I got a very nice package in the post over the weekend! I needed some 6mm stuff for a commission and also some Eastern Front stuff for an upcoming Monty project about which I am VERY excited, but more of that in due course (what a tease!!). Anyway, I came across Leven Miniatures, who make 6mm buildings and placed an order and I am DELIGHTED.

The buildings are excellent – some of the best and most cleanly cast I have seen. I have had a good look through and I reckon over 90% will need no cleaning at all and the rest nothing more than a quick scrape along an edge with a sharp knife. The detail is crisp and clear and should make painting quite easy, especially for those of us using wash and drybrush methods. I won’t inflct my poor photgraphy on you at this stage, I’d suggest going to the website to see the models, but watch out for photos of the painted versions in due course!

Service was also outstanding – very quick. Packaging was excellent and I think the prices are very reasonable. For anyone looking for 6mm buildings, I’d suggest they are very much worth a look. Website is at http://levenminiatures.co.uk/

Rat Rating: 9/10.

Monty the Desert Rat




Well we have been busy here at Monty’s!! I have realised I could spend an age taking photos and maintaining my web presence at the expense of doing the work, which is a bad idea! So I have decided to do a SITREP about once a week and then add other articles as and when; I think this is the best way ahead but would appreciate any comments. I have also started to take photos in ‘The Rat Pit’, as the workroom is known (if you saw it, you’d know why!!), so less staged than they could be, but it is more time efficient!

So here goes, first up, some Ainsty Castings stuff – dungeon pieces:

DSC01014 DSC01015 DSC01016 DSC01017 DSC01018 DSC01012

And a jetty set:

DSC01010 DSC01009 DSC01008 DSC01007

I’ve also been working on the stuff I need for my Operation WINTER STORM games on the show circuit this year. First up, some Soviet T70 tanks. The one on the left is Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) and the other is from Battlefront.

DSC01027 DSC01028

And more Soviet stuff: PSC 45mm anti tank gun, Zvezda (from PSC) trucks and Battlefront Stalinets:

DSC01026 DSC01023 DSC01022 DSC01025 DSC01024

Now on to the Germans!! First up, Panzer IIIs – the 2 in grey are Battlefront, the camoflaged one (based on photos of the command tank of CO 11 Panzer Regt, 6th Panzer Division) is from Peter Pig.

DSC01030 DSC01031 DSC01032

And a PSC Panzer IV:

DSC01033 DSC01034 DSC01035

A 251/C, also from PSC:

DSC01036 DSC01037

The camo may seem a little strange, only covering the front, but it is based on a photo of a 6th Panzer Division half track during Operation WINTER STORM.

Next up, a Sdkfz 10/5 and Marder III from Battlefront:

DSC01038 DSC01029

And finally some supply wagons, all from Battlefront, and including some destroyed ones, ideal for Chain of Command Jump Off Points!

DSC01019 DSC01020 DSC01021 DSC01040 DSC01039

As I have said before, I am no great shakes with a camera, but I hope these are clear enough – enjoy!

Monty the Desert Rat





I’ve been pretty busy here at Monty HQ working on my Winter Mat for the demo games I’ll be running around the shows this year (more of that in a future post!!) and also on some samples for a client and I thought I would share some photos with you. The winter mat first. This is designed to represent an area that is not thickly covered – it could be an area that doesn’t get deep snow or a time of thaw or the early part of winter, hence the grass and mud showing through. Anyway, the photos!

DSC01006 DSC01005 DSC01004

They were taken in the garage, so not the best lighting, but I hope you get the idea.

The next one is a desert mat sample. In this case I was looking to create an area of rock and scrub rather than pure sand. The idea is also that, with the addition of scattered greenery, this could become a more fertile area, such as nearer to water. And here are the pics:

DSC00989 DSC00996 DSC00995 DSC00994

And, finally, a jungle mat. As many of us know, the floor of primary jungle gets little light and so not much grows, we therefore wanted dead leaves, earth, detritus etc but with some low level growth. Again, the idea is that the addition of scattered bushes would turn this into secondary jungle. And the pictures:

DSC00991 DSC00990 DSC00993 DSC00992

I hope you like them!

