I’ve gone through my lead pile and decided that these two DBA armies will never get painted. They are all figures from Outpost Wargames Services.

UPDATE: These have all now been sold.

The armies are Seljuk Turks (III/73b) and Syrians (IV/6).  The asking price for each is NZ$35 (US$25). Postage to the USA is NZ$14 (US$10), or NZ$18 (US$12.50) for them both. Postage to Australia for each is NZ$8. Payment by PayPal. If you’re interested, email me on daviespm AT yahoo DOT com.

I’ve also got a Ghaznavid War Elephant (CI14) that I’ll sell for US$2.50 (NZ$3.50). It would be a start towards morphing these armies into Ghaznavids.

The details of them are below (the numbers next to the figure codes are the number of individual figures).

  • Seljuk Turks

1x3Cv (cmd) [= 3xCIC1 (Ghulam Mounted Command)]

1x3Cv [= 3xCI2 Ghulam Heavy Cavalry (Nobles)]

8x2LH [= 2xCI4 (Turkomen Horse Archers), 6xCI3 (Turkomen Cavalry, Javelin / Bow), 4xCI4a (Turkomen Horse Archers) & 4xCAT3 (Light Cavalry)]

2x3Ax & 2x2Ps [= 8xCI6 (Seljuk Javelinmen)

2x3Bw [= 5xCAT2 (Infantry Archers) & 1xCI19 (Dailami bowmen)]

1xCF [= 4xCI7 (Islamic light archers)]

This is 22 mounted and 14 foot with 4 spares that can be used if you want archers for the 2Ps or for camp followers.

There is only enough 2LH for the minimum possible (another three would be possible, if you really wanted! If you get the Syrian army you could use two from them for an all mounted army (but with a 3Cv to keep the commander company).

  • Syrians

1x3Cv (cmd) [= 3xCIC2 (‘Saladin’ mounted command)]

3x3Cv [= 4xCI17 (Syrian Heavy cavalry), 1xCI2 (Ghulam Heavy Cavalry) & 4xCI1 (Islamic Elite Cavalry/Guard)]

4x2LH [= 4xCI8 (Bedouin Light Cavalry), 2xCI4 (Turkomen Horse Archers) & 2xCI3 (Turkomen Cavalry, Javelin / Bow)]

2x3Wb & 1x3Ax [= 5xCI18 (Dailami Javelinmen) & 4xCI10 (Arab Infantry Swordsmen)]

2x2Ps [= 2xCI7 (Islamic light archers) & 2xCI11 (Arab Infantry Archers)]

1x7Hd (7xCI12 (Civic Militia – Adath)

1xCF [= from spares: 1xCI10 (Arab Infantry Swordsmen), 2xCI7 (Islamic light archers) & 1xCI11 (Arab Infantry Archers) & 1xCI12 (Civic Militia – Adath)]

This is 20 mounted and 20 foot with 5 spare foot for camp followers.

Last Saturday I got to try my Byzantines out against John’s Swiss. I went with 4x3Cv (1 = cmd), 1x3Kn, 3x2LH, 3x4Bw, 1x4Bd. On reflection the knights were pretty useless against the pike, and an extra 2LH would have been better. John took 8x4Pk (1 = cmd), 1x2LH, 2x2Ps, 1x6Bd. His aggression meant I was defender, and I set down one small wood of BGo and two small gentle hills. Hardly sporting, but hey!

Initial Deployment: Byzantines on the right and Swiss on the left.

After deploying I repositioned my light horse to try and stop the Swiss crossbowmen getting into the woods. This also put two elements of Kavallarioi to face his light horse. This plan hit a snag when John started with 6 PIPs, enough to get the crossbowmen comfortably into the woods. Undaunted I rushed my light horse in column in an attempt to sack his camp. However, his pike scooted sideways faster than I’d anticipated and I was quickly ZOCed. Things quickly turned sticky on the left flank, as my light horse couldn’t easily go forwards or backwards owing to the skirmishers in the woods. The ensuing combats involved risk to the pike, who could be QKed, but also to the light horse, who could be recoiled into each other, or as it developed, into the skirmishers to their rear.

The light horse are repulsed. While one pike blocks the lead Pechenegs element, another recoils an attack by the other Pechenegs that had overlap support from Turkopouloi.

The lead Pechenegs fail to move the pike in a hard-fought battle (6-5).

The fighting continues fiercely, as the pike remain steady and the light horse do not flee.

The Swiss swing onto the offensive, and destroy one element of Pechenegs by blocking their retreat with the skirmishers and flee the Turkopouloi with a carefully supported general (no risk of a 1-6 killing him), but on the right flank, buoyed on by the sight of camp, the Pechenegs break the unsupported pikes!

