Despite plans to start a regular evening DBA meeting this year, it’s yet to happen, but I have caught up with Nick for a number of enjoyable games. One back in January saw a BBDBA contest in which my Marian Romans with Numidian allies were defeated by Nick’s Romans. We didn’t take any photos. I think my Numidians forgot to be defensive and were defeated before I could win elsewhere.

A fortnight ago we had a couple games using some of my newer armies. My Numidians defeated Nick’s Marian Romans.

The Numidians face Roman interlopers in a very green season in Numidia.

The Romans’ view.

I rushed forward to trap the legionaries next to the woods. I didn’t succeed, and I had the auxilia on my left that I didn’t want to meet with psiloi. From memory I was on the verge of defeat when I was lucky enough to create a hole in the line of the blade (I’d been falling back; I’d lost my only psiloi on the right and my commander was trying to retreat over the hill). This brought me back into the fight, which was looking over for the Numidians. I had been saved by good PIPs that allowed me to retire the general while keep pressure on in the centre. I was lucky to win.

The next battle was between my Campanians and an Italiot Hoplite army. It was fought on a battlefield with no Bad Going, but only a boggy and a scrubby patch, both Rough Going.

Campanians facing Italiot hoplites.

The Italiots.

My Hoplites created a breakthough in the centre, but I was so obsessed with winning on the flanks I didn’t exploit it. Instead, when I rolled 1 PIP I chose to take a risk with my general facing enemy cavalry so that I could develop an advantage on my right flank. This cost me the game, as my General was 6-1ed and destroyed. The Italiots managed a close victory.

Last weekend we caught up again. I got the Marians and Numidians out for a BBDBA game. Nick fielded his Early Imperial Romans. This game was interesting, as my centre destroyed his in record time and my Numidians were able to break their opponent with this support. I’ve not seen blade go down to blade so fast before. My dice were very good. the element that did it was a ring in. To get the 10 elements of legionaries I needed I used an element with different shield patterns. These are an element for my Mithridatic army, one I’ve described as Marian exiles fighting for Mithridates. Clearly they are dedicated defenders of the Republic.

The heroic Marian exiles.

The game was nearly over before the left wing made contact. My elephants were still stuck in rough going (my new hamlet), and I was nervous of the Roman knights.

The righteous defenders of the free Republic face off on hills against the supporters of the tyrant Augustus.

The EIR wing on my left, cavalry, knights and auxilia.

The EIR centre, auxilia, blade and bow.

The EIR wing on my right, blade, auxilia and rogue Numidian LH.

The battle from the side; the centre led by Cato is between two difficult hills; Juba’s Numidian psiloi are on one hill while his imitation legionaries, elephant and cavalry are in rough going; Labianus on the right wing is in a hamlet with elephants, cavalry and solid auxilia; he has psiloi and fast auxilia on the other hill.

Clearly the Numidians were not keen on fighting each other, as there were a number of rounds of combat that saw no casualties on that wing; the Romans were not so delicate in their attitude to each other. This is my first victory with this Marian BBDBA army. I’m still not sure how to get it to work well. I will probably get my Carthaginians out as a BBDBA army again soon. They are similarly winless, but I now have a better idea of how to organise commands.

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Campanians at last

21 November, 2017

I’ve got a bit of catching up with putting my painting on the blog. I’ve spent a bit of time today using a new camera (and a tripod) and getting the settings right for the lighting I’m using. I’d say the results are better than what I was doing last year.

I have a nice little painting tray now, and storage for my paints.

The painting tray, lamp and other equipment.

The picture shows the lamp I use, one that has a magnifying glass built into it. It also shows my wet palette, which was working well last year, but now the baking paper is curling off the palette; perhaps it’s not damp enough. On the tray can be seen my Mitanni army taking shape. the foot should be done soon, and the chariot crew are progressing well. Then it will be a matter of getting the chariots assembled and painted, and the camp.

Otherwise I’ve updated the Army Page for my Southern Italian armies. The Campanians can now be fielded. I’ll aim to update the Numidians, Normans and Pyrrhic pages soon too.

