Monday, January 9, 2023

Happy New Year!

 Hi all,

It's been a busy year in Monkeyland,  In addition to a range of life events (back to work in-person, promptly getting Covid, the birth of my nephew, the addition of a kitten to the household), it seems like it was also a pretty busy year in terms of hobby.  Rough totals for the year include:

Minis Painted:  286 28mm (foot, horse and assorted "large" models), 5 6mm units, 12 15mm "units" (mostly vehicles).

Minis Sold or Traded away:  @240 28mm

Minis Bought or Traded in: 401 28mm, @50 15mm infantry, @15 15mm vehicles

Some of the sales were painted minis, so there was a net growth in the lead pile, but I'm pretty happy with the level of productivity this year.  I'm averaging better than a couple dozen 28mm figures a month, which is pretty good for me.

Playing around with basing 15mm ww2 stuff.  PSC T-34, Battlefront infantry.

I'd like to dip a toe into larger scale WW2 actions, probably using Rommel, so this style of dioramic basing becomes an opportunity.

Numbers this year were thrown off slightly by me jumping on a deal for close to 300 Warlord Pike and Shotte infantry.  I'm basically set for the period (for infantry) for the foreseeable future.  Another factor impacting numbers involved me dipping a toe into 3d printing for the first time.  I bought into the Turner Miniatures 7YW kickstarter, and now have pretty much all the .stls I'm going to need for the conflict.  Prussians might be a project for the new year, as they're the one remaining army out of the "core" nations for which I lack figs.  

One project that saw some headway this year was the Lion Rampant 100YW.  English now have a core of three units to face off against the French.

All figs for the HYW so far are the Perry plastics.

There's a fair amount of cross-compatibility between kits.  Archers on the left made with French bodies, to give a little more animation.

I need to add a banner on the front stand.  

While I've been tempted by any number of new and shiny things, I think the pattern for this year will be to continue to consolidate projects, and focus on painting stuff I have.  Likely contenders for 2023 project include:

1) 28mm Successors.  I've made a good start on these, and picked up some elephants before Christmas, which I've been puttering away at.  This is definitely a long-term project, and something I dip into from time to time, but it's not unreasonable to think I'd at least clear the minis I have by end of year.

2) 28mm ECW.  I am closing in on about three "batallia" between my Covenant and Royalist forces.  The Scots have the edge in numbers, but I'm working towards bringing the Royalists up to par.  As a local gaming buddy has some reasonable numbers of ECW figs as well, I think a bigger game of this (Pike and Shotte) is a reasonable goal by summer.

3) 28mm Hundred Years War.   Very close to small but playable (Lion Rampant?) 28mm forces for the HYW, with 3 units of French, and 2.5 of English (and the other .5 being assembled).  That's enough to get some games of Lion Rampant in (or Dragon Rampant with the kids), and room to grow both at a more leisurely pace once they're playable.

Ze French.  Also Perry plastics.

Heavy spear.  As I noted, the French infantry tends to be a little more animated.

Genoese crossbowmen.  The pavises don't help when you're ridden down by your own side from behind.

Ready to ride down some Genoese.

4) 28mm WWW2 Desert.  I have a "core" force of these for the British (force minimum for Bolt Action) along with about half the equivalent of DAK.  The goal will be to get the latter into playable shape, and then mess about with some smaller scale WW2 rules.  BA is an obvious choice, but I'd also like to mess about with some of the 2 Fat Lardies options, and know a couple people I can rubber-arm into games.  The absence of an opposing force kind of stalled my 28mm Soviets, but I'm hoping the ability to offer both sides will make organizing games easier.

Core of a Brit desert force.  2 infantry squads, HQ, and the forward observer.

Painting up from black definitely gave these a grittier look.

They're also "finer" sculpts than some of the alternatives.  Perry minis here as well.

Having watched Rogue Heroes, I think these boys need some SAS support ;)

And a Start to the opposing Germans.  Also Perry, and in need of some trucks, and possibly an Ark.

5) GW games.  Gaming at the local shop has resumed, and I've been going semi-regularly for a few months now.  AoS and Lord of the Rings are likely to be my main focus (Ogors just got a new book, Beasts of Chaos are supposed to get one soon), and LotR SBG remains one of my favorite games to play.  40k will likely feature as well, but mostly with the Cub, with the occasional casual game in shop.  I have stuff to paint for all the factions I play, and so activity here will mostly involve chipping at the lead (plastic) pile, and getting in regular casual games with friends and the Cub.

