Sunday 28 February 2010

BigRedBat's War Cabinet

One of the younger scions of the BigRedBat clan has laid claim to the room where I've traditionally stored my legions.  Accordingly, as part of a negotiated withdrawl, it was agreed that I could put a storage cabinet in another room.  I found a fantastic one at Ikea; the Bergsbo.  My son and I assembled it today, and this afternoon my troops marched to their new home with banners flying and flautists piping.

What excites me about the Bergsbo cabinet is that has the perfect dimensions to take an unfeasibly large number of the "Really Useful Boxes" in which I store all my minis., with almost no wasted space.  It is deep, and all the shelves are adjustable.   In (and above) the cabinet are no less than 68 storage boxes, of various sizes, containing roughly 3000 28mm miniatures and almost all my terrain.

Another benefit of the new cabinet is that it is now a lot easier to access the miniatures I need for a particular game, and I can see the labels on the end of the boxes.  Oh happy day!

Saturday 27 February 2010

Completed Republican Roman Triarii

Craig Davey has completed the command stand for his Triarii; I think they are absolutely splendid!  The figures are all from the new Aventine Republican Roman range.  I particularly like what he has done with the standards and plumes.  The detail is beautiful, have a click!  Jealous, I am!  

Friday 26 February 2010

On the Painting Table

In the brief intervials between slapping gunk on boards, I've been trying to base some of the last units I'm contributing  to the game.  Below are some Spanish cavalry painted by Nick Speller, that need matt varnishing and basing.


And below here are some Foundry Thessalians painted by myself and Andy Bryant, that I'm in the process of converting to shielded Hellenistic cavalry.   They will stand in, on the day, as Carthaginian heavies.


Thursday 25 February 2010

More Boards...

So here's my life for the next month; these are boards 1-3 of an eventual 8 or 9, for Zama.  The furthest two boards are 60% complete; they still need a lot of highlighting and will need some selective  flocking (although the final theme is going to be brown).  

The nearest board is perhaps 25% done.  The next step will be to trim the fields using my Wahl.  Then I will apply texture, and finally a basecoat of Chocolate Brown Sandtex (which trick I picked up from the "Touching History"  books).  

I also need to check that my plan to use a template to superimpose a hex grip on the finished boards, will work.  It occured to me, yesterday, that the standing crops may prevent the template from lying flat on the boards.  Gulp.  I'll test it before I start board 4; on future boards, I may need to apply the crops after the grid. 

The scale of the venture is daunting...

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Carthaginian Relief Column!

I am indeed considerably relieved to see the arrival of these Carthaginians., into the collection of fellow Muswellian, Dr Simon.  Aside form the 200  Aventine Romans we still need to paint, these are pretty well the last major units required.  The pikes on the spearmen will be replaced in due course...

There's more about them and additional photos on Dr. Simon's Blog.

Tuesday 23 February 2010

A Little Board

This is the first of eight terrain boards for the Zama game with basecoat applied (the final colour will be a dustty light brown).  I've tried to break up the flat terrain with fields, ditches and tracks; I'll probably get more ambitious as I move along the battlefield.  The cream-coloured fields will be dyed or painted in due course.  I've tried to avoid making the texture too rough, so that we can move the pieces across it, with relative ease.  I hope that the ploughed fields will look good when finished.

When it is complete, I'll attempt to add a hex grid to it...

My take on Zama is that the battlefield is essentially flat, agricultural land, with a few scattered trees (olives and a type that looks a bit like a cypress), in autumn.  There is going to be a lot of brown, and dried grass.  If anyone knows any different, please let me know ASAP!

Monday 22 February 2010

Not my Triarii!

In fact these are Craig Davey's new Aventine Triarii,  for his Roman legion.  The command pack isn't painted yet, but I'd hazard that they are under the brush, right now.  I really like the painting style and the bold vermillion ed he has used.  The crests are very jaunty; I'll do mine the same (eventually).


Sunday 21 February 2010

Mission Statement

I suffer from mission creep, more than most collectors.  I have decided that I had better focus, at least within broad limits.  For ancients, I'm therefore going to concentrate on:-
  • The time: Roughly 400BC to 400AD; Peloponnesian war to the fall of Rome
  • The place: The Mediterranean basin, France and Britain (and later Germany/Dacia)
  • The next army: Pyrrhics (and finishing off various part-painted units from the EIR and Polybian eras).
Once Zama is out of the way I'll therefore flog off some non-core bits, such as my Viking army, which is little used for lack of an opposing army.  Below is an old pic of some of the Vikings, next to their fjord:

I do also have a small Assyrian army, which I'll keep because I think it'll look great once completed, and because I recently bought some great Biblical-era terrain.

