Monday 29 June 2009

Empire Models Armoured Elephants... completed!

I love these models, and it was fun painting them but they were a lot of work and am delighted to have finished them!
The detail on the models is terrific, and I'd commend these weapons of Mass Destruction to any aspiring Eastern potentate!
I've named these two after the titans Oceanus and Kronos. I plan to add a third, when Empire's new armoured elephant comes out. And then there are rumours of Pyrrhic elephants from Aventine... and I also need some elephant guards.

But these will have to wait; I've got a handful of Tegeans to finish, and then it's Operation Zama!

Friday 26 June 2009

AD&D; a la recherche du temps perdu

Tomorrow I'm going to introduce several of the LittleRedBats, and assorted friends, to AD&D.

A good portion of my twenties was spent playing the game (particularly the Lost University Years, over which we shall draw a veil), but I don't think I've rolled a d20 in anger, since I got into figure wargaming around 1985.

Digging out the old manuals has been an almost archaeological experience; I've had to borrow various tomes from one of my gaming mates, and I still lack a screen and the combat tables. Luckily I still have a lot of the old miniatures. Skimming the rulebooks today it is all starting to come back to me, but it is daunting that I remember so little, when once upon a time I must have almost known them by heart!

I've decided to stay thoroughly retro and eschew all the more modern versions of AD&D, so that tomorrow will be almost an exercise in time travel! Last time I visited the village of Hommlet, it was 1980...

Thursday 25 June 2009

Little Caesars and LittleRedBats

A TMP post reminded me of a photo I snapped in Venice in 2003. Walking around a corner, I came across these beautiful statues and couldn't resist getting a photo of my boys next to it!

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Pimp my Nellie 6 - Assembly!

It has taken me 10 days to paint 12 crewmen (the ones on the beasts plus four spares not shown), and they came out pretty well in the end. I stuck an officer in one of the elephants for variety. I found that 3 crew fitted better than 4 in the howdah, and felt that there was also slightly more historical evidence for 3. In hindsight I regret painting both with the saddlecloths yellow ; I might repaint one for variety, in green, perhaps.

So now they just need basing... a few days work in parallel with the Tegeans I have started painting.
Re names; I'm still mulling. I'm thinking maybe something from Greek mythology...

Friday 19 June 2009

Operation Zama 2 I got together with Ian to have a look at how the game would work out on the table. We put 3 Command and Colors Boards in a row and laid out blocks representing the forces calculated earlier on the spreadsheet, which used about 90% of the available width.

The table will need to be 16-19 foot wide, by about 4 foot deep, and 2 hexes deeper than the standard C&C board, to permit each side to deploy in 4 lines with a suitable gap in between.

After shuffling some blocks around, we decided that we need to increase the overall numbers a tad because the Romans needed more velites (which bring the numbers up to 1300 minis; gulp).

So today I'm going to make a sketch of the deployments and make a few subtle adjustments to the spreadsheet (adding 64 velites). Ian will then create a diagram of the battlefield which I'll post here. Hopefully, it will be the largest C&C game ever, by a fair margin.

What we'll need to do is assign units to different people to paint. I'm excited to report interest from several different quarters (indeed countries), and have just received an offer to paint an entire 108 man Allied legion; more anon!

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Operation Zama I'd been planning to paint a load of EIR Auxilia this year, and then a Hellenistic army after that; but it turns out that the next SOA Battle Day in 2010 is going to be Zama and I've decided to change everything.

I've never yet managed to field an army for any of the SOA days (there isn't usually enough notice for my slow painting), so this year, given plenty of notice, I have decided to go for it in a big way. My EIRs and my Foundry/GB Successor pikes will all need to go on the back burner and instead I'm going to need to raise a couple of new armies. I had always intended to do a Polybian Legion or two; they have just moved up the painting order! Should tie in with the Aventine minis I'll be starting in 2 weeks.

I want the game to be really big, so I'm going to forge an alliance of friends and other clubs in order to raise the requisite armies.... if you are thinking about going to the Battleday next year (in Bletchley on 24th April, 2010), have DBx-based 28mm figures and either play Command and Colors, or want to find out about it, please do drop me a line!

Sunday 14 June 2009

Pimp My Nellie 5

Well the elephants themselves are pretty well painted; and I'm very pleased with them. I still have the small matter of a dozen assorted crew and hangers on to paint, though, and the bases; another week or so's work.

The beasts painted up very well; lots of detail to paint, but it is all in good relief. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I substituted Crusader shields for Empire's, because I already had the appropriate Crusader Seleucid transfers, which make a certain statement! I tried to make the colour of the elephant drapes tie in with the shields, but got the red a little wrong.

I was particularly pleased with the "rear elevation"; the crevices in the skin took a wash very nicely. All in all these are splendid beasts and I'm itching to get them finished...

Late Roman Figure Size Comparison Shots

Diocletian was asking, on TMP, how the various larger Late Roman ranges compare.

