A Softer Ride

If you’ve wondered where my blog articles have been over the last few weeks, I have been distracted by my decision to retire at the end of this March and the consequences of doing so.

Arcane HQ in the Lenton Business Centre

I’ve been running Arcane Scenery with Julie for at least 17 years now and have clocked up just about 50 years working full time throughout my career, so it’s time for a change of pace and a chance to do something slightly different.

Arcane scenery at Partizan

As well as Julie, I’ve had tremendous support from the team over the years – the main players, Hayley, Rob and Kevin have all helped to keep Arcane running through some pretty tough times. Hayley and Kevin were stars through the very challenging COVID years.

As you can see,we used to attend number of shows, Salute, Derby and my favourite, Partizan- one and two! I have to say a big thank you to Pete Harris, who would often help and support us during these busy events.

Another of our stands at Partizan

I’ve also had the support from some superb companies and their teams over the years. In no particular order, other than alphabetical, thanks go to Albion Alloys, Blitzkrieg Miniatures, Creative, Expo, Footsore, Gaugemaster, Hobby Company, Javis, North Star, Nortons, Pocketbond, Renedra, Sarissa Precision, Wargames Illustrated, Warlord Games and a few that I have forgotten, no doubt! I haven’t name checked the individual’s involved – they know who they are – but it was always a pleasure to deal with them and as well as doing business together, we had a lot of fun.

Of course, the other group of people that I must thank are my loyal customers, far too many to name! I am very grateful for their support and of course, orders that we have had from them over the years. It’s a fact that without customers, there is no business. We tried our best to ensure that they were always well served and their orders were delivered on time and safely. It gave us great pleasure to know that we were helping people to enjoy their hobby.

So what happens next? The business will close down for a couple of weeks after Easter, whilst we try and tie up all the loose ends. If all goes to plan, the Arcane Scenery web site will continue but only as a blog, not as a retail operation. I hope to retain and continue with the blog – there are over 400 articles which I find useful and I hope other hobbyists do to!

Any remaining stock that we have left will be disposed of on ebay over the coming year at our leisure. For any fans of the DeeZee range, we will continue to make this available through our very good friends at Footsore. Who knows, with their help, I may even expand the range – just a little….

The good news is that I have reduced the price of much of our stock and there are some real bargains to be had, so buy now, when it’s gone it really will have gone!

My latest article in Wargames Illustrated 435

I will of course continue with my hobby and I hope to stay connected to the War games community by writing for Wargames Illustrated, as well as running demo games at shows – Partizan being the most likely!

I may even finally conquer the lead mountain, that despite my best efforts, is still growing faster than I can paint! Here’s the latest batch that I have painted. Some men of Gondor from the LOTR magazine – I have now reached issue 34!

Men of Gondor!

So once again, a sincere thank you to all of my customers, suppliers and friends that have supported Arcane Scenery over the years. I have really enjoyed my time in the business. It’s now time to focus on the Hobby!

I can only wish that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Happy Modelling!

Never Mind the Bill Hooks Deluxe and Partizan

Before you ask, yes, we do have a definite date for the publication and release of the new Bill Hooks deluxe rules set, so read on for more information! And for those of you not familiar with what Bill Hooks deluxe is, here is the definitive sales pitch!

The cover of Never Mind The Bill Hooks Deluxe!


Billhooks is a fast-action game of late medieval European warfare, set at the small battle/big skirmish level – think Nibley Green rather than Towton. 

You will need around 100 figures a side, lots of D6, and a 6 x 4 foot table – everything else you need to play the game is included in this book. A typical game can be played through in around 90 minutes (or rather less if the Dice Goddess wills it!).

Billhooks Deluxe gives you a ‘Core’ Wars of the Roses ruleset and then expands that to cover six new Theatres and Conflicts from across Western European Christendom c1350-1525. So you will find troop stats and special rules for Irish Gallowglass, Hussite War-Wagons, and Landsknecht Pikemen along with all the other troop types to be found on battlefields of the period, from 100 Years’ War France to Renaissance Italy.

The game uses a card-driven turn sequence and many tried and tested combat mechanisms to produce battles that are full of period flavour but always unpredictable.

Play one game of Billhooks and you’ll want to play another!

The following are the Theatres and Conflicts you can find in this book: 

Albion – The Wars of the Roses 

Gallia – The Hundred Years’ War 

Bohemia – The Hussite Wars 

Helvetia – The Swiss-Burgundian War 

Italia – The Italian Wars 

Northumbria – The Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers Lusitania – Late Medieval Portugal 

Hibernia – Warfare in Ireland

Finally, there is a Modelling Masterclass chapter with a comprehensive guide to painting, modelling, and kitbashing 28mm plastic figures. 


Perfect bound, Softback, full colour. 180 pages.

If that has whetted your appetite, your can place your pre order here:


Never Mind The Bill Hooks Card Deck

Never Mind The Bill Hooks Tokens

We expect to be shipping orders in the last week of November – please read the full listings for details.

The last play test for these rules actually happened at Partizan in early October. Although the manuscript was completed and was actually about to be sent to the publishers, it was decided that we would have a couple of games involving the public to see if we had missed anything obvious.

We played two games. One involving the French/Swiss alliance against a Spanish army and a second game of Anglo/German/Irish against an rebel Irish army. Both games were played out by helpful visitors to Partizan and no major ‘glitches’ were found. As usual, as I was heavily involved in playing and ‘advising’ I forgot to take enough pictures, but here are a few samples.

A Block of Swiss Pikemen face off against a Spanish ‘Tercico’ formation. In the back ground French knights are about to charge down the Spanish light horse.
Battle is joined! The Spanish just edge the fight inflicting 6 losses for 5 of their own casualties.