Notoriously greedy, the Pechenegs find courage in the hope of loot!

This was a very luck let-off for the Byzantines, as the lead Pechenegs were close to being surrounded (in fact I think they might have been destroyed by a recoil here) and the flight of the Turkopouloi freed them for use elsewhere. With the camp in sight the Pechenegs wasted no time in trying to sack it, but on their first attempt they were repulsed.

While the camp (occupied by the disorganized remnants of the routed pike) holds fast, the Turkopouloi race over to the other flank to threaten the Swiss light horse.

At this point the main battle lines came into bow range, and the Swiss blade tried to attack some of the bow at 3-2 odds. It got a stick, while shooting on the pike was ineffective.

Byzantine archers, benefiting from overlap support, hold back the Swiss halberdiers.

At this point the Varangians did what they were in reserve to do, and as the archers retired from the fight against the halberdiers, they slid in to contact and routed the dismayed Swiss. Shooting remained ineffective.

The Varangians display their elite status.

In response the Swiss have only two PIPs, not enough in the circumstances, and can only regroup. The Byzantines also only have two PIPs, but when one of those is used to attack the camp again, it proves enough!

The Pechenegs celebrate their first camp-sacking!

A risky deployment of the light horse pays dividends! A truly Byzantine victory, in which all the critical fighting is done by mercenaries, Pechenegs and Varangians!

  • Review:

I really can’t remember sacking a camp before; I’ve tried a few times, but can’t recall actually taking one. With up to four 2LH that might happen more often! Winning on one’s first outing is a good way to endear an army to oneself, and I can see myself liking the Komnenans. More battles this weekend may confirm this.

The Swiss came close to winning again, even with unfavourable terrain and a difficult opponent; in hindsight John didn’t need to double-rank his pike, as only my blade and knights were affected by this rank. a formation of six pike with two rear-ranked would have worked better. Of course, John could argue that the deployment was part of an elaborate plan to sucker me into my risky and very nearly disastrous flank attack!

After seeing in previous games against John how nasty a single element of light horse could be, I was very careful not to let my cavalry on the right flank be attacked unsupported; for that reason they never got into combat before the camp was sacked, but I felt the caution was not misplaced.

I’ve now flocked the Komnenans, and prepared their army page. I also got the Manichaeans (3Ax) done, so I only have one more element of 2Ps to do and an element of 4Sp (which I can’t see much use for!) to have all the options.

The Komnenans arrayed.

Rather than start on the feudals, I also did a couple of elements for some Hellenistic armies, an element of Hoplites and an element of Phalangites. These were test elements to see how they looked and how hard they were to paint. On both counts I was very pleased. The challenge with the hoplites was to avoid having their spears poke elements to their front and rear. I hope I’ve managed this by angling their spears down, as in a famous statuette.

Until I’ve done another element I can’t swear that this problem is solved, but it’s looking pretty good. The spears are Xyston ones, and I chose the purple shields on the basis that the tyrant Timoleon had a unit so equipped. I have to confess to being guided by what I think will look nice as much as what is accurate, so, for instance, I’d rather not do the backs of the shields red if that would draw too much attention to them. Similarly I’m not convinced that bronze shields look so good (particularly as a background to transfers), so I probably won’t do any like that. The Essex figures look very nice; I like the pose, and the mix of equipment. Their clear lines make them easy to paint.

Phalangites and Hoplites.

From the rear.

The hoplites will be for a Syracusan army, but will in time be able to morph into quite a number of armies. The phalangites are for a Later Macedonian army and I prepared these at the beginning of the year. They are Gladiator figures, and these are really more Seleucids with their trousers, but I’ll probably do a pair of elements of them anyhow. I have quite a few Gladiator phalangites, and some Hinchcliffe ones; I doubt I’ll ever paint the Hinchcliffe ones, but the Gladiator ones are OK.

One of the impetuses for painting these figures was that I’d placed a small order with Essex for some kite shields. I want to see what they’re like, as I thing the Khurasan shield is not the right shape for a transfer (and I’m much too lazy to paint shields by hand!). I took the opportunity of this order to get a few mounted elements to finish of the Hellenistic armies (as some of the figures I got from Mike Sanderson were unusable. I’ll try to get on to painting the feudals, but all those ancients are sorely tempting: the various Hellenistics and the Ancient Spanish in particular.

A recent purchase was a clip-on loupe that attaches to my glasses. I figured it would be more comfortable than the head-mounted one I have. I’m still getting used to the different depth of field of these, but they are lighter.

