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Mark Fry’s Thornbury L’art de la Guerre Augustus

The Thornbury 100s1 day – 100pts – 28mm LadG Competition – 4 games – 8 players

                                                                     Beware the McGlynn and his NHS styled chariot!

IPMS Avon Branch Show @ Thornbury is a great show – very different from your standard wargames shows, in that there were 3 massive sports halls crammed with stands displaying beautifully painted models of every size and scale depicting just about every conceivable subject matter. Along with traders with all manner of kits, books, paints, spray guns, modelling materials, reference manuals etc. there are also demo games and participation games and even a Bring & Buy to keep you more than busy. It was a thoroughly enjoyable event, as always.

The competitors and armies were as follows:

1. Andy “couldn’t’ quite make my mind up” Unwin – (Lydian or Assyrian)

2. Keith “organizer, living legend and national treasure” McGlynn – (Early Achaemenid Persian)

2. Andy “well it’s all missile armed” Whitby – (Nikephorian Byzantine)

3. Steve “how many Catapults am I allowed? Price – (Late Roman)

4. Mark Fry – (Middle Imperial Roman)

4. Mike “is that yet another Elephant army?” Sheppard – (Ghanznavid)

5. Mark “what no Elephants this year?” Clarke – (Southern Dynasty Chinese)

5. Phil “this is a much better use for a Conquest army” Mackie – (Republican Roman)

(Competitors above in order of the final results)

My 4 games were:

Game 1 – Lydians (Andy Unwin) – I lost – I played poorly and Andy played well – I let my army get split into 3 penny-packets and Andy picked off my MF infantry with his HF spears, whilst my cavalry were wasted blocking some of his Javelinmen hiding up in a field. I also had one of “those moments” … you know the sort of thing. You charge an enemy unit of HF spear in the rear with some MF Auxilia swordsmen impact (and throw your general into the fighting as it looks like a certain win) and then the HF spear end up inflicting a casualty on your MF & turn around & spank you in the preceding combats … which turned out to be a game winner for Mr Unwin. Hey ho!


Game 2 – Republican Romans (Phil Mackie) – a winning draw to me – a good game but we both agreed we needed to pick up the pace of play for 100pts and remember that Strategist generals add +3 (not +1) to command rolls. As whilst we had inflicted reasonable casualties – I lost all my cavalry and Phil lost all his Velites – had the game gone on just one more turn I think the outcome could have been decisive (either way but probably in Phil’s favour). As always, Phil is a thoroughly pleasant opponent.


Game 3 – Ghaznavids (Mike Sheppard) – a win to me – another good game – Mike got overconfident as his LC impact (Arabs) charged and destroyed my Light Horse Archer but that then drew his Ghulam HC into a complex cavalry melee only be destroyed by a combination of Roman HC and Auxilia Bowmen. Sadly his Elephant declined the opportunity to fight my Legionaries supported by my LF javelins (& who can blame it!).


Game 4 – Nikephorian Byzantines (Andy Whitby) – this was mutually destructive draw (i.e. we both broke in the same round of melee). A close and complex game, I used my Roman foot offensively and turned the axis of the game so that I shortened the frontage and we ended up fighting down the length of the table. Andy’s missile fire was not as effective as he’d hoped (his entire army is missile armed – I’m sure I mentioned that) and my Legionaries got into the right place at the right time and caused the Byzantine Tagmatic Lancers serious problems. Andy played his LF well in taking down a unit of my MF Auxilia and blocking a flank, whilst I lost both my HC units, but my Auxilia Bowmen were heroic in flank attacking HC. We also had possibly the most complex situation I have ever played in LadG – with a mix of 3 HC (2 Byzantine & 1 Roman) & 2 Legionaries, a Roman Auxilia Bow unit and a Byzantine HF Spears & Bows unit, all caught in each other’s Zones of Control. It resolved itself in the end but the outcome was highly destructive for all concerned (see photo below)


LadG 100pts is a fast and furious game. With most armies having c.10 breakpoints and fewer terrain pieces on a 4ft by 3ft table, there is nowhere to hide! Having a single general also means you need to play a tight game and putting your only general into combat seriously limits your options, even if he is a Strategist (& having a high quality general also helps greatly).

However, with just c.10 elements it also gives you an opportunity to build some very different armies. I’m dusting off some old spare Foundry New Kingdom Egyptians I have in a box, and also some Feudal Irish that was an allied contingent for FoG, which I think should do quite well on its own as a LadG 100 force (in theory!).

 Keith is considering theming the event next year possibly to limit armies to Biblical and early Classical periods (no Pikes) or maybe even a Western European Dark Ages event. So watch this space and get scrummaging through your bit box or raiding the Bring & Buys @ shows, to start building those obscure but deadly 100pt LadG armies.


