6th Game of To The Strongest

This game was a replay of the last i.e. a clash between two homogeneous Sengoku Samurai forces. You can see the sides in the post from December 12th.

The Battle is about to begin

I deployed half my foot samurai on each of the left and right flanks, with my Ashigaru right-centre and my mounted cavalry left-centre. As before, my plan was to hold the centre and then loop around whichever flank opened up first.

Neil, as last game, deployed quite in depth. He placed his “mobs” on his left; his big Ashigaru command mixed in with his cavalry in the centre; and his main samurai command on his right.

This was a much closer game than last time. On the right, I pushed forward quickly with one Samurai command and an Ashigaru command, leaving the other Ashigaru command in reserve. Over the course of the battle, this wing would hit the enemy line several times , but not quite manage to gain a significant advantage. In fact, towards the end of the battle, I had to commit my reserves to prop up this section of my line or risk being pushed back.

My right wing advances

In the centre/left-centre, my cavalry moved forward and managed to get a positional advantage on the Ashigaru facing them. Again, however, no mater how much I tried, I couldn’t quite get in a blow hard enough to crack Neil’s line and, again, towards the end of the battle, my troops began to look a bit “thin”. Fortunately I had a spare unit of foot Samurai from the left that I could move right in order to cover my camps against enemy breakthrough, so the situation remained at least stable.

My left flank moves forward

On my left flank, I advanced strongly and, again, had mixed success. Although, as above, I couldn’t break through Neil’s line, my command of three foot samurai units managed to kill three of the four foot samurai units in front of them for the loss of only one of their own. This left me with two units, one of which I used to reinforce the centre, the other managing to manoeuvre around a rocky outcrop and get behind the enemy line.

At this point, both sides were down to around four to six Victory Coins, and each side had three to four units disordered i.e. about to break at a cost of two Victory Coins per unit: so it was definitely turning out to be a very close run thing.

As it happened, in the endgame, the cards fell my way. My unit of foot samurai that had managed to get around the end of Neil’s line had a series of activations that allowed them to take one of his camps, and one of my reserve Ashigaru Teppo units, firing for the first time, blew a unit of disordered mounted samurai away. With that, Neil’s Victory Coins were all gone, and he was forced to retreat. The day was mine!


Another cracking game of To The Strongest. Again, the maxims of trying to break your opponents line and making sure you have a reserve held true, with flank charges and taking camps being very successful routes to victory.

Back to painting the 15mm Ancients now: loving the Samurai armies, but they are very small!

First go at Blood Red Skies

Blood Red Skies is the WW2 aerial combat game from Warlord Games. It’s played with 1/200th scale miniatures on a mat showing the ground beneath…and quite a fun game it is too.

A 109 climbs towards a flight of Spitfires

The first big question, of course, is how do you represent the three dimensions of air combat using models and flight stands? Are the flight stands extendable? And, if so, how high do they go: 40,000 feet?

Well, BRS abstracts all question of height into “advantage”. A ‘plane is either Advantaged (i.e. has managed to get to a height at which is can dive down onto its target), Neutral, or Disadvantaged (i.e. the pilot has let the enemy get above him). The different states are shown by how the model is tilted: up for Advantaged, flat for neutral, down for Disadvantaged. You can only shoot another ‘plane that is at a worse advantage than you so, quite rightly, half the battle is getting into an advantaged position on your enemy.

The top 109 is at a Disadvantage

The other half of the equation is positioning: and how you can move depends partly on your ‘plane (some come with cards that you can play e.g. the Spitfires I was using came with a Tight Turn card, meaning I could turn at any point in my turn rather than just at the end); partly on your skill level and dice rolls (pilots can attempt to outmanoeuvre their opponents); and partly on what you choose to do during your turn: you can “burn off” one level of advantage by doing an extra manouevre.

This makes the game a bit like a game of chess: you have to think ahead at least one move and make sure you don’t leave your aircraft where it is vulnerable to what the enemy pilots will do when its their turn.

There are also rules for Aces, clouds, home field advantage, radar advantage etc. Games are pretty quick: about an hour for a decent-sized dogfight.


You win the game mainly by driving off the opposition by putting holes into their aircraft, although would just like to point out that I did shoot down two Jerry crates for no loss during my successful defense of Blighty!

