Sunday 30 May 2010

On the painting table

These chaps are another eBay purchase that I've been restoring for a while, they'll form part of my first Egyptian phalanx.  I'm about to order a bunch of Polemarchs to join them.   I've painted their linothorax in a pale grey, and intend to Army-Painter it, then overpaint in white.  The shields and helmets will get a coat of Army Painter, too. 

Yet another eBay purchase that I've substantially repainted, and added LBMS transfers to.  When the chaps at the back are painted, and a command stand added, they will become the VIIIth Cohort of my EIR legion.  At the moment I'm alternating painting EIRs and phalangites.

Saturday 29 May 2010

A Little Roman Camp...

This is a 15mm marching camp I made for my mate Ian for his Birthday, last year.   Someone was asking on TMP about making ditched and banks.  There is on ditch, here, but there is certainly a bank!  It's not perfect; in particular the gate isn't correct,  but it'll look great on the table.

In the closeup, below, you can see the construction.  It is made of foamcore on a card base.  Each length is 8cm, by 4cm deep.  There is enough space on the walkway for 15mm DBx-based elements.  The sticks are broom bristle cut to irregular lengths, and glued into the gap between the pieces of foamcore.  It is primed a sand colour, and I need to paint it to match his battlecloth.

 This year for his Birthday, I'm going finish painting the terrain, and paint up some Baeuda tents to go with it.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Perdicas' Purple Phalanx Completed

This is the phalanx I bought on eBay and started to expand and repaint a couple of weeks back.

Above is the"before" shot. 

I did a lot of work on them in the end, but they were still a lot quicker than starting a unit from scratch.

So that is my first Successor phalanx complete; I ultimately want at least 8 such units, each identically structured, with 3 elements of 8 and 2 of 4 figures, with 100mm pikes and with the same shade of bronze shields.  I've started the second....

Saturday 22 May 2010

Ideas for next year's game... I

I've created a shortlist of 3 battles that we could turn into a Very Big Battle for 2011, and I'll briefly post on each over the next week or so; then we can take a collective decision about which to go for.  I'd anticipate  that all 3 projects would be a similar size, with c. 2000 miniatures on a 20'+ wide table based on the Zama terrain.

The first battle I'd like to look at is Chaeronea, 86BC; a big engagement fought on a flat plain in a Greek valley between Sulla's Romans and Mithridates' General Archaelaus, which is described on Wikipedia.  It is, also, a battle we've previously fought (links to the 3rd part of an article about our game).

Here are some links to photos of the plain near Chaeronea, including one from the hills.  The Zama boards would lend themselves very well to this, and a couple of large hills could be sculpted to represent the edges of the valley.  There is also a river, a fortified hilltop and IIRC there may be a temple; all potetiallly striking terrain, and where there was also some fighting.  It might be possible to fit a camp in, too.

Other plusses are that the troops types involved are fairly varied, and include pikes (including a phalanx formed of former slaves), scythed chariots, thureophoroi, Skythian or Hellenistic heavy cavalry and tons of Romans.  No elephants, iunfortunately.  One further plus is that I already have quite a lot of painted suitable for this game, although  in a sense, this is also a minus in that there would be less to paint, and painting everything for Zama was half the fun.  Still, we could up the numbers and make the game absolutely huge.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

A prodigy!

Those who know of BigRedBat's famous aversion to anything that smacks of skirmish gaming, will be suprised to see these photos of yesterday's outbreak of WW2 in the BigRedBatCave.

Here the men of the Afrika Korps advance through the sparse fields outside a small North African village...

...where the defending tommies are dug in (with two of the worst sited machine guns in military history; there was more dead ground than you'd find in Highgate Cemetary, East and West, added together!).

We played a very enjoyable game using the Tide of Iron boardgame rules.  I think we will be using these, a lot. All the very nicely painted figures belong to my fellow Muswell Militiaman, Dr. Simon, and my friend Ian provided the rules and umpired.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Dipping my toe... Done

Here are the two completed (clickable) units of Spanish caetrati.  The twelve figures without falcata were dipped; the other 8 with the swords I bought on eBay and were (rather nicely!) painted by DPS.  All the minis are Foundry or Companion, except the leader who is Gripping Beast.

I'm very pleased with the dip.  I feel that a base colour, highlight and dip over the top (with overbrushing for whites) gives a better effect than the three colour method, and is quite a bit faster.

Saturday 15 May 2010

Dipping my toe... Part Deux.

I dipped my first unit last week, some Spanish Caetrati, and I've only just managed to varnish them, as below.

I used strongtone dip.  This worked very well, except on the whites which became rather too dingy.  However, I overpainted the whites and was pleased with how they came out, especially as this means I will be able to up my painting rate.  I'll take a better photo when they are all based up.

My painting table is overflowing with minis as I'm currently working on 4 units in parallel; an EIR cohort in the front, 2 units of 10 Spanish, rear left, and 9 successor pikemen, rear right.  This is part of my plan to finish off most of the half painted units I have lying around.

Friday 14 May 2010

Ideas for a big Game in 2011

Hi chaps, I think it would be a fine idea to run another big game in 2011, like Zama, and would love to bat some ideas around.  This would be run at Salute and hopefully on another weekend in March, April or May, when we could play it under less pressure, and socialise.