Monty the Desert Rat



What a great game last night. Long term opponent and friend, Dave, came over for the latest game in our Dux Brit campaign. He is playing Angles raiding the coast of East Anglia whilst I am playing the Romano British defenders. We had a battle last year, also at the end of the campaign year, and declared it a stalemate. I know there’s no provision for that in the rules and, given the Angles didn’t win, it should, perhaps, have been a Romano British victory, but that just didn’t seem right, so we had a stalemate. Anyway, early the next year the Angles were back again for another go. I should also add that we are not using ‘book’ forces – given this is a cross club campaign, we mixed up the forces for variety.

Now 2 apologies at the begining – the table set up was a rush job at the end of the day, so is not as I would like, I also still have some older terrain to replace, so please forgive me that. My photography is also, quite frankly, poor, but I will improve – honest! But the mat IS a Monty Marvellous Mat, and I’m really quite chuffed with it.

Anyway, to the action!! We rolled about 4 sets of drawn terrain dice so should have had a river, but mine wasn’t to hand so we dropped that. We should also have had about 7 large pieces of terrain, but agreed that that would have made it too cluttered, so we agreed on 5. I won the Pre Battle Initiative and went straight to battle, my Force Morale was a poor 7 and I didn’t want any risk of lowering that further. Dave was up on 9.

We deployed in opposite corners, me on my left and Dave over on his left. I knew he had to come to me so I set up a shieldwall anchored on a thick wood on my right and some heavy, broken ground on my left. I put my archers in the broken ground, 1 group of levy refused to cover my left, another group in reserve and my light cavalry over on the extreme left.

Here is the main Romano British line:



Dave came on with all units grouped closely together:


DSC00998 DSC00999

Dave advanced, swinging his archers to his right and they began to cause some shock on my light cavalry. His centre came forward and then halted whilst 2 units swung wide left.


I quickly realised he was going to bring them through the thick wood to attack my flank so I bravely withdrew! Wheeling back using the broken ground as a pivot and reforming facing the wood. I also brought my light cavalry across to harass the flanking groups and advanced my levy on the left to cover the gap between the broken ground and another wood.  Whether Dave had intended this or not, the result was my left flank levy became more exposed. He quickly disposed of my light cavalry, catching them with a Carpe Diem card, and then pushed 4 units forward to mask my shieldwall and sent 2 (the maximum he could get in given the size of the gap) against the levy. His plan, and very sound it was too, was to smash the levy and break my force morale whilst masking my main force so it couldn’t intervene.

So how did it all go? The Angles launched an aggressive charge on the levy shieldwall, but they countered, bracing for the impact. A hard fight followed but the levy bounced the first attack and caused quite a bit of damage. His archers had weakened me before combat (mine had been USELESS!!), but I held and won. Dave’s 2 groups were weakened but he also knew my levy were not as robust as they had been, so he detached a group away from his masking force to finish the job.

The levy after Round 1:


And my right being fixed by the Angles:


Was this a risk – clearly. He left his left flank outnumbered 4:3 and with me having a stronger noble contingent, but he had quality on his side and I would have to break shieldwall to get to him in any sort of time. The odds were in my favour but it would probably have been a hard fight and taken time for me to win through (assuming I did). That would give him the time to destroy my left and break my force morale. So all seemed sound. What he didn’t and couldn’t know was that I had been busy amassing a very good Fate Card hand. My Lord activated, bought another card and then ordered the charge! Everyone made it for one grand fight and I duly played my 5 suited cards, adding another 13 (!!) dice to my hand. Dave’s face was a picture! My dice throwing was also better and I sent one of the groups of Angles packing (routed) complete with the only noble, one other was looking pretty shabby with only one still looking okay. The Angles had lost and fell back, my discipline held so no wild chase, but next round I followed up, not quite getting there, but the writing was on the wall even with the Angle Lord moving to take charge. It was clear I would catch them and the odds would be massively in my favour.

Meanwhile, Dave’s second assault crashed into my left flank levy and sent one group and then the other packing. Absolutely key, however, no hits on the noble, so no force morale test for that and I managed to get no impact results on the tests for the levy breaking – both times!