As I said above, all in all it’s quite a fun game: although you will need to shell out around £40 for a starter set (giving you two six-plane forces, the stands, the cards, the counters, the dice etc) and then the same amount again if you want a nice mat to play on (4’ by 4’ will do for dogfighting).

It’s not a game that I’ll invest in - aerial combat not being my thing - but it is something I’d be happy to play if on offer.

TFL Painting Challenge: Another Big Update

The entries are still flooding in as people try to beat the midnight on 31st December deadline.

And if you think I’m joking about how keen people are to get their scores as high as possible, two years ago, I had the final entry at 11.58pm…and the first entry into the next year’s challenge at 12.01am!

Here, in no particular order, are today’s entries:

  • Joe McGinn gets the rest of his WW2 US infantry platoon completed

  • David Scott, still on his second wind, sends in loads of WW2 Italians and the some Soviet armour

  • There’s more LOTR from Mervyn, along with some 20mm buildings and some 15mm re-basing

  • Travis has the last of his Colonial Militia. Travis will learn that we never say “the Last” on Vis Lardica: there’s always more figures to buy!

  • More 7YW figures from Mr Helliwell, who never knows when to stop

  • Mark Luther is continuing to paint up figures for his 15mm Spice Islands campaign

  • There’s a welcome return for the Fat Wally, who finally manages to leave his professional painting alone for long enough to paint up some ACW figures for himself

As usual, clicking on the name of the person above will take you straight to their gallery (opens in a new window). Still plenty of time to get your entries in this year: I’m certainly still painting like mad!

Here are today’s pictures:

IABSM AAR: Blenneville or Bust! #3D: Saint Melotte

Bruce Romanick has been learning the IABSM ropes whilst playing some of the scenarios from the Blenneville or Bust! scenario pack.

He’s posted a few photos of his latest game, scenario #3D Saint Melotte (where the British are defending a small French village against German armoured attack) on the IABSM Facebook page, which (and I hope he doesn’t mind) I reproduce here.

Apparently the plucky Brits managed to hold off the Germans…

And Now The Sassanids

Another ancients army that I need to bulk out for To The Strongest is my Sassanid Persians.

Fortunately, I had plenty of cataphracts already painted, so all I need to add to bring the force up to regulation ratios is some of the heavy cavalry that supported the superheavies.

That requires four heavy horse units, which I have decided to field as two units of what I would call Clibanarii (armoured men on felt-armoured covered horses) and two units of Heavy Cavalry (armoured men on unarmoured horses). They have exactly the same stats in TTS, but it’s nice to have the variety should I ever need it.

Here are the Clibanarii:

Lovely 15mm figures from Forged in Battle’s Empires range. Highly recommended.

The grey Clibanarii at the back have come out beautifully, but the turquoise lot at the front haven’t quite worked the way I wanted. I think the contrast between the white and turquoise is just too great to look good at this scale. No matter: I’ll know better for next time!

Looking good!

Not looking too bad!

Bulking Out The Ancient British Panzer Division

Updating all my Vis Bellica-based armies for To The Strongest means doubling the size of all my forces, or at least it does the way that I’m doing it. Vis Bellica has element bases that are (for 15mm figures) 6cm wide, so when I switched systems, it seemed obvious to use two VB elements to represent one TTS unit using the recommended 15cm TTS grid. That also means that I can show disorder in TTS merely by moving the two elements apart at an angle i.e. no need for additional markers.

That’s fine for standard units, but we’ve already seen how TTS deep units (such as Hoplites, Pikes, some Warriors) need four VB bases per TTS unit…and the same is unfortunately true for light chariots as well. In VB, they are based on a 3cm frontage: so four VB light chariot units are needed to make one TTS light chariot unit.

That was fine for the Egyptians, as I already had loads of light chariots in a double-size VB army. It is not so fine, however, for my Ancient British. The VB version has six light chariot bases - just about the right number - but that only makes 1½ TTS light chariot bases. Time to paint lots of chariots!

Reading the TTS army lists, however, the Ancient British have light chariots up to AD211 and light cavalry after that, so the author recommends mixing light cavalry and light chariots in a TTS Ancient British light unit that can count as both. Good idea: time, then, to paint loads of light cavalry rather than light chariots!

