How Many Samurai?

Starting a new army can be somewhat daunting. I can see the appeal of small skirmish games where only a dozen or so figures are required but even Never Mind The Bill Hooks requires about 120 figures and from a standing start that’s still quiet a commitment to painting. So when I decided to write an adaption to Never Mind the Bill Hooks for Samurai battles – Never Mind The Bushido, I quickly realised that the army was going to take some time to paint.

Samurai vs Landsknecht – which is quicker to paint?

I did have a bit of a start. I had in the past been playing Test of Honour and so had a few painted figures with which to start the army. However, based on my initial army list from the first draft of the rules, I am going to need at least 131 figures. Well, I managed to create a Landsnkecht force of similar size so I just need to get on with it! As you will know if you have read my last blog article, I have started to upgrade my Test of Honour force and I now have 36 Warlord Games Ashigaru painted, as well as 18 of the new Fireforge Ashigaru ready for action. Add in 6 Warlord Ashigaru armed with teppo and a couple of Warlord Samurai and I have the makings of an army.

The next task was to paint some Samurai warriors. I would need at least 24 fighting troops in two units, as well as another seven based as leaders. I have decided to batch paint the Fireforge Samurai and started by painting a test model. As you can see from the top picture, I went for a simple colour scheme. For the Samurai, rather than dry brushing the armour to highlight it, as I did for the Ashigaru, I decided to leave the armour as a solid black and instead paint the stitching in a colour to add interest to the figure. I was also looking for a fast way to produce some reasonably painted figures that would look good as a unit. Perhaps I will spend a bit more time on the Samurai leaders but for now I need quantity!

The first four figures painted as a batch ready for basing.

Once I had figured out a basic scheme, I decided to paint them as a batch. Using of all colours, Vallejo Japanese uniform for the cloth. By producing these four, I now had a ‘Template’ for the next batch. This time I would go for eight to give me my first unit.

The next batch of eight on the work bench

I chose light turquoise for the clothing on four figures and stone grey for the other batch. Everything else will be the same colours for the batch, with perhaps the stitching on the armour also varying between the four. I fancy Blue for the turquoise and red for the stone grey but I may change this when the paint hits the figure! This should result in a unit of Samurai that look similar but not identical as you would expect. It also means that I should get this first batch finished within a week or so. My target is to have the army completed by the end of February! I’ll keep you informed of progress in future blogs.


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


Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year!

Christmas is nearly upon us, so a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all of my Friends, Customers, Facebook associates and any one else that that takes the time to read my blog!

To be fair, my blog is as much a self indulgence as it is anything else. I hope that it is of use to fellow hobbyists as I try to share my research and thoughts on the hobby. I think that there are some useful tips and techniques and perhaps reading how someone else goes about building a collection or army is useful. Even if this means you avoid my mistakes!

Just some of the models in my Japanese collection.
A few more models in the cabinet

It certainly is useful for me! For one thing, it keeps me focused on a particular project and it is an invaluable record of how I have done things in the past. A good example is my most recent project. I have written an adaptation of the ‘Never Mind The Bill Hooks’ rules for Samurai warfare – ‘Never Mind the Bushido’. Before I unleash these rules onto the Never Mind The Bill Hooks community, I want to sanity check them and make sure that some of the new mechanics that I have introduced actually work in a gaming situation as opposed to in my imagination!

In order to play test the rules I need an army. The easy way would be to borrow one from the generous friends that have made this offer. However, that would leave me in a position of not being able to play my own rules, should they be successful. No, I have to bite the bullet, so to speak, and get painting!

My new army taking shape – a mixture of Warlord and Foreforge figures

I do have a helpful starting point. I was very much into the original ‘Test of Honour’ game and I had painted a large war band as well as some scenery (see pictures above) All I needed to do was to paint the additional figures to up grade my collection into units for NMTB. I will need about 120 figures and my first army list will look something like this:

24 Samurai Warriors ( possibly in 2 units)

24 Ashigaru armed with Yari ( spears to form a ‘pike block’)

24 Ashigaru armed with Yumi (bows)

12 Ashigaru armed with Naginata (bills)

12 Ashigaru in two bands of six armed with Teppo (guns) as ‘Skirmishers’

8 Mounted Samurai armed with Bows

8 Mounted Samurai armed with Naginata or Katana

At least 7 Samurai Leaders

The rules also have an option of Ninja being ‘bought’, so I’ll need six of these!

The four to the left are the new additions – copied from the one on the right, thanks to my blog! Just the basing to finish.

