Saturday 28 November 2009

Phyrus at the Gates of Rome - Battle for the Outer Gates (1)

Campaign Situation: 

The Greek general Phyrus challenged Rome to battle in sight of their capitol city. Despite even or better odds the Legions of Rome refused and retreated within the city perimeter leaving their politicians to parley with other Italian States for assistance. The Generals little more than poor politicians themselves concentrated on looking after their own interests while the poor citizens were left to panic.

Smoke from sacrificial offerings floated over the city. Food became in short supply but nevertheless Rome's Generals would not face the Greeks in the open field of battle to relieve the siege. Phyrus was left with the unsavory option of taking the battle to Rome without most of his cavalry and elephant armada, making the attacking force being weaker than the defenders. Rome was content to hunker down seeing no siege-train sufficient to threaten her walls and was quietly confident knowing that a powerful litigation had been sent out (to of all people the Samnites) for assistance.

However Phyrus is not content to read history, he writes it. As he heard the news of Roman (nay Samnite) reinforcements and judging them to be of dubious battlefield worth he saw the hand of opportunity extend. As the Samnites advanced the Romans unwittingly tested the metal of the Greek blockade. Roman politician generals found themselves committing their army to an unplanned battle in support of a minor relief operation to sneak food into the city. The Romans deployed in a long and thin line in good going with the Samnite Auxillia hugging their right flank in closed difficult going. Impartial observers would say later that is was noncommittal disposition without any intention to fight in a frontal battle (perhaps remembering past Roman treacheries) with the Greeks, but rather ride with the outcome of the main bodies.

The Tactical Battle:

The Roman command (actually split into two) is shown below. The middle of the Roman line being pumped full of Superior Triari spearmen. The Roman cavalry and Samnite allies are off to the left side of this picture on the Roman Right. 

Looking from the Roman left the Legions extended their line to a secure river flank

By contrast Phyrus concentrated his forces in a solid box formation in front of the Roman line troops with the intent to destroy their main command and decide the battle before the Roman flanking forces could intervene effectively and make their numbers tell. The left side of the Greek formation was a small command of cavalry and auxillia whose function was to delay for a long as possible the right hand side Roman and Samnite forces from affecting the decision point of the battle: Legion (Blades and Superior Spear) v Knights/Elephants and The Phalanx. In DBMM terms these troops could kill the Legion and it was important to be fighting with them as soon as possible and for as long as possible.

Looking at the Greek box from their left hand side:

The Greek Center, elephants. A lot would depend upon their performance.

Looking down the line from the Greek right flank, the Phalanx looks particularly impressive. Note the lights to the front of the Greek main line to deter any Roman specials (flaming pigs and anti-elephant war wagons) versus the Elephants, Knights and Phalanx. The Greek right ended in a column of superior Auxillia, paradoxically many from the same Samnite origin as per those found on the Roman side. This war has produced some strange bedfellows.

Next: Battle commences

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Painting Tray Updated Slightly

One good thing about packing things away is that "in the process of trying to be tidy" I inevitably find things I had completely forgotten about.

See bottom left below:

Some 1/3000 Navwar WWI Austro-Hungarian ships.

All part of a naval collection for a WWI "Hunt the Goeban" email campaign that stalled after a computer crash earlier this year. A wargaming project may take shape to resurrect this dead campaign?

PS I haven't forget about those WWII Tommies, I have a Vickers HMG and a 50mm deployed mortar team started. I must finish these for the complete Crossfire company OoB. I am just doing the wrong sort of painting just now :(

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Painting Tray - State Change

Recent household DIY disaster, hence no models to be seen on my hobby table (see below)


On the positive side a surplus to requirements 6mm ply-board has been donated to a wargaming friends table.

Friday 20 November 2009

The Curse of Bogland - III

Arrgh. Three times in a row fate has conspired against me. I missed yet another HoTT gaming night at my (quite far to travel to get to but very satisfying when I do) wargaming club.


I be cursed ...

At this rate my evil, war-mongering are turning into agrarian poets with pointy ears and long hair. The Orc-Boss of Bogland is not a happy boss. I have one last chance before the year is out to get back into the action.

