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Preparing for Battle, Seven Years War French – Part 4 (The Army is marching off to War!)

Greetings All,

Part 4 already?  Seems so, and it’s quite logical as the previous posts are named as Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

If you’ve not had a read of them, perhaps go back and have a look at the progress made but I’ll do a quick catch-up for all of those who haven’t, don’t want to or can’t be bothered.

Back in July I was invited to watch (and ended up playing) a game of Maurice as I had shown an interest in our local club (Sheffield GIMPS).  After that evening (and losing due to poor help from my tutor – The Goat) I loved the system and vowed to get an army for it.

10mm was the size of figure being played with and the chaps pointed me towards Pendraken.  A quick visit to their site and by the time I had left, they had received a small order from me.  I had purchased the SYW French Army Pack.  A steal at just £22.20 for that pack (prices have risen recently but still great value) which got me:

  • 2 x SYF1 – Tricorn foot march attack w/o turnbacks (60 figures)
  • 2 x SYF2 – Tricorn foot marching w/o turnbacks (60 figures)
  • 1 x SYF6 – Grenadier foot march attack w/o turnback (30 figures)
  • 1 x SYF11 – 3pdr gun with crew (3 guns and crew)
  • 1 x SYF13 – Heavy cavalry (15 figures)

Total order cost: £23.20 (inc VAT and P&P)

So I picked up 120 infantry, 15 cavalry and 3 guns with crew.  A week or so after the order a large bag of tiny 10mm figures arrived in the post.  It was time to sort.

At this time I was given a load of mdf bases, measuring 2″ x 1″.  Should have been enough and was more than enough for that I had ordered.

Once I sorted these out and checked the size of armies the French would use for 100 points (Maurice rules).  Doing a basic infantry army it would appear that 5 infantry, 3 cavalry and 4-6 artillery are the requirements (plus taking some national advantages)

Each unit is based on 4 bases, so that would mean 20 Infantry, 12 Cavalry and 4-6 Artillery.

Looking at what I had, I could see that I didn’t have enough.

  • 120 infantry would make 15 bases (5 short)
  • 15 cavalry would make 4 bases (8 short)
  • 3 guns would make 3 bases (1 short).

A quick check back on the Pendraken website and I placed a second order, this time taking into account some variance in the troop types.

  • 1 x SYF8 – Grenadier foot advancing w/o turnbacks (30 figures)
  • 1 x SYF11 – 3pdr gun with crew (3 guns and crew)
  • 2 x SYF12 – 6pdr gun, limber, horses, crew (1 gun and crew)
  • 1 x SYF14 – Dragoons (15 figures)
  • 1 x SYF15 – Hussars (15 figures)
  • 1 x SYF21 – Field officers (5 figures)
  • 1 x SYW1 – General and ADC (2 figures)

Total order cost: £23.20 (inc VAT and P&P)

Now looking at my shortages from the original order, I’ve not got enough figures for:

  • 150 infantry would make 19 bases (1 short!)
  • 30 cavalry would make 8 bases (complete)
  • 5 guns would make 5 bases (complete).

At this point I had found Nik Harwood and commissioned his painting services.  He was good enough to dry base all of the above and advise me on any figures that we were missing.  It just happened that I need another pack of Grenadiers plus some civilians for the officer bases and the 30mm bases for them! (Officers are based on 30mm round, the General is on 40mm round).   I had supplied some flags but more were also needed.

Another call to Pendraken and I ordered:

  • 1 x SYF8 – Grenadier foot advancing w/o turnbacks (30 figures)
  • 1 x SYW12 – Civilians (15)
  • 1 x PNFL38 – French Flag pack 2
  • 1 x PNFL39 – French Flag pack 3

Plus a pack of 30mm round bases.

Total order cost: £6.60 (I received some Civilians for free – thanks Leon!)

That extra pack of Grenadiers allowed me to field the missing infantry base.  So now we had everything and Nik started work.

You can find details of then progress of painting this army in my earlier posts.

Zoom forward to Thursday 20th September and Nik tells me that all the work is done!   Along side with this great message he told me that he was going to take a number of hi-res images and the following day they appeared.

Here they are, please note there are a LOT of images.



Artillery & Command

So there we have it.  I do have a bag of spares, mainly bases but a few figures that were not needed – I did though learn a lot from this, and have used this knowledge for my next SYW army, Prussians – of which a post will be coming soon.

What did this all cost to be painted?

Nik has been kind enough to provide me with the spreadsheet that he used, from which you can see his individual prices.  I shall be creating a new set of pages (shown on the top menu) for the painting services that I use.

As you can see below his prices are very good and I think you’ll find that his work is also very good.

