Friday, 23 December 2011


To further our Ledbury campaign, Giles and I are planning to run a big-ish game in February next year. This means lots of buildings and scenery to represent the town.

Giles has spent a lot of time, money and effort getting things together, which has shamed me into at least contributing something, despite my lack of terrain building skills. And so, scraping together whatever odds and ends I could find, I started making some walls - something that we'll need a lot of!

First off I used some old strips of packing foam to make some rough stone walls. I glued the foam to some strips of card, coated them with PVA glue (adding the occasional lumps of dried up Milliput), painted them grey, washed them with Quickshade and matt varnished them.

The results aren't perfect, but not too bad for a first timer!

The next lot of walls came about after I discovered the excellent Paper Brick website, which allows you to choose from a wide variety of brick styles, mortar colours and layouts, that you can then print out.

So I made some basic walls out of cardboard, printed out some bricks and glued them on. Very quick, easy and, if you squint a bit, not too shabby!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Who you gonna call? Tankbusters!

If there’s something red,
In your neighbourhood.
Who you gonna call?

There’s an Anglican tank,
And it don’t look good.
All the fascists call,

Doo do doo do doo do doodoodoo
They ain’t afraid of no tank…

These figures are some spare Wargames Foundry WW1 trench raiders I had knocking around, so I added some extra tank-busting equipment such as a crowbar (for prising open hatches, down which a Mills bomb can be thrown), sticky bombs (for attaching to and blowing up vulnerable parts), a great big wooden beam (for levering off caterpillar tracks) and a spade (for, er, digging stuff).

Note that they all wear black gloves in order to look sinister, not because I mucked up the resculpting of the hands... *cough*

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Hereford Municipal LDV

After the flight of the Bishop of Hereford, the people of that city would have been forgiven for considering themselves lucky compared to the counties other major settlements. The inhabitants of Bromyard and Leominster reluctantly played host to various fascist militias, Kington had fallen into the hands of the Welsh, the Anglican league had retreated to Ross while Ledbury was fast becoming a battleground between various factions.

Hereford itself seemingly existed in a state of calm – an oasis of relative normality thanks to the royalist authorities who needed a functioning city in which to base their centre of operations. Despite viewing its inhabitants with suspicion, work, trade and to some degree an amount of religious expression were allowed to continue unmolested.

Rather than witness hordes of jackbooted Blackshirts marching down Broad Street, Herefordians were allowed to organise their own defences. The status of the Herefordshire TA was ambiguous – some had fought for the Anglican League, some had gone off to fight for the King, while others simply packed up and went home. Filling this gap were the Herefordshire Constabulary Volunteer rifles – hardly a reassuring sight for Englishmen unused to the spectacle of armed policemen.

Soon many of the city’s most prominent men began to petition for the raising of a civilian force. Under their urging groups of armed men began to present themselves to various council officials, pledging to defend their districts despite the fact that carrying arms was generally frowned upon by those in charge. The authorities knew better than to go against this feeling – after all a safety valve for the citizen’s anxieties couldn’t hurt.

And so the Hereford Municipal LDV was formed – a company of trusted men led by a legal official of good standing. While not exactly of right-wing persuasion, these men have volunteered to defend the city and, if necessary, sally forth into the countryside to protect the interests of their fellow ‘townies’.

(Figures are from Musketeer, with an Artizan and Bolt Action figure thrown in, commanded by a Wargames Foundry Victoriana solicitor.)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Hurrah for the Blackskirts!

The march of the Sidcup Highlanders.

‘Hairy’ McClary was an unlikely figure in the ranks of British fascism - every inch the stereotypical Scotsman: rough, mad eyed, hard drinking and with a beard as red as the highland ferns in autumn. This formidable figure went from being a down-and-out on the streets of London to the leader of one of the strangest pseudo-fascist units in the history of the civil war: the Sidcup highlanders.

With the onset of civil war and the proclamation of the Scottish Republic, many a royalist nobleman lost his estates north of the border. Absentee landowners based in England, who only ventured north for the Glorious Twelfth, could only look on impotently as their castles, farms and shooting grounds were confiscated by the Scottish government and either given over to new masters or left abandoned.

