16 Jan 2020

Building Renovation Project

As part of the "desert modern" restoration project I've slowly been working through recently I came into possession of a large number of 1/300th scale buildings as well as the aforementioned hundreds of tanks and vehicles - in fact, far too many to use sensibly.

A number of these buildings have now been donated to the CLWC storage cupboard for club use, and the remainder I decided to mount onto hardboard to create a series of easily portable and deplyable towns and hamlets for CWC, copying the European buildings I already own (which are much nicer as they were pro-painted and made by Timecast).


In gluing the buildings to each small baseboard I managed (just about) to leave enough space on most of the edges to fit in a handful of my AFV's - all of which are based on 20mm wide and 30-40mm deep bases.


This allows a number of tanks to be placed in each town able to shoot out, but also makes it impossible to deploy a line of tanks in the cover of the BUA in that terrible 'wheel to wheel' style seen far too often on armour-based games.



Or, put another way, anyone using these towns is now forced to be sensible in how they put their AFVs on table !

 The ground is my usual builders sand, stained with woodstain and then drybrushed - given I also did the AFV bases this way they are of course a near-perfect match.







 My final sort-of clever idea here was to cut the bases for the town / village elements out of a single sheet of A4 hardboard, which means that they all now fit perfectly in an A4 Really Useful storage box when they are not in use... as this picture shows.

1 Jan 2020

A Weekend in Provence! The Assyrians Go To France

No ADLG events since the 1/72nd scale whupping for my Vikings at The BIG Abona Festival back in June... by November I was starting to go stir-crazy (and not in a painting sort of way!).

Browsing the UK calendar had failed to cough up any events which coincided with a free weekend, but on the French part of the ADLG forum I spotted one event on a very specific weekend in November, and a last-minute plan suddenly fell into place... Avignon!

Air Miles subsidized the international logistics, Avis loyalty points chipped in with a gallic roller-skate-sized hire car and a list I'd already used saw a very small but relatively freshly painted Assyrian army packed into the world's smallest tin for a hand-luggage-only travel plan involving the smallest rucksack in my collection.

5 games later and there French meta has been well and truly tested to wine, beer, cheese and obscure local spirits type destruction in 5 games of mixed success for the Lions of Assyria.


Read all about the highs, the lows, the food and the drink in these 5 stunning match reports from sur le pont d'Avignon as Madaxeman.com goes all del Boy Trotter in trying to mangle the French language on the way to victory (and defeat).



The Assyrians take on Galatians, Carthaginians, Ugarits, Kushans and finally Alexander The Great in these 5 reports which come complete with an accompanying Podcast available in both Podbean Audio and Youtube Video formats.  


And, most importantly, see if I get away with deploying my French language skills as well !

28 Dec 2019

Assyria Uber Alles (scales..)

Over the last few days I've managed to get a few more of the Newline Designs Assyrians (that I only bought in July...) painted up for a Biblical Era L'Art de la Guerre army I plan to try and use next year, all of whom match the 15mm Museum Miniatures army I already have.

They are all infantry, which is down to me prioritizing them over the rather more important cavalry and chariots in this army - and here they are, along with some of their smaller brothers in arms!











24 Dec 2019

Something new, shiny (and tiny)... 10mm Napoleonics!

In a first for me (first time ever owning any Napoleonic troops - honestly..) here are some newly-painted 10mm Pendraken Napoleonics based up on 40mm wide bases for our CLWC club-standard basing for Bataille Empire.

These guys are undercoated in Army Painter blue spray, then inked in Army Painter dark blue ink before having the other colours added to them


These are a couple of test paints of standard sized 4-base units, for which I've used four 40mmx20mm DBx bases with two ranks on the rear base and one rank + skirmishers on the front rank base to set up the unit.


Bataille Empire incorporates skirmisher screens as a defensive factor in shooting rather than as separate units or bases, so these units are based to represent good quality French Line infantry, with the two shooting figures out front denoting infantry with a Skirmisher factor of +2


This is my first foray into painting Naps, and I thought that by doing them in 10mm not only would they get a good mass effect, I also wouldn't have to be too detailed on the painting of straps and the like. However, I did get suckered into adding coloured epaulets on these... against my better judgement. I also tried dark-washing the trousers of the main marching infantry, which came out a bit darker than I would ideally have liked, so I repainted some wioth another layer of white. The 2 shooting chaps at the front have uninked trousers at the moment for comparison.


I've not got any knowledge of this period other than at a very (very...) superficial level, so the apparently very important colour schemes for the pompoms and feathers in their hats and the like is somewhat ("entirely") beyond me. Grenadiers stick around the flag and have red pompoms, and everyone else has some sort of cllour that is only yellow in exceptional circumstances... is I think how it works?


The fun and easy bit is mnaking sure they look interesting from the back as well - here I've done different colours for blankets, backpacks and their other impedimentia. I was looking for that WW2 german style gas-mask holder, but seemingly they don't have those!!


