TFL Painting Challenge: Catchpole Breaks His Duck!

Not a reference to a dropped resin war-mallard, but the good news that Mr Catchpole has finally got round to submitting some entries for the 2014 painting challenge. Quite a lot of entries actually!

So, today's achievements are:

  • Mr Catchpole with a marvelous 990 points worth of painting and rebasing. Just think: if only you could paint another 10 points worth and submit them before the end of the year...
  • Carole with miles of bocage and a pond
  • Mr Bax with some very nicely painted 28 and 20mm figures
  • Mr Luther with even more miles of scruffy treeline. No photo so I had to estimate the points at the equivalent of two 28mm houses. Mark is now only 22 points away from 3,000 points with just eleven days to go.
  • Mr Slade with four delightful Minions
  • Mr Yuengling with a couple of 15mm buildings

Today's picture? Well, I think we'll do two (it is Xmas after all). Here are Mr Slade's Minions and a nice tow from Mr Bax:

The Eagle Has Landed...I Think!

I went over to Lard HQ last night for the final game of the year, billed as a Chain of Command re-fight of the climactic battle from the film The Eagle Has Landed.

For those of you who have missed out on this cinematic masterpiece, Michael Caine leads a bunch of Fallschirmjaegers on a mission to assassinate Winston Churchill as he visits a small village in rural England. All is going well for the Fall-ies, who are disguised  as Polish Paratroopers, until one of their number saves a local girl from going under the wheel of a water mill but is killed in the process, with his paratrooper uniform being ripped to reveal his German uniform underneath. Now discovered, Caine's men fight a battle to hold the village against an assault by nearby-based American troops whilst Caine himself (Steiner IIRC) goes off to kill Churchill.

The game, therefore, featured me leading three squads of US infantry supported by a Staghound armoured car into the village to firstly find out what was going on; secondly to identify any disguised Germans; and, thirdly, if any were found, to kill them!

The Germans, meanwhile, who were already occupying the village, had some convoluted mission requirements that seemed to involve tracking down a local woman who was actually one of their spies in order to be told where the secret tunnel was that led to the mansion house where Winnie was staying. I say convoluted because everything for the Germans seemed to get more and more confusing as the game went on: surely nothing to do with the immense amount of champagne that Mr Clarke, who was allegedly running the game, consumed as the evening went on.

After my last Lard HQ Chain of Command debacle (which no-one seemed to have forgotten unfortunately) I was determined to redeem myself. Rather than following the course of action from the film (where the Yanks charge into the village and get shot to bits before retreating for a more cautious second approach), we arrived at the edge of the village and cautiously moved forward towards the first house in order to try and find out what was going on.

There (well in the outside privy to be exact) we met a section of British infantry who confirmed that the Germans did indeed have men in the village, disguised as Polish paratroopers. That was all they could tell us...hardly surprising as they turned out to be more Germans on a mission to stop the main German mission for political infighting reasons.

Confused? Not as much as we were when Rich revealed that he'd brought the wrong box of figures with him so we would have to be portrayed using German figures. So we have Germans using British Paratrooper figures pretending to be Polish; more Germans using British infantry figures pretending to be British, and being played by a Scotsman; and Americans using German figures pretending to be...oh, no, sorry: actually being Americans!

Anyway, having sussed out what was going on, the Americans went forward cautiously: one squad hanging back as a base of support, one moving towards the church, and one moving up to the Whippet Inn (also somewhat confusingly portrayed by a German beer hall).

The squad advancing towards the church took fire from the steeple and lost a man, but our return fire was incredibly accurate and wiped out the German Bren team that were doing the shooting. The squad then started cautiously moving into the church itself. Meanwhile the Staghound moved into a position near the first house from where it could cover the village main street with its .50 cal.

The other two squads then leapfrogged forward until one was in the inn providing a base of support whilst the other was pressed against the back wall of the first house in the village, covering both the main street and the gardens to the rear.

Stalemate then ensued until the Germans realised that firstly all we had to do was keep them occupied until the end of the game and secondly that they needed to get back into the church to find the woman to find the secret passage to find the get the picture.

