Sunday, 19 January 2020

Italian Wars Era from Helion Books

I was very pleased when these two little babies popped through my letterbox today. I have had the privilege of having a 'rough' pdf file of The Italian Wars, The Expedition of Charles VIII into Italy and the Battle of Fornovo a few months ago with a view to writing up a detailed review of the book.

The Great Italian Wars and the conflicts on the periphery have been of great interest to me for some years now but never have I had a book that concentrates on just one campaign complete with heraldry, in depth details of the captains and numbers of men serving under them. The 8 full colour plates are well illustrated and serve as a great painting guide for the battle.

In short an absolute gem of a book which is essential reading for anyone interested in the Italian Wars. If you are, then you really ought to know more of the origins of the war and this book is the best place to start.

I intend to write up a full detailed review of the book soon. I won't be giving away any specific information but will be describing what you can expect to get out of the read from a wargamers perspective.



At some point I will also be reviewing The Army of the Swabian League 1525 as well and in the same manner as the Fornovo book



Friday, 17 January 2020

Reconquista at Partizan 2020, Andalusian Noble Cavalry

Things have been a bit stressful of late with various close relatives in and out of hospital but I have managed squeeze in the time to get quite a lot of painting done! I'm not sure where I found the mental resources let alone the time but it has been managed!

I have delayed posting these pics as I had entered The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge and the rules state I must wait one day before I can publish anything I have entered on my Blog- which is fair enough of course. I was drawn to the Painting Challenge as a means to keep the impetus going to get the right units painted up for the Partizan show on May 17th of this year. It's a tall undertaking but I am armed with enthusiasm, a love of painting miniatures and with the added impetus of the Painting Challenge all should be well.

A word in regarding the planned Partizan game. Nothing is written in stone yet but I feel myself moving away from what I had originally planned, that being the Battle of Sagrajas 1086, to that of the Battle of Consuegra 1097 which followed a siege of the town by the same name. This will allow for city walls to be introduced to the tabletop which will add two important factors; as well as a historical 'flash back' at the preliminaries prior to the battle, it will serve as a nice focal point and help counterbalance out the masses of miniatures with a large section that is all terrain and scenery. In fact I have the city walls on order and will be picking them up at Vapnartak on February 2nd!

Back to the subject at hand! Andalusian horses were famous throughout Europe for being of the finest quality and were often bread with other breeds in North Western Europe to produce warhorses. Whilst being strongly built, they were compact yet elegant creatures. These steeds were ridden into battle by Andalusian Nobles and lesser men alike.

I decided to move away from the dark I used on colours of the unit of Yusef ibn Tashfin's Black Guard and to go for it with a colour scheme on each mini with both complimentary and contrasting colours. Due to the limited time I have to prepare for the game I was not able to be as lavish as I would have liked, for example, no complicated patterns of the hems of the clothing, no patterns on the silks gowns. This is something that sits easily with me as the unit looks good enough in my opinion. It is not my best work but for the purposes of the game, given that one looks at a game from a metre or so away, it is detailed enough.

I went with a uniform shield colour and pattern to visually pull the unit together using neutral grey as to avoid any 'violent' colour clashes that might otherwise have occurred. 









Thursday, 16 January 2020

Reconquista at Partizan 2020, Christian Baggage Base

These mini's were painted a wee while ago and re-based for use with the Reconquista game at Partizan this year in May (2020).

They are part of what will be a large collection of baggage for both the forces of Islam and Christendom.

I think it looks kind of nice. The composition works with all the models seemingly interacting with one another in some way.










Early Saxon Conversions

These mini's were converted from Gripping Beast's Geoguth, Duguth and Gedriht Earlyn SAxon Casuaties and Killers modified to be used in later armies as casualty markers. As you can see they have yet to see some paint! They are Gripping Beast plastic heads with beards, hair, fur and 'filler' added with Greenstuff and ProCreate putties.

Casualty and Killers linkage HERE!








Saturday, 11 January 2020

Old Crouchback

OK, if you are expecting a post covering Edmund "Crouchback", 1st Earl of Lancaster, 1st Earl of Leicester you are going to be disappointed. Pigs might fly as they say!


I was in correspondence with one of the chaps on the Lead Adventure Forum and we got around to talking about painting and how it can effect men's health.

I have been planning on writing a post about he subject but just could not see my way forward in terms of how to go about it. It is not an easy subject to approach especially when I myself have been in some pretty scary situations as regarding my own health a few years ago.