Suddenly thousands of gillies, tenants, groundskeepers and house staff found themselves without a master. The vast majority of them swore loyalty to the new order, while some joined pro-British groups within Scotland. A sizeable number however fled south (passing the throng of fellow Scots heading the other way to join the Republic) hoping to secure employment within their lords’ English possessions. Sadly not all of the landowners reciprocated this loyalty, and many an out of work Scot found themselves joining ranks of the English unemployed.

They made their way to London, where into this dispossessed diaspora, many of whom had fought in the Great War, came those few present day Scottish soldiers whose loyalty to the Crown was greater than loyalty to their country and those of Scottish descent who had found themselves marginalised by the antics of the ‘traitorous’ Scottish government.

Forced into poverty and vilified, suspected and distrusted by the English authorities, their plight was ignored until one day an unlikely saviour came along in the shape of Roderick Spode: 7th Earl of Sidcup and leader of the pseudo-fascist Blackshorts.

Spode’s King Offa’s Legion had recently been issued with a serious drubbing in the disastrous siege of Causton and he was desperate to add some kind of ‘backbone’ to his force. Quite by chance he and his wife Madeline came across Archie ‘Hairy’ McClary: formerly head gillie at Madeline’s uncle’s highland estate. At his wife’s urging, Spode reluctantly took this scruffy down-and-out for a bath and a good meal at his club, where he learnt of the plight of his fellow Scots.

McClary assured Spode that he and his compatriots, tough and fierce fighters with many a year’s military experience between them, would follow anyone who pulled them out of the gutter to hell and back, especially if there was a ‘couple of bob for a wee dram’ thrown into the bargain. Lord Sidcup, while not necessarily an intelligent man, knew a gift horse when he saw one and soon had McClary gather his associates. Fortified with a whisky or two they proved remarkably receptive to Spode’s Blackshort rhetoric and soon were volunteering to join his legion.

Kitted out in surplus military gear and dressed in a Scottish version of the Blackshort uniform (wartime shortages meaning that Spode had to fall back on the usual black cloth, rather than tartan for their kilts), a new unit was formed and the great English knee was joined by the braw bricht knee of the Scot. King Offa’s Legion has found it’s backbone in the shape of the Sidcup Highlanders!

Oh, and a word to the wise: if you’d prefer your bones to remain in their current alignment, don’t call them ‘Blackskirts’ to their faces…

(Figures are mainly Great War Miniatures Highlanders, Tommy gunner is Artizan and McClary is from Crusader Miniatures.)

Brigadier Gideon Langnecke

I had a spare Lord Cirencester figure knocking around, and so, with a bit of chopping and changing, I came up this this chap to lead my embryonic Anglican League force...

Brigadier Gideon Langnecke was already a highly decorated soldier by the time of the Great War, having served in numerous colonial campaigns and being wounded during the Anglo-Boer war. Present during the latter stages of the Gallipoli debacle, Langnecke was perhaps a little too vocal in his criticism of the handling of the campaign.

As a result this professional career soldier was shunted off into a number of advisory roles, touring the world as part of various military missions. A somewhat unconventional and outspoken character, Langnecke impressed and infuriated his hosts in equal manner and was eventually obliged to retire from service in the mid-1930s.

Angry and resentful of his superiors and the system in general, he returned to his ancestral pile near Goodrich, Herefordshire, to take up a life of the restless ex-soldier turned country gent. Railing against the establishment through inflammatory letters to the newspapers, the events that led up to the civil war led Langnecke to denounce the King and soon he was drilling with the LDVs of the local Anglican League.

His enthusiasm and leadership skills quickly drew him to the attention of the Reverend Meredith, leader of the Ross-on-Wye Anglicans. While a fierce orator, Meredith was well aware of his military shortcomings, especially in the light of the setbacks he suffered during the Ledbury campaign. He needed a military commander, and Langnecke fitted the bill perfectly.

Thanking God, not for the first time, for saving his bacon, the rebel vicar handed the reins of martial power to Langnecke while he shouldered the spiritual responsibilities. And so, late in life, Brigadier Gideon Langnecke became commanding officer of the Archenfield Anglican League.

(Figure is a converted Lord Cirencester from Mutton Chop Miniatures, with a Westwind head and Bolt Action plastic hand/pistol.)