Sunday 27 September 2009

Dungeon Crawl

Yesterday we played a further installment of my D&D campaign, and my eldest boy kept a rough narrative of the events, in cartoon form.  Above, Cassander the cleric leads Derck the thief, Paxmanicus the mage, brave Sir Titus and Dorian Fingertoes the other thief back towards the Palace of Tyresius.

The party's expert thieves scale a tall tree in order to reach the top of the battlements; and fall.  Some might say that two thieves in a party of five... is two too many.

Encountering a barred door, and seeing an eye peering through a spyhole, Dorian carries out some "keyhole surgery", with a skewer.  This initiated an orgy of violence as the party stormed into what turned out to be a Kobold stronghold, through a defensive barrage of darts and crossbow bolts.

Sir Titus (above) spent most of the afternoon trapped in a net, surrounded by a pack of Kobolds who fortunately experienced considerable difficulty piercing his magic platemail armour with their clubs and spears.  In the end, he had to be cut loose by the halfling!  Once he was freed, the party made swift work of the survivng enemy.

The party successfully ethnically cleansed this area of the former palace.  Unbeknownst to the heroes, who had blithely ignored the religious symbols scrawled on the doors to their section of the dungeon, the Kobolds had long before been converted to the lawful worship of St Cuthbert by a saintly Dwarven priest.  Above, a kobold warrior bids farewell to his family and marches off to his doom.

The party (above) were very (briefly) troubled by the realisation that they had sacked a Lawful Neutral temple, and slaughtered both priest and congregation.  There was some discussion about whether it would be safe to donate the holy books to the Temple of St Cuthbert in Hommlet; "We found them in a sacked temple."  And whether they'd get much money for them.

Later, during the night, a red apparition of a hag materialised and chased Sir Titus hither and thither around the room.  Sir Titus, who had decided (after due consideration) to spurn her advances, was saved by a barrage of holy water phials.

This week we had only four players, which seemed to help; the adventure rolled along very swiftly.  Hopefully we'll play again next week.

Saturday 26 September 2009


Brasidas was a very effective Spartan General in the Pelopponesian war, whe opened a "second front" for the Spartans in Thrace, and who fell, fighting in the front rank of his victory at Amphipholis.  Foundry minis, beautifully painted by Nick.

If I have time, I hope to be able to photograph the finished Thureophoroi tomorrow.

Friday 25 September 2009


Here are a couple of supernumeraries from my Greek army, ably painted by Nick Speller. The first is a porter from BTD, which is one of my favourite miniatures (perhaps even my overall favourite). I wish they did some more because it would be great to have a baggage train of similar minis.

The flautists help my Spartans to keep time as they sweep to the attack, and IIRC they are by Eureka miniatures.

Thursday 24 September 2009

King Agesilaus

Wikipedia describes of Agesilaus II, (Greek Ἀγησίλαος) (444 BC – 360 BC) as a king of Sparta, of the Eurypontid dynasty, who ruled from approximately 400 BC to 360 BC.  During most of this time he was, in Plutarch's words, "as good as thought commander and king of all Greece," and was for the whole of it greatly identified with his country's deeds and fortunes.  Agesilaus conducted an interesting campaign in Persia, which presaged Alexander's later conquest, and was concurrent with Epaminondas of Thebes. 

Today's Spartan, like yesterday's Alcibiades, was also excellently painted by Dave Woodward.  The advisor is a Black Tree Spartan, very ably painted by Nick Speller.

Wednesday 23 September 2009


Alcibiades was a key player in the Pelopponesian war, being successively an Athenian General, military advisor to the Spartans, then the Persians and after that Athens, again.  The idea for the disastrous invasion of Syracuse, was his; but he didn't execute it.  Perhaps it might have worked under his leadership?

I believe the Alcibiades mini was painted by Dave Woodward of EVM (and it is a really lovely paint job!).  I painted a standard bearer to join him. 