The first battle went well with the Spanish initially gaining the upper hand but the Swiss mercenaries showed their resilience and despite being initially daunted and pushed back, their commander was able to rally them and they went on to route that Spanish from the field.

Irish vs Irish – Gallowglass already taking casualties from the Cannon

The second battle was based on a fictional scenario in Ireland. When Thomas Fitzgerald of Ireland gathered his Yorkist forces as part of the Lambert Simnel Rebellion, we supposed that before he left for Britain, he decided to use his army of German mercenaries, English and Irish troops to sort out his Lancaster rival John Butler, the Earl of Ormond. The Irish forces suffered from a lack of long range missile troops, so getting into combat as quickly as possible was imperative.

The German Mercenary’s lead by Martin Schwartz and his warhound!

It’s worth mentioning that the German contingent was represented by figures that I had recovered and refurbished from the late Duncan Mcfarlane’s collection and lead by a Partizan limited edition show figure – Martin Schwartz. Duncan must have been smiling down on the game as his pikemen were to be the unit that broke the Irish and put them to flight!

The irish Kern charge the English Bills. The German Pikes are about to do the same to the other unit of Kern.

The Irish were unable to get their Gallowglass into combat before losing too many casualties to Arrow storms and cannon fire. The Irish Kern did close to combat but were beaten back by the English Bill men. The Other unit of Kern, were driven from the field by the Pikes. Game over for the Irish. One interesting amendment to the rules was made as a result of this and previous games involving the Irish. It will no longer be permitted for bands of Irish kern Skirmishers to make a frontal charge on a formed unit. I had been using them as ‘Kamikaze ‘ units to try and slow the enemy and/or force a morale check if the Kern got lucky! As this is somewhat ‘gamey’ Andy decided to stop this! Quite right too! It was unrealistic and research has shown no suicidal tendencies in Irish troops! However, they can still cause mischief by springing from cover and attacking on the flank or rear of an unwary unit – the Irish were certainly opportunistic!

That aside, the game played well and the rules are now with the printers. If you would like to join in with the ‘Never Mind the Bill Hooks’ battles, you can pre order your rules set either by using the link above or the ones below. We will ship in Late November – the expected delivery to us is the 21st November – we will keep you informed if you order with us and ship ASAP.


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:


You can see the range of miniatures and accessories we think are suitable to for the Wars of the Roses, along with the rest of our Never mind The Bill Hooks range here:


Happy Modelling!

Never Mind the Bill Hooks Update

Never mind the Billhooks!

Never mind the Billhooks!

I had already written a blog post for this week but it seemed strange to be posting about Japanese scenery when the real hot news was the release of the new rules set’ Never Mind the Bill Hooks’, which is being given away free with the September issue of Wargames Illustrated. So a quick change of plan! The Japanese scenery article can wait until next week!

2020-08-27 10.56.25

At Last – Never Mind The Bill Hooks is in Print!

Regular readers of my blog ( if I have any!) will know that I spent most of 2019 collecting and painting my War Of the Roses army and play testing ‘Bill Hooks’ with my gaming group, which of course, includes Andy Callan, the Rules Writer and Pete Harris, who as well as me, supplied the bulk of the painted figures that illustrated the rules set.

2020-08-27 10.56.46

This months Wargames Illustrated, Issue 393 with free ‘Bill Hooks’ Rule Set.

Covid19 has curtailed any gaming activity for the time being – although we might start with a new Scenario that Andy has written for next months issue of WI, a small skirmish as a prequel to the Battle at Stokes Field. As regards painting, my War Of The Roses contingent is more or less complete. I have a mind to paint three more mounted command figures and of course, I will add the WI ‘Giants in Miniature’ Lord Callan to my collection. Other than that, my army is complete. As well as supplying the figures for photography, I also wrote an article showing how to paint your retinue.

Never mind the Bill Hooks Painting article by your truly!

Never mind the Bill Hooks Painting article by your truly!

As there is such a positive response to the release of ‘Bill Hooks’ I thought that I would just provide a few links to some of the Blog Posts that I had written in the course of  the Bill Hooks project. The posts include a couple of battle reports, painting articles and references, details of how and why I put my force together and some of the Historical sites that I have visited. The posts are all to be found in the WOTR category here:


I thought that it also might be helpful to point you in the direction of my Pinterest board devoted to War of The Roses. If you are not using Pinterest, I would recommend it as a great way of collecting useful reference pictures so that you can find them when you need them!


If you haven’t found it already, there is now a Facebook group for ‘Bill Hooks’. Even better, Andy Callan is checking in and will answer any queries that you may have regarding the rules.


As well as Facebook, if you are not in a forum, I very much recommend the Lead Adventure Forum. I find it to be very positive and encouraging, with plenty of help available if you need it. I think that there will be a ‘Bill Hooks’ thread but for now, head to the Medieval Boards.


Finally, if you are interested in the original inspiration for the rules, here’s a link to a blog post written in 2016, ‘Rules For Old Wargamers With Short Attention Spans’. They were designed for the Black Powder era as a set of Skirmish rules. The rules are available as a free PDF.


I hope that you have as much enjoyment and fun as we have had, both in collecting and painting your Army and of course playing the game. Remember, it is a game, not a re enactment and I think that you will have more fun if you create an army, based on the period but with your own commanders.

Harry Hotspur Leads his retinue into battle!

Harry Hotspur Leads his retinue into battle!


If you have yet to get your copy of Wargames Illustrated, we still have plenty of stock at the time of writing. It’s available, post free here!


But it’s selling quickly so don’t hang around!

Almost all of the paints, miniatures, bases, basing materials and anything that you are likely to need for your hobby are available POST FREE from my shop here:


Perry’s WOTR plastic range are here, including some nice army deals!


You can find all the Vallejo Model colour paints here. If you don’t want to browse, just enter the paint number into the shop search bar;


Happy Modelling!