Which brings me back to my blog. I have 8 Ashigaru armed with bows already painted. To get my first unit of 12 all I need to do is to add another 4. So when it came to remembering just how I painted them originally and the colours used, all I had to do was to check back on my blog and all the information that I needed was there! It is worth noting that it was 2017 when I last painted these! Without my blog, I would have struggled to remember how to start again!

If you would like to see more articles about how I built my Japanese Samurai collection, including the scenery, click on the link below to my Samurai category in my blog. I suspect that the New Year will bring a few more articles on this subject!



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


Lots of Painting Time….

I’ve found my modelling time somewhat curtailed these last few weeks. I have been doing quite a lot of painting, just the wrong sort. We decided to re decorate the Hall, Stairs and Landing, the sort of project that I should have delegated to someone else! For a start it involved painting 11 doors and the respective frames, the woodwork on the stairs and the skirting boards. Add to that the ceilings and stripping the old wall paper off, making good the surfaces and then painting the walls ( just two coats…) and it’s fair to say that we had our work cut out. At my age and now that I am carrying a tad too much around the waist, going up ladders is never a good idea either. But I managed it and with a bit of innovation ( taping a brush to a stick!) I managed to reach all of the tall corners to cut in properly.

Glossing the doors!

When it comes to painting woodwork, I’m old school, preferring to sand every thing down to get a decent key for the paint and then undercoating before applying the finishing top coat – Satin rather than gloss for me these days. I also prefer the oil based paints, which do come with their own distinctive smell that seems to linger but the finish is good and hard wearing. An innovation for me this time was to apply both the undercoat and the top coat using foam rollers. The finish was better than anything that I could have achieved with a brush and cut the painting time in half and the clean up time to practically zero ( you just dispose of the rollers when done).

The old Ceiling rose…how come so many different coloured wires?

I then took on the job of replacing the light fittings and the old thermostat for the central heating, which worked but was very discoloured and tatty. This turned out to be too much of a stretch for my DIY talents but fortunately, I didn’t electrocute myself or burn the house down. I did need rescuing by my neighbour and very good friend Barry, who is a trained electrician and managed to sort out the problems that I encountered.

When it came to the new flooring, I did get an expert in, although I did take up the old wooden stuff that I had laid many years ago. The last bit was to replace the hall stand with a new shoe locker from IKEA. Walking around that place is guaranteed to get your 10000 steps in! So after a final bit of construction, everything is more or less done. There’s a new carpet to be laid on the stairs and we are having a new banister fitted but both of these jobs are being done by professionals , so I’m off the hook!

Pippin and Merry or Merry and Pippin, I forget which one is which!

All of which means that whilst I’ve done a fair bit of painting, not much of it was on my miniatures! I did manage to complete another two LOTR miniatures, Pippin and Merry. I’ve also started a new project. I am writing a set of rules that will adapt Never Mind The Bill Hooks to the Samurai era of Japanese warfare. I have started to build and paint a new Samurai army based around the Fireforge sets, which I have also reviewed for Wargames Illustrated. I wont repeat my review here – you will need to get hold of the January edition of WI to read that but here’s a couple of pictures of the fireforge models being assembled.

Finally, here’s a picture of the first painted Ashigaru – I always do a test figure or two, before I start the batch painting of the units. I’ve picked up a few things to correct. I’m not that happy with the flesh but will have a play with a slightly different approach on the next models.

Test shot of my first Ashigaru

I will need to paint at least 100 or so of the Fire Forge models to get just one army ready to play test my rules. So it will be early next year before I am ready to go. I guess that I could just use unpainted models or buy some ready painted but as you will note from my exploits in decorating, I am just hard wired to DIY!


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


Partizan – Free Figures

Just a quick blog this week. As a change from painting the rather colourful Gendarmes, I gave myself a break and painted the free figure that was given out at the ‘Other Partizan’ in October of this year, General Sikorski, leader of the Free Polish army in the Second World War. As I am reducing my Lead Pile, I also decided to have a go at another Partizan figure, a Kelham Hall Monk. This figure is the 29th figure given out at Partizan, I think in about 2012! I actually had two of these for some reason – perhaps a friend had given me his, so it made sense to paint them both.


General Sikorski has a special significance to Newark, the home of Partizan. He was buried in the Polish War cemetery in Newark after his death in 1943 before his remains were returned to a free Poland in 1993. As an aside, my daughter lives practically next door to Newark Cemetery, so I have visited the Polish war graves many times.

The Polish War memorial at Newark

I painted the General Sikorski in British uniform colours – it looked fairly close to the Polish uniform. So a base coat of Burnt Umber, followed by a mid coat of British Uniform and highlighted with Khaki Grey – all Vallejo colours. The hat has a red hat band with gold trim. I could be wrong with this as I have seen officers also wearing hats with a light blue band.

