Monday 29 March 2010

Generals Wanted!

Muswell Militia and friends will be running what we hope is the largest ever Command and Colors (Ancients) miniatures game twice over the next month. The battle we are refighting is Zama and will involve 1500+ miniatures, deployed in roughly 120 units, on a 4.8 metre long table.   The scenario somewhat resembles the C&C Epic Zama scenarios, but is rather bigger.  We’ve extensively play-tested it and it should be a pretty even game; it will take around 5 hours to play, including breaks.  There’s a good deal about it elsewhere on my blog:

Up to four generals are needed for each side, for each refight, and we are looking for additional players to general on both sides on both days. It would be helpful if these have prior experience of playing the C&C(A) boardgame, whose rules we are using. However, C&C is a very accessible system, and we can teach the basics to a wargamer in 20 minutes or so.  We’ll also have someone on hand to offer advice...

The first outing will be at the Society of Ancients Battle Day, in Bletchley, on 17th April; here’s a link to their page:

The second will be at Salute on 24th April, at the Excel Centre in Docklands:

If you are available and would like to play in either game, drop me a line at simon dot miller at lineone dot net, and we’ll see if we can fit you in… they should be memorable games!

Sunday 28 March 2010

Boards on the Tabletop

I put four of the eight Zama boards on a table yesterday, and they joined up nicely.  I've still not finished the flocking, but I've done enough to know that it'll all work.  The boards are a little browner in real life than in the photo.

Yesterday I raided the local pound shop, and bought enough camping mats and doublesided tape to put a padded backing on each of the boards, as below.  I'm hoping that this will protect the surface of the boards when they are stacked up against each other, and protect my table top, too.  It only cost £1 GBP per board!

Saturday 27 March 2010

Carthaginian Mounted General (B-20)

This represents the nameless commander of the Carthaginian right wing cavalry at Zama.  The general is a converted Aventine Pyrrhic mahout, and his standard bearer Crusader, with an Aventine standard.  Both horses are Foundry WotGs.  Very ably painted by Nick Speller, and based by yrs. truly.

In most of the playtest games, the horse he commands and their Roman opponents have pretty well wiped each other out.  The general has sometimes survived the slaughter and gone on to help lead the Carthaginian foot.

Friday 26 March 2010

Scipio Africanus! (B-21)

Here's the first of four Command stands, painted by Nick Speller and based by me.  Scipio is the overall Roman commander, and an excellent tactician, who hammered the final nail into the coffin of Carthage at Zama.

Most of the figures are the excellent new Aventines, but the mounted General is a Crusader miniature. 

Scipio will sit on the Roman Baseline.  He's not going to get into any combats, in our game.

As here, I usually inscribe a name on the rear of the command stand. 

Only 3 more weeks to finish everything up!

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Dead Nellie 6 (B-23)

This is the last of my Dead Nellie models; I call it "Scipio Triumphant", and it's  the one I'll be giving away when we swap Dead Nellies at Salute.  The figure is the Perry miniature from the Spartacus diorama.  I may stick a couple of broken standards on the base, later, if time permits.

23 days to Bletchley...  played another playtest last night.  I ran the Romans but the cards and dice were conspiculously not on my side!  "Scipio Triumphant" may be a bit optomistic...

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Dead Nellie 5 (B-24)

I'm very pleased with this one (number 5 of 6).  It includes the only Aventine velite that I've managed to paint during this whole Zama project.  I do intend to paint plently, later on...

The poor chap held his shield slightly too high!

Its now only 24 painting days to Bletchley.  I'm still up to my elbows in flock; I think I've managed to find most of what I need, though.  I estimate I've spend rather more than £100 on flock, alone, for this project.

Monday 22 March 2010

Test shots of Figures on Boards

I'veput some figures on the boards to show what I mean about the colour.  Essentially the base colour is a good match, but I'm certainly going to need to get some green vegetation on there!   Unhelpfully, there seems to be a UK-wide shortage of Silflor at the moment.  :-(

Below is a Dead Nellie, who probably tripped up in that drainage ditch!

I'm shortly going to raid Modelzone in search of vegetation ideas.

