Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Showcase - Warlord Games Early Imperial Roman Legionaries, Applying Transfers

It's 'The Last Post', not to be confused with that rather haunting bugle call, before we go off to the hospital to welcome our first so I thought it best to make it something worth reading.

In my last Plog I promised I'd take some photos of my painted Roman Legionaries and I guess this is also an 'army' shot, though it's a very compact one at the minute:

I think there's a nice contrast between the red of the legions and the green of the auxiliaries, another plus is that they'd make perfect Christmas decorations

Still not based them though, I'm still thinking exactly how I want to do it and I've got plenty to paint whilst I make up my mind anyway

There's a lot of 'silver' metal on these guys so I might sure to paint the cornu and standard using some bright golds. I've come to the conclusion over a number of years that when painting models it's best to exaggerate colours a tad so that they really pop on the table top.

I went with red skirts, there's nothing quite like the 'classical' look - this is what I grew up with in school

Speaking of Romans, there have been quite a number of questions and comments on some of the facebook groups I'm part of regarding transfers, particularly the Warlord Games transfers for the legionaries, well, this is my response:

My goal, whilst I'm off from work is to complete my first French line, with any luck and a few quiet hours that'll be my next post...see you in a few weeks!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

French Napoleonic Line Infantry - 4 down, heaven knows how many to go!

I recently did an unboxing for the Warlord Games French Line Infantry Boxed Set which is suitable for battles in the Peninsular War (Warlord Games sells a different French line infantry box for waterloo) and during that I was able to show my first line infantry-man however the light was getting low and I wanted to take a few more photos for the blog.

Well now I've finished 4, the first sixth of my first French line - These guys will probably represent the 70th Line infantry 1st Battalion, I'm working towards an army loosely representative of the orbat for Vimeiro so I thought I'd start from the top and recreate General de Brigade Antoine François Brenier de Montmorand's (what a name!) Brigade which was 70th Line (both first and second battalions) and the 2nd and 4th light.

I also placed my first order with Perry Miniatures this week I sorely needed some models suitable for generals and though Warlord Games would have me use at least two groups of brigade commanders they don't actually have much in the way of models suitable for this! Fortunately the Perry Brothers have got this covered and I was able to pick up Napoleon and staff pt1, and Staff and Generals dismounted which gives me 11 miniatures, plus a table and Napoleon himself of course, to make some nice little vignettes for my brigade commanders. I also got a cannon whilst I was at it because who doesn't want a cannon!

If you missed it last week here's the youtube video for the French Line unboxing:

Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Whoooosh! The Sound of Another Month Passing.

It's getting to be a familiar sound! I've not had much opportunity to sit and write for a little while much less sit and think, all good practice for later this month or so I am told.

Wow, the single post I did get out last month certainly got a response though, I shall have to tackle more controversial topics more often but before I right all the worlds wrongs I thought I'd have a little ramble here first.

Firstly, despite last months brief moment of insanity I probably wont be starting AoS any time soon (if ever). I had hoped, perhaps foolishly, that it would be something I could afford, I spent a not insignificant time perusing the lizardmen range in preparation. Then Games Workshop released the first unit boxes and I realised that It's just not something I can afford to buy in to (again).

So I'll be sticking with the myriad of systems I'm already invested in and maybe, one day, when I'm a rich and successful accountant...maybe...

Instead you'll have to make do with this fortnights (months?!) Plog:

And a couple of unboxing vids:

Warlord Games French Line Infantry

Perry Miniatures French Dragoons

In the Plog you'll see my first finished (bar basing) roman legionary unit and my first painted French man, I hope to feature these in a bit better lighting here in the coming weeks.