DeeZee Cavemen!

We have been planning to add some packs of cavemen to our DeeZee range for about four years now! Part of the problem was finding a sculptor that I could actually sit down with and explain exactly what I had in mind. I’m just not comfortable with communicating via skype and other such modern technology. It was important for me to be able to sit with the sculptor and talk through the process. That problem was solved when Paul Matthews (our social media consultant) was able to introduce me to Matt Sofar of Knuckle Bone miniatures. Matt already had a small range of fantasy miniatures and was looking to do some freelance work to extend his portfolio. Even better, he was happy to come in and talk through the commission and provide a sample sculpt before we proceeded with the full commission.

Shaman Leader DeeZee tm

Shaman Leader DeeZee tm

The original plan was for just 8 cave men – two packs of four but as Matt produced his sculpts we decided to go for a ‘command’ pack of the chief and Shaman and then two packs of four cavemen; ten figures in total. One pack would be hunting and thrusting with their spears, the other pack, stalking or walking as though part of the hunt. We have deliberately used  a generic title of ‘cavemen’ rather than specify the type. However, I hope that it is clear that we tended towards a more Neanderthal look, both in features and clothing. If all goes well, there will be other ‘tribes’ that we will add to the range. We also wanted to avoid the ‘ripped’ look of some depictions of cavemen. I’m a great fan of Frank Frezzetta and that genre but decided that we wanted our cavemen to look as though they were living on a feast or famine diet, mainly of meat and they didn’t have access to the local gym! As my brother kindly quipped, ‘did Matt use you as the model?…’

Cavemen Ready DeeZee tm

Cavemen Ready DeeZee

The models are made to fit with the existing DeeZee range and so are on the large size for 28mm figures but they all fit on a 25mm round base – ideal for a skirmish game. I suspect that they are too tall in reality – from what we know, cavemen tended to be shorter than todays human. We also made the chief slightly larger. He needs to be big to keep his place as the boss!

Cavemen Attack DeeZee

Cavemen Attack DeeZee

There are embryonic plans for a rules set to be used with the figures but these are a long way from being playable, never mind published but the three packs do make sense with what is written so far. It was of course essential to have a chief or leader and we thought that he needed an assistant. I had originally thought that this would be a ‘son’ type figure but Matt came up with the idea of a Shaman. We have probably stretched reality here a bit but the model does look cool, so a Shaman was added, complete with baby Mammoth or baby Brontetherium skull.

Caveman chief and Shaman

The other two packs are the Cave men attacking and Cave men hunting. As the sculpts progressed we decide to have a pack of cavemen that were clearly engaged in some sort of activity with their spears – whether hunting or fighting; and another group that were perhaps a bit more relaxed!

Cavemen attacking

Cavemen attacking

I think that Matt has done a great job with these attacking poses. These men are clearly trying to get their next dinner or fight off a rival tribe. I particularly like the one crouching down in the long grass!

cavemen hunting

cavemen hunting

The cavemen hunting are meant to be walking or stalking as they make their way to find their dinner! My favourite is the guy with his spear over his shoulder, although the one looking over his shoulder would look great in a diorama with a Smilodon lurking in the background.

The clan!

The clan!

Once Matt had finished the sculpts, we went to our friends at Footsore to get the master molds and then the production molds made and the cavemen were ready to launch! The painted models above are my first attempt at painting them and I have tended to go for a simple paint job just to get them ready for the web store pictures. I’ll detail how I went about painting these in next weeks blog but in the meantime if you would like to have a go at painting them for you own ‘tribe’ just click the links below.

We do have plans for more cavemen in the future, both in terms of adding a few more characters to this tribe and producing another rival tribe. As always, much depends on how well these sell through and I am more tortoise than hare when it come to business these days…..BUT watch this space or at least follow us on Facebook to get the latest news!


You can buy all of the DeeZee models from the arcane scenery web store and at the time of writing we supply post free to most worldwide locations!

For the Chief and Shaman, click here:


For the cavemen hunting, click here:


For the cavemen attacking, click here:


For the full tribe, click here:


To see all of the DEEZEE range click here:


Happy modelling!

Black Seas – Age of Sail Battle Game

I’m very fortunate to be in the business of wargaming, modelling and painting, in that I get to see many of the products released in the development stage and well before they hit the shelves. Black Seas is a good example of this. I had seen the ‘test shots’ of the models on Gabrio’s desk ( Gabrio, being the author of the game at Warlord) months ago. However, I try not to get too involved in every new product. And, unless it is directly concerned with my hobby, my excitement stays at a business level.

Occasionally though, something comes along that really excites me as a hobbyist. Black Seas is one of those items! I have been eagerly awaiting it’s release and I am very pleased to have obtained a retailers prelaunch pack. So here is a sneak peak at what you can expect from the Rulebook. I must say at this point that I have only played one game at the Warlord open day and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed it, I wouldn’t review the game play on the basis of that outing, so the focus of this blog is simply on the actual book. No doubt, I’ll bring you a full battle report in a future blog, once I have put my fleet together!


The Black Seas rule book is on my desk!

The Black Seas rule book is on my desk!

The rule book is to the high standards we have come to expect from Warlord. Black Seas is a very well produced, full colour 96 page soft back book containing the rules to the game, scenario’s, back ground information, modelling and painting guides and more. Here’s a selection of pictures from the book, captured using my iPhone, so the picture quality isn’t studio standard but gives you a idea of the book itself!

Core Rules section - a basic introduction to the game

Core Rules section – a basic introduction to the game

First impressions are that the rules are clearly explained, with plenty of diagrams to help understand what is going on.

Movement explained

Movement explained

Once you have mastered the core rules, the additional rules broaden the game.

