Sunday, 22 December 2013

Last of the Caetrati

Finished the last of these bad boys.  Skirmishing Caetrati in traditional white, by Navigator Miniatures.  All that's left for me to do for this army is the light horse and some more command stands.
How they look from above.  I've put them in a wedge for absolutely no reason - just to vary the photos, I suppose.  There's no game effect for it.  Running total for 2013 is 82 cavalry and 736 foot figures.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Triumphant Celtiberians: the Battle Report

Despite the fact that they destroyed several Roman armies and gave the Ancient Borg a really hard time on and off for over 200 years, the Iberians don't seem to turn up on the wargames table as often as they deserve, except when fighting as mercenaries for someone else.  They are one of the forces I've always fancied getting, just because a whole army of them would be rather out of the ordinary.  So when Dougie said he had a load of the Companion Miniatures figures available, I went for it.

Our ongoing campaign has now reached the point where one of the major conflicts between the peoples of Iberia and the encroaching assimilators of all joy has erupted, and for the first time I was able to field the army in its own right.  Deployment map:

I don't have any photos of the battle itself, because I still don't have the lighting the way I want it, but here is a short series of Battle Chronicler maps.  The first one (above) shows the field and the relative deployments.  The Celtiberians, in blue at the top, have come out of their hills and encountered a Roman army in a relatively well watered area with some woods scattered around the place - probably the plantations of that most odious of species, the Roman Eques.  The Celtiberians have formed up with the mass of their infantry in the open area, flanked by contingents of cavalry and those nasty Caetrati for which they are so justifiably famous.  I chose and deployed the army, because I supplied it, but to be as umpirically fair (is that even a word?) I built the forces before rolling for terrain - hence the two loose formation warbands at both ends of the main line.  I also supplied the Romans and built their force for the game, but I left it to others to deploy this lot.  The guys in red are Romans, white are Socii Legions, and yellow denotes mercenary skirmishers.  The Romans basically have a proconsular legion minus the Triarii.  Simon set them up in alternating "cohorts" of Hastati and Principes, deployed in depth in the centre and with each end of the line held by troops in a more shallow formation, ably supported by the heavy cavalry.

After seeing the Roman set up, I thought they would hold back and let the Celtiberians come to them.  The Romans have superiority in skirmishers, and hold the field - all they need to do is hold for a draw in campaign terms.  However, they did that Roman aggression thing that got so many of them killed at Cannae:
I've zoomed in on the central action because I was playing the Spanish left wing and I couldn't really see what was happening on the other flank.  Also, the two sides seemed to settle into a bit of a stalemate over there, so the decision point would come, inevitably, in the middle of the field.The Warbands were held off quite easily by the Latin legions, who seemed rather unperturbed by supposedly wild charges, but the Roman legionaries had a worse time of it in the initial stages.  The Roman right had a bit of an overlap, and I held my contingent back as far as possible to prolong the time before contact.
However, the legionary line facing me came forward, allowing the Equites to go in at the oblique to help against the loose formation loons at this point.
Just as it looked as though the legions would win through, the leftmost (shallow) unit of Latins collapsed - well, it was outnumbered - but unfortunately for the Italians there was a cascade failure and the whole left of their line ran for it.  One of the Roman units disintegrated as well, but the rest of the boys in red didn't seem to mind too much.  The warband hit by the Roman cavalry routed at the same time, as did one of the closer formation warbands, disordering some of their friends and my Caetrati, but it wasn't enough.  And, just because I can, here's a picture I took of the Celtiberian victory when I managed to get some decent daylight:
Very little deters the juggernaut of Rome, however, and another army is already on its way...

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A Roman City in the Making

You have to see this to believe it.  Pino Chiodi left a message on the blog post about our Ilipa game, including the link to his blog, and I had a look.  Amazing!

Quick addition: welcome, Giuseppe, and thanks for joining.  I'll try to reciprocate - I just need to work out how the Google circles thing works!