If you prefer bigger figures my website has a review page with all of the 15/17/18mm manufacturers listed and rated to help you choose, and I also have pages that pull out all of the current listings on eBay for Napoleonics (separated into individual listings by nation) so you can go shopping there - but I think I'll stick with Pendraken and 10mm for now.

17 Dec 2019

UK Ancients Competition Scene - 2019 year-end update

With the dammed election noise and nonsense now over (for some of us...) the really interesting surveys and polls are now able to be released, including my now-almost-as-traditional-as-sprouts snapshot summary of how widely played the leading basket of rulesets each are amongst UK Ancients competition players right now.

These December stats only cover the UK "player universe" numbers for competition players across the 7 most popular Ancients mass-battle rulesets. The data is drawn from competition results that I've found published online - so if I wasn't able to find it, it's not included.

The measurement period is all events held in the UK in the last 12 months - or, more catchily, the 2019 calendar year. The only exception is the very last event I'm aware of, the Tradeston club's traditional post-Christmas 1-day ADLG competition. I've included the 2018 edition in the 2019 numbers basically so I can get this out before Christmas and forget about the blog for a bit over the festive break!

One additional important factor which has become increasingly significant in recent years is the number of overseas players taking part in UK competitions, such that non-UK players can now make up as much as 10-15% of the 'UK' pool of players for some rulesets. To give a clearer picture of what people in the UK are playing I've therefore split out the numbers to show the numbers of both overseas players and "UK-based" players, giving a clearer indication of who in the UK is playing each set.

The more detailed annual analysis will again be out in a few months, but as of today the headlines for how many people have played what at competitions in the last 12 months are as follows:

Total Player Numbers  (UK based players / UK+Overseas players):

1.   ADLG     189 / 210
2.   DBMM   73 / 84
3.   DBA        67 / 68
4.   TTS!        64 / 66
5.   MeG        61 / 71
6.   FoGAM   48 / 48
7.   DBM       43 / 45


Net Change 2018-2019  (UK based players / UK+Overseas players):

1. TTS!       +36 / +36
2. ADLG     +28 / +30
3. DBM       +6 / +6
4. DBA        +3 / +3
5. MeG        -1 / +6
6. DBMM    -7 / -4
7. FoGAM   -11 / -11

New Players first seen during 2019 (UK based players / UK+Overseas players):

1. TTS!       43 / 43
2. ADLG     41 / 48
3. MeG        13 / 20
4. DBA        12 / 12
5. DBM        8 / 8
6. DBMM    5 / 7
7. FoGAM   2 / 2

Players who appeared in 2018 but not 2019 (UK based players / UK+Overseas players):

1. ADLG       23 / 32   (UK player pool churning out this year = 12% of current UK total)
2. DBMM     16 / 20    (22%)
3. DBA          17 / 17   (25%)
4= FoGAM   14 / 14    (29%)
4= MeG        14 / 15    (23%)
6. TTS!         7 / 7        (10%)
7. DBM        4 / 4        (8%)

Ruleset Details

ADLG
ADLG remains the most widely played ruleset by some margin, with 35 events (yes..) held in the UK during the year and a player pool that topped 200 (if you include overseas players) for the first time. Despite it now being almost 5 years since ADLG was first introduced to the UK, player numbers increased in the last 12 months an even faster rate than in 2018 with a net increase of 30 comfortably topping the net increase of 19 last year. 41 new UK-based players joined the circuit, offset by 23 who dropped out (a fall in attrition rate compared to last year when 30 dropped off the circuit between 2017-2018). A handful of lapsed players returning to competitions rounded out the net increase. The proportion of players who took part in just one event also stayed flat at 38% year on year.

Since the first UK ADLG event at Roll Call in April 2015, 251 different UK-based players have entered at least one competition in the UK, and have been joined by 41 overseas-based players as well. 77% of this all-time UK player universe remained active on the UK circuit in the last 12 months.  

DBMM
The size of the DBMM player universe across all UK events dipped a little in 2019 with overall participation down 4 year on year. counting internationals (a few of whom took part in the new London GT team event), or 7 based just on UK attendees alone. As is usual with DBMM, a number of players returned to the circuit after a break as well to offset the in-year attrition which saw 16 UK-based players not return after featuring at events held in 2018. The proportion of players who took part in just one event also stayed pretty much flat at 36% year on year, with the one-day events in Milton Keynes and Guildford contributing many of these players to the UK pool.

DBA
DBA has continued its recent trend of increasing UK player numbers in recent years, ending the year wit 68 separate players taking part in the 12 events staged across the country. DBA however also continued to see a relatively high rate of churn of players joining and leaving the circuit for such an established ruleset, with almost 1 in 4 players joiing or leaving in the last 12 months. 31 players took part in just one event, representing almost half of the UK pool of DBA players - one of the highest ratios for any of these rulesets, but which given the wide geographic spread of DBA events is perhaps not surprising. 

To The Strongest!
TTS! lept into the limelight in 2018 as a result of, erm, staging more than just one event over the course of the year. The five events staged ranged from Glasgow down to London and across to Cardiff, and clearly tapped into a significant and previously unfulfilled demand for TTS! events amongst the 'social' player universe in the UK.