Until then, as usual, thanks for taking the time to stop by and read the ramblings of this hobbyist!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Warhammer Fantasy: A Fate As Old As Time

Well that's unexpected...Well actually it's not unexpected, the rumours regarding Warhammer: Fantasy have been doing the rounds for quite some time and as it turns out quite a number of those rumours appear to have been correct, at least in the short term anyway:

  • Round bases, in fact any bases you like, are in.
  • Ranks and files are out, if you want them to be.
  • Points are out.
  • force organisation as we know it is out.
  • Free rules, at least for the time being, are in.
And a whole lot more besides and do you know what, as someone that's dabbled, expensively (no, I don't mean extensively) with WH:F over the last 13+ years I can safely say that Warhammer is actually something that's piquing my interest again.

When I was 19/20 I spent a small period of time as a full-timer at my local GW and in amongst the maelstrom I learnt a few things about the products I was selling:

  • 40k was number one seller, by a country mile.
  • Lord of the Rings was number two
  • Fantasy was languishing in third 
  • and finally came the myriad of specialist games ranges
Yes, they weren't far from deaths door but specialist games were still a thing. It bears remembering that this was not too long after the release of The Return of the King and shortly before the release of WotR. Lord of the Rings, whatever it's perceived faults by 40k fans, was still riding a high and it had made GW an awful lot of money. From the horses mouths at the time (though you probably wont have seen this in any financial statement) 'the popularity of SBG completely masked a slight overall decline in GWs core customer market. We were making an awful lot of money, we didn't quite understand why and we made a few mistakes as a result [...] like putting an additional member of staff in to every shop.'

And then the bubble burst. Boy did it burst. It led to the large amount of restructuring including the rise (or return) of the one man store and I'd say is the probable root cause of the current price inflation strategy which has seen single blister heroes rise from £4-8 to anything up to £30 over the last 6 years.

In that time WH:F undoubtedly returned to spot number two but in my opinion the rot had already set in and as far as I was concerned the writing was on the wall, at least as far as my local was concerned. LotR was dead and Fantasy was not all that far behind. Though anecdotal and not at all necessarily representative of every store, in my part of the UK at least, 40k was outstripping fantasy sales considerably (my estimate would be £10:1 if not more).

And If you want my opinion, and presumably if you've made it this far then you are at least a little interested, it was by and large down to price. 7th Edition compounded it and 8th literally threw all sense of reason out of the window.

I had my introduction to WH:F when I was half the height and half the age I am now. Back then it was feasible for someone of my age to buy a box of 16-20 models with my £15 pocket money a month, each box would be a whole unit, and within 6-10 months I'd have a decent sized 1-1.5k point army of say 7 regiments and a few bits of fun thrown in and the total cost? Around £150. If I was lucky I could cover a 3rd or even half of that cost with Birthday or Christmas money.

Fast forward 13 years and five things have happened:
  • price per box went up
  • models per box went down
  • expected models per regiment went up
  • average game size increased
  • average points cost per model decreased
Most regiment boxes now cost upwards of £18-20, Most regiment boxes now contain 10 men or less and most regiments are no longer seen in blocks of 16-20, often 20 is the minimum. It is absolutely impossible now for a child to buy an effective regiment each month with their pocket money and have a 2000 point army within 6-10 months without parents with very, very, deep pockets.

oh and the rulebook/armybook is(/now 'was' I guess...) no longer an inconvenience that would cost you two months of pocket money, now they'll run you double if not triple.

Those children, who can no longer afford to buy in to the game, are Games Workshop's core market (especially since they've done everything they could, it seems, to alienate the older, and therefore more miserable among us (myself included)). As someone who's studying accountancy If I were working for a company whose core market could not afford the products my company were selling I'd be doing two things:

  • Looking for a new job for when they folded
  • Advising them that if they didn't do something to make their products 'cheaper' they wouldn't be in a position to make those products for much longer.
I use the word 'cheaper' in inverted commas because actually the models aren't too expensive, £20-£25 a box is pocket money price by today's standard, certainly for a box a month (which was my original example). So if they're not too expensive how do you create the perception that they're cheaper?

