Friday 29 January 2010

Zama- Tentative Deployment Plan

I worked with Ian last night on the deployment for the game, revisiting the deployment we tried out last year, and making a few minor tweaks to it.  The game will be played with (slightly adapted) Command and Colours boardgame rules.  We used single C&C blocks to work out exactly where the units will be positioned (each block represents 8-16 miniatures, or roughly 400 to 1000 real men).

Roman Left (above): the player will command the left flank cavalry and the left Allied Roman legion.  His Carthaginian opponent will have a relatively small and somewhat outnumbered command!

Roman Centre (above): The Romans are deployed, behind a screen of velites, with gaps between the maniples to counter the Carthaginian elephants.  The Roman centre player will command the other 3 legions.  The Carthaginians are in three lines (mercenaries, levy, veterans) behind a screen of elephants.  Pencils show where the section boundaries will be.

Roman Right (above):  The Roman right player will command Masinissa's Numidian infantry and cavalry.  Again, they heavily outnumber their Carthaginian/Numidian opponent.

We have also tentatively agreed a small number of special rules that, we hope, will recreate the poor performance of the Carthaginian elephants and levy on the day (I'll publish these later).  What we need to do next, is to playtest the scenario two or three times  to make sure it is balanced....

One small by-product of the planning is that we added a few more units of Carthaginian light troops, taking the total number of minis past 1400!  At the same time, we reduced the number of elephants to 10, which will save me a fair bit of painting time.  The width of the board remains unchanged at 16 feet.

Thursday 28 January 2010

Dead Nellie 2

This is the second dead elephant I've finished.  I'm currently also painting 2 Gripping Beast resin dead elephants with towers, in parallel, and some Celts I hope to have finished by tomorrow.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Dead Nellie 1 Done

Here's the first dead nellie (I hope to paint 8 or so for our Zama game by April).  You may recall that I myself sculpted dead nellie, a recently deceased African Forest elephant, and Keith at Aventine very kindly cast it up for me.  The victorious Roman is also from Aventine. 

Shield design LBMS.

The arrows are plastic broom bristle, with the end crimped with pliers.  Very easy...

I'm very pleased with the way it came out.  It was a very simple paint job.  I have a second model almost completed, photo to follow tomorrow, I hope.

If you would like a dead nellie, youreself, Aventine are selling them and very kindly donating the profits to "Help for Heroes".

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Arsenal of War

Here is a shot of the BigRedBatCave's arsenal of war, through which every painted miniature passes.  The red boxes on the floor contain a mix of Vallejo and Miniature Paints; the hobby box Games Workshop paints.  The 4 containers, from right to left,  hold brushes, tools, water afor brushes and coffee respectively.  Missing tonight, is the tin tray that I usually store minis on, using their magnetic bases, whilst painting.  The lamp is absolutely brilliant (literally), I'd be lost without it.  Consul asked what I light source I use, and unfortunately I can't recall the manufacturer.  It was bl**dy expensive, though.

At the end of each evening all the figures, paints and impedimentia are stored away until the next night... this only takes a couple of minutes.  The table is opposite our TV which does, unfortunately, slow my productivity somewhat...  but prevents me from getting bored.  It is, all in all,  an odd way of painting compared to a fixed painting table, but a sociable one as I'm around most of the family.

Sunday 24 January 2010

Bruttians Completed

'ere they are in all there Bruttish glory:

This is the first of two units.  Greg Privat (who originally painted the figures; I detailed and did the shields) is painting the extra figures I need for the second unit, which is 2/3 complete.  These are all Crusader figures, and very nice ones, too.  The decision to cast the heads separately, means the plumes are great and I've not lost a single feather during assembly!

Friday 22 January 2010

Bruttians on bases

Here's a progress shot on the Bruttians, that Greg Privat painted and I've detailed.  The observant will notice that only half are here; the remaining 24 are awaiting the Aventine and Crusader reinforcements that will turn them into two units.

They now have shields added, but still need some matt varnishing and of course base texturing.  I've taken some images from Bruttian coinage (the lionhead and pegasi), other images are generic LBMS and VVV Greek  and Roman transfers.  After chatting with Allen I decided to give the unit  a mix of Scuta and Aspis shields, and relatively short spears.  The pic is clickable...

Thursday 21 January 2010

BigRedBat MSc.

I received an email yesterday evening which advised me that I've been awarded my MSc. in Human Resource Development and Consultancy, from Birkbeck College, with a Merit!  Huzzah!

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Fellow Traveller

If you have a minute or two, follow the below link to a new blog set up by a mate of mine, Geminian.  Geminian has made much of my terrain, and almost all the best bits, including all my Roman a buildings (below), Middle Easten Buildings and some hills. 

I needed some olive trees made for Zama (I mean, couldn't Scipio and Hannibal have found anywhere more scenic to fight than a totally featureless plain?), and thought of Geminian.  He is making what may well turn out to be the finest olive trees in the history of 28mm gaming...

