In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Friday, September 30, 2022

Rohirrim/Gothic Chieftain

The next unit of Gripping Beast Gothic cavalry has trotted out of the flocking paddock. I liked the leader waving the sword so much I decided that this group would be my army commander/Gothic Chieftain/Rohirrim Lord with his comitatus. I decided that to mark them out as extra spffy they'd all get grey horses.

I know JRRT doesn't mention draco standards in the books, but they are a) cool and b) pretty common with ancient central European cavalry heavy armies, so I think the Professor would be OK with them. So very appropriate for my Chieftain when he's a Goth fighting the Romans, and why not when he's Adhelbert, Lord of the North Downs! defending the Northern marches of Rohan from marauding orcs. He missed Theoden's muster to march to the Pelennor Fields and instead fought alongside the Ents and Elves from Lothlorien at the Battle of the Entwash.

Monday, September 26, 2022

In Which Mr and Mrs Rabbitman Dine Out

Mrs. Rabbitman and I haven't been to KEGScon since 2019. We were all set to go last year, but some niggling health problems made me decide to cancel at the last minute. But this year I committed to running a game of Lion Rampant and even painted up more troops for it, booked our hotel room well in advance and made dinner reservations for both evenings.

Mrs. Rabbitman likes going with me. She enjoys the hotel and Chatham has some nice restaurants. So while I was playing, she was enjoying the room, reading, napping and watching TV. Rinse and repeat.

On the Friday night there was a social and whiskey tasting hosted by Hot Lead Team Members Joe, Pablito and David. Brian ran a Battle of Britain game while Pablito and Joe served drinks. I've decided that whiskey tastes to me like turpentine. So I drank water and had a good visit. Then we played Groo the Wanderer card game until far too late for me. I paid for that next day.

Saturday was the main event. There were about 50 people in attendance participating in 15 games over the morning and afternoon sessions. In the morning I played a Sharp Practice game set during the War of 1812. The scenario was the historical action at Cook's Mill in October 1814, with the Americans trying to cross the creek and outflank the British position at Chippewa. This apparently was the last battle fought in the Niagara theater during the war.

British begin deploying. Some American rifles are in the distance

American infantry advance

American dragoons try charging the Glengarry Light Infantry, they will be wiped out and their officer captured. The 100th Foot deliver some volleys to drive off the rifles.

British artillery opens fire, engaging the American infantry across the creek 

Situation at game end. American advance across the creek has been stopped

A quick lunch in the hotel restaurant with Mrs Rabbitman and then I had to set up my Lion Rampant 2nd edition game. I decided to give the new pike rules a showing and fulfill a lifelong dream of having a big Swiss army to finally take on my Burgundian army

All the Swiss on table at the same time, at last. Although I can't help but think that they need more flags.

Burgundians deploy. Both armies are 80 points, divided into 3 divisions.

For once things went the way Charles the Bold would have wanted. The Burgundian archery shot up the advancing Swiss and their attacks were piecemeal. Things were looking shaky on the Burgundian right, but then the Swiss commander was killed in a combat and things fell apart for the Swiss player.

A couple of Burgundian units were battered or routed by Swiss pikes, but not enough and eventually most of the Swiss army was retreating. I think next time I should make the Burgundians a little less shooty. Or Fearful so they have more fragile morale.

The player commanding the Swiss left shared a bunch of pictures with me.

Swiss advancing 

Burgundian Foot waiting 

Burgundian skirmishers feeling out in the cold

Swiss left pressing onwards 

Swiss center and right trying to push into the Burgundian arrow storm

A fierce fight threatens the Burgundian right flank

Burgundian Gens d'Arms attack

Swiss advance is pretty ragged

Swiss left is broken 

Swiss rally and try again!


There was some What a Tanker in the evening but I felt like rubbish after dinner so I didn't join in.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Rings of... *shrug*

Spoiler Alert: Unless you've already read The Silmarillion (and honestly, why haven't you?) then I might spoil a few things for you. Read on at your peril!

I was anticipating The Rings of Power with a mix of trepidation and cautious hope. A "Let's wait and see" approach.

I mean, it couldn't be anywhere near as bad as that pile of flaming poo that was The Hobbit movies, right? 


Parts are really quite good, and yet other parts are really quite bad. Grand CGI visual landscapes and a very fine soundtrack are nice, but only good writing can make a good story. 

The Professor once described his mythical world as a vast tapestry and he had made the main branches of the story, but around the edges where things were vague, he felt there were places for other creative people (painters, musicians) to participate in the work of sub-creation. He distrusted drama for odd reasons, even though he was an enthusiastic participant in student amateur dramatics.

Recently acquired after much searching. Highly enjoyable and provided many insights.

Read Leaf by Niggle to get an idea of Tolkien's view of the artist, the artistic vision and process, and it's spiritual merits.  Tldr: Art, as an act of sub-creation, participates in, and with, the Divine Creation.

The origins of the Hobbits, as portrayed by the Harfoots, is quite canonical, but was only vaguely described by Tolkien, so there's lots of room to play about in. I'd like more time with them. Lenny Henry as the leader of the Travelleresque Harfoots is quite brilliant. But no, we go straight to a very headstrong Galadriel jumping off a ship on it's way to Valinor and trying to swim back to Middle Earth! Then a whole episode wasted with her on a raft in the middle of the ocean. And there's only going to be what? 6 or 8 episodes? Looks like we're plunging towards the Numenoreans capturing Sauron and bringing him back pretty quickly. Sauron corrupting Ar-Pharazon and bringing about Numenor's fall will be the plot arc for Season 2 I'm guessing.

