Monday 26 April 2010

Zama- the Last Post

Super Bletchley Zama Slideshow!

These are the photos that my mate Ian took of our Bletchley game, and very fine they are, too!  They include quite a few closeups.


Sunday 25 April 2010

A fine day out...

Yesterday was Salute 2010, and I've half a dozen or so photos of the day, mostly garnered from Matthieu's phone (merci!).  They are mostly of the people (I've got a disc of photos of the game at Bletchley from Ian that I will post later).

Muswell Hill Militiamen (Paris chapter) drinking beer outside the Maid of Muswell pub, our spiritual home.

 Matthieu developing a taste for Landlord.

My son Harry, his friend Alex and I arrived at Excel at 7:01, but it took over 2 hours to get in and finish setting the game up.  Various militiamen arrived with their contingents; Ian and Dr. Simon from Muswell, Craig from Leeds, Nick and a friend from Essex.  The doors opened at 9:45 and we kicked the game off at 11.00 with the assistance of conscripted players who included another Simon, Chris and Dirk (apologies for missed names here, I have a terrible memory for names and faces).  Many of the players were novices but they picked the rules up quickly.

Scipio confers with Laelius, whils Masinissa appears to be wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

Gregory Privat, Iron Mitten and yrs truly.   I look almost as crazed as the sapper in the picture!

Gregory in trouble.

The Carthaginian elephants performed very poorly and one of the Carthaginian generals became despondant, but Hannibal kept the battle going right to the end...

Scipio was called away and the other generals decide on cardplay in his absence,.  Leadership by committee  must have been effective, as the Romans did eventually win at around 4.30pm (whilst Scipio was off queuing in the car park). 

Unexpectedly we were awarded the Salute prize for "Most Impressive Troops".  This was a considerable acheivement, because there were some fantastic armies out there!  The judge said that what most impressed him was that the project was the combined work of 6 or 7 different painters, and yet all the figures worked together beautifully.  I think that  this, on top of the Best Game award at Bletchley, is a great tribute to all the people that have worked so long and hard to bring the project to fruition!

So what next?  I think a few weeks are needed to chill out, and then we might bat some ideas around for another grandiose project for 2011...

Monday 19 April 2010

More shots of Zama

Very few of my photos of the game amounted to much, but I am confident that Ian will have some good pics.  Here are a few I took before the action grew too hot, and I got distracted...

View from behind the Roman lines at the start (that's Scipio in the foreground)

Roman tribunes confer over tactics; Aventine Adam and Keith (centre) and Nick Speller right.  You can see the Carthaginian elephants bouncing off the velites.  Later a couple managed to break through, and caused fearsome devastation. Keith tells me that my Carthaginians destroyed 19 out of the 21 units of Roman Hastati, Principes and Triarii (yet we still lost!).

Here's a view from behind the Carthaginian left, late on in the game.  Our Numidians hung grimly on to the very end.  By this time the Roman centre (back right) was reduced to a thin screen of velites, but our own mercenaries and levies had died in droves (see foreground) and our army morale failed.

I'll post some better photos when I can get hold of them...

Sunday 18 April 2010


I realised whilst posting on TMP that there are a lot of people I need to thank for their help.

It was very nice to finally meet the Aventine boys in the flesh, who designed and painted so many miniatures for the Project, and Craig, too, who painted the other half of the Romans. Also John who made the trees and haystacks; the ever productive Nick Speller who splendidly painted so many minis that I went on to base. and lots of Cartho vetrans, too.  Keith, Adam, Craig and John travelled huge distances to be there. 

Then there was Ian who battled his way through at least 8 playtests, which helped the game to run perfectly on the day; and who helped to put all the pins in the boards. Twice.  Next week, at Salute, I'm also looking forward to meeting mon ami Greg again (who must painted at least a couple of hundred minis for the event) and gaming with fellow Muswell Militiaman Dr. Simon, whose minis made it to Bletchley even though he didn't.

It was great meeting people at the event, too, like 2mm Simon and the other Adam, even though the time for chat seemed so short. Also Dougie and Mark who made up our number of players to the critcal 8.  I wish their had been a bit more time to meet other people, too; the day just flashed past. I didn't even get to see very much of the other games. Sigh. Huge thanks to Richard Lockwood for organising the event! And to everyone who has supported the blog over the last year.

Cheers, Simon

Zama- "B" Day Deployment

Today I'll post some photos of our Zama game which was fought yesterday at the SOA Battle Day in Bletchley, and which we will fight one more time at Salute.  All phgotos are clickable.

Above is the 16' long field of battle before the arrival of the armies.  I was very pleased with the terrain, and the details that John Smillie made (olive and other trees, and the haystacks) set it off nicely.

Here is a view along the battlefield from behind the Carthaginian left rear.  If you look carefully, you can see the ladders on the haystacks!

And, finally for the moment (below) an aerial view of the battlefield; Carthaginians in the foreground.  The three lines of the Carthaginian deployment can be distinctly made out, with their elephants in front.  You should also be able to see the four Roman legions with their "elephant channels", and Numidian foot deployed to their right.   The two central legions have red shields, and the outer allied legions, white.

Friday 16 April 2010

Eve of Battle!

Hannibal and Scipio parley on the battlefield of Zama, on the day before the battle.

Tomorrow at the crack of dawn, Muswell Militia and various associated malcontents will be driving up to the SOA Battle Day event in Bletchley to fight our version of Zama.  Hannibal has won every practice battle; but I have a feeling in my waters that Scipio will pip it on the day...

Hope to see some of you there!  