Xyston have some very nice Ancient British Unarmoured Cavalry, so that’s what I went for: painting up six four-horse bases’ worth and, controversially, mounting them to match the chariots rather than the more normal four-across-6cm for light cavalry.

This means that the ABPD currently looks like this:

Which looks really good.

So all I need now is another two chariots and another eight cavalry to hit the minimum number of light chariot units required.

Oh, and if I wanted to keep my chariots together, here’s what a light cavalry unit would look like too:

5th Game of To The Strongest

Wargaming buddy Neil told me that he had a couple of large 10mm Samurai armies in his attic somewhere. They were based for Warmaster Ancients but, with a bit of jiggery-pokery, translated nicely into two Sengoku Samurai armies for To The Strongest.

The sides, largely homogeneous, were as follows:

The Soft-top Box Samurai

  • Senior General

    • 3 x Mounted Samurai

  • General 1

    • 3 x Foot Samurai

  • General 2

    • 3 x Foot Samurai

  • General 3

    • 2 x Ashigaru Spearmen

    • 2 x Ashigaru Teppo

  • General 4

    • 2 x Ashigaru Spearmen

    • 2 x Ashigaru Teppo

The Hard-top Box Samurai

  • Senior General

    • 4 x Mounted Samurai

  • General 1

    • 6 x Foot Samurai

  • General 2

    • 1 x Foot Samurai

    • 3 x Mobs

  • General 3

    • 4 x Ashigaru Spearmen

    • 3 x Ashigaru Teppo

Mounted Samurai from the Soft-top Box Clan (the red markers are Heroes)

The Game

Neil and I each deployed one command at a time. I was playing the Soft-top Box Clan (i.e. the figures from the box with the soft top!) and deployed my mounted Samurai on my right, opposite Neil’s mounted Samurai; one of my Ashigaru commands in the middle, opposite Neil’s large Ashigaru command; and both units of Foot Samurai on the left, opposite Neil’s mob unit and unit of Foot Samurai. I kept one Ashigaru command in reserve behind my centre.

My plan was to hold the right and centre whilst my superior numbers on the left beat his right, and then swept on into the rest of his line from the flank.

The centre of my line (the teppo are behind pavises)

The left of my line

The key difference between our two set-ups were that, without a reserve, Neil’s line was stacked two deep in places. This would have a significant effect on the forthcoming action, as where he had a numerical advantage, he would have difficulty bringing these superior numbers to bear.

The action began on my right, where my three units of Mounted Samurai faced off against his four units of the same. I took advantage of some rocky terrain and tried to lure him into attacking me, but Neil was too canny to fall into that trap. I therefore bit the bullet and charged forward: his double-stacking meaning that I could fight two-vs-two rather than four-vs-three.

The action on the right unfolds

The action on the right unfolds

My initial charge met with mixed success. One unit of his cavalry were destroyed, but one of mine became disordered and was forced to retreat and rally. I renewed my attack, this time supported by a unit of Ashigaru spearmen and, eventually and largely due to the cards very much falling my way, his cavalry crumbled and were removed from the field. This would then leave the way clear for the CinC’s Mounted Samurai to get past his line and capture Neil’s left hand camp.

Meanwhile, on my left, I had pushed my Foot Samurai forward, intending to being superior numbers to bear on that end of Neil’s line. Unfortunately, the Yellow command got a bit tangled in the terrain, and I ended up with one unit destroyed, leaving two more units facing four units of his Foot samurai. This would usually spell disaster, but some how these two units refused to be beaten. Despite being disordered again and again, the brave Yellow Samurai rallied each time and, at the end of the game, were still very much in the battle.

This left me with four Ashigaru units facing Neil’s six Ashigaru units in the centre. Again, however, Neil’s stacked line meant that we each had four units in play and, again, the cards fell in my favour, and I quickly destroyed two of his units. I was then able to bring in my reserve force of four more Ashigaru units, guns fully loaded, and win the resultant eight-vs-four combat. Neil should have been able to support his Ashigaru with his command of peasant Mobs, but the fact that by this time my cavalry had broken through and was threatening his camps meant that he had had to withdraw them in order to defend his baseline.