Not identical to what I've got, but close enough.

Last Friday my Goblins had another outing at John’s. I was going to trial the Samanids (III/43c). John had decided to surprise me by fielding some Eastern Patrician Romans rather than his Swiss. These are a very attractive mix of Khurasan and Splintered Light figures. However, they weren’t painted, but only blutaked to the bases. Cries of horror all around! As the ‘Samanids’ had a fairly unconventional appearance themselves they made no complaint. Both are low-aggression armies and on this occasion the Shamanid Goblins were the aggressors. The terrain was something of a wall of woods with a gentle hill to one side and a road on the edge of the field. I managed to get the woods running along the table rather than between us and watched as the Romans deployed: 1x3Cv (cmd), 2x3Kn, 2x2LH, 2x4Bd, 2x4Wb, 2x4Ax and 1x2Ps. They met this with 3x3Cv (1=cmd), 1x2LH (Spider), 1xEl (Trolls), 3x4Sp, 1x3Ax, 2x3Bw and 1x2Ps.

The armies deploy: Goblins on the left. Oops, no flash!

I wanted to stop the Auxilia from getting into the woods on my side and advanced my spider (2LH) to do this. This created a standoff in the open between his two Auxilia with psiloi support and my auxilia and spider. I intervened with my wolfriders against his psiloi which evened the odds, but got the wolfriders close to his knights. This was a move that was on the edge of legal; there was about a millimetre in it to allow legal contact with the psiloi. The difference that such measurements can make is one of the downsides of DBA and is probably more extreme in the 15mm scale. The battle went the goblins way, though narrowly.

The first time in a while I've won the opening combat—a refreshing change!

The Romans countered by attacking on that flank with their knights and the Auxilia. The goblins were ferocious and drove the knights back, avoiding a ‘buttocks of death’ situation.

Look at those 6s—can it last?

In reply the Goblins had only 1 PIP and tried to win against the Auxilia, but the attack was thrown back (as it had been the first time).

The spider is repulsed again.

The Romans advance at speed on their right flank, while trying to incommode the Goblin auxilia, but events on that flank reverse the outcome of the previous combat.

This time the Auxilia fall back. Note the Roman commander on the hill moving into command range for his right flank.

Again the spider attacks, and again it is repulsed. The Goblin commander moves up to support his wolfriders, and the other wolfriders attack the Roman light horse, but only recoil them.

Indecisive combats on each flank.

Then the Romans try to snare the wolfriders on their right flank, going at them with warbands in the rear and the flank, but the Goblins hang on for a ‘stick’, much to the displeasure of the Roman commander.

Goblins unfazed by hordes of smelly unpainted Germans.

At this point I decided that warbands were too attractive a target for Trolls to ignore (sporting be damned!). Despite the support from the Trolls, the wolfriders couldn’t keep up their resistance and were destroyed, but so was one of the warbands. Attempts to change things on the other flank had reached an impasse; clearly the Auxilia and the spider weren’t really interested! I attempted to beat the knights by sliding my commander in front of them and moving the wolfriders around to provide overlap; I was at 4-3, but think I was recoiled, though it’s out of the camera shot.

Urgh, squished Germans!

The Romans now attempted to destroy an element of spear, and they planned it well: uphill against a cavalry general with a light horse in support, but if they were hoping for dawn at Helm’s Deep, they were disappointed, these Goblins didn’t break, but threw back the cavalry in disarray! The Roman knights have the wolfriders at 4-2, but only recoil them (again, largely out of camera).

Grrr, sissy horseboys!

And then it was all over! The Trolls went after another set of Germans (yum, yum!), and Goblin archers, after spending the whole battle trapped behind the spear, get to turn around and double some clearly disaffected light horse.

Victory to the Goblins!

Gracious in victory, the Goblins made a tasteful cairn of the skulls of the dead Germans on the hill, and tucked in to a nutritious meal of horsemeat (not stinting on human flesh either, it has to be said!). The Roman commander, as his forces retired in defeat, cursed Fortuna (much to the disapproval of accompanying clerics).

  • Review:

After the analysis I did of the dice rolled in the last game, I did the same with this one, and the results were interesting (I missed a combat that were outside of the zoomed-in camera, but it was inconclusive). My total combat rolls were impressively better (52 to 38 in 15 combats). Accordingly they favoured me in 9 of the combats and John in only 4 (two were tied). The distribution of each dice result should be 5 of each number, but there were slightly more 1s, 2s and 4s (7 of each), slightly fewer 3s and 6s (4 of each) and only one 5. Isn’t Excel fun! It’s interesting that the 1s were overrepresented and the 6s slightly underrepresented, as those numbers get noticed. Who ever notices that 5s aren’t being rolled?

