January 04, 2015 | By: Mark Hazell

First games of 2015

So today was the fist gaming day for 2015 for me and the lads. Rob was away and will was going to be a little late so Phil and i threw down a game of x-wing.  I  love x-wing, it's such an easy game to pick up after a long time of not playing and for someone like me with too many rule sets and a poor memory that's always a blessing.

So Phil and i did 95 points a side.  I did the rebels and took 2 B-Wings and a YT-1300 piloted by Han Solo with the gunnery upgrade card.  Phil took 4 Tie fighters (some named but i cant remember which ones at the moment.) and a Tie Advanced (Not piloted by Darth Vader thankfully!)

we set up and our ships quickly moved into range of each other and the shooting began. A lot happened in the game and i don't remember all the details.

Phil's Ties split up quickly, he had numbers on is side but i had shields - the question was whether or not i could reduce his numbers before my shields ran out!  

I managed to take out a Tie that was next to the YT-1300 with a solid set of point blank shooting. The B-wing and on the left also took out a Tie at point blank range with a good round of shooting  which left the other Tie on the far left in a very bad place as it wasn't in a position to fire back.. 

Phil did an odd choice of maneuver and turned in front of my B-wing. I think he thought i was going to do a big sweeping maneuver but i only did a move one straight ahead. This put me in the best position to destroy his tie. (point blank range so 4 dice to damage!)  

As you can see the results were fantastic with Phil failing to avoid any of the hits.

Meanwhile on the other side of the table the YT-1300 had moved slowly forward. This was messy with 3 ships touching each other, many shots were aimed at the YT-1300 but Han skillfully avoided all the shots.

In the next turn the B-wing did a 2 move role over putting it in a great position to shoot up the Tie advanced that had tried to get past the YT-1300 which had again only moved forward 1. The Tie Advanced Pilot failed to move past the YT-1300 and was so concerned with not crashing he failed to avoid the B-wings shots and lost his shields.

Next turn the Tie Advanced moved off as fast as he could with both B-wings in pursuit. The Tie did a sharp turning maneuver hoping to shoot at the B-wing as it chased the Tie Advanced. Unfortunately for Phil i did the same maneuver in the YT-1300 which unleashed a devastating round of shooting vaporizing the Tie before it could shoot at the B-Wing.    

At the same time the Other B-wing did some long range shots. Great rolls on my part but Phil also rolled well and just avoided death by one hit. The Pilots days were numbered.  

Another turn of maneuvers and the Tie Advanced thought he was safe. 

2 more quick turns pass and the poor Tie Advanced pilot is in serious trouble but Phil wanted to go out fighting!

I appear to have not taken a photo of the final shots fired but it didn't turn out well for Phil!

So with the first game under our belts and with Will arriving with a big Ship we played a bigger game and a proper mission. i will leave the telling of that tale to will on his blog: www.willsramblingsnz.blogspot.co.nz

I enjoyed writing a report of the game. I think for 2015 i will try and do a battle report at least once every 2 weeks.

Till next weekend may your die always come up 6's.


January 01, 2015 | By: Mark Hazell

2014 year in review

What was going to be my last post of 2014 has turned into my first post for 2015 as i ended up spending the night with my family watching movies. A nice was to see out the year.

before i do the usual year in review i thought i would show off 2 things i have been working on. The first is the latest unit for my SAGA force.

This gives me 9 points of troops that i now have painted for my SAGA force.  The second thing i have been working on is my Republican Romans for Kings of war and Hail Caesar.

The little big men studios transfers and Vitrix square bases work really well and i think the army is going to turn out really good when its all done.

Now to the year in review.  Well what can i say its been a good year overall.

From a work perspective - I got a promotion after only 4 months in a new job and have been doing well in the new role since getting it. Its a good job and for the most part i enjoy it.  My new work mates are great and i got a great surprise on my birthday!

Pimped up birthday desk.

From a personal perspective - it was a year of lots of change and that can sometimes be hard but for the most part it wasn't a bad year. The kids are getting older and dealing with them has been challenging (any parent here will appreciate this). Health wise 9 months of perfect health followed by 3 winter months of being sick... a lot (a first for me and a sign im getting older i guess!).
 I replaced my trusty old Suzuki Swift with a new car that i have wanted for a long time my Nissian 350Z. (sports car before 40 - achievement unlocked!).

