Saturday 29 September 2012

Relic Miniatures Gallic Chariot

I mentioned in yesterday's post that, along with all the wheels, Mike from Relic Miniatures kindly sent me a sample of one of his chariots, which I'll briefly review here.

Above is the chariot, straight out of the bag.  The figures are very nice true 28mm, but I won't focus on those, as my current interest is much more in the vehicle and steeds.  

You'll see how lovely and slender the chariot pole is, and the frames on the cab.   The wheels I frothed over in my earlier post.  The whole piece appears to be cast in a strong pewter, which helps give strength to the slender pole.  There was no flash, but there were a number of small vents to clip and file away; however this didn't take long.

Above, I quickly assembled the piece, which fitted together very nicely.  The photo isn't great but you might be able to make out the crisp detail underneath, such as the ropes.

Above is the assembled Relic chariot, and below is one of my "Frankenstein" chariots, for comparison.  I think you'll see that the Relic chariot is rather more elegant, in a number of areas.  Firstly, the very nice Relic horses above are much more animated than the Newlines I will mainly be using.  A very minor observation is that, as this is a Gallic chariot, these are small horses, rather than the ponies that would likely have been used in backward Britain and Caledonia.  The chariot frame is very detailed with ropes and one of the more svelte frames I've seen, and the chariot pole is lovely and slender.

You'll have gathered that I'm quite a fan of the Relic model, and will certainly add more to my fleet when time and funds permit.  Thanks Mike!

Friday 28 September 2012

Got wheels

A timely delivery of Relic's very nice chariot wheels has enabled me to replace the clunkier Wargames Factory wheels.  Here is the "before"...

...and below is the rather more elegant "after"!  Much closer to Wetwang, I think.

At Mike's suggestion, I have further shortended the chariot pole, which I think really helps with the look of the chariot.  I've built oval-shaped bases out of plastic, laser cut ply and magnetic sheet, so that I can make the chariots skrimish.  The round plywood disk raises the chariot to the level of the bases of the horses.

Mike also kindly sent me a complete chariot, which I'll assemble over the coming days, and post here; it's a lovely piece.  Thanks Mike!

Thursday 27 September 2012

Chariot Wheel Size Comparison

I'm constructing a fleet of chariots for my Ancient British, and I though others might like to see some of the wheels that are out there.

Firstly, this is the ideal I'm aiming towards; a wheel of similar size and proportion to those on the below chariot reconstruction.  You'll notice that the rim is pretty thin... this isn't a feature on many of the models out there!

Below are the wheels from the models I've collected so far.  Isn't it astonishing how varied the size and shapes are? 

The smallest wheel is from Black Tree Designs; at 12mm diameter, it would suit a 15mm model better than a 28mm!  Laughable.

The second, is from the more recent Foundry range.  It is in my opinion too small, and has a very ugly thick rim; looks like it should be on a wheelbarrow.

The third, from Newline Designs, is rather elegant, if a little on the small side for me (I guess it is true 28mm).  It doesn't have a raised hub, though, which is a pity.

The fourth, from Relic Miniatures, arrived today from Canada and is lovely (thanks Mike!).  It is a good size and very elegant.  It is ready drilled on the back to take an axle, too.  Absolutely my favourite wheel; it is beautifully modelled and cast.

The sixth, from Renegade Miniatures, I quite like, even though it has a thickish rim.  If I didn't have Relics, I'd certainly look at these.

Finally, the Wargames Factory wheel is the largest by around a millimetre.  Again, I was planning to use these, until Relic's lovely pieces arrived.  I now intend to save these and use them as waggon wheels for a projected baggage train.

I'll do a picture review of the very nice Relic model in a few days time.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Cohors Hedlium

The official name of this cohort is Coh. I Cannefatium, but they will operate under the name of their prefect, Hedlius (I bought most of the minis, painted, from Legatus Hedlius).  They will be brigaded alongside my Batavians, who they joined in the 69AD revolt.

I finished them just before Partizan but this has been my first chance to take photos.  They are mostly Foundry Salehs with a slight admixture of Black Tree for variety.  In general I'm going to use Salehs for all my German and British-origin cohorts, and Black Trees for Danubian and other cohorts.