First I should apologise for a little distortion in the photo; on the table, all the figures were lined up with the bottom of their bases parallel. Also I don't have any of the Crusader Late Roman figures, yet, which I would certainly want to look at, if I was considering building a Late Roman army in the near future.

There is clearly quite a wide variation in figure height. The Gripping Beast Range is the tallest, perhaps 4mm taller than the Foundry . Black Tree are interesting, because there is some variation in the height of the range; the middle figure is at least a millimetre taller than the 4th figure along, and more heavily built. I briefly wondered whether it was from GB and had got into the wrong bag. On the other hand, the 4th figure from BTD is only around 3mm taller than the Foundry on the right and feels to me like it would work with the Foundry range (as Allen showed in his heritage photos of Dave Imrie's units, where Foundry and BTD are successfully mixed).

My personal feeling is that whilst I'd mix most (but not all) BTD minis with Foundry, and certainly mix BTD and GB, I certainly wouldn't mix GB and Foundry. And the BTD horses, of course, are pretty ghastly...

Friday 12 June 2009

Etruscan/Polybian Roman size-comparison shots

Keith at Aventine very kindly sent me some samples of their new Etruscan/North Italian range, which I will be reviewing and painting in a few weeks time. In the meanwhile, I thought people might find it useful to see how they compare with some other manufacturers ranges, and also to see how their horses compare with other manufacturers. All pictures are clickable.

I should at this point apologise that I don't have any figures from the marginally smaller ranges, such as 1stCorps or Gripping Beast; here at the BigRedBatCave, we only stock bigger 28s!

The largest figure of the four is the Renegade on the left; it would probably be even taller, if it was standing fully erect. The Aventine is the next tallest; I measure 27mm from the feet to the eyes; 30mm to where the top of the head would be. Marginally smaller is the Crusader mini . The anachronistic Foundry Caesarian is a broadly similar size, and I've included it because the range will be familiar to many viewers.

I'd judge that sizewise Aventine, Crusader and Foundry would match each other well, however the Renegade miniature is in a class of its own, being both taller and different in style (the limbs are very awkwardly posed).

Horse wise, the Aventine mount is slighly lower in the hindquarters than a Foundry World of the Greeks horse, but slighly fuller in the body. At the same time it is not quite as rounded as the A&A horse. In fact it feels to me like a sort of average between Foundry and A&A... and would work well with either range. I really like it...

I'll conduct a proper review later on but would say now that my initial impressions of the Aventine miniatures are very favourable. Here's a link to Aventine in case you should want to see more...

Thursday 11 June 2009

Pimp My Nellie 4

Here's where I am with the Successor elephants; I estimate that they are almost half painted (not counting crews and basing). There really is an extraordinary amount of work on these; most of what you see is base coats which still need highlighting and inking. I've decided to up the crew to 5 men on each elephant, and one on each base as a "guard".

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Pimp my Nellie 3!

Oldbob on TMP unwittingly suggested a new title for this thread. For those (Greg) that believe I'm being too slow at painting my Empire Models elephants, here's evidence of a little progress. They look pants at the moment, but I know they are going to look great when finished.

I keep increasing the amount of time that I expect I will need to be painting these for! There is a lot of surface area, and a lot of detail, which I'm discovering as I paint. I'm very impressed with the way the straps and metal rings that suspend the armour are depicted.

I'm also toying with increasing the number of crewmen on the models to 4 each, as described by Livy for the battle of Magnesia, and adding some figures to the base as "elephant guards".

Saturday 6 June 2009

Ancient Spanish Cavalry

These are some Foundry Spanish figures that I bought off fellow Muswell Militiaman George and did a rough and ready repaint job on.

I show them here because they illustrate my new policy on basing light cavalry. I don't like the look of LC units where all the riders are two to a base and facing forwards, parallel to each other. Mine are now depicted riding across the front of the enemy unit, with their shielded towards them, and wheeling away. The extra wide base really helps with this. When I find another 6 cheap Spanish, I'll turn the unit into a Cantabrian circle.

This look also works well with horse archers, I'll dig some out next week.

Friday 5 June 2009

Newly Raised Legions

I've finally managed to finish basing the new legion, which is of newly recruited legionaries. It'll do service either as one of the Gallic legions, or a newly raised legion in one of the civil wars.

Around half of the figures were painted by PoolofPaint but partially repainted by me, and I painted the balance from scratch. My concept was to paint and base them in a more irregular way than the bulk of the legionaries, and I think they look better for it; so I'm hoping to find time to do at least one, and preferably two more units the same (in the summer). The images are clickable.

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Romans wot I am basing this week

This is my latest Caesarian recently-recruited legion; I'll write them up properly when the basing is finished on Friday or Saturday.

Two days ago I though varnishing was definitely the most boring modelling-related activity; I have to say, though, that applying base texture to 54 figures (as I did last night after this photo was taken) is right up there alongside it.

The seven primed figures at the back are fated to become Tegeans.