Wednesday 31 March 2021

Bucket List: Fantasy Monsters - I always wanted a .. decent Minotaur figure (WIP)

The Minotaur is an iconic monster and one I never had as a kid, but it was always on the "bucket list" of D&D monsters to get. Lock-down and internet browsing lets certain things happen and while "purchasing" a WW2 28mm German infantry gun (more about that in another post) from Black Tree Design something dropped into the Cart and once in I just could not figure how to remove it (see below, I think they called it a Minotaur Champion but it looks like how any Minotaur should look to me - based up on Milliput to avoid it embarrassingly falling over): 

The base texturing came from my son's hobby tip courtesy of the Critical Roll podcasts - crumple up some tin foil into a small ball and roll it over the still pliable Milliput. He took pity on his farther cursing his old school efforts with an old toothbrush. Airfix Acrylic primer under coat was added (see below, ready for the painting tray to begin proper - really impressed with this sculpt): 

Note: This one might be a race against time to get this one ready for his (or its) campaign debut! Just saying to any PCs casually reading this blog post ;)  

Monday 29 March 2021

Politics with Pointy Sticks: The Art of Diplomacy in the Peloponnesian War - pre-VCoW 2020 Tester Game

And it came to pass that the Athenians did land a force of hoplites on a beach near Amphipolis lead by the great Strategos Cleon. He incited the people of the City State of Gaton to rebel against their overarching neighbouring City State of Stoliphion, the latter being in the armed camp of Sparta. To this peril the Spartan Strategos Brasidas raised a contingent force and marched towards the sea to meet his foe in armed battle. The rights of passage to the ancient ruined shrine of Artimis being a superficial excuse for this blood shed (see below, the dots to the right are the 1/1200 scale ships of the Athenians beached on the shores):

The rocky hinterland rising up from behind the ruined shrine of Artimis is clearly visible in this picture (see below, a "Zoom special" and how the players saw most of this battle - adding beautifully to the 'Fog of War' experience):  

The two armies arrange themselves for battle (see below seen from the Spartan lines, the Athenians concentrate with a skirmish line to their front, whereas the Spartans adopt a wider horseshoe formation): 

Looking from the Athenian lines at the Spartans (see below, the Athenians hope to make a big impact against the Stoliphon hoplites, outnumbering them four phalanxes to three): 

The Athenian battlelines (see below, Xyston ancient Greeks, lovely figures - 25mm level of detail in 15mm figures, I always enjoy painting them): 

The Spartans are a mixed bunch of Irregular Miniatures and Chariot Miniatures (see below, there may be the odd Xyston Psiloi refugee hiding amongst them): 

The Athenians boldly advance forwards (see below, they clearly have a hanging flank): 

And on that flank are some Greek mercenary horses waiting their chance (see below, these are Chariot Miniatures): 

The Spartans close the Athenians, almost to combat with the Athenian Skirmishers. The Spartans swing their cavalry around to the flank of the Athenian battle-line (see below, the Athenians pepper the Spartan hoplites with stones, slingshots and various other missiles which bounce harmlessly off their Spartan armoured foes):   

A battle-royal starts with hoplite trading blows with hoplite in a grinding battle of attrition, but it is the flanking Spartan cavalry that is having a dramatic effect on the Athenian left (see below, [right hand side of the photograph] pinned to the front the Athenians were taken in the flank and crumbled - a poet would say "reaped like ripe stalks of wheat"):   

In their counterattack the Athenians dispatched the unit of Persian mercenary archers fighting with teh Spartans on their right [let hand side of the photograph below] and engaged in hand to hand combat with the Spartan Skirmishers on their right (see below, both sides hoplites in the center are approaching "breaking points"): 

And so it ends for the Athenian, a second phalanx dissipates and the Spatan phalanx under Brasidas himself destroys the Athenian skirmishers in a devastating rear attack. The last remaining (battered) Athenian phalanx faces off against the fresh unit of Greek mercenary horse in a futile battle (see below, the last remaining Athenian troops are the foolishly advised Gatonian hoplites and skirmishers who quietly "slip the field" while they can): 

Thus a forgotten episode in an ancient epic civil war ends. The ruined shrine of Artimis now resides in the Stoliphonian sphere of influence. What survivors there are of the Athenians are frantically manning their triremes, but are leaving many to the victorious Spartans who will put them to good use against their former owners. 

All-in-all a very good Zoom battle and a good run out for Neil Thomas "One Hour Wargame" rules, unashamedly simple but perfect for a remote game like this.  

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Oh When The Saints .. EPIC Warlord Games ACW .. "off the sprue"

Well there certainly is a lot of them (see below, but the nice thing about the stands is that they seem to have an amount of "gravity" and "believability" about them - they are "marching into battle"): 

The three pieces of the sprue - infantry, artillery and a commander - look good next to each other (see below, I do want to see how "good" they look "in mass" together):  

From one sprue .. this is a lot (see below, five infantry regiments, one artillery and a commander per sprue - and there was twelve sprues a side [Union/Confederate]): 

These look perfect for Bob Cordery's "The Portable Wargame" rule set and Neil Thomas' "One Hour Wargame" rules. I am putting off painting them and concentrating on getting them cleanly off the sprues (they come off really cleanly but I am trying to be patient, the only issue I have hit is with the artillery and my "fat fingers"), I keep getting this heretical thought - "Do I really need to paint them?" Even if I do "paint them" - then to what degree? A spray can, a wash and a little bit of flock. I know the artists at Warlord Games have done some fine painting - but why wait, through these chaps into a game asap? Black Powder does not look like a simple set of rules to pick up .. why not throw them at a simpler set? 