I, or rather Games Workshop, give you:

Free basic rules (for now at least) no points (play what you have - great for kids) and once again a box can be an effective regiment

I haven't played fantasy since the earliest days of the Island of Blood and I haven't owned a fantasy army since I sold my Skaven to buy a car (literally, my Fantasy army cost enough to buy a car) but I've been looking with soft, doe eyes at lizardmen recently and new rules, or more precisely this new take on the game itself, has got me very interested.

I think the fact that It's going to scale seamlessly from a hero and a handful of regiment boxes (£50?) to anything you like is absolutely crucial for Games Workshop as children (and importantly parents) with any interest in anything other than instant gratification are rapidly decreasing. The fact you can play a game, a proper game, from the starter set is MASSIVE and it's been missing from GW's repertoire since the likes of Mordheim, Necromunda, Gorka Morka and the Lord of the Rings SBG et al got brushed under the rug of history.

I know GW is receiving a lot of flak on the WWW for this decision and I can see there being a number of disaffected people due to the, frankly, drastic direction shift but when I look at the majority of the people complaining and stating that they'll vote with their wallet, well they were the ones saying the same about 8th edition, and probably 7th and maybe even 6th edition. Presumably if they've been voting with their wallet for all this time then I don't think Games Workshop's going to miss them that much.

I can't say I'll be playing or buying any any time soon, I think bar Lord of the Rings (and I'm running out of stuff I want/need for that) GW's ship has sailed for me, I've long since been disaffected primarily by their 'price' and you know what, that's fine by me, it's a business, not a charity, and they're entitled to 'price' how they like, they're the ones that have to live with the consequences of ever diminishing returns, not me.

Like my Dad who took his son to Games Workshop at the age of 8 to buy a monster compendium for D&D and was probably disappointed to find they no longer catered for him I imagine my experience will be the same when I introduce my son to GW. Games Workshop has changed a lot from the days of my miss-spent youth. I'm more interested in historicals where Warlord and Perry miniatures in particular can provide a box, literally bulging, with miniatures for £20. Still I hope that they do well out of this change of direction because I would like to take my son to a Games Workshop one day in 8 or so years time. It was, sad as it sounds, an integral part of my childhood.

If you've made it this far what your thoughts on the passing of GW's iconic game?

The King is dead. Long live The King.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Unboxing - Games Workshop Great Eagles, Preparing to be a Dad(dy).

This last couple of weeks really seems to have flown by and time seems to be rapidly vanishing as I near the approaching B-Day (Baby). 

As time rapidly runs out on my old life of no responsibility (relatively) and care-free-ness I find myself thinking of a future where instead of spending an hour painting models in the evening I'll be spending an hour (or more) sending a baby off to sleep. worse still is that this is not a short term commitment either! Once that stage is over it'll be parents evens, friends birthdays, trips to the park, colouring in, cleaning up and generally doing everything other then the few things I want to do.

Do I feel daunted? YES
Do I feel like I'm jumping in at the deep end when I can't swim and there are no lifeguards on duty? Abso-blooming-lutely
Are there going to be days when I'll wish I'd had a headache that night? Undoubtedly.

But that said here are some of the things I am looking forward to sharing with my soon-to-be little one (when the time is appropriate) aside from the all to obvious addiction I have to little plastic men of course:

This, as my reception/year 1 teachers would be able to tell you, was my favourite (bar none) toy to play with at school, I never cooperated amenably when it cam time to be put away and I was more than a little possessive of it; I absolutely HATED it when someone else wanted to play with it to. Let's hope I have better luck with my off-spring...

Walking in the woods, especially in the rain, finding trees to climb, places to build dens and rivers in which you can make dams was probably my favourite outdoor activity as a child. By and large society frowns on fully grown adults doing many things such as climbing trees and building dams so I can't wait till I have an excuse to enjoy those past times again.

My Grandparents bought my one for christmas and, for a child that grew up without a lot of access to the more expensive toys in the Argos catalogue, it was a revelation. I think I spent all my pocket money (£2 a month at the time) on batteries for the thing and I have fond memories of spending more time messing with the metal contacts on the bottom of the cars than I do of actually getting them to race. Hopefully they're a bit more reliable now (I doubt it...)