As false-Polish paras hit the high street, heading for the church, we opened up with everything we had: the Staghound's .50 cal, chewing up scenery as the two squads covering the high street actually did the damage. The first German squad was effectively rendered hors d combat (no, no French on the least I don't think so...but at this stage, a bottle and half in, who knew) but another moved up and threw grenades into the church in an attempt to clear it.

This was not as effective as it should have been (one dead American), and the Germans soon suffered as a hail of grenades and small arms fire came right back at them. That squad was soon pinned and then wiped out as well.

The game then drew to a close. We occupied the church and commanded the main route through the town; the Germans needed to control both in order to fulfil their mission, but were now down two full squads against our losses of four men (three killed by a demented local high on home brew).

All in all, a great game of Chain of Command, if somewhat chaotic. I was quite rightly accused of taking the game far too seriously (it was the Lardy Christmas game, after all) and have no excuse except to say that after last time I had no choice lest my reputation be damaged beyond repair!

My thanks to Rich, Nick, Panda, Trevor, Dougray McScot, Al, Noddy, Mark, Harpers, Panda, Elton etc for a most entertaining evening, with mince pies and booze thrown in for good measure. Just make sure you save me an After Eight when the packet is eventually opened!

TFL Painting Challenge: colossal Monday Night Update!

Now I understand why the challenge has been a bit quiet of late: you lot were storing them up for me so that I could process them all in one go!

A colossal update tonight, we have:

  • Vidal with over 100 Austrians in 15mm. How about some pics, Vidal?
  • Mr Yuengling with some 15mm WW1 vehicles from Shapeways (the future of wargaming?)
  • The Mad Padre with an eclectic mix of 28mm figures and scenery
  • Mr Luther with a collection of odds and sods from the South Pacific (no, not the musical, Sid)
  • Steve Burt enters the challenge with a bang, a big bang. Hundreds of 28mm figures that give him an immediate 1,408 points. 
  • Mr Hodge with some more Paras and a very nice ruined building
  • Mervyn with some more 15mm Ancients that he assures me "that is definitely almost certainly it for the year". Come on, Mervyn, you can manage just one more wafer-thin figure...
  • Thomas surprises us all with 40 points worth of Martians
  • and, last but by no means least, Leif (can you see what I did there?) with some lovely 20mm figures

Difficult to choose one picture to go with tonight's achievements...but I think it has to be Leif's roadside shrine/CoC jump-off point in 20mm. Lovely.

TFL Xmas Special Released

Glad tidings of great joy: the TFL Xmas Special 2014 is now available.

Always a source of great ideas, and incredible value for money: highly recommended.

Contents are:


A Festive greeting from Lard Island.  Grab a mince pie and feel the love...

 Cocking Up Through the Mud and the Blood

We present a merger between Chain of Command and Through the Mud and the Blood. Great War gaming just got even more exciting.  

Kaiserschlacht 1918

Amid a storm of steel, we present a Great War “Pint-Sized” campaign for Through the Mud and the Blood or the Chain of Command Great War adaptation. Can you win for the Kaiser?  Sturm Auf!

Fondler’s Rebels

In the Year of Our Lord 1796, Richard Fondler takes on the United Irishmen and their French friends in a battle to save Ireland for the Crown!

4D6 Shades of Green

The Dux Peterboroughiarum himself, Mike Whitaker, presents more terrain ideas for the Dux The Raiders.

29, Let’s Go Large!

We convert our Normandy Pint-Sized campaign for use with I Ain’t Been Shot Mum and company sized actions.  Let’s roll!

Catch the Pidgeon!

An Eastern Front scenario for Bag the Hun from Winchester based Ace, Jim Jackaman.  Tally Ho Comrade!

The Irish Question

Pay attention at the back!  A nautical Kiss Me Hardy scenario to partner with Fondler’s Rebels.  Mr Baines, set course for Bantry Bay.  I’m for the Oysters!

The Roundwood Report

Star of stage, screen and his own vivid imagination, Sidney La Roundwood, chats to Big Rich about maps, and looks into the future with his crystal balls.  

Fighting Season

Respected author, Leigh Neville of Sydney, introduces us to Fighting Season, our forthcoming modern counter-insurgency rules for Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.  As we go to press Leigh will be walking down the aisle and committing himself into perpetual marital bondage.  Another good man down...

