What got me thinking of fielding a Marian Roman army for BBDBA was reading Allan Massie’s novel Caesar. It’s narrated by Decimus Brutus, one of Caesar’s lieutenants and one of the conspirators. It examines the motives of the aristocracy in that period sensitively and intelligently. I particularly liked the way Massie described Decimus Brutus’ changing opinion of the choices Labienus made. Initially he’s derided as an overprincipalled clown, but later as the necessity for assassination grows in Brutus’ mind he is sympathetic to Labienus; there is also a fictional letter to Brutus from Labienus explaining why he supported Pompey, recognising him as the lesser of two evils and one that he thought he might be able to control better.

I’d like to read the rest of Massie’s novels on the figures of this period — Mark Antony, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero’s Heirs, but I can’t get the books from Google Play to my Nook; until I can I won’t buy more. Instead I’ve been finishing Robert Harris’ series narrated by Cicero’s slave then freedman, Tiro. I’ve finished the first two books, Imperium and Lustrum (or Conspirata) and am just starting on the last Dictator. The portrayal of Cicero is believable, and his take on Caesar is one that I agree with.

Anyway, it was while reading Massie that I thought that I could happily field an army led by either the Republican resistance to Caesar, or the Liberators who delivered extrajudicial justice to the tyrant. The Thapsus army has the advantage of allowing a Numidian ally and lots of elephants to bolster the Roman blade against opponents with knights. I’ve had the Numidians waiting to be painted for a while, and I had a Freikorps Carthaginian elephant that has a Numidian mahout; I’ll get two more for the maximum pachydermal goodness. I was pleased to read in the continuation of Caesar’s Civil War commentaries that Labienus had Gallic cavalry with him at Thapsus, so that’s an incentive to get more of my Gallic cavalry painted to enable Labienus to restore the Republic to its former virtue, guided by the moral vision of Cato the Younger.

BBDBA

6 August, 2016

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted on this blog. Recently I was reminded that Conquest was coming up at the end of this year; Keith’s planning a new format with some BBDBA for the last day. It’s got me motivated to see what I could field if I were to attend. I don’t have enough figures for any army to be made up of 36 elements from one list. I’d need to field 24 elements from one list and take an ally. This precludes taking a successor army, which is a pity, as pike are better with solid wings, something they struggle to get in normal DBA. At this stage I’ve got a few armies I’m looking at:

The Republican army at Thapsus led by Scipio and Labienus and aided by their ally the Numidian Juba. I’m painting the Numidians now, and I’m looking at rebasing Spanish to make enough 4Ax. Otherwise, I’m pretty much able to field this army. I would look to get a few more elephants, though. I’m not normally a big fan of Roman armies, but the any that resisted the tyrant Caesar is OK, especially with honourable leaders such as Labienus and Cato the Younger.

Another army is a Mithridatic one with an Armenian ally. I’d need to paint a bit more to get this one ready. It’d have two solid wings of light horse and auxilia, a centre of blade or pike and enough knights to be a threat.

I could also put together a Syracusan army with a Carthaginian ally.

Anyway, along with getting these armies ready, I’m reluctantly planning to rebase my Gauls as 4Wb; I’m hoping I can get some rather nice looking Xyston Gallic foot nobles to mix in with the Corvus Belli ones to add some further presence to each element. I also have plenty of Gallic cavalry to look at painting. Perhaps they could be another BBDBA army!

ERM Dwarves

14 February, 2015

  • ERM Dwarves
ERM Dwarves — archers, a cleric, and two elements of blade.

ERM Dwarves — archers, a cleric, and two elements of blade.

I’ve done a number of posts on dwarves, but it’s been a long time since I’ve painted any. Finally, here are some of the East Riding Miniatures (ERM) dwarves that I got last year. As I said in the previous post, they actually scale quite nicely with some of the Splintered Light (SL) dwarves. As I found with other ERM figures, they don’t always look that promising in raw metal, but paint up very well. They are particularly good for using washes on.

The elements of blade, one is a command element.

The elements of blade, one is a command element.

Another angle.

Another angle.

From the rear.

From the rear.

Again.

Again.

These figures are from FT51, FT53, FT61 and FT62. On two of the shields I used a VVV transfer for hoplites of a boar’s head. It wasn’t very distinct. I think basic dark age patterns would be better. I will look to mix some of the figures I have from FT53 with my SL figures. I’ll do the same with the figures from FT61 and FT62 (as well as FT60), but only those that are armoured. I don’t see much use for unarmoured dwarves.

A SoBH cleric and some Shooters.

A SoBH cleric and some Shooters.

Another angle.

Another angle.

