Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Luke Skywalker turns KNIGHT TEMPLAR in KnightFall Season 2

COMING TO...


 THIS MONDAY MARCH 25th @10PM EST...


Mark Hamil is TALUS - Iniatiate Master of the Knights Templar!



(NOTE:  Just found this awesome pic on
the web and had to post it here -- Jedi...
Templar... six of one, half-dozen of the other!)


Monday, January 28, 2019

Medieval gaming at 1:1 scale

It's been way too long since my last post on this blog.

Starting in Spring 2018, a little less than a year ago, so-called "Real Life" just got too insanely busy.

A big part of that was a new project at work that required my partner and I to spend about 9 weeks in Prague, Czech Republic.  I was there from September to October, and then again from right after Thanksgiving until the middle of December.  I don't usually mention my work here because it doesn't often relate to wargaming or military history, but occasionally there are exceptions to that rule, and my time in Prague involved such an exception.


From late April 2018 my partner and I worked as Executive Producers on the 2nd season of the TV series KNIGHTFALL, which is produced by A&E Studios for History (which used to be known as The History Channel).  We were not involved with Season One of the show, but were brought in as part of a completely new creative team for Season Two.  I'm happy to say I think Season Two turned out well, and I am proud of it.  The show is about the fall of the Knights Templar in early 14th Century France.  It's not a docudrama, but in addition to what is hopefully a compelling story set in an interesting world, filled with memorable and believable characters, I believe this upcoming second season includes some legitimate historical dynamics of the Templars, their practical and spiritual struggles in the post-Crusades era, their existential struggles with the Crown of France, a variety of interesting details from Medieval European life, AND last but not least, a good amount of Medieval warfare.

It's set to premiere on History MONDAY MARCH 25th.

Way back in the first decade of the 21st Century, there was a primitive but charming website known as "HOLLYWOOD BRIGADIERS" connected to an awesome little wargaming club of the same name, that gathered to play games in my family's garage in Valley Village, California.  The website was filled with descriptions and photos of many 14th and 15th Century miniature wargames, played by a rogue's gallery of Los Angelenos including myself and my then still young son, Skylar.  Those were some awesome times and some awesome games, and the site preserved them for the future -- until it was infected by Russian Bots, and had to be taken offline.  I hope some day to clean it out and get it back up and running again, in order to see the pics of those games and of myself, old friends, and family, when we were all somewhat younger!

But back in 2010, before the Post-Soviet Bots took out Hollywood Brigadiers, I started focusing all my hobby efforts on building bespoke terrain for the 130th Anniversary of the Battle of Maiwand, and this blog was born.  Over the near decade since then, I have barely played a single Hundred Years War, Italian Condottiere, Wars of the Roses, or Burgundian Wars game.  BUT... I still love the late Medieval period, still collect books (especially relatively new editions of contemporary chronicles and military manuals) and still have all my old Medieval armies and terrain, including a decent size collection of castles and siege engines.

So when the chance to get involved with a show set in 14th Century France arrived, in some ways it was a dream come true.  One of those ways was the opportunity to spend more than two months working almost every day on exterior backlot locations and interior sound stage sets that were high quality recreations of 14th Century France.  My partner and I had one previous professional success involving Medieval history, which was the 2010 Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott "ROBIN HOOD."  That movie began its life as a spec script called "NOTTINGHAM," we wrote and sold to Universal Studios.  But as is often the case in Hollywood, we were instantly, repeatedly, and heavily rewritten, and completely uninvolved in the production.  So serving as an Executive Producer as well as a writer on this Medieval project was a nice change of pace.