Sunday 21 March 2010

Pictures of the Real Zama

I thought it might be useful to show some links to photos of Zama I found on the interweb, which explain why I've made the terrain colours a bit muted (some might say a bit grey!).  

Here's the approach to Zama at sunset:-

And this picture, in particular, is very much what I'm trying to capture:-

The field is slightly browner than mine, but appears to be an umber-type shade.  I wanted to achieve a very dried out , dusty post-harvest look.  In hindsight, I could have bunged a bit of yellow ochre into the mix when highlighting, which I do with the mix I use for basing.  I'll need to work in some clumps of dark green vegetation.  If anyone could whip up some trees looking like those, that would be very helpful!

The below looks like it is taken much earlier in the year, as it is a lot greener, but appears to include an olive grove (I have one on order):-

Flocking hell...

I started the flocking stage yesterday hoping that it would be a quick job, but one test board later (and that far from completion), it is clearly not going to be the case.  Below is the test board before flocking:-

and after...

The flock disguises the dark brown edges where the base board paint had soaked into the fur, and makes the field edges appear less regular.  I 've also been applying it on top of the fur which makes it seem more natural.  What I haven't done, yet, is to apply flock around the drainage ditches. I intend this vegetation to be greener, to inject just a little colour onto the brown-grey boards.

I'm estimating 3 hours per board, now, to complete flocking.   This should use up all my spare time before I start work.

Saturday 20 March 2010

4 weeks to Bletchley, 5 to Salute.

4 weeks today we'll be listening to the opening lecture at Bletchley.  Gulp!  I've got up early to polish off domestic duties and try to get a full day in on the terrain.

In other news, my period of "resting" will shortly be coming to an end, as employment (finally!) beckons.  It's a good job that the boards are nearly complete!  Post Salute, I expect that I'll have to become a less frequent (but regular) poster.

Friday 19 March 2010

Quick Zama update

Last night Ian and I had the best playtest so far.  The game was exciting, and felt fairly balanced.; the Carthaginians were very slightly ahead, but we'll fix that.  I was particularly happy because we have felt able to strip out most of the special rules we had been testing, so it is now fairly close to vanillla Command and Colors.  The elephants, in particular, are now in 5 units of 2 and but a mere shadow of their former stompy selves (although they did stomp my Carthaginians a few times, in blue-on-blue incidents!).

Today I received a package from French Greg Privat including the last of the Bruttians, and some casualty minis, all looking very nice.  All the Generals arrived from Nick Speller earlyer this week, and they look great too.  So with the exception of a few more casualty figures that Nick is working on, and the olive trees band hay ricks currently being fashioned in the Scottish glens by my mate John, I now have all the stuff that I'm responsible for.

This afternoon, I'm sticking fields to the boards; tomorrow, hopefully doing some detailing (tufts of grass, etc.).  And I've put in an order for 700 more 5mm map pins...

Thursday 18 March 2010

Fields of Zama

Sorry that my hithertoo regular posts have become somewhat sporadic!  I've been very busy with life in general, and some very time-consuming and non-photogenic elements of the Zama project.

Here is one such element.  These fields (and others not shown here) all needed to be cut into shape, trimmed, shaved with my Wahl hair trimmer and dyed with diluted acrylic paint.

The next stage will be to stick them onto the terrain boards.  Then I'll need to dress the terrain boards with clumps of static grass, leaves, weeds and whatever.  The board project is now around 75% complete!  Never again.  ;-)

Saturday 13 March 2010

4" Drybrush Day

Today I drybrushed the 9 terrain boards, with a mid-brown and then a highlight, using the biggest brush I could find!

 Here's a board drying in what passes for sun around here.

Here are a couple of boards with the first highlight.  I hope to apply a very sparse second highlight, tomorrow.  The colour I went for is a sort of raw umber with a bit of tan in it.  It looks a bit grey in the photos, but it is slightly browner IRL.

The boards will look (somewhat) less austere when the fields and tufts of vegetation are added.  I feel an awful lot better about the project, as they are starting to look like something a man could stick a wargame figure on!