The end result was a universe of 64 UK-based competition players, of whom an astonishing 43 had never played in a TTS! event before this year. 7 out of the 30 who entered the 2018 TTS! Worlds in Chalgrove however failed to reappear on the expanded UK circuit in 2019, giving a "since these records began" universe of 71.

MeG
The number of people taking part in one of the 18 MeG events held across the UK in 2019 increased by 6 over 2018, driven entirely by increased numbers of international travelling to the UK, most notably at the MeG World Championships and Britcon. The UK-based players was almost unchanged at 61. Almost a quarter of all players churned both in and out during 2019 and 25 players took part in just one event, placing MeG firmly into the almost-weirdly-standard 35-40%-ish range against this measure.

Since the first UK MeG event held at the BHGS Challenge in 2016, 89 different UK-based players have entered at least one competition in the UK and have been joined by 14 overseas-based players as well. 69% of the all-time UK player universe remained active on the MeG circuit by attending events held in 2019.

FOGAM
2019 saw 15 players dropping out of the AM circuit after trying V3 in 2018, and 2 new players entering their first FoG event (each with a single appearance as part of the same doubles team at Burton). 12 players (exactly 25% of the FoG universe) took part in just one event making FoG the only set to deviate noticeably from the "just over a third play only once" norm in this respect.

Following the introduction on FoGAM V3 in January 2018, 62 different UK-based players have entered at least one V3 competition in the UK. 77% of these remained active in the last 12 months.

DBM
Numbers for DBM lept upwards this year by almost 15%, or more precisely 6. That gave DBM a total of 45 competition players in 2019, with 8 new players mostly from the handful of clubs where DBM is played competitively were persuaded to enter competitions - often at events hosted by their own clubs. Only 4 players dropped off the circuit, a couple returned after a break and - of course - a near-textbook 39% of players entered only one event. The 2 regular overseas-based players continued to appear in UK tournaments in 2019.

The Conclusion

In summary as 2019 draws to a close these 7 popular Ancients rulesets have attracted 549 UK-based players and a further 42 international visitors to make 591 different players in total taking part in a UK Ancients competition in the last 12 months.

That total is almost 100 up on the prior year count of 496 (although the addition of TTS! to these numbers does accounts for two thirds of this increase alone).


That also still represents an 80% share across the 7 most popular UK Ancients competition rulesets for the "Barkeresque" concept of one unit = one base, although to be fair TTS! isn't really a DBx derived set in the same way that DBM, DBA, DBMM and ADLG all are. 

So, numbers on the up, international visitors on the up, but even so the near-30-year-old DBx engine is still going strong as 2020 hoves into view!

(Whilst some players appear in the stats twice because they played two rulesets over the course of the past year this is discounted for the analysis as numbers are too low to impact the main trends. And it's too much work to de-dupe them by name as well)

11 Dec 2019

Hoffman the new Arcanist

Malifaux M3E has shuffled some of the Masters around, and the Arcanists now gain Hoffman and his menagerie of mechanical monsters.

That resulted in an eBay purchase of a based and black-undercoated Hoffman crew which I hastily drybrushed and fininshed off to add a master to the roster to replace the now-retired Ramos and his spiders.

Here they are:



I'm particularly pleased how an ink-wash has created a leathery look to the mechanical Watcher's wings in this shot


I also had a bash at the "light spillage" effect on this Mechanical Attendant by extending the dayglor green to around the 'eye' - it's a bit messy but is starting to get there ...


There's alsoa Guardian as well. 


Hoffman is a metal M1E version figure that I picked up when I was first dabbling in Malifaux as a solo figure, expecting him to be an Arcanist (with all the mechanical stuff on his back). 

Turns out I was right in the end !


4 Dec 2019

More tiny tanks...

With too many photos to post in one go, here are the rest of the 1/300th scale moderns - none of which still thankfully smell of Dettol either!

This lot is mostly Arab armies - a mix of T72, T64 and T55s 


The tanks are mostly on 40x20 bases, with other AFVs on 30x20 and 20x20 for the small ones 


I'm not sure if this Desert MERDC scheme was actually used, but it does look cool! 


I seem to have a full set of M60s, AAV7's, M1's, Bradleys and other toys - probably far too many to actually use in CWC!


The M60's have had the most work done in terms of removing the old paint and metal rot



There were also some random French and other vehicles, apparently from a French Recce force that there is no real list for in CWC at the moment as it may be a bit too modern,




The T55's are I think rather ropey Skytrex models. For all of the tanks they are Army Painter desert sand spray, with Army Painter diluted soft tone wash on the upper surfaces and Dark Tone on the wheels and tracks.  


My attempts to paint the tracks themselves are a partial; success (aka a bit rubbish) but at tabletop distances they are OK (honestly...)


I suspect everyone in the world owns 30+ of these H&R models...


T64 eport version - again I think Skytrex


A full collection of AFVs, as well as PT76's round out the collection



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