Tuesday 23 March 2021

On the workbench: 15mm Macedonian Phalanx (WIP #1)

Once the flash was removed and the figures washed, Airfix Acrylic Primer was applied (see below, six boys, two new Phalanxes):  

Next step apply a Vallejo "brown wash" (see below, a muddy brown "campaigning look"): 

Vallejo Game Colour "Dark Flesh" (see below, small change - a darker brown on a brown background):  

An even darker Vallejo Game Colour, Charcoal/Burnt Brown for the wood bits (see below, everything is getting blurry now - help I need colour):  

I decided these boys would have a Vallejo Game Colour Imperial Blue as a "blue" tunic (see below, not too sure how this will work out, but let's see): 

The linen tunic armour gets a Vallejo Plague Yellow as a shade colour (see below, slow progress but getting there): 

Finally the armour, a dark bronze is needed, time to use Vallejo Model Colour  Bronze mixed [50:50] with Vallejo Model Smoke to get a lovely dimmed bronze shade colour (see below, looking sinister): 

Exhausting but I am going to push on. looking forward to the lighter base shades ;) 

Saturday 20 March 2021

15mm Essex Hoplite Refurbishment (WIP)

Once upon a time, when my wargaming interests finally expanded outside the Twentieth Century World Wars, it came to pass I had to [just had to] try and paint an ancient Greek DBA(ish) army - knowing not quite what even a hoplite was. As it was in those days I picked up a few random packets of Essex miniatures at a wargames show and "experimented" (see below, please note how unashamedly naively I mixed up my Ancient Greek and Macedonian painting schemes - I owned not one Osprey at this point [don't tell the wife that as she would say "happy days"]):  

Note !the horrid stylised throwing posture of the spear", in fact the spear is an infeasibly large trunk of a spear (yuk), the inadvertent 'bendiness" of the spear after the first handling of it on a wargames table (it was never ever straight again) was hated and then there was small matter of the shield - you either had basic hand painted symbol or simple decal shield designs [no Little Big Man works of art here]]. I cursed these figures as I superglued the spears onto their tiny little hands (and off they came and on they were put again ... etc ... )! I also made the classic rookie mistake of basing them first, undercoated them and then tried to paint them - awkward .. but eventually they were finished and even flocked. But I hated them and only used them as matters of last resort as I moved onto other figure ranges .. I think it was the chunky spears I hated. About a dozen times I think I came close to throwing them out (see below, some twenty years later I decided a quick change of spear to the wire, like I had used for the Xyston boys may, just may, rejuvenate them - with little sense of expectation I started the renovation): 

Instantly they "felt" (or rather 'looked') better. The eye was not drawn to the horrific spear, The un-Greek blue and green colour schemes and ugly shield decals were over-painted with Airfix Acrylic primer and with old hands but better skills new Vallejo paint licked their surfaces (see above and below, they suddenly looked half decent - so "washes" were applied and highlights made):   

Although a little touching up is still required - I think the shields will get a free-hand basic symbol - they are "wargames table passable" to my eyes (see below, they will certainly do as "filler" hoplites for me .. in service of Greek .. Macedonian .. Persian "overlords" [delete as applicable]):  

In total I have nine stands of Essex hoplites and the throwing out of the old Essex spear for new brass wire IMHO has given them all a new least of life!

Thursday 18 March 2021

And it came to pass that "A very BIG box of EPIC scale ACW came from Warlord Games" arrived with a 'thud' on my doorstep!

Yes, I am one of those "happy mad ones" who pre-ordered at Xmas. There was a knock at the door (see below, spare a thought for the Postie - if there were two or more wargamers on his beat or street they were doomed):   

It was then opened (see below, layers of "epic scale" stuff - as it said on the tin over 2,500 figures): 

Both armies albeit looking very similar apart from the colour of the sprue (see below, it also has to be said that figures for General Meade and General Robert E Lee also came in the box):  

Exciting as this was, the "bonus" was the A5 Black Powder Rules Book which means I can justify other Powder Era (Napoleonics, AWI, Malburian, Colonial) 28mm long standing purchases as "waiting for this time"! Ancients and Pike and Shot are still slightly awkward to justify .. but I have "adaptable" rules for those. 

Monday 8 March 2021

Back to basics: Removing Flash from 15mm Irregular Macedonian Pikemen

If nothing else (see below, a small mound [16 x15mm Irregular Miniatures - Macedonian Pikemen ] of the "lead mountain" is tackled): 

It is good for the soul! Prepping for painting!

Monday 1 March 2021

Wargaming Design Channel: Table Top History by Peter Pellegrino

This one is a "must watch" series. Something that will certainly help fill in the remaining time of "lock-down" with :)