6) WW2 15mm.  I've recently been messing around with based vehicles for my 15mm WW2 stuff.  I got in a game or two of early east front in 2022, and would like to do more of this over 2023.  I'd particularly like to try out a higher-scale game like Rommel, and may end up rebasing some of my stuff to accommodate a more dioramic set-up (see pics above).

I've also been nosing around the idea of a couple of other "big" projects, particularly doing Russians in 28mm, either for the 7YW or the Renaissance (I've considered Napoleonics, but that's a rabbit hole of epic proportions). While I did dive in pretty hard into my Successor list early in the year, that project has stalled a bit for me.  Turns out, there's only so much linen armor I can paint before getting a tad bored.  I don't think that project is shelved, by any means (I'm painting up my first elephant now), but I'm not sure it's going to be the "last big hurrah" project I'd imagined.  What I'm really looking for, I guess, is something that would serve primarily as a painting project, something with plenty of character, both in the ranges available, and in the conflict itself.  Time will tell.

Until then, stay safe, be well, and happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Happy Christmas

 Hello all,

It's been a busy year in Monkeyland.  While I've been able to get in a few games, and do some painting, finding time to grab pics and do blogposts seems to have been at a premium.  Despite this, I do try to check in on the various blogs I follow, and perhaps after Christmas, will be able to get up some kind of year in review post to catch up.

Until then, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and the very best of the season.


Thursday, May 26, 2022

Muskets for Vicky

 Hi all,

Last year, Queen Vicky's day saw a solo game of Pikeman's Lament.  This year, we have a (slightly belated) game of Maurice against an actual opponent!  Having a rare sunny, but not too windy, day here in the wilds of Atlantica, I lured the Juras up to Casa Monkey for a trial game, using my old 6mm stuff.  I took the glorious French, he took perfidious Albion, and the fife and drum played while the dogs chased each other around the back yard.

Photos generally taken from Albion's perspective - thanks, Jura!

As this was a learning game (he'd played some of Sam M's games before, but not Maurice), I kept it simple.  We skipped the set-up phase, I put his Brits in a defensive position with the French attacking, all units were Trained, and we limited ourselves to one National Advantage and one Notable apiece.  

British and Hanoverian lines

The glory of France arrayed

B&H horse.  I think these were the impetuous ones.

Highlanders, garrisoning a random town.

With a selection of notables from which to choose, Jura opted for Cameron von Muller, whom he promptly attached to his artillery, and familiarized himself with his NA, which gave him an advantage on defense.  Handy, as he was defending ;)

I took my old stand-by Augustus von Thiesling

And for the French, a la Baiyonette!

Opening moves of the game, after an indecisive bombardment by both sides, was a lumbering advance by the French infantry towards the nearer of the two villages, countered by what should have been an entirely predictable event.


As long-time readers of the blog may recall, it's become something of an institution that whenever I play Maurice, I inevitably have the "That's not on the Map!" card played against me.  The tradition was upheld this game, in that Jura used an Intelligence card to pluck it from my hand, and promptly played it against me, dropping a rather inconvenent bog right in front of the advancing French infantry.

That card.  That damned card.

Now we have to do it the hard way.  And under fire.

This rather suddenly stalled what would, no doubt, have been a epic to be sung for the ages, as my infantry now had to negotiate the bog on their way in.  Activations in Maurice are by "forces", which are composed of the same class of unit (eg., infantry), in the same kind of terrain.  Dropping the bog meant that every time a unit advanced through it, not only did that unit become disrupted (which would require activations to rally), but also that the said unit would now comprise a different force.  This slows things down quite a bit ;)

Cavalry move to threaten the flank

But are repulsed

I got a bit of revenge when Jura advanced his cavalry to threaten my infantry milling about in the centre.  I played a "Heat of Battle" card on them, prompting a rather rash charge through rough ground (a ploughed field)  into the front of my infantry.  Bear in mind, Maurice is an 18th game; these are NOT Napoelonic cavalry, and disrupted horse (because of the bad going) attacking a prepared infantry line (pew-pew), don't tend to fare well.  His didn't, anyways ;)

I then made the cardinal error of NOT removing that card from the deck (which is an option), and on the reshuffle, Jura drew it, and played it to make one of my infantry attack his garrisoned unit.  Not quite as disastrous a result, but it still threw me off ;)

Sauce for the goose

Trying to bring more fire to bear on the garrison.  Didn't help

After the attack on the garrison degenerated into a musket duel (with the advantage to the dug-in troops), I finally managed to negotiate the bog with a few infantry regimaents.  With the day coming to a close, I pushed forward a poorly coordinated attack in the centre (mainly because I wanted Jura to see what an infantry clash would look like).