The Z.
From a gaming perspective - What can i say we started playing three or four new games this year Bolt Action and SAGA, Xwing and Kinds of War. All have been a lot of fun to play and to paint. Overall SAGA and Bolt Action were the stand out winners and got alot of gaming time. I added some scenery for bolt action to my collection and so have a reasonable amount of french township buildings for us to fight our 28mm WW2 battles over. I finished my army for bolt action and im happy with how it turned out.  My SAGA army is also complete and ready for many games in the new year.

The first (of many) saga forces.

New terrain.

Bolt action British - now i feel i need a German force)

 This year i also finished a Bushido force (still a game we have yet to play - maybe 2015 will be the one!) as well as a couple of forces for Legends of the old west.

Temple of Ro-Kan.



 I also finished my warrior monks for Ronin and Legends of the rising sun (which is going to be my project of 2015) I have a lot of terrain and figures to paint up for this one so i can get the Lads to play.

 Late 2013 and early 2014 i had been working on lots of my lord of the rings figures. I finished up a massive group of Uruk Berserkers in Jan/feb and had a few awesome games with them.

 For some reason i seem to have no pictures of my kinds of war skeleton army readily available but i painted almost 2000 points of skeletons in Red/white livery.
 We had several very large games over the year. A massive LOTR game with almost every LOTR figure i own (and that's alot!). We had several big 4 player Bolt action games. There was much talk of a large xwing game that never happened but we are planning on it for early 2015.
 I know a lot more stuff was painted and many many games have been had but these are the things that stick out for me at the moment.  

Resolutions for 2015 - I hate doing this part as it invariably never goes to plan. I have few goals for this year. I want to do some work on the house and redo our back year and add a Pagola so we can sit outside in summer and still game. I want to work on my Asian themed terrain and do up some nice gaming boards as well as paint up 2 more forces and get the lads playing legends of the rising sun and Ronin (as i love the period) - this may happen through Japanese SAGA. Other than that i will continue to work on my Republican Romans for the big April game of Hail Caesar that is planned (who knows if i can get enough done in 4 months!!!). That's about it. No interest in adding in more games to the mix (ive said this before, but i really don't need new games. I just want to focus on playing what we have already.) But im sure new forces for existing games will be part of the year to come.     I have been using Facebook more and more for posting pictures of my work as it is some much easier than blogging. I need to see if there is a way to blog easier so there is more stuff for you guys to look at.

Anyways that's enough from me. Its summer and i have a day off and the beach is calling me.

Hope everyone has a happy new year.

December 03, 2014 | By: Mark Hazell


So following on from my last post I've managed to assemble 24 sergeants  with crossbows and get the first 8 painted.  More progress to follow.

December 02, 2014 | By: Mark Hazell


So for the last 3? Weeks I've been beavering away on my first Saga force The militant orders of Christ or Milites Christi as they are called.   I've always been fascinated by the rise and fall of the knights Templar.   The militant orders list is perfect for representing these holy warriors.


All the shields have be painted by hand and I've stuck to a sale pallet of colours to keep the army cohesive.  I did a fair bit of reading regarding colours of the brothers and the men at arms the fought with them.  It appears the men at arms (Sergeants) were dressed in black whilst the brothers were in white with the red Cross displayed on their chests.   I decided that the force would look better with off white padded amour for the sergeants but included black shields and some black clothing items to help tie everything together and add a nod to their historical counterparts.

(First Unit of Warriors)

(Second Unit of Warriors)

(Third Unit of Warriors)

As for playing them on the table I have had quite a few games so far of varying success.  They are a powerful melee force if they can build up 3 points of piety (the mechanism that's used to increase their effectiveness on the table.)   The army has some weaknesses though.  The brothers are vulnerable to bows and especially crossbows and they dislike being in terrain.  The sergeants are there to slog it out in terrain and you have the option of taking crossbows (I'm working on three units of them at the moment) to help with the ranged guys.