The Campanian army.

Getting the Campanians done is quite an achievement, as they were started in 2010, and the figures may have been bought earlier than that!

A few updates

13 November, 2017

It’s over a year since the last post. Straight after Conquest I got busy with a new job; it’s quietened down a bit now, but I’ve not got back to the blog to update what I’ve been doing recently. Since I last posted, and mostly in the last few months, I’ve played a few games of DBA, and got a couple of armies finished. These were preparation for Conquest 2017, which was last weekend. Therefore, it’s time to get some reports posted.

Firstly, when I decided to go to Conquest, I decided on two armies that would encourage me to get some armies finished, much as I’d done last year. This time I decided to get my Normans to a stage they can be fielded. This involved finishing four 3Kn that had been mostly done for over a year or more. In addition, I did a camp and three 3Bw. There are stacks of Sp to do, and more crossbowmen and archers, but I could field the Normans. I’ll look to getting the rest done soon to allow these to morph into some of the other armies of that period, such as Early Crusaders, Communal Italians and Papal Italians.

The other army I decided on was Pyrrhus for BBDBA; this required me to finish the Campanians to be Pyrrhus’ Oscan troops. It also required an extra element of xystophoroi (3Kn) and Tarantine cavalry (LH). In all, this was 8 figures of 3Ax (four were already done), 9 figures of Oscan cavalry and 5 figures of 3Kn and LH. What was particularly pleasing was that I didn’t need to buy any of these; I actually reduced the lead pile a little.

I’ll post some pictures of these figures soon. Otherwise, I played a couple of games of DBA with Joel a while back, and some with John and Nick (also now a while back). Finally the weekend before Conquest I got to the AWC for a game of BBDBA with Mike. This proved invaluable, as Mike critiqued my decisions around the commands I’d created. The changes were very effective at Conquest.

Campanians

29 October, 2016

The Carthaginians that are going to Conquest are represented by the proper nationalities, except for the spear, for which I’ve had to use some Greek hoplites. To create a bit of balance with the Carthaginian spear, I got some more of my Campanian army painted. The Carthaginians are now taking three elements of Carthaginians, three of Greek mercenaries and three of Campanian mercenaries. These Campanians have already shown some grit, which is gratifying.

Campanian hoplites.

Campanian hoplites.

These figures have been on the painting queue for a while. Since I started them the auxilia in these armies has mostly been reclassified as 3Ax, which is probably more useful. I got the cavalry prepped a few weeks back, and I hope to paint them and four elements of the 3Ax to be able to field the Campanian army (II/8b).

From the side.

From the side.

And the other side.

And the other side.

And the rear.

And the rear.

The Campanian army is not terribly exciting, but it’s not as one-dimensional as the other two that I can make from these figures, the Bruttians and Apulians. I won’t even talk about the Samnites, which under DBA are really just speedbumps for any opponent.

Half the army is now ready to go.

Half the army is now ready to go.

The four elements of 3Ax ready to be painted.

The four elements of 3Ax ready to be painted.

I got a few shields and flags for this army from the Freikorp range. Two of the ‘flags’ are actually trophies. These troops used to take the tunics and belts of fallen enemies and display them on their spears. I’ve used them as such on a couple of the Old Glory figures. Not quite headhunters, but showing promise!

The trophy tunic and belt.

The trophy tunic and belt.

The cavalry needed a bit of preparation. Green stuff filled big gaps between the saddles and horses. Shields were on some, others have been salvaged from Freikorp thureophoroi that became imitation legionaries, and others are CB caetrae from their Spanish range.

The Southern Italian cavalry. The trophy on one has had a wardrobe malfunction.

The Southern Italian cavalry. The trophy on one has had a wardrobe malfunction.

When I’ve done this army, I may look to paint an Armenian army to complement my Mithridatic one.

Campanians move closer

6 December, 2010

While I did a couple of test elements for the Gladiator figures, I did a couple of Old Glory ones too. This was partly because psiloi are very quick to paint and partly to see how their hoplites compared to the Gladiator ones I was doing and to the Essex ones I’d done.

One third of the Campanians done.