I believe the officer in command of this attack was a certain "LeRoi Jaunquins"

Battered and disrupted on the way in, raked by musket fire, my poor lads were no match for a counter-charge by the English, who dispersed the two leading regiments.  While we still had some time in the game, and both armies were some ways away from breaking, real-world time constraints, and the lack of tactical options (it would take a while for me to coordinate a cavalry attack) led me to ask for terms, which were offered in a most gentlemenly manner by my opponent.


Jura seemed to enjoy himself, and has been searching out a copy of the rules, which has me hopeful of more games.  If so, I'm delighted, as the SYW / 18th c. is one of my favorite periods (possibly my favorite), and I love Maurice.  We'll start layering in some of the additional elements - more varied units, the set up phase, and ideally, a campaign, but for now, I'll settle for a potential regular opponent.  Many thanks to Jura for the game, and fingers crossed there will be more in the future.

I've got a bit of a backlog of painting stuff to post - nothing major, but small updates to a number of projects.  I also lucked into a large lot of on-sprue Pike and Shot infantry from Warlord, and am cudgelling my brain over what to do with them.  The logical thing would be to use them to add to an existing project (most obviously, the small Royalist force I did for Pikemans' Lament), but I've visions of a 30YW force dancing in my head.  From what I gather, the Warlord figs are really designed for ECW (they lack the flamboyance of the French or Spanish of the period), but maybe some Swedes or Dutch?  My sympathies in the 30YW tend to lie with the Catholic powers, however, so I'm not sure.  any advice or suggestions will be considered.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

French Progress

 Hi all,

It's been a relatively productive month, albeit one where I didn't seem to manage to grab many pictures, and throw up a post.  Part of the aforementioned progress has been on the HYW French for Lion Rampant, as I've now got full units of Crossbow, Spear, and Horse to show off:



Such is the retinue (to date) of Sieur Jean de Cerf.  It's a bit of an homage to my old buddy in NFLD (who ran the Geektactica blog).  T'was he who put me onto Impetus, mostly via his inspirational 15mm HYW stuff.



I've played around with basing a little, with cavalry mostly single-based (although there's one in there that's double), and infantry based between 1 and 3 to a base.  Lets me do a little bit of vignette play, while still giving me lots of flexibility on casualty removal, etc.

I did my crossbowmen as Genoese.  Digging around for colours on these proved challenging, at least in terms of "official" colours and livery, but I did find there's a close association between the cross of St George and Genoa, so went with that, white smocks, and leggings in colours that would tie them to the rest of the army.



Spear were done in a range of colour combinations, but with their livery tied closely to the men at arms in Jean's immediate retinue.



These are my first Perry plastics, and I'm in love with the kit.  Loads of variety, and the figures are realistically human proportioned.  Looking forward to playing around some more, and maybe working up some heavier infantry for the French, or more knights.

Short term, I think the plan will be to try and get a few units together for the English, so I can get in at least some small games over the summer.  I've been picking away at other projects - some 6mm, some more ancients and ECW, and finally got around to grabbing the most recent Ork codex, so they likely see some time in the queue, along with on the painting table.  Until then, stay safe and well.


Saturday, April 2, 2022


 Hi all,

Been a busy month or so.  Work has accellerated into its usual end of term crescendo, and I am knee deep in papers to mark.  Another trip round the sun has been marked for both me and the blog, and despite it all, I've managed to get at least a bit of painting done - some more French HYW, a few vikings, and some assorted odds and sods.

Including these lads.  Seeing a few spots to touch up in the pics.

Birthday loot included some books (on Antigonus, the Hastenbeck campaign, and Isabella of France) possibly to be reviewed later), a box of HYW english to go up against the French, and . . .  drumroll please .  .  . a bag of Victrix successor cavalry.  Turns out a localish store (Lantzalot games, check them out if you're around the South Shore of nova Scotia) is now carrying most of the Victrix line.  This is exceedingly dangerous, in that I pass by the store (they're just off the highway) on  an almost weekly basis when I go to pick up the Cub from his mom's.  

Rear view.  Pics I got were so-so, but this one turned out okay.

As some of you are no doubt aware, I used to have a successor list in 15mm for Impetus, but have been toying with the idea of doing it in 28mm for a long time.  Antigonus is my boy for the Diadochi, and the fun part of successor lists is that they readily morph - get your core of heavy cav and phalanx, and then Bob's your uncle, depending on what supporting elements you want to bring.