Monday 24 September 2012

Cohortes Praetoriae

These are the two cohorts of Praetorian guards that I needed for the Ad Castores game.  There were 9 cohorts of Praetorians in the Othonian army, but only 3 were sent northwards, initially, to resist the surprise transalpine Vitellian invasion.

Most of the miniatures are the single Foundry Saleh pose, which luckily I love.  They were superbly painted for me by my friend Nick Speller.  I do love the striped pila shafts he painted...  I added the shield transfers, some highlights, varnished and based them.  The grimacing Optio in the front rank is a Black Tree conversion, and the cornicen and signifer are converted A&A's.   I'm particularly proud of the standards, which I extended by a cm or so, to make them suitably imposing.  The shield transfers are, of course, LBMS.  

Since originally sending these off to be painted, I've picked up some 3 dozen more unpainted Praetorians, and I'm minded to paint another cohort or two, so that I can use some of the lovely red LBMS transfers.  And after all, at the battle of Cremona, there were Praetorians on both sides!

Sunday 23 September 2012

A few Foundry Spanish for sale

I've a unit of the Foundry Ancient Spanish from the original Punic Wars range, and a command stand, which I've decided to part with to make way for other projects (nb SOLD 25/9/12). 

The command stand includes a Gripping Beast general (named Indibilis)

Friday 21 September 2012

Chariots of... plastic.

For a couple of years I’ve toyed with building a large force of British chariots, to use with my Celtic army.  I collected no less than 20 metal chariots from five different manufacturers (Renegade, Black Tree, Gripping Beast, Newline and Foundry*).  Unfortunately, none of the models are good in all respects; some horses were too large or ugly, chariot poles long and very thick, and generally the chariot cabs looked like they had been knocked up out of offcuts of two-by-four timber.  As for the wheels, they varied from too small to absolutely tiny.

I had had been planning to chop them all up to make a dozen or so decent chariots out of them, but it always looked like an insuperable task.  A couple of weeks ago, I picked up some Wargames Factory chariot parts from Steve on the WAB Forum (thanks!).  I’d always been put off these models, by the dodgy (doggy?) horses, over-long pole and thick chariot floor.  However, looking at the models, afresh, the cup is more than half full, largely because they are plastic and easy to chop about.

I’ve replaced the thick floor with Wills plastic card, and cut new axles from brass rod.  I cut the pole length down by 6mm or so, and trimmed away the flamboyant up-turned ends off the yoke.  I’m going to position the axle slightly behind the midpoint of the cab, as I’ve seen on the Wetwang chariot.  I have some ideas for what to do with the WF chariot crew.  Finally, I will replace the chariot horses with some of the nice metal ponies from Newline, of which I bought earlier.  

I’m really pleased with them so far.   In an ideal world, I'd use a wheel with a thinner rim, but I've not yet been able to find a suitable alternative.  Because the models are plastic, the conversion is very quick and they are also much lighter and more resilient to dropping than their metal equivalents.

They are very cheap and have pretty much the look I’m after.  Wargames Factory; who’d have thunk it?

*I don't have any of the newer Warlord or Relik chariot models.  These look very nice but I suspect that they may be a little small for my needs

Thursday 20 September 2012

More Auxiliaries, WIP

In the interests of breaking a recent slump in my posting, here are the early stages of my seventeenth auxiliary cohort.  They were underway before Partizan, and, although I currently need another cohort of auxiliaries like a fish needs a bicycle, I want to wrap them up and clear the painting table.

The nicely painted command figures are from the batch Legatus sold me; most of the rest came from a batch of dreadfully painted miniatures I foolishly bought on eBay.  I've blocked in most of the base colours, and they were coming on very quickly until I got distracted by another project, of which more, tomorrow....

Monday 17 September 2012

I Adiutrix Completed

At Partizan, I was so pleased with the look of my newish ex-marine legion that I decided to expand it from 80 to 99 men, and I've just finished it; 'av a click!