Thursday 19 November 2009

A surge of metal mined from Moria

At last, the flush of WW2 projects off the painting table cleared in my mind's eye a slot for the LOTR HoTT project. specifically those Metal Morian Goblins. These are the boys (or things) who will stand by the Great Goblin and Goblin Shaman, so they deserved to be of a slightly better class, or should that simply read weight? ;)

Specifically the Goblin King of Moria (Note : Please excuse the glare in the photo's caused by the evil-smelling torches in the Goblin tunnels, and yes the basing is far from complete, but the plan is to do that all in one go at the end)  

The Evil Goblin Shaman of Moria:

The dead-eye Archers too are of a quality above the normal (plastic) "hoardlings".

A plastic 7Hd (incidentally I originally was planning to base them 5Hd but thought they looked too much of a "skirmish formation", rather than the swarming mass of writhing goblin arms, legs and bodies I remembered from the epic Fellowship of the Ring scenes - my painting arm complaints but artistic director is happy akin to Peter Jackson) :

Hoards of things (with two more bases still needed for the Moria OoB):

Next stop, back to the plastic to flesh out another two more Hoards (7Hd) of the above, (that's fifteen figures in all, two times seven plus one, as one of the above bases is a figure short) before I can move onto that Cave Troll which has been hiding in a box for simply years now :)

The HoTT GW LOTR "War of the Ring" Campaign project seems a long, long way off at the moment.


Friday 13 November 2009

Note to self: Painting and basing Revell German Panzer Grenadiers

Preliminary Steps:
  • Wash plastic figures in hot soapy (detergent based) water to remove any water repellent grease/residue left over from the plastic injection process, dry on towel. 
  • Need to cut back bits of "spoiler flash" with a very sharp craft knife, the Revell kit is good/excellent but it does suffer from fine flash lines that are best removed or will simply bug you at a later stage (you have been warned)
  • These are plastics so required the PVA treatment, I watered it down but it may pay to be braver and have a thick mixture. Cover the whole figure, it pays to have a clean washed figure to avoid PVA grouping and not giving a complete coverage
  • PVA is left to dry. As it dries it shrinks and gives the plastics added rigidity.
  • Undercoating with a solid black sealer (Games Workshop Chaos Black), although I await my first Xmas trip to Halfords (ubiquitous UK car/autostore shop) for some tough car [cheaper] undercoater!
Shade Painting Scheme
  • Undercoat of Tamiya Dark Green XF-61
  • Vallejo: German Field Gray - (102) 70830 over Uniform Area
  • Black (Games Worshop Chaos Black) Straps and Boots 
  • Vallejo: German Pale Camo Brown (144) 70825 Bags and Sacks and Waterbottles
  • Anita's Acrylics Metallic Black for Weapons
  • Anita's Acrylics Bark Brown for Flesh areas (this has replaced my GW Dark Flesh)
  • Games Workshop Scorched Brown for Gun Stocks 
  • Tamiya Dark Green XF-61 undercoat left for shade of Helmet and Gas Mask Container
Base Painting Scheme
  • 50:50 Mix of Vallejo: German Field Gray (102) 70830 and Vallejo: Green Gray (101) ??886 for Uniform Areas
  • Boots and Straps GW Chaos Black and GW Codex Gray dark gray mix
  • Bags, sacks and things German Pale Camo Brown (144) 70825 now mixed with Vallejo: German Camo Biege (103) 70821
  • Shiny metallic bits GW Bolt Gun (I try to keep it to a minimum, but the brush can slip) 
  • Mix of GW Tanned Flesh and Vallejo: (18) 70955 for the flesh parts
Highlight Painting Scheme
  • Vallejo: Green Grey Green Gray (101) ??886 for Uniform Highlights
  • Touch of GW Codex Greu for variation on blackish things
  • GW Bestial Brown for Gun Stocks highlight
  • Flesh highlight of Vallejo: (18) 70955
  • Bags, sacks and things highlight Vallejo: German Camo Biege (103) 70821 (Note: I should really go back and put a distinctive dark line on the water-bottle or perhaps do it a different colour) 
  • Helmet and Gas Mask Container highlight of Tamiya Dark Green XF-61 and Tamiya Yellow XF-3
  • Final fine black line touch up to add back in any strapping details that have been inadvertently lost 
Fine Details (omitted at present)
  • As I have the Flames of War German painting book I have teh potential to attempt rank insignia and other crazy things, as yet beyond my initial ambition. I may revisit this at a later date.
Varnishing the Finished Figure
  • I should do this but currently don't because I may come back and do some crazy insignia
  • Debating in my own mind whether it should be a one matt step or a two step (gloss then matt) process, I obviously need to try both and compare the results
  • Cheap PVA (kids art stuff) and sand mixture (literally the local beach and DIY mortar stuff)
  • Two stabs at it, first time leaves ridges round base of figure, second time to balance it up
  • Daub on cheap watery acrylic brown (leave to dry overnight)
  • Cheap watery black (leave to dry overnight)
  • Brown wet-brushed on leaving plenty of black gaps
  • Lightened Brown wet/dry brushed over the top
  • Highlight Cream dry brushed on sparingly
  • A third to a quarter of the base covered with watered down PVA then dunked in a scenic flock container
  • Static Grass if the base is big enough, two or three slightly watered down PVA globs followed by a dunking