Building the Deutsche Reichsbahn

Star of the blogosphere and beyond, Pat “Sliver Whistle” Smith, shows us how to build railways for wargaming.  Toot toot!

Last Train to Fischhausen

April 1945, a scenario for Chain of Command on the Eastern Front.  Can you keep the trains running on time?

Battle of Britan – Over the Mediterranean

Jon Yuengling of Pennsylvania steps into an alternative reality with this “what if” history of 1940 for Bag the Hun.

Of Mines and Men

Da Nang is DAMN HOT in this scenario for Charlie Don’t Surf from the pen of Abingdon’s finest, Ross Bowrage.   Are you a mine or a man?

Bloody November

Alfredo Vitaller and Annibal Invictus of Madrid play a home fixture with this Pint-Sized campaign for Madrid in 1936 using Chain of Command España.  To Parsaran, or not to Parsaran, that is the question!

The Battle of Mahiwa

Charles Eckart of Denver takes us to Africa and the exploits of von Lettow-Vorbeck, with this Great War scenario for If the Lord Spares Us.  Heia Safari!

To the Bitter End

April 1945 and the Kings Own Scottish Borderers are still meeting resistance in the heart of the Reich.  This scenario for I Ain’t Been Shot Mum recreates a company sized action on the Elbe River.

Boots & Saddles

Myron Shipp of South Australia mounts up to present some ideas for matching US Cavalry and Plains Indians with Sharp Practice.  Additional material from Essex’s own diamond geezer, Simon Walker. 

Tweetface with the Lardies

Providing addicts with a daily dose of Lard through the limitless joys of social media, ahem.  We provide a guide for the cool kids in 2014. Kicking innnit!

The TooFatLardies Xmas Special 2014 is available to buy from here.

Painting Challenge: Three New Entries

I'm pleased to announce that we have three new people entering the 2014 painting challenge, all of whom have sent me huge catch-up entries covering the whole year!

First up is Carole, with a massive entry of 15mm World War 2 figures. There's a whole company of German infantry supported by a company of Panzer IVHs and a zug of Tiger I. On top of that, there's a company of British infantry supported by a whole squadron of Cromwells (with a few Fireflies). Finally, there is a selection of houses to dress the table. All very nice, especially the Panzer IV tanks...and a total of 513 points.

Carole's 15mm Panzer IV H

Carole's 15mm Panzer IV H

Next up is an extraordinary entry from Ben Fiene consisting of stunningly painted figures in 28mm and 20mm. The 28s are all dark ages types: Romano-Britons, Saxons, Vikings etc. The 20mm figures are all for Chain of Command: French (lovely!); British Paras and German support units. There are also some 15mm Napoleonics claimed, but no photos yet. It's a fantastic entry that garners Ben an incredible 1,474 points.

20mm scale, 25mm French anti-tank gun from Ben Fiene

20mm scale, 25mm French anti-tank gun from Ben Fiene

Last, but by no means least, Ashley Pollard enters her 6mm Ogre-based sci-fi armies. Well over 100 beautifully painted 6mm vehicles, Love 'em. Ashley's entry gets her 354 points.

Some of Ashley's wonderful 6mm Ogre figures

Some of Ashley's wonderful 6mm Ogre figures

Painting Challenge: Monday Night Update

My words of encouragement seem to have had some effect: enough new achievements sent to me to justify a cheeky Monday night update only a couple of days after the Saturday night one.

Today's achievements are from:

  • Egg with lots of terrain, including a beautiful La Haie Sainte
  • Jon Yuengling with ten more of his micro-scale ships
  • Treadhead storms over the 1,000 point mark with some Finns, some mines and some Martians (must get around to painting mine!)
  • And Mr Hodge re-bases some more infantry

Today's picture is, as you might have guessed, Egg's Normandy farmhouse: aka Tiger Terrain's La Haie Sainte in 15mm.

More Gitungi Goodness

Slowly working my way through the huge pile of Gitungi I bought using Micropanzer's coupon offer. I've also just ordered a few more bits and pieces through their 24-hour, 50%-off sale!