Kelham Hall Monk

As for the Kelham hall Monks, I actually found a picture that the figure was based on. It looks as though he was designed to be used in the Very British Civil War rules. Here’s a link to the blog and the original creator of the concept:


Based on this illustration, it made sense to use pretty much the same colours! Here are the finished figures:

Another three figures go into the cabinet and out of the lead pile. I now have eleven of the Partizan figures painted. It would be nice to have the full set but first I need to paint the other seven that I have in the lead pile! I’m in no rush and I find that painting these are a nice diversion from my other projects. You can see most of the Partizan figures here:



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


More Gendarmes

Having finished my resin Gendarmes, I decided to crack on and paint the Gendarmes that I had picked up from Foundry Miniatures. They are actually listed as Casting Room Miniatures but are an off shoot of the Foundry brand and available from the factory shop in East Stoke.

Once again, I have to point out that my research with regards to the actual colours that these knights appeared in is limited. I used the Foundry web store pictures and references that I found on Pinterest and Google images as a guide. To be fair, in some cases, I simply attempted to copy the superb work that other people had produced. If you type French gendarme knights into google and click on the images tag, you will see plenty of inspirational images and for that matter, models. Here’s just a couple.

You can also access my pinterest page here:


If you do follow the links, it’s worth clicking through to some of the blogs. You will see some of the models that have influenced me (those that I copied!) and there is some good background research. In painting these Gendarmes, I was aware that I may be closer to Fantasy that reality. However, some of the artwork shows some amazing designs – I nearly copied a knight with bee hives and bees painted on his horse’s armour but decided it was too complex! As it is, my free hand was being pushed beyond what I would normally attempt!

And so to the miniatures. The Foundry (Casting Room) miniatures are lovely chunky models with plenty of character and detail. The horses are perhaps a bit smaller than the Perry miniatures but once based, I doubt that it will be a noticeable difference. They were a joy to paint and needed very little cleaning up. Rather than detail the painting process, the general method that I followed was to block paint the horses and armour with the base coat colour. Then to apply the freehand design. The difficulty that I encountered was my lack of skill in replicating the exact design on both sides of the horse. I soon realised that you cant see both sides at once anyway so it wasn’t so much of a problem!

Once the freehand design was completed, I shaded the colours with either black, brown or light brown ink from the Army painter range. I find that Black ( Dark tone) works well over Silvers, White and Blues, the dark brown (Strong Tone) is good for Reds and Leathers and the light Brown ( Soft Tone) is good over yellows. Once the colours were inked, I then re-highlight with the original colours, occasionally adding a further highlight of a lighter tone. This gives me a clean a bold finish that I prefer. It might not be to everyone’s taste but as I am slightly red/green colourblind, I like to see the colours clearly and anything too subtle is lost on me!

When it came to the lances I decided to use the very pretty candy stripe design on each lance, choosing the colours to match the livery. To get the candy stripe effect, I painted the lighter colour on the lances first and then used Tamiya flexible 2mm masking tape to get a spiral design and then painted the darker colour. It’s not always perfect but a bit of retouching and it looks fine! I suspect that these lances would not have appeared on the battlefield but would be reserved for the jousting yard or parades. I guess that if it came to the actual battle, if they decided to charge, they could always get their Squire to change lances.

The unit is nearly finished – just the tufts and flowers to add

I had intended to put flags on each lance and ordered a selection from Pete’s flags. Although the flags are lovely it seemed that it would be too much to add them to the lances. Thanks to a suggestion from a facebook comment, I think that I will model a commander and banner man as a separate command stand. That can wait for now though!

The finished unit ready for battle!

So. another unit is ready for Battle – I now have a growing army for the Italian Wars. I think that after painting these I will have a break from the period and complete something a bit more straight forward. I also have a Japanese project that I’m itching to get on with….Watch this space!


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!


Having finished my Landsknechts force (for the time being…) I thought that I would add some heavy cavalry and I fancied painting some Gendarmes. Although it goes against the grain somewhat – adding French troops to my collection, that is – I couldn’t resist having a go at painting these ‘fancy Dans’!

Having spent a little time researching the options to purchase some of these heavily armoured knights, I chose two very different options. I bought eight 3D printed resin knights from Terrain Store on eBay and six metal ones from Foundry Miniatures. I also had three spare Perry Miniatures plastic knights that would give me a total of 17 figures; two units of 8 gendarmes and a commander. I am happy to mix and match manufacturers. By and large the size difference is minimal and can be hidden with some careful basing.