Monday 12 April 2010

Yet more generals...

Here are some of the figures that Greg Privat painted for me, and I based.  These are Aventine Etruscans, and will be commanding one half of the Roman centre.  I'm still busy trying to finish off basing the Bruttians Greg painted for me; I'll get there!   I very much like the standard, which I think depicts Hercules.

Sunday 11 April 2010

Towering haystacks and Carthaginians

My mate John has made some more trees and some "Roman" haystacks for me.  There are pictured on his blog
and should help to indicate that the battle was fought in the autumn period. I need to add a small pole coming out of the top of each one, as you see on Trajan's column.

In other news... 15 minutes ago I finally finished the boards.  Now I just have a couple of units to finish basing, the casualty minis to sort out, some counters to make and suchlike....  very doable.

Dr. Simon has also just posted pics of his Carthaginian contingent; I'm delighted to see them ready for the fray!

Saturday 10 April 2010

No more snowballs...

After a week's reflection, I decided that the white map pins were unbearably... white.   Today my long suffering accomplace Ian came around and we pulled out the 350 pins we hammered in last Tuesday and replaced them with 350 pins I'd sprayed beige.  We then put another 350 pins into the remaining 4 boards, which are substantially complete (they just need a bot of drybrushing on the vegetation).

This is the board with the new pins, which are much less obvious than the white ones.  I'm very pleased with them!  A big thanks to Ian for his help.

Thursday 8 April 2010

Keith's Zama Legions (B-8)

Aventine-Keith has just sent me this picture of the 2 legions (less 4 units of velites, not shown, which I've done) that he has painted for the Zama game.  Romans left, allies right.  They represent just under 1/3 of the Roman army for the game; can't wait to see them "in the lead"!   Not long to go, now...

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Carthaginian Sub-General (B-9)

This grizzled veteran of many victories will command the Carthaginian centre.  The miniatures are Crusader or A&A, with the right hand standard from Aventine (I need to paint a design on that!).  Nick Speller painted them very nicely, for me.  I will admit I wasn't keen on the minis, in the lead, but they painted up splendidly and I'm delighted with them.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Snowballs in the dust... (B-10)

Now having spent 3 months producing a set of rather realistic-appearing terrain, my mate Ian and I have just spent an evening fixing little white balls all over it....   

The reason for this madness, is that we need to mark out the hexes that are (nigh-on) essential for Command and Colors. Each hex is around 13cm across the flats and will hold one unit (there are c.120 units in the game).  I decided that the minimum we could get away with, in terms of indicatiing the hexes, is a map pin marking the apices. 

To position the map pins, we made a template from a thin sheet of clear plastic, marked the apices out, and cut a 10mm cross at each one.  We then pushed the pins through the plastic into the foam, carefully removed the plastic sheet, and whacked each pin with a hammer, which anchored them in the MDF beneath the foam.  The really nice thing about the map pins is that they can be removed without damageing the boards in the event that we want to use them for non-hex games, at a later stage.

You can just make the plastic sheet out by the glare, below:

Below is the board with the plastic removed, and some punic troops drawn up in line.

Whilst the pins are slightly obtrusive, they are, unfortunately, a necessary evil. There will be around 750 map pins across the entire table.  I'd like to than Ian for his help with the 4 boards we finished!

Monday 5 April 2010

'arfer table

This is the right hand side 8' of the table, finished (bar the hexes).  The main change since the last photo are that I've dyed the lighter fields to darken them, and drybrushed all the tufts of static grass to make them blend in.  On the day, there will be trees and haystacks. 

I'm really pleased with how they came out!  Tomorrow Ian is going to help me with marking some hexes out.

Sunday 4 April 2010

Hannibal (B-12)

Here is the great man himself.  He seems to be remonstrating with the levy spearman; perhaps the levy want to retreat, but the veterans won't let them through.  Tough! 

These minis were painted by the very talented Nick Speller.  I varnished and based them.   They are Crusader except for the nice Aventine mini on the left and left-hand vexilla (Aventine do great standards).  The Hannibal is, appropriately, an old Salute giveaway miniature. 

Only 12 painting sessions to Bletchley!  I've still got 2 units of Greg's Bruttians to finish and base, the casualties to complete, the boards to drybrush, hexes to mark out, packing and a couple of other minor tasks.

Still Frantically Flockin'...

...I just started the final flock of board 8.  Today I'm listening to Johnny Cash and Cat Stevens, who are making the work light.

Here's board 7 which has more ditches, and which is consequently more lush than the average:

In total I think I've used around £150 worth of 10 different grass and flock products.  The vegetation still needs to be drybrushed.  I'm very pleased with the small amount of Silflor "weeds" I bought, which are tufts with small "leaves" attached; I'll be buying more of them.

Saturday 3 April 2010

Board dressing

I've been frantically flocking my terrain.  My concept involved a lot of bare earth, and it looks like it'll be realised (if only because I don't have enough silflor clumps or time!).  The lush, green vegetation will be largely confined to the ditches, and I'll be drybrushing it lightly at the end, which will hopefully tie in in, better.

Greg, this is what the rest of the fields should look like, finished.

Friday 2 April 2010

A shwubbery!

My mate John Smillie has completed the olive trees that I have long coveted.  He made them  individually using sea-moss and wire, and I think they are far superior to the bottle brush trees I usually use.  I just need to paint the bases to match my terrain, and add some Sliflor.  He's promised to make me some Cypress trees, which would look very good with my Roman buildings, using the same method.  He's also making some haystacks...

This is the last weekend I have to finish flocking the terrain boards... should be busy!