Today's additions are the Big Men (something that's been severely lacking); a platoon of Veteran Infantry (note the drone operator figures with the overhead booms!); a pair of Assault Cannon drones; and, my personal favourite, three Gene Recovery drones tending to some casualties.

All can be seen, along with the other Gitungi, in their gallery, which can be reached by clicking here

The Veteran platoon:

Big Men (left) and Assault Cannon drones (right):

The Gene Recovery drones:

TFL Painting Challenge: 4,000 Points Reached!

It's another quiet week on the challenge, with only a few people able to sustain the effort until the end of the year...but the perseverance of the few has paid off as I'm pleased to announce that Matt Slade has thundered over the 4,000 point mark with a host of War of the Roses painting and re-basing. 

Even though (as he would be the first to mention) Mr Slade has an advantage, being a professional figure painter, this is still a spectacular achievement, as he has only submitted figures painted for himself, not his commissions. Puts my attempts to get to 1,000 points in perspective!

The other submissions this week were from Mr Douglas (a very nice 28mm house) and Mr Hodge, who has submitted a tray of 110 stands of 6mm re-basing that I have awarded 150 points for as I wasn't going to count every single figure with a magnifying glass! Aerial recon or what!

Here are some of the WOR figures Matt submitted this week:

Site Update

The reloading of the site's contents continues apace!

I have now finished re-loading all the IABSM After Action Reports as far as the one-off battle reports up to the end of 1942. That's all the scenario booklet AARs done, and about a third of the one-off games done.

Some people ask me why I bother to try and record every game of AAR about which a battle report has been written.

Well, there are a number of different reasons. Obviously the reports can be source of inspiration: encouraging you when the 'can't be bothered to game or paint' blues have got to you.

On top of that many of the reports are just such good reads: being so well written that they deserve to be published to a wider audience - and here I commend you to Mr Clarke's body of work.

Many reports also have vast numbers of really good photos attached to them: certainly enough to get your hands itching for a paintbrush again...and I know from personal experience that my terrain collection has grown in sophistication just so that my photos look more like those of the masters.

On top of a bit of inspiration, quite a few of the one-off game reports (especially Kev's) give complete game briefings: enabling you to play the scenario out yourself. Ideal if you're stuck for a game to play and (obviously) have played every scenario in my many scenario booklets!

Note also that some of these reports are now only available here on the Vis Lardica site. There are those that have been written specifically for the site, but there are quite a few others that have been lifted (usually with permission!) from sites or blogs that, for any number of reasons, no longer exist. Vis Lardica has become the IABSM archive, and I would like to see that archive as complete as possible.

So, in summary, read and enjoy the huge body of IABSM (and CDs and Q13) AARs that appear here. Even better: submit your own for inclusion. E-mail me at I'll do all the work: all I need to know is how I get hold of the text and any photos. All standards of work are included!


TFL Painting Challenge: Update

A Sunday night update this week. Still quite quiet, but we have achievements from:

  • Doug Melville and his Scots Irish
  • Jon Yuengling and some Soviet bombers and German WW1 tanks
  • Stumpy with vast amounts of re-basing and a few 'from scratch' tanks

This year's challenge will finish midnight on 31st December, with next year's due to start immediately afterwards.

Today's picture is from Mr Yuengling: two WW1 German tanks in 15mm. 

TFL Painting Challenge: Monster Monday Night Update

Well it seems as if you have been getting the brushes out again for that last push before the end of the year. Today we have achievements from:

  • Doug Melville: eight 20mm WW2 vehicles
  • Chris Stoesen and 23 Cold War Soviets
  • Mark Luther converts some Australians to make casualty figures, and then re-bases them all
  • Mr Yuengling paints a couple of 15mm buildings that look suspiciously like egg cartons. The things some people will do for points!
  • Alexandros submits a ,lovely Italian Scout Squad for CoC. Lovely boy, lovely boy!
  • Mervyn Douglas sends in some AT Guns, some javelinmen, and some Gallic slingers with, for some reason, red feet. Must be trampling over the bodies of their enemies!
  • Mr Bax submits six asylum patient zombies. Step away from the paint pot and put the modeling knife down!
  • And finally Mr Slade submits enough 28mm Crusade figures to equal my entire year's total in one submission. You're not making any friends here, Matt, you know that, don't you? Takes his total up to tantalisingly close to 4,000 points!