I really like the Campanian hoplites; the Xyston spears help tie in the two figures that I had to drill out the hands for. I’m now keen to do the other three elements of them. This would only leave some more auxilia and some mounted elements to finish this army (and then I could do the remaining five to seven elements of auxilia to allow it to be used as Bruttian or Samnite.

Plenty of pose variation with these figures.

The Campanians now have an Army Page, shared with their Southern Italian neighbours.

Plodding along

11 March, 2010

Things have been a bit quiet on the gaming front for the last while. First, Joel’s been away on a school camp, so the Gauls are still waiting for their first outing. Then, having avoided a cold that got the rest of the family a few weeks back, I came down with it last week; I guess once the thesis was finally finished my body decided it could let its guard down. On top of this it’s the start of semester and fairly full on at work.

I’ve made a start on a number of figures, the Carthaginian and the Spanish cavalry; I guess they’re slightly over half finished. I’ve also started on the camp figures, which are at a similar stage.

Otherwise, my energy has gone into cleaning up some OG15 Italians that I got from Rudy Nelson; they will allow  my Bruttians to morph into Campanians, Apulians and Samnites. Rudy does a great service in breaking up OG15 packs for DBA armies, and his prices are very reasonable.

I’ve also decided to get a little fancier with my bases. Perhaps it’s the MDF bases, or perhaps it’s the Spanish camp that I’m working on, but I’ve decided to get some Acrylic Sand Mortar from an Art Shop. The brand is Pebeo, which I’ve found fairly reasonably priced for varnish and paint for bases. I’ve made a mixture of this sand mortar and Raw Sienna, Yellow Earth and Raw Umber that seems pretty satisfactory; I’ve used this on one base and added kitty litter stones, but am now waiting for some static flock to finish the whole thing. This could lead me down the path of rebasing my ancient armies (and perhaps in time the medieval ones!).

I’ve been fairly restrained so far this year with figure purchases, just a few CB figures to round out the Celts and Spanish, and those OG15s, but if I start to paint some of the Hellenistic armies that I have, I could be tempted to get some figures from either Essex or Black Hat to round them out. Perhaps I should aim to finish the Carthaginians and Spanish first, but it’s fun to see how the first figures of an army turn out, and I’ve yet to do any of those Macedonians and Greeks.

Meanwhile, now that the thesis is submitted, I’ve got a bit more spare time for reading, so while I wait for Joel to get back, I’ve started reading Caesar’s Gallic Wars again in the Latin; it’s a pity that there’s really no literary equivalent to his work that relates the war from the point of view of the Gauls. He’s a masterful stylist and great at obscuring details that show to his discredit.

A swarm of skirmishers

8 February, 2010

I completed the next batch of figures for my ancients armies this weekend. I still don’t have a complete Ancient British army, but I’m getting closer. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly I had a few small mishaps that slowed me down. I had the figures necessary for the minimum number of warbands ready to go and I’d finished a number of the naked fanatics (not hard!) when I put some matt varnish on them that I should have thrown away. It turned them white! More annoying was losing the shield transfers. Then I took the finished Britons out to show somebody and the box they were in got inverted in the car knocking the crew off the chariots.

These setbacks may have contributed to my painting other figures, but there were sound reasons for doing them. Firstly, I wanted to place an order for more VVV transfers, so I needed to check that they worked on the various figures I’ve got waiting to paint. This led me to do an element of OG15s Bruttian auxilia, some Chariot Polybian Romans and some CB Spanish. I also did some CB Numidian and Libyan skirmishers to see what their shields would look like and to experiment with using washes on white.

The Ancient Britons are a little closer. I’ve repaired damaged chariots and I’ve rebased all the figures I’d finished on MDF; I was really impressed with how Joel’s Marians lined up on my wheeling stick, while my figures were always a few mm out! Getting the MDF also provided an excuse to get the CB ‘Victory and Defeat’ pack. I also decided to give the adolescent skirmishers some small shields. And I’ve finished the second of the light horse elements.

Celtic adolescent skirmishers: the shields were Outpost round shields cut smaller in a hole punch and with their bosses removed. The patterns are VVV ones for peltas.