Thursday 11 March 2010

Scene of Devastation

Here's the gaming table after the latest play test of the Zama game (mentioned yesterday), using Command and Colors blocks.  When we packed up at 11:30, the game was getting near a conclusion, with Carthage (far side of table) somewhat ahead on account of the over-powerful elephants mentioned in the comments on the previous post.  Each of the blocks represents 2-4 figures, and the board on the day will be three times as long.

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Numidian Elephants

I realised today that I haven't posted a picture of the elephants that will stand (possibly all too briefly!) before the Carthaginian front line in the Zama game.  Here are 6 of the 10; a mix of Essex, Gripping Beast and (converted) Renegade.  The other 4 are in the collection of Dr. Simon.

Monday 8 March 2010

Board 7 of 9

My increasing gaps in posting have been caused by the need to break the back of the Zama terrain, which is proving to be very time-consuming.  I'm trying to get all the Zama boards textured and base coloured before I go on to the next stage, highlighting.

Here's an iffy pic of board 7.  You can see gaps I've left for the teddy bear fur fields; these will be trimmed, coloured and added later on.  The base colour doesn't show up well; the boards are a dark chocolate brown.

I've designed the tracks so that the boards can be combined to make either a 4' by 18' table surface, or a 6' or 8' by 8', so hopefully they will be useful for a variety of other projects in the future.

I still need to find a way to indicate the apexes of the hexes; I'm thinking that I may use pins, pressed into the styrofoam.  These could be removed if I recide to use the boards for something different and non-hex based, later on.

Friday 5 March 2010


I'd very much like to thank all the people who have visited this site since last March, and who yesterday took my page load numbers past 100,000 hits, with just over 51,000 unique visits.  I've hugely enjoyed your feedback and comments, and hope to meet some of you in person at Bletchley and Salute.  Here's an old pic of some happy Germanic cavalry, in celebration.

 In other news,  I played my first game of Flames of War last night with some local gamers from Dark Nights and Bloody Dawns in Wood Green.  It was very enjoyable; how did I  manage to completely miss FoW until now?  The 15mm WW2 figures were both numerous and beautifully painted, and I'd very much like to use them again.  We used Western Desert minis, and I will hopefully show DNBD how a Memoir '44 Western Desert game would compare.  Might even try their minis on a big hex grid.

Finally, I will be starting board 7 for Zama, today.  Joy.

Thursday 4 March 2010

Numidian Royal Bodyguard

These miniatures were splendidly painted by my mate Nick Speller, and based by me.  They form the Royal bodyguard of my Numidian army.  Numidian Kings often recruited Spanish cavalry "with bridles" for this role (at least in Caesar's time).  They are also the final unit my the Numidian army, which now has just under 300 minis.

I've used whatever figures came to hand; some (late lamented) Companion miniatures, sent to me by Mike Adams in the US, two Crusader Spanish and a couple of A&A Numidians.  The horses include some Aventines, and the splendid standard is Aventine.  I added rosettes and fringes to the horses to give them a Spanish flavour.

 And here they are from behind.  This shows the irregular basing style I favour on all my cavalry.

These'll be Masinissa's bodyguard at Zama.  

In other news... I hope to start the 6th terrain board today.  We also have a table number at Salute, but I don't know exactly where in the hall it is, at the moment.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Hellenistic Bodyguard Cavalry


This is a unit of  cavalry that I've just refurbed (it is clickable).  They were originally painted as Thessalians for an Alexandrian Imperial army (see photo below).  I bought them, mostly completed, from Andy Bryant; finished the painting, then based them in rhomboids.  But I was never happy with the basing, and also realised that Alexander released most of his Thessalians when he issued purple cloaks to his cavalry, so they would be rather limited in their use.


Sooo, I've issued them with shields and crests for their helmets, and now they will be the bodyguard for various later successor generals.  They will see a lot more action, that way, as I'll be doing Hellenistic armies after Salute!  They will also substitute for Carthaginian cavalry at Zama (I have no shame!).  Later I shall paint 6 more to make two full units.  The LBMS transfers worked very nicely...