Bruttian progress...

I've been working on the big batch of 48 minis Greg sent me.  They now all have spears.  I've highlighted the feathers, skin and bronze armour.  I invented a new technique last night; to get shadows above the eyes,and under the rim of the helmets.  I used a wash of black ink in Klear, and then suspended all the miniatures upside down, under a magnetic sheet, as it dried.  My family looked at me as if I was mad!  (am I mad?) 

I've worked out that I need another 16 or so to finish what is turning into 3 units.  I may shortly be sending another begging email to Greg...   All these Southern Italians would fit in well with doing a Pyrrhic army, later in the year.

Above I've made a small start on painting 2 of the dead nellies.  To the left is a closeup of a couple of the Aventines Greg kindly painted for me; they are looking very nice!  They are destined for a command stand.

Monday 18 January 2010

Figgybloggy Blog of the Year

Mon ami Greg is running a competition for "Figgybloggy Blog of the Year".

This has reminded me that I've not recently promoted Figgybloggy, which is an excellent site including most of the best wargames blogs.  If you have a wargaming blog, that isn't already listed on Figgybloggy, then I'd recommend adding it to his list; I've noticed lots of people come from there to read my blog, and I persoanlly read dozens of wargaming blogs that I first saw on Figgybloggy.  Even some of the ones in French!  ;-)

In other news...  I have been highlighting Greg's Bruttians; especially the bronze, to make it "zing".  Hopefully I can finish the highlighting tonight, and start work on the dead nellies...

Friday 15 January 2010

Brute Squad

In parallel with yesterday's Dead Nellies, I'm making a start on the 48 Bruttians Gloarmy Greg painted for me before Xmas.  You may recall from earlier posts, that these southern Italians form part of the Carthaginian 3rd line at Zama.

Greg has done a fine job with these.  They just need the odd highlight, spears, shields, varnishing and basing.  I've pre-painted the spears and shields so I reckon they represent around 2-3 weeks work.

The minis are a mixture of Crusader Oscans and Aventine Etruscans.  The Aventines are somewhat larger, but I think they'll work together.

Thursday 14 January 2010

Bring out yer Dead!

I've started work on the casualty figures for the Zama game.  I'm going to paint the elephants (except for the ones I've sent to friends to paint), and later, when I have enough of the infantry casualties prepped, I'll send them to Greg to paint.

Each elephant will be a bit different; the first has a victorious Aventine Italian on it:

The second is really gutted..
Below are two from Gripping Beast.

...and here are the first (of many) infantry casualties, mostly Etruscans kindly donated by Keith at Aventine, and lightly converted.

The first dead elephants (but not the GB ones) are available from Aventine, and profits will be donated to "Help for Heroes":

Monday 11 January 2010

Numidians Done'n'Dusted

I've finished the bulk of my Numidians (most of which were painted by Greg) and I thought it might be interesting to run through what I have, and how I store them.

2 generals; Juba and Masinissa
96 citizen levy, troops raised from the urban centres
36 tribesmen from the hinterland
4 dead horses below:-

40 tribesmen with javelins
10 tribesmen with slings
10 tribesmen with bows
6 elephants (cohabiting with my Macedonian phalanx) below:-

66 light cavalry without bridles (mostly below):-

Other Numidian troops I need for Zama:-
2 more elephants (hopefully the Aventine Africans will be ready in time)
9 cavalry with bridles; mostly Spanish mercenaries.  Nick is painting these, and I'm really looking forward to them as they will be very distinctive.
6 more cavalry without bridles... just so that I have a round 12 units, or 4 "wings" of 3 units as I think of them.
8 elephant casualties
Sundry other casualty figures

And at some stage in the next year I will want a couple of units of Imitation Legionaries, in mixed Roman and Greek successor gear.  I'm hoping that I may be able to work it so that they can also serve as Pontic and Judean ILs.

The storage boxes (below) are the "Really Useful Boxes", which I store all my minis and terrain in.  I line them with steel paper from Coritani.  I chose them because they are fairly cheap, rugged, waterproof and because they stack neatly.  I am, unfortunately, running out of places to put additional boxes; I may have to sell some minis from armies I'm less passionate about, so that I have room to store the Roman and successor armies that I'll be painting over the next year or so.

Sunday 10 January 2010

Converting catholics?

Last year I posted an image of my celtic army , and I've been puzzled to observe a small but regular number of visitors to the page, coming via Google Images France.

Yesterday it dawned on me that they've been coming via the image searchwords "celtic" and "masse".  The original post was entitled "Celtic Army En Masse"; a celtic mass is apparently a particular form of the religious rite.

Many have gone on to click the image, and even to visit other pages of the site. I find myself wondering whether I've inadvertently lured any French catholics into the world of gaming...

Saturday 9 January 2010

Carthaginian Militia Completed

These are the Carthaginian Levy miniatures that Gloarmy Greg Privat originally painted, and I've gone on to highlight and base.  There are 96 of them here; I've just finished the second 48.  Please click on the image for a better view...

