Wargame Rules

I have set up this blog for my wargaming interests in the Muscovite-Tartar Wars, Reconquista Wars, the Barbary Coast Pirates, and the early campaigns of the Ottoman Turks and Saracens. Some lesser known crusades will also be covered. Miniatures are mainly 28mm with a growing collection in 54mm. If my photographs serve to encourage others to complete their collections I shall be pleased. I will also be mentioning other sites with interesting collections on the above. Do join the 'Friends' if you like what you see.

I prefer to use my own rules which are kept simple and involve eight-sided dice. These allow for fast results with various types of weaponry. Morale dominates my games.

Monday, 18 February 2019

54MM Colleoni or Coglioni, its all a load of bollocks (Part Three)

The famous condottiere Bartholomeo Colleoni had an illness which gave him three testicles. With his surname being also similar to coglioni (testicles in Italian), this warrior knight decided to use a distinctive coat of arms. I'm rather pleased with this addition to my 54mm collection. Its a spare Herald Range knight, with a spare Swoppit Range horse, an unwanted Deetail Range saddle & Cloth, with an ornamental plume taken from a Crescent Range helmet. I also had to construct, and pin a replacement ear. There is something very pleasing about bringing odds and spares together to make something interesting. I have drilled and fixed a steel nail to ensure all is quite firmly together, just got to source out a suitable base. MGB

Sunday, 10 February 2019


The rough, hurried paintwork found on W.Britains Herald Range of knights is still a very convenient resource, and any efforts to improve or restore the paintwork is no great inconvenience. Many of the castings were made in a steel (occasionally silver) coloured plastic which actually looks quite good. As a rule, its not my intention to radically replace the original 1970s artwork. Unfortunately, the paper-transfer shield designs rarely survive, but as these designs look more appropriate as comprehensive school blazer badges I have little incentive to keep them anyhow. Having taken care to prime just the cleaned shields, I have now painted on Guelph and Ghibelline designs belonging to Italian states and rulers. Many of these 1968-76 figures arrive with mismatched bases, or plastic sheet replacements, or no bases at all. I have sought to correct this irregularity with a general redistribution. Fortunately, the plastic sheet bases are a good, working alternative, and two units of Heralds now use this option. By the way, warped Herald bases will typically return to their correct shape if placed in hot water, and then rested on a cold surface. So here are some of the new, old Herald knights. I have only had one complete loss so far, an archer had probably been dipped into paint stripper and it had destroyed the integrity of the plastic, causing constant peeling. I must confirm, its been a real pleasure restoring these figures, and an even greater pleasure now owning once more some childhood toys. MGB

Friday, 1 February 2019


Late last year I restored a batch of W.Britains knights which I had picked up on Ebay. These were actually a Christmas present for my Great Nephew. In the 1970s I had in turn inherited a handful of Britains knights and I remembered how colourful and impressive these figures looked. Restoring them was quite enjoyable, and I also began to contemplate how such figures could be employed on the wargames table. Even in my childhood I could discern the Britains varied in their design, that they had different designers. Indeed, that company has produced a fair number of medieval ranges since its founding in the 1890s. But for wargames, the figures produced during the period 1965-90 appear to be the most popular, comprising two collections; the DEETAIL RANGE, and the HERALD RANGE, and they are very different creations. The DEETAIL RANGE was made in England. They are typically robust figures, with heavy detail, simplistic painting, and metal bases. The historical accuracy can best be described as 'generous', all ages of medieval armour are often incorporated into a single figure. But they are popular, and very collectable. The HERALD RANGE was made in British Hongkong. They are slender in their casting, with a rushed painted finish, but superior coverage. The armour is surprisingly accurate, and this cannot be by chance. The Herald figures were much more limited in their number of castings and paint-variants, their bases are hard plastic. For me, however, their cavalry are vastly superior to the DEETAIL range. To put it another way, the DEETAIL range are toy knights used for wargames. While the HERALD range are well designed figures that can be used for historical collections, toys, or wargames, I hope that makes some sense. So, I am now collecting 54mm Herald figures, collecting, restoring, repairing, converting, and forming them up into wargaming units. This is not a long-term project, I want this collection completed within a few months, and I have already picked up several batches of figures. Here's a few photos of recent acquisitions. MGB