Additional Rules section

Additional Rules section

As well as the rules to the game there are 13 scenarios to play through to get you familiar with the game mechanics.

The Scenarios section

The Scenarios section

The advanced rules cover items such as Fire Ships, ‘Fire as she bears’, more realistic wind effects (wind effects are simplified in the basic rules), and other add ins to improve the gaming experience.

Advanced rules - Fire as she bears!

Advanced rules – Fire as she bears!

There is a very brief overview of some of the battles of the Carronade era, giving some historical context to the game. This section is illustrated with pictures from Osprey books, so there is plenty of visual reference material to use. This is a good introduction for those not in any way familiar with the naval wars of the period but I suspect that ‘old hands’ will find the section as a useful reminder of stuff they already knew!

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Historical backgroud to the game.

Also for all you ‘land lubbers’ out there, there is a very useful basic guide to the anatomy of a fighting ship of the age!

The anatomy of a fighting ship

The anatomy of a fighting ship

The rules have some ideas as to how you can link your battles to play a campaign, with a small section opening the possibility of linking your Black Seas games into a Black Powder campaign. This has already got me thinking of my Napoleonic Caribbean project!

Campaign Rules

Campaign Rules

And finally, advice as to how to go about rigging and painting the superb miniatures that come with the game. The ship models are at 1/700th scale and are lovely models in their own right. I will be reviewing these in a subsequent blog, as I put my sample ships together!

The Ships painting guide

The Ships rigging guide

The painting guide

The painting guide

So, that’s just a quick look at the inside of the rule book. In my next blog, I’ll look at the other contents of the game as well of course as the ships themselves. But if you would like to see the sprues, then head on over to the Arcane Scenery shop – we still have copies of the latest Wargames Illustrated magazine which has a free sprue from Black seas on the front cover as well as an in depth look at the game.

WI384 frig

The Frigate spue.

The Frigate sprue.


If you are as excited as I am about the new Black seas game, you can pre- order it post free from Arcane Scenery here:


If you would just like the rules book, you can pre-order it here:


Both items will be supplied with the free limited edition figure if you pre – order.

At the time of writing we still have stocks of Wargames Illustrated issue 384 with the free Black seas sprues. You can choose either the frigate sprue:


or the Brig Sprue:


These are selling through quickly, so if you would like a copy, visit my shop or click one of the links.

Happy Wargaming and Modelling!

Whats on the work bench? 21/02/19

Despite being busy painting, nothing is really finished! I seem to have too many ideas and not enough time, although that isn’t really unusual. So this weeks blog is as much an attempt to re focus as to show what is on my work bench. I guess that I am steadily working my way through the lead pile, although I visited the ROBIN show at the weekend and managed to add to it…more on that later.

The Forlon Hope gathers strength!

The Forlon Hope gathers strength!

My Forlorn Hope gathers strength, with another eight figures completed. The facings are yellow, as they are supposed to represent the 29th Worcestershire’s in the Peninsular. They are all individually based as my intention is that they are for a skirmish game rather than a ‘big battalion’ game.

Ensign completed

Ensign completed

The limited edition Warlord Games Ensign is also completed but needs basing. I’m dithering as to whether to put him onto a standard 20mm square base or to use him as a ‘big man’ and base him on a 60mm round base along with the limited addition Rifleman from Warlord. It’s the second option that appeals at the moment as I think they will make a nice contrasting pair.

Riflemen and drummer boy

Riflemen and drummer boy.

As you can see, I actually have two of the Riflemen, so basing one up separately and one with the Ensign will work nicely. I’m going to try a quick paint job on the riflemen as an experiment. I have undercoated them with Army Painter Dark Angel Green and will leave this as the base colour for the uniform, just painting the rest of the detail. Out of focus is the drummer boy for the 29th – yellow is not an easy colour to paint and there are constant queries on social media as to what the best method is. In this case, I have first painted with Vallejo Yellow Ochre and then recoated with Vallejo Deep Yellow. In reality, this is perhaps a bit bright but should show nicely on the wargames table.



I’ve 48 Highlanders assembled, 24 of which are undercoated and 12 of those have made it to the back of the workbench to have their hands, knees and faces painted in flesh. At the moment, I’m distracted by other projects so these are getting a sort of deferred batch paint job! When ever I have some spare time or paint, I’ll put the next colour on – black hats next!

Napoleonic Trebuchet!

Napoleonic Trebuchet!

I mentioned above that I had been to the excellent ROBIN show in Nottingham. Being determined only to buy if it would help me complete an existing project, I had kept my wallet firmly in my pocket until I came across the IronGateScenery stand. Well it was loaded with goodies, all produced using 3D printers and top quality too. My will to hold onto my money was broken by the Mortars and siege ladders but then, having succumbed, I bought the rather lovely Trebuchet, the village well and some Aztec scenery – don’t ask, it all just looks fantastic…

Aztec Scenery

Aztec Scenery – the finished product on the Irongatescenery stand.

To be honest, I could have spent a great deal more as the range is superb. There’s a link to their web site at the bottom of the page so go see for yourself.

DeeZee White Rhino

DeeZee White Rhino

As if I haven’t got enough to do, plans are afoot to expand the DeeZee range. I would like to produce a painting guide to each one of the 37 packs ( with more to come….). I also don’t have my own painted version of this model so I’m starting with him. It’s going to be a busy year!


Although the figures in this weeks blog are not available from Arcane Scenery ( I think some of them may be OOP) all of the finishing and painting products are, even better, we send post free!


You can see the full range of rather lovely scenery from IronGateScenery here:


You can see the full range of DeeZee Models here:


Happy Modelling!

