18 Oct 2022

Random bits and pieces

 With 2 full armies in the paint queue, I finally got around to tidying up some of the odds and sods that had been cluttering my paint table for, well, in some cases, many years!

The ends results are eclectic, and not all done in Contrast Paints either (to make a nice change!) 

First up, some dynamic falling knights from Donnington's 100YW range, based up as exuberant hit markers 

Next, and the main batch, some 28mm metal knight figures of unknown (ie unpainted on a Bring & Buy) origin.  

I've used waterslide transfer paper and my home printer to make the symbols for the heraldry so that's why they look so precise - my painting hasn't suddenly improved !

Irritatingly a bit of ink wash seems to have congealed on this guy's shield.

They are done up as Spanish Knights, with Castile and Leon heraldry 

And a few other cities and statelets too

I really like these figures - they came with separate hands to mix and match weaponry

One unit is in non-Spanish colours

I've had this guy hanging around for ages, but drilled out his hand and added a Valencian flag 

More weirdly, these are some sort of random armoured horsemen on what I am pretty sure are old Essex Han Chinese chariot horses, painted up as African Kingdoms mounted warriors or cataphracts

The padding really helps create a bright and unusual looking unit. 

I did also add some cotton as  horse-hair style pennants to differentiate the Elite from the Average ones. 

More random stuff to come soon!

12 Oct 2022

Refurbished Hittites

The epic task of selling off our late clubmate Clive's collection (on behalf of his family) was not 100% succesful. A rather battered looking Hittite army, presumably bought for DBM or DBMM, resolutely refused to tempt any of the people I offered it to - presumably the near total lack of chariot wheels and crew, and the 50%+ lack of even chariot bodies to accompany the vast numbers of horses was somehow off-putting!

Rather than consign it to the recycling pile however, I decided to take it on as a project, and contacted the nice folks at Essex as I know they have sold separate components in the past. 

They were happy to supply me with horseless chariots and crew, so after a lot of soaking-off of the robust original bases, a full rebasing, and the addition of some new, fully wheeled-up chariots the army has now become a pretty decent ADLG Hittite/Ugaritic force  

This is a pure-play Essex chariot, mounted on a 40mm round base to act as a General 

Both of these are the original Lancashire Games chariot bodies, some with wheels scrounged from the bits box (possibly stolen from unused Napoleonic gun carriages...) and a mix of the Essex and original Lancashire crew

Essex chariot bodies, painted in a simple GW Contrast red with white trim, with Lancashire horses and Lancashire crew 

This may well have been the only "original" chariot from the Lancashire range to survive, with even their own wheels !

Lancashire crew, Essex chariot body, Lancashire horses 

There were hundreds of these slingers from the Lancashire Makedonian range, all based as LI, which makes me suspect it was a DBMM army. They unfortunately suffer from the occasional Lancashire Games issue of very weak ankles, so I'm not sure how long they will survive. ADLG doesn't use many slingers, so I used a load of the spare ones to base up in blocks of 7-8 to use as Levy

These bowmen are very nice figures, and have robust ankles too.  I can see them making appearances in other Biblical armies as well.

I suspect these may be Essex refugees who snuck into the army - based up as Javelinmen, with a lone slinger hidden in the middle of the pack to bulk out the 8 of these figures to two bases of ADLG-appropriate numbers

These are the main body of infantry - using some bowmen to again boost numbers. The simple paint job the original painter did looks very effective, but is really just some easy-to-do dots - very effective for the effort!

The army list has some Elite bow units with Pavise, so having also found these pavises hanging around it seemed an ideal opportunity to use them.

The figures are mostly from the Lancashire Games range, and you can see a load more pictures of this army online in my 15mm figure gallery 

6 Oct 2022

A Viking Battle Shed

 With a podcast and a load of painting all at the "finishing touches" stage, I thought I'd sneak out a few photos of Forged in Battle's Viking War Shed, which I picked up as the prize at the WAR 1-dayer competition earlier in the year. 

OK, technically it's a WE-F55 Meade Hall but I'm sure they may have also kept the odd lawnmower and set of garden tools in there too.