Ashigaru action in the centre

Once Neil had started haemorrhaging victory coins, it was hard to stop, and eventually he ran out and was forced to retreat. Somehow I had managed to inflict a pretty hefty defeat on him: I had lost only four coins by the end of the game, Neil had lost twenty!

Post-Game Analysis

Although we both agreed that the cards had very much fallen my way, we also agreed that Neil had perhaps stacked his units too deeply to begin with: my rapid advances never giving him the chance to properly deploy. Significantly, I had run into difficulty on my left, where I had also stacked units deep, so it seems as if that is something to avoid.

Although I did seem to win by a lot, it never seemed to me as if I were winning, except right at the end. A good game, made interesting by the homogeneous forces involved.

New Ancient Britons!

I need to take a break from painting Hoplites, so thought I’d also start bringing my Ancient Britons up to scratch.

I’ve had Ancient Brits for as long as I have been wargaming: starting with an army for WRG 6th mostly made up with Airfix plastics but with a smattering of metal command figures; and then another, 15mm, force for Vis Bellica, which I had painted for me for the Society of Ancients “Battle of the Sambre” Day, for which we won best game of the day.

It’s only meet and right, therefore, that I adapt the 15mm troops for To The Strongest: which means painting chariots, light cavalry and warriors. And heroes, which is what I’ve started with.

This is a pack of Gaeseti Nobles from Xyston. Nice crisp, animated figures that paint up well. Which is lucky, as I’ve got a load of light cavalry to paint as well.

TFL Painting Challenge: Biggest Update Ever!

Well that will teach me to remind everyone that the Painting Challenge is entering its final phase!

A vast number of entries crashing into my Inbox, even including a first entry or two.

Excellent work, keep it up: still three weeks to go.

So, in no particular order, we have:

  • Lloyd with more 6mm goodies

  • Mark Luther has started a new F&I project based in the Sugar Islands (the project, not mark)

  • A fantastic Russian house and a mass of figures from Chris Cornwell

  • After taking a year off, Fred Bloggs returns with a vast number of very colourful 6mm Eldar

  • Carole sends in some rather nice ruined buildings and a couple more tanks

  • More Mr C from Ralph (I don’t know what they are either. Best not to ask: I don’t want to have to take a San. Check!)

  • Sapper fills out his SYW collection

  • Ed Bowen submits some bunnies, doggies and duckies…and some other things too

  • Mervyn is marching with the, er, Riders of Rohan

  • The most vastest, hugest entry from Steve Lampon: 28mm Gates of Antares, 28mm Gangs of Rome, lots of 6mm Yom Kippur figures, and some 28mm Byzantines I would sell my grandmother for

  • Jason Ralls returns with some French and German early war kit

  • And last, but by no means least, Joe McGinn slips in some US 15’s

As always, clicking on the name of the person will take you directly to their gallery (opens in a new window). I would highly recommend taking a look: there is some fantastic work on display.

Here’s a taster: today’s pictures…

CDS Arab-Israeli: Israeli AA Half-Tracks

A break from painting Hoplites to carve into the Arab-Israeli section of my lead mountain.

Those who pay attention will remember that I bought a whole load of kit in anticipation of playing a few games based on the 1973 Yom Kippur War rather than the 1967 Six Day War. The lists have been produced (available free in the CDS section of this website…although keep your eyes peeled as I’m about to update them with some extra info received from fellow Lardy Richard Naylor) and all that was needed was some of the new equipment available in 1973.

For the Israelis, this starts with a couple of units almost guaranteed never to get onto the table!

The first is a platoon of M3 TCM-20 Anti-Aircraft half-tracks:

These are very nice models: really easy to put together and paint. I sprayed them with GW Death Forest Green, washed in GW Agrax Earthshade, then highlighted and painted the crews and equipment. Only half of them have the aerial recognition “T” on the bonnet: I ran out of decals and will have to do the other two at a later date.

Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit harsh about the AA half-tracks never getting onto the table…but I’m almost certain that this next lot are fated to spend their lives “in the box”: jeeps with TOW launchers.