Thursday 12 November 2009

Bogland Terrain and Army Composition

Just to flesh out a few details from my HoTT campaign world

  • No road infrastructure as it encourages humans
  • No woods, they "would" (ahem) encourage elves
  • Flies, lots of flies, everywhere, nice juicy flies
  • Rough ground everywhere to trip things up like silly men in plate armour
  • No rivers as such but plenty of pools of stagnant water for things to "lurk" about if you get my meaning
  • Hills yeah, nasty little steep hills, horses could break their ankles on those
  • Pits of snakes and things, and lots of biting beetles
  • Lots of Orcs, nasty evil ones
Prime time real-estate really, yet for so,e reason in its entire recorded history no neighbouring country has yet successfully invaded it, or for that matter expressed a wish to, bar the DREGS who got lost and couldn't find it!

Trolls, you got to love them and fear then, even if they are on your side! These are of the more modern Games Workshop ilk of 28mm offerings.

The Bogland Orc Army:
  • 1 x Warband (General)
  • 1 x Warband
  • 8 x 5Hd
  • 1 x Troll (Behemoth)
  • 2 x Beasts
  • 2 x Riders

Technically not based as a true hoard, but it gives you a feel of what you expect to see. Again, old, old AD&D figures finding a second lease of life (although based incorrectly). My HoTT army painting is slowly taking form in GW LOTR figures. For the campaign I am borrowing some 15mm orcs.

Bogland Army Battle Honours:
  • Victorious slaughter against the unwashed DREG's in the Battle for Smale (now called Lesser Bogland)
  • A completely routed contingent in the Battle of Dwarf Rock (but we don't talk about that much and it's the last time we try and help a rival Orc clan kill dwarves in armour with pointy things)
Mottoes and Sayings: 
  • Never wash or fight fair
  • Make sure that elf is really dead
  • If it's good enough for a rat or flies to eat, it's good meat
  • Why? The Boss said so

Wednesday 11 November 2009

German Supports and Officers

Two nice bits from the Revell Panzer Grenadier box is their representation of the MG teams. Six two man teams per box, three static and three moving in nice animated poses:

The officers give good variety, particularly the observation "V" binoculars which is a classic for a higher command base, one per pack, but with three other officer types make a very useful four in the pack (one shown below, you can spot the other two in the First German Platoon).

The only omission for a complete OoB is the lack of a mortar unit, which I will make up from a metal manufacturer (SHQ and I think Drew's Militia in my case). As I mentioned earlier painting the plastic figures has a very different feel to the metals, namely the flatter feel to the detailing and less voluminous feel to the figure. The Revell boys show off their stuff below:

I think we are about ready to cook (as in all the figures are ready for it) with that first Cross Fire Normandy scenario I was mentioning (when I get to play it is another matter).

Armistice: at 11:00 am on the 11/11/1918 the guns fell silent

Lest we forget the sacrifices of previous generations

Photo from:

Tuesday 10 November 2009

First Revell German Infantry Platoon

Moving into a defensive position for my Normandy 1944 game is the first platoon from the German Revell plastic miniatures box. These are the very same Panzer Grenadiers from an earlier post. Below is the Cross Fire OoB for a Platoon.