I'm going to work towards all my legions being the same size, which I think will work well with the scale of battles I'm planning, which often featured 6 or more legions.  Accordingly I'm planning to expand my "big" XIIII Gemina Martia Victrix to 12 x 24 man units so that it can represent 3 legions on the above scale, and I plan to collect 4 more fresh legions, so that I can field 8 legions in total.  Collecting 460 more legionaries will clearly take a year or two!

I've also started work on a new project, which (unbelievably!) includes Wargames Factory minis...

Saturday 15 September 2012

Adiutrix WIP

I decided last month to standardise on a legion of 99 minis, with 4 units of 24 minis and a command stand. This meant that I needed to expand my favourite I Adiutrix Legion by around a third, and here are the new recruits, fresh from the ships ot the Classis Misenensis at Portus Julius.  The minis are mostly Black Tree with Crusader Command.

My posting rate has dropped away, because real life has been interfering with art.  I've also been spending some time on developing a set of ancients rules that I hope will work well with the big games I like to put on at shows.

Monday 3 September 2012

Ad Castores; at the shrine of the twins

Yesterday Dr Phil Hendry, m'self, Craig Davey and others re-fought Ad Castores, 69 AD.  This is a Roman Civil War bust-up with one side consisting of "loyal" but raw legionaries, and the other experienced auxiliaries from the Rhine frontier.  All pics are "clickable".

The historical battle occurred early in the year of the four Emperors, when Vitellian auxiliary forces set up an ambush in woods near the shrine of Ad Castores, hoping to trap the Othonian cavalry.  Unfortunately for them, a deserter betrayed the plan to the enemy, and the entire Othonian army turned up for the party!  Above and below, at the outset of the game, the majority of the Vitellian auxiliaries are concealed within woods and vineyards.  The unit below is Cohors Hedlium, which I recently bought from a fellow blogger.

Below, the Vitellian cavalry initially faced the Othonian cavalry along the Postumian Way, near the epoymous shrine to the twins (Castor and Pollux).

Facing them, below, is a positive legion of Othonian foot (not all shown in the photo), with their cavalry in front of them.  The Othonian cavalry have halted to avoid the ambush.

The Othonians quickly advanced, with the Praetorians crossing the stream and deploying.  The Vitellian auxiliaries unexpectedly poured forth from the woods to the attack; their Batavian vanguard can be seen below.  The Batavians urned out to be positive lions and tore through no less than 3 units of our legionaries, in succession!

Below, I tried to be clever and move the Othonian cavalry to the flank.

However, they were almost taken in their flank by the rapid Vitellian advance and just managed to turn to face, in time.  A vast melee ensued (below).

The two lines became locked and the melee became general.  Note the gladiators in the foreground, who turned out to be quite as ineffective as their historical ancestors, despite their cataphract armour.

...and then we ran out of time.  Quite a few units had broken, especially the raw Othonian legionaries, and outnumbered Vitellian horse, so honours were mixed.  Both factions claimed a victory; I reckon we loyalist Othonians were a tad ahead, but Craigus (Davey) would no doubt beg to differ.

It was a very good natured game, ably umpired by Dr Phil Hendry who provided his "Augustus to Aurelian" rules.  Thanks to all who came by for a chat, and to the very able organisers of the event and good-natured staff, and to Craig for arriving at dawn with his lovely boards.

Sunday 2 September 2012


I've just driven back from t'other Partizan, where I enjoyed a jolly game with Dr Phil Hendry, Craig Davey, eldest son Harry and others.  Hi to everyone else I met!

Partizan was splendid but the late nights preparing, two long drives, the 2AM karaoke in the bar beneath our hotel room and a 6:30 AM start, I am feeling somewhat ragged this evening.  I'll post some photos of the game tomorrow (I singularly failed to take pics of any of the other games, some of which were very impressive), but I couldn't resist posting the above shot from behind the Vitellian lines.

Saturday 1 September 2012

Flocked and loaded for Partizan!

The last 5 units are flocked, and all the minis are packed.  Harry (eldest son and occasional wargamer) has been conscripted as porter and we are about to leap into the car, later to taste the heady delights of an evening in Newark!  Hope to see some of you, tomorrow.