Tuesday 31 December 2013


As the year draws to a close, I darted into the attic tonight to lay out the years painting and was pleasantly surprised by the amount I had completed. The latest and probably most useful project was the completion of a backdrop for my gaming table as I have been casting covetous eyes at other folks railway backdrops. I decided to have a bash at doing my own, constructing free standing boards  of 3mm mdf  to go round 3 sides of my 6'x 4' table. The scene is primarily for Imagi-nation use but looks suitably English to double as an ECW backdrop too (it is in fact based on the skyline of Stourhead Gardens , Wiltshire). On the reverse I plan to paint a more rugged fantasy scene for my Oldhammer and Conan figures.

Here are the figures completed in 2013 for various projects and in different styles and scales

From the left, Old school 25mm Aquilonians
25mm Nemedians
54mm Imagi-nation characters
D and D figures
Lord Vassago's Oldhammer Army (Thistlewood)
King Amias' Oldhammer Army (Thistlewood) (must get the last few figures finished and based)
In the background left, some Old school Conan characters and 2 x 28mm Imagi-nation follies
and the backdrop itself, just finished

A total of 
43 25mm Cavalry
42 25mm Monsters
424 25mm Infantry
12 54mm Figures 


Some more pics of the backdrop from my new blog Mars in Arcadia


Wednesday 25 December 2013


Good Morrow and a Very Merry Christmas to you.

Perhaps any gentle readers could help me out. I am setting up a new blog here 
with a view to expanding my 18c Imagination interests if time allows. I can't seem to set up a followers Gadget. It still exists on my other 2 blogs, but I am unable to install it on the new one without joining Google+ . I don't really want to do this as I like to remain relatively anonymous and also keep my current profiles on my other blogs (which are replaced upon joining G+).

I wish they would stuff buggering about with things as I am slow at learning technical stuff as it is. Anyone any ideas please?


Monday 23 December 2013


It doesn't seem long since I was posting this time last year and hear we are again. It has been a lean year on the blogging front for me, hampered by my technophobia and ennui, but I have managed to get a decent amount of painting done.

May I wish all readers and blogging friends a Very Merry Christmas/Yule.

Here we see a Christmas concert in the parkland of Trompenburg. The Margrave has been excited by news of a Turkish pavilion erected by Mr. Hamilton of Painshill in England and has decided to follow the new Rococo trend of Turquerie and install a similar edifice in his own garden, among a stand of Tradgardland firs (abies gruberii)  . A recent fall of snow had the gardeners clearing the area around the tent so the musicians didn't get chilly feet.


Tuesday 26 November 2013


Just finished this figure which was very quick to paint being chiefly black and gold. A very old Ral Partha miniature which I am using as Conan one he has become king of Aquilonia. I like the leg armour on the horse.
'...Conan's armor of black platemail, with the vizored salade and the dark plumes nodding over a wivern crest. Over all they put the silken surcoat with the royal lion worked in gold upon the breast and they girt him with a broad gold buckled belt which supported a jewel hilted broadsword in a cloth of gold scabbard.' (Conan the Conqueror).

The Black Dragon cavalry are on the varnishing block as I write.

Having set my oldest son Robin on the road to penury and madness by getting him into playing with little soldiers, I have now started the initiation of my next 2 sons Arthur and George. Arthur has been keenly painting 1/72 plastics from a variety of manufacturers and set up his first little battle the other day

The board has seen better days, so I had better knock him up another soon. Note the home made troll, now painted centre right.

Thursday 21 November 2013


A busy week all in all. Saturday I went up to Warfare in Reading which is usually a good show, and this year was no exception. I picked up a few old Ral Partha figures at the bring and buy along with other items to re-sell.  I tootled along to the Lancashire Games stand and introduced myself to Mosstrooper who was manning the stall with his friends. Very nice to meet a fellow blogger in the flesh (strange too after following his blogs and seeing pictures of him, bit like meeting a favourite film star).

Painting is going apace, the slap it on with little or no shading produces results

Some of the Aquilonian Royal Guard, the Black Dragons

and the freshly varnished Gunderland pikemen and Aquilonian spearmen

There is something profoundly satisfying about handling gloss varnished figures.

Thursday 14 November 2013


I managed to get these finished today, and I hope to have a varnishing session tonight, but here they are in their matt state.