Saturday 20 February 2010

Bletchley Battle Day; 8 weeks today...

It's not less than 8 weeks to the SOA Zama Battle Day at Bletchley, and I've decided that I now don't have time to start any fresh miniatures, so the above casualties minis will be my last, which is a pity as I'd like to have a lot more.  I still need to finish and base 100 or so minis that Greg and Nick Speller* have painted, and make the boards.  

*Nick has painted the Spanish and Scipio at the top of the frame; I've mounted them on temporary bases whilst I varnish them.  The final 2 dead nellies are on the right.

Friday 19 February 2010

Le Dead Nellie

Mon ami Greg Privat has painted his dead elephant for our Zama game (each of the main contributors is painting one, and we'll randomly swap them on the day).

Greg's elephant is very spectacular, and he's done a lot of conversion work on the piece, giving it a squashed tower, padding and a chain headpiece. Luvverly work!

 There are some more pics, and progress pics, on Greg's Gloarmy blog, which is always worth a visit.

Thursday 18 February 2010

Viva Espana!

I received an unexpected package in the post from Nick Speller today, containing the Spanish cavalrymen for my Numidian General's bodyguard.  He's done a fine job on these, as ever!   The minis are Companion, Foundry and Crusader, mounted on whatever horses I could find; a couple of the Aventine horses mixed in very nicely.  I added rosettes, medallions and fringes to some of the horses, for a Spanish flavour.  Ole!

I'll base them over the next week, and post a proper picture when they are done.  They may well become my nicest cavalry unit.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

And now for something completely different...

I played a 1941 Western Desert game last night, with Ian "Erwin" Notter, using adapted Memoir '44 rules (you can see Rommel's "hand" in the background).  We commanded roughly a brigade each. 

These minis are absolutely ancient; when I last played with them, Consul was but a gleam in his father's eye.

I launched an attack on the right, then an attack in the centre.  Here my lancers are about to bravely charge the enemy anti-tank screen (successfully as it turned out, although they had all perished by the end of the game).  

There was gratuitous destruction, with more than half the total troops on the table slaughtered, before we called it a night.  The central ridge changed hand half a dozen times.  At one point a panzer company broke through to the British gun line, but was destroyed by the gunners firing over open sights.  I think I may have gained a moral victory...

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Not my Dumbos

A couple of my collaborators on the Zama project are painting up their dead nellies.

The above is Craig Davey's poor beast; I very much like the way he has positioned a wounded velite and a dead Carthaginian next to it.  Both poignant, and also has a sort of "yin and yang" symmetry.  Top stuff!

Greg Privat of Gloranthan Army is working on one, and has gone for a very grand approach indeed!  This link goes to his post; I'd strongly recommend having a look!   Greg has also started painting the last few Bruttians for the Carthaginian army, and some casualty figures.

I've got my last 2 on bases, and will start painting them shortly.

Monday 15 February 2010

Not my Legion

This is the first complete Allied legion for Zama, owned and painted by Aventine Keith. 

On the day, this legion will probably have my white-shielded velites, and the red shields will be screening Keiths will-need-to-be-painted-soon Roman legion.  They'll be in 4 units of 8 figures, 2 stands deep.

And here they are from behind... I do like all the red tunics!

Sunday 14 February 2010


The time has finally come to grit my teeth and start decorating the 8 terrain board we need for Zama, so today, I started work on a test board.  This is one of the 9 mdf/styrene boards I fashioned back in November.

Above is the board with patches of tebby bear fur PVA'd to it.

Above, my youngest son has trimmed the fur "fields" with electric haircutting shears.  This was pretty quick to do.  The "wolf" fur on the right makes a pretty good crop; the shorter, paler fur at the back, will make useful long grass.  I've also roughly scribed some "tracks" into the board.

I intend the overall look of the boards to be a dry, dusty autumn look, with mostly harvested fields, some ploughed fields and scattered olive trees.  However, none of the terrain will have any impact, whatsoever, on the battle.

Saturday 13 February 2010

My own Velites Finished

Here are the 32 velites from yesterday; thoroughly finished.  These will probably be my only contribution to the Roman legions in our game (although I have an emergency reserve of 32 part-painted Renegade Principes in case we are struggling; I hope not to go there, though).
The shields are a mix of Renegade and Aventines, and the transfers, mostly VVV and some LBMS.  I was particularly pleased with the way the grass came out.

