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, April 28, 2023

All Quar on the Croftyan Front

Podwyn opened his ration bag and peered inside. He sighed with the deep resignation that all common soldiers everywhere had carried in their packs since war began. 

"Grubs. Again."

Derfel lifted his snout out of his own sack. "Aye. Bit bland. Here mate, sprinkle a few o' these on top." Derfel handed him a screw top tin kept carefully in a side pouch of his pack.

The tin was one thirds full of dead, red crickets. Legs and bits of carapace had come loose. Podwyn carefully sprinkled some over the top of his grubs. The added spice and crunch would be a welcome pleasure. He carefully screwed the lid back on and handed it back.

Derfel waved it away. "Ach. Yin keepin' it. Me Pa an' Ma jus' sent same agin,' wif new socks!"

Podwyn was humbled by the gesture. "Thank 'ee brother."

"Nae botha. Us poor milwers need to help each other out, ya ken?"

Podwyn ate some grubs and sighed with contentment this time. "That's champion!"

"Just like yon Nan's, eh?"

"My Nan would put red crickets on fried earth worms. Bliss!"

Podwyn was the new quar in the crew of the war tractor and was assigned as Second Machine Gunner. He and Derfel manned the machine guns protecting the flank of the tractor in an attack, keeping enemy bombers away and shooting down into their trenches as they rumbled over top.

A pykpyk sat on a nearby log, observing them cautiously. He plucked an unseasoned grub from his bag and tossed it. With an excited chitter, the small animal leapt after the morsel, and after stuffing it into it's cheek pouch, scurried up a tree to enjoy it in safety. 

"Aye. Got ta look after each other."

Maethwyn, the mechanic, shouted from the side hatch, where he had been minding the tractor's water boiling vessel. "Ayup you lot! Tea's up!"

Derfel got up and retrieved his mug from his pack. "Well, there's tea. So it's nae so bad and all."

I have been spending a lot of mental energy this past week thinking about Quar, looking up late First World War infantry platoon organizations, pouring over the Zombiesmith's webstore, playing with troop building in Xenos Rampant, thinking about Quar some more, planning trench modules, thinking about Quar, and figuring out how I want to approach the project. 

In a fit of wanting to do something, I set about an old VSF steam tank that I had made to fight Pete's VSF Russians along the Northwest Frontier about 15 years ago. I had built a card body to fit over the bottom of a 1/35th scale Panzer II. The design owed a lot of inspiration to the A7V and the St. Chamond. I painted it white (to reflect the Afghan heat), with black smoke stack and ventilation grilles, sort of like Royal Navy ships of the era. The main gun was made from a tubular, brown plastic coffee stirrer and a piece of sprue.

Panzer II chassis

With smokestack

Time for a change. First I painted it in French style dazzle camouflage. Then I decided that the smoke stack was too VSF and replaced it with an exhaust grille and added another ventilation grille on the blank side.

The original design had always meant to have ball mounted MGs on the sides. But over thinking how to make the balls induced anxiety and procrastination, which meant they weren't added.

Finally, after going around a couple of solutions several times,  I just said "F*k it. Finished and not perfect is better than not finished but perfect in my imagination." I cut a plastic craft bead in half with my Dremel and applied liberal amounts of superglue. 

The Vickers gun barrels are from EBob via a friend of a friend, made specifically for scratch building AFVs.

After that, it was just an hour or so of touching up the paint.

28mm figure for size

Now I just need to compose my soul in patience until Wargames Atlantic puts the set up for order. Jason at Zombiesmith says late summer is the anticipated time. Until then, it's back to Napoleonics and Middle Earth on the painting queue.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

The Battle of Bicklethorn Farm

Queenie growled low in her throat. Bert Tealeaf petted his faithful herd dog to calm her as they watched from the hill as the column of pillaging goblins approached Minto Bicklethorn's farm in the valley. Old Tom the shepherd, wearing his weather-stained cloak squatted beside him, leaning on his ancient hunting spear.

"The other's is in place like" he said. "We'll keep 'em from leavin' t'valley."

"Aye that's right." Bert looked at the rest of his little band, detailed to harass the goblins and protect Captain Merry's spear hobbits flank. "Ned. Nod. You lads ready?"

The boys stopped their gathering of decent stones for throwing and looked at each other and then at him. "Aye dad, we are."

"Good lads. You stick close to Old Tom and Halfast here." Halfast, hood pulled over his eyes, nodded silently as he checked his bow string.

"Yes dad." The boys were clearly excited. He hoped they wouldn't take any risks. They hadn't been out on a wolf hunt yet, and here they were hunting goblins!

They heard a clear horn call and saw the band of hobbits lead by Captain Merry start advancing towards the big, prosperous farm. "Right, let's go." 

Goblins escorting the baggage past my Faller HO scale German farm, which I think makes a very nice hobbit sized building. If any orcs or goblins had gone in they would've suffered a -1 activation to their rolls. But the evil side stayed mission oriented.
Table set up Thursday night. Orcs with plunder in lower right corner have to escape via the upper left corner. Hobbits have to deploy at least 5 points in each of the other three corners.

Goblin Archers leading, followed by the two units of Uruks. The Orc Captain is in the unit furthest from the camera.

Wolf Riders guard the flank

Captain Merry and his spear hobbits

Bert Tealeaf and his household

More hobbit skirmishers

Angry Villagers. Neighbours of the Bicklethorns.