As far as I remember they are described in the Conan novels as being clad in sober homespun clothing and steel helms and corslets. The rule book Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age also mentions they are fair haired so I have given them blond beards. Figures by Garrison.

Monday 11 November 2013


As always I think about my Grandfather today.  Sgt. Chas. Darwin Longfield Machine Gun Corps. He died when I was only a few months old, but luckily I have his medals and citation for his MSM.  Also My great Uncle Mick Comerford, Private Royal Berkshires, wounded at the Somme and Passchendaele.

Sunday 10 November 2013


2 posts in 12 hours? What's going on? Taking advantage of a weekend off work, and a visit from the inlaws yesterday (I slunk away to the attic for an hour), I managed to finish these nice old Garrison figures. Not varnished yet, but if I wait until I do that it will be another 2 weeks.

I really must get a backdrop in place for photos...so much to do so little time.

Saturday 9 November 2013


I have been getting some painting done recently, but have been distracted by the arrival of these 2 little fellows
Nibbins on the left, Mavis on the right. We couldn't decide on a name for one cat ("I'm not having a cat called Nibbins, it sounds too stuffy and  Victorian " "Mavis is a daft name for a cat. it reminds me of my old aunt"). Happily there were 2 black cats in the litter so we had both. The name Nibbins comes from The Midnight Folk by John Masefield (the prequel to the better known Box of Delights ). He is a reformed Witches cat who helps Kay Harker locate the treasure and thwart the evil Abner Brown and Sylvia Daisy Pouncer (just occured to me that they would have made good cat names). They were born on Friday 13th September and came to live with us at Halloween.

Arthur has been having a go at sculpting his own figures. Here's a rather jolly troll.

Saturday 19 October 2013


After a very long break, I have finally got around to posting something. I have been taking stock of my figures and have come to the conclusion I have more projects on the go than I can possibly ever finish, and more figures than I can deal with. I have been selling quite a few items on ebay and generating cash.....to buy more figures :-)

I have narrowed the project list down to about 9 which I can hope to deal with, most of which I already have the figures for

54mm ECW (got enough figures to be going on with)
54mm 18c (ditto)
54mm 1911 Invasion of England (will be casting my own with luck and time)
28mm Battle of Lansdown (all figures purchased to do both armies)
28mm Elizabethan skirmish (all figures purchased)
28mm Robin of Sherwood ( need to source specific characters, so keeping an eye out)
25mm Old style ECW (figures unpurchased but available from Minifigs)
25mm Old style Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age (presently collecting)
1/72 Battle of Wimpfen (all figures purchased)
1/72 Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age (hope to collect small armies with the boys using historical figures)

 so now I am just collecting a few specific fantasy and old style ranges

Minifigs Valley of the Four Winds (just need about 8 figures to complete the set)
Minifigs Swords and Sorcery
Hinchcliffe Fantasy
Minot Heroic Age
Ral Partha Wizards Warriors and Warlocks
Ral Partha Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age
Heritage The Lord of the Rings
Garrison Swords and Sorcery
Minifigs ECW and TYW

of these the last four are still in production, the others are going to be ebay finds and bits boxes at shows (and any donations from generous readers).

I have always been a big fan of  the Conan the Barbarian tales by Robert E Howard but up until now have never got around to collecting armies to fight campaigns in the Hyborean world. Spurred on by Mosstrooper's lovely shiny figures, I decided to have a crack at painting a Garrison figure in a toy soldier style

A Nemedian spearman leaves home to join the invasion of Aquilonia

I like the shiny smooth feel of the figure after a liberal coat of Yacht varnish and 3 days drying. More will follow, the vague plan to build armies of now more than 50 figures for each country, and also individual characters for role playing.....

Wednesday 4 September 2013


Normal service will resume here soon (once fantasy project is complete) but I have just read that Donald Featherstone has died so thought I should post about it. I am pretty sure many readers were set off on the wargaming hobby by this gentleman. I shall raise a glass and a paintbrush/some dice in his memory this evening.

Wednesday 3 July 2013


Earlier in the week I picked up a copy of Metro at work and read a review of this film which is released at Cinemas and on DVD on Friday. After watching the trailer I popped over to Amazon and ordered the DVD which should come on Friday (it's also on telly on Friday too, but we don't have one),

Apart from being set in the Civil War and reminding me of various drug taking escapades in my ECW re-enactment days (many many moons ago I hasten to add) the filming looks to capture the English countryside perfectly reminding me of Robert Westall's Devil on the Road, presenting a rather eerie picture of England in the seventeenth century. The release date is 5th July, The 370th anniversary of The Battle of Lansdown.