Mortal Gods – Play Testing

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Mortal gods play test event at Boards and Swords in Derby last Sunday. The venue is well worth a visit and if you are anywhere near to the Derby/Nottingham area, you might consider using the venue for a gaming event or hobby day with your mates. There are plenty of tables and the venue is very easy to get to by car, with safe free car parking on site. I think that the growth of such venues is good news for the hobby. Not everyone can find a local gaming club but a venue such as this can soon provide contacts and of course opponents! We have ‘bookmarked’ the venue as a possible location for one of our future Black powder grand scale games! The web site address is at the bottom of the page.

mortal gods

As usual, I digress, back to Mortal Gods. The demo games were organised by Andy Hobday and Mark Farr of War banner, so there was plenty of expertise to help facilitate the games. The game is based on the same game engine as Test of Honour, with all the Samurai background and flavour stripped out and of course, plenty of Ancient Greek flavour added back in! If you are not familiar with Test of Honour, it’s worth explaining that the game is essentially a skirmish game built around small war bands. This makes the game an ideal entry point into a genre that perhaps you hadn’t considered before. I certainly had not planned to start a Samurai Army, but Test of Honour facilitated the start of my collection and allowed me to try the period without having to commit to buying and painting hundreds of figures before I could start gaming.

Test playing Mortal Gods

Test playing Mortal Gods

Test of Courage will do the same job for Ancient Greece. If you have been tempted by such films as ‘the 300’ – the Battle of Thermopylae – or other such or tales but never had the enthusiasm to paint a massive Ancient army, then this game will help to scratch that ‘itch’. A typical war band or Lochos will consist of around 20-30 figures, although it is possible to use more or less, depending on the scenario and the players involved. The other point to make about the game is that it is designed to be exactly that, a game. Whilst Test Of Courage is firmly set in the Ancient Greek realms, it is not designed to be a simulation or does not claim to represent an accurate view of combat in the Ancient world. Andy Hobday is very much focused on producing an enjoyable, cool game with some clever gaming mechanics, whilst Mark Farr and the War Banner team are steeped in the detail of the history and keep the game close enough to the period, with the appropriate troop types and weaponry, to make it feel like you are battling in Ancient Greece.

Not the best dice roll!

Not the best dice roll!

And so back to the play test game. I played two games, the games being superbly umpired by George and Jade, who were there to help with the rules and offer guidance when required. Having played Test of Honour, it was easy get get the general thread of the rules and we were soon focusing on the game rather than the rules. Your units or heroes are activated by drawing tokens and placing them on the appropriate card. The cards of course contain most of the stats and character rules that you need to play, so there is little need to refer to a rules book once you get going.  Most of the action is decided by rolling the special test of Courage dice. Three swords will give you a pass, Medusa’s are bad news! One of the cool changes is the ability to form your hoplites up into a ‘mini phalanx’ making them very tough to take on from the front. However, if you can get around the back….. The other change I like is the ability of your Hero or commander to use activation’s to give orders to other close units. Another mechanic is the fate tokens that are much more influential on the game but easier to come to terms with than drawing extra cards as in Test of Honour. Fate affects everyone in the game – watch out!

Combat begins.

Combat begins.

So when is the game released? Well actually not until March of next year. Which is another cool thing about the guys at War Banner. They are giving the basic game plenty of exposure to gamers and therefore the opportunity for the community to be involved in it’s development. The basic framework is there but in the light of play testing and feedback from gamers they are open to ideas. An example of this was on the day, the test for giving orders was moved from the receiving units stats to the hero giving the order, making it more likely that the order would be passed but still leaving the possibility of a fail occurring.

My Lochos is under way!

My Lochos is under way!

The other point to make is that whilst there may be some changes to the rules, Andy and Mark are working hard to ensure that the presentation of the game is top class. The Art work for the cards, rules tokens and all the other kit that you will need is already looking brilliant. With Stavros Zouliatis busy scuplting figures for the game to supplement the superb Victrix range that is already available and Sarissa Precision in the wings working on some evocative scenery, I can guarantee that the final product will be amazing!


If you would like to visit Boards and Swords here is the link to their website:


If you would like to know more about Mortal Gods: A test of Courage, checkout the Facebook page here:


If you would like to make a start of a mortal Gods Locos, we have some great models in our range of Vitrix Models, available POST FREE to most worldwide locations!


Happy Modelling!


What a Distraction!


What a Tanker rules set.

What a Tanker rules set.

I’m not going to moan about the lovely weather and the Football again! No, I’ve been introduced to a new game, “What a Tanker!”. Written by Richard Clarke and Nick Skinner of Too Fat Lardies fame, the game is a simple and fun game of tank combat in World War Two. Fortunately, the game only really requires Two tanks per player ( you can of course just use one) and most wargamers will have a couple of tanks kicking around their collection somewhere! In my case I have some pre painted 1/72nd scale tanks that I had picked up cheaply as part of yet another of my ‘collections’, so I was good to go! I dusted off my late war Churchill and Sherman 75mm and trotted off to my mates house for a game. That in itself was a pleasure – no hernia inducing lifting of my growing Napoleonic army. Just two tanks, some dice and a ruler and set of rules and I’m sorted!

Sherman and Churchill ready for action

Sherman and Churchill ready for action

To be fair, Andy had set up the table with plenty of scenery, including the obligatory scattering of dead cows that were found over Normandy battlefields. He had also visited the Toofatlardies web site and downloaded the dashboard and other bits. You can see them here:


By the way, as far as I can see the downloads work perfectly- the people making the comments saying that they will not work may need to look at their own computer….

There are plenty of other reviews of the game out there on the net and ‘play through’ videos on Youtube but the one that I found the most useful is the one put together by the Lardies themselves. At just over thirty minutes long , it’s well worth a watch and you will be up to speed with the rules in no time.