As their minimum range in CDS terms is about 6½’, they will either have to lurk right at the back of the table (I can manage 8’ at a push) or be some kind of table decoration. Perhaps I’ll play a Space Invaders scenario i.e. a mass of Egyptian tanks charging one or two Israeli TOW-mounting jeeps. Might be fun.


Time for another game of I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! with John and Dave…but what to play? Dave has requested an early war encounter, so a quick look back through my library of scenarios and I settle on one of Richard Clarke’s games: Lille.

The premise is simple: Rommel’s Germans are advancing rapidly on Lille, aiming for the village of Lomme, whose capture will seal off the escape route of all English and French forces in the area. The Allies have realised what the Germans are up to, and have dispatched a small force to hold Lomme for as long as possible. The scene is set for an epic clash!

Click on the picture below to see all:

More new Hoplites

I’m continuing to build up my Hoplite Greek force for To The Strongest. My target is six units of Hoplites, with each unit being 48 figures strong. That’s 288 Hoplites in all!

I started with 96 Hoplites, added another 48 two weeks ago, and am now adding another 48 making 192 in all. So 96, or two more units to go.


This time, I chose to use Hoplites from Forged in Battle’s 15mm range. They come with shields and spears attached, and although the spears don’t look quite as good as the wire spears used with the Xyston lot, it did save an awful lot of time to have them ready-fitted.

So how do these compare with Xyston?

  • There’s less variety of pose in the FiB pack, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as Hoplites are supposed to be in formation , so even-Stevens on that one.

  • As mentioned, the spears and shields are integral, so don’t look as good, but save an awful lot of work, so even-Stevens on that one too.

  • Details is comparable, although the hoplons themselves (the shields, darling, the shields) are a little small.

  • The FiB Hoplites are a shade easier to paint: the relief on the panoply is just slightly deeper

So, all-in-all, Xyston edge FiB in terms of quality of sculpt and final look, but the ease of integral spears and shields, and the fact that FiB are slightly easier to paint, more than makes up for it. I shall use both evenly from now on.


Right: time to start on the next 48 of the little blighters!

TFL Painting Challenge: Start of the Final Stretch

How can it be December already? It seems only yesterday that this year’s TooFatLardies Painting Challenge began! But December it is, so we enter the final stretch of this year’s affair.

Today we have entries from:

As usual, clicking on the name of the person above will take you straight to their gallery (opens in a new window).

Here are today’s pictures:

There’s still plenty of time to join the thirty-three Lardies who are active in this year’s challenge, particularly if you signed up but haven’t had a chance to submit anything yet.

Get your entries in now!

IABSM AAR: An Affair at Gazala

The regular TooFatLardies specials are a fantastic source of scenarios for all the TFL products, including that hardy perennial, I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum!

With John coming round for a game, I needed a quick bit of inspiration (sometimes you need a change from playing your own scenarios all the time) so quickly flicked through Derek’s excellent index to the Specials’ content, available for free in the files section of the TFL Yahoo Group. It had been a long time since the Italians had graced the tabletop, so I decided to play the An Affair at Gazala scenario written by fellow Lardy Klaus-Dieter Fritsch from the Christmas 2017 special.

The scenario takes place in June 1942 during the Gazala battles, but is entirely fictitious apart from the general setting.

The British are occupying a position atop a ridge. On the ridge are three hills and a few ruined buildings. Each hill represents an Italian objective: their aim being to either take at least two of the objectives or force the Brits to retreat through breaking their Force Morale (a rule “borrowed” from Chain of Command).

The situation is complicated by the conditions. The whole table is considered rough terrain, with wheeled vehicles limited to the track running up the centre. Even tracked vehicles have a chance of bogging down if traversing the rough ground, and both sides had a Vehicle Breakdown card in their deck. On top of that, the remains of a khamsin sandstorm were still around: visibility was limited to 36”, all fire at Effective and Long range was reduced, and the dust kicked up by moving vehicles a factor as well. In other words, just another day up in the Blue!

A lot of Italians!

The Italians

John would play the Italians. His choice, I hasten to add!

At his disposal, he had a three-platoon company of infantry consisting of a total of fourteen truck-mounted infantry squads and three AT rifle teams. These were supported by two platoons of tanks, with each platoon consisting of three M14/41 tanks, one Semovente 75/18 assault gun, and one L6/40 light tank. The Italians also had no particular shortage of Big Men or radios.