Wednesday 5 June 2013


A slack few weeks on the painting front here at Mercurius Atticus, most of my efforts have been on fantasy stuff over at my other blog where things are going great guns. I have been finding time to paint some more flatpack 54mm houses during my lunch break at work, that is until the last couple of days when it has just got too hot in the polytunnel where I set up my improvised painting station (to the amusement of my colleagues). I will post pictures soon when finished.

On the subject of work, we have been flat out at the Garden Centre, having our busiest Spring ever, which is just as well after such a dismal year last year. Start at 7 ish watering and then from 8.30 dealing with stock and customers until 6 -6.30pm . Mind you, it's not a bad environment to spend the day in

Yesterday I did an hour and then stopped for breakfast, surveying the shop floor

but at the end of the day I had to crash out when I got home with heatstroke, just not used to hot weather. Could be worse though...

Sunday 12 May 2013


...or so it seems. Popped over to the Lincombe Barn Wargames group tabletop sale in Bristol today, primairly to pick Robin up some Lord of the Rings Haradrim (which we did at a good price), and also got him some Chaos types.

As I am into 54mm at the moment there wasn't much for me but I did land a haul of books.

All Civil War, and mostly unread by me before. The little grey one is the Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson. Back in the late 70's I used to get With Pike and Musket from the library on a regular basis and gloat over pictures like this

splendid inspiration, I would dream of being able to do a layout like this with metal figures (some still available from Minifigs, Spencer Smith and Hinchcliffe).  I am very tempted to get some 25mm old school ECW armies... 

Saturday 11 May 2013


I often read on forums and other peoples blogs how they stumbled across rare or really useful figures and terrain at carboot sales and model shows, and generally assign it to their good fortune and my rotten luck that I never come across any such goodies.  A militaria collecting friend of mine once picked up a WW1 hexamine hood at a boot sale for 5p and at the same sale a set of aluminium cutlery from the Third Reich each piece stamped with a swastika and eagle for 25p... I ground my teeth with envy at the time.

However I had a small stroke of luck on Thursday when popping into a local junk shop found these fellows for £3 each, not  bad for 54mm metal cavalry figures

3 suitable for my ECW stuff and 2 for the Trompenburgers. I have not come across Del Prado figures before and they are quite nicely painted, although I will be re-painting at some stage. Gustavus Adolphus has lost his sword but I should be able to replace this.

Saturday 27 April 2013


I've been meaning to have a go at this project for a while, needing 54mm buildings and terrain, but without the hassle of constructing them or the massive amount of storage space they would take up. I thought I would start off with a tavern which I can use for 17th and 18th century games.

Uncle Toby shows the way to the bar of the Cockwell Inn.

...and directs vittals to be sent to the troops.

A side on view.

The building was  cut from 3mm MDF with a jigsaw. For future buildings I will add more detail (such as a chimney, which I forgot on this inn....doh), but overall I was quite pleased with the result.

Thursday 4 April 2013


The Margrave of Trompenburg has ordered two statues of Pan to grace his newly planned Arcadian garden, from the great sculptors Meneers Scheemakers and Rysbrack. They have just been delivered to the palace and the Margrave has ordered Herr Rackett the court poet and philosopher to come up with a suitable inscription for the larger statue. Here we see Herr Rackett contemplating the blank plaque and wondering where such beings as satyrs and nymphs belong in the order of things.

(figures from left to right by Phoenix, Dolp and Mythographica)

Saturday 30 March 2013


Last year I converted these fellows from A Call to Arms Ironsides to make them look like Sir Martin Lacey's horse in the old series By the Sword Divided. I have just finished them to give me a break from Oldhammer stuff

Thursday 28 March 2013


Following a post from The Duke of Tradgardland which showed a picture of the latest fashions at court, I thought I would post this little vignette I made a few years ago for my 15mm Marlburian armies who were fighting the War of the Electors Wig, Thaddeus Peruque, the greatest wigmaker in Europe is being pursued by all the Margraves, Kings, Electors and other various gentry to be seized and held to make them the most towering and impressive head pieces that can be imagined. The whole plot was inspired by the costumes in The Draughtsman's Contract, a wonderful if rather strange film.
M. Peruque welcomes 2 prospective clients to his battlefield emporium

The Travelling showroom

Thaddeus inspects his wares

A satisfied customer, helped by Peruque's loyal assistant MaCrackin. Note the TP monogram on the flag,The sign of Excellence in Wigmaking.

