Thursday 28 April 2016

Bat basing part 1

With Raphia behind me (at least for the moment) I've been able to make time for another project which has been burning slowly in the background- my Perry Wars of the Roses army. 

I thought it would be useful to explain my basing system, using my new Bat Bases, which are MDF bases cut to an irregular shape with holes to fit rare earth magnets, which I use so that my minis can be safely stored and transported. The bases shown below are just a bit larger than Impetus bases and  designed so that seven can be stored in a 4L Really Useful Box.

Above, I am in the process of fitting the magnets to the bases. The easiest way of doing this is to lay the bases on waxed paper (or better still the foil parchment paper) on a steel tray. A strip of magnets can be seen on the middle bases- these drop into the holes on the bases. The bases should be weighed down with coins or similar to ensure they lie flat on the sheet. In the top picture, a dot of super glue has been applied to fix each magnet in place. The whole process takes rather less than 1 minute per base.

Once the glue has dried (allow at least half an hour) I chamfer the edges with a craft knife as above; this avoids the step one sees around most bases. It is possible to sand them, too, giving a lovely smooth edge.

Finally for today, the minis have been glued in place using PVA (Elmers glue in the US). This sets slowly and means that the minis can be moved around until a suitably aesthetically pleasing arrangement is achieved. These minis were mostly painted by Redzed, they are stunning and I'll take some proper close-ups when the basing is complete.

If you'd like to try some of the bases I have the sample pack on 25% off sale for this coming week.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Raphia and other battles last Friday I drove to the Wargames Holiday Centre and with Mark Freeth, set up the five games from the boxes in last Thursday's post. Along the way we set up the phalnx and Mark shot a video; here's a link to the video on Facebook with an explanatory voice-over.

The largest of the games was Raphia and I shot quite a few photos because, after six months preparation, I was more than a little excited about seeing it on a table. I should say that I have plans to make the terrain more arid for when I next run it, since the site of the battle was probably covered in sand and scrub. Jeff Jonas tells me there were limestone outcrops and cacti!

Here's the game set up, as the players were arriving, shot from behind Seleucid lines. We had sixteen or eighteen players over the weekend who each played around five games, which kept me and Mark very busy. All of the 25-odd battles were fought using my "To the Strongest!" rules.

Above is a shot of the Ptolemaic Machimoi, in three units each of 96 miniatures. We had a very entertaining rule to depict them; if they killed any enemy units, then the Seleucids would win a moral victory (as the cocky Egyptian peasantry would have revolted after the battle). I don't believe they did kill any units, but they came close! They were commanded by Sosibus the Eunuch, who died in at least one of the four games.

Below are the Seleucid Arab allies painted by Craig Davey, they got a lot of admiring glances.

Above are the Ptolemaic Galatians, who did sterling service, hacking their way through the Medes in all four games. Below; from behind; break out the Factor 40!

The below shot caught the spirit of the game in action. The Ptolemaic cavalry are desperately manoeuvring in the foreground, whilst a Seleucid elephant threatens a flank charge. 

My personal high was this charge by Echecrates the Thesslian which snatched victory form the jaws of defeat- we only had two victory medals left at the point of victory.

We fought Raphia four times; there were three Seleucid victories and one Ptolemaic. Antiochus Megas died twice and Ptolemy once; go figure!

There were other games of course, Leuctra with Epaminondas' phalanx (above) and below Sotium with Caesarians and, well, Sotiates.

And finally here are some of the players; the extrovert is Mark Freeth who runs the Wargames Holiday Centre and who is a super host. it was a terrific weekend, certainly the best so far. I shall return in the autumn with a new set of games!

Thursday 21 April 2016

Flocked and loaded

Everything is packed for the Wargames Holiday Centre weekend, and here is the traditional pre-event photo. 70 boxes of Macedonians, Romans, Celts, Greeks, Numidians, Germans and Huns, chits and terrain. I reckon there are 5,700 minis which is the most I've taken. It is at times like this that I wish that either I had a) downstairs figure storage or b) collections of plastic figures rather than lead!

I'm very much looking forward to a cracking weekend's gaming!

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Surly Successors

Here in the BigRedBatCave I am desperately finishing the basing of the last minis for the coming weekend's gaming. Shaun McTague painted these for me yesterday- they will command sections of the Raphia phalanx. They are mostly Polemarch miniatures with a lovely Foundry mini front and centre. I love the crossed arms- a rare miniatures pose.

Sunday 17 April 2016

Salute 2016

Blogger meet photo nicked from Big Lee; your hero is on the left, oblivious to the photographer. 

Salute was another Excel Salute; well organised and as welcoming as a huge, dark, concrete-floored aircraft hangar can be welcoming. There seemed to be more traders and fewer, less impressive demo games, and mostly fantasy/sci-fi games at that. Many games weren't being played, which is such a shame. Not much for the historical gamer this year.  :-(

That said, despite not getting a table myself and missing all too many mates who were in the same boat, I had a very enjoyable time. Highlights included meeting Rick Priestly, Steve Saleh and Andres Amian Fernandez. It was also fantastic to run into so many people I know now within the hobby, especially the TtS! players. The traders I met were so friendly especially Martin and Diane at Warbases, Simon at S&A Scenics and Marcus at Foundry.

I took very few photos but wasvery taken with the Viking game by fellow blogger Dalauppror and friends- Foteviken 1134.

Stunning work!  I loved the vignettes, the tents and the half-built boat.

Friday 8 April 2016

Raphia test run

Last night I tested the extreme left of the Ptolemaic line, around a quarter of the width of the battlefield. In my experience it is always important to test the components of a really big game; something always comes up that can be improved.

Above is the extreme left of the Ptolemaic line; four wedges of xystophoroi lancer cavalry on the left, three escorted Indian elephant units and the left edge of the phalanx including the agema and peltastoi. Below is the portion of the battlefield in question.

Below is a close-up of the Ptolemaic cavalry.

In the first game we tried an experiment with the elephant screen, deploying the light infantry and elephants as separate units. Using this we found that the Ptolemaic elephants were all-too-quickly swept away and so in the second game we restored them to what I call in the rules "escorted elephants" which have two hits. Although eventually bested by the superior Indian pachyderms, the two hit units put up a much more spirited resistance. We also changed the command structure, adding some more generals.

The second game played quickly and was very enjoyable and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the whole battle fought at the Wargames Holiday Centre!

Saturday 2 April 2016

Pharsalus 48 BC

I had a very enjoyable day at the SOA Battle Day today, fighting Pharsalus with Andrew Brentnall, Paul Innes and Daivid Barnsdale. I was played the Caesarian left, and Paul Innes played Caesar to Andrew's Pompey. I won't say much about the game (suffice to say that history did not repeat itself) but I do have a somewhat blurry stop-motion video which shows the battle in progress. 

The event was well-attended, super organisation by Richard Lockwood with a great opening address by Phil Sabin, and much fun was had by all. The lovely minis are al from Andrew's collection, 3,500 of them. I am very taken with the look of these massed 6mm minis and would like to collect some myself at some stage- perhaps in a new period.

Friday 1 April 2016

My new bed of nails

Here are the new phalangites I've been finishing over the winter. Most were painted by Craig Davey and Shaun McTague. I've replaced pikes and shields to match my existing phalanx, varnished and based. There is still some base work and snagging to do, but they more than double the width of my phalanx to 3.8m. I'll take proper photos when they are flocked. Onwards to Raphia!