Triumphant Celtiberians

A single shot of the aftermath of yesterday evening's game:
The light in the evenings isn't good enough for photos, but I left the figures on the field at the point of Celtiberian success.  The gap in front of them was occupied by Socii legions before they had a catastrophic morale collapse.   Just wanted to record the moment before Rome sends in another army...

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Skirmishing Caetrati

First of two batches of 24:
I made this lot multicoloured so that they fit in with the Celtiberians.
The rest will be in traditional white.  Figures by Navigator, courtesy of Magister Miltum.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Saying Hello... Nortius Maximus and Legatus Hedlius.  Nortius has a blog here with a nice baggage element in progress at the moment.  I really should think about this sort of thing too!  Legatus, on the other hand, has FIVE blogs.  Click on his profile picture to get to them...

Thanks for joining, guys.

A Few Slingers More

Sixteen of them; I thought I had another twenty-four, but at least this means I was able to finish them more quickly:
I wanted some in different colours, to help differentiate them from the men in white.  And also because I could - it made them more interesting to paint.
And that's me finished my Companion Miniatures Spanish.  I have some Navigator Miniatures skirmish infantry and light horse to do, plus some cavalry command bases as well as a high command stand by Gripping Beast.  And that will be this project finished, at least as much as they ever are...

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Companion Miniatures Spanish Slingers

Nasty, these - they'll do very nicely for Balearics:
A ground level shot.  I've varied the shield and sling colours for some interest.
And one from the vantage point of the gamer.  There are 24 of them, and I have the same again already painted but needing to be based.  I've painted the second batch in various colours to make them fit in with my Celtiberians.

Ilipa again

On Tuesday we replayed the scenario for Ilipa, mainly because when we ran it the first time none of our local players was able to make it.
We played the game in the evening, when the light is so poor that photos don't come out.  However, I did take some shots of the initial setup on my home table.  First up (above) is a long shot of the whole battle, Romans on the left.
Second is a slightly angled shot of the Roman army.
The third and final photo shows the forces fighting for Carthage.  It was an all-out Roman victory this time, with Carthage being comprehensively crushed.

Sunday, 1 December 2013


Coarse sponge, splatted with sandy paint.  I dislike markers, especially for large display games.  I want things to look uncluttered, so I have gone for casualty dials and now dust markers.  Certain unit types gain extra impetus dice in our rules of choice, and I wanted some way to represent this.  I shamelessly "borrowed" the idea from a post made by Big Lee on 6mm WWII desert warfare - credit where credit's due, after all!  Having said that, his look a lot better than mine.  Maybe the elephants are being chased by giant gerbils...

On the Painting Tray: December 2013

40 slingers and 48 Caetrati: skirmishers for my ancient Spanish army.  The slingers are the last of my Companion Miniatures figures.  To finish off, I've bought the extra Caetrati and a load of light cavalry from Navigator Miniatures at Magister Militum.  They are noticeably smaller than the Companion Miniatures guys, but I'm not too worried about that because they are meant to represent units of younger guys in the skirmish line and on little ponies.  They would fit well with the likes of 1st Corps.  We'll see how many of this lot I manage to finish for the end of the year...

Friday, 29 November 2013

Came across another good looking blog

... which is here.  Joe has been posting quite a bit on The Miniatures Page website recently, so I thought I should follow his blog.  I can't figure out that Google Circles thing, though!  Do have a look - he has some really lovely 25mm Macedonians on there.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Hello to William Stewart

...of Imagi-Nations fame; you can find his blog here.  I admire the work people put into their imagi-Nations worlds, especially the 18th century style ones.  It's not something I'd do because I am being utterly ruthless about keeping to my own commitments.  I prefer large projects, and I know that if I over-commit I'll never get anything even remotely finished.  However, I do still have a hankering after an Imagi-Nations World of Greyhawk wargames campaign - it would be another use for my ancients/medievals, of course!  But I'd really need to beef up my fantasy collection.  One day, perhaps.  In the meantime I'll quite happily peruse blogs such as William's for ideas...

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Welcoming Phil

Hi Phil, thanks for joining. Please let me know if I don't already have a link to a blog of yours so that I can reciprocate!


