Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Macedonian Phalanx Arrives.

I have been working on a block of 48 Magister Pike for the last three weeks which I picked up at the Derby World Championships a few months back. Whilst there I decided I would also buy shield transfers for the first time ever. To put it bluntly I was not sure I was up to painting the shields. I had in the past painted another 48 man block and had done a fairly good job then, but that was long long ago and I was a far more confident painter. The problem is that as the weeks passed since Derby I have looked at these transfers more and more as a sign of defeat and worse giving up without even trying. So in the end I decided to give it a go and the transfers went from a sign of failure to insurance.

The image of what could be described as my lack of confidence but I prefer to see it as a moment of weakness. These look rather nice and for sure are better than my own efforts but as they are in fact smaller than the shield space itself I think the overall result would not have looked as good and to be honest would have anoyed the hell out of me everytime I dug them out to play.

So with this fact in mind I paintd the rest of the figures less Pike and then finally grappled with the shield.

This is a close up of one of the finished models (15mm) complete with basing. Apart from not straightening the pike for the picture I am rather prowd of my effort. Of couse I have a further 196 to do but I am trying to ignore this fact at the moment. Whilst it's not perfect and it is also one of the nicer finishes I am rather fond of the result. I can't wait to get him and his pals on the table.

Heres a shot of the whole block. Whilst I was painting them they took up rather a lot of room on their bottle tops but as a block whilst looking imposing they just seem a little tiny. I love the shear size of the Magister pikes, care needs to be taken with the pikes to stop them being snapped but the metal is soft enough that they bend more than break. They also straighten with ease. I also like the pike extensions, in fact I think these figures are the best 15mm Phalanx available.
Another shot of the block. I can't wait to get to play with these, though I expect the first outing I will be seeing the fronts rather than the backs as they get used in suport of Lee's new army andmy next project is the re-basing of the Persins to face them. That starts straight away and I will take the oppertunity for some clean up work as they have been played well and hard in the past. As for these figures they have been painted exclusivly with Vallejo paints.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Rebasing and New Painting

Finally got round to getting a few shots of figures that have been finished in the last 6 weeks. If you saw earlier posts I had based my first back to painting figures on cardboard. The bases looked great as long as you ignored the warp! So wanting to do it right I bought and rebased all of the just pained figures. All figures shown are what used to be Chariot Minatures but are now Magister Militum and can be ordered from HERE.

The above picture shows some of the skirmish troops I did first. The bases are great, nice and flat and I still find the end result fine, though some future bases will get the extra treatment of added furniture such as casualties or lost equipment etc. Just have to get past that need to rush to the end feeling. I will also repaint the Thracian shields as they suffered the get to the end itch as well.

The slingers in the foreground are rebased as well, whilst the archers are newly painted and based. Now the slingers one of the cats made off with a half painted figure. I contacted Magister Militum requesting a missing Pikeman and mentioned I had lost the slinger some time ago that was originally bought from Chariot and could he supply both figures and let me know the cost. The nice gent supplied both figures at no cost. He now has received an order for £75. OK so he would have anyway but still it was nice to hit him with that after his great service. Net result is that I will have another base of slingers done as soon as my Phalanx is finished and ready to base.

These guys are a little bit of a mystery. Old Chariot figures that I have not tracked down on the website. I only had the one pack of them and it looks like I will have to wait till next year to see if I can ID them, unless anyone here can point me in the right direction?

Well that's the lot regarding 15mm. I have been working on 48 Macedonian Pike that should be finished over the weekend which I have enjoyed doing but have taken longer than expected. I have a further 96 on the way and could still paint up a further 48 for the lists we are using so I could have quite a project ahead of me. I will have to update my wargames neutral but am pleased to report that the £75 purchase was based on selling stuff and I am well under my expenditure limits. I will start gaining extra credits from painting other peoples figures starting with some 6mm (expected to be Russian 6mm) and rather off at a tangent, rather a lot of Warhammer 40K (expecting Orc's). More on this at a later date.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Creating a Monster