At that stage, we called it – a Romano British victory. We were clear Dave’s left was doomed – it wouldn’t break his force morale, but my luck with the force morale tests for the levy meant I wasn’t too weak in that respect either, so would probably survive that fight. Dave’s right could come back and join in, but it would all be over before they could get there, they would be subject to the attentions of my archers on the way, further weakening (possibly!!) a force that was already weakened, and so we felt they wouldn’t do it for the Angles either. Overall result, a +4 victory and the Angles out of it for 5 months!

Another great game, much fun and very challenging with lots of decisions to make and it all felt very much as it should. Roll on the next one and roll on Dux the Raiders – due out at Salute, can’t wait!

Monty the Desert Rat




Matt varnish, that old chestnut!! I really do wonder how much ink has been spilt on the subject! Anyway, first up, I prefer a matt finish – it’s not for all and very much horses for courses. I have searched high and low for the best matt varnish and I have tried LOTS! Late last year, good Monty chum Erik of Figures in Comfort suggested I try the varnish he sells and so I did and I am VERY pleased. Plus points:

  1. A very matt finish with no need for glossing first (I have been told some matt varnishes work better dulling a gloss coat). But this really is a good, even and matt finish – in my opinion, as good as Dullcote, which seems to be the standard everyone refers to.
  2. A very good spray mechanism. It is not too powerful, has an even coverage but not too wide an arc allowing you to spray at a gentle pace across the models and get a thorough but even coverage.
  3. No wastage so far! I often have problems with sprays clogging or the mechanism just not working very well anymore despite always turning them upside down at the end and spraying to clear. Not so with these.
  4. Value for money. These are £9.00 for 400ml, Dullcote is about £4.60 for 85g. Now I am only a rat and maths was never my strong point, but I reckon based on size (which DOES matter) that the Figures in Comfort spray is more than twice the size of the Dullcore one.
  5. Availability. I have never known of an issue getting varnish from Figures in Comfort, I have personally experienced a lot of difficulty over the years getting Dullcote.


  1. I have not experienced any issues but I am told this varnish can be affected by cold weather, as can, in my experience, pretty much all sprays and especially varnishes. I have also been told that a simple second coat in better conditions solves any ‘misting’.
  2. I have been told some people have suffered from ‘clogged nozzle’ syndrome – no problem, let Erik know and he’ll send you a new nozzle.

Overall, these have become our default varnishes and we are very happy with them. Many thanks to Erik for bringing them to our attention.

Rat Rating: 8½ out of 10

Note: Health and Safety – I’m no expert and this is no place for a lecture, but there are risks associated with spraying and it really is very important to make sure we understand these risks and address them. Personally, I just get one of the staff to do the spraying………..!!


Monty the Desert Rat



SP001-Dunkelgelb-spray-small SP002-Panzergrau-spray-small SP005-US-Tank-spray-small SP004-British-Tank-spray-small SP003-Russian-Tank-spray-small


The way I paint is to use a coloured base coat close to the main colour I am using and I apply this by spray, generally from a can. We have seen many coloured primers come on the scene over recent years and I have tried many of them along with Montana Gold sprays. Anyway, along come the latest from the good chaps at PSC and so I thought I’d give them a try – VERY impressed. Good points:

  1. The spray is not overly powerful, so light components don’t go flying off across the garage (didn’t expect a rat to have a garage? Where do you think I keep the caravan!!).
  2. The flow is steady and nicely focussed, so you can target the item you want and dwell for a moment to cover it.
  3. The paint is not too thick – I was concerned that it might clog detail but not so. If you look at the PSC T34s on my Flickr site (http://www.flickr.com/photos/101018826@N02/), they were base coated this way and the detail was as sharp as before (and that is SHARP – these are very nicely cast models).
  4. I have yet to have a problem with cans failing or clogging – a simple upside down spray when finished and they have always been good to go next time. This is a real bonus, I have thrown out far too many other, half finished cans as they stopped working, I reckon I’ll get to the bottom of these.
  5. They are good sized cans and, I feel, good value for money.