Yesterday evening saw a load of folks arriving in Glasgow for the annual Armati tournament, being held today and tomorrow.  Since there are visitors from various parts of England (and Vincent from Paris!), I decided it was high time I helped out a bit at least.  I'm (obviously) not a 15mm player, nor do I like tournaments, but this is a very friendly circuit of players.  I can't make it to a whole weekend of gaming anyway due to family commitments, but I do like to aim for a large game every so often.  So as a way of saying thanks to our visitors, I brought in a load of the larger scale toys for a large Tactica II game.  The battle begins after the Romans have cleared the field of the Carthaginian skirmishers and shifted the remainder of the Velites to the flanks to help out against the elephants.  First up is a series of deployment photos:
The Roman right flank, as the enemy sees it: Spanish and Roman horse, the Roman Triarii, and Roman Velites out front.  One of Scipio's tactical innovations on this battle is the way he has thrown the Triarii wide of the main line to get them stuck in as soon as possible, instead of keeping in reserve.
Moving along Scipio's battle line we have the Roman legions.  That's the man himself at the top left of the photo as you look at it.
The Spanish foot occupy the centre of Scipio's army.  You can't really tell from the photo, but they are held further back than the legions, in a sort of concave infantry formation.  This is another of the tricks Scipio pulled on the day - he knew the opposition would be expecting the legions to be in his centre.
Next come the Latin legions.  The bits of paper detail each of the commands, and have basic information on the various troop types.  I had no idea how many players we would have, but I was pretty certain that the visiting gamers probably wouldn't have much knowledge of Tactica II.
Finally, the Roman left, comprising the Latin Triarii, brigaded together in the same manner as their Roman compatriots at the other end of the line, and a large contingent of Latin horse.  Latin Velites out front.  The bits of cork are my latest attempt to make a less uninteresting basic field for ancients games.  I tried terrain tiles made from cork on an earlier occasion, but they didn't work very well.  The problem with tiles is that the lines are always visible, which detracts from their visual appeal.  So I've decided on the opposite approach: bits of cork tile to break up the billiard table look, but made deliberately irregular.  These ones have green through them, which I hope helps with the illusion.
Now we see the Carthaginian deployment.  The first photo (above) shows the troops facing the Latin cavalry: Spanish horse; elite Punic heavy cavalry, and a unit of elephants.  No skirmishers in this army, because the Velites have already removed them.
The first contingent of Turdetani, played for the evening by my Caetrati.  Unfortunately for them, they are facing the Latin legions...
The centre is held by the cream of the army, four good sized units of elite Punic heavy spearmen (supplied by Simon).  Now we see why Scipio has deployed his Spanish as far back as possible!
Unfortunately, the photo of the next batch of Turdetani was too blurry to use, but you can just make out one of the units at the left.  The remainder shows the Carthaginian left wing, under the command of the famous Numidian Prince Masinissa: a unit of elephants plus loads of Numidian light cavalry.
Finally, a long table shot of the entire field, with the Romans to the right.  We had four Carthaginian players and three Romans, so plenty for everyone to do.  Overall, Carthage had two units of elephants, 56 cavalry and 504 foot figures.  The Romans had 42 cavalry and 464 infantry.  Various commanders could also be seen running around the place.
The battle began in ferocious style, as was indeed the intention.  The first action shot above shows the Latin cavalry on Scipio's left coming to grips with their Spanish and Punic adversaries.  The Latins lost in spectacular style.  I deliberately set the game up so that manoeuvre would be restricted.  Most folks had been travelling for quite a while, and it seemed like a good idea just to have a fun, set 'em up and roll the dice type of battle.  Relatively little thought required; fun at the option of the players.  They are about to play a tournament for a whole weekend, so I didn't want to inflict something too challenging the night before - besides, most folks wouldn't know the rules anyway.
The Latin legions come to grips with the Turdetani.  The legionary mincing machine begins its terrible work...
At the other end of the field, the Numidians do their level best to keep the Romans here occupied and away from the flanks of the Turdetani.  Above you can see that the elephants have drawn the Triarii in this direction.  A rather necessary nellie sacrifice.
And here's why: the Turdetani are rather fully occupied with Roman legionaries to their front; the last thing they need is a column of elite Triarii spearmen bearing down on their open flank...
The concave formation adopted by Scipio has forced Hasdrubal to march his heavy spearmen right across the table, thus delaying contact here for as long as possible.  Unlike the historical performance, in this refight the Punics go straight in and an epic struggle develops.
It's pretty much combat all along the line now.  Above, the Turdetani facing the Latins are having a really bad time.
The Latin Equites have been wiped out, however, and the Punic nobles turn in towards the left rear of the legions.  The Spanish cavalry are nowhere to be seen, haring off in pursuit of their defeated enemies.  At the top of the photo you can see the Latin Triarii in desperate combat against the elephants.
Above: this is what happens to elephants caught in the flank by Romans in a bad mood...
Masinissa has done well to hold the Romans here as long as possible, but will it be enough?
The Turdetani here begin to crumble, but the remainder fight on grimly.  Quite a few of the legionaries here are getting rather exhausted by the attrition.
The Latins, however, have ruthlessly exterminated all opposition - all the Turdetani here have been wiped out in rather spectacular fashion.  The Latins try to regroup but are hit from behind by the Punic aristocrats.  Will the Latins be swept away by a glorious cavalry charge?  Nope.  It fizzles and the left of Scipio's army is saved.
A final shot of the Turdetani facing the Romans before the legionary grinders finish their grisly work.

