Sunday, 31 March 2013

Nelliphants II

These will be the "tanks" of my Ptolemaic army,  Unfortunately, as they are relatively small and skittish African Forest elephants, they are fated to be M13/40's to the Seleucid's Matildas.

These are Africans from the excellent Aventine range.  I'm falling behind in my painting plan, so will need to work out a way of painting these VERY quickly... luckily they are relatively simple models.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Army Painter Warpaint Inks review

My mate Gordon Smith sent me this review of his experience with the Army Painter Warpaint Inks, which I'm about to try out, myself, as my last pot of Devlan is almost dry.  Gordon is a mean painter, and here are some of his Aventine EIRs; Gordon's review is below.

I recently bought the Army Painter Warpaint Strong Tone and Dark Tone Inks as an alternative to my much-loved GW Devlan Mud.  They have both been sitting on my shelf for a few months whilst I put off and put off using them as I am in the middle of trying to finish my Aventine EIR's, which you hosted a while back.  Yesterday, I decided to give them a go on some Foundry Ancient German horses and, to be fair, I am impressed.

Initially, I tried the Army Painter Dark Tone and immediately realised it was indeed dark, indeed far darker than Devlan Mud ever was, but as it is being used on the horses this wasn't a disaster. I was also critically aware of the consistency of this ink.  It is also far thicker then the GW Devlan Mud wash and also far thicker than the other Warpaint Strong Tone ink.  Neither the thickness, nor the dark (almost black) effect made much difference to my horses, but had I applied straight onto my Romans I feel it would not have given a good effect.

By contrast, the Warpaint Strong Tone has a thinner consistency, much like the GW Devlan Mud but also it turned out similar in colour, as well.  It flows better than the Dark Tone and has the warmish brown tone I expected and wanted.  It is not as orange as the GW Ogryn Flesh was, and is as near to Devlan Mud as to make no difference.  I tested two horses, base-coated with Foundry Conker Brown (54), and washed one with Warpaint Strong Tone and one with Devlan Mud. Today, I can't tell which is which, without looking at the base of the horse where I marked my samples.

A slight downside to both products, though, is their dropper-style bottles. I prefer something I can stick my brush into, when it comes to it, and hate squirting and wasting product in dropper bottles.  I have now squirted the contents from the dropper bottles into spare, clean, GW pots with lids that I had in my possession.

Overall, I vowed never to use Games Workshop products again after they took away Devlan Mud (and I'm sticking to this promise).  I am very impressed with Armypainter Warpaint Strong Tone as a good alternative to Devlan Mud.  I think there’s a place for the Dark Tone, too, as it did a good job on the horses, but it's too dark for my current Roman project. A final thing to add, is that, unlike the Army Painter Quickshade stains, I'm happy to state that the Warpaint Inks both dry matt.

I'm suitably encouraged, and will be picking up a couple of bottles at Salute.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Elephant Brigade

I've recruited 5 African elephants from Aventine into my Ptolemaic army, to represent the nellies at Raphia.

These are lovely models, with 2 head variants, and two bodies.  The howdahs look particularly convincing, and depict rawhide stretched over a wooden frame.  My only slight reservation about them, is that they feel just a bit on the large side for how I picture an African Forest Elephant.  Still, though, they are noticeably smaller than the Indians Craig will bring.  Some are temporarily propped on Irregular Miniatures 2mm Pike phalanx.

There was next to no flash or vents, and it took me four sessions to assemble them.  

Here's one from behind.  The tail is a separate piece, and plugs up into the elephant's posterior.  This assembly process very much reminded me of an episode of "EuroTrash", I saw years ago, which featured a "Pony Club"....   The most challenging element of assembly was fitting the small bell under each elephant's neck.  I'll paint the pachyderms, and I'm hoping that Nick will paint the 15 crew.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A new BatCave

Our bathroom still looks like Stalingrad, on a bad day.  However, out of the ashes, like a phoenix, is rising the carcass of a new wargaming storage cupboard.  This will be plastered, painted, shelved and illuminated.  It's about 8' tall, by 26" square.

This will hold my gaming boards (including a new, deeper size intended to permit cavalry and tank maneuvers) and will take the surplus boxes of minis that no longer fit inside my War Cabinet.  I reckon there will be room for a couple thousand more minis, which should keep me out of trouble with Mrs Bat, for 3 years, or so... after that, god knows what I'll do. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Final Agemata WIP

A titanic effort this weekend, has seen the Agemata Basilikoi (Royal vanguard) completed and stuck to their bases, ready for gunking.  They will be brigaded with the Peltastoi (in red, on the left), to form a single unit, on the left of the Ptolemaic phalanx.  Figures are mostly Foundry, but there are a dozen converted Polemarchs amongst the Agemata.

I can happily report that I now have more than half of the phalanx units painted and on bases  (1.2m out of the required 2.2m); it's all downhill from here!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

More Agemata, and Bathroom WIP

I've been plugging away with the Agemata; the whole unit is now on the painting table.  These Foundry minis are such a delight to paint, and are coming on very quickly!  The current batch (front) need another 3 or 4 sessions, so I should be able to start basing in around a week's time.  I really want to paint their plumes red, right now, but am saving them to last because there is a danger that the red will come off in handling, leaving white windows.  

I've also been working on the rules and Raphia army lists in the background... 

On the domestic front we have been getting our bathroom rebuilt.  Unfortunately this has revealed problems with our old house, and the entire interior wall of the room has been demolished (below), so we now have a unique and interesting open-plan bathroom.  The disruption means no gaming for a week or so.  A plus, though, is that I will have additional wargaming storage built in when it is all put back together, and there should be space for some 5' terrain boards, which I've long coveted.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Polemarch Agema

... a quick WIP shot of the Polemarch Agema, that I converted earlier, by adding huge crests.  They now waiting for inking, Klear, matt varnish and highlights on the metallics.  And for me to paint another 21 mates, to join them...

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Peltastoi WIP

I finished painting the above peltastoi.  They are now in a holding pattern, waiting for their agemata colleagues, with whom they will be brigaded, to be painted.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Primed guards

A brief footnote to yesterday's post; the weather is finally good enough, for priming!  Here are the agema, showing how well the Polemarchs, with their enlarged crests (left) match the equivalent Foundry figures (right, with shields).

Friday, 8 March 2013

Starting the guards

Above, I've mostly the figures that will be the peltasts for my guard phalanx, and below are some Polemarch figures who I've lightly converted, and who will join some similar-looking Foundry Successors to form the agemata.  Chap on the front right, is a Foundry Perseus; note the winged sandals!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Soldat Lagide

I received this book by Stephane Thion, on the various Egyptian Macedonian armies, in the post at the weekend.  Stephane is a French author and gamer, with whom I've occasionally corresponded; he seems like a very nice chap.  The book has 64 pages and is and packed with simple but beautiful colour reconstructions of Ptolemaic uniforms, from the founding of the kingdom to the arrival of Caesar.  Many of these illustrations are taken from grave stelae (handily naming the deceased under each drawing), and others are hypothetical.  I found the colours very useful, in particular there's one chart showing the colours from the grave stelae, all together.

Everything is there, from the agema, through the phalanx, to the exotic Galatians and Sudanese.  There are even some cavalrymen with horses and riders fully covered in textile armour... which I recall described in an old Slingshot.

There is a good deal of text, in French.  My reading French is poor and it will take me quite a while to work through this, but I'd recommend the book on the strength of the colour illustrations, alone. They are beautiful, and so very useful to a gamer/painter.  I bought my copy on Amazon.