The model is a 2-part resin structure, with the roof being separate to the base. There is no internal detail so the roof just gets glued on after placing the posts around the sides.

The pillars and gable ends are separate metal pieces which need to be glued into holes in the base - some of which I had to drill out to take the lug on the metal beam. This was very easy to do with a pin vise, as the resin drills out easily enough.  

Some of the beams then needed snipping down a bit at the top as well to fit under the roof, and a couple needed building up with filler to join up with the roof once it was glued in place too. 

I painted it in a black Gesso undercoat, with many layers of different drybrushed browns and (eventually) pale grey and bleached bone.

Here it is with some 15mm 2 Dragons figures for scale.

I think it has come out as a very nice little building - useful for that Village next to the Waterway that the Vikings, Rus and Saxon types all like to have to narrow the table down so their shieldwall can't get outflanked!


20 Sept 2022

Persians at the Tagus : ADLG in Lisbon

 Lisbon, and the Lusitania Challenge - a 4 person team event held in the Military Museum in Portugal's capital on the banks of the Tagus which I'd last been to all the way back in 2012.

In recent years the Lusitania Challenge has been reinvented and reinvigorated by the adoption of L'Art de la Guerre as its Ancient ruleset of choice, putting the event firmly on the map of the pan-European ADLG event circuit. 

This time around a staggering 24 teams (96 players) had assembled in the gun-infested bowels of the Lisbon Military Museum to do tabletop ancients battle together (and, also, eat sardines from tins as often as possible).

In terms of the actual gaming this was a competition with 4 players in each team, each playing a themed period roughly analogous to the 4 classic DBM Army List Books - and I was in Period 2, Roman & Classical. having decided that this prestigious international event was the ideal opportunity to put on table the wheeled Persian Archery Towers for the first time in competitive action as part of an Achaemenid army.

The general theory of the army was to use a combination of infantry archers (Sparabara and Immortals) together with good quality Satrapal and Guard cavalry on each wing to overwhelm any opponents mounted troops, and use the Archery Towers, some low-grade mercenary spearmen and a small force of mostly light horse in the centre to block and distract the enemy's capital troops and keep them from reinforcing what I hoped would be their by-then heavily embattled wings.

Over the course of 5 games and 2 days the Persians took on the Sassanid Empire, two lots of Early Imperial Romans, an Alexandrian Macedonian army and then ventured Eastwards to fight the Classical Indians, giving a wide range of opposing armies and troop types for the Achaemenid plan to be tested against. 

All 5 battle reports are now available on the Madaxeman website, complete with the usual mix of irrelevant captions, post-game analysis and insults from Hannibal, in-detail reporting of our culinary  and beverage related exploits in and around Lisbon, and links to how I cooked up the wallpaper for the towers and the pavises of the Persian army.

Read the 5 reports and the culinary analysis here 

15 Sept 2022

3D Printed Elephant & Metal Crew

I've just finished painting up a 28mm elephant printed by Disain Studio ( https://disainstudio.com/ ), which I bought from them at Britcon, and then added to it a metal crew from Aventine Miniatures

The pikeman has an "extended" waist as I used 2 thin rare earth magnets to fasten his legs and torso together - partly so he can be removed for transit and storage, and partly as he looked a little stubby. 

The elephant (I think) looks far better than most 28mm "wargames" elephants out there, although I have high hopes for the Victric hard plastic one which I'll make eventually. 

The paint job on the elephant is a standard black undercoat with progressively lighter grey drybrushing. I missed a couple of minor casting (printing?) lines just behind the head, which really I should have sanded away, and so had to paint them out using paint as a filler to make them go away - I don't think they show unless you are looking for them.  

The shield pattern is an LBMS Thracian shield, as the ones I have for some Victrix pikemen and hoplites are way too big for this Aventine crewman. I did also have to bend the Indian mahout's legs a little with pliers to make him fit. 

The whole thing is based on a 60x60mm mdf base, with stained and drybrushed builders sand, and a couple of bamboo plants from a Chinese eBay purchase.

I even created a YouTube video with a load more photos and a turntable view of the finished article which you can see here: https://youtu.be/kuRz7GIOdP4

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. 

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