Lego! Yes another toy but what could not be made from Lego with a box full of blocks and some imagination? Dinosaurs, 18th century sailing ships, power rangers zords, aeroplanes, space ships, castles, crossbows and hilariously feeble swords were a staple.  

Well who needs an excuse to go to this place? Probably my second visited museum after the natural history museum (of course). As someone who studied not only classical and medieval history but also modern I can safely say that war has and will always be (because of our innate inability to simply get along) one of the defining characters of our being, I'm a great believer in the phrase that 'what we forget we are doomed to repeat'. Despite the last remaining living memories of the most recent 'global' war rapidly leaving us for what ever come next I want my son to have a respect for the great and tumultuous period which is so close to our living memory. I don't know if a civilian population in Britain will ever experience the same level of war as those in 1939-45 and I hope they don't but I know that when the memory of that time slips from us, that is when it's events are most likely to re-occur.

So as I begin to mourn the loss of free time and freedom of choice (I've still got 6 weeks, that's at least a couple of regiments isn't it?!) What tips do the initiated among us have for the novice? Are there things you thought you'd miss but don't? are there things that you didn't realise you'd miss?

Most importantly how do I go about fitting in hobby time?

And because that was the title after all:


No Plog this week but I've been working on the Legionaries, 10 down and 10 on their way, and I have far too many Warlord Games models on their way to me, as if I didn't have enough already, but hey, I'll need a good stockpile for when my own personal expendable income passes like rain on the mountain. More on those next week

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Ten Minute Tutorial - Painting Cloaks

Hi all, here is the second of my 'Ten Minute Tutorials', It's a quick guide on how to paint blue high elf cloaks though you could substitute the colours of course.

In other news Black powder 'happened' so be on the look our for reviews and unboxings soon. The rulebook is superb and I like the more 'broad brush' approach I could see it giving to games, The handful of models I've bought look great though I have one slight gripe with a particular set (to be revealed in review) and the free Napoleon they're giving away this month for the 200th anniversary of Waterloo was a nice little addition.

Work continues on the Roman cohort, I'm nearing completion of the first 10 and so I've begun to assemble the remaining 10 (including command) to complete the unit. All the models have gone together nicely and you can see a review of the set here on this very blog.

In other, other news the countdown to baby continues: 59 days to go. eek!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Plog #2, Ten Minute Tutorials, Musings on Black Powder

It's been a very busy two weeks which hasn't exactly left a lot of time for painting but I have got a few bits and pieces to show you in my 2nd video painting log.

One of those things that I've managed to find some time for the the first of my Ten Minute Tutorials. Rather than paint a whole miniature I'll show how I paint a specific colour. In this case it's the gold used on me elves which featured a few posts ago.
The second is also complete and ready to release next week!

One of the questions I ask on my 'plog' is regarding black powder from Warlord games.
As should be fairly obvious I've become quite invested in their hail Caesar range and, wanting a more unified ruleset (because remembering how to play umpteen different games is a pain!), I've been considering whether or not to get the black powder rules or not.

I've currently got a few regiments of 15mm AB peninsular British Line infantry and 6lb cannons based for the General de Brigade rules however if I were to do black powder I'd probably want to drop the AB for Warlord plastics (price being a major reason).

Do any of you have any thoughts on the Black Powder rules and the Warlord Games ecosystem in general and what about the models? Stick with 15mm or switch to 28mm?

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Warlord Games Early Imperial Romans: Legionaries and Scorpion - Review

Hi all, after having completed my first unit of Imperial Roman Auxiliaries I've begun to assemble the next unit, This is the Early Imperial Roman Legionaries, again by Warlord Games.

The Roman Legionary was the product of the Marian Reforms of 107BC, Prior to this the Republic drew it's armies from among the citizens who had to be of  a particular class and posses a certain amount of wealth, they had to fund their on equipment and were organised in to specific groupings based on the equipment they were able to fund.