That is one monster update and, to celebrate, we'll have more than one picture. Not Jon's egg carton houses (actually they are probably really expensive models!) but, obviously, Alexandros' Italians and Matt Slade's command figures. Lovely: just lovely.

WW2 Figure Reviews Reloaded

Just a quick note to say that I have finished reloading the six or so WW2 15mm figure reviews into the IABSM Figure Reviews section of the website.

Click here to go there.

The reviews on there at the moment are:

  • Gaming Models AB40 and Morris CS9
  • Battlefront's Cossacks
  • Zvezda's BA-10 armoured cars
  • Battlefront's Gebirgsjaeger
  • Eureka's Australians
  • Some of MMModels WW2 vehicles

I'll write more when the website is fully reloaded!

More Gitungi: Infantry in Powered Armour

An enforced night at the painting table (teenage party elsewhere in the house - don't ask!) meant that I managed to both start and finish several units from the Gitungi reinforcements I bought way back when.

First up are a squad of Gitungi infantry in powered armour: foot troops with heavier armour than usual and a blaster of some kind fitted into each arm. I'm thinking the squads need to be eight-strong rather than my originally planned six-strong, so I'm either going to buy a few more, or perhaps give each squad two of Hasslefree's Grymn (space dwarves) in powered armour as a sort of heavy weapons team.

Click here to see the full Gitungi gallery, but here are the basic powered armour squads: 

TFL Painting Challenge: Another Quickie

This week's entries to the painting challenge are again surprisingly light. Where has everyone gone? Or are you all, like me, just incredibly busy in the run up to Xmas?

Fortunately, I had the Warfare show to inspire me (translation: to fit all my new stuff onto my table, I had to paint some old stuff) and you will see the fruits of my labours once I can get some free time in daylight. I am desperate to reach the 1,000 point mark this year, but am still 265 points shy and am running out of time: only about five weeks left, so over 50 points a week needed!

Anyhow, today's acheivements are from:

  • Chris Stoesen, who creeps stealthily over the 500 points mark
  • Mark Luther with some more aeroplanes
  • Mr Douglas with loads of shellholes and hedges
  • Jon Yuengling makes a reappearance with the start of his big end-of-year push: 36 points today

With such a short list of achievements, not many pictures to choose from. Today's featured post is from Mr Yuengling:

On the subject of piccies, I am powering through the re-loading of the IABSM army galleries, so check them out if you have a moment.

Q13 and CDS Army Galleries Reloaded

I have taken a rest from uploading all the IABSM After Action Reports in order to load up the galleries of my figure collections for both Charlie Don't Surf and Quadrant 13. You can navigate to them using the Navigation Bar, above, or by clicking here for the CDS galleries or here for the Q13 galleries.

Doing this has thrown up a couple of things to action:

1. I need to go back and properly 'fill in' my Q13 sci-fi armies. I have too many that have a few core units completed but lack either command figures, especially overall Company commanders; Specialists; and support units, especially aircraft and AA assets. 

This is, I think, mostly due to figure availability - how many 15mm sci-fi ranges include more than one command figure and any AA assets - but is also down to my tendency to get distracted by the opportunity to start new, shiny sci-fi armies rather than complete the ones I have. Not something that happens with my WW2 maybe it's a sci-fi thing!

2. I need to take better pictures. This new, Squarespace website is really good at displaying pictures, it's one of the reasons I chose it: the only problem being that the pictures therefore need to be of a better quality in order to do the site justice.

What this also means is that I need to find a way of taking pictures that are consistent with each other (i.e. all have the same background etc.) even if they are consistent only at army level rather than for my collection as a whole. This leads on to (3)...

3. I need to set up a permanent photography station somewhere in the man-cave. The galleries where I have photographed a whole army in one go, and added nothing to it since then, look good...but what most consist of is a core of units photographed in one go, then a whole series of individually photographed units against a variety of backgrounds added as they are painted.

This means a place with good, natural lighting; a permanent background screen; markings for where the figures need to go for the right focus etc. As always, I know the theory, and can get the detail from several useful bogs and web articles about photographing figures, but don't have the time to actually do what I need to do!