Tuesday 22 September 2009

King Agis

I'm currently retouching and basing Numidians and Thureophoroi, and won't have anything to show for a few days.  So I've decided to show a few more command stands, this time from my Greek and Spartan armies.

This is King Agis, who commanded the Spartans at Mantinea (418BC).  At this time Agis, who had earlier blotted his copybook, was under the supervision of ten advisors, called xymbouloi, whose consent was required for whatever military action he wished to take.  Whether Agis was incompetent, or whether the council were slow to make decisions isn't clear, but a gap opened in the centre of the Spartan line and they almost lost the battle.

Nick Speller painted these for me; I've only depicted three of the ten advisors.

Sunday 20 September 2009

Just a few Numidians..

These are the majority of the Numidian and Carthaginian levies  I am painting for Zama.

Greg has very kindly painted 160 (!) minis (the ones on the tray), but unfortunately they took a bit of a pasting in the post and will need a little tender working care to get them into the field.  I retouched a dozen last night, though, and I think it'll be relatively quick; hopefully I should be able to finish about a dozen a night.  As well as these, I have 28 more unpainted infantry and 24 mostly unpainted cavalry.  Plenty to do...

BTW this is my 100th blog post- thanks very much to my readers!

Saturday 19 September 2009

Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Shipmates; avast! Cap'n Big Lee has remembered me that today be Talk Like a Pirate Day! Hoist the Jolly Roger! Splice the mainbrace! Oooh-argh.

Friday 18 September 2009

My favourite troop type....

... are Thureophoroi.  I don't know why this it, I just love them to bits!

My good mate Nick Speller has just sent me 32 beautifully painted Thureophoroi, which will enable me to expand my existing 4 units of 16, to 4 of 24 ( )

I thought people might like to see them before they are based, as they are from 3 different manufacturers and are a useful comparison of sizes.  The first four are conversions from Foundry peltasts.   The rest of the first and second lines are the new(ish) Polemarch figures, and the lower two rows are Crusader miniatures.  Most of the shields are Old Glory from a grognard mate in California, but a few are Essex with cast-on javelins.

My favourites are (very narrowly) the Foundry minis; there is something intangible about them that sets them apart, for me, even though the Polemarchs are more appropriate figures. The Crusaders I find just a little on the short size, and I'm not a fan of their crouching poses; nonetheless they are nice enough.

These minis will be in the big Zama game standing in as Carthaginian militia, alongside a similar number of proper Carthaginian minis. I hope to base these in 3 or 4 nights, then I'll get started on Greg's Numidians.

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Aventine Hastati Completed

Last night I finished the first of 2 units of Hastati.  With the quicker painting method, and the red primer, they took 15 painting/basing sessions, comparing favourably with the 20-odd for the Triarii.
This is another unit that looks better from behind!  I do like the active pose of these Aventine minis.

...and here they are with the earlier Triarii.  I think the LBMS shield designs set them off, nicely.

Only another 80 minis to go to complete the legion!  Gulp.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Aventine meets Gorgon

Hank at Gorgon Miniatures in the USA has very kindly sent me a few more samples; this time of the new Etruscan range.  I thought it might be useful to post a couple of shots next to the recent Aventine range

Above are two of the Gorgon "second class citizen spearmen" Etruscans, flanked by two of the Aventine Volscians.  I still know relatively little about this period, but what is apparent to me is that, as I had hoped, the two ranges are an excellent match for height and build.  Indeed, at one stage, I got the minis mixed up and couldn't tell which range they came from!  They come with a tidy rectangular shield (not shown), and are finely sculpted with very little flash, indeed.

Above are two hoplites and a phalangite; from left to right Foundry, Gorgon and Crusader (I couldn't lay my hands on a Crusader hoplite).  It is a pity that the light was poor because I couldn't catch all the detail on the Gorgon Etruscan 1st Class hoplite figure.  If you click, you still should be able to see the trim around the cheek plates on the helmet, and the scales on the composite cuirass are fantastic; the detail on this mini is exceptional.  These figures can also be used as Greek Hoplites.