At 24 points a unit, the chances of fitting these Gendarmes into a typical ‘Bill Hooks’ army seems remote and for that matter, impractical but they will look nice in the cabinet!

Work in progress – some of the 3D print lines are obvious from this close up – they’ll pass as battle damage!

Just a brief note about the 3d resin figures. The detail on these figures is simply beyond anything achievable in casting metal or plastic. With separate reins on the horses, detailed spurs, raised visors with open vision slits and more, I couldn’t wait to get paint onto these figures. There was a slight downside, however. Whilst the fine detail is wonderful, larger surfaces are actually not so good, with the 3d printing lines showing up across some of the armour plates and other flat surfaces. You could really only see these once the models were painted and I was happy to treat these as ‘battle damage and scratches!

The resin lances were quite badly bent and difficult to straighten, even with hot water treatment.

Also the lances were anything but straight. I managed to correct some by dipping them into hot water and clamping to a straight surface but lost a number to breakage in the process. I had to replace the broken lances with ones from the Perry mounted men at arms set. So, I’m not quite a convert to 3d resin figures yet and I have yet to see how they will survive the rigors of gaming or for that matter, time.

A Perry plastic lance cut ready to replace the bent resin one – I used a razor saw to cut near the base of the resin lance and simply super glued the replacement.

When it came to painting the figures, my main references were Pinterest and other internet picture sites. There has been some discussion on the Facebook Bill Hooks site recently, as to what is ‘accurate’ when it comes to livery or colours for this period. As I rarely attempt to model a specific character or unit for a specific battle, I’m not too concerned with the detail. There were 2000 or so Gendarmes at the Battle of Pavia. If I was so minded, I suppose that I could find out who they were and maybe what they were wearing but it’s not my idea of a good use of my time. I wanted to paint some really colourful Knights that will look good on the table as they make a glorious charge to victory or oblivion in my little table top battles.

First two knights in plain armour.
Ser Loras leads the charge!

With the freedom to use whatever colour scheme took my fancy, I have gone from some fairly conservative colours to those bordering on fantasy. The white armour with the roses is inspired by the Tyrells of Highgarden – they use a yellow rose on a green background but when I first read the Game of Throne books, I had imagined Ser Loras in white armour.

The black and red schemes are based on various illustrations that I have seen, although my freehand skills were not up to some of the details! As for the lances, the ‘barber shop’ twisting patterns were inspired by other models that I had seen and look pretty, if unlikely. I doubt that they were used in battle but rather saved for the tournaments in the tilt yard. It’s fairly easy to paint the spirals using 2mm flexible masking tape (Tamiya) to mask off the base colour as you apply the darker top colour.

Seven Knights in the picture but the red knight is still being painted and the Black knight needs basing.

I’ve completed six of the resin knights so far, with two more in progress, so this will be my first unit. I intend to paint the Foundry knights as well and I will go for flamboyant colour schemes to see if I can push my freehand on again! I haven’t covered the details of painting these figures. I’ve used the same procedure as usual; that is block paint, wash and highlight. The exact colours are not important as I have already ‘confessed’ that I have not followed a particular livery scheme.

Finally, I mentioned that I had bought a Pegasus from Foundry for my Granddaughter Emily. Well, here’s a picture of her progress with the model. She has of course chosen the colour scheme and followed the block paint and ink method to paint it – just some basing to finish and Emily will have a nice model for her bedroom shelf. I may yet convert her to wargaming!


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


Happy modelling!

Landsknechts – Finishing The Army

My intention was to produce a Landsknecht force that I could field using the Bill Hooks Deluxe rules set. Having painted a force of three units of 24 pikemen, along with three units of 6 gunsmen, I felt that the only other requirement would be to add some artillery. I already have a few guns in my collection but any excuse to add some more sent me searching online. I also needed an army commander and although I had some nice models on foot that could fulfill the role, I wanted a mounted general so that he could move quickly on the battlefield to rally any daunted troops.

To start with the General first, I copied an idea from Andy Callan, who in turn based his model on the cover of the Osprey book on Landsknechts.

It’s actually a very straight forward conversion. I simply took a Perry Miniature mounted man at Arms with the fully armoured horse and added a Warlord games Landsknecht head that looked about the same as the guy in the picture. I also added some spare feathers to the the rear of the horse armour and the commanders staff was made by cutting down a spear arm from the same Perry’s set.

My Landsknecht commander – Heinrich Kane of Bayern!

You can’t see it in the above picture but I’ve also given him a big dog as a companion. I’ve re-used an existing base that I had and will at some point make another and change the dog from ‘the biggest spotty dog you ever did see’ (older readers will get the reference and joke) to something more Germanic – a Great Dane or Rottweiler seems appropriate. I like to add dogs to my army – it helps that I have direct access to the Deezee range!