These are figures from FT52, FT56 and FT60. I like the cleric, and will probably use another of them in a HoTT Cleric element.

I’m not sure when I’ll get back to finishing a HoTT dwarf army; there are so many other projects at different stages, that it might be a while. Then again, it may jump to the head of the queue!

  • Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.]

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.]

Years back, when I placed my first SL order, I found a pair of figures in it that I hadn’t ordered. I didn’t realize that these were a bonus if your order was large enough. The figures are in the Archer Collection. Anyway, when I based the skeletons and zombies I had two bases left and put their ‘Northern Warrior and Thief Companion’ on them. They proved quick to paint, and were finished along with the dwarves. They’re a clear reference to the Fritz Leiber series of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser that I spent a bit of time rereading last year. I’m sure they’ll find their way into some SoBH warband at some stage.

From the side.

From the side.

  • South Welsh Allies
Welsh Cavalry.

Welsh Cavalry.

For DBA 3.0 the Northern Welsh army (III/19c) have the option of a South Welsh ally. As they would otherwise have ten 3Pk, this seems very necessary. For this ally they must have a 3Cv element as the leader of these allies. I started painting these figures quite a while ago and am pleased that this is one of the many projects I have begun that is now finished.

I can’t help but feel that two 3Cv in one Welsh army, though useful, is too many, but unless the South Welsh army came with the option of a foot general, those are the rules. I’m sure it will be used as part of any Dark Age Celtic HoTT army that may one day see the light of day.

Another angle.

Another angle.

From the rear.

From the rear.

These are Feudal Casting figures, originally Irish or Picts. I’ve given them Essex shields and shortened the spears of some. I’ve got a lot more experienced at this, as I remember the first element I did years ago was a real trial!

  • Painting progress

Otherwise, I’ve got the four elements of 4Pk a little closer to completion; they’re very close actually, and the four elements of Norman 3Kn are also pretty close. I’ve also added some more paint to a number of Tabletop Fantasy adventurers that I got last year. They’re also not far off from being finished. It’ll be good to get some more old projects finished before starting on any new ones!

Dwarf quest

9 February, 2015

Last month I posted a comparison of 15mm dwarves. After that I spent some time researching figures, and decided to order some dwarves from Splintered Light. They proved to be the answer, being the right size to scale with my humans and even to mix with some of my other dwarves. Despite this, it’s taken me a while to post anything about them. Yesterday, I prepped them, so now I can post a few comparisons. Here’s a rogues gallery of all the manufacturers I have (thought the Peter Pig ones got forgotten):

Dwarves from left to right: Blood Dawn, Eureka, Copplestone (x2), Black Raven (x2), Grenadier (x2), Feudal casting (human), Essex (human), Splintered Light (x2), East Riding Miniatures (x2), Chariot (x3, 3rd = halfling).

Dwarves from left to right: Blood Dawn, Eureka, Copplestone (x2), Black Raven (x2), Grenadier (x2), Feudal casting (human), Essex (human), Splintered Light (x2), East Riding Miniatures (x2), Chariot (x3, 3rd = halfling).

All the figures to the left of the two humans are bigger than them, and I’ll be selling those figures soon. Those to the right are Splintered Light (SL), East Riding Miniatures (ERM) and Chariot. The SL figures vary a little in size from figure to figure. This allows them to scale with both the ERM and the Chariot figures. Here’s a selection of these three manufacturers:

From left to right: first six = SL, next six = ERM, last three = Chariot.

From left to right: first six = SL, next six = ERM, last three = Chariot.

Most of the SL figures would mix well with the ERM ones, as shown here:

Scaling SL and ERM.

Scaling SL and ERM.

The one on the right is very small and wouldn’t mix well. However, it’s one of the best for scaling with the Chariot figures:

[a592: Scaling SL and Chariot.]

Scaling SL and Chariot.

I’m in the process of painting some of the ERM figures. These comparisons have reinvigorated my interest in getting them finished. If you compare some of these figures with the pictures on the manufacturers’ websites, you might notice that I’ve made the axes smaller; in particular, I’ve chopped off one head of the double-headed ones.

Well, that’s where I’m at with my dwarves. After a lot of searching I finally have the figures I want. These are the ‘Angry Viking’ style dwarves, not the Leonardo Da Vinci ones. I’m not sure what Peter Jackson thought he was doing with his in the last instalment of the travesty that has been misnamed The Hobbit. There is a clear description of Dain’s dwarves, one he ignored, but then he ignored most of the book anyway, and loaded the film with ludicrous kung fu special effects and silly story lines. But I’ll restrain myself from saying more.

