Monday 29 August 2011


The one thing I am continually moaning about is the lack of time I have to do whatever I like, be it painting figures, going to the pub or going out for the odd hike, and usually my 3 little boys get the brunt of the blame in any conversation I have with friends (or indeed Mrs. Atticus). Of course as we know a good deal of time is spent plugged into the pc and I can happily waste an entire evening trawling the net instead of buckling down to some serious toy soldier work.

I took a few days off work last week to do some family things and one of the great days out we had was our yearly trip to Giffords Circus. This band of merry entertainers tour the Cotswolds (usually annually) and put on an absolutely first rate show of (cliche approacheth) good old fashioned family entertainment. Superb jugglers, stunning acrobatics and  hilarious clowning about, the 3 Things (aged 8, 5 and 1) were completely glued to the show for what must have been 2 hours. It is so refreshing to get this sort of thing nowadays and it's one of the rare occassions I will put my hand in my pocket and cough up quite happily.

The theme of this years act was War and Peace, and I was pretty impressed with some of the uniforms and props they turned out. Here are a few pics of the show anyhow
Mrs. Atticus and Thing 3 admiring the pipe organ (he couldn't get enough of it)

Part of the beastly French army

The prancing bantam emperor having thrown all these knives into a map of Russia (from his mouth)

An inverted fiddler

These juggling brothers are really jolly skillful, the rest of the French army appears in the left background (I must check those uniforms out in Funcken).

We came away thinking that all was well with the world, and anything that can make one feel like  that is ok in my humble book http://www.giffordscircus.com/

Saturday 27 August 2011


Continuing from yesterday here are some close ups of the bad guys
Nazgul (Citadel beast and Asgard wraith)

Grond (homemade with various orcs and trolls)

Siege engines (Museum miniatures)

Siege tower (homemade)

Hordes of nasty Orcses (mainly Tin Soldier but also Essex, Chariot, Reaper, Asgard, Tabletop etc)

I was keen to follow Tolkien's image of orcs being thoroughly nasty, with skin as black as charred wood and eyes and tongues red. Very much like these chaps from the early film which are the best depiction of orcs I have seen, right down to the long arms and swaying gait and guttural croaking voices.

In among some of the units I mixed a few troll and Olog-hai figures for variation

next time we will take a look at the allies of Mordor.....

Friday 26 August 2011


Contrary to my last post, I thought I would show a few pics of the seige in progress and post the Riders of Rohan later to maintain some form of chronological order. I have just spent a happy hour writing this post and adding loads of pics, and then lost the whole lot somewhere in the aether, so this will be part 1 and hopefully more tomorrow.....
The Nazgul arrive heralding the approach of the forces of Mordor.

The rest of Sauron's army arrive and the seige begins. The White Tower almost bursts into flame as the spotlight starts to melt the polystyrene and foamboard.

The mighty battering ram Grond, is brought to bear on the gate

As the gates tumble in riven fragments to the ground. the seige towers unload their terrible cargo of orcs onto the walls of Minas Tirith.

The Witch King about to ride through the broken gates and confront Gandalf....

more to follow soon....

Saturday 20 August 2011


Here are the beleaguered defenders of  Minas Tirith, in no particular order. For the game rules we used Warmaster, with each unit of 3 stands representing about 500 men (or orcs etc).
Gandalf and Shadowfax (mounted by Black Raven, foot by Jacobite)

Beregond and Bergil (Jacobite and Minifigs)

More Guards (Jacobite)

Prince Imrahil of Dol-Amroth and the Swan Knights (Essex)

Men-at-arms of Dol Amroth (Essex)

Rangers of Ithilien (Peter Pig)

Men of Morthond (Falcon)

Men of Anfalas, Ethir and Lamedon (Gladiator and Essex)

Men of Ringlo Vale  (Peter Pig)

Men at Arms of Gondor (Peter Pig)

Having posted this lot up I now realise I have forgotten to photograph the axemen of Lossarnach and men of Pinnath-Gelin but as I have put all the figures away back in the eaves of the attic, we will have to do without them.

Next up are the fellowship and Aragorns relief force

Aragorn and entourage (Tabletop and Donnington). For some reason I have forgotten the name of Strider's standard bearer,but it is mentioned in the book)

Legolas, Gimli, Pippin and Merry (Chariot, Asgard, and Essex)

The Rangers of the North and fiefs of the South (Peter Pig and Essex)

The defending forces

...and arrayed for battle on the ramparts.

Riders of Rohan next (my favourites)...

Thursday 18 August 2011


One of the most impractical pieces of terrain I own is this little baby I made for my Battle of Pelennor Fields game in 15mm. I had to work out how to simulate Minas Tirith on a 6'x4' table without filling up the entire board, and also the living room (we were living in a 2 bedroom cottage at the time of making with our first new baby, Thing 1 filling the spare room).

Happily, I remembered reading an old White Dwarf article in issue 50 (I think) which suggested just making the gateway. That was all very well, but Tolkien's description implies that the huge keel of stone protrudes to right behind the main gate, so it would be necessary to make that and at least part of the first 3 (of the 7 ) walls. Any how with a few sheets of ply and copious amounts of polystyrene and filler, all was well.
A view of the street on the entrance level.

and the next level

from the other side showing a statue of Isildur (28mm Black Tree figure).