Anyway, the results do confirm John’s complaint that the dice were against him. They kept my surrounded wolfriders alive for one turn and they saved a beleaguered 4Sp (but 4Sp have a refreshing habit of doing that for me); all of which gave me time to win. Having said that, it would have been a different game if the legions had faced the Trolls and not the warbands!

The moral of the story is don’t expect the dice to favour unpainted figures! The better they’re painted the better they fight, though John warned his figures ominously last week they’d have to earn the privilege of paint!

Friday two weeks ago was the first outing for a couple of new armies. One of these were my New Model Goblins, rebased to impersonate DBA armies, in particular those with elephants. As I’m now working on preparing for the second half of the CWC DBA competition and the second half of the IWC one, I decided to field them as Gobnovids, pseudo-Ghaznavids (III/63), one of the most popular armies of the second two books and therefore one worth getting familiar with. These were facing an army that John had just finished, his Later Swiss (IV/79). This is a pike army, which is strong against mounted—if it can protect its flanks.

I’ve been fairly slow writing this up; part of the reason is a lack of interest as the photos came out badly; I used the wrong setting on the camera. Anyway, it was a fun game with some surprising reverses of fortune. It started well for the Gobnovids, as they were the defenders (the Swiss have the same aggression as them). Seeing no reason to be nice, they laid out the minimum of terrain, some small patches of rough and a small steep hill. I suspect also that John may not have got the edge he wanted, as half of this terrain ended up on my baseline.

Initial Deployments: Swiss on the left and Gobnovids on the right. The Giant and Trolls look on from the camp.

After the Swiss had deployed I moved the two spear from right flank in exchange for a cavalry and a light horse (spider). Otherwise they would have done nothing, and the mounted seemed better suited to exploiting that flank. However the spear were facing pikes and possibly knights, so they weren’t in an ideal position.

From memory I had good PIPs at the start and advanced the right flank while wheeling the centre and not advancing the left much past the patch of rough. John seemed to decide that there was no point in letting me get things the way I wanted on the open flank, and advanced aggressively.

The armies close. On the right flank the spider and wolfriders face light crossbowmen, mounted and on foot.

John made my spiders (2LH) pay the price for their advance ahead of the rest of the line. He attacked them with his light horse supported by the light foot and they were destroyed when I rolled a 1.

Ouch! The spiders scuttle off.

Things just got worse for me when I rolled another 1 for the wolfriders against his psiloi. He rolled a 6 and they were gone. So much for a QK on psiloi! I’m sure I must have initiated this combat: 2-1 odds to me with a QK seemed pretty good.

The right flank starts to look tatty.

However, then the dice started to go my way and when John attacked in the centre and on the right; my psiloi and bow recoiled his light horse and crossbowmen and in the centre against pikes the commander was driven back while his left flank got a stick.

Blessed relief from dice hell!

I must have been scuppered for PIPs, as besides having the Ogres that were stuck recoiled, I did nothing. John swung into attack on the psiloi and they were destroyed (another 1-6), but my bow against his other psiloi returned the favour, and in the only other combat my overlapped bow got a stick against his pike.

The Goblins get on the scoreboard, but are now 3 down.

I then got PIPs to burn and the Ogres got out of first gear and rumbled into the pike creating bloody confusion. One peeled off the support of the only rear-ranked block, the other two charged into single-ranked pike, and a spear came across to support the bow. Things got off to a good start when my bow 6-1’ed his psiloi in shooting. Then the Ogres chomped up two pikes and it was all over.

The Ogre king of the Gobnovids revels in the slaughter of the Swiss pike.

  • Review:

You can read John’s account of this here.  He had a tough job trying to win with no terrain to support a flank. I don’t know if it would have helped if he’d tried to echelon leading on the right. I expected to win on my right wing, and very nearly lost there. In the end the dice evened up on that wing, as I got two kills to John’s two. When both of you have low combat factors things get very bloody and this, I think worked in my favour as I was able to win in the centre before the Swiss pike and knights could contact the spear on the left. That said, another low PIP roll on the turn I won would have seen the Ogres standing idle.

I’m becoming less obsessed by the dice, though it’s unnerving to open combat with a pair of 1’s. They evened out as the game went on: my rolls totalled 51, while John’s totalled 50 (such calculations are possible when you put the dice results in the photo!). There were more extreme results than is statistical, as of the 14 recorded combats (there might have been a couple I missed), there were three 6-1s (this should occur 1/18 times). And of the 28 rolls there were six 1s and eight 6s, when statistically each number should occur 4.67 times in 28 rolls.