DZ30 Large Dogs Pack

With the General sorted it was back to the artillery. My internet search had resulted in me settling on the guns and crew produced by Foundry Miniatures. Again, I am lucky to have easy access to Foundry. They are just 9 miles up the road from my house, so I was able to spend a pleasant couple of hours visiting them and showing my Granddaughter the Church and Battlefield at East Stoke. As well as purchasing two of the guns and crew, I also picked up a couple of packs of Gendarmes and a winged unicorn for my Granddaughter Emily! I have to report that the service at Foundry was first class. The young lad on ‘front of house’ was extremely helpful and ensured that I was able to get the models that I wanted. You can read about one of my previous visits to the Stokes Field Battlefield and find links to Foundry here:


Stokes field – the view to Hoveringham and the Trent – The Yorkists retreated over these fields!

Foundry Miniatures are sometimes thought of as being smaller than the current ’28mm’ crop of models. I have not found this to be so. As a general rule, some of the older ranges maybe but I found that the Landsknechts were, if anything, more on the large size but certainly compatible with Warlord and Perry Miniatures. I suspect that one of the Perry’s probably sculpted these figures.

When it came to painting them, I simply copied the figures on the Foundry web site. I actually went a bit rogue with the colours on the guns. According to one reference that I had read, the wheels were natural wood and the carriages painted red. I decided I preferred the wheels painted red and the carriages in natural wood. What a rebel, Heh!

I decided to base them on the Sarrisa Precision Terrain tiles for a couple of reasons. First of all they were large enough to accommodate the guns and secondly, I have vague ideas of making a larger diorama/encampment. Here’s the painted guns and crews on the bases.

Landsknecht Artillery on bases prior to finishing.

You can see that I use sabot style basing so if in the future I change my mind, it’s a simple matter to remove the figures and guns. The following picture sequence shows how I made the bases.

The frames are made from thin box wood, the gaps roughly filled with spare MDF and then all the gaps filled with milliput.
The bases are covered with Vallejo texture Paste.
The bases now painted, scatter and tufts added
A bit of work in progress, the next terrain tile with gabions will be an extra that I can add if I want a defended position!

So that’s the Landsknechts done – here’s a view of the army ( with the artillery not on the bases.)

The light cavalry in the background are a temporary unit – I intend to add some Stradiots in the near future. That’s once I have finished my Gendarmes…

Work in progress – Gendarmes – I plan to have two units of 8 and a leader!


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


Painting Landsknechts

Following on from my last blog post. Here is a rough guide to how I batch painted my Landsknechts. I am using Warlord Games plastic Landsknechts. I assembled them in batches of 12 models and once assembled and cleaned up, I primed them in Army Painter Uniform grey. I had thought about using a white primer, which would have given the colours a brighter base to paint over but decide to stick with grey as I find it more forgiving if you miss a bit of painting on a figure!

Once primed, I painted the flesh with Vallejo flesh 70955.

I then picked out the armour plates, chain mail and spear tips in Army Painter plate mail. There was one exception, The figures on the far right of the back rank was left as I intended to give him painted armour. I’ve no idea whether this is historically accurate but I had seen some pictures of helmets painted in this way.

At this point, I decided that a batch of twelve wasn’t going to work for me, so I took three figures, painted the hair and then started to block paint the first colour – in this example 70950 Black.

Next, I added the red, 70957. It looks a bit messy at this stage but I tend to tidy up as I go. There’s no plan that I’m following – I just paint the block colours in as the mood takes me!

I’ve now added a third colour to the figures – 70917 beige.

The fourth colour is off white 70820 – we are nearly done with the block paint!

The belts ( front and back) and the shoes are painted 70871 leather. I used this on all of my figures regardless of the colour scheme chosen.

The pikes are painted with Panzer Aces Old Wood 310.

The flesh is now given a wash using Game Ink 72093.

The Black, Red, Plate Mail and White ares are washed with Army painter dark tone – I thin this down slighty with water to make it a bit lighter and easier to flow.

The beige and hair is washed with soft tone.

The next stage is to re paint over the washes with the original colours ( including the flesh) where needed, leaving the wash in the recesses as shading. This gives the colours that nice bright look that I like. If you prefer a more weathered look you could ignore this stage. However, it doesn’t take as long as you would think and if you dont retouch everything it doesn’t matter.

I added some detail by painting the belt buckles and the decoration on the armour with gold 70996 and retouched any errors that I’ve spotted.