A page from the latest catalogue.

I have a feeling we may be meeting Thaddeus again in a different scale. I am being sorely tempted to buy some 28mm 18c figures. Mainly civilians at first, and making some landscape gardens to put them in. Oh no, another project to start.

Saturday 23 March 2013


Just popping back for a quick post. Sorry it's been so quiet on the Mercurius front recently. I have been concentrating on painting fantasy stuff for my other blog here , and getting some Oldhammer figures painted. I did slap some paint on some 54mm ECW figures last night, so hopefully will be able to show those here soon. 

A few days ago, Robin, my oldest lad (10) roped me into a fantasy battle he had set up in his bedroom, using his own fun rules and figures, all painted himself. A couple of turns in, his brothers turned up eager to participate in moving figures and dice rolling and for 40 minutes or so we had a really enjoyable time with all the youngsters attention held, not bad for Arthur 6, who is not so bonkers about soldiers as Robin , and George who at 3 mainly likes bashing things.

The lego tower holds a goblin hanglider by the way.  Arthur and myself were the diseased minions of the chaos god Nurgle, and Robin and George were brutish orc marauders.

Thursday 17 January 2013


A seminal part of my teenage years was the 1980's TV series Robin of Sherwood, and it's no exaggeration to say it affected me profoundly and set me on a course that has seen me through my life so far. Cited in Hutton's history of Modern Witchcraft Triumph of the Moon as a major part of the pagan rebirth of the 1980's it featured a pleasing blend of gritty historical drama, magic and mullet hairstyles. (and yes, I did have one in 1986, but thankfully no photos survive).

My hopeless meandering through the wargames world has currently stopped in the twelfth century then, as I decided to have a bash at converting a figure to make Herne , the woodland God of Sherwood, and spiritual guide of Robin,  played by the late John Abineri,

I decided to do 2 poses, one giving The Blessing and one more static. The robes are tissue paper and linen. I   haven't decided how to paint these chaps yet...they are asking for a detailed paintjob, but my original plan was to block paint my medievals like my ECW figures...

Saturday 5 January 2013


Taking the opportunity to use up a couple of days of 2012 leave, I took yesterday and today off. Yesterday we headed over the old Severn Bridge to Chepstow castle and laid siege to it

The victorious army storms the drawbridge into the barbican.

 The castle is certainly situated in a dramatic location, and the use of natural defences is stunning, the River Wye being visible on the right, flowing past the base of a sheer cliff on which the castle is perched. 

Today we visited a slightly more peaceful landscape in the form of Boughton-on-the-Water model village
 A fine testament to the English eccentric (building model houses and miniature landscapes....potty). The model, built in 1937 is a 1/9th scale replica of the heart of the Cotswold town, complete with flowing river, bridges and miniature gardens.

Here George displays a worrying interest in the Aston Martin (?) parked outside the largest domicile in the village.

Some of the buildings are starting to show their age a bit, but it was a great day out. From the little shop I picked up this splendid title

Absolutely tailor made for the outdoor wargaming enthusiast, and I heartily recommend it to any FLW enthusiasts who plan on building more permanent terrain in their gardens.

Here is the blurb from the back of the book
 "This book is about an absorbing new hobby-how to make a miniature living landscape. It might be as small as a window box or large enough to hold a model thatched cottage with trees, forests, lakes and downs. This is an entirely new gardening activity and one that will fascinate all those, young and old alike, who are interested in gardening or are looking for a new pastime.

The plants and trees are individually described, and instructions and advice are given on the various containers which can form a home for the miniature landscape. Planting and care, fencing gates, brickwork, tools, pottery, nailing, painting, streams and farm equipment are all clearly explained. The book is about the fun, adventure and pure pleasure of creating an individual tiny world..."

I think we can all relate to the last sentence. I can see a sudden surge of miniature plants (all suitable varieties listed in the book, some of which I have never heard of) being stocked at work as soon as we start buying in stock again...