Long range throwing of rocks knock a goblin off his mount.

Uruks charge in! Hobbits recoil, but don't break. Uruks are surprised by hobbit ferocity and recoil battered after taking unexpected casualties.

Wolf riders have taken some hits, but try to cover the Uruks who have been driven back. Captain Merry has also taken some casualties though

Other unit of Ururks press forward! 

Convoy keeps rolling

Skirmishers fail their evade roll and get slaughtered before they do more than kill a few goblins archers.

Merry is doing quite well all things considered. The Uruks keep flubbing their Courage tests. 

Uruks on Orcish right then charge Angry Villagers, routing them.

Wolf Riders sacrifice themselves covering the Uruks

Head of Orcish column approaching the Bicklethorn Ford

Hobbit archers rout the Uruks. Skirmishers rout the Goblin Archers.

The Convoy is now uncovered. Merry's band of spear hobbits is moving through the farmyard

Captain Merry charges in! But his gallant band have had too much and are repulsed by the Goblins guarding the baggage. I assume he's been knocked unconscious, explaining the failed Courage test as his faithful band pull him from the battlefield.

Doesn't help though. Hobbit arrows and rocks soon dispatch what is left of the baggage guards

End Game. Gashkul has kept failing Rally Tests and his Uruks have melted away as he approaches the table edge. Bert Tealeaf's band get the last hit with some long range rocks causing a final, routing Courage Test and the last orcs run away to be hunted down.

I played the Convoy scenario from Lion Rampant 2nd ed. The Orcs got 3 baggage elements which I decided to attach to one unit while the other 4 fought the hobbits. VPs would go to who controlled the most baggage at game's end.

The hobbits had to deploy their force in the other three corners, which created the narrative of diverse bands of hobbits gathering in response to an alarm beacon and then converging on the orcs.

Each force was 22 points:

  • Captain Merry's Spears offensive light foot with SR missiles 6 pts
  • Angry Villagers light foot with SR missiles 4 pts
  • Archers light missile with sharpshooter 6pts
  • Skirmishers x3 6 pts


  • Uruks bellicose foot with shiny armour x2 (one with the commander) 12 pts
  • Goblins light foot 3 pts
  • Goblin Archers light missiles 4 pts
  • Wolf Riders light riders with SR missiles 3 pts
Each commander got 1 reroll for a failed activation within 12 inches. Which wasn't much good for Captain Merry really, and the other elements were slow in getting into the fight.

I'm quite pleased with how well the Faller HO buildings work for hobbit sized cottages, which takes the pressure off to make Shire buildings. I am reminded about how my Medieval/Middle Earth baggage needs a renovation to bring the paint jobs and basing up to current standards. I also need some more hobbits.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023


The announcement that Wargames Atlantic is releasing a plastic set of Zombiesmith's charming Quar got my attention. 

Playing Xenos Rampant has sparked ideas for using Quar for a French WW1 themed force for Xenos Rampant

This will scratch several itches:

WW1 trench stuff (Lewis gun section, bomber section, rifle section, and trenches)

Early War French (the camo on their tanks)

And if I don't get any of the above exactly correct who cares? It's Quar.

And Quar (Because their kinda cute and goofy and I've always wanted them but never had any excuse)

Plus it will be an exercise in whimsy, which is something that I struggle with.

I just need to know how many sprues in a box so I can plan my forces, and when will the pre-release orders be open?

Friday, April 14, 2023

Hobbit Hunting Party

Adding leaders to units has resulted in a grab bag of 5 random leftover hobbits; 1 archer, 2 rock throwers,  1 with spear, and 1 of the original Halfling Adventurers. 

I hate left over figures

So 1 figure short of a skirmish group. 

I had thought about adding in an Airfix figure once I got around to painting them. But then that would leave the Airfix units short of an archer. 

Then late one night, just before bed, I had a lightening idea. A dog!

A few years back I had bought a pack of wolves for my orcs, but they were realistically sized, and not big scary wargs. So I painted them as dogs.

With their faithful herd dog, these hobbits really seem to me to be a farmer, his sons and a couple of hired hands out hunting goblins that have been raiding the barns and lifting sheep.

Monday, April 10, 2023

An Unexpected Army Pt 3

A couple of evening painting sessions over the Easter weekend got the last of the Thistle & Rose hobbits done.

These spear armed hobbits in their traveling or hunting cloaks seem to me like a rising out or militia. So they will be offensive light foot with short range missiles (rocks).

I've given them my Games Workshop Merry figure as a captain, and he'll probably be the warband commander too.

The angry villagers are much more of a levy en mass. So basic light infantry with short range missiles (rocks!). I thought maybe bellicose foot, but I don't see them charging hard like that. And angry hobbits are not a push over, so 1 point rabble doesn't seem right to me. Rabble to me are unenthused, conscripted peasants or goblins.

And goblins trampling through the vegetable patch are going to make the hobbits very angry indeed. 

With both units I based them on 40mm x 40mm bases in order to protect the very fine weapons. Single basing would just see a lot of spears snapped off.

Finally,  the Sam and Frodo in Ithilien vignette. Frodo is sleeping by the fire while Sam prepares a couple of rabbits. 

This will be a deployment point or objective marker.

This brings my Shire army to 20 points! I could easily add in some Rangers or Elves to boost them up until I get the Airfix figures done.