Ancient British light horse: the rebasing on MDF provided a good opportunity to improve the placing of the figures.

On the painting sticks are enough warband figures to field a Gallic army (including the headhunters, of course), and two more chariots. This time I decided to glue the shields on the unpainted figures. I’ll see how that goes, but certainly the gluing is a fiddly job that I only want to do once. Whether it’s better at the start or not I’m yet to see. I went all out and gluded the crew into the chariots unpainted. I may yet regret this! These figures are at various stages of completion; about half have finished shields; about two elements are finished, but can’t be based as they’ll be mixed with figures that are not finished. the rest are just needing their clothes painted, which takes me the longest, as I decide on colours and try to get enough variety (I’m really looking forward to doing some armies that have uniforms!).

The Polybian Romans have been given shield transfers, even though evidence for shield patterns is slim. The VVV patterns seem to follow Warry’s Warfare in the Classical World, p. 110. They’re intended to flank the spine, but one of the patterns in Warry is along the top as I’ve done, and I think it looks better like that. I’m doing the Hastati and Principes mixed on bases, and doing two uniforms (one for each legion). This one has white tunics and red shields with a boar on them. The others will have red tunics and green shields with wolves on them. The Triarii will match the colours, but have a different shield pattern.

Polybian Romans (right) and Oscan Infantry (left): the Romans are hiding behind their shields; their crests serve to mask the difference is size with the Oscans. You can see the same Roman patterns on the Oscan shields (left over when I decided not to put them parallel to the spines).

I also painted a few OG15s Oscan infantry. I got them from Mike Sanderson for a Bruttian army. They come from the pack IC08 (Samnite Infantry), but over a third of them are in the same pose (the two round shield ones on here), so I’m planning to get some more OG15s figures to allow me to allow these to morph into a Campanian or an Apulian army and to break up the monotony of poses). With these figures, and the next ones, I was experimenting with using washes on white. I find the wash makes the colour turn light brown. Advice from Fanaticus that I tried was to coat the white with Klear before using the wash and this got the results I wanted. I’m going for a fair bit of variation in whites, mixing in ‘Bleached Bone’ or ‘Kommando Khaki’ to give an undyed linen or wool effect.

The backs of the Romans and the Spanish Scutarii (the only way to see what the Romans are doing behind those shields!). The Spaniard on the right and the Roman on the left had stright white tunics, the others had various off-white ones. a prior wash of Klear kept the wash only in the folds.

I did an element each of Numidian and Libyan skirmishers. This was to try out a slightly darker flesh colour. I added some ‘Dark Flesh’ to my ‘Mediterranean Flesh’, which is a mixture of ‘Dwarf Flesh’ and ‘Vomit Brown’. This was also an experiment with their shields. I’m reasonably pleased with how they came out. However, just after I realized that the had should be near the rim not the centre! With these two and the Celts and Spanish that I’ve done, I’ve now got five of the 12 elements of a Later Carthaginian army, and now that I’m happy with the way I’ve done my Numidians, the two elements of 2LH won’t take long at all!

Carthaginian skirmishers: Numidian (left) and Libyan (right) psiloi.

Lastly, I did some CB Spanish. I’d painted their shields a little before to see if VVV transfers would work on them, and then I did a stand each of Scutarii and Caetrati along with one of Balearic slingers to see how the tunics would look. I used Peter Connolly’s illustration in Hannibal and the Enemies of Rome, p. 43,  as a model, though the figures on the CB website are useful guides too.

Spanish warriors: (from the left) Caetrati, Scutarii and Balearic slingers

I was up until 3.30 Saturday night working on some of these (not entirely intentionally)! I wanted to get them finished before the week started. Although I’ve not finished the Celts (and I really want to wait for the next lot of VVV transfer before I do that), I’ve now done figures for four other armies and satisfied myself with how they might turn out. In fact, I’m really keen to get onto those Romans and Carthaginians. I’ll try to do the Gallic cavalry before that, though—provided Xyston send some nice cavalry shields with spines before long!