EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Looking ahead to the winter of 2014/15

Since the painting desk is now empty and I'm still in a quiet space hobby wise I thought I'd look ahead to the winter and next year.

One for Grampa de Solla who fought through the Great War in the RHA. 

I'm finally starting to accept that the last 15 years of exploration and speculation have come to a natural end. For now there are 2 major collections/campaigns that will get the bulk of my attention in terms of painting and background inventing. The updated version of my renewed, 40 year old, 25mm Medieval/Fantasy campaign is being covered on my Gathering of Hosts blog. The focus here will be my early 20thC  Atlantican campaigns beginning with the war in Oerberg.

The Opening Shots of the Oerberg War.

This is a planned concentration though, not a monopoly. I have some Elastolin Gensdarmes and Landsknecht arquebusiers several years over due and with the NQSYW coming to Huzzah in May, and new Prince August molds available, I hope to add a new regiment before then. I also want to pursue tidying up existing collections to achieve a unified look for each. When it comes to games on the table I expect to retain the usual variety as the mood takes me.

The real priority for the rest of this year though, will be the finishing the reorganization and clean up of my games room including shelves and cupboard. (Not to mention  some new and improved lighting!)


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Adventures of Prince Michael: Episode 15

Episode 15: The Hector Memorial Tourney

At last the big day arrives. Picts, Britons and the Count's
Roman garrison are all there but there is not a Saxon
in sight. It is agreed  that one champion from each
party will vie for each prize.  The Count posts 

extra sentries and declares the games open. The 
1st event is a rock toss. A Pict from
above the Wall has the mightiest toss.

The Javelin Race is a crowd favorite.
The soldiers race around an oval marked
by barrels. When the first runner
 reaches the finish line a horn blows
and all runners must throw. The farthest
javelin wins. One of Michael's Valdurians
makes it to the line and out throws the rest.

Archery is always popular. The archers prepare for a 4th round
 but there is a Bull. The Picts again win the trophy.
At last the knights take the field. In the first 
match Prince Michael and the Palentine Knight 
draw but  Buidhe soon unseats the Earl's knight.
Prince Michael now faces Buidhe but breaks his spear
 on the first pass. On the 2nd pass he unseats him
and takes the prize.

The day ends with the Melee, a free for all. When the dust settles,
the disciplined soldiers from the wall hold the field!

Before the overall winner can be announced, there is a stir and an alarm sounds. From the woods dashes a Red Rider, hawk in hand, riding for her life as huge arrows fall around her. As knights and soldiers grab their weapons and run to assist, two tall, strange horsemen appear briefly on the edge of the woods then disappear whence they came. Who are they? Who is the Woman in Red and why were they chasing her?

Next Episode: The Crimson Queen

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Coming soon: A New Prince Michael Adventure: The Tourney

Many ancient societies celebrated the deaths of kings and heroes with public ceremonies and games. In the Iliad the Achaen and Trojan games are said to last 12 days and consist of various competitions, races, athletic events and non-lethal duels. I don't have the figures or desire to play Greek athletic events for 12 days but the Irish also held such games as late as early medieval days and that's close enough to King Arthur and Prince Valiant for me.
A crowd gathers beyond The Wall to watch Sir Robin and Dearg Mor.
 So, funeral games for King Hector are being proclaimed throughout the land. Count Hubert has declared a truce so Briton, Roman, Saxon and Pict may all participate. There will be races, spear throwing, archery and of course jousting. For simplicity I am just going to use Medieval Mayhem for races, shooting matches and jousts.

Finally, thank you to all those who sent or left comments and condolences. I have decided not to answer each one individually but I appreciate each of them.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lap Loving Hector, Taker of Naps

Hector was just a wee lost lad when he came to live in my gaming room over the kennel just before the turn of the century. I figured he needed a bold name, like one of the Nine Worthies, so I named him after "Peace Loving Hector, Tamer of Horses",  the son of King Prium of Troy:  He wore it well.
Hector c 2001 napping on his favorite spot, the styrofoam mountain.

I cannot count the hours we spent in that room in my old, patched, leatherette recliner after I'd gotten home from work and our boarding business was closed for the day (or all too often when I was supposed to be finishing the evening chores at the kennel). Him purring and napping, me reading or looking at the shelves of soldiers or the hobby desk full of unfinished projects and daydreaming (or napping...)  He never seemed to nap in the chair when I wasn't there though, instead, he preferred  the styrofoam hills on my wargame table. Cool in summer, warm in winter, after all it could be pretty chilly in that room in winter before my friend Tom helped me install proper heaters and a door.

The choice of napping spots grew wider when we moved to the old farmhouse, 2 favorites being behind the wood stove in winter and under the grapes in summer but my new games room remained a frequent haunt. 

 Hector on a hot summer's day in 2011.
The move was a good one for Hector like the rest of us. Good quarters and lots of company when he wanted it, hayfields, woods and a nearby barn when he didn't.   His new house cat friends were certainly more  cat-social than either of the 2 kennel mousers he had job shared with.  
A tisket, a tasket, three cats in a basket.
Hector, Minou (aka The Minnow) and Merlin (aka Fatcat -my brother-in-law's cat who missed the plane to Edmonton a few years ago.) 
He was a gentle cat, the occasional protest when I'd be removing buzzies from his long hair but never really grumpy. Despite having been "hired" as a mouser, he wasn't really much of a hunter though he did do a little trophy hunting when young, bringing squirrels in to swap for proper cat food. There was one memorable day though almost 10 years ago when a field rat decided to come in and check out the new owners of the old farmhouse which had been vacant for a few years. Just the three of us were here. Whissie the Whippet and Hector vied for the conquest in a cartoon-worthy flurry of activity. They finally cornered him behind a large moving box and both looked expectantly at me. Up to the task, I moved  the box and they collided as we all found out the rodent was able to slip under a closed cupboard door and out his own private exit.   Ahh, old farmhouses! 
The old recliner didn't come with us but my old office chair is pretty comfy. 
Over the last two years though, there has been less and less wandering and more and more napping. There were also other signs that he was not as young as he once was, as indeed there have been with myself but I hoped we'd have a few more years together yet..
The upgraded table has lower pine board hills which are not nearly as comfy, but he still showed up for games often enough. Here he is in 2013.
Yesterday, after a full and good life,  my dear old friend and companion quietly breathed his last breath. He was all a comrade should be and will be sorely missed and fondly remembered. He has had full burial honours and now lays with a soldier guard amongst the flowers of the forest. Traditional Trojan funeral games are being considered.
There are many good pipe versions of this Scottish lament but Hector wasn't particularly fond of the pipes and Fairport Convention's version on the album Full House was a favorite on my record player in college. (oops did't realize there was an upbeat 2nd song but the Hector was never one for brooding and moping.)
Farewell my friend.