13 Feb 2024

Alicante 2024: The Battle Reports

 With far too many competitions in quick succession this January/February I'm going to be dropping a number of YouTube video battle reports over the next few weeks - with 6 reports from Alicante hitting the airwaves first!

These 10-15 minute videos see a Mithraditic army taking on the Warring States Chinese, Hittites, Hebrews, Alans, Kushans and Epirote Pyrrhics in the narrated reports which you can either watch on this website or on YouTube.

Pull up a chair, cast your YouTube to the Big Screen and enjoy my flailing attempts to steer this legendarily "lesser than the sum of its parts" army into battle in sunny sunny Espana !

7 Feb 2024

28mm Imitation Legionaries (aka Aventine Thorakitai)

 A key part of many of the Later Successor armies are the "imitation" Legionaries, where Alexander's marshalls decided to copy Rome's successful pilum+sword+shield formula, and have a tentative go at moving beyond the Greek-originated spear+shield approach. This is pretty neat, and adds variety to a wall of pikes or spears, so adding a couple of units of Imitation Legionaries to my Successor collection has always been a bit of a must. 

Other than knowing that these guys were copying Roman tactics however, there's not a massive amount of evidence for where they sit on the "Look like Romans <-> Look like Greeks" spectrum, giving a reasonable amount of leeway for choosing figures for them. 

And, in the end, I actually didn't even "choose" which figures, instead finding a couple of packs of Aventine guys in the collection of a late clubmate which seemed to fit the bill. 

It turns out on closer examination of the Aventine website that they are techically Thorakitai, but I felt that the spears that they come with were short enough (and chunky enough) to pass for pilum-style heavy throwing spears.

The other consideration (apart from "I had these already") was that having a "Greek" flavour to the figures might actually be better than having "Roman" style armour and helmets - after all, it would surely have been the style of fighting that the Successor generals would have wanted these guys to emulate, not their fashions and haberdashery?   

Adding in some head swaps from the same pack of Aventine heads that I'd used earlier on some of the Phalanx greatly increased their variety.

When combined with gluing the shields on at a variety of heights, and posing them at different angles I ended up creating a couple of units where you really have to look twice to notice that there is only one figure pose for the non-officer infantry.

The shield patterns are simple Roman-style black transfers from Veni Vidi Vici - both sets of shields are done with Contrast paints over a white base, which I have found gives a great gradient of texture on a flat surface like a shield, as the paint pools at one side of the flat surface as it dries. 

For the "Blue" unit I also did a pale blue (normal paint) background patch where the transfer would go before applying the transfer. This was because the Contrast paint was too dark to really work well with a black transfer. I had considered white transfers, but thought they might look a bit bland compared to black.

I also added in a plastic flag - I'm not entirely sure which set it was from, but it's big, and it has an LBMS transfer in the middle of it that I had to blend in by mixing paint to match the small postage-stamp bit of the transfer. 

So, that's pretty much all of the Heavy Infantry for my Successors completed - other than another couple of Phalanxes, which I'm putting off for the time being, as the thought of all that hand-drilling is rather intimidating. 

And, of course, being rather lovely Aventine metal figures, these are the "heaviest" of the Heavy Infantry in the army by quite some margin!

Hopefully these guys will make their debut at Beachhead in the ADLG competition this coming weekend (unless I end up playing in the 15mm pool to help even up numbers!)   


3 Feb 2024

Alicante 2024 : The Army Lists Video Podcast Thing

 Disproving the old adage that the best things in life are worth waiting for, the 100th episode of the Madaxeman Podcast thunders onto the airwaves with an epic, 6-handed special all the way from Spain, as myself, Dave From The Podcast & Aussie Simon are joined by Gordon, Revolutionary Dave and Mark to discuss and digest the lists we all used at the recent Alicante competition. 

This whole podcast is also available on the Madaxman YouTube channel where you can see pictures of the lists, some of the games and troops, as well as our tourism and eating exploits too.

The list covered are : Ancient Britons, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Mithradatics, Warring States Chinese and the countless  hordes of Aztecs, and all of this vague insight is shoehorned in among some tourism discussions, culinary observations, and frightning expose's of the contents of Spanish motorway service station vending machines - plus the first ever advert break to ever feature on a Madaxeman Podcast!

The video version allows you to see not only the lists as we discuss them, some of our holiday snaps, and in a Madaxeman first, little video windows of the people on the podcast actually talking (so you may prefer the audio only version...)

The army lists can all be found in the ADLG Wiki on the Madaxeman Website 

26 Jan 2024

28mm Cataphracts for the Successor project

 The Successor army moves on apace, with the latest addition being 3 units of Cataphracts, making the later version of the Seleucids an option to use at a future event. 