Pokeno Invitational

7 February, 2015

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. A few weeks back I had my first gaming of the year, a chance to catch up with Joel and John and to see Keith for the first time in a good long time. Keith has already posted about the day, which was really enjoyable. I lost most of my games and at the time complained of poor dice, but on reflection it was really poor planning — plans that depend on good PIP dice aren’t really plans, but endeavours in blind luck! Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun and it was good to see armies out on the table that haven’t been used in a while. My Comnenan Byzantines were used twice, as were my Normans (as Early Crusaders). My Polybian Romans and Late Carthaginians were also used (oddly we had three games going simultaneously first with the Romans on one side each and then the Carthaginians). Pyrrhus’ army, Prefeudal Scots and Saxons completed the turnout.

After that day, John and I continued at my house with a game of Song of Blades and Heroes. It was a chance to use the Gnolls and some terrain. The fight at a bridge resulted in the Gnolls losing decisively against some Normans. The bridge was a bottle neck that probably favoured the superior firepower of the Normans, though the Gnolls did get to achieve a few consolation kills.

The gaming renewed my enthusiasm for painting, and I’ve got my four blocks of Successor 4Pk closer to completion, but other projects still manage to finish before them!

Skeletons

7 February, 2015

When I looked at the figures I had for Song of Blades and Heroes (SoBH), I decided that my ghosts and wraiths would be lonely without some low quality undead to make up some warbands. Furthermore, I figure skeletons and zombies won’t take too much trouble to paint. Therefore, I based the two warbands I’d got from Splintered Light and set to work on the skeletons. I got these done very quickly, and I’m pleased with the result. I’ve used GW Bleached Bone with my usual wash and then a drybrush of white for highlights. The other colours were designed to be drab, so the cloth was a grey mixed with my linen colour (a mixture of bleached bone and the GW khaki colour — now renamed to Karak Stone).

The new skeleton warband.

The new skeleton warband.

Three archers.

Three archers.

From the back.

From the back.

The mounted skeletons.

The mounted skeletons.

The other side.

The other side.

Unarmoured skeletons.

Unarmoured skeletons.

From the rear.

From the rear.

Armoured skeletons.

Armoured skeletons.

From the rear.

From the rear.

The wash brings out the detail well, though indentations for temples sometimes can look like eye sockets. The kite shields of a couple are of a later period than the Dark Age setting I favour, but skeletons are probably lacking in any fashion sense.

The zombies should come next, and then I may get back to the ratmen that I started before Christmas. I have quite a few sundry figures for SoBH in various stages of completion. I also have figures for DBA that are getting worked on now and then; in particular, I have four stands of mounted Norman knights that are well on the way. I cut out the spaghetti lances and gave them Xyston spears. The clever part of this was leaving the last 3mm of spear on each one’s foot. It made the whole process much easier and you can’t see the join.

Finally, I will post pictures of dwarves at some stage. I got an order of Splintered Light ones, and they are of the right scale for my humans. Before I look to sell the Copplestone, Grenadier, Blood Dawn and Black Raven dwarves, I will post some pictures for purpose of scaling. I’m also in the process of painting some East Riding Miniatures dwarves, though they seem to be languishing in the queue to be completed!

Dwarves again

11 December, 2014

I’m still trying to get dwarves for my HotT armies. I have Chariot dwarves, and I like some of them, but as I said earlier, some are more suited to Snow White. One virtue of the Chariot dwarves is that they scale with my Chariot, Feudal Castings and Essex humans. I now have bought figures from Peter Pig, Copplestone, East Riding Miniatures (ERM) and Grenadier (Mirliton) to use; none of them are ideal. Partly it is that the Chariot figures have very short legs; the Peter Pig figures might mix, though they are somewhat renaissance in their dress, particularly with the puffy pants. The ERM figures are the right height, but too bulky to mix, whereas the superb looking Copplestone and Grenadier figures are bigger than the humans of my armies. This is a shame, as the Grenadier figures especially I’d really like to use. Here’s a picture to illustrate scale that might be useful.

From left to right: Copplestone, Chariot [human], Grenadier, Essex [huan], ERM, Peter Pig, Chariot, Chariot [halfling]

From left to right: Copplestone, Chariot [human], Grenadier, Essex [human], ERM, Peter Pig, Chariot, Chariot [halfling]

So what will I do next? I think I’ll paint a few ERM figures and see how they look on their own (I’d hoped to mix them with the Chariot figures). I’ll also paint my Peter Pig catapult and see how they look. I may then buy a few Peter Pig figures to mix with the Chariot ones, though if I like how the ERM paint up, I may go with them; either way the ERM and Chariot figures wouldn’t work on the same base. Longer term I reckon I’ll be looking to sell the Copplestone and Grenadier figures.

 

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