Chuffed with the banner.  Freehand, and totally stolen from Dean at WAB corner

I very nearly pulled the trigger on this a ways back, but opted for Carthaginians, instead.  While some progress has been made on the latter, it didn't grab me the way I expected, and after the first burst of effort, I've done nothing on them.  Probably should have gone with my gut, and just opted for Successors then.  As it is, I picked up the bag of figs last Friday, and have knocked out the first 6 Xystophoroi models in a week.

Only put the cloak on the officer.  Saving them for Lykian conversions.

The Victrix kit is fantastic.  Like most of their sculpts, the figs are on the chunky / heroic side, with well defined detail.  Loads of options - the kit on its own can make companion-style early lancers, later lancers, thessalians, and Hellenistic javelin and shield cavalry.  Mixed with some of their other kits, I imagine the options expand even further, and I'm already thinking about using some bits from here with their persian kits to make Lydian or Carian cavalry.

Main limitation of the kit is the horses - only 3, and no mix and matching for variety.

The plan is to make this a steady-but slow-grow project.  Maybe pick up a bag a month, start with the core bits, and then branch out.  After some humming and hawing, and consulting of the oracle via the internet, I've opted to start with 120mm unit frontage, in two 6cm square bases.  It's big enough to jam 3 horses on a base, I can pack 2-3 ranks of infantry on there, and they can readily be expanded - either into deeper units, or wider, by adding another base and bumping the width to 180mm.

The horses themselves are great though, lovely sculpts.

12cm frontage works as a starter size for my most readily available table (6x4), and is compatible with Impetus, Hail Caesar, or To the Strongest, the rules that I'm most likely to play.  The numbers of models I'm able to cram in don't rally work visually for the "mass battle" effect, but this is very much at the "toy solder" end of the project spectrum for me, rather than "wargame", so I'm not too concerned.  If I wanted mass, I'd have gone 6mm.

These guys will hit like a truck.

I am, needless to say, stoked about this project - to the point that I very nearly broke my own guidelines and bought more yesterday.  Managed to resist, however, and will stick to my planned schedule.  I'm not sure what to do with the other 6 horse (the bag makes 12).   The various sources I've tracked down suggest that at his height, Antigonus would have had access to satrapal and colonist cavalry, and Demetrios (his son, co-king/vice-regent, and most trusted subordinate general), would have had access to lots of allied greek cavalry..  Much of the former would have been "persian" style cavalry, but some from the Ionian coast would have been Lydian / Carian, and closer to the greek type, while the colonists would have been, I think, Macedonian colonists, rather than persian.  I might just opt for the heavy javelin and shield type common in the later successor lists.  

Next up is likely to be some more French, and then possibly vikings, as progress has been made on both fronts.  Until then, take care.


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Big bada-boom

 Hi all,

Been in a bit of a productive slump over the past month.  A combination, I think, of work, the soul-crushingly grey weather of mid-winter in NS, and just general weariness has had me spend most nights curled up and getting caught up on shows, rather than beavering away with a paintbrush.  I seem to be slowly coming out of it, however, and hopefully will be back on track soon.


That said, I did manage to knock out a project that's been lurking in the back of my mind for a while, namely, the first of the "proper" guns for my Scots covenanters.  The gun is, I believe, a "saker", which is to say, a light field gun, but still a legitimate cannon, as opposed to the man-portable frame gun I've done up before.


I have to admit, I had quite a bit of fun with this.  The artillery poses from OG are a little more dynamic than the usual rank and file, but with the element of character that I find common in their sculpts.  It made them fun to paint.  


Add in that while this isn't exactly art, the more element / dioramic bases like this (or commanders) do allow for a bit of composition.  for example, if you look in the first picture, you can see how the horse holder and rider line up, so that it gives the impression they are looking at / talking to each other.  I also like the older fellow with the stick, overseeing the operation, and the helmeted fellow offering judicious advice to the man with the fuse.


Odds and ends (fence, bucket, cannonballs) were scratch-build, but the rest is OG, with the exception of the man with the fuse mentioned above, which is from Perry.  OG and Perry, by the way, seem to be a decent match for scale, and go together on a base just fine.


I've been picking away at some more scots dragoons, and have some farm animals prepped for when I get through that lot.  Progress may still be a little slow, but I've at least had brush in hand over the last few weeks, so fingers crossed, I'm out of the doldrums, or at least the worst of them.