The game was actually a lot closer than it seemed.  Hasdrubal's Punics cut their way through the Spanish in Scipio's centre, wiping them out to a man.  If that cavalry charge had come off, the Latin legions would have been severely mauled if not destroyed outright, because all the units there were already disordered due to their attempt to turn to face the threat from behind.  Fortunately for them, though, they successfully crushed the Turdetani before the cavalry arrived, so they weren't fighting in two directions at once.  Even so, there were a couple of hairy moments.

So, a better result than the historical outcome for Carthage.  They still lost, but at least Hasdrubal used his spearmen this time, and they escaped by bursting through the Spanish in the centre.  Thanks are due to everyone who took part.  I think it went well; people seemed to be enjoying the spectacle, and once they saw how the rules worked the game practically ran itself.  I only had to adjudicate things like morale tests and elephant routs, which are always good fun.  It wasn't intentional, but it turns out that this is a good game for learning the rules from scratch.  There are enough troop types to give the players a decent range of options, while at the same time it works as a good old-fashioned focus on the melee interactions.  We'll maybe play it again some time...

Friday, 22 November 2013

Companion Miniatures Celtiberians

"What's that coming over the hill, is it a Warband?"  Sung to the tune my kids keep humming at the moment:
Shame about the band of light at the right of the photo - today is the first time I've had a chance to take pictures of these guys and there is actually some sunshine in wintry Scotland!
I finished them earlier this week, and today they have been packed away for their first outing - Ilipa tonight, guest starring as the Turdetani.  So they'll most likely be getting slaughtered...
When I got these figures from Dougie to use for all of my Iberians, I deliberately kept back all of the guys in cloaks to use as the Celtiberians.  I painted them up as a mix of tartans, which I blagged from a website on the Scottish clans.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.
I added some of the other standard figures, but painted those in all sorts of colours to make them distinct from the Scutarii and Caetrati.
And here they are, in all their glory: four warbands of 45 figures each.  These plus the closer based Scutarii will give me all the options I will need for our ongoing campaign.  They are already revolting!
I also painted a couple of command stands - the more the merrier!
These are by Gripping Beast - Companion Miniatures are very difficult to find.
I really like the standards.
I used similar random colours to the warbands to make them fit in well.
And to finish off, the inevitable price of fighting Romans.  These are Wargames Factory Numidian Infantry, the ancient gamer's plastics of choice for unarmoured types.  Bases chopped off, Iberian shields and appropriate colours and voila, casualty figures for Ilipa.  Totals for 2013 are now 82 mounted and 648 infantry figures completed.