It seemed a cheap way to get Galadriel to Numenor, and thereby getting the Numenoreans into the story. Numenor is quite well portrayed, just the way I imagined it really. But it is the center of a vast globe spanning seafaring empire, so Numenoreans showing up in Middle Earth to trade with the elves and dwarves isn't a stretch is it?

The dwarves are OK. But when did dwarves become comic-opera Scotsmen? It's a cliché really. Even though Amazon seems to have set up race-baiting to shut down any criticism of the show, I really think they missed a diversity point by not giving Disa (Durin's wife) a very canonical beard. Doesn't have to be a great big bushy beard, but a short, soft, feminine beard would do, maybe with some gems braided into it. The character is still quite good though. Although we already know that they're going to release a Balrog, probably in the season finale. Although maybe they'll save that for Season 2, but I've seen a Balrog in clips for the show. Thus is a perennial problem with prequels anyway.

Elrond's hair bugs me too. I guess the Second Age is the Age of the Mullet. The elves in general bug me. As usual they've gotten the whole motivations of the elves and their relationships with men, Middle Earth, and the Valar rather out of tune. Galadriel is portrayed as way too immature and headstrong to have been around since the first rising of the moon.

Some people who are also Tolkien fans, love the parts I hate, and I hate the parts they love. I remember when Ralph Bashki's Fellowship of the Ring came out a reviewer observing that you can't make every Tolkien fan happy with your portrayal of the imagined.  Rings of Power, I think, is having the same problems.

I don't know. I'll keep watching, I guess. I don't hate it, but it doesn't excite me like The Expanse did.

Or perhaps eventually the irritating niggling details will bug me enough that I'll take Gandalf's advice and ignore it.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Goodbye "Auntie Liz"

This is the picture of HM that hung in my office when I took command of the Air Cadet Squadron. When a more up to date, official portrait arrived, it was taken down and tucked between my desk and wall where it sat for 6 years.

When Covid ended and we returned to the Armoury, I retrieved it from where it lay and took this old picture of a young Queen home where she keeps me company.. 

This is how I'll always remember her.

She was on the stamp when I sent a letter.

She was "heads" in every childhood coin toss.

Her picture was in every school hallway throughout my youth.

To her I gave an Oath and from her I received a Commission. 

I wear her crown on cap badge and rank pips.

She provided several generations with an unparalleled example of selfless duty and a steady symbol in a tumultuous time. She was always there, constant and unswerving. Her passing is the end of an era.

I'm going to miss her.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Rohirrim Light Riders

I imagine the Rohirrim were mustered by feudal obligation based upon wealth. A man with a certain wealth in herds would be obliged to appear for the muster with a horse, or horses. Bow for the poorest of the herdsmen, then perhaps spear and shield, then arming themself with a mail hauberk for the richest. Those without any herds of their own beyond perhaps a few pigs would serve on foot with bow or spear and shield.

Being a cavalry based army, light cavalry would be essential for scouting, flank security, raiding, and pursuit.

I looked around at various kits. The Gripping Beast Late Roman light cavalry could get me horse archers and spear armed light cavalry, but the tunics were obviously Late Roman with the embroidered patches. 

The Gripping Beast Dark Ages cavalry, essentially an unarmoured version of the Gothic heavy cavalry I already use, don't have any option for bows.

Then the Oathmark range added a Human Cavalry set. 15 figures with options to equip all with spear and shield, or bow, or hand weapons. So I added a box to my order for Lion Rampant 2 to maximize the postage. If I liked them I'd get a second box to do up as unarmoured Riders with spear and shield.

The horse poses seem odd at first, but they've grown on me, or I've gotten accustomed to them. The tiny pads on the points of contact make them hard to balance. I'm guessing that the designer assumed everyone would just glue them to the 25mm x 50mm rectangular bases provided. I ended up using superglue to affix them to the nails I like to use during painting, which was problematic when it came time to remove them.

3 horse poses. 2 of them have their hind quarters raised, which was odd at first.

Lots of parts; legs, torso, left arm, right arm, head, quiver, belt pouch and optional knife. I also cut axes from hands and hung them from a few saddles. One figure started giving me problems while I was lining up the arrow over the hand holding the bow, with parts sticking and moving around on me. I'm afraid I turned the air blue around Mikey's delicate ears with all my F-Bombs. The faces are on the soft side, and a few look rather gormless, so I tried using a spare Gripping Beast head.

Built a neck out of sprue to use this spare Gripping Beast head for some variety.

For painting I used a limited pallete; 2 light browns, 2 greys, a light green and the muted yellow is Vallejo "IJA Uniform", but it looks like the soft colour you'd get from natural dyes. I just alternated the colours on the pants and tunics. The brown ink is doing a lot of the heavy work to be honest.

The set comes with 15 very nice 25mm x 50mm plastic bases, but I don't see horse archers being all ranked up no matter what the Oathmark rules say. I initially thought about the 3-2-1 basing popular in Lion Rampant circles, which looks quite good and is effective, but I didn't like how crowded 3 figures were on my large round base.

Too crowded!


Here's how I imagine them spending most of their working days, protecting their herds of horses or sheep from predators or orc raiders.