The show hits small screens around the world in about 2 months, and I can't reveal any plot twists or provide any spoilers.  I can however list some elements related to Medieval history which may whet your appetite and encourage at least a few of you to watch!  These include but are not limited to:

-SECRET TEMPLAR TREASURE VAULTS
-LUCIFERIAN HERETICS
-LATE 13TH CENTURY OPPRESSION OF CATHARS IN PROVENCE
-POPE BONIFACE AND THE INCIDENT AT AGNANI (relocated to Paris under dramatic license)
-THE KNIGHTS OF SAINT LAZARUS 
-WARHORSES IN ACTION
-HAWKING
-AN ENTIRE EPISODE DEVOTED TO A SIEGE
-THE TOUR DE NESLE AFFAIR
-FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH, 1307
-THE GYPSUM MINES/PLASTER OF PARIS
-THE SHADOW OF A MAN SOMETIMES KNOWN AS RUGGERO FLORES

Finally, in keeping with my usual style when it comes to 1/56th scale action, below for your viewing pleasure are a ton-and-a-half of pics showing my recent 1/1 scale Medieval gaming...


KNIGHTFALL EPISODE 202

(pics from the first episode written &
produced by my partner & myself)


THE BACKLOT
































SETS


PRODUCTION












WEAPONS, HORSES, PROPS, MODELS, Etc...












***THESE WHEELED BOMBARDS OBVIOUSLY POST-DATE THE ERA OF THE SHOW, AND WERE NOT USED IN THE SHOW -- I BELIEVE THESE WERE LEFT OVER FROM "THE BORGIAS" WHICH I THINK WAS SHOT ON THE SAME STUDIO BACKLOT***






WAGON LOADED WITH COFFINS. Whose you ask?  You'll have to watch the show to find out...


MURDER HOLES inserted into the pre-existing set in accord with my wishes...



The pic below shows an eye-catching ad for beer, stretching across a street in Prague.
Turns out the Czech Republic drinks more beer per capita than any other
nation on earth, Germany and Ireland included)...


Driving to the set in 14th Century traffic...


One of our most important co-stars...


A key prop...





KNIGHTFALL PRODUCTION





14th Century special delivery...


Lots of bodies strewn around the courtyard -- are they dead, or just taking a well-deserved break...?







KNIGHTFALL FOOD




As mentioned above, BEER is one of the main food group in the Czech Republic...




But goulash, bread, and sausage give beer a run for its money...








KNIGHTFALL PEOPLE

Scouting locations on the backlot, me with bottle in hand.  When in Rome...


Cy with one of our very talented actors, Joseph Ollman,
seen here drenched in mud, like a typical young Knights Templar
Initiate, in the midst of Basic Training...


Myself & Cy, together with three of our TEMPLAR INITIATES: Joe Ollman from above on the left, Dean Ridge in the center, and Daniel Campbell on the right.   An incredibly talented and hard-working trio of young actors with great attitudes.  Working with them was a great experience, as it was with the entire cast...


Brother Talus, the Initiate Master (AKA: Medieval Drill Instructor), AKA: Mark Hamil, long ago member of another Order of Knighthood in a Galaxy far, far away...



EPISODE 206

(These pictures are from the second episode we wrote & produced)


BACKLOT
















FOOD


The homemade pretzels at Prague's Grand Mark Hotel were
amongst the best I've ever tasted, and I LOVE PRETZELS...




These last few food & drink pics are from an incredible Serbian restaurant
named JELICA near Barandov Studios where we shot the series...






PEOPLE

Myself and my partner Cyrus once again...


The brilliant Director of Photography (head cameraman)
on our two episodes, Boris Mojsovski.  Talk about
dedicated -- he came to set dressed this way every day...



PRODUCTION




































































SETS





WEAPONS, PROPS, HORSES, MODELS, ETC.







































Finally, here's one last pic from the show.  My partner Cyrus and I have worked together for more than 30 years, and over that time it has been observed that our partnership occasionally involves rather intense confrontation.  This led us to immortalize our creative dynamic onscreen in Episode 206 -- Cy as a Knight Templar and me as a Royal Man-At-Arms -- basically beating the crap out of each other with sword and shield, as is somewhat visible on the left side of the frame below...



One last reminder: if you are interested in the Knights Templar and/or Medieval warfare, you may want to check out KNIGHTFALL SEASON 2 - premiering TUESDAY, MARCH 25th on HISTORY.


***UPDATED SUNDAY FEBRUARY 10, 2019...


("KNIGHTFALL" SEASON ONE  is now available on Netflix)