Having bought the rules I wanted to check out the army lists for the army I own (Late Achaemenid Persian) and the one I am working on (Early Successor) and trawling the Internet I finally came across the Osprey site where they have an offer on the army list. A bargain at about £6 so I grabbed a copy. First surprise is looking at the Persian list I could in fact expand my army by rather a lot. Big surprise given that under both 6th and DBM it was almost complete. So maybe in the future I will expand this army still further, need to play it first in case the chance of playing with more troops really is not an option. It does mean though that if I think I have wriggle room for the Persians I have room to swing a cow. It's greatly interesting given the scale I play (15mm) because this could end up really being impressive once all the troops are laid out in their battle groups. But this is not the monster point I was making. Remember Lee from an earlier post, he is a big 28mm fan, I doubt many guys in the UK own more figures than him in this scale. Well after looking at my recent work has got more interested in playing (and building an army!) and just yesterday committed to buying some lead. Fast forward 12 hours and I get a text. He has bought a Macedonian army starter (with extra units) the rules and army list. Now Lee never bothers with anything small so I just know give him 3 months and he will have such a tall led pile I won't be able to see over it. Given that I may well be painting one side of this mountain I'd best take notice.

That on it's own would be enough but I also sold him an electrical 'thing' that he has more use than I and the agreed price is more lead for me. Seems this monster has more than one head! It will be great trying to paint at such a speed as to keep both of us supplied with units ready to play a game. I'm thinking if we combine forces we should have a game sorted in about 4 weeks.

Again if that was not enough I have made contact with Matt, another old opponent and it will be something if his ancient armies want to try new rules (even better if they are already based to go). Now I have a hell of a job re basing all my Persians but such is wargaming.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Rules Rule RULES!

OK close to the end of my playing days I bought a copy of D.B.M and the army lists. Well I would say a few years before I stopped playing but only right at the end did I base up an army for them (and then sold it one Partisan, many many years ago). Well what I am trying to say is that for Ancients we played 6th Edition and for the Naps a rather poor set of computer rules. The one thing all our rules had in common was that they had scant illustration (mostly line drawings) and cost well not a lot. Now I am back into the painting habit and wanting to use what I do paint I have started the rather difficult job of sorting out rules to play by. This is easier said than done, it seems we have a wealth of rule sets to choose from and each set has fans and detractors.

The first set I purchased was for my 6mm Napoleonic armies. Being able to look at part of them on line and in the flesh at The Other Partisan helped me decide to try them. The rules are fairly straight forward and come in two parts, one for small actions and the main set for really big games. Well having read through them a number of times and tried a few turns I have yet to be convinced they are for me but neither am I put off them. I have an old wargaming friend who was around the other day who hates them having just used them once. The main problem is that they don't really feel over Napoleonic, kind of lacking enough flavour but again it was a basic play and we will see after a few more plays, we hope to get a game in in the next week or so.

Next up was a set of rules for Ancients, Field of Glory has loads of supplements which some see as an evil others look at is as a strength. I saw a copy on E-Bay for a song and saw it as an opportunity. I got the rules yesterday and have had little chance to read them given I have started to paint a 48 figure Phalanx! What I can say though is the style of writing is very much like talking to a child, a small and rather dull minded child but maybe I can come to love that child, who knows? I have though ordered the army list book covering the army I own and the army I am building. I guess I may need to give these rules a good go.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Wave Goodbye and Say Hello

No I have not suddenly got into 90's Pop, but it sums up my experience last night. At Derby it suddenly occur ed to me that I could exchange my old Back & Breast for gaming vouchers and what better place to do it than at a wargames con. Seeing as we had a Reenactment Society right in front of us I got talking to them and a price was agreed if they liked the look of the armour. I sent the photo's and sure enough the deal was made.

It turns out that two of the controlling members live in the Mansfield Area and better still attend the local Wargames Club in Mansfield (not far from me). My first club was the Mansfield Club but after a while we just drifted back to our playing in isolation as a group of about 6 players which suited us (no late start, early finish as we saw it then). So I was a little unsure what I would find but on entering the club I found it a mix of slick looking games and others that still require paint jobs of the many of the figures! The Heresy of it all. Actually the snob gamer in me shouts no you can't play with unpainted figures but the bigger part of me remembers the days I was building my first armies and to be able to play I had to use unpainted figures. What was important was that the guys were having fun and a very relaxed mood was in play.

So what games were in play? A gunfight skirmish between two Indian forces that was the first scenario in a campaign using the Games Workshop rules, this was over quickly (they told me they often play 2-3 games in an evening), a Fantasy game that had lots of large creatures in it but mostly unpainted. A second Fantasy game but this one was all humanoid with no beasts in site and very well painted. A very large 15mm battle involving Turks and Battle Wagons on hexgrid terrain which looked very busy and the four playing it were having lots of fun. Last up was a 28mm Naps game with very nice looking figures and great terrain but again a good number of yet to be painted figures.

What came across the Most was the peaceful easy going nature of the games, no shouting no moaning about dice, rules even the weather was passed over. OK I lied about the weather. It's a friendly group too as I looked over the games I was chattered with and I am sure I will go back and join them. Whatever I play it seems the scale is wrong or they don't seem to play it at the moment but already I have a couple of guys saying they are happy to give mine a go so lots of wriggle room. Rather a small club by most standards but that is what probably gives it the comfortable feel.
Last shot of the armour, one Tasset has a fair amount of surface rust that will just wire brush off and it's good to go (Tassets don't tend to be worn for anything but displays, major threat to your own health if worn on the field). Goodbye dear heart, I hope you like your new master.

Monday, 10 October 2011

ECW Dragoons by Frei Korps

Whilst looking for a knife to clear the flash off a few Chariot Miniatures (now Magister Militum) I re-found a bag of both cleaned up and primed ECW Dragoons. 10 figures mounted and the same again dismounted. Now these guys were really old as the priming was done in black and I have used white as a base coat for all but 6mm for a long time before stopping painting and this may well be why they continued to be passed over. But once I had painted up the first batch of Ancients and made some headway into the 6mm Naps I wanted to have a crack at these as it seemed only right for me to get these put to bed.

All my ECW reference books are rather out of the way and whilst I will dig them out at some point for now I was happy just to paint them in green as I know a few Dragoon Regiments wore Green and as I have both Parliament and Royalist armies I really did not have to worry too much.

I really like the figures on foot, these have multiple poses and so was not at all difficult to give a skirmish line feel to them. Just the opposite for the mounted as only the hats are changed (two designs) and it looks like these guys have never ridden a horse before. Frei Korps paint up rather well, the paint flows into the corners and crevices which helps but the figures themselves are a curious mix of detail and plain. Take a close look at the locks on the musket for just one example (bottom picture) and the foot figures are full of it. But the mounted lack even a decent part to the musket and the whole figure leaves me cold. Maybe two different people sculptured the figures but the great foot version really blows away the mounted. All told I painted all 20 figures in about 3-4 days tops but they had to wait about 4 weeks for me to get round to varnishing and basing them.

The mounted troops arriving at a farm that is being defended by a Royalist Northern Regiment. In the Background is the Kings Lifeguard of Foote. One big negative of these figures is how brittle they are. One block of two are hidden by a large bush as the nearest figures base broke off (along with a horse leg) when I dropped it, of course on a stone floor. Another horse is missing it's back leg that came off post painting!
I painted a mix of hat and trouser colours to give a campaign feel to the regiment and not only matched mounted and dismounted to give a exact copy to each figure but also based them in tandem as well.

Having dismounted and put the horses in the barn (to say nothing of shep in the farmyard) the Dragoons spread out to cover the frontage of the White Regiment whilst the Guard make their way forward. A small Saker (?) is to the right as the crew realise what a useless thing they have been dragging round all campaign.
I wish I could remember who supplied the gun, fences dog and trough but it escapes me. The wagon is Museum Miniatures, the building also escapes me and the two foot regiments are Partisan Press.

A close up of two of these 15mm Dragoons, they take rather a good photo which is thanks to Cath my wife who seems a natural at snapping a great shot. The flag in the background was handpainted though I am fairly sure that's out of my skill range right now but I am more than happy with my brush work on these guys.

A shot taken further back showing a few of the poses and gives an indication of the variation of colours used. The flash has made them look gloss finished but in fact I used Vallejo Matt finish.

I will post more pictures of other finished figures over the next week to get up to date. Right now I have 47 Magister Militum Macedonian Pike to deal with, the 48th is at large and I hope will be replaced soon (I don't know if I lost it or it was short in the pack but I know I need it!!) I have also started to talk about painting plans and look to have two possible commissions already. More on that in a later post.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

OLD GLORY World Wargames Championships Derby

Well the day arrived and so did my lift. Well the lift arrived before I did as I had gone off to fetch the other two who were traveling the 20 odd miles to the Con. It's great having three good wargaming conventions more or less within 30 odd miles of home, Partizan, Triples and World. A great thing about Derby is that there is lots and lots of parking, much better than the old days at The Assembly Rooms and Triples when held at The Hexagon. One thing is no different at the University than the Assembly Rooms is that the reenactment societies are stuck out in front of the paying area so your attention on walking through the door is really taken up with getting past them, paying and getting into the con itself. I am sure the reinactors would do better for being placed within the convention itself.

A view from one of the many balconies. Whilst the con takes up a large footprint you can see from the photo above that it is all mixed together in a rather chaotic manner and goes a long way to explain why the reinactors are shoved out of the way. I think it has spread out in the time since my last visit to the con and whilst this is great it really could do with space similar to that of the good old days. I found late in the day a whole section of the con that was in a different building, two rooms of display games including a really good display called The Block-Irish Civil War by The Boarder Reivers which to be honest could well have done with being better placed as it was a great looking and large display but by default seemed to have to be sent to an out of the way space for it's size. A real pity as the guys running it were helpful interesting and dare I say it playing the game in question. Not knocking the other games in these rooms as most of them looked very good. One room looked surprised that anyone even found them (it was gone 2pm by this point). The wargame competition room was even more tucked away (in the gym) and I was very surprised at how small the WORLD Championships had become. OK one other building had more of the competitive games going on for another three periods but I very much doubt it filled up the vacuum of years past. I would venture to say any of the three ASL competitions ran in the UK would run it close for contestants and would thrash any of the periods for numbers 1 on 1. A real shame really as it used to be the fabric of the shows. Other traders were flung to the four corners and I hope they pay less for their pitches than those in the main hall as they have to take less that the prime spots. The bring and buy looked fairly rough and what a surprise someone was standing with ticket in hand whilst it was explained that they did not have the item the guy left nor the money and ticket for the said item. I had the same thing happen to me at a past con, turned out in my case the ticket was "LOST" and finally "FOUND" when I pointed out I knew it had been sold as I was there at the point of sale and even could ID the guy who "SOLD" it. Hope this was not the case this time and it was sorted out but I know no way will I use the Bring and Buy for selling my gear unless I can stand and watch.

I did not take many pics but I did get a couple of this great display game using the Impetus rules in 6mm. This is the Battle of Trebia 218BC and hosted by The Bunburyests. Again a fun group who were playing through the game as they chattered with us and helped Barry with the burning question of what rules to buy for his 20mm Romans and just after that his feelings on DBM (etc) V Impetus. He even put the elephant base back on the board for me to photograph since it had just been destroyed about 30 mins before. Oh and yes this really is 6mm.
Long shot of the same game, Elephants removed.

Another 6mm game and great chaps (is it related?) was this game that truly has 1000's of figures in the mix. If I remember correctly that's over 12,000 figures! Again visually it was spectacular though the effect of having two long lines clash in the middle of the board gave the impression that it's just a dice game once contact is made. Possibly day two of the show would have more maneuver as it breaks down but with it being so closely packed it is hard to see how.

Late in day one, some units on both sides have pushed back others opening gaps for possible maneuver. Many units are off the battlefield by this point (3pm).
I just did not get round to taking many photo's which is a pity as many of the display games were of a very high standard and would have made cracking pics for the blog.

I major part of the con for me was reaching out to my old wargame opponents (assuming they were there) and had arranged to meet Andy from up north. Rather disappointing I saw no sign of
the old gang though again I saw Richard who I already have contact with via Facebook and bumped into at The Other Partizan a few months ago. The good news is that I met Andy as planned and sat down for a chat. We kept bumping into each other (not hard he is rather tall) and pleasant it was too.

So what did I spend my money on? Most of it was pre-planned. 11 packs of foot and 3 of horse in 15mm from Magister Militum. That is 6 packs of Pike, 5 of Peltasts and 3 of Companions for my part started project. I am clearing the decks of old 15mm Chariot Miniatures ready to start these later.
Next stop was at the Baccus stand to buy my 6mm Naps. This is a French Army Pack with Grenadiers added as an extra. This is to flesh out my French to about the size of the Prussian force I have (about 40 foot and 30 cav). I plan to expand these still further for the advanced rules but that can wait till we have a clear understanding of the rules. If they paint up much better than my Irregular 6mm then I will steadily replace.
Warbases were one of the companies hidden away and again had an order ready for me, these being mostly bases for my re-basing project for the Persian Army and the new army that I have started but also included more command and artillery bases for my Naps. These guys have class as they give discounts to show orders and I discussed the fact that they charge less for postage than it costs but he just smiled and said something about that's how it works out. A bigger smile came over his face when I handed over a Scottish note and I knew exactly what he said then, "It's coming home", yep they are based in Scotland! Much better reaction than another trader who was surprised an English Man had such coinage.
After that I was not really in the buying mode as I had really got all I was needing but came across Lancaster Games who sell S&A Scenics where I bought a couple of hill packs that will work well with the 6mm and do for the 15mm. I expect I will but a few more next year at the next con. I really don't have a clue what happened to my last lot of hills from way back but such is gaming.

Overall it was a good day out, still ran out of time before I managed to spend time watching a few games for a number of turns, to do this I would have had to drive over or go a 2nd day which was not possible as we had plans, not that I am complaining. Now all I have to do is start work on the new figures.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Start Them Young

I think I mentioned before that we have recently been having the loft insulated, this meant all the stuff in the loft had to be brought down and we have lots of it! Alice had mostly games and books stacked in her room and was interested in trying her hand at a few of them and as we have played a few games with them already (Take It Easy and Gallop Royal) with simplified rules we were happy to give it a go.

When Cath and myself were regulars at MannorCon and MidCon we used to take Looping Louie for the Friday or Saturday night late sessions. Nothing like seeing grown ups play kids games! So it was strangely right that we should play this game first. I remember it as lots of fun and yes the kids loved it, it's been in the loft all the time we have lived here, (13 years) and really we should have pulled it down before but you forget these things. Joseph at going on 5 is a natural at this, he picks a player (usually Daddy) and wipes them out first then moves onto the next player. Yes he can judge how to bounce the plane onto your chickens without you being able to respond. When he is interested he wins 60+ % of the games!!!

Alice had spied the horse game so wanted to have a go. Now First Past The Post is one of those games that many gamers would pass over as 1. it's Waddington's and 2. it's so obviously targeted at kids and as such it's got to be all chance right? No wrong, lots of bluffing and edging your bets can give this game a real replay value. Back in the day when I had a regular 4-5 player sessions we used to pull this out as a nice finisher or a filler between longer games. Best of three or five never seemed to take over an hour at best and the need to change style of play made it more interesting. It was also nice to play something in English that was fun as at that time most of the games were in German with photocopy rules in English. Alice who just turned 7 just over a week ago really got the idea, though she seemed to need you to know what horse she was backing ! She won the first game whilst Joseph took great delight in stuffing Daddy at every opportunity. Joseph really did not get this game as shown in the second game were he constantly sent the white horse backwards much to his sisters annoyance until he was forced to play his own horse card which was the white horse. So intent on stuffing big sister that he did so to himself. Well we had plenty of fun which is what it's all about.

To finish up we played Ker-Plunk, a game I had bought Cath as a joke 8+ years ago along with Twister. It was rather strange breaking the wrap off it after all these years of sitting unplayed. This was the winner of the night as both kids really enjoyed it and Joseph still thinks he won as he had the most marbles whilst Alice and me shared the same amount so I guess you could say we all won.

When it came to putting everything back in the loft we choose games that we think we can play with the kids with a few tweaks and other games that we can play two player. I am also hopeful that whilst we can't get the old gang back together again we may get a few other gaming friends to try Euro's and get some more gaming done. No we will not be able to go back to the full day long sessions of yesteryear but a few hours of games and nibbles can't be bad really can it?