I’ve started the basing process. I just spread vallejo dark earth texture paste 26218 and added some fine ballast for extra texture. I’ve covered my basing process in many previous blogs. It’s now just a question of painting, dry brushing, and adding some scatter and tufts.

The next three figures are painted using the same process but I’ve used 70901 Pastel Blue instead of Black and the floppy hats are painted with red leather 70818 and varying the hair colour. By changing up the colours in this way, you get a variety of finishes.

With these three figures I used a very simple yellow, Black and white scheme. the yellow was first painted as Yellow ochre 70913, shaded with Soft tone and then repainted withy yellow ochre before being highlighted with 70915 deep yellow. The imperial eagle is hand painted. It looks a bit rough up close but from a reasonable distance will pass!

Another colour combo in progress. this time 70965 Prussian Blue with 70814 Burnt red and beige and white as background colours. There’s a multitude of choice when it comes to colour combo’s but I think that by limiting the colours for each batch, it makes painting faster and easier but the end result is still very colourful and varied.

Here is the finished block of twelve prior to final basing. I hope that this is useful to anyone starting out or thinking of painting a Landsknecht force. It’s not a fast project but they do look nice, if I say so myself!


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


Landsknechts – Building the Army.

My First Completed Landsknechts

I have been steadily painting a Landsknecht force for ‘Never mind The Billhooks’. I first painted some of these colourful troops back in 2021. I had a sprue of gunsmen that were given away with Wargames Illustrated 383 back 2019 and they had been consigned to the lead pile until I thought that it would be a good idea to add them in as skirmishers to my WOTR army. The truth was that I just fancied painting something different for a change and six figures didn’t seem like a big investment in time. You can see the original blog here:


Having painted 6 Gunsmen, I thought that that would be it. However, I bought another couple of sprues from Warlord in the sale. My ‘excuse’ was that I would use them for crew on my galleys in ‘Nevermind the Boat hooks’. While I was at it, I also added some Doppelsoldiers armed with the Zweihanders- again as crew for my galleys. Thus my Landsknecht army gradually expanded!

However, the push that I needed to commit to making a full Landsknecht contingent came from an off beat source. I have been reading the fantasy books by Joe Abercrombie. If you haven’t read these books, I recommend that you do! The characters are superb and the action and dry humour is just top class. One of my favourite characters in the books is the mercenary captain, Nicoma Cosca. In my imagination, he is the perfect Landsknecht captain, first of all leading the mercenary band the Thousand Swords and then the smaller but no less ill disciplined and deadly mercenary unit, ‘The Gracious Hand’.

In an exchange with another character, Nicoma Cosca is getting dressed to lead his men into battle. He asks;

“How do I look?”

“Like a pimp lost his mind in a military surplus store”

“Exactly the look I was going for!”

Well, that sort of sums up Landsknechts for me! The final push was the publication of the expanded NMTBH’s rule book, Billhooks Deluxe, which covers the periods of the Burgundian- Swiss and Italian wars and of course, includes rules for using Landsknechts.

As for reference, I fell back on the tried and trusted Osprey series, as well as a number of articles in Wargames Illustrated. Of course, the internet provided plenty of reference, from pictures on Pinterest, various blogs ( once again, Camisodo is a superb reference – I used him to help with my Irish army). I wasn’t overly concerned with specific colours, I just wanted to create a really different and bright looking army.

When it came to choosing the figures, in the main, I have used the Warlord Plastic sets. I prefer plastics over metals for the main army as it makes transport and storage easier and the plastics tend to be more durable on the tabletop and easier to repair if broken. The other aspect that I liked about the warlord figures is that the crisp molding and clear representation of the various types of ‘uniform’ make it easy to pick out and paint the details. Having painted the plastics, I tried my hand at some metal figures, notably the Artizan range and now that I understand how the various frills, slashes and armour all work together, I found painting the metal figures more straight forward than had I started with them. Incidentally, the Artizan figures are superb and entirely compatible with Warlord and Perry figures.

One down side of the Warlord figures is that they are all very similar and a limited in the poses available. I varied how they looked with a few head swaps from the Perry sets. I also mixed up the arms and heads supplied to get a good mix.

As I became a bit more adventurous, I tried a few simple conversions. The easiest was to have a Landsknecht holding his hat – the figure in the middle below, looking remarkably similar to Rick Priestly, is my first attempt! Incidentally, the head is from the Fireforge Northern Folk Rabble set!

When it came to painting, I did some batch painting but eventually gave up and just painted three or four figures at a sitting using a limited pallet of colours. In my next blog article I’ll show my step by step approach and the colours that I used. Although I wanted a really bright and colourful army, I also wanted some similarities to the figures to try and tie them together. So all of the pikes were the same colour, as were the socks, shoes, belts and in the main, the feathers.