I already have some Gripping Beast fully armoured horse troops, which I painted up as Arab Ghilmen cavalry quite some time ago - however those figures were very wide, with the horse armour making it impossible to do the "wargames-standard" 4 figures to a base.  

It was therefore with some trepidation that I picked up a box of GB's new Roman Cataphracts, only to be pleasantly surprised to find that they appear to have thinned-down the horses so it is almost - with caveats - possible to squeeze 4 of them together on a standard DBx-style 60mm wide base. 

This feat of engineering was achieved with a bit of careful arrangement, slightly deeper than usual (50mm) bases, and some judicious use of the sprue clipper to remove any lower legs that were keeping the horses in the middle of each block too far apart.

It's surprisingly hard to notice the missing legs in this solid mass of metal.

Where I had cut the legs too high up the thigh, I also filled in some of the gaps with wood filler, painted it black and then drybrushed it to match the rest of the guys - which made an already hard to spot thing even harder. 

This happy chap is yet to find a suitable shield transfer to go onto his standard. I have a feeling I may end up buying a sheet of white 25mm Successor shield "stars" from Veni Vidi Vici just to drop one on this standard (so if anyone has a spare please let me know!). 

If you look really closely you can see that the standard bearer's demeanour appears not to be adversely impacted by the loss of one of his legs just above the knee, which is rather reminiscent of the legendary Peter Cook & Dudley Moore "Tarzan Audition" sketch!

I also used a lot of head swaps from the bits box for these - leaving the "Roman" heads out and adding in very "Greek" ones from Phalangites, Hoplites and Companion cavalry to emphasise their Greekness. 

The second rate unit will be this one in bronze - the painting is a simple black spray base coat and drybrish with Vallejo Weapon Bronze, with the spears and faces undercoated in white before painting the colurs onto them. 

The spears have a barbership sort of effect which is enhanced considerably IMO by the fairly simple addition of extra "rings" that break up the blocks of colour. 

These are a dark brown initial ring around the lance, with a ring of ochre brown then painted inside it. 

This breaks up the bit between the blocks of colour nicely, and also gives you a bit of leeway to even up the lengths of the blocks of colour when you've painted them by painting the dark brown ring over a bit more of one colour or the other in each case ! 

There is also a barely-visible coloured bit of cloth at the bottom of the horse armour - this too adds some subtle hinits of colour to the units

The final bit was to do some colour on the joiny-bit at the back of the horse armour (which may just be there ot hide the join line in the two halves of the horse !).  

This also adds more subtle colour on what is an otherwise potentially rather one-tone figure.

So, 1 dozen cataphracts, all of which actually fit together in a solid block on 60mm frontages, and all for a very decent price too!


21 Jan 2024

Iberian Airport Lounge List Dump

 As I'm currently sat at Valencia Airport waiting for a flight home, the joys of airport free WiFi have allowed me to bring you 7 all-new ADLG army lists from this weekend, with both my army and those of my 6 opponents already in the Wiki on this site.

Those lists are:

FWIW, the Mithraditic army lost to the Hittites and Chinese, and then defeated the remaining four armies in this list. 

Before the competition Team CLWC undertook an epic road trip, taking in Cordoba and Granada before arriving in Alicante on Friday evening. 

With a following wind there will be a podcast with everyone in the car chatting about it, but here's some highlights:

12 Jan 2024

Victrix Successor Pikemen in 28mm

 I've already posted a few articles about my (of course over ambitious) project to create a generic Hellenistic/Successor army in 28mm, which started with the lighter troops and peltasts, and then added some Galatians and some cavalry... all of which was really a rather folorn effort to put off tacking the Phalanx for as long as possible!

The dread of the Phalanx is twofold. 

First up, it's a lot of near-identical, uniform figures, which always makes painting a bit of a chore. But more importantly I had decided that the Victrix spears were simply too flimsy to use as-is, and instead that I would drill out the pikemen's hands and add in metal pikes instead.

If this wasn't too easy, I also decided to go a little off-piste on the headswap front, throwing in all sorts of plastic heads from the spares box (which has all sorts in it!) as well as mixing it up with the rather good range of heads that come on the Victrix sprues. 

Oh, and as if that's not enough, I also got a pack of Successor metal heads from Aventine to shake things up even more, as I do really like my troops to look like battle-worn veterans and the whole "I'm not using standad kit!" thing is a big part of that.   

And, to make things even harder I tried to create that "might not be a real thing" joining-type-bit that wraps around the middle of each pike by using tiny strips of normal paper soaked in quite a lot of PVA glue. 