What such statistics don’t tell is the effect of the dice in individual combats, as in combats with low factors the chances of doubling are much higher. Anyway, besides being entertaining to investigate, this analysis confirms that I got average dice, and average dice with the terrain advantages in this match-up were all that was needed.

Komnenans ready to fight

17 August, 2010

I’m rather behind with entries on here at the moment. I still haven’t written up the Goblins’ first outing from a fortnight ago, and they’ve since had another battle. However, over the weekend I finished off the Komnenans. I based them last night and I’ll do the flocking tonight, so they will be ready for a battle later this week. I haven’t yet painted all the foot options, as I don’t see myself as using some of them; in particular I don’t see much utility for a single element of spear, though Auxilia could be useful, as would a second element of psiloi.

At the moment the foot option I want to trial is 1x4Bd (Varangians) and 3x4Bw (Archers). I like the idea of a block of three bow for concentrated supported shooting and the Varangians for support against other foot. Two thirds of the Komnenan army is mounted, which is the reverse proportion to my other armies, something that may take some getting used to.

I’ve got my first elements of Essex feudal figures ready to start. There’s a heap to do, but rather than start a lot and get swamped, I’ve decided to do just two elements of 3Kn to see how they look.

The feudal figures are going to be used for a number of fairly generic early feudal armies: from Normans through to Early Crusaders and Feudal French. To add some character to them I’d like to get some interesting figures for their camps; priests might do for a start.

Speaking of camps, I should really base the witches for my Pre-feudal Scots army; in fact, that army may be the next of my old armies to get rebased, which would provide the perfect excuse to base the witches. They’d add to the character of that army.

Ogres and Goblins

8 August, 2010

The New Model Goblins.

The weather has relented enough for me to take some pictures of the Ogres and Goblins I painted last week. You can see all the New Look Goblins here. The figures are all Chariot from Magister Militum, and I’ve got a pile more waiting to be painted; however, these allow me to field two DBA armies that I want to try out on the table, either as armies to buy or as common opponents.

Three lots of Ogres, enough to model any elephant army in DBA.

From the side.

The Ogres are a mix from three packs. Previously I only had the three in a jockstrap; now I’ve mixed them in with some armoured ones. The command element has a goblin flagbearer and a drummer.

The spearmen, with psiloi support hidden behind.

The spearmen are a mix of armoured and unarmoured, with the armoured at the front. I’ve added shields; the front rank have shields from Outpost, while the back rank have my cardboard peltas. The spears are easily long enough to be used as pikes when I paint a few more stands.

With these figures, along with the ones I’d painted earlier and rebased last weekend, I have all the options for two armies: they can be Shamanid Goblins (Samanids, III/43c).

Shamanid Goblins: 3Ax on the left and the spider as 2LH!

Or they can be Gobnovids (Ghaznavids, III/63b).

Gobnovids with all the behemoths possible and an element of 3Bd (on left).

The Gobnovids had their first outing last Friday, which I’ll try to write up soon.

Last weekend I got back to painting after three months off. I started by rebasing on MDF the painted figures for three armies: early feudal, Komnenan Byzantine and Goblins. The Goblins were being based to allow me to field them as pseudo-Samanids and Ghaznavids. All I needed to paint to allow this was seven ogres to make behemoth/elephant elements and nine spearmen for some spear elements.

I got the rebasing done by the end of the weekend, though I’m yet to finish them with flock. I also prepped all the figures for the three armies: the 17 Goblins and 18 mounted 50 foot for the feudals (the Komnenans were already started). Over the week I finished the Goblins and had them all based and flocked in time for a game yesterday (Friday). I’ve yet to take any pictures of them; the weather’s pretty wet at the moment, but I’ll try to soon.

Today I started on the Komnenans. I’d run out of steam with these last year, and I decided that the best way to get them done was to tackle the hardest part first—the shields for the Kavallarioi. I’ve now completed them, and I’m pleased with how they look; the practice with Gallic shields at the start of the year was very handy for dealing with the irregular-sized shields of the Outpost figures. The army’s now a good way along, and I should be able to get it finished in the next few days, though I’m not sure how I’ll do the flag for the army. I’ll probably go with a double-headed eagle, which legend has was adopted by the Komnenoi as their symbol. It may not be totally accurate, but it’s a nice story.

A possible flag for the Komnenans.

For more on the double-headed eagle see here.