My latest article in Wargames Illustrated

I’ve been lucky enough to have another article published in ‘Wargames Illustrated’. I submitted a piece for their ‘Quick Fire’ series, and was chuffed to see it appear in Issue 397 (January 2021).

In the short article I describe how when photographing miniatures, there’s a real thrill when every now and then one of the pictures unexpectedly stands out from the rest.

The article is accompanied by some examples of what I call my ‘serendipitous photographs’ – pictures that I think came out particularly well, despite no extra effort on my part.

The limitations of a hard-copy magazine mean the published pictures are quite small. So, for anyone who may be interested, here they are full-size (click on the pics to expand).

I liked the way that the trees in my garden accidently came out looking like a castle on a hill overshadowing this unit of Landsknechts. (Warlord Games)

There’s more info on this unit in my old posting:

This is probably my favourite photo – a recreation of Philippoteaux’s famous painting of the Battle of Fontenoy. (Crann Tara and Minden Miniatures)

There’s more info on the original painting and my diorama version in this posting on my blog:

British and French third-rate ships-of-the-line battle it out, as a Spanish brig circles warily. This photo was taken with a simple hand-painted sky background, and sitting on the paper sea that comes with the Warlord ‘Black Seas’ starter set. (Warlord Games)

You can find out more about these models in this old posting:

A battalion of French light infantry marches forward in the moonlight. (Front Rank)

This is a really old picture. I recall I added in the ‘moon’ using a graphics programme, as the lighting of this photo came out by chance looking just like moonlight (well, I thought so anyway!).

There’s more info on this unit in this old posting:

Māori warriors from the colonial New Zealand Wars perform a fierce haka (war-dance) in the face of the enemy. (Empress Miniatures)

There’s more info on this unit here:

A pre-war colonial French column of Panhard armoured cars arrives in an oasis village. (Mad Bob Miniatures)

Below is the same picture, but with some special effects to make it into an old-fashioned snapshot. 

You can read more about these models here:

Lockdown landsknechts



This pike-block of German landsknechts will always remind me of the Covid-19 pandemic, as they were my main project during our lockdown. I’ve finished them in the nick of time, just as we drop to our single last active case of the virus remaining in New Zealand (touch wood!).


I didn’t use the plastic bases supplied in the Warlord box, as I thought the figures looked too widely spaced on them. So I made my own cardboard bases 30mm wide and 35mm deep. Each base carries three or four figures, and there are a couple of half-bases for the arquebusiers.

The bases are treated in my usual style, using coarse beach sand,and a mixture of various static grasses and tufts. This time I tried something new, adding some model railway lupins. I was pleased how they add some more interest to this already very colourful unit.


Here’s the middle rank of the pike-block so you can see the officer in full armour and the halberdier. It’s been really fun coming up with all these zany and different colour-schemes, too.

As mentioned in my previous postings during my painting progress, I have used GW Contrast paints and Army Painter Quickshade (strong). I have made absolutely no attempt myself at painting any shading or highlights on these figures – what you see here is how they turn out painted straight from the pot! I did make up a couple of new colours myself by adding a few drops of Vallejo paint to some Contract medium. 

I was particularly pleased with how the armour came out. It was simply painted silver, then washed with a mixture of black Contrast paint diluted with Contrast ink medium, and finally coated with gloss Quickshade. You can enlarge the picture for a closer look.


This side view shows the drummer and a couple of the flags. You’ll also see here how my smaller handmade bases make the pike-block look packed together.

temporarily placed the arquebusiers at the front in this photo. In fact, I have ordered a set of advancing pikemen, with which I can add another rank or two at the front of the pike-block if I want.


I didn’t have quite enough pikemen to fully populate the back rank. So you’ll see there are only three figures across. However, it still looks OK from behind, I think. And, again, all those wonderful colours!

The box only comes with one flag-bearer, so I converted a couple of the figures to take two more flags. The paper flags themselves came with the set. I’m not sure if these patterns would’ve all appeared in the same unit, but I can always easily replace them if necessary.

So there we have it: my first-ever Renaissance unit. Now I just have to steel myself to start all over again and paint another block of them – but let’s hope I don’t need another lockdown to get them done!

Liking and loving Landsknechts


Well, I think this might be becoming a period for me. In a previous posting I mentioned that I was painting a freebie sprue of plastic landsknechts that had come with Wargames Illustrated, just for a spot of fun.

However, I’ve become more and more entranced with them, bought a full box which I have started painting too, and now I have just put in an order for even more of them. So this is starting to look official now!


The fun part is dreaming up colourful schemes for each figure, the zanier the better. This does make it a slower job than mass-painting a regiment of uniformed Napoleonic troops. But it sure keeps the interest alive, with each figure being a one-off.

Someone did tell me I should replace Warlord’s lances with 8cm broom bristles, as they are too short and too ‘spear-pointed’. But I think it would be very difficult to cut the existing lances away from the arm holding them. And I’m not too worried about accuracy, to be honest. I know absolutely nothing about this period, so if these figures just have the right feel, that’s enough for me.

I’m using my new method of painting, consisting of GW Wraithbone spray undercoat, GW Contrast paints, Army Painter Quickshade, and then a final Vallejo matt undercoat over all non-metallic areas.


One thing I did wonder is if the guys wearing front-plates should also be painted with back-plates under their cross-straps, instead of the cloth undershirts I have given them? For example, see the chap in green-and-yellow second from the left (click on the image to have a closer look).

As for basing, rules and so on, I have no idea yet. This is a case of nice figures coming along well ahead of any thoughts as to what to do with them!

Anyway, if you like landsknechts, keep watching this space …

Wargaming Illustrated’s freebie sprues strike again!


Wargames Illustrated’s promotion of plastic kits by providing free sprues with their magazine really works. I can say this with some authority, because I myself have just been captured by this cunning ruse. As a direct result of painting up a set of freebies, I have now been enticed to buy a box of figures for a period I have never considered before! 

As I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous posts, I am kind of doodling with figure-painting at the moment, as I have no major projects on the go. Having painted every miscellaneous metal figure I have got on hand, my eye turned to the various plastic sprues lying around.


When I painted these Warlord Games German Landsknechts, it certainly wasn’t with any intention to take up this period, but purely for a spot of painting fun.

However, the resulting colourful figures are just so darned nice, I have now succumbed to ordering a whole box of them from my friend Scott at Kapiti Hobbies ( the coolest pharmacy in the world, selling wargaming supplies alongside dispensing medicines!).


So far I have left the figures with their coat of gloss Army Painter Quickshade varnish. But I will re-coat them with matt varnish. Though I must say I secretly quite like the jewel-like effect of gloss  on these colourful figures.

I know absolutely nothing about this period. I have no particular plan to use them for games. I just like these figures!