the event. The rules writer Andy Callan was in attendance to advise and help resolve any rules queries. Dan Faulconbridge of Wargames illustrated also attended to cast his eye over proceedings and to wish the participants a good days gaming!

Making up the goodie bags at Arcane Towers!

Tickets were just £15 and as well as unlimited tea and coffee, an individual pizza ( Dominoes!) of the players choice was provided for lunch. In addition, Wargames Illustrated and Arcane Scenery teamed up to provide a Goody bag for each player to take home. The contents included the current issue of Wargames Illustrated with a free Perry miniature medieval frame, a new set of 20 dice, two DeeZee Dogs and thanks to a last minute generous contribution from River Horse games, the Terminator Rules book plus 4 character miniatures and a frame of resistance fighters.

A sample of Mikes Painting – Figures are by Front rank. The basing is superb as well!

The plan was to play three games during the day with players declaring their allegiance to either York or Lancaster. In addition, a prize would be awarded to the best painted army, as voted by the participating gamers. That was as competitive the day was designed to be. The emphasis was on just enjoying the game and helping the less experienced players get to grips with the rules. A number of the players had made great efforts to attend. John had traveled from Bournemouth by coach! ( his home is in Hungary!) Mike, had made the trek from Bristol and Robbie had traveled from Durham. My trip from Bingham was much easier!

Mike Peters wins the award for the best painted army.

Mike Peters deservedly won the Painting competition with a near unanimous vote for his beautifully painted and based army. His army also featured hand painted banners as well as some superb brush work on the command figures. I’m not sure that my photographs do his figures justice – perhaps Dan can do a photo special in the future!

The Commander of Mikes Army

The gaming proceeded to plan with all games being fought in great spirit. The background noise of laughter, cheers and general kind hearted banter added to the friendly atmosphere. At the end of the event, York were declared the Winners with a total of 10.5 victory points to Lancasters 9.5. The 0.5 points came from a drawn game where both army commanders were killed simultaneously in the same melee! A first for Bill Hooks as far as I know. As for how individual players did, they kept their own scores and I hope like me they will have plenty of ‘war stories’ to tell their mates.

To see how Mike painted this banner visit his Blog – link is below in the ‘Commercial section.

The day ended on time at about 5.00pm. I made my short trip home feeling tired but that I had had a fantastic days gaming and met with some really great wargamers who clearly enjoyed playing for the love of the hobby! I hope to see them at future events. I’m not sure whether the rules bring out the best in players or whether the players brought out the best in the rules. I suspect it was a bit of both and the result was a most enjoyable day.

An Irish contingient courtesy of Robbie all the way from Durham!

Finally, a big thank you to Peter Harris for organising the day. Boards and Swords did a great job hosting the event and I heartily recommend this venue to any gamers that live in the area or are planning a visit to the ‘Lead belt’. And of course, thank you to all that attended, including of course Andy Callan, who was constantly on call to sort out any rules queries and save us the time of looking them up!

The Spanish Inquisition attached to Pete’s Army…that was unexpected!

In Part two of this article, I’ll cover how my battles went and of course add in some more pictures of the armies that I fought.


I hope that you all enjoy your hobby as much as I do – remember that our web site will have much of what you need! Click here to see our shop:


We also have a category devoted to Never Mind the Bill Hooks:


To visit Mike Peters blog and see his master class in banner painting, click here:


To visit the Boards and Swords website for directions and details of the venue, click here:


Happy Modelling!

More Reinforcements for my WOTR army!

This blog is a bit of a catch up on some of the side projects that I have been working on. First up, I inherited some old foundry WOTR figures from a very good friend. They were unbased, a bit chipped and some of their spears had broken off. That said, they were beautifully painted, complete with hand painted standards. I thought that they deserved a bit of TLC so that they could return to the table top once again!

Foundry on the left, Perry plastics on the right

The Foundry figures were sculpted by the Perry’s so they are obviously very similar to my existing Perry Plastic army but a bit on the short side. I remedied this by re basing them on thicker MDF bases and used the basing texture paste to give them a bit more height. I then touched up any obvious paint chips, re painted the helmets to give them a bit of shine and re attached the spears. Once they were in their new movement tray they looked fine next to the newer Perry Plastics – as you can see from the photograph.

Whilst I was working on this unit I also thought that I would add some extra flags to my units. Pete Harris had kindly given me a sheet of Freezy Water Yorkist flags. Rather then leaving them languishing in a folder unused, I cut them out and attached them to 100mm spears that we sell at Arcane Scenery. I had to cut the spears down as they were a bit long. Be careful if you do this. I was using my Xuron cutters, that will go through the steel pins with ease BUT the off-cuts fly all over the place, so make sure that you protect your eyes! Once the flags were mounted, I painted the edges of the flags to cover any white that shouldn’t be showing with approximately the matching colours and then drilled the back of my movement trays to add the flags.

Extra Flags added to the movement trays adds interest to the units!

Now purists should sit down now. I didn’t worry at all about what flag should go with what unit or even who the flags should represent. So long as the colours were close to the livery of the figures, I added them to the tray. Should I decide to re fight a specific battle of the WOTR in the future, it is a simple matter to remove the flags and find the correct ones, but for now my units look prettier on the table!

Three new Men At Arms

Whilst I was in the mood to finish things off and get figures off of the lead pile, I decided to complete the three last figures that I had left over from a Perry’s Plastic WOTR command frame. I decided to give them heads from the mounted men at arms. I was influenced by Pete Harris ( the other one… yes, there are two Pete Harris’s that I game with and I thought that everyone in wargaming was called Dave) and my memories of the Crescent knights that I had as a child..

Cry Havoc!

The final figure that I painted was a limited edition Cry Havoc’ Games Workshop figure that I had acquired years ago. I realised that he was based on a Landsknecht and thought that he would make a good ‘Martin Schwartz’ should I ever get around to adding a German contingent to my army! He is a bit on the tall side but will make an imposing command figure. So despite ‘finishing’ my WOTR army, I keep finding excuses to add to it. It has now grown to well over 300 figures and there’s more to paint!


I hope that you all enjoy your hobby as much as I do – remember that our web site will have much of what you need! Click here to see our shop:


We also have a category devoted to Never Mind the Bill Hooks:


Please have a look at our tools section to find the Xuron clippers


Happy Modelling!