They were a painted with a mix of Vallejo, Anita's Acrylics and Games Workshop left overs, a product range I am running down and moving away from. From the many different painting guides and resources I finally managed to arrive at a scheme that I thought worked and persisted with it through the figures for the platoon for a consistent look. I found painting plastics more subtle than painting metals, we'll have to see how it pans out for the rest of the company. I do seem to have a lot of plastic Germans lined up.

A slightly better picture, with the macro (close focus) enabled this time  :)

The plan now is to expand this platoon up to a Cross Fire company sized OoB, with the eyes on the prise of a long, long term goal of a battalion in 2010. However with even just this one platoon painted I have enough for that Normandy 1944 scenario I a framing in my mind.

Inspiration for these Revell Germans comes from another blog the Miniature Zone

Monday 9 November 2009

British Platoon 20 Support Weapons Came Today

Oh happy times the Postie brought me an early Xmas present today, a package of shiny things from ERM, the finishing touches to the late-war (Platoon 20) British Infantry Company project (plus a few spares that always come in handy).

All shiny, virgin and untouched, soon to be changed!

First up on the blocks will be the Vickers HMG and the deployed 2" Mortar Team, the rest to follow on later. Next stop, paint a few Germans circa Normandy 1944 and then a bit of Cross Fire carnage!


Sunday 8 November 2009

Hail to the Orc Chief of Bogland

If "the day to end days" happens and heaven forbid the winter ancient campaign splutters on a damp start, "Plan B" maintains that I can fall back on the "fun" campaign from my other (shamefully infrequent) wargaming soul-mates (it's a bit of a drive to get there but well worth it when I do). I [try to] venture forth once a month (or so) to HoTT it with the 'worst' of them: Dwarves, Rats, Horseman, Desert Drifters and Orcs, lots of Orcs. Here I am currently dabbling as self proclaimed Orc-Warrior Chieftain of Bogland viewing the rest of the world with megalomania and paranoia. The Boss-Man is shown below, twenty eight year old D&D figures, now that should bring a nostalgic smile to many a face. The paint job is a more recent affair, some eight years old!


A foul, evil smelling bog-land of bilge and puss vomited forth from the earth that upsets the noses of elves and horses, but is somehow strangely palatable to that of dwarves due to its similarity with the fermentation process. The badlands stretch as a far as the eye can see, an afterthought of bad magic from an inept sorcerous fool long since dead. A place feared by many but called home to a race of squat and squalid orcs whose language has over one hundred and fifty ways to describe a dead elf but no word to mean "poetry"! The closest they get is "to evacuate ones bowels noisily in the morning". Summary: Best avoid, as no clean running water is available.

The urge to embark on world-wide crusades of destruction comes naturally to these orc-folk. Currently  I am engaged in a life and death struggle with the neighbouring DREG Desert Drifters in what the official Bogland history refers to as "The War of the Dark". The war took a turn for the better when 50% of the DREG army was eaten by a hungry Sand-Worm in a desert storm (I kid you not) as they tried to invade Bogland. They should really make better maps or at least attempt to read them. As Bogland returned the invasion complement, despite now being outnumbered 14 stands to 6 these same plucky, these surviving fanatics attempted to lift my investment of their second city (nay, squalid collection of small huts). Suffering an additional a mere 50% army casualties in the process (Knights being ripped apart by an ugly big Troll Behemoth), they then retired to their capitol (a big hut) where it looked as if their "end days" were fast approaching (to the sound of orc marching feet from Bogland).

(Above) There is no Troll quite like an original AD&D Grenadier Troll (long nosed) figure.

Yet it was not to be so, divine intervention interceded on behalf of the DREG as an unexpected plague struck Bogland for the whole of year Year Two of "The War of the Dark" (I couldn't make the game twice in a row). With a whole year to recover the DREG's may now be able to muster a flea-ridden field army to face Bogland in a fight to the death for their capitol, that's if the plague ever lifts from Bogland.

To be continued ....

Saturday 7 November 2009

Long Winter Nights warmed by Ancient Armies: Phyrus v Rome

Well those of us in the northern hemisphere are drifting into the autumnal mists and long winter nights (but not so cold as I remember in my childhood, or perhaps I now merely zip up my coat like mother told me to do). How to spend those long winter nights? After all there are only so many trashy books to read and TV gets boring. The wargamer of course has an answer to that, an Ancients campaign running at my local club/friends house, so winter will now be spent plotting and scheming along with the Captains of Antiquity and an army list or two.