The only thing is that I am unable to show you pictures of our game. I was so engrossed with the action, I forgot to take any! What I can tell you is that we had great fun playing the game and once we had got through a couple of turns, most of the rules/gameplay became second nature. The Lardies are experts at ensuring that their games are playable and create the sort of fun that most gamers will enjoy. The idea that initiative changes with each turn encourages players to take risks and creates those ‘cinematic’ show downs to produce high points ( or low… depending who wins through!) that keep the players engrossed in the game and provide the talking points afterwards.

My Sherman seemed to take on the character of a certain Brad Pitt movie, dicing with death and being constantly in harms way. It managed to survive most of the game- clearly there was a contract for a sequel in the offing! Andy’s star tank, a Jadgpanzer IV, quickly dealt with my Churchill, despite the superior armour of the Churchill but then he was promptly forced back into a wood and sat there as no movement dice were available! I think the correct word is schadenfreude as I watched Andy get ever more frustrated that his tank wouldn’t move. Eventually, it was the Jadgpanzer that won through, lumbering out of the wood (pun intended) and finally giving Brad Pitt the heroes ending that he was looking for! He who laughs last and all that…I only needed a small beer to overcome my brief disappointment at losing the game. Brad will no doubt be back again, perhaps next time with something more ‘shooty’ than the Churchill – pass the tank catalogue…

May be I need a bigger tank!

May be I need a bigger tank!

So we have another game to add to our repertoire. A slight distraction from Napoleonics and Samurai but with very little needed to get into the game, a welcome change. If you have a couple of Tanks gathering dust in your collection, I thoroughly recommend this game to you.


If you would like to get hold of this rules set, they are available post free, worldwide, at the time of writing, here:


We have a huge range of 1/72nd scale tank kits in our shop. For a fast build, I recommend the Armourfast range, with two tanks per box, you only need spend £8.50 and you are in the game!


ALL 1/72nd Scale Allied Tanks

ALL 1/72nd Scale Axis Tanks

Finally, if it’s scenery that you need we have plenty! However, We have just added some very nice 20mm or 1/72nd scale buildings to our range!

1/72 scale Buildings

I hope that you have as much fun as we did with these rules!

Genesis of a Terror Bird

I thought that it might be interesting to show the processes involved in bringing a new miniature to the market. Arcane Scenery own the DeeZee range and since purchasing it we have been very slowly expanding the choice of models available. Buying the range was more of a whim than a serious business decision but I was intrigued by the models and the potential  – if we could build the range and revitalise it. That is not quite as easy as it sounds, as I am no sculptor and Arcane Scenery as an online retailer, has no production facilities. We do have the advantage of being right in the middle of the Nottingham ‘Lead Belt’ and as a result, come into contact with some very talented people.

We have recently started working with the guys over at War Banner and inspired by some of the awesome figures that they have been and will be releasing, I decided it was time to add to the DeeZee range. But where to start? Like many in the hobby, I had plenty of ideas and there was no shortage of suggestions from friends and colleagues. After much consideration, I decided that a terror bird would fit into the range and was commercial enough to appeal to the historical collector as well as Pulp, Fantasy and RPG gamers, meaning that we would have a chance of recouping the investment required.

terror bird inspiration

terror bird inspiration

The first job was to find a sculptor. I had in the past been in touch with a few sculptors in the UK but circumstances at the time had stopped me from progressing with the project. So after past false starts, this time, thanks to Andy Hobday at War Banner, the very talented Stavros Zouliatis was contacted.  Stavros had sculpted the soon to be released Warring Clans Samurai figures. I had already been drooling over them as a hobbyist, so when Stavros said that he was not only available to sculpt but also very enthusiastic about the project, it was all systems go! Stavros is based in Greece but despite the distances involved, thanks to the wonders of technology (I am still amazed at what can be done, much to the amusement of the ‘youngsters’ that I work with) it was a relatively simple matter to formulate the model. Using my pinterest board as reference and Facebook messenger as a way of reviewing progress, work was soon under way.

DeeZe Terror Bird being sculpted

DeeZe Terror Bird being sculpted

The picture below shows the Terror bird nearly completed – the sculpting process took about a week on and off.

Terror Bird Complete

Terror Bird Complete

Although the sculpting process was complete, we had to give some thought as to how it would be cast. We decided that the legs would be better as separate pieces to the body and also to add a base.

Terror Bird 'Green' comple and ready fro casting

Terror Bird ‘Green’ comple and ready for casting

The next stage was to turn the ‘green’ ( the name of the original model or prototype – usually made from green stuff epoxy clay) into a metal model.

To do this the green is pressed into a rubber mold and then cooked to produce a master mold. Ben, of War Banner games was responsible for this process. It can be quite traumatic as there is the danger that the original will be damaged by the high pressure involved. I’m happy to say that all went well – we even managed to recover the original ‘Green’, which is often lost in this process.

The mold press machine!

The mold press machine!

Once the first mold or master mold has been made, a number of metal models are cast to produce the production mold. In this case, we have a production mold that will ‘spin’ five models at a time. Depending on the expected demand, some manufacturers will make more than one production mold. It is the production mold that will wear out over time but more production molds can be made using the Master if needed. Part of the skill in producing the master and production molds is to decide where the ‘feeds’ run the metal into the impression of the model. The mold also needs vents to let the excess metal run through to be cut into it. Once again, Ben, from War Banner games has done a great job and the production mold is casting superb models without any flash or excessive feeds.

Terror Bird Production Mold

Terror Bird Production Mold – look carefully and you can see the guys at War Banner have good sense of humour….

terror bird mold open - this is where the metal goes!

terror bird mold open – this is where the metal goes!

It is now just a case of ‘running’ the molds to build the stock of the model so we are ready for orders. We usually hold a stock of DeeZee models so there is no delay in dispatching orders.

Hot metal in the Hotpot!

Hot metal in the Hotpot!