W:e have a few constraints, which will govern what game we can run:-
  1. The terrain must be predominately flat, arid farmland, as I won't have time or money to make a new set of boards.  However I could add one or two boards to what we already have, such as a big hill or river at one end or a town or a camp along one edge, so we could go up to 20' wide by 5' deep.  Indeed, we need something to signal that it is not Zama!
  2. For the same reason, it needs to look rather different to Zama, for which reason we shouldn't use both the Republican Romans or the Carthaginians. 
  3. To cut the painting load, we should use at least one army we have available, so either Republican Romans (if available, as half are oop North and half across the water) Marian Romans, Early Imperial Romans, Gauls/Germans or Carthaginians
  4. The other army should be a recent (or imminent), pretty range (as were the Aventine Republicans), that we will enjoy painting. 
  5. The battle should include some visually interesting troop types such as pikemen, cataphracts, scythed chariots, elephants, camels, ships or similar flummery.
  6. The game has, to my mind, to be somewhat larger than Zama, which had 1500 miniatures; say a round 2K?
I have a few ideas about battles that might fit the above criteria, but I thought it might be good to start off with a bit of a brainstorm... all ideas weclome.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Perdiccas' Purple Phalanx

Here's another eBay purchase; perhaps a less wise one than yesterday's auxilia.  Each phalangite is clad in a magnificent purple linothorax, and someone has written "Perdiccas" underneath each element.  They are only an average paintjob but look good en-masse.

The reason that my joy is not entirely unconfined, is that I hadn't realised form the ebay photo that the bronze on them is not my usual brass shade, but instead a much redder (and wronger) Dwarf Bronze that is going to look very odd indeed next to my other minis.  I might try a brass drybrush over the top.  Anyhow, plan is to paint 8 more minis to match, replace the guardsman with the hoplon in the front row with a 9th phalangite, and see if I can't get them looking half decent.  I think I'm going to need a lot of pikemen, this year...

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Coh. I Britannorum Eq.

This is a unit I've been working on since Salute; the third unit of Auxilia for my very slowly expanding EIR army.  I bought 24 painted figures on eBay, painted 6 more to match, retouched and rebased.  I fear that the shield patterns are legionary, but they look great so I don't care.  Have a click; they aren't bad minis!  The Centurion is GW.

It is over-strength compared to my other 24 man cohorts, which represent 480 auxilia at 1:20 scale (so each base is a century).  I'm tempted to add 8 more figures and call it a Milliary cohort, or another 16 and divide it into two cohorts.  Some day I may get around to painting its integral 6 figure cavalry unit.

Sunday 9 May 2010

Gorgon Etruscan cavalry

Hank from Gorgon Miniatures has very kindly sent me some samples of their new Etruscan cavalry (thanks Hank!).

I'm very taken with the mounts, which are from the same Saleh stable as the Polemarch steeds. They are IMHO very much more satisfactory than the former, having much better necks, and fuller bodies.  There is a tiny bit of flash between the legs, but this looks easy to remove.  These are amongst the nicest horses I've seen in 28mm.
Here are the riders.  In all honesty I still don't know all that much about Etruscans, let alone Etruscan cavalry.  They are heavily armoured for Greek-style cavalry.  I have read that one of the intended uses for them is as mounted hoplites.  The armour is crisply executed (scale, lamellar and bronze cuirass respectively). The shields on the right are small and not very curved, and not intended as hoplons. 

Here is a size comparison shot of the horses.  I've always liked the Foundry WotG horses, but I prefer the new Gorgons, which have larger front quarters and are slightly fuller in the body.  The Aventine horse on the right is a little smaller in the body, and I've included it for size comparison purposes.

One last thing (and unfortunately the photo didn't come out, but you can see this from the Gorgon photos); the riders are a perfect fit onto the horses, with the cloaks sculpted to fit neatly over the horses rump, and the legs fitting the sides of the horse.

These are very nice minis; I think I may use these as Tarentine heavy cavalry in my projected Pyrrrhic army.

Saturday 8 May 2010

Dipping my toe...

These chaps are some Foundry/Companion/GB ancient Spanish Caetrati (small shield-bearing infantry) that I've blocked in, and hope to find time to dip later today.  If it works, they will have been a pretty quick job by my standards.  The Foundry Spanish are very nice, I wish there was a compete range of them.  I like them rather more than their Crusader/A&A equivalents.

Monday 3 May 2010

Busman's Holiday

So after the better part of a year spent painting Romans and their foes, when I get a break I choose to paint some... more Romans.

This unit is going to be built around 2 dozen Foundry Auxilia minis I bought painted on Ebay.  The basing wasn't up to much (and to be honest the shield images look rather legionary to me) but by painting half a dozen more minis, and rebasing, I can make a large unit that should look pretty good.  I still have far too few Auxiliaries relative to my EIR legionaries.

I have at least half a dozen other units of Romans, Macedonians and Spanish that are in similar part-painted shape to this one, and I want to finish some of them off before I launch into another grandiose Zama-like project.