(The first three Units of Warriors all finished)

What I'm really loving about Saga is that is so easy to collect and paint up a force for it that I'm totally hooked.  There are many saga boards that have been created by fans that have been placed up on the Saga forums for people to try and some that have captured my imagination or the Japanese Samurai period.  So I've ordered so I've orders some Wargames factory Samurai to have a go at using these board's  - they will also work well for legends of the rising sun or Ronin so I figure my money won't be wasted.

- Here are some progress pics of the cavalry that i snapped off during the painting process.

(Three Units of Brothers all together in one big 12 man unit)

Anyways that enough out of me for now.  Let me know what you think of the Templar's.  I'll add photos of the crossbow sergeants when they are done (hopefully about a week).

- Here are a front and back pic of my lord.

I'll leave you with a final picture of the completed 6 point force.

(6 Points of Templar Goodness!!)

November 25, 2014 | By: Mark Hazell

Upcoming Chinese Waring states plastics!!!!

Over the years of working for both Games Workshop and Battlefront Miniatures its been my privilege to work with many talented people and whilst i now prefer to keep my hobbies separate to my work life many of the people i know have left GW or Battlefront and gone on to do other things within the industry. Today i have the great joy of introducing one of those people who is embarking on a project which im extreamly excited about.  I'll pass you over to Joe to tell you all about it: 

Hello supporters. Mark has been kind enough to allow me to introduce my company and our very first project. My name is Joe Krone and I spent over 15 years working in the gaming industry for companies like Games Workshop and Battlefront Miniatures. I learned an awful lot about how the gaming industry works and throughout my tenure I always wanted to advance my career on the games development side. I think that is everyone's dream job and I came within reach of the golden ring but never could hold on. When I left the gaming industry for a new career I was able to spread my wings and begin developing rules and games without the conflict of interest worry. This month I released my first rulebook, Land of the Free published by Osprey and another milestone this month occured when my brand new gaming company, Watchful I Studio, announced its very first product range. We have designed and will be launching a Kickstarter in the near future for miniatures covering the Chinese Warring States and Qin Dynasty Periods. We have optimized the design process to give you unarmored,  lightly armored, and fully armored warriors including several weapon, shield, and head options. The sets will include arms to create standard bearers and head options to create line officers. Our intention for the Kickstarter is to raise enough money to have these fantastic sculpts manufactured in plastic. We are currently working on how the sets will be arranged and how many sets there will be. The range wouldn't be complete without support elements and officers so stay tuned as we will continue to post new updates on our Facebook page. If you would like to join our page please search for Watchful I Studio on Facebook. Enjoy the pics and spread the word. Check out Facebook for more pictures of our digital sculpts. More to come soon................

Displaying Qin warrior body 1 H.jpg

Displaying Qin warrior body 2 D.jpg

Displaying Qin warrior body 3 E.jpg

Displaying Qin warrior body 3 A.jpg

I think you will all agree that these digital sculpts are excellent. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the final plastic sets will look like. I'll be following this one closely and hope that you will go check out the Watchful I Studio facebook page.

October 09, 2014 | By: Mark Hazell

Blogging at the beach.

I'm currently on holiday and decided that it was too nice a day to stay at home so i decided that i would drive out to a local beach.  Nothing like a nice day at the beach where its not too hot and no one is around and you get to just sit back and enjoy nature.  It also gave me a change to take the new car out for a bit of a decent spin after having a fairly serious 100,000km service which resulted in 6 new platinum tipped spark plugs and a fuel injection flush out (along with all the normal servicing like changing the oil etc.)    

The Nissan 350z in all its glory in my driveway.


Awesome day at the beach and no people around. just the sound of the birds and the sea. pity the water was out but you cant have everything.  Plus as its only just spring so the water is still a bit cold for a swim.

So what have i been working on over my break. Well ive done more work on my Republican Romans and almost have 2 units of 16 finished.  Over the last two days though i finished of my Warrior Monks.   

Will was nice enough to give me the plastic bases from his Bolt Action figures which he had decided not to use as he had done all his figs with wooden bases.  This was great news for me as i really like the 25mm round plastic bases that Bolt Action uses.