The British (or rather Scots!)

The Scots Guards holding the hills consisted of a three-platoon company of top class, stubborn, aggressive infantry (I shall refrain from commenting any further - the mother-in-law is from the Granite City - but there was no way the Italians were having our hills!) with plenty of Big Men, light mortars and anti-tank rifles.

Supporting them was a single Vickers MMG and a single 2pdr anti-tank gun (I think I was supposed to have two of these, but settled for one gun with a Bonus Fire card) plus an attached tank platoon of two M3 Grants, two A15 Crusaders and an M3 Stuart “Honey”. We’ll dispense with this last: the Honey spent just about the entire game Bogged Down, never getting to fire a shot and barely even catching sight of the enemy!

I decided to keep my armour in reserve, positioning them on the track, out of sight just behind the ridge.

It’s quiet…too quiet!

The Game Begins

As the sun rose over the British position, Italian Blinds began snaking their way onto the battlefield along the narrow track. Despite their elevated position, the khamsin prevented the Scots from spotting anything until the Italian column had passed a rocky outcrop near the track.

The Italian Armour Leads the Way

The Italian Armour Leads the Way

The lead Blind proved to be a platoon of tanks, so I deployed my single anti-tank gun (in a sangar) and opened fire. I also summoned my armour up onto the ridge: if the Italian tanks headed for the infantry platoon holding the hill on the right of my line, I wanted to have more than one 2lb and a Boys AT Rifle to face them!

Preparing for the Advance of the Italian Armour

Preparing for the Advance of the Italian Armour

The combined fire of the Grants, Crusaders and anti-tank gun proved effective: with the crews of the two lead Italian M14/41 tanks quickly bailing out as a fusillade of shells knocked holes in their vehicles.

Unfortunately, the abandoned vehicles then provided a neat shield for the other three Italian tanks, who would spend the next portion of the game shelling the Scots infantry in front of them with, fortunately, little effect.

The two tanks at the back are bailed!

“Keep your heids down, lads!”

Stymied on that axis of attack, the Italians now switched their entire effort to their right flank, advancing two platoons of infantry, their HQ platoon, and their other platoon of armour towards the left of the Scottish position as fast as they could go.

With so many units going forward together, there was a bit of confusion as the advance began, but the Italians soon sorted themselves out and began to threaten the Scottish line.

The Italian infantry advance by rushes, protected by a screen of tanks and the Khamsin

Although fire from the Scottish infantry proved ineffective due to the effects of the khamsin, the British tanks again enjoyed an initial success: knocking out the three Italian AT Rifle teams and taking a few chunks out of the advancing infantry.

All was looking good: with the Italian Force Morale reduced down to [4] in exchange for only a few casualties. Then, suddenly, the British tanks lost their mojo. All their shots at the advancing Italian tanks missed or bounced off armour, and return fire caused the crews of both Grants to bail: running for home chased by the jeers of their Scottish comrades!

I looked at my Force Morale: the loss of the tanks and a Big Man had dropped me down to [5], enough that if the Italians, despite their precarious hold on their own morale, managed to knock out a couple more tanks or infantry squads, then I was Gone (with a capital G), the Scots being ordered to retreat.

Correction: it was a Grant and a Crusader that bailed, not the two Grants

All now depended on who managed to land the first decent blow. Incredibly (in my opinion) it was the Italians who took the initiative: their tanks storming forward to burst through the British line and threaten to shoot everything up from behind!

Two Italian tanks burst through the line. Note the Bogged Down Honey!

A close up of the same situation

Both of the Italian tanks now turned their fire onto the Crusader: one shooting it from the flank, one from behind.

Not good!

Much to my surprise, the Crusader survived this onslaught, its gunner returning fire, but with no effect, and the first of the Italian infantry was now getting ominously close to the Scottish sangars.

Things were desperate, but the crew of the Crusader kept their nerve, reversing up onto the hill to keep their front armour towards the Italian tanks. The gunner calmly targeted one of the Italian tanks…BOOM!

At this point, the Italian Force Morale hit [0] and I had won!


Well that was a bit close!