The campaign is (planned to be) a weekly meeting thing driven from a board game, minimising (in theory) the need for umpirical decisions, although inevitably there will be legalistic debates over an ambiguous rule wordings, particularly at critical junctures which is/are inevitably settled by a democratic show of hands and/or fractious argumentation - but at least keeps us off the streets. The main bone of contention being at present how to devise a valid (playable) army list when we go "off history", by winning or losing battles our historical counterparts did or didn't. For example, a victorious Seleucid in Africa may well be able to fight Carthage or Rome with Numidian Allies rather than be barred by virtue of their non-appearance in the historical DBMM army list.   

It will probably last three months or so, perhaps just in time spent debating the ownership of the Italian Samnites . From board game campaign play (see above) action moves to tabletop when large battles are fought using DBMM and a 'point list' roughly reflecting the campaign board situation (advantage to disadvantage). On the tabletop side DBMM is a new thing for me too, my preference in things in ancients previously being the far simpler DBA, or Strategos II (Lost Battles) for the simulation feel.

At least it is not DBM whose clarifiations between editions and competition feel/angst stupefy me. Sorry I know it has its fans, but one man's meat is another man's poison, so each to their own.

The scene is set for the first clash of arms set circa 330 BCE. After most of the first real campaign night was spent sorting out the many colourful counters (Note: We had a short preamble taster session to flush a few rabbits from the undergrowth, then reset everything back to the start, so opening gambits could be hatched) the Greek team [another and myself] have rather blundered than planned into conflict with the early Romans (pre-mass of blade which is some consolation), while ignoring growing dark-threats from the Seleucid Empire (the remnants of Alexanders fallen realm). Granted the use, drawn from a random event pack, of  a "use hm or lose him" random Greek adventurer general [with army] (Phyrus) we find ourselves at the gates of Rome, outnumbered (by 10%) but hell bent on destruction. After all how many times in a wargaming career does one have the opportunity to sack Rome (or die in the attempt to).

To be continued ...

Friday 6 November 2009

British HQ section and a few "Odds and Sods"

The previous British were all Platoon 20, to that I can easily testify as I can remember buying them. However in my unpainted "silver legions" collection I found these WWII Brits, a curious set of seven unidentified figures (see below) which I think fit nicely into the Platoon 20 range, adding a bit of pose variety.



I "think" I picked them up ages ago when I bought a bargain lot from a now defunct model shop in Edinburgh called Mac's Models, which used be on the prestigious Royal Mile leading up to Edinburgh Castle. Does anyone recognise them and can they name the manufacturer (at a guess I was thinking perhaps Drew's Militia, but my feeble Googling has not found a positive photo match)?

Brit late-war (Cross-Fire) Infantry Company Project Status: This leaves me now wanting a HMG and a deployed 2" Mortar team. (Note: I have a few chaps carrying a 2" mortar tube, for me these are good enough to use as normal foot soldiers, as is the Bren gunner, I really want a depolyed crew for visual effect.)

Time to get the order form out :)

Stop Press: Order en route from East Riding Miniatures: A Vickers HMG, a 2" Mortar, a 3" Mortar and a pack of advancing rifleman (ordered and dispatched the same day). Tony from ERM also assured me the metal now used is of a much superior mix and is not brittle.


Thursday 5 November 2009

Third Cross-Fire Platoon of British Tommies

Coming hot on the heels of the Americans I shipped my third platoon of late-war British Platoon 20 infantry into the wargame ready box:

Front facing:

And rear:

The process and poses are becoming very familiar to me now which tells its own story. Just the company HQ and heavy weapons section (Vickers HMG and 2" Mortar Section) to fill out now. A Normandy moving off the beaches to take a German strong-point scenario is forming up in my mind, specifically for Cross-Fire.

As a footnote, my number of completed Brits now outstrips my novice camera skills of trying to fit them all into one shot, so the wide angle company advancing will have to wait until the above wargame comes to pass. Time also to start work on their opponents, Revell's plastic Panzer Grenadiers!