The Marian reforms turn this on it's head, the army would become a professional army, no longer divided (quite so visibly) by wealth and status but instead organised and equipped after a standard fashion (though regional variants of armour, weapons, cloth etc existed). This was the birth of the Legionary.

The Legionaries in this box are the progeny of this genesis and are the classic image conjured in many a young boys head when he pictures a Roman due largely to the extensive use of Lorica Segmentata which despite only being used for a fraction of the life-span of the Roman Empire is almost always what we see a Legionary depicted wearing! 

The Lorica Segmentata is the predominant feature on these models and has received some good attention to detail right down to individual clasps and fittings that would have held it all together.
The period of it's use was from around the turn of the millennium until the late 3rd century. If you can ignore the fact that helmets in particular underwent a few revisions during this time period then that gives you a good range of combatants for these models to historically fight against from rebellious Gaulish tribes, to the invasion of Britain by Aulus Plautius, across to boarder wars with the Germans and the conquest of the Dacinsa and Thracia. If you're happy being slightly liberal with historical accuracy when it come to arms and equipment then the scope of opponents for this particular period of Roman plastics is probably one of the greatest and more widely documented of ancient history and will provide you plenty to get your teeth in to.

I am happy to tolerate a little ambiguity and as mentioned previously I intend to use mine to represent the conquest and post-conquest occupation of Britain from 43AD onwards (Claudius' invasion definitely does not count... it takes a little more effort to conquer us Brits than stabbing the English channel and collecting shells...).

The boxed set from Warlord games contains 20 Legionaries, including command, as well as a scorpion and crew. Previous iterations existed and contained 30 legionaries sans scorpion. I believe the switch to the newer box came as a result of the release of the Hail Caesar rues which heavily promote 20 man units as the standard size (in 2 ranks or 10 men) over a 200mm frontage.

The box costs £22 from Warlord Games direct or can be had from £15+ at alternate retailers. Even bought at full price at a cost of approximately £1 per model this represents good value when compared with other offerings from both historical and non-historical miniature manufacturers and whilst typically you'd expect the quality to suffer as a result of price I don't feel this is the case in this instance.

The legionaries come with separate arms, heads and shields which allow for a number of different poses such as throwing a Pilum, standing ready to receive a charge, getting stuck in with a gladius or simply marching to meet the enemy and whilst there is a good degree of different poses you can make The fact that the legs and torsos  are molded as one meaning it should still be fairly easy to rank up these miniatures, a problem which other manufactures suffer from due to overly energetic poses.

 Some of the detail, particularly on the command sprue (which is the legionary sprue with one half re-cut to accommodate the relevant bits). My favourite is the commander himself who has some very nicely sculpted and detailed armour and had/helmet.

Whilst the scorpion and crew, for me, is not the focus of this box, it's nice to have and also is fairly historically accurate in the each legion would be supported by a number of these warmachines, 60 for the Legion or 1 per century (which is conveniently what the 20 man unit is meant to be representative of on the gaming table). Warlord have gone to the same detail here too including sculpting the twists in the rope/sinew among other details.

The downside to all this intricate detail is that mold lines quickly become a significant problem, to get the best out of these models your are going to spend a good deal of time performing some careful prep-work before you'll be ready to get painting.

 I've Assembled 10 so far and whilst they went together nice and quickly enough the clean up work took around 1.5-2 hours and to be honest I could have done better (though it would have taken even longer!)

 Of particular trouble is the mold line running down the neatly sculpted sandle and armour plates which include a lot of small details, all too easy to remove with  a careless flick of the file.

This of course is difficult to help with 2 piece plastic molding technology and should be something most of us are familiar with.