ItemPrice £

Commands: Cavalry figures1.569
Commands: Infantry figures144

Line infantry1120120
Grenadier infantry18080


Artillery + Crew5840




15% for payment in advance



Nik’s communication is very good.  I had many questions (wouldn’t you?) and he was kind enough to answer all of them.  Not only did he answer questions it seemed he understood my world of ‘very busy’ and he himself was in a similar situation – so how he found the time to paint these I’ll never know.  Maybe if I stop blogging I’ll have the time… reminds me, must continue with my Vikings.  Nik also helped out with the research into how the army and certain units should be painted.  There’s a great online web reference that I’m just getting used to, it’s called Kronoskaf and it’s a wiki.  Have a look and you’ll see so much information that it’s daft.  If you do use it then please donate, I have.

Now that I have the models with me I feel that the cost to paint over the time it would have taken me to be a good decision on my part.  Yes paying almost £280 to get an army painted isn’t cheap, however if you add the cost of the army £60, then it’s just £340 for something that I have and can use again and again.  Yes I could have waited and done them myself but let’s be honest here 100mm is so small, too small for me.  So they’d have been silver or maybe black for years to come.  One of my 15mm armies is still silver and I bought that back in 1994.

Right that’s it.  This is the end of the small series following my first 10mm and SYW army, there’s a new one coming, do let me know what you thought of these.  The Prussian series will contain more info of why I have bought what I have and why i’ve gone for the amount of infantry etc, more in line with Maurice.

Edit: I also forgot to say that I am returning the Flag Packs to Pendraken (thanks again Leon) as the figures come with cast on flags and so don’t need the paper flags.


Going to War, raising a Viking Great Army – Stage 2 (Part 2) building it.


Been a while since I did a post regarding my Vikings, they are still a work on the go but I’ve done enough now to provide you with another update of my Viking Great Army Build.

To date I’ve built (glued shields etc), tidied, cleared flash etc most of the Crusader Miniatures metal figures and based them (20x20mm), these are:

  • Bondi Command (DAV004 – Crusader Miniatures)
  • Bondi with Swords and Axes (DAV001 – Crusader Miniatures)
  • Bondi with Bows (DAV02) – based on 25x25mm.
  • Hirdmen Commands (DAV8)
  • Berserkers (DAV009)

Next on the list would be the final Crusader Miniatures blister Bondi with Spears (DAV003) and there were no spears!  The shields, the Vikings but no spears.  I tend not to check blisters these days because normally you’ll have everything in them, but I’m missing the spears so time to email Crusader Miniatures.

Right that’s the email gone.

I’m not going to base these, nor clean them up just in case they want the blister returned.

So moving on to my last metal blister, the Arizan Design’s Viking Jarls (VIK12).  These are the sub-commanders for my army, so these chaps will be based on 30mm round bases.

One thing I notice is that the Artizan miniatures are a good fit for scale compared to the Crusader but have a lot more flash to clean.  The Crusader miniatures required minimal work on that which is a nice change.

I notice one of the Jarls is missing a spear as well, is this a trend?  A quick check to the Artizan Design and I see the Viking Jarls do not come with spears.  So hold on a bit, do the Bondi with Spears actually come with spears?  Let me go check them.  What’s that?  You need to supply your own wire spears – why?  That’s a cheap trick, seems they want £5.00 for some wire spears that you can down to shape.

So another £5.00 + P&P, I’d rather wish that I had known this before.  I feel a bit cheated I have to be honest and I’m off to email Great Escape Games as they really should mention this, or supply some spears.  I also feel a bit of an idiot emailing without doing any detailed research, then again that’s me used to buying figures that include everything your require.

Time now to post onto the club forum to see what others do.  I could buy this spear pack but there will be a lot of waste as you need to cut these to fit.

Ok another email gone to Crusader apologising for being too quick to complain.

Next I’ve been told to buy the spears from North Star, so I have done.  Again it’s £5.00 + 10% P&P but I think the website isn’t very good and the payment portal is total rubbish.  What I’m saying here is that I’ve ordered the spears and entered my card details and not a single email has come back yet (it took over 24 hours to get a basic email from them).  This gives me an idea but back to my Vikings.

A few hours later and I have a number of the Gripping Beast plastic Hirdmen all built up, here’s a few pictures.

Made by Renedra Ltd of Wisbech, England (not far from my home town) and made with the same quality that you see with others they produce such as the Perry Miniatures British Line Infantry, and very similar with them are a number of easy to fit heads/arms that make building the models up so easy.  As these are the first I’ve done learning what left arms go with what right arms means a few mistakes it’s easy to sort with plastic figures as the cement takes time to bond, glad these aren’t metal otherwise the super glue would mean I have some weird looking Vikings!

Casting quality is excellent, very few seam lines around the models I’ve made so far and as previously discussed the arms/weapons/shields are easy to fit, very easy.