PS: I have not forgotten I ‘owe’ the readership a Day 2 FWC Boot Camp article or a Devizes FoW report, although the latter will be a short & very sad affair !

 Editor; our thanks to Mark as always to his excellent  reportage! If only Mrs Ferres had been so even handed with her recent “General Lee is to be thanked “demonstration in the Tesco carpark last week!

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Late Deliveries….


This parcel of miniatures was delivered to me at least ten years ago. The doorbell rang one wind swept dark rainy night, it was August I think, and a lady representative gave me the video box. I believe the miniatures won awards for their sculpting but alas they and their Cardiff manufacturer are no more. What happened to the female delivery representative is also a mystery.

What ever happened to video cases? What ever happened to ladies calling around in the evening.😱

Griffin miniatures are definately on the hefty side. The large hands and wide faces are to everyone’s taste but I like them. They are advertised as Crusaders so I would guess at a time frame from 1150 until 1300. Detail is crisp and they are one piece castings. No particular colour scheme just a random page from my invaluable Colour Combination book.

Slavs were next up this week. I must admit to knowing very little about these Eastern European warriors. I relied on Total War for the inspiration for these miniatures. I just had to have a go at painting red striped trousers. The minis are Gripping Beast but be careful because they are much slimmer than last week’s Timurids. The faces are great but those separate shields are a pain. 

Hiking the Beacons trail from Thursday so I may have to claim the work of Mr Sheppard as my own next week. Next up is the Fall of Rome campaign but keep reading for a return to Flames and the latest from Mark Fry. 

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Re-live your childhood with the Tercio!

Growing up in the Seventies didn’t have much to attract the modern child. Play schemes and “fun” pubs had yet to be invented but, without anxiety counsellors and play managers , we were happy. I still have the scars on my legs and hands to proove the fun and frolics we got up to. To the casual viewer, the photo below shows just a typical  example 70s bad-taste. When the whole world was at war, why not bring up children with fascistic representations of violent patriarchy?

But you and I know better! What an opportunity for two,  or was it three kids to have their own military go-cart! Sure the tracks came off, and sure it didn’t go very fast, but you enjoyed yourself. Cardigan Bay flats, Penarth was always safe with such heavily armed children. We didn’t self harm, we didn’t suffer from anxiety because our world was full of adventure and honest fun. We also had a healthy dose of television propaganda in the form of Action-man adverts. Set in realistic terrain, our miniature heroes came to life. As attribute to such adventures of by-gone times I present below the latest work from my eldest son. 

These are part of the latest clip together 40k models. My son left a few heads to be able to turn but frankly the fact that their heads would move of their own volition was freaking me out. We used an Army painter blue spray and the fantastic washes, sold ready mixed from the Workshop. They even sell the highlight blue ready mixed. I’m such a fan of Workshop products , my only reservation is whether you go into a store in Cardiff or Poole the staff hit the young customer with the same hard sell to get the next bigger starter set. They have a great product and a knowledgeable workforce, lay off on the set script. These revivers and intercessors should see action this weekend in sunny Norfolk so until then , adieu!

Ps if you love stylish photos of 40k the why not visit imperialrebelork blog! Scarily good (literally)

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Sunday Round up (without Monday Morning Blues)

It’s been a productive week hobby wise. Nevermind the six miniatures a week minimum, we’re up into the low forties. Even The Despertaferres Jugend have been painting this week ( next week’s article😥). First off I finally managed to get these Armenian hillmen finished. I know they are three weeks too late but I am rather fond of them. They are the new style ” chunky” Gripping Beast style ( from the Timurid range and the same sculptor I would think as the Teutonics) I love this style but I know the majority of you perhaps prefer the more “realistic/older style”. Great minis and on the large scale. My only gripe is the shields are of the impossible to stick variety. This is the only area where plastic wins hands down.

The second photo reminds me of my brief flirtation with Impetvs rules. If my reader has any experience of these rules I’d love to hear from you. The armies are so damn cute and 100 point L’art de la guerre is the flavour of the month. Hold tight for the start of the Fall of Rome mini campaign ” Caput Porci” and a rare Despertaferres victory.

The next lot to get painted are from the Donnington New Era range. Damion got me to draw some initial sketches for this range s o I admit I’m a little biased. But, the figures are gems. They are as close to Xyston as you are likely to get. 18mm high and stocky. All these had weapons attached but I’m not looking forward to attaching the spears and lances to the next batch. Great minis and available singly. I’ve painted these as Gascons for the Hundred Years’ War. These beggars are two years late for Godendag 2015! Thanks for reading, 40k, Fall of Rome and Black Powder American Civil War so keep in touch.

Keep painting and let me know what is on the table. Hopefully Mike Lane will be showing his Afghan Wars collection soon!

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Dare you take the Despertaferres Challenge?