Tuesday, 1 January 2019


On Christmas Day I was inspired to start a suitably appropriate project, to build a Russian Orthodox Church. It was a year ago that I purchased a wooden container in a charity shop for £1, and it was obvious the lid would be quite suitable for something eastern, and perfect for something Russian. The following photos are pretty well self-explanatory. The model is not strictly datable as it has features from several periods in Russian history, but as it was my intention for it to not only capture my interest in the history of Muscovy, but also my love of Christmas, I don't think it matters. The green roof is inspired by a Russian palace of the 17th century, the dome is very 16th century, the yellow walls are 18th century, the wooden ornaments are Medieval, and together it makes a very colourful ornament on the war-games table. Additional costs include £3 for the yellow paint, and £2 for the patterned glass, which was taken from a broken lantern in a charity shop. With glue and other paints, it cost a total of £7. Being pleased with the results, I was able to cast-up some Orthodox Christian crosses to finish the project. For the record, working on and off, I completed this model at 11.45am today, being New Years Day. Hope you all had a great Christmas, and have a happy New Year! Michael

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Those Cuman Warriors become Boyar Cavalry

As a follow on to the last post, I have now painted up those Cuman tribal warriors that formed a large part of the successful Ebay bid. With appropriate shields and a new green banner, they now form a sixteen figure strong unit of Lesser Boyars, or possibly Druzhina. For war-game purposes, I will classify this unit as less armoured when compared to the higher class Boyars (nobles). I include a photo of the latter as they too have gained a new orange coloured banner. The Cumans are Essex Miniatures, and I'm pleased with the castings, they mix perfectly with my Hinchcliffe Muscovites. MGB (ps. its a bit difficult to take photos presently as the table is covered in an on-going AWI war-game with a member of my family.)

Sunday, 2 December 2018

More Muscovite/Cossack Cavalry completed

A recent Ebay purchase furnished me with 37 Essex-made Cuman, Pecheneg, Byzantine, and other tribal figures, supplied with 28 suitable horses. The whole lot delivered came to £35, a real bargain. Only one mounted figure turned out to be a lost cause, and two horses needed paint stripping. Most of the others were bare metal, and in excellent condition. The Pechenegs have now been painted up and based, and have received a Cossack banner with an appropriate design of a composite bow. These figures are really quite useful, they can serve as Balkan tribes, Byzantine allies, early Cossacks, medieval Hungarians, the list goes on. Several more Byzantine and armoured Arabs have been drafted into the Muscovite Boyar horse archers, and they now muster two units of eight. All these figures are based as skirmishers. MGB

Saturday, 10 November 2018

54MM TOY KNIGHTS, Crescent, Timpo, Britains, and Chinese

I've had some real success, and pleasure researching the history behind some very old 54mm toy knights. Some time ago I purchased a bag of common CHINESE plastic knights. To be honest, I did not think much of them, while the sergeants were fair, the fully armoured were poor, and all needed additional basing. So I decided to purchase, off Ebay, some 1970s BRITAINS, to form the basis of a gift to my Grandnephew, Young Oliver. Now the latter castings arrived needing new weapons fortunately, replacements are available. Job done! Subsequently, in a charity shop, I purchased a single plastic knight for 20p. This turned out to be a 1960s SOLID TIMPO, and I really enjoyed restoring this figure. Also picked up for a total of 80p two lead mounted knights, and I could tell these were old. They are CRESCENT figures and date to the early 1950s. I will only carry out a slight restoration, where necessary, as these are very rare. Well, I've painted and based the best of the CHINESE figures, and they aren't bad, I will add them to the superb BRITAINS. And now, having just arrived, a box of twenty 1960s CRESCENT plastic knights seeking restoration. For reasons unknown, I was the only bidder and picked them up for a delivered total of £5, they normally go for somewhat more. This has been a fun diversion from my 28mm war-games figures, and I love giving the painted a gloss varnish. Note, BRITAINS, CRESCENT, and SOLID TIMPO were all made in England. MGB
PHOTOS: 1. BRITAINS 2. SOLID TIMPO restored 3. SOLID TIMPO original 4. CRESCENT lead 5. CHINESE painted sergeants 6. CHINESE painted knight 7. CRESCENT plastic