They will form half of the Carthaginian second line in our Zama Project  (and represent only 7% of the total miniatures in the game!).


Most of the figures are Crusader, with a few Foundry mixed in for variety. Next, I have 48 Bruttians that Greg has painted to highlight and base...

Friday 8 January 2010

Elephants' Graveyard!

Dead Nellie has arrived, with her sisters!  I designed her because I wanted a dead African elephant marker for our Zama game (n.b. there are 2 Gripping Beast resin dead elephants with howdahs, at the back of the photo, for size comparison purposes).  This thread shows the progress of the green.  As far as possible I've tried to make it look like the small African Forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) that we believe the Carthaginians utilised.  It is perhaps 40mm to the shoulder.

I'm going to use 10 Dead Nellies (and the 2 GB elephants) for our Zama game.  This is beacause I don't expect that the Carthaginian elephants will survive much more than 20 minutes into the game!  I intend to customise each one slightly, making them into little dioramas.
I'd like to offer a huge vote of thanks to Keith at Aventine, who very, very generously moulded her for me for free with the metal at cost.   As ever, Aventine's production quality is absolutely excellent; no flash and only one small vent to be trimmed away.  Aventine have said that if anyone wants one, to drop them a line and they will sell them at a modest price, with any profit on the minis going to a worthwhile charity.  If you want one, contact Keith via
It's hugely exciting to see something that I have designed, cast professionally!

I'm a Dreadnought!

I was surprised (nay delighted) to hear this morning that the Galactic People's Republic have named their latest Stalingrad Class Star Dreadnought after me.  There's a lot more about it on Gregs's Blog:-

I'm very much looking forward to seeing Greg's game; it should be stunning.  It'll need a large table to play on, though!

In other news...  I've not posted for a few days because I've been breaking my back trying to finish the basing on my Numidian army.  It has been a tough job, not helped by the fact I mistakenly used PVA, last night, instead of ScatterGrip and most of my flock has fallen off.  :-(

Tuesday 5 January 2010

For a Fistful of Pesos II- the Battle

Before Xmas I showed some shots of the deployment for the Muswell Militia Xmas game.  A brief account of the game follows...

The game broadly split down into two separate battles; the French assault on the village (below) on their left wing, and a holding action on their right wing.

A couple of turns in, the French left rush towards the village which is their objective.


The brave poilus reach the buildings.  The red dice with the 6 shows that one unit has taken a terrible pasting from revolutionary artillery fire.


Above, the Legion occupies a building which was subsequently assaulted by the revolutionaries.  Although they repulsed the first assault, their supporting troops were driven back and General Georges, their commander, started to look rather concerned!


On the right the infantry element of my holding force (above) advanced...


And then was shot to pieces and ran away!  Dave roleld some fantastic shooting dice...   My blighters wouldn't rally.  I found myself facing 7 revolutionary units with my three squadrons of cavalry.  To my left, the battle for the village looked lost.  I broadly had two options; "charge of the light brigade" or...


..."discretion is the better part of valour"; I legged it!  I couldn't see much point in the senseless effusion of more French blood.

At the end of the previous game we'd made some changes to firing and morale, which made firing more effective and morale more challenging.  Taken together, these made the firefights extremely bloody and also made it very difficult to rally units.  Now we need to tweak the rules to reduce the effect of fire before giveing them another go.  We did learn some useful lessons about turn sequence from this game.

Friday 1 January 2010

Resolutions Revisited

Last year's resolutions were to:-
  • 1. Finish the Pictish minis I promised myself I'd finish by the end of December, by the end of January. - I did manage this, bar a couple of standards; I really should take some photos.
  • 2. 2009 is declared "Year of the Early Imperial Roman Auxiliary"- I managed 3 units; a beginning; then I got diverted by the Zama project.
  • 3. ...except that I also have to finish the Celtic army- Which I more or less did but not the Wagon Laager, which would look rather stunning. 
  •  4. Develop a set of rules with Ian that enable me to use my 24-man units- Still thinking about these.  I did have a bright idea about them, only last week, that might help.
  • 5. Run a Roman Campaign- I did; it petered out around mid year, but I'll pick it up again.
  • 6. Buy less minis than I paint... LOL!- I only brought about 200 more than were painted (about 5-600, mostly by friends; thanks!) and spent far more than I had intended, or, indeed, can afford 
New resolutions for 2010:-
  • 1. Finish and deliver a stonking Zama game
  • 2. After that, 2010 is officially declared "Year of the Successor"; I need a couple of feet more phalanx, for a start!  And all those pretty Tarantine cavalry... and a whole circus full of elephants.
  • 3. Pick the Roman Campaign up again
  • 4. Develop the rules 4. above
  • 5. Prune purchases; paint lead mountain!
I'd like to wish a Very Happy and Successful New Year to all my Readers!