A vertigo shot of the rock keel and tower which stands a ridiculous 1.35m. I was perversely smug to note that Peter Jackson's superb model of the White City in his films had a white outer wall. It was built of black Numenorean stone, the same as Orthanc, Saruman's tower. By the way on the subject of pedantic geeks (like myself) when I started this project, I was eating breathing and sleeping The Lord of the Rings, and tried to get everything as accurate as possible. Since then 9 years or so have passed and I have forgotten a good deal of Tolkien lore, so apologies if I commit the heinous crime of mis-naming a hobbit or similar.

Here is the city gateway on the table, with the Rammas Echor (the wall surrounding the Pelennor Fields) on the left, 2 roads lead to the gateway, one from Osgiliath (which has a grassy riding track down it's right hand side) and the all stone road from the Harlond, which goes through the Rammas Echor gateway (Aragorn arrives along this at the height of the battle to save the day). There are piles of masonry next to the wall, as the defenders of Minas Tirith belatedly start to repair it before the forces of Mordor arrive.
The gateway of the Rammas Echor

Hopefully in my next post I can start to put up some pics of the defenders.

Tuesday 16 August 2011


To give me time to catch up on some painting of my current project figures, I thought I would add a few posts about a project I completed about 8 years ago, namely painting all the figures so I could recreate the Battle of the Pelennor Fields described in The Return of the King.

The idea for doing this came to me about 32 years ago, when I was a beardless youth of 10, and I was given this book

along with a couple of school friends I spent hours poring over the pictures and descriptions in this great tome (still one of my favourite books). Those were the days of the emerging Dungeons and Dragons scene and the closest we could get to recreating Tolkien's epic was a few Minifigs pig faced orcs on some dungeon floor plans (ahh happy days of innocence). About that time I was taken to see the now slated Lord of the Rings cartoon, which despite it's myriad faults left a huge impression on me (favourable) with the massed ranks of orcs attacking Helms Deep (and singing stirringly at the same time). Along with these 2 pictures
The Fall of Gondolin by John Blanche

The Battle of Pelennor Fields by Ian Miller

I determined one day I might have enough pocket money to re-create one of Tolkien's battles in miniature. I particularly like John Blanche's work in the Tolkien bestiary (not so keen on some of his Games Workshop stuff), and Ian Miller's work I find fascinating (particularly his H P Lovecraft book covers).

With the advent of the new Lord of the Rings films about 10 years ago, I was finally galvanised into action and began painting over a 1000 15mm figures and building the terrain to recreate the huge siege and battle in the third part of The Lord of the Rings (I must have been barking mad...). I was keen to get my models finished before being influenced by Peter Jackson's films (as it turned out, although I thought the films were very good, they were nothing like how I imagined Middle-Earth and it's denizens, except for the Riders of Rohan which were spot on).

more soon.....

Saturday 13 August 2011


We seem to have the pc up and running again. Mrs. Atticus fixed it by following the clear directions in the Help menu, which worked a lot better than my method of shouting at it and waving my arms in the air.

I finished these 2 figures a little while ago, they are Killsin Leach and his wife Flie-fornication (real Puritan names if you believe it!). Guaranteed to bolster the morale of my godly Parliamentarians.

Friday 12 August 2011


I am experiencing internet access problems at home which hopefully will get resolved soon. Meanwhile I can post pictureless from work as today.

I have almost completed my first Parliamentarian foot regiment, just the ensign to do, and as soon as I am back on line I hope to get some shots of the only wargames project I have ever completed, a 15mm rendition of The Battle of Pelennor Fields in The Lord of the Rings.

Friday 5 August 2011


Just got back from a few days in North Devon which was pleasant but quite hard work with the 3 homonculi to look after, and we have all gone down with some galloping lurgy as well. Our main daily visit was down to the beach at Woody Bay (a regular haunt) for the kids to go rockpooling. It really is quite dramatic coastline round there

which also affords some wargaming possibilities. In August 1804, William Matthews , captain of the revenue cutter SHARK spied the brigantine MARGARETTA discharging cargo into small boats at Woody Bay. The smugglers refused to desist and heave to, so the SHARK opened fire, and a brief skirmish ensued. I hope one day to paint up some 1/72 smugglers and revenue men, and have all the figures and ship models ready in the cupboard.

Other places of interest in the direct vicinity are a small Roman fortlet at Martinhoe right on the coast overlooking the Bristol Channel with a good view of Wales. This was erected in the 1st Century not long after the invasion to keep an eye on the Silures across the water. The fort is quite small but still clearly visible.

Ok, this could be a grassy knoll anywhere but it is in fact part of the outer rampart of the fort. The evening I strolled up there it was quite warm, but you can imagine the feelings of the troops posted there in midwinter as the wind and sleet whistled through their lorica hamata. "Well done Felonius, you great mentulla, you just had to open your mouth and cheek the centurion and get us posted to this dump..."

Finally, a field of Bronze Age burial mounds which is meat and drink to a barrow botherer like myself.

Classic barrow location right on the hill crest and in their heyday would have been visible from Wales.

We all spent most of today feeling rather wobbly but things brightened up in the afternoon with a plate of homemade scones in the garden

Here is Mrs. Atticus trying to silence Thing 3 (also known as Stentor as he has the loudest voice in the world) with a scone.