The final stage in the process was to get a model painted. Jasmine Storey-Smith kindly offered to paint the very first Terror Bird from DeeZee. I think that she has done a super job and the model looks just as I hoped that it would.

The Painted Terror Bird

The Painted Terror Bird

Terror bird and Neanderthal

Terror bird and Neanderthal

And so the Terror Bird, DZ35 is ready to launch…Well it’s available to sell – it will never fly! It’s quite a time consuming process and has involved a number of people. As with all of these projects, the materials aren’t really the cost, it is the time and skill of those involved that have to be paid for. I must thank again, the team at War Banner, who as well as supplying their expertise and advice, have been great cheer leaders as well. If you are thinking of commissioning your own range of figures, War Banner have all the facilities, skill and enthusiasm that you will need to get your project up and running.

We certainly will add more models to the DeeZee range. Like I said in the introduction, we are not short on ideas! Who knows, we may have a rules set in the pipeline….

The Commercial Bit

If you would like to buy your very own Terror Bird, (post free at the time of writing!) you can do so here:


You can see the full DeeZee Range here:


If you would like to see more of Stavros’s work or to commission a sculpt , click here:


If you would like help in launching your own range of miniatures or would just like to see the superb War Banner range, click here:


We hope that you enjoy your modelling!

Does Size Matter?

The title, of course, is a cheap shot aimed at getting attention but stems from a serious question from a customer asking if one range of 28mm figures was compatible to another. The answer depends very much on your own standards or personal degree of OCD. I’ll be showing you my thoughts and opinions (never humble – but opinions, nevertheless!) through my own collection of Napoleonic figures. I think the principle will apply to most periods, though.

My collection features at least eight different manufacturers -it's difficult to see them at this distance.

My collection features at least eight different manufacturers -it’s difficult to see them at this distance.

So first of all, lets establish that we are talking about 28mm figures here. Other sizes are available and again, many of my comments are as relevant to them as 28mm figures, particularly when the ‘scale’ is given in millimetres. So whether 6mm, 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm or 28mm we are talking about a size of figure NOT a scale. Whatever manufacturers may claim, it is not really sensible to think of scale when it comes to wargames figures. As a side issue, I get a bit twitchy when I am asked what ‘scale’ a model tree is –  it is rare that such items are a particular scale but simply a depiction of how a tree might look. But I digress and perhaps I’ll look at scenery in another blog.

What scale is this tree?

What scale is this tree?

Back to wargames figures. They are sculpted and manufactured to a size rather than a scale and for 28mm figures this is supposed to be the height, from feet to eye level of the figure. In theory, this means that all figures will be the same size. Which in scale terms is immediately a nonsense. People come in all shapes and sizes. So where has the idea of scale come from? I think in the main, the issue has grown out of the need to match figures to vehicles and guns, particularly as wargamers moved into the industrial age with their games. In the main, a gun or vehicle would be manufactured to a specific size, so one Sherman tank will be identical in size to another. The ‘hobby’ seems to have fixed on 1/56th scale as the ‘right size’ and there is a growing standardisation in this scale for vehicles. That in turn seems to have fed back into figures and customers seem to be increasingly concerned with a ‘scale’ as opposed to a ‘size’.

Peter Crouch was disappointed that he would not be represented in the Spurs Subbuteo team once again

Peter Crouch was disappointed that he would not be represented in the Spurs Subbuteo team once again

From my own point of view, so long as the figures are reasonably similar I guess that I am happy to mix and match…up to a point. Different companies use different sculptors for their figures and this leads to both variations in style and size. At the smaller end of the scale Foundry and HaT produce some nice figures in 28mm but Foundry can be smaller – some are closer to 25mm, although not all the range is so…HaT tend to produce plastic figures that look thinner and more to a ‘scale look’ than the ‘chunkier’ metal manufacturers. Sitting nicely in the middle, the main Plastic manufacturers , Perry, Victrix and Warlord are all very similar and certainly compatible with each other to the point that interchanging components is very straight forward when converting. At the top end of the size comes Front Rank and Trent Miniatures. Front Rank and Trent sculpts are simply superb but tend towards 30mm rather than 28mm.  So how do they all mix. See for yourself.

Infantry comparisons

I deliberately haven’t captioned this picture but I can tell you that there are Foundry, Perry metals & plastics, Warlord, Victrix, Front Rank and Trent Miniatures all present. If you start to look closely enough you will see differences in style and size but are the differences really that great? They look like a natural line of blokes in uniform…

Line infantry Comparison

Line infantry Comparison

This picture shows from right to left, Perry Miniature plastics, Warlord games plastic, Front Rank Metal and Victrix plastic. The most obvious difference is the thicker bayonet on the metal figure.

Light infantry Comparison

Light infantry Comparison

I’m actually not sure but I think the models here are Foundry, Front Rank, Trent Miniatures and Perry metal. Yes, there are slight differences but more in style than size and were they not side by side I think that it would be difficult to tell them apart.

Regiment Comparison

Regiment Comparison

Apologies for the poor photograph, but the point here is that if you use the same manufacturer for different units rather than mix them, the difference becomes less obvious, particularly when on the table. This means that I am more than happy to mix and match manufacturers in my collection and army. I tend to produce one unit from a manufacturer rather than do too much mixing within units. That said, when it comes to skirmishers, as they are individually based, I am happy to mix things up and if there is a noticeable height difference, an extra piece of plasticard under the base can level things out.

The Guards line up ready for battle!

The Guards line up ready for battle!

The final picture shows figures from at least four different manufacturers on the table. With hind sight, my army would look more cohesive if I had been more consistent with the basing! Unfortunately, I have a tendency to experiment with different products and techniques! The old wargaming adage that ‘faces, bases and flags make a good unit’ is great advice and applies to armies as well. I do have plans, or more accurately, dreams, to standardise all my movement trays and that will go a long way to give a more uniform look to my collection.