Bad points:

  1. Sometimes a second spray can be necessary if you want a really strong base that you can work from without a brush over first. Not really a negative, I suppose, if it were any different it would mean the paint was so thick clogging would be a problem and I therefore think PSC have it right.

Rat Rating: 8½ out of 10

SP009-US-Olive-Drab-spray-small SP008-British-Khaki-spray-small SP007-Russian-Uniform-spray-small SP006-Feldgrau-spray-small

Note: Health and Safety – I’m no expert and this is no place for a lecture, but there are risks associated with spraying and it really is very important to make sure we understand these risks and address them. Personally, I just get one of the staff to do the spraying………..!!

Monty the Desert Rat



News and new releases from the lads at Battlefront:

This week we see the release of the next batch of Gothic scenery these are perfect for Dust Tactics and other 28mm sci fi games.

20140305 BF 1

20140305 BF 2

We also have the new Italy Battles book which features the infantry aces campaign rules.

20140305 BF 4

Italy Battles (FW229)

“The stubbornness of the German defence at Cassino and on Monastery Hill was already a byword, for although the Monastery had been bombed, and the town of Cassino was a heap of ruins, the Germans still held firm and blocked the road to Rome. I realised the cost in lives must be heavy, but I realised too the importance of the capture of Monte Cassino to the Allied cause…”

~ Polish General Wladyslaw Anders comments on the situation at Cassino, March, 1944.

What Is Italy Battles?

Italy Battles contains the best scenarios from the original Dogs & Devils and Cassino books, as well as the Battlefront Studio’s favourite web and Wargames Illustrated scenarios, and updates them for the third edition of Flames Of War, and the two Italy compilations: Road to Rome and Fortress Italy. Italy Battles also includes rules for running Linked Mission Campaigns and Axis Of Attack Campaigns, including Axis Of Attack campaigns for Anzio and Cassino.

 And for those of you who missed the new Panzer IVH release.

GBX79 Plastic Panzer IV H Platoon

   20140305 BF 3

 And remember, you can get all these lovely goodies through us at what I think is a fantastic price, see the post  MONTY’S IN CONJUNCTION WITH PLASTIC SOLDIER COMPANY AND BATTLEFRONT PRESENT A NOT TO BE MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Monty the Desert Rat



This Blog is in no way restricted to any one set of rules or any rules publisher – our hobby is a broad one and we all look for our fun and enjoyment in different ways, so what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another, and that is a very good thing! We are blessed these days with lots of different rules and so we have many to choose from. Personally, I am a very big fan of TooFatLardies. Why, well, it could be Rich and Nick’s charm, charisma and boyish good looks, but I suspect not! It is, in reality, because they write rules that hit the mark for me, ticking all the right boxes:

  1. Fun! This is my hobby and I want to enjoy it, so I want games that I enjoy regardless. What constitutes fun? That’s for each and every one of us to decide for ourselves, but it is top of my list.
  2. Simple to learn. I want to spend my time gaming not searching rule books or up to my ears in reference sheets, I want to have games that focus me on what I feel I should be doing – making decisions – and not on mechanics. I also want games I can take to a Club or put on as a participation game at a show with the players quickly able to grasp the basics.
  3. Realism. The history is a key part of my hobby and the very strong grounding all TooFatLardie rules have in history and the accounts of those that were there is an immense draw for me. I want to be able to use period tactics, understanding them and their strengths and weaknesses and get realistic results.
  4. Friction. It is there is every account and experience I have of military operations – for me, it must be central to any rules.
  5. Command. There are 3 points here, I am representing a commander, first of all I want it to be clear what level that is at e.g. company, I want to have the right focus i.e. 2 down, section for a company commander, and I want to be faced with the decisions company commanders faced.

And, simply, TooFatLardie rules deliver all this for me and have become my wargaming Nirvana (not the band!!). So, expect me to write lots about Lard because I love it, but remember, as I said at the start, that is not to say it is right for everyone and nor is it to say everyone should play Lard – play what floats your boat and feel free to post about it here.

Monty the Desert Rat



Combat and Other Shenanigans: Tales of the Absurd from a Deployment to Iraq


Army Life: Army and Military Pictures


Coutesy of JM on the TFL Group.

Monty the Desert Rat