Note: I received email confirmation Tony from ERM that the Platoon 20 figures now use (and have done for quite a long time) a better mix of metal to avoid the previous incarnation's tendency to be a bit brittle. This is good news for people as clumsy as me.

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Valiant's GI's Passing Out Parade

The excitement was tangible, the final dry brush of the base and ceremonial flock complete, the first sprue of Valiant 1944 GI's (all sixteen) were wargame ready. Squeezed in for the camera below, front facing:

And back:

True I have already spotted some catch up jobs to do. I don't like the helmet straps (green instead of brown) and I didn't pluck up the courage to paint the US flag on the sleeves of the jackets, as per the Flames of War painting guide description. These can wait for another day (if ever).

They are colourful and playful enough for my liking :)

Painting Tray Update

Back into the swing of things and the PBI of all (Western) nations are marching across the table:

For those of keen eye they will see:
  • The first sprue of (16) Valiant US GI Infantry standing proudly center stage (on their passing out parade as it were) : Final verdict, yes big even next to metals, but I like them, and I don't think even infantry need to be (or should be) in hand to hand combat on the wargames table.
  • Sitting on the first row of paint pots behind them is a Grey/Dark Green mass of German Revell Panzer Grenadiers in their early undercoating stage, it will be very interesting to see how these pan out with teh Vallejo paints
  • Behind the Germans on top of some taller paint pots, ahead of the Germans in the painting process, my third batch (Cross Fire platoon) of late-war Platoon 20 British Infantry mid way through their painting. I am approaching the project target here (a Cross Fire infantry company), in fact I may need to order some "bits and bobs" from East Riding Miniatures to finish it off in a tidy (same manufacturer) fashion.
  • Alas the minions of Moria are still stuck in a painting stasis behind them, but I am warming to their glare and feel the LOTR itch approaching
  • Likewise no additional progress to report on the Hetzer, but a Normandy 1944 scenario versus the Brits beckons
  • Similarly the Hurricane and Boulton Paul Defiant remain grounded due to bad flying conditions and very much the wrong early war period for my current burst of painting activity.
In summary some nice progress made/making :)

Monday 2 November 2009

Note to self: 15mm Early Imperial Roman Painting Scheme

These Romans were painted a couple plus years ago, though if my memory serves me right, definitely not longer than five. It seems like yesterday but if truth be told I am not a fast painter and this is rather a a few DBA armies back down the production line. The point of this meandering is that the paints I used were from Games Workshop, chosen on the basis that the only other paint manufacturer I was really familiar with was Tamiaya. They were good for WW2 camouflages but rather limited in the Ancient era, I should clarify, one seeking a painting by numbers scheme.

The route my army took was as follows:

Preparation: A two stage undercoat:
Undercoated: Chaos Black
Experimentally wet/dry brushed with Codex Grey leaving lots of dark recesses.

Shade Colours:
Tunic and Shield: Scarab Red
Metal chain/segmenta/other metals: BoltGun
Flesh: Dark Flesh
Gold Trimmings: Tin Bits or Dwarf Bronze (TBC)
Wood: Scorched Brown

Highlight Colours:
Tunic and Shield: Scarab Red mixed with Blood Red (as I did not have the intermediate Gore Red to hand)
Metal chain/segmenta/other metals: Chainmail
Flesh: Dwarf Flesh and dabs of Elf Flesh
Gold Trimmings: Shiny Gold
Wood: Bestial Brown and a tad of Snakebite Leather

Shield Design:
Gold Trimmings and Red (as above)
Shield Design (all hand painted with feather technique, reducing the lighter shades to live inside areas of darker shade): Bubobic Brown, Golden Yellow, Golden Yellow + touch of Skull White
Note: I had to retouch the shield's red after shield's design had been painted.

Base was textured Milliput (stippled with an old toothbrush)
Painted: (A watery) Chaos Black
(Shade) Dry/Wet brushed: Snakebite Yellow
(Base) Dry/Wet brushed: Snakebite Yellow + some Fortress Gery
(Slightest of Highlight) Dry brush: Fortress Grey
Static Grass then PVA'ed on.

Now there they stand waiting to defend or expand the Empire. If only I would paint those Thracians or buy some Gauls I could solo game with them ;)