So I'm delighted with my new minis; thanks Hank! It's likely that the next year (post-Zama) I'll paint up some units of mixed Aventine and Gorgon minis.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Hasty Hastati 6 - Mostly there!

These chaps are getting seriously close to completion!  I'm 11 sessions in and 3 more should finish them, including basing.  This is rather faster than the Triarii and should enable me to finish one legion by Salute.

In other news... Greg has kindly offered to paint some more miniatures, Hannibal's Bruttian veterans from Southern Italy.  These are going to be a mix of Aventine and Crusader miniatures.  Also, I've identified the materials for the base boards and will get on with them once I've finished my dissertation.

Sunday 6 September 2009

The Eponymous Bat

I realised on Saturday that it is exactly 5 years since I launched the Bat that gave me its tag name, and I thought it might be fun to give him an anniversary outing on the blog.

"Batty" was built (over a period of 3 months) for the Berkeley HoTT contest in 2004. He represents the feared Crimson Bat, Weapon of Mass Destruction of the Lunar Empire.

The base he flies over is 6x10 cm. To keep him upright, I cast the core of the burning cottage of solid lead; a hundred or more little lead men gave their lives to keep Batty in the air. The crewmen are mostly Ral Partha 28s. His illuminating eyes were LEDs taken from MacDonalds toys.

The photos are hurried, and not the best, but are clickable. If you look closely you may be able to see the swarm of bats on the magus's staff, and the victim wrapped in Batty's tongue.

He doesn't get out much, but has featured in a number of games at Salute over the years...

BigRedBat's Littlest Invention

I thought I'd share my sole contribution to human knowledge with the readers of TMP and the WAB Forum!

Have you ever experienced problems getting your LBMS transfers to stretch over curved shields? Do you sometimes suffer from air bubbles and creases? If so, what you need is the hi-tech, patented BigRedBat transfer applicator!

Alongside the partially painted shields, you can see a small lump of bluetac, covered with clingfilm. After completing all the stages in the LBMS instructions for applying the transfer*, simply press the shield into the lump and hold it there for 10 seconds or so. The bluetac takes on the shape of the shield, and forces the transfer into contact with it, stretching the transfer to fit the shield. It's particularly useful with curved shields, such as hoplons, and has eliminated the creases on my shields. The clingfilm prevents the shield from sticking.

Available from all good stockists of bluetac!

*I'd strongly recommend the suggested step of varnishing the shield before applying the transfer- it makes for a much better contact.

Friday 4 September 2009

Hasty Hastati 4

Here are the rapid Romans after 3 more painting sessions (bringing the total to 6). I think they are going to be quicker to complete than I'd anticipated- 4 more sessions should finish them, and with 2 for basing, that puts them around 2 weeks a unit.

This is just as well, because 160 beautifully painted minis thunked onto my doorstep this morning from Greg; vive la France! This means I now have rather more than 200 minis that I need to base for Zama; at least 3-4 weeks work. Gulp.

In other news, I've been fretting about how I'm going to (cheaply) make an 18' long table. I was planning to re-use Greg's excellent Dwarf Mine boards; but I have, instead, decided to make a new terrain that I might be able to adapt for future C&CA games. My latest idea is to go for a very thin (10mm) foam layer stuck to 9mm MDF boards. But MDF Comes in Imperial sizes, and foam in metric; I'll probably need to get the MDF cut specially. All needs careful thought...

Wednesday 2 September 2009

Numidians- hordes of them!

Greg (above) has finished the second lot of 80 Numidians which look splendid! The photo is clickable, and well worth a click, too. Together with the 80 city militia he painted before, and my own cavalry and elephants (links to a few, below) they will give us the majority of the Numidian minis we need for Zama, next year.

Meanwhile I'm painting my Aventines. Over the last 2 nights I painted the flesh tones; no photo today. I'm trying to simplify my painting technique because I have so many figures to paint. I'm 5 days in and estimate the unit will take about 15 days overall to paint and base, which is pretty good, at around half the time I spent on the earlier Triarii.

Tuesday 1 September 2009