So whats next - well last night Paul came over and gave me a game of SAGA.  I have borrowed Wills copy of Crescent and the Cross and decided to run a militant orders list.  After playing the game i decided that i had to paint some figures up (and order another rules set) :-)  So ive ordered a box of mounted sergeants and foot sergeants from Fireforge games. I'll do up a review once i get the figures.

October 04, 2014 | By: Mark Hazell

Vitrix miniatures size comparison

Minitrol made a comment the other day about the Vitrix Mid Republican Romans being large looking. This made me think a size comparison with some other 28mm figures was necessary.

I grabbed a quick selection of some 28mm models that i have.

Starting from the left with a Gladiator from Crusader Miniatures.

Next a plastic skeleton from Mantic Games.

A Warrior Monk from The Assault Group.

A Vitrix Roman.

And finally a Black Scorpion cowboy.

So looking at these i would so that the Vitrix model is pretty standard for a 28mm miniature. The Crusader miniature and the Black Scorpion miniature are both larger models closer to 30mm scale.

Well back to painting - more Romans in the future.

October 03, 2014 | By: Mark Hazell

Problem with comments

My blog currently seems to be having an issue with displaying comments. I can see them come through in my e-mails but they don't seem to display on my computer (but do on my mobile app its displaying fine). If anyone has any idea what might be wrong let me know. Cheers

Later on today ill do a size comparison on the Vitrix figs compared to other 28mm brands.
October 02, 2014 | By: Mark Hazell

Mid Republican Romans W.I.P

So its been a while since I’ve got around to posting. Works been full on and i went and brought a new car and lost all interest in painting for the last few weeks. I was getting a bit worried that my painting mojo was gone but now I’m on holiday for 2 weeks the painting mojo seems to have returned.

So many more to go but happy with the result.  I cant add the shields until I buy some transfers and decide exactly how i will finish them. More pics to follow as i get more work done.

Keen for feedback on these so let me know what you think.  I spent ages trying to decide on what colour to do the clothing. Still not sure i should have done Red. I personally think White was more likely to be what they were historically wearing in the 3rd century B.C but red just looks good.
August 25, 2014 | By: Mark Hazell

Victrix Mid Republican Romans have arrived!!!!

Yes what a great day off. I got a good sleep in to 7.30am (normally I’m up at 5.30am for work) and within a few hours of being up i had two packages arrive – one from Warlord games and the other from Victrix.
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As you can imagine i had the packages open within a minute.
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I’m going to be busy!!
I intend to do a review of my thoughts on Hail Caesar once i read the rules fully but for now onto the models.
First up I’ve only opened up the two boxes of the legionaries in chain mail so my review will be based on them. The quality of the sprue’s is top notch. The mould lines are very small and were very easy to clean up. The miniatures details are very crisp. The detail on the faces is very good although perhaps a tad cartoony a little like Warlord games bolt action figures. (although i like that as it gives them some character)
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As i said the mould lines are very small and you could almost get away without removing the lines on many of the figures. My OCD would never let me do that though.
Here are some shots of one of the miniatures which had some of the lines that could be seen. A sharp knife and about 15-20 seconds and it was perfect for painting.
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The figures thankfully come in very few pieces. The legs and torso are all one piece as is the left arm that holds the shield. The head, right arm and the shield is separate. Although the poses are slightly different the poses are all of standing legionaries designed to rank up. The arms allow the choice of Pilum for the Hastatus or Princeps  as well as spears for the Triarius.
I brought two boxes of the Chainmail legionaries which allows me to make 5 units 16 strong each. 2 Units of Triarii and 3 units of Principes. The third box will allow me to do two units of Hastati with the pectoral chest plate.  It is worth noting that there are a choice of several different helmet designs including the odd one often seen in illustrations which looks like it is worn like a Corinthian helm and often shown worn by Triarii. There are enough of this design to give one unit of 16 per box. I think it will help mark out the Triarii units as different (yes i know the spears will do that as well).
Here’s a pic of my clean up progress so far.
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Now i haven’t touched on the light troops that you also get in each box. A rather large number of 18 figures per box .  I haven’t actually looked at those figures yet so i will review them in another post.
So what do i think over all – I give them a 9 out of 10. I think there are well proportioned miniatures and the detail on them is excellent. If you are on the lookout for a Mid Republic Roman army then i personally don’t think you could find a better option.