I seem to be in a very positive mood! Those who know me, know that it’s not my default position but hobby wise I’m looking forward to a number of events in the near future. The six a week challenge has really got me energised with the painting. It really is amazing how an hour here and there in the week can get projects finished. The picture below got me started on the colour scheme for my “Ancient rioters” but those Aventine miniatures are a joy to paint.

Whether they become a full army I can’t say. I still haven’t started a 15mm chariot army for November in Reading but the quota of mini painting for July is complete.


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Devizes 2017 Post Script

Sometimes everything just goes right! My last game at the Devizes L’art de la Guerre competition was against his highness Mr Unwin and his Saxon/Viking host. Look closely at how Mr Unwin relies surreptitiously on the cabal of Richard and Mark “Morrissey” Clarke.

Despite the constant barrage of abuse and clandestine “advice”, I was finally pitted against an army that mine was designed to fight. Too many arduous garrison duties made the Byzantine foot less than enthusiastic but the general’s bucellarii retained the best of “Roman” training. My skirmishers held back the Vikings emerging from the trees. My Slavs were ready to fight on the refused left wing.

This rule system does reflect and reward historical tactics. Andy reinforced his skirmish line to clear my delaying forces. But the dice gods were with me and Andy’s losses began to mount. In this game the loss of a skirmish unit is just as valuable as a “teeth-arm”.

Before our centres met, my cavalry wing charged in after delivering a storm of arrows. The disrupted Saxon foot were taking a lot of hits but foot can take more hits than cavalry. Although armed with lances , their bows allowed the elite Roman horse to disengage from disadvantageous combats. But that was not before one squadron past through the enemy line and headed for the baggage.

Finally a victory! It had been a great weekend. I look forward to the show every year but this year had been exceptional. All thoughts are now for Virtus 2017 on the 9th and 10th December. Before that we have a mini tourney on the 5th August, Caput Porci! Thanks for reading! Pictures of this week’s projects up tonight- God I love the holidays!

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Attack 2017 Part two – Unwin and the full aeroplane!

Would it be too much of an exaggeration to compare day two at Devizes Wargames ADLG competition to the stand of Finland against the Soviet behemoth ? Could two games of toy soldiers really bare any resemblance to the stand of Gallant Texas against Santa Anna at the Alamo? I leave this to you dear reader…….

You may only see the hollow shell of a man above, racked by year’s of heavy drinking and carousing around the hostelries of ill-repute. But, to those gamers on the West Country circuit, the very name Unwin sends grown men to despair and after the “car-gate” fiasco, he was without a game on the Sunday morning. Like all the top L’art de la Guerre blogs I would usually refer to an imaginary guide to discuss my performance but today I will give you a flavour of what it is like to play with the self proclaimed Wargames King of Berkley Vale Fall-out Area.

“You mean, I won’t be needed?

No, do one!

Game three was against Chris’ Indian army. Chris wore the much feared SELWG colours and talked in the arcane talk of the professional competition gamer. As he sat down on his pillow, I noticed that he had deliberately brought the biggest elephant models he could find. To add to the psychological discomfort, he had scrawled all sorts of offensive Hindi messages over said pacaderms. Sitting between two plantations the army was a potent combination of elephants, bows and impetuous swordsmen. I looked at the detail on one of the mahouts, you could even see the bits of food in the elephant drivers beard in 28mm scale. Then I realised that Chris was now sitting on two pillows and had fallen forwards.

“Mike should have secured his flanks and charged but I doubt whether Lardy boy had even thought of dismounting his heavy cavalry!”

I secured my flanks on forests and handily my heavy horse became elite medium spear and Armoured bowmen. If Chris came out from the terrain, I would have a longer line of quality infantry.

“Look what kebab boy has done! He thinks he has a longer line but he’s dependent on his right wing medium swordsmen standing up to the elephants in the scrub where elephants are not penalised”

I knew my right wing would not hold so advanced to meet the advancing Indians. On the left, my dismounted cavalrymen even charged the Indian horse. Could they slice through to the soft bowmen?

Huh, Hugh Jarce thinks he can win a fight against elephants and swordsmen.It will end in tears!

The Byzantines advanced and fought long and hard. We were both within a unit of defeat, nail-biting stuff! A crowd gathered as Unwin pronounced my doom. But, I had what wargamers call “the full aeroplane!”

The full aeroplane refers to a situation where you have an overlap either side of your opponent, your general behind and another unit attacking your opponents rear. Like Brazilia, which was also built in the shape of an aeroplane, and was also an unqualified disaster. Chris shook out the crumbs from his beard, from secondly breakfast no doubt, and six-owned me! Instead of charging in and supporting my Slavs on the other flank, I had retreated out of bow range. Despite the Indian elephant almost being extinct on the field of battle, the Justinians were defeated.

And for some unknown reason, the umpire was rubbing his hands………
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article then please contact the Samaritans online. Tabletop bullying is a real issue and must be addressed by suitably nervous counsellors.