Oh, and did I mention that I then bought two sets of Victrix Argyaspids on the mistaken assumption that they would be pikemen? They are in fact armed with spears, so the decision to drill out their hands and add metal pikes wasn't even one I had anychoice over in the end - I simply had to do it once I started. 

Dodging some rather chilly and wet spells of weather along the way, I eventually ended up with 2/3 of the total number of guys all primed and ready to start painting.  

And here's an intermediate step, with the LBMS shield transfer rushed into place a little earlier than maybe is sensible simply to give me some encouragement that they would actually be worth the effort in the end. 

What you can see here quite clearly is that there are two sizes of shield - something I only spotted in the nick of time - with the Argyaspid shields being slightly bigger. The bodies of the Argyaspids and Macedonian Phalanx sets are pretty similar, only slight cosmetic differences in the straps that I guess support the shield, but near enough identical so I could use them interchangeably on all of my pikemen.

I also - which you can also see here - used some different arms from the bits box to hold the pikes.  This was in part to create even more variety in posees, but was mostly because it's impossible to drill out 48 plastic arms and hands without messing a few of them up, so you need some replacements. 

Some look a bit clunky but will get lost in the Phalanx I'm sure..?

And, eventually here we are, getting somewhere at last with the Veteran Mercenary phalanx set of LBMS transfers in place and the men mostly finished. 

At this stage I have painted the pikes in my standard Ochre Brown, and used a dark brown to paint the joining-bit bits, so I can use a lighter colour to do a bit of a very basic twisted rope effect later. 

And here's a close up so you can see exatly how basic it actually is.  The guy on the right has been a receipient of a donated arm, which does look a bit odd from this angle. Perhaps he needs to be in the  middle of the block of 12 men? 

This is three ADLG units of 12 pikemen all based up and ready to be finished off with some sand and woodstain.  

If you count you'll see that they are based in 4 ranks of 3 files per base, with each base being a standard 60x60mm. I had originally assumed that they would end up as 4 files and 3 ranks but the shields are just a bit too big, and the pikemen's stance is too wide to make that work without staggering the figures in each rank (which would look wierd for a Greek-style well drilled Phalanx), so 3x4 it has to be. 

At least it gives the shields more room to shine. 

This is the finished  article, a Veteran/Mercenary unit with a right rogues gallery of characters and headgear on display. 

The chap front left is a Gallic cavalry head I think, and the chap in the middle is probably a Turk or Mongol cavalryman who looks ready to fight pretty much anyone!

There is even a Persian in the middle with a fetching blue bubble hat!  

I blended the red shield transfer at the back into the full shield with some paint mixing, but for most of the rest I left a black circle around the shield and then did a rim of bronze, which I touched up again after the matt varnishing stage to give them some extra shine and 'ping'. 

Plenty more random heads on display here. 

I did the linen armour by starting with a base coat of Holy White from Warlord Games Speedpaint range, and then blocked in the big flat areas in simple white, as well as picking out the petruges (?) on their armoured skirts in white too. 

I did try a black undercoat initially but found it too harsh, so the grey of Holy White, and the way it pools and darkens around the edges is a good alternative. 

These chaps have ended up as the Argyaspids - that whole "My Boss's face on my shield" thing must indicate some exceptional level of loyalty to the cause! 

As they will most likely be the Elite chaps I added in the officer, standard bearer and trumpeter to the base - putting the trumpeter at the back and the standard bearer in the middle so their rather flimsy trumpet and flag would be a lot harder to break in normal handling. 

I think there is also a logic to the trmpteter at least being at the back to sound the commands for the Phalanx to follow?

These are the standard Phalangites - slightly smaller shields than the Argyaspids. It's a little frustrating that the info on the Victrix site doesn't make it explicit which sets of shield transfers fit which set of pikemen, but with a mix of types to choose from I managed to muddle through OK.

You can see a lot of the headswaps here - even a chilled out dude in a Cretan floppy hat, who is of course towards the back of the unit.  

Although there seems to be another more foolhardy Cretan in the front rank too..

This was the officer - some of the packs come with 3 extra figures, and rather strangely the command sprue has two sets of legs wearing trounsers as well. 

This isn't really enough to change a full 24-man Phalanx to "Asiatic Successors" (!!) but I did manage to use them and put them in the front rank so visually it does have a material effect on how they look.

The officers in this army are clearly better fed than the rank and file phalangites! 

All in all, I'm really chuffed wth how they have turned out. Drilling out the hands is a real PITA, and nothing can hide thatfact, but I think it's been worth it in the end. 

Now I only need to steel myself to finish off the final 24 to add to the 48 I've already done!

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