Each sprue contains 10 Viking bodies (5 different designs repeated) along with 14 separate heads (4 are duplicated) which gives you plenty of variation but also allowing you to keep the Vikings looking like they’re part of the same group.  There are plenty of shields (all plain) and weapons which allow you to pose your figures in a number of different ways, however I did find that after the first sprue I had one figure with a spear in his left hand with no matching right arm available.

A small conversion job for the left handed spear-man, I used a small right arm and then cut the hand thumb off and then glued the shield onto his small hand, and then glued the right onto the model, so here he is:

One complaint is that the heads are fixed to the sprue via the top of the helmet so cutting it out, then shaping the plastic is time consuming and can lead to a few flat helmets.  I’m sure once the Vikings are all undercoated you won’t be able to tell which were butchered and which weren’t.  If I had designed the sprue layout, i’d have added the join under the head, it’s easier to cover mistakes there.  Anyway this is a minor complaint really – I should take more time on these but alas I don’t have that.

Next models to create are the commands models.  There are two small sprues with two models which allows you to create a musician, standard or command model.  I plan on making one command, two standards and one musician.

That’s the command and one musician completed, time to get back to the rank and file troops.

The command/musicians are a bit dull if you ask me.  The musician looks like he’s about to fall forward and the horn arm doesn’t allow you to put it into his mouth, what would be ace I think.  The heads are a pain though, they’ll joined onto the sprue underneath, ie where the beards are.  It’s quite hard to cut them off in one piece and make the beard look good, I lost one head due to slipping and cutting half the beard off!

A couple of pics of the Vikings built so far:

However that’s enough for this blog post.  I’ll continue building my Vikings over the next week and let you know how I get on.


Going to War, raising a Viking Great Army – Stage 2 (Part 1) building it.

Here we go again then, day 2 (was when I started this, it’s now day 6) of the week without kids and now I’m onto the build element of my Viking Great Army.

In an earlier blog I mentioned that we’re having a Dark Age campaign at the club in November using the Clash of Empires rules and so I bought a Viking Great Army (VGA) direct from Great Escape Games and then I wrote my army list.

To recap, here’s a picture of what I have available to build, and next to that a breakdown of what exactly it is..

The Viking Army Deal contained the following:

  • 2 boxes of Gripping Beast plastic Viking Hirdmen (88 figures total)
  • Artizan Designs Viking jarl and standard bearer, plus 2 hersir
  • Crusader Miniatures 20 bondi
  • Crusader Miniatures hirdmen command and berserkers
  • Crusader Miniatures 8 archers (skirmishers)

Plus I also received a Viking Lord Miniature (still to locate him!)

Next thing I did was to email Jim (Products of Wargamers) asking him to about the total number of bases that I wanted, plus asking him if they sell movement trays.

He (as always) quickly replied and told me he could make the bases I required and the movement trays and that he’d be in touch with the costs of them, I’m still awaiting this and the bases – so time to send him another email I think.

I’ve also bought some Shield Decals and some bases for this miniatures.

The Shield Decals were bought from Little Big Men Studio.  I asked my club members where I can buy shield decals/transfers and when I look at the Little Big Men Studio I liked what they had so I told my brain to use them.  I had a few questions and so I contacted them (via the website) and within a few hours, Steve had replied to me with my answers.

I bought the following stuff:

Order 1:

Order 2:

Total cost, was for Order 1, £24 plus £1 P&P, Order 2 was £9 plus £1 P&P, total cost £35.

If I’d ordered both orders together, it would have cost £37.50, because any order over £25 is sent out using Special Delivery which costs too much I think for a little A5 letter.

At this time I’m waiting on these as well, but I only ordered them yesterday so it’s too early to have them.

So what i’ve started to do is to remove some of the models (the metal miniatures to start), clean the seams, the flash etc and glue their shields on so that as soon as the bases turn up, I can glue and then get them undercoated.

Here’s a few pics of the Hirdmen Command made by Crusader Miniatures.






Behind those you can see the Gripping Beast Plastic Viking Sprues, these will be done post all the metal figures.

Next come the Crusader Miniature Berserkers







These chaps will be the first I paint of my Vikings, I think they’re excellent..

Next up comes the Crusader Miniatures Bondi with Bows, this time a pack of 8 miniatures rather than 4 as shown in the first 2 packs opened and dealt with.







So that’s all for Part 1, Part 2 will show the further metal miniatures opened up, cleaned and photographed, 3 more packs of Crusader Miniatures and 1 Artizan Designs.

I have to at this point comment that the Crusader Miniatures are excellent, nicely detailed without going over the top and pretty clean casts, not a lot of seams or flash to clean off.  But my main gripe is that any packs of 8 (that i’ve opened, ie the Bondi with Bows) just repeat the models twice, rather than having 8 different figures.



Going to War, raising a Viking Great Army – Stage 1 planning it.