So, in the end it is up to you whether you mix things up or stick to just one or two manufacturers. My experience is that the majority of the well known manufacturers produce superb figures that in the main are compatible with each other. I guess that some people have their favourites but I have always been happy to mix and match. Without getting too analytical, I think that different people want different things from their hobby. I know that some collectors and wargamers prefer their figures to be identical and all lined up in the same pose. It’s not for me though. When discussing the subject of all units looking the same in the same pose with my wife, her opinion was that if you had 400 blokes marching down the road together, the chances are that at least one would be scratching his arse or picking his nose….

Happy modelling!

You can see our comprehensive range of 28mm Napoleonic models from many of the manufacturers mentioned above all mixed together here:



Another year over, A new one has begun

Not quite John Lennon, but a good intro to my first blog of the year. I had intended to do a review of the year but to be honest, I’m not in the mood to look back, I prefer to look forward. If you would like to know what I have been up to, there are over 40 blog entries from last year to peruse! That said, I’m not one for making New Years Resolutions as such. I prefer a 90 day plan. A year is a long time and there will be plenty to distract me. Test of Honour is a great example. I had never planned to model and paint Samurai or come to that anything Japanese. My focus was very much on building a Napoleonic Army with Saga Dark Age warbands as a happy distraction from churning out battalions of Brits.

My latest additon to my Warband

My latest addition to my Warband

But along came Test of Honour, and I was hooked. I think I know why and bear with me whilst I explain.

Now, first of all, I had been stocking and selling the original Wargames Factory Samurai kits since their release. I had always been a fan of their sets long before they moved across to Warlord Games. I thought that in terms of value for money they were excellent and the sculpts were improving all the time. For those that doubt me here’s a couple of links to earlier blogs written in 2010 and 2011 respectively:



Despite my enthusiasm for Wargames factory, the Samurai kits didn’t really appeal, I was too involved in Napoleonics to consider them as a hobby project. Just to further name drop and show how I missed the early boat, Andrew Chesney, who was working at Warlord at the time, mentioned that he was playing a Samurai game with a couple of other guys from Warlord, a certain Andy Hobday and Graham Davey, did I fancy joining him in a game? At the time, I was again, too wrapped up in my own agenda and politely declined, although I did sell him some nice Japanese buildings that were being produced by Sarissa….

The rather Superb Sarissa Buildings

The rather Superb Sarissa Buildings

I nearly got hooked on the Samurai vibe when Zvezda released their 1/72nd range but 1/72nd is really not my preferred scale and although we commissioned some Japanese scenery in this scale, it didn’t take off either as a game or a range. Zvezda seem to lose interest quite early on as well and although some of the sets are still available, as far as I can see the range is not included in their latest catalogue and is disappearing fast.

The release of Ronin by North Star and Osprey books was also tempting. The miniatures are lovely but the rules didn’t quite capture my interest, nor more importantly, that of my gaming buddies, who like me were focusing elsewhere.  So, no Samurai for me then…until Test of Honour was released last year.

New from Warlord Games, Test of Honour

New from Warlord Games, Test of Honour

I wrote about the initial release in my blog here:


and my conversion to the game here:


It would appear that I am hooked. The appeal for me is the simple game mechanics that expand with each supplement that you buy. This results in the game having collectability as well as allowing you to field all sorts of variations in your warband. Of course, this also means that there is depth to the game. As you build your warband, more tactical options are available. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not designed to be an accurate historical recreation of Samurai Warfare and this is quite liberating for a Napoleonic Wargamer. It’s simply a game using Samurai figures with just enough flavour to make it feel authentic. You can get through a game in an hour or less. This seems to ensure that nobody takes winning or losing too seriously – you can always have another chance to win if a game goes against you.

My own take on the Widow Takeda - Black seemed appropriate to me.

My own take on the Widow Takeda – Black seemed appropriate to me.

As you are encouraged to build your own retinue, you can either research a historical clan or simply design your own – again, a very liberating process for a historical wargamer. I guess as my collection grows, so will my very limited knowledge of the period but for now I am happy to focus on the modelling and painting and enjoy the freedom of creating my own collection of both models and scenery.

So no New Years Resolution for me as such. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a list of Projects to get on with but filling a year would be silly. I know what’s coming later in the year and it’s going to be brilliant… and I’m not just talking about Samurai!

So watch this space, or even better, follow us on Facebook. We will let you know what’s coming as soon as we can but for now, just leave a bit of space in your modelling schedule. As for those of you yet to try Test Of Honour, if you have a like minded gaming buddy, give it a go. The boxed set has pretty much everything that you will need for two players to get started for just £35.00 and we ship post free worldwide. But, don’t blame me if you get hooked!




Merry Christmas!

We would like wish all of our Arcane Scenery Customers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for your valued custom over the last year, we look forward to trading with you again in the New Year.

I hope that you all get the chance to spend some time with your families and perhaps like me, when things quieten down, sneak off and do some more painting and modelling. If not, perhaps dream of all the projects that you intend to complete in the coming years whilst snoozing off the effects of a fabulous Christmas dinner!

Just a note to say that all items purchased up until 2.30pm Friday 22nd will be dispatched by first class post or small packet airmail. We will be back into work on Wednesday 27th to post and pack again and will answer all emails and messages then.

Just in case Santa didn’t quite bring you everything that you were hoping for, Arcane scenery has a small present for you. If you spend more than £25.00 in our shop, enter BADSANTA at checkout and get another 10% off! That should help you top up on any modelling essentials that you need for the New Year! Remember, most of our items will be dispatched post free worldwide.

There are some fantastic new releases coming out in the New Year. The first of which will be ‘Gangs of Rome’. We will be taking preorders – keep an eye on the website for details!


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