Friday 12 February 2010

My own velites WIP

A quickly snatched photo; the minis are now repainted, with new shields and mounted on BRBbases covered in BRBgunk.  Hopefully they'll be finished today!  I'll take a proper photo tomorrow.

Thursday 11 February 2010

Not my Carthaginian Veterans WIP

These are half of the Carthaginian veterans, that Nick Speller is paintign for his own collection.  They are not fully based yet, but are looking very good!  They'll be in 2 ranks in the game, but I love seeing them deployed in 4 as they look even more menacing.

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Not my Roman Velites!

These are most of one legion's velites for our Zama project, painted (very nicely indeed) by Craig Davey; I really like what he has done with them!  I gather he used a lot of vermillion.

The figures are the new velites from Aventine.  They have 8 different poses so far, and I have heard on the grapevine that more are to follow.  There are 3 different shield types (2 not shown here).  One of the things I really like about Aventine is that is is possible to build large units where most or all of the figures are different from one another.

I'm currently finishing 32 Renegade velites, and unfortunately they aren't a patch on these.  :-(

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Not my Spanish!

These figures are part of a Spanish contingent painted by Nick Speller for our Zama game.  He's also painting a good proportion of the veterans.  Nick's a top chap who paints a lot of minis for me. 

Spanish foot
Celtiberian Foot

Spanish Cavalry

Spanish light cavalry

Nick has painted Masinissa's bodyguard for me; I'm very much looking forward to seeing them!

Sunday 7 February 2010

Renegade Velites

Here are 32 Renegade Republican Roman velites.  I've had them for a year or two; they were going cheap on eBay, and I couldn't resist a bargain.  However it turns out they do need considerable TLC.  Most of the shields fell off, because they have been glued on after painting; don't you just hate that?  

I'm painting them as "insurance" for Zama, in case Keith or Craig can't get quite enough Aventine velites painted in time.  I've given some red tunics so they will better match Keith's and Craig's minis.  They will look OK, when finished, in about a week's time I hope.

Saturday 6 February 2010

Elephants- Before and After

I've finished two more dead elephants, displayed here next to their live equivalents.  All the elephants are Gripping Beast resin; tidy little models.  I must say these are very nice products; very nicely sculpted; I wonder whether GB designed them for their own Zama project?  I picked up the two dead models at the Salute B&B for a fiver. the pair.  Bargain! 

 I've tried to make the dead elephants match live ones I painted two or three years back.

Transfers are LBMS, arrows are made from broom bristle.  I can make and fit an arrow inside two minutes!  Expect to see many more...

I tried to make the two models just a little different from each other, by adjusting the trunk position and adding a wounded crewman to the left-hand one.  I did a bit of retouching on the two live elephants I completed earlier.

4 dead nellies down; 2 to go!

Thursday 4 February 2010

Not my Romans!

I'll have nothing to show for a few days, so I thought I'd show some pictures from one of the collaborators on the Zama Project.  These are all Aventine minis being painted by Craig Davey, who has given me permission to post these photos.  He is clearly an exceptional painter!  He's almost finished his Allied legion, and has a second Roman legion to go...

Allied Legion Hastati and Principes


Allied Legion Triarii

Allied Legion Cavalry

 Command Stand

Velites Work in Progress

I'm very much looking forward to meeting Craig, and also Keith and Adam from Aventine, shortly before the Bletchley game in April.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Nuclear Family

In line with the current trend towards wargaming-related cartoons (congrats again Iron Mitten), I'd thought I'd post a Birthday card that my middle son created for his mum.  This shows the BigRedBat clan in typical domestic mode, clustered around our antiquated Panasonic TV.   

The artist has depicted himself, bottom left, then smallest Bat, Mrs Bat, the eponymous Bat at his painting table, with painting light, and eldest Batson hunched over his laptop.

He knocked this up on a graphics tablet; I think he did rather well!

nb Buy hair tonic; start diet!

Monday 1 February 2010

More Celtic Reinforcements

I treated myself to a day off "Zama" and based these figures which were painted for me by chum Nick Speller around 6 months ago.


They are the third "open order" warband he has painted for me.  Most of my other celts are based 8 to a 6x6 base; these chaps are in 6's, have slightly smaller shields and are predoninately armed with javelins.  In C&C(A) I think of these as "Auxilia", with the others being "Warband". 

Figures are a mix of Black Tree, Renegade and Miniature Design Studios.