So that's a few things thrown up by re-loading just the CDS and Q13 galleries, but some of you might be asking why I have with the galleries anyway: lots of war gamers don't bother.

Well, there are several reasons for the galleries.

One is that I like looking at pictures of my figures: and I make no apologies for that. Obviously if the house was on fire I'd save my children before my figures...but don't ask me where the wife fits in to the list!

That was a joke, my dear, just in case you're reading this.

The second is that the galleries are a good way of seeing what I've got. I have about 15,000 15mm figures, all catalogued, but the galleries are a quick short cut to see what units I have and what's missing. If I can't remember if I have SdKfz 221s or 222s; or whether the ones I have are painted for early war, late war or for the desert, then the galleries are a quick way of looking. 

Finally, it's good to look at my figures and compare them to those painted by the experts (Piers Brand, War Painter etc). Mine aren't up to that standard, but seeing what they produce (both photography and the painting itself) inspires me to improve what I do...and if you aren't improving, you're dying!



TFL Painting Challenge: 3,000 Points Reached

Today's big news is that with two handfuls of knights, three handfulls of Vikings and a jolly big box of re-basing, Matt Slade becomes the first person on this year's painting challenge to pass the 3,000 points mark. Most impressive!

Other entries today come from Dick Bax and Mr Luther.

Yes: only three people have added anything to their total this week...and at a time when I thought things would be hotting up for the final push. So come on: get those brushes and paints out and finish the year with a bang!

I'm sure Mr Clarke will lead the way by submitting all the stuff he's painted this year, and where he treads, surely all others must follow!

Today's picture is, surprisingly enough, not from Mr Slade, but from Mr Luther: some rather spiffing Heinkel He 111s from one of his previous entries.

Oh, alright then, we can have something from Mr Slade too! Here are his latest Vikings:

TFL Painting Challenge: Incredibly quick update

Just a very quick update today. Entries from Chris Gilbride; Mark Luther; Jon Yuengling and Treadhead.

Today's picture is again from Mr Gilbride: a couple of 28mm carriers and a 28mm Panzer III painted up for the desert:

For those interested in a more general update, I have now finished re-loading all the scenario booklet-based IABSM AARs, and have just started on the (long) list of one-off games. Once they are done, then it's on to the galleries and then the other sections of the site (19th Century, Ancients and Fantasy gaming). Still a long way to go!

Gitungi Mole Mine Specialists and Sloag Rider Knights

I have often complained that a lot of sci-fi figure manufacturers limit their ranges to a handful of trooper poses and the odd heavy weapon team.

Where are the technical specialists? The engineers? The recon teams etc? Generally you have to mix and match across different ranges to construct a force that even resembles what I would call an 'army' or a company-sized force for Q13.

One manufacturer who has recently bucked that trend and really expanded out from his basic range is Micropanzer with the Gitungi. Now available is a full set of figures from basic troopers through to veterans in heavier armour, troops wearing powered armour, scouts, add-on jet-packs, and a whole set of specialists and support weapons.

Funding for this expansion was via a voucher system: you paid up front for what you wanted and got lead to the value of your investment plus a multiplier. I can't remember what the multiplier was, but it certainly gave me good value for money as the large box in the lead mountain testified.

Here are the first two support units for my basic Gitungi force: mole mine specialists and sloag-rider knights.

The first, the mole mine specialists, are a brilliant idea. You get a drone operator, complete with remote control and finger-poised-to-press-a-button, and a selection of mines that, in the fluff, travel underground until they are next to their target...then "boom"! The Gitungi army list already notes how they will work in Q13, and I can't wait to try them out:

Next up is a really wacky unit that I just love: the Sloag rider Knights. They are Gitungi with long power-lances riding giant armoured slugs or sloags in the fluff. I can see these as being very useful for worlds with a very boggy surface, and although I don't think they would last long on a Q13 battlefield (being the equivalent of modern cavalry) I do think they would work well in a more skirmish-game environment. Again, I can't wait to try them out...charge!

There's also a unit of sloag-riders with guns, but I haven't got them yet.

More new Gitungi to follow soon...