As you will have noticed, I haven’t finished basing most of the figures in the pictures. I’ll show you the completed units in the next blog – as I write this, I am just four figures away from completing three pike blocks!


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


Good Grief, it’s August!

It seems that every blog post that I’ve written recently starts with an excuse as to why I haven’t published anything in the last couple of weeks. Well, I’ve out done myself now and it is a couple of months since my last blog.

In that time, I’ve had a nice holiday to Santorini, where as well as sampling the local wine and food, I did manage to visit the Archaeological site at Akrotiri, an ancient village consumed by the volcanic eruption back in 1700BC. The site is huge, with most of the village or town, being preserved by the covering of ash from the volcanic eruption. Incidentally, it is this eruption that is thought to have caused a massive tidal wave that overcame Crete, thus prompting the legend of Atlantis. If you would like to know more, I attach a link to the Wikipedia article and a visitors guide:



As well as the visit to ancient Akrotiri, I also explored the local castle above the modern Akrotiri village, built by the Venetians to guard the settlement from attacks by pirates and Barbary Raiders. The history hit was most enjoyable but didn’t inspire me to start any more new projects!

I am still very invested in ‘Nevermind The Billhooks’ and it’s various spin offs. Whilst lounging on my sun bed I did manage to read Dan Jones ‘The Hollow Crown’, a very readable and entertaining history of the Wars Of The Roses, If you haven’t read this, I thoroughly recommend it as a very good overview of the period.

As well as recharging my batteries, I have been steadily assembling and painting a Landsknecht force for the next Billhooks BASH at Derby. The event is due to take place on 2 September and it will be a close run thing as to whether my force will be ready. I now have two pike blocks of 24 Landsknechts finished, together with 18 Gunsmen. This means that I will need to get another 24 pikes finished, together with some artillery and a unit of cavalry.

Here’s a shot of the army so far.

And the next batch that will complete the two Pike blocks..

Heres a close up of the commander of the ‘Vorhut’ block – Lorenzo de Pala.

My intention is to publish a guide on how I went about painting these but dont hold me to this….I’m too busy trying to get the army finished in time for the Billhooks BASH event!


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


Workbench round up for May

The subtitle should be ‘where did that month go’! If you were to talk to my wife, she would confirm that I have spent as much time as ever out in the war room painting but somehow, I don’t have quite as much to show for the time. I think that I know the answer, I can sum it up in one word: Landsknechts! More on these later.

I have completed a rather odd trio of personality figures. In the middle is Irena Sendler or as she is sometimes known, Irena Sendlerowa. The figure was given out at the recent Partizan show and in keeping with my resolution not to add to my lead pile, rather than putting ‘her’ to one side, she was promoted to the painting desk. I needed to find out who exactly Irena was and why she was being sculpted at all. This wiki article will tell you all you need to know:


Suffice to say, she was a Polish hero that fought the Nazis in WW2, rescuing many Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and I am glad that researching the figure gave me the opportunity to read her story. I decided to place her on a renedra paved base, surrounded by debris as a nod towards the conditions in which she was working. I’m not entirely pleased with the ‘finished’ result – I’ve made a bit of a hash with her eyes, which confirms why I usually dont bother! I may have to go back and have another attempt!

The other two figures are from the ‘Battle Games in Middle Earth’ magazine. I am gradually working my way through the series and with these figures, I have now reached issue 31.

King Theoden was the most challenging to paint. I’m very happy with the result and he is now safely in the display cabinet.

I’m also quite happy with the Uruk-Hai berserker. A much more straight forward paint job than Theoden but a nice addition to the collection. I must at some point have a round up of all the figures that I have painted in this collection just to show them off. Perhaps a project to mark when I reach issue 50!

The project that is taking most of my painting time is my Landsknecht unit. I have decide to branch out into the Italian wars for ‘Never Mind The Billhooks’ by painting a Landsknecht contingent. I’ll need about 96 figures and at the rate I am painting, I should have them done for the autumn!

As you can see, I have 12 Dopplesoldiers more or less complete and 6 pikemen well on the way. I hope to do a full article showing how I have approached the task of painting them. It’s certainly a challenge but they do look nice when they are done! Like everything, the more you do the easier it becomes as you learn that there are some quick wins. So that’s it for now.


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


Building the ‘George’

I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I am an expert when it comes to Medieval Ships in wargaming. However, I do have some experience of boat building. My model ship building almost predates my involvement in wargaming and in my younger years, I was a competent sailor of Marblehead yachts and a member of the Gosport model boat club. In an effort to improve my knowledge on the topic, I do spend my lunchtimes perusing the internet searching for information and it would seem to me that there is much that we don’t know about the development of ships in the Medieval period.