Here we go then, I have a week without kids and so apart from the normal working day and the call of the pub in the evenings I have some spare time.

In an earlier blog I mentioned that I picked up the Clash of Empires war games rules and bought a Viking Great Army (VGA) direct from Great Escape Games and that I planned to partake in a short CoE campaign at the club.

To recap, here’s a picture of what I have available to build, and next to that a breakdown of what exactly it is..

The Viking Army Deal contained the following:

  • 2 boxes of Gripping Beast plastic Viking Hirdmen (88 figures total)
  • Artizan Designs Viking jarl and standard bearer, plus 2 hersir
  • Crusader Miniatures 20 bondi
  • Crusader Miniatures hirdmen command and berserkers
  • Crusader Miniatures 8 archers (skirmishers)

Plus as a bonus for buying the Age of Ravens source book I also received a Viking Lord Miniature (I need to find out where he’s ‘safely’ stored).

Right then, where to begin?  First I’ll look at how to base these models.

Reading the rules the Hirdmen/Bondi will need to be based on 20x20mm bases because these are classed as ‘closed’ infantry.  It would also then make sense to put the bases on movement trays to make that all easier to move around.  The Bondi Archers are classed as skirmishers and so will require 25x25mm bases.

Looking through the rules, seems 6 is an accepted frontage for a unit of Vikings.  With 20 Bondi that’s 3 rows of 6 (18) with  2 behind.  The Hirdmen number 96 (88 plastic, 4 command and 4 Berserkers) which makes for 3 larger units of 32 or 4 of 24 and works out well with 4 ranks of either 8 or 6.  This should mean that with a Berserker in each unit I shall get 2 more attacks added to the number of models in the frontage (not taking into account their commander/generals extra dice).

There are rules that benefit both the wider frontage and the number of ranks you have.  The wider your front the more attacks you get, the deeper your ranks the more bonus to the combat resolution score.  So it’s important to maximise both and with that knowledge I would think 8 with 3 ranks would work best.

Next we come to building the army list, for that I need to use the Age of Ravens source book as it has the VGA army list.

Reading Age of Ravens tell us that our army must be built using the following rules.

Must include 1 General
May include up to 3 Sub-Commanders

Core Units
Must include 2 units of Hirdmen
May include up to 8 other core units.

May include up to 5 support

May include up to 4 skirmish

Up to 30% available

Now that we know what we have to include and what we may include we can now take the 2500 limit for the Clubs CoE Campaign and start to design.

Around an hour later I have this:

Konnungr (50 points)
Hersir (55 points)
Hersir (55 points)
Hersir (55 points)

Total Points: 215

Core Units

Hearthguard – 24 models (624 points) (The Konnungr’s Bodyguards) – Throwing Spears added
Unit A – 24 models (432 points)
Unit B – 24 models (432 points)
Unit C – 24 models (432 points)

Add 1 Berserker to the Hearthguard and Units (A-C) (36 points)
Upgrade Hearthguard and Unit A to add Throwing Spears (48)

Total Points: 2004

Warband D – 20 models (200 points)
Warband E – 8 models – Skirmishers (56 points)
Upgrade HTH to 3 and ML to 7 (Swap Javelins for Bows) (24 points)

Total Points: 280

Total Army Points: 2499 (215 + 2004 + 280)

That’s all the easy bits done.  I need to order up the bases and movement trays, I’ll use my normal suppliers Products for Wargamers as they are cheap, efficient and generally good folks.

Counting the bases, 20x20mm I will need approx 118 of them, 8 of the 25x25mm, 3 of 30x30mm round (Hersirs) and 1 of 40x40mm (Konnungr).  I’ll write an email in a moment (sent it) so that’s all done and dealt with.

That’s it for preparation, next we come to building the miniatures that’s part of another post and now it’s time to do something else, i’ll start on these later today – 130 odd models will take their time…..


Current life, well current thinking

I’m doing an OU (Open University) module at the moment on Java (the programming language – not the coffee bean).

I’ve been coding for so long nothing surprises me and Java doesn’t.  Being an old skool C++ coder it’s just a step up with a lot of the niggly issues all taken care of and I like it.

Of course the only reason I’m learning Java is due to my OU degree is made up from a few core Java modules and that I want to get into coding stuff for Android.

I have an idea of a small desktop based app (to start) that reads in a series of folders and creates a LastFM compatible list of Artist Names and Album Titles so that I can post my music collection.

I don’t know enough Java to do this without the help of Google, but I know what to do and so it’s a matter of finding out what commands to use more than anything.

This is how I learnt to code though in the first place.  I knew what I wanted to do (text adventure on the BBC B back in ’82) I just needed to do it….

So perhaps I will, and maybe i’ll post some code here and find out how friendly, maybe there’s also a LastFM API method that will allow to make a post without doing anything?