Saturday, 29 April 2006

Rambling on

Hi everyone, it has pretty quiet around here since Bart decided to have a second little horror (actually number one is very sweet, and I have not yet met number two, though I can guess that he is small, incoherent and rather boring to all except immediate family - no offence, Bart, it's just one of those facts of life).

So why don't I bore everyone with a brief account of my recent gaming? Great idea, I think, so working backwards, here goes. Today, I visited our local games shop in Brussels L'Antre Jeux which has a pretty good selection of all types of games. I bought a Flames of War source book, planning to build a Soviet force, some quite nice trees for 14 euro, which I will have to base and flock but I think will be quite effective plus 'Commands and Colours Ancients' from GMT. A sort of thinking gamer's Memoir 44, for those who know the series. Quite a good series of games based on the Punic Wars.

In the week, I played DBM (this is a dangerous admission on this site and in my gaming group, who are largely anti-DBM, thinking rightly it is largely for rules lawyers and frustrated chess players). I played with my Normans against Jacques (a local Police Commissioner) who brought out his brand new Nikephorian Byzantines. Alas, I rudely and luckily dispatched them with the cream of Normandy's finest knights. we will try again next week.

I have done some painting as well. Over easter, I took advantage of the cold and grey hangover from winter to paint up some ACW troops and scenery. This was to add to the very nice painted armies that I bought recently from local NATO supremo, JP and Bart D. (the latter bought them from the former and then sold them on again). I now have enough to field two corps per side for Principles of War and have some nice woods and a homestead ready. I also painted up some 15mm Carthaginian types and some 28mm Saxons - both these armies are now very close to completion, at last.

There's not a great deal of action around here, or at least not that I'm aware of, so for the next few weeks it will be a bit more DBM (such a great game), painting and boardgames. 1st may I will try Paths of Glory again, the GMT world War One game. If I don't get too badly hammered, I may even tell you all about it!


Saturday, 15 April 2006

1:1 scale experiment n� 2


originally uploaded by robartesm.

In case you will be wondering what the low post count now and in the near future is about ...

Child number two, our son Ruben, was born Wednesday 12/04/2006. Mother, son, sister Britt and father are all doing fine.

Thursday, 13 April 2006

Hyperborea - first game news

Well, we're away at last. Nearly all the players have submitted their contributions and already it's easy to see that mayhem is the only possible outcome. Statements of belligerence have been issued, battle-lines started to be drawn in the sand. But, it may not be quite so simple.

I have produced the first edition of the game newspaper: Download file. Have a read to see more.

In case you can't be bothered, basically, Pharoah Phil, faced with 7 hostile players, has called a Council for the Summer (turn two). The object? To talk about how to maintain the peace. This will be a fascinating gaming event, as we see up to eight players at a negotiating table talking about peace rather than war. I'm really interested to see if this can work.

Now the players have received the paper and have been invited to start talking to (abusing) each other. In the meantime, I am busy creating spreadsheets to work out opening positions, economies and army strengths. These will go out to the players shortly (I finally worked out a relatively simple formula to automate the army creation) and they will be invited to submit their first orders.

Reminder: see the rules and map at previous entry.

Tuesday, 11 April 2006

Applying Little Big Men transfers

One of the most innovative new wargames products of the last few years are the shield transfers and banners from [Little Big Men Studios]( Judging by the amount of posts and queries on various miniatures related discussion boards and mailing lists, applying them is a bit counterintuitive at first. Having recently bought a number of transfers and banners for my Carolingian army (currently consisting of a total of one miniature, but growing :) ), I fiddled about with them a bit and came up with this photo guide of applying the little buggers. This example is of a banner, which is applied to white paper, but the same principles apply to shield transfers applied to a white painted shield. The banner in question is one from the Dark Age banners sheet, and will be applied to a Carolingian Frankish figure from [Artizan Designs](

First off, the transfers are called 'rub off' transfers, whilst they are in fact anything but. When you say 'rub off transfer' to me, I think of the rub off drawings we all used as kids, where you just scribbled all over the reverse side of a piece of special paper to apply the design on the front side to whatever you were holding it against. These transfers are nothing like that. In fact, they are better called 'stick on' transfers, in that they essentially consist of a very thin transparent film with the design printed on one side, and glue on the other side. The idea is that you stick the sticky side down on your paper or shield, leaving the design facing outward.

Now that that has been cleared up, let's take a look at the banner we're trying to use.

1. The two sides of the banner.

On the actual transfer sheet, the design (the transparent film mentioned above) is sandwiched between two layers of plastic. One is a thick, clouded plastic that covers the design side of the banner and acts as a protective sheet. The other is a thin, transparent sheet that covers the glued side and is a bugger to remove. Unfortunately, the first step you need to do, and the one that is causing the most grief to first time LBM users, is to remove this sheet, whic is called the backing sheet in the instructions supplied with each banner or transfer sheet from LBM.

2. Peeling off the clear plastic

Perversely, though logically enough, the protective plastic layer comes off a lot easier than the backing sheet, but it is that one that does need to come off first. For a banner, it is usually possible, as evidenced on the photo above, to score the plastic outside of the banner itself with a hobby knife and get a grip on the plastic like that. For a shield transfer, which are cut to size before the plastic layer is removed, this is not possible without damaging the design. In that case, patience and a steady hand is called for. Steve from LBM gives the tip of sticking the clear plastic side down on a piece of sticky tape and removing it like that (assuming the bond between the backing sheet and the sticky tape is stronger than the one between the design and the backing sheet, of course). Once the backing sheet is removed, the sticky side of the design is exposed and it can be applied to the paper or shield.

3. Peeling off the clouded plastic

After the banner has been stuck down on the paper (rubbing with the back of a pencil or pen helps here, hence the term 'rub off' transfers, presumably), the clouded plastic protective layer is removed, which is mercifully easy compared to removing the backing sheet. Once this is done, the design of the banner appears in full glory:

4. The banner on the paper

Next it is just a question of cutting out the banner and glueing it to the figure's standard:

5. The banner cut out
6. Test fit and preform
7. We're done

I preform the banner around the standard before glueing, and I use gel super glue on one side of the banner to glue it together. The reason I use gel super glue is because it dries fast, so that any folds I create hold immediately, and because it fills the small gap between the standard and the banner where it wraps around the pole.

The only thing that needs to be done to finish the banner, is to paint the white paper around the flag staff in an appropriate color and to touch up the cut sides of the flag with black, both during the painting of the rest of the figure.

TT tags:


Hi everyone, I have now had starting positions from 5 players. Three laggards are still to submit their contributions, but I hope to have those for the end of the week. In the meantime, some updates.

New version of the rules. Download file

Updated map: the best way to see the map is to download the free CC2 viewer - see []( Here is the CC2 version of the map: Download file

And here is a JPG version, but it's not totally satisfactory:

View image

__Update__: (Robartes) Linkified CC2 link.

Thursday, 6 April 2006


Never being one to miss a trend, let alone a bandwagon to jump on, I thought I'd show a few pictures of my painting desk with work in progress figures. After such luminaries as Alexander over at [Witchhunter]( and Belgium's own [Stipsicz Hussars]( on [their blog](, I cannot stay behind. So without further ado, here's a few shots of what's on my painting desk at the moment:

Workbench 1
Workbench 2
Workbench 3
Workbench 4

Comments on what you can see on the pictures are on the Flickr photo pages linked to each of the thumbnails above.

You can also see the latest workbench shot in the sidebar.