If the Italian tanks had managed to dispatch the Crusader that they had got the drop on (more than possible given the situation) they would have been in the perfect position to start taking out my infantry from behind, with their own infantry poised to attack simultaneously from the front. A narrow escape for the Scots: who had just not been able to do enough damage to the khamsin-covered Italian advance.

An amazing game that all came down to the last few minutes of the action. Thanks, Klaus-Dieter, for a great scenario.

Robert Avery

Two More Games of 'To The Strongest'

Regular wargame buddy Neil came round earlier this week for another game of TTS. We’re still limited to using just the Egyptians and Assyrians (until I get a move on painting more Hoplites!) so went into battle again with just about the same forces as last time.

That meant that I had the Egyptians: a large command of light chariots, an Egyptian infantry command, and a command of raw Canaanite ally infantry.

Neil played the Assyrians again: fielding a command of heavy cavalry, a command of heavier chariots, a command of decent infantry, and a command of light infantry.

The Egyptian infantry in their new camps

Ancient Greeks masquerading as Canaanites!

Game One

Our first game was a bit abortive. I advanced the Egyptians infantry forward strongly in the centre, with the light troops of the Canaanites and chariots sweeping round on each wing. Neil kept his infantry back, but advanced his heavy chariots and cavalry forward intending to screen his chariots’ advance with his cavalry.

The Egyptian centre advances

Unfortunately there were a couple of rocky outcrops on the edge of the centre area of the battlefield, and his chariots and cavalry ran up against them, and got all jammed up together.

At this point, Neil realised that heavy cavalry weren’t really the sort of troops to use as a screen - you need light cavalry for that - and with his chariots and cavalry isolated from his main line and hopelessly entangled, and with my troops moving in to take advantage, conceded the game and ordered a general retreat.

Game Two

We reset the table. As I had an army full of light troops, Neil was setting up first all the time, with me able to position my commands to take best advantage of his deployment. This time, he again placed his infantry in the centre, but split his chariots and cavalry: placing one on either wing. In response, I faced his cavalry with the Canaanites, his chariots with mine, hoping to win the infantry battle in the centre whilst stalemating his best troops on the wings.

Now on my fourth game, I was starting to learn how to use my light chariots. In my first couple of games, I had used them individually as fast-moving infantry types, but in this game I went for his heavy chariots with two units to each of his. This allowed me to occupy them to the front ans shoot/charge them from the flank, especially as there was plenty of room on my left wing.

This worked for one unit of his heavies, and failed for the other…and failed in such a way that his chariots dispersed one of my chariot units, broke through the other and took a camp! All this, however, took time, and things were happening elsewhere on the field.




The Canaanites, meanwhile, had the bit between their teeth and were heading for the Assyrian cavalry at a rate of knots. There were five Canaanite units versus three enemy units, and my plan was just to keep them occupied…even if it meant they were occupied in massacring my somewhat hapless allies! Incredibly, the Canaanites, whilst not exactly winning the resultant clash, certainly didn’t lose: so at least I had achieved my objective of forcing a stalemate on that wing.

So it was all down to the centre.

Here I had six units of infantry versus his four and, for once, everything went as planned. The bowmen shot their arrows from behind the line of spearmen and disordered his front line, the spearmen and axemen charged in to finish the job. Half his infantry force evaporated, with the other half badly threatened.

Meanwhile, I had got my left wing back under control, and was threatening to overwhelm the heavy chariots that had captured my camp (the others had already been nobbled by my chariots) and take it back.

It was all over for the Assyrians!


Another couple of great games of TTS. We shall definitely be playing again: Neil has a couple of samurai armies in 12mm that will be facing each other in a week’s time or so.

Meanwhile he is spending his time working out how the Assyrians can counter the threat of the hordes of Egyptian light chariots. Answers on a postcard to…

The Ancient Egyptian Panzer Division

The Ancient Egyptian Panzer Division

Scenery for To The Strongest

Now that the camps are sorted out, time to get a bit of scenery to dress the table and provide me with more of the sort of “traffic jam” problems that I encountered in my first game of To The Strongest.

I’ve got some desert style bits, but need to prepare for when my Hoplites eventually take the field. They are based in a sort of rocky outcrop style, so I need some sort of rocky outcrops to match.