I decided in the end to just publish the correspondence with the caveat that I'm not going to repeat anything that my friend said or pertains to what we discussed regarding his illness, that is his business. This is not meant to be 'preachy'. I suspect that we all have our own ways of dealing with health issues but it is important to beat a path, however difficult, to better mental and physical well being IMHO.

Here is what I wrote:

Roughly six years ago I was mis-diagnosed with lung cancer! I was getting quite breathless and wanted to get it checked out......

Basically, after several CAT scans I was told I had a nodule on my lung, that I had ling cancer and needed positron emission scan!! By this stage my mental health was starting to disintegrate too. When the positron emission scan showed I was clear the Oncologist ought to admit that he had made a mistake, offered an apology, none of which he did! Instead he told me that I must have emphysema! So, to cut a very long story short I kept getting more and more breathless. Luckily I changed GP to a German chap who immediately sent me for an ECG treadmill test at the local hospital. Yep, I had a 93% blockage in (luckily just one) of my arteries but they were able to fit a stent which saved me from the mental and physical trauma of a bypass op. Or worse. I felt as good as new the next day!

From that day forward I made a pact with myself that I was going to start looking after myself. I started Fa type of yoga by the name of Forrest Yoga, despite the name (yes, it does sound a little hippy dippy) it's actually a really tough regime- there are no pretty trees, just a tolerable level of pain! I then medium weights and started doing a lot of walking. Then, and only then comes my painting.

The yoga has been amazing and one leaves the class with on a high due to the extraordinary the serotonin and endorphin release; this really sets me up for the day.

So, it's very much as yin yang approach for me. I don't subscribe to the alternative lifestyle that many yogis do. I'm certainly not a vegan- not that there's anything specifically wrong with that lifestyle as long as one educates themselves about nutrition first. Sadly many don't. 


(B12 deficiency is a huge problem with veganism, or for that matter a junk diet Methylcobalamin is the natural form that humans ingest but that comes mainly from animal products. The Cyanocabalamin B12 that vegans mostly ingest actually blocks the Methylcobalamin B12 which can lead to serious problems with ones nervous system)

I also have a mate who's a nutritionist which is great as I have access to new research so I can make informed decisions about what I'm putting into my body.

On a slightly sadder note. A mate of mine had two stents fitted at pretty much the same time as me, he still drinks about 20-30 pints every weekend!! Still, he's still around and kicking which is what matters.

One last thing, many painters spend a lot of time with their backs crouched. Which as well as compressing ones organs it also is terrible for your spine. You can buy ergonomic chair's of various descriptions and I've been looking at these just this week. The problem being that there are so many of them now available that it;s almost impossible to make an informed choice!


I know Henry Hyde has been talking about men's health issues with Tony Pollard on his Battlechat podcast quite a bit which is great.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Sagrajas 1086; Yusuf ibn Tashfin's Black Guard

I've just taken delivery of a new camera so it seemed appropriate to take some pictures of the initial units for Sagrajas 1086, starting with Yusuf ibn Tashfin's Black Guard. I have yet to work my way around the camera so I just put everything on automatic and pointed the lens! Looking at the pictures I could have arranged the lighting a little better and no doubt the photography course I'm enrolled on will allow me to work through the details of how to get the best results sooner rather then later.

The unit is that of Yusuf ibn Tashfin's Black Guard which stood in reserve for quite a while at Sagrajas. I've yet to do the command stand as I've been busy with two cavalry units, one Andalusian 'heavy' and one Hashim Guard 'heavy' along with a unit of 'Arab' horse archers (they will be 'arabised' Ghuzz or Turcoman).

There's a very interesting if brief article on Wiki about the origins of the Moroccan Royal Guard and their oprigins with Yusef ibn Tashfin's Black Guard HERE.

I stuck the Tablescape Designs Indian fortress walls in the background as to avoid a large number of paint pots cluttering up the images!










Friday, 20 December 2019

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

In order to give a little more impetus to my Sagrajas 1086 project which has to be ready by May 17th next year for Partizan in Newark I'm going to be entering the The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. This will no doubt enable me to keep a better tally on what needs to be painted up and be a little more efficient about the process.

Did I mention it would be fun too? No doubt..... :>)

If you aren't aware of what the The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is all about then I highly recommend that you shoot over to the site in the links above and check it out. There are some lovely examples of painting that has been done over the years on display.