Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Return of the Kriegshut

Wille calls his large shed for gaming his Kriegshut, and to celebrate its return after much refurbishment, we are putting on a rather grand ancients battle on Saturday. These photos show the setup.

The battle is loosely based on historical events. The young Gnaeus Pompeius (who calls himself Magnus), has decided that he needs to show all of Rome that he truly is great by marching on Sertorius in Spain. After raising auxiliaries from his home estates in Northern Italy and Cisalpine Gaul to add to the five legions voted him in exasperation by the senate, he marches through Gallia Transalpina, overawing the locals and levying more troops as he goes. He has a real chip on his shoulder about coming from Picenum and feels the need to prove himself once and for all. Arriving in Spain, he is joined by a contingent of Numidian auxiliaries sent by the long-suffering Metellus, who has been campaigning against Sertorius for several years now. The war is at a stalemate, but Metellus sees the coming of Pompey as a chance to increase the odds, just so long as the headstrong Pompey doesn't get himself and his army killed. The combined force meets the army of Sertorius, composed of three veteran legions, supplemented by many Spanish and Celtiberians. The fight is on.
First up are the Gauls on the right wing of Pompey's army, photographed by a reconnaissance unit from the opposite side.
To their left are some Roman-equipped Gallic troops, and then the first of Pompey's legions. Casualty markers can be seen waiting behind them.
Pompey's centre: legions on the plain.
His centre left: more legionaries and some massed auxiliary North Italian foot, all nice and safe on a large imposing ridge.
The final shot of the brash youngster's army shows the Numidians arrayed on his left, with a few Roman heavy horse in reserve.
Above is the first photo of the army of Sertorius, a force of Spanish cavalry, facing the Numidians.
The massed Spanish foot are next, commanded by a Roman working for Sertorius. Spaniards like hills.
The legions of Sertorius.
Finally, at his extreme left, Sertorius has placed a whole load of Caetrati.
A long table shot from one flank. Sertorius on the left, Pompey on the right.
A close-up of the Spanish cavalry.
The Spanish on their hill.
Many Numidians.
Italians and legionaries infesting a hilltop in Spain.
Many Caetrati, with Celtiberians stretching off into the distance.
A few Gauls. They like trees.
Last is a low level shot taken from the left rear of the Pompeian forces. The game is being played on Saturday. I have no idea who will win. Except Willie - he hates Romans, and so will win regardless as they slaughter one another in their endless civil wars. It does look as though many others will go down with them one way or another, though...

Skirmishers for Jugurtha

All ready to line the hills and chuck stuff at Romans:
All by Crusader Miniatures - the same figures I used for my light infantry and massed foot, although the latter have different shields.
Here they are on top of one of the hills I've just finished.
I used a random mix of shapes and colours for the shields, to give them that loved leather look. With goatskin. And sheepskin. And anything else that comes to hand...
I think they look fine on the new hilltop. There are 52 of them - no particular reason for the strange number. I just bought 48 and had four left over from my massed units, so I painted those too. All that now remains for this particular army is a couple of command stands, and then Jugurtha can take the field.

Terrain making, home baking

I don't do this very often, but Willie gave me some large thick Polystyrene tiles. One thing we lack is something that looks the part for the 'edge of the world' on our gaming tables. Usually this would take the form of a long ridge line to mark the edge of the battlefield, such as at Hydaspes or maybe Pharsalus, and also for occasional uses in really large games. Until now, this has usually been fudged by cobbling together a load of low hills, nut it doesn't really look right. So, here's the recipe:

Sourced from Specialist Crafts in the UK, some self-adhesive foam board. These could be used to strengthen the tiles if necessary. The ones at the top left are for two 3' long ridges, the rest are for other sizes of hills. I'm only going to make the two long ones just now.
One very large tile: 4' by 18'. And 2.5" thick.
All cut up and ready to go. I used three tiles to get all of the hill shapes I'll ever need.
My poor old hot wire cutter couldn't cope with tiles this thick, so I ended using a saw to produce some slopes. These are going to be steep hills. As you can see, the finish isn't smooth, but ModRoc is my secret ingredient, also sourced from Specialist Crafts. A lot of mess is created in the making of these tiles! One of the things I dislike about polystyrene is that it abrades really easily, even with a perfect hot knife smooth finish - hence the ModRoc to seal it all in properly.
Two long ridges. The ModRoc strips are clearly visible.
Painted with textured masonry paint (sandstone) and randomly flocked.
Finally, textured with cheap brown plastic wood (coloured decorator's caulk, sort of) and flocked some more. These will do for most climates, I hope, and although they are a bit rough and ready I can always go back and do some more work on them. They will see their first use on Saturday in a large Iberian ancients game. I quite enjoyed making a mess...