Price - 5/5
At full price £22 may seem like a significant outlay however when you consider that not only are you getting a full and complete 20 man unit with full command but also an artillery piece with which to wage table top warfare on your opponent.
At £1 per model this is a steal when compared with the boxes of models now costing upwards of £25 for 5 (or £5 per model!!) from other manufacturers. I want lots of these boxes and I think this price is just about perfect. Not only thaty but once again you can buy individual sprues at pocket money prices which I am very grateful for and gives those of us on a budget a whole heck of a lot more flexibility when it comes to how we buy and build our armies.

Value - 4.5 / 5
There's a good deal of poss-ability available within this box set, a minor niggle is that your are unable to assemble a full unit wielding either 100% gladius or 100% pilum however this can be mitigated by using two boxes to make one unit of each, though this is only of any difference aesthetically, in game it would make no odds.
Coming from a Warhammer background the full command is a must for me and impactes greatly on my perceived value of the set.
The icing on the cake is the sheet of trasfers which, when applied with micro set and micro sol really make the models come alive for me.

Quality - 4 / 5
I observed no defects with this kit unlike the auxiliaries, however there are significant mold lines and clean up will take a substantial amount of time. Though mold lines are generally unavoidable some manufacturers have been making good advances in this regard in the way they cut their models ready for the sprue which reduces the number of flat surfaces likely to be at the mold join. this is obviously where the trade off on price come in with this set. It's not a deal-breaker though so do not write these guys off!

Features are deep and appear as though they'll be easy to paint and make the most off for use at table top distances. I'm a big fan of slightly exaggerated detail at this scale as it gives a bit more of a visual 'grab' even when viewed at typical gaming distances.

Accuracy - 3 / 5

Again, I'm no expert however I know that common consensus is now that the typical image we have all universally come to know and love of a full legion kitted out in lorica segmentata, bells and whistles on, is probably, definitely NOT accurate. Even when it's use was likely at it's height many men would have still been using lorica hamata which both preceded and succeeded the far more iconic segmentata. I'd have liked to have seen the represented on the sprue with a few such torsos.
I understand that this box is trying to represent the iconic and not the historic and for that I can forgive it because I love the iconic.

If you play historical games at all I don't think you can count yourself as a historical gamer without at least a small army of early imperial Romans, I can't think of a much better place to start than with a small fist-full of these boxes.

Don't forget to check out the unboxings of both the Conquest of Gaul;

and Starter Army;

Boxes for more pictures of these fantastic models!

Have you any experience of Hail Caesar? Do you have any comments? let me know, I'd be glad to hear it!

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Unboxing - Warlord Games The Conquest of Gaul Starter Set

It's another unoxing this weekend, back to ancients this time with Hail Caesar: 'Conquest of Gaul' from Warlord games.

I'm a big fan of these boxed sets, you get a lot of stuff for not a lot of money and that always good in my books. Arguably the quality of the miniatures is not as high as some of those on the market and you will definitely need to spend a fair amount of time cleaning mold-lines but as Stalin is quoted as saying: 'Quantity has a quality of it's own' and he's not wrong.

In the case of the 'Conquest of Gaul' set I think Warlord really ought to include the transfers for the shields however that shouldn't put anyone off, 90 models and a full rule book (hard cover, full colour art no less!) for £60 is a bargain.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Showcase - Glorfindel and Erestor

Woah! What's that? Another Lord of the Rings showcase? it certainly is! Following hot on the heals of Elrond and Gil-galad are two of Games Workshops finer additions to the lotr range.

I believe these were some of the later releases pre-Hobbit SBG and as such are a bit oversized when compared to the earlier high elf stuff, regardless they are some beautiful models with some pretty fun rules and I wouldn't consider my elvish army complete without them.


"That is the path of despair. Of folly I would say, if the long wisdom of Elrond did not forbid me."—The Fellowship of the Ring, The Council of Elrond


"He was tall and straight; his hair was of shining gold, his face fair and young and fearless and full of joy; his eyes were bright and clean, and his voice like music; on his brow set wisdom, and in his hand was strength."—The Fellowship of the Ring, Many Meetings

And of course I couldn't not get the four of them together for a group photo, I'm looking forward to using them in a game soon against my gaming buddies!

