Army of the Month – Tiny Pike and Shot

Although we’re now into March, this is my slightly late February Army of the Month. There’ll be another one along before the end of the month!

This is the army where my involvement with the Grand Duchy of Medetia began.

To try to cut a long story short it all stemmed from the innovative Realtime Wargames rules produced by the guys at Realistic Modelling. Although the rules were for 19th century battles in 6mm or 10mm they appealed because they used both a gridded board and NICE (number indicates combat effectiveness) unit representation. Based on these principles my friend and I saw further possibilities with them. We settled on the idea of building up armies of our own ficitious Renaissance countries, which would sit loosely between the mid-16th century and the mid-17th century and would allow us to field regiments of pike and shot as well as more exotic troop types that took our fancy. The scale would be 6mm.

So, back in 2002, was born the Grand Duchy of Medetia and their sworn enemies from Schwartzberg, one with an Italian feel, the other German. To give us a chance to start playing games relatively quickly we built our armies in ‘forces’ of 5 units each, plus a general. Infantry, cavalry and artillery were the building blocks and we put some mild restrictions on composition to ensure a level of balance. One of my inspirations for this was Donald Featherstone’s book, Wargame Campaigns, which is a classic I return to regularly for inspiration or just plain enjoyment. In it he describes a club ECW campaign where players contributed 3 units each, made up of their choice of a combination of horse, foot and guns. I liked this approach and borrowed a modified version of it for this new project. We also defined these forces (or contingents, as was typical of the period) as either regular or irregular, and applied some simple rules for their relative effectiveness and for how larger armies would be commanded and led.

To the army of Medetia (and it’s irregular allies) then. All figures are from Heroics & Ros which, for me, balance the basing flexibility of being single sculpts, with the appeal of being more anatomically accurate than those of other companies. Over the years (and this army is still growing) I’ve plundered the ECW, Renaissance, Wars of the Roses, Napoleonic and ACW (a round hat is a round hat at this scale!) ranges and thoroughly enjoyed the freedom to be creative that this type of wargame project offers. I’ve also begun adding a second army of my own, the French-inspired Kingdom of Fleurie, to allow me to play solo games when the Schwartzbergers can’t make it.

I regularly enjoy returning to this army to play games, paint a little more, scratchbuild something or just look at the little guys. Basically, it’s one of my favourites. Enough background, here are some pics..

The army deploying for battle. It was sunny when I took these pictures and I struggled a bit with getting the lighting balanced.

Massed Cavalry

Field guns and labourers

Fortified camp

Eastern allies – Cossacks and Poles




Two regiments combine as a Tercio

Some battle shots from the last few years





Army of the Month – A Hairy Horde

I realised I was running out of time for the inaugural Army of the Month posting, which I said would be before the end of Janaury. So here goes..

I’ve chosen my 15mm Goths for my first AotM. This army is a good few years old, and although not big by many wargamers’ standards, it’s not bad for me. It’s been added to over time and has crept up from a single DBA-sized force initially, to its current strength of about 90 mounted and 160 foot figures. The vast majority are from Lancashire Games which, although they can be a bit flimsy at the ankles and with some of the weapons, for me they capture the look of the period very well (and they were cheap to buy!) There are a few Old Glory command and cavalry figures in there too.

The army is based around the Ostrogoths of the late 4th century onwards, containing as it does just 3 basic troop types; heavy cavalry, close order foot, and light archers. This means it can represent, or contribute units to, almost any dark age army which has these types, such as Gepids, Vandals and so on. The cavalry is nicely generic and the infantry can either represent fiery warband or poorer clumped spear-armed tribal levies. The archers are a mix of larger unformed ‘units’ and skirmishers, allowing for massed bows, a loose swarm, or a combination of both.

The army is based for the in-house rules I use (By Force of Arms), written by a wargaming buddy. These use a gridded board and a system where unit strength, morale and cohesion is defined visually by the number of bases remaining (plus any disorder markers added). Most units (skirmishers and light horse excepted) have 2 main bases which remain until the unit is destroyed or routs, and a number of smaller single or 2-figure bases to be removed as losses mount up, and otherwise add a bit of visual bulk to the unit. That’s a brief explanation of why the army looks as it does for those who are interested.

I decided to take 2 sets of pictures, one ‘dramatically’ posed and telling a story, as it were, the other with the army deployed in a typical formation as they would under the rules (albeit in a narrower, deeper space than would usually be the case). I also dug out some old pictures of the army in action, including one where they were playing the part of Rohan-esque types in a fantasy battle with my friend’s Orcs. Hope you like.

With their warchief slain by the enemy, his men bravely form up around his body while the rest of the army pours forth to avenge his loss..

Deployed for a game of By Force of Arms


Doing battle with the Orc hordes in 2008

Facing off against Late Romans in 2006


Taking part on both sides (as Visigoths and Ostrogoths) in a 2011 re-fight of the Battle of the Catalaunian Plans (Chalons) between Aetius and Attila

Army of the month – An introduction

It occurred to me that with the nature of a blog being to tell an on-going story through updates, it was perhaps less suited to looking back or showcasing earlier stuff. So I’ve decided to instigate a review of my existing armies and forces, partly as an opportunity to do a bit of ‘show and tell’ on the blog and partly to build up a photographic record of the collections that otherwise spend their time hidden away in dark drawers (good for keeping direct sunlight off the paintwork but bad for enjoying the figures on display!)

So, from January I’ll be running a regular Army of the Month feature which, while it won’t necessarily contain pics of newly completed stuff (which will be the subject of specific posts anyway), will encourage me to get out my existing armies and possibly even get them onto the gaming table. It’ll also give me something to post about if I’m having a barren painting spell and there’s nothing happening hobby-wise!

Now I just need to clear a bit of space and decide which army to cover first…

Most of them are currently in here: