31 Aug 2022

The Kyivan Rus on the M4 road to Reading

 One of the great beauties about L'Art de la Guerre is the way the shorter game time (about 2.5 hours) means you can fit 3 games into a day. It sounds fairly minor, but a 3-round Swiss Draw tournament is just, well, a lot, lot more "meaty" than a 2-round one would be - but without imposing so many games on you that a poor army design could leave you cursing the protracted pain of facing a series of lengthy drawn out defeats either.

The recent Reading-based 1-dayer ticked all of those boxes with a theme of "the World of the Rus and Vikings" - armies with a connection to either of these peoples, in the form of a historical antipathy or conflict, a mention in the army list notes, or an allied contingent of either of the two. 

I however went full Zelensky on this one, and chose a Rus army with no allies at all, a simple list chosen mainly as it was as close as I could get to using all of the lockdown-rebased Rus spearmen I owned all on table together whilst not totally ignoring the "good" options in the overall design.

That did mean a lot of spearmen - an often-unloved troop type who are nevertheless superb in the right circumstances. And, of course, how could I forget, a chance yet again to deploy the age-old groan-inducing Rus Abbot punchline against three unwary opponents!

All three Bella Emberg-free reports from this event are now online as the Rus take on the Carolingians, the Vikings and the Thematic Byzantine Empire in these fully illustrated and statistic rich reports. 

19 Aug 2022

Another unit of 28mm Spanish

 Yes, in my gradual and partly accidental attempt to create a 28mm Feudal Spanish/Sicilian Norman type army, the next unit on the testing line is some Fireforge Almughavars

I bought these from Dave Thomas up at Britcon last weekend, and quickly put together a unit/base from 6 of the 24 figures in the box, undercoated them in black, did a bit of highlighting in white (a cheapskates Azimuth Spray I guess) then set to work with normal paints and some Army Painter washes.

They have gone together very neatly - every set of arms is mail-clad, which makes joining them to some of the torsos a bit easier as you don't have to get a perfect match with the cloth/tabard guys shoulders.  

Dave From The Podcast keeps telling me Almughavars didn't have shields, but there weren't quite enough left arms on a sprue to do all 6 guys without shields, so maybe I am reflecting the balance of academic views on this (if its about 83% of scholars think they were unshielded, 17% think they were shielded). 

The figures look a bit cartoonish on the box art, but having painted and based them I suspect that impression is down to Foreforge's painters style rather than anything inherent in the figures. 

They came with square plastic bases, but I didn't want to have to build up the baseplate with filler to hide these, so instead pinned a leg on each dude to the MDF base - being hard plastic they were very easy to drill with a pin vise. 

They are also normal sized - some Fireforge stuff is a bit big - and their spears have been made to a sensible non-easily-breaking thickness too, unlike some of Fireforge's earlier Arab cavalry bows, which I have already.

They come with glue-on swords, scabbards, pouches etc allowing them to be well customized 

These were (of course) given the Army Painter effect to leave them with a dirty Middle Ages feel. 

Taking the photos I realised I'd not gone back to do their helmet nose-guards in gunmetal, so that's now been done - just squint and I'm sure you can imagine it in metallic silver!

I also then remembered I had a turntable as well that I bought ages ago - so managed to dig it out and do a few spinning around videos too. Not sure how well Blogger will render it though - so apologies if its a bit crappy.

All in all I am very happy with them, and once the other 18 are done I will have a very nice (and if anything more "realistic" than the box art and unpainted figures might suggest) set of 24 Catalan Almughavars. 

16 Aug 2022

Adventures in 3D Prints : The Reconquer Designs Experiment

 Having tried some scaled-up 10mm Etruscans recently my other dabble into 3D printed figures has been at the exact opposite end of the scale, with some Reconquer Designs (until recently known as Caballero Miniatures) Medieval Spanish spearmen.

These figures look astonishing in the renders, and so I bought a packet at a show and painted some up to match the style of some existing metals I had for the same army 

The Caballero/Reconquer figures are super-dynamic, but these ones came without bases. 

After thinking about drilling into their heels to put a pin into them and the base I instead realised that they'd be so huddled together on a 60x40 DBx base that I could instead glue them all together into a single lump!

This in turn meant there was just one "thing" to handle, and it would have multiple points of contact with the MDF base making it far more robust than if the figures had been based "individually"

The paint job is a pretty simple one reliant on Army Painter washes to give them a battle-hardened look

I gave every one a metal spear. Some came with open hands for spears, and others with open hands and printed swords. These were a complete nonsense, and broke as soon as you looked at them so I gave up almost immediately and just went all-metal, all-spear 

These figures are superbly animated, so much so they are a little wasted in this close formation - but being able to glue them together for mutual support did solve a basing problem, and its how I need them to be anyway so it does still look quite cool IMHO.  

Here they are next to some North Star metal spearmen painted in the same style. The Reconquer/Caballero ones are more "normally" proportioned but don't look too out of place. 

They are great figures, superb sculpts - but they do currently come at a price which puts even metal alternatives as a much, much cheaper option (never mind plastic kit figures) if you are buying them printed by a 3rd party. I have no idea how they work out if you buy the STL files I'm afraid. 

They can be bought from Britcon 2022 exhibitor Irongate Scenery in the UK. 

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