Hi all, Quick edit just to add a paint card for 'Elvish' Gold, Now you can match the gold used on my high elves:

 Remember to check out the 'let's paint - Galadhrim Warriors' youtube video as well!

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Friday, 29 May 2015

Showcase - Elrond And Gil-galad

Yay! It's a Lord of the Rings post, it's been a while hasn't it! As I mentioned in my last post I've been working on five of my Elvish heroes over the last couple of weeks. Having had a little bit of time off work for exams this week I've not only found time to revise professional ethics but also to paint Elrond and Gil-galad.

I like these old FotR models, they have such great character and detail in the faces. With Elrond I went a gritty, fires of mount doom, midst of battle look with deep, exaggerated features and a wide-eyed look which the sculpting demands. With Gil-galad I tried to achieve a more passive look, of someone who knows they aren't going to see out the day, again something which the sculpting lends itself too.

If I were to change anything it'd be the green on Elrond, it's too bright whereas the green on Gil-galad is perfect in my view. things I'm please with are the freehand work on Gil-galad and the gold armour.

anyway here's some more photos;

Still on the table is Erestor, and Glorfindel and Celeborn in armour, I've also got myself a box of eagles, Thranduil and 2 bat swarms winging their way to me hopefully for tomorrow so I need to get cracking, that mountain of unpainted lead is not getting smaller!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Showcase - Imperial Roman Auxiliaries and Life's Little Foibles

To say these last few months shave been challenging is no understatement! We finally got over dreadful morning sickness about 6 weeks ago which had seen my wife go from her usual bubbly primary teacher self to a miserable, withdrawn and hopeless thing. Thinking the worst was behind us we headed off to the anomaly (or sizing if you prefer) scan at 20 weeks only to be told that not only was my wife growing one healthy baby but two fibroids as well (one being 8x8x7 cm!).

We'd hoped these fibroids would shrink or move up out of the way as the womb expands but no, they've not only stayed resolutely blocking the exit but they've grown, the biggest is now 10cm and is causing a lot of pain and discomfort for which we spent a good 9 hours up at the hospital for over the last couple of days.

We've gone from a low risk, home birth, to a high risk, consultant-led C-section which along with the pain has only helped to make my poor sunshine more miserable than ever!

It's not all bad however, I have a healthy baby boy on the way to raise on a diet of miniatures, rule books and terrain making and, though I initially wanted a girl (and still do for the future), I've very much warmed to the idea of having a live-in wargming buddy (though I appreciate there's a few years down the line yet). Thanks to the fibroid restricting his available space I've also been able to feel him kicking far earlier than may have done otherwise which is an amazing feeling though it's a bit weird at first.

Anyway you lot don't read this blog to hear about all my maladies, no doubt you've enough of your own! Between work, college, housework, sickness, hospital visits (etc) I've got in a few hours of painting here and there. Those of you using facebook may have already seen my painted Roman Aux (reviewed and unboxed in my more recent posts).

Here are the fruits of my labour;

the basing isn't finished yet, it needs paint and flock and I've missed a few teeth here and there but otherwise it's my first serviceable unit based for Hail Caesar, the shield transfers really turn an otherwise fairly mundane model in to a really eye-catching piece.

For those of you who come here for Lord of the Rings content the fear not, I've currently got Elrond and Gil Galad, Armoured Celeborn and Glorfindel and Erestor currently in various stage of painting and I'm looking forward to posting those up over the course of this month with any luck (though I seem to be short on that at the moment...). Erestor especially is a joy to paint.

I've been playing my men of the last alliance a fair bit recently so I also took the plunge and started a mounted Isildur conversation using Aragorn the king and Isildur on foot which aside from greenstuff is finished and ready for painting

For historical fans I've assembled some Roman legionaries as the next project/unit which will be next on the painting table.

25 weeks down hopefully another 15 to go...

As usual, thanks for reading, it's great to be able to come here and ent and have people offer their support and best wishes!