A quick wander round Warfare and I came across The Scene. They had four rocky outcrop style bases about 120mm in diameter which I purchased immediately. Sorted!

As you can see, each fits neatly in one of the boxes on my mat.

TFL Painting Challenge: Big Update

Lots of people sending their entries in now as we come up to the final few weeks of this year’s challenge.

There’s still plenty of time to send your entries in, even if you haven’t submitted anything for ages.

Today’s Heroes of Painting are:

  • Sapper sends in some lovely 14th century Englishmen, some with bows, some without

  • Carole is back with the distaff Vikings

  • It’s tank destroyers in 20mm for the Hat

  • And more Soviets from Ralph, along with a trio of female footballers

  • It’s midnight at the oases for Mervyn (and, yes, I did have to look up how to spell the plural of oasis)

  • Steve Burt takes to the skies

  • More AWI from Travis

  • And finally, last but not least and better late than never, David Scott sends in his first entry of the year: some Roumanians

As always, clicking on the name of the person in the list above will take you straight to their gallery, which will open in a new window. A great set of entries this week, so come the rest of you: brushes and cameras at the ready please!

Here are today’s pics:

Camps for To The Strongest

In addition to the extra figures I need for To The Strongest, my current war game of choice, I also need some camps: about six i.e. three a side. They need to be big enough to take a guardian unit (so at least 120mm wide) and deep enough to carry a bit of “dressing”.

The components for these I picked up at Warfare on Sunday, still one of my favourite shows, and quickly painted up as follows:

I’m not sure where the bases came from, but the pyramids, huts and Sphinx all came from The Square, an excellent place to find all sorts of useful bits of resin. I always make my way there at the end of the day and spend whatever I have left in my pockets!

They paint up easily as well. The huts are undercoated in light brown, then very heavily dry-brushed white with the roofs dry-brushed in a variety of yellowy-brown colours. What makes the difference is that I have filled in the doorways and windows with a bit of woven hemp: giving a bit of depth and texture.

The Sphink and pyramids are simply painted sand yellow, washed with GW Agrax Earthshade, and then dry-brushed with GW Screaming Skull. Whole lot took me about half an hour.

First of the New Hoplites

To cut a long story short, I am increasing the size of my 15mm Vis Bellica armies in order to play To The Strongest using two VB elements per TTS element.

My Vis Bellica Hoplite Greek army is very powerful: four bases (elements) of Hoplites, four bases of Spartan Hoplites, and loads of light infantry in support.

Unfortunately, however, To The Strongest classifies Hoplite units as “deep”, meaning that I need to field four VB bases to represent one TTS unit…and as most Hoplite armies have a minimum of five Hoplite units, that means I need a minimum of another twelve VB bases of Hoplite infantry, which at 12 figures per base is another 144 figures to paint and base!

It’s also been some time since I’ve bought any ancients, so I thought I’d try a “new” manufacturer: Xyston Miniatures.

They have a wide selection of Hoplite figures, so I chose to get my first unit as Later Hoplites in Linen Cuirass:

These are lovely figures: crisp and largely flash free. The only pain is that the shields and spears come separately: which means sticking 48 shields onto 48 arms, and then remembering to buy a pack of wire spears, cutting them down to size (from a pike-sized 5cm to a Hoplite-spear sized 3.5cm), and then sticking them in place as well. Just adds another session to the process.

The Xyston figures are easy to paint. First undercoat in black, base coat the flesh and tunics, and then carefully paint the cuirass white using the black undercoat to get the detail. Then paint the shield strap in leather; and. the spear and back of the shield in a wood brown. Tip the spears in dull silver, and leave to dry. Then highlight the tunic, and brass the helmet. Front of the shields in white all over (for the moment), highlight the flesh, paint the crest. Done!

Why paint the shields white? To take the decals of course. I used the Little Big Man Studios transfers designed specifically for Xyston shields. They are easy to use, have a wide variety of designs and, as you will hopefully agree, look really good. Again another fiddly bit: after you put the transfers onto the (white) shields, you’ll need to paint the shield rim to get a nice finish. If you don’t get the transfer dead centre, then you’ll have to paint around the design by hand.

So all in all highly recommended. Only another two units to go!