I found this piece to be quite interesting:

At the beginning of the 15th century the big seagoing sailing-ship had one mast and one sail. Fifty years later she had three masts and five or six sails. Unfortunately this great change comes just at a time when we are very badly off for pictures or descriptions of ships. English inventories of 1410-12 have been published and these give little light on the first stage of the change, but after that comes darkness. Other inventories of about 1425 are known to exist, but they have been not yet copied and printed.
The documents of 1410-12 show that one ship in the English Royal Navy – and only one- had more than one mast; she had “I mast magn.” and “I mast parv.” – in other words, one big mast and one small mast. The latter may have been in the top as a topmast. We are not told which, but the reference is very important as being the first evidence of a second mast in Northern waters.
It must be noted that this small mast was found in a ship called the “carake” and a carrack was by origin a Mediterranean type…
The name ‘carrack’ was not new. It occurs in Spanish documents before the end of 13th century, and there is an account of the capture by Spanish galleys in 1359 of a large Venetian carrack; but it is in the 15-th century that the carrack was in her prime, and we see her then as a three masted ship developed by the southern nations from the Northern one-master and then taken up all over Europe. Genoa was the chief port…
There were Venetian carracks as well, but usually the vessels from Venice were galleys,… designed and equipped for long voyages and cargo-carrying.
… From the book : A Short History of the Sailing Ship by Romola Anderson , R.C. Anderson

Some of the information above seems to be out of date. we know that the Grace Dieu, Henry V’s warship was launched in 1418 and she was a massive ship ( literally a Great Ship) with three masts but it serves to show what little detail that we have of vessels in this period. We also know that Grace dieu had a number of escorts – smaller ships of similar design, or Carracks.

So when I was very kindly sent a kit of a medieval cog by George Antioch, a follower of the facebook ‘Never mind the Billhooks’ page, my first thought was to make an escort for my version of a Great ship, ‘the Sun In Glory’ ( shown above, cruising past the toaster!)

George had designed his kit as a cog but I felt that it was sleek enough to convert to a carrack, by adding the extra masts and building up the two castles. The first task was to assemble the hull.

Using the mast to ensure everything was aligned and the temporary square lugs, fore and aft, I used PVA to hold the hull pieces together and clamped it whilst it dried.

With the hull assembled and the decks of the fore and stern castles in place, I thought that I would add some planking to the card formers that made up the hull. I was too lazy to cut out the individual strips of paper and came up with the idea of using my paper shredder to produce instant planking by running a sheet of good quality paper through it! It was an easy job to apply the paper with PVA to get the effect of planking on the hull.

Once the hull was dry, I added the stern castle and forecastle using balsa – I used the card pieces supplied by George as a template but wanted them to be a bit taller than those from George. You can see that I’ve also added the two extra masts and a bowsprit. The masts are of doweling, the bowsprit is a ‘posh’ barbecue skewer, so I didn’t even have to sharpen it! The fighting top is made from two round 40mm bases with evergreen strip ( pack 159,) cut to size and glued into place.

The next stage was to paint everything. I used my standard process of a mixture of browns, finishing with a highlight of yellow ochre. I’ve added the links to my earlier blogs so that you can see this in detail if you need to. The checkerboard pattern was marked out using a black biro. With hindsight a pencil would have been better as correcting mistakes was difficult. The effect is OK but don’t look too closely! Yellow is a bugger to paint at the best of times!

Once I was happy with the painting, I added the spars and furled sails, ladders and anchor. I also modified the fighting top by adding a band of half round evergreen strip ( pack 243). It’s not as straight as it should be, the blooming clamps slipped as it was drying but I was too impatient to correct this and it just about passes!

Here’s the ‘George’ accompanying the ‘Sun in Splendour’ on the floor of my wargames room! I now have quite a fleet to fight using the new ‘Never Mind The Boathooks’ rules set – watch out for my next battle report!

Here are some useful links to my previous blog articles – there are others but these, I think are the most useful:



You can get hold of the rules for ‘Never Mind The Boathooks’ by purchasing issue 426 of Wargames Illustrated. As well as a free supplement with the rules, there are some useful boat building articles! It is available while stocks last here:



I hope that you all enjoy your hobby as much as I do – 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, updated to include the new Sarissa Models for Boathooks!:


To see our range of Naval accessories, click here:


To see our range of glues, click here:


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;


You can see our range of Evergreen strip here:


Happy Modelling!

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