Friday 26 June 2009


These three have been based singly on command stands. I bought these from Eric as well, so needless to say I don't have a clue who made them...

The next shots, however, are of Xyston's Leonidas, with an Old Glory standard bearer pressed into service for the Lacedaemonians.
I painted these last summer. The standard was my first attempt at making the cloth backdrop more interesting than just a straight single colour plus transfer.
Since then, I've been using this technique for almost any reasonably smooth surface, to make things a bit more interesting.
The front view probably shows it best.

Spartans that are even more elite than usual

In Tactica II, the Spartans are allowed to designate a unit as special flankers, if it pays extra points. It can deploy outside the central sector, in the wing area usually reserved for light troops and cavalry. This extends the line to simulate the Spartan tactic of wheeling behind the end of the enemy line to roll it up.
I have no idea which make these are; I bought them from Eric at the club, and since there were 24 identical figures, I decided to use them for the flanking troop option. They are sufficiently different from the other figures that they stand out on the tabletop.

The Spartans are coming!

The title says it all, really...

Thursday 25 June 2009

Theban Sacred Band

This is the Theban Sacred Band, all sixteen of them for Tactica II. As a Legendary unit, they fight to the bitter end:
I've only used the Theban army twice so far, both times against Alexander's Macedonians, both times drawn games.
In the first game, the Sacred Band destroyed two Macedonian Phalanxes, the second of which they hit in the flank.

Second time out, they died heroically in mortal combat against the Companions. But they did take Alexander with them...

Theban officers

These are some shots of Theban command figures. I've deliberately taken them at a distance, so that clicking on them will give a decent close-up:
I find that whether or not an image turns out to be clickable is rather random, but it's worth a go.
These two are on separate small circular bases, to represent notional command elements in Tactica II.
The next three photos are of a pair on a single larger base, to function as the overall army command stand:

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Athenian Elite Hoplites

When our club's 25mm ancient gamers became one of the playtest groups for Tactica II, I decided to rationalise my rather haphazard collection by concentrating on standard 2,000 point armies. The plan was to be able to field any of the combinations permitted. I began with the various hoplite armies because I already had substantial numbers of them in various states of disrepair. I bought these particular guys from Michael. He had already done most of the work on them, in a more or less uniform manner. So I decided to keep them pretty much like that and use them as the unit of 24 elite Athenians permitted for the Marathon list:I gave them a wash, touched them up a bit, added transfers to the shields and the aprons on the front rank figures, and then varnished and based them.
Of course, after getting on reasonably well with this plan, I became more involved in the Society of Ancients Battle Days in Scotland, which put an end to it in the meantime. However, I'll post more of the army as and when I get the time to take pictures.

Early Seleucids against Indian

This was my (symmetrical) deployment for yesterday evening's game. It was Gordon and I against Billy, Simon and William as the Indians. In case anyone is wondering, Simon and I tend to be on opposite sides because we supply most of the club's 25mm ancient armies, bringing in one each most weeks. We always play historical opponents. My deployment was simple: phalanx in the middle, with the large units stiffened by elites; Light Infantry and elephants to either side of the infatry; and cavalry on the wings. The Indians set up with an interspersed mix of infantry and elephants across the centre, with cavalry and chariots on the wings. The fight was long and hard right across the board, with the cavalry wings of both sides knocking each other out. Eventually our left wing light troops ganged up on a lone Indian infantry unit with flank and rear wave attacks and this, combined with the central phalanx, won us the game. Another good fight.

Key to units
A: 24 Argyraspides in 3 ranks. Elite unit with pikes.
A1, A2: 10 skirmish archers in a single rank.
C1, C2: 18 Companion cavalry in 2 ranks. Elite lancers with Impetus.
E1, E2: 2 Elephants (Impetus).
J1, J2: 8 skirmish javelinmen in a single rank.
L1-4: 12 Peltast Light Infantry in two ranks.
M1, M2: 24 Veteran Macedonian Phalangites in 3 ranks. Elite units with pikes.
P1, P2: 36 Phalangites in 3 ranks. Pikemen.
Sk1, Sk2: 8 Skythian light horse archers in 2 ranks.
T1, T2: 8 Tarantine light horse with javelins in 2 ranks.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Essex Islamic Persians

These guys are close enough to be used for late Sassanian aristocracy with lance and bow:

There's a good mix of figure types: two archers and three lancers, on two kinds of armoured horses and two unarmoured. I have 48 of them in total.

These are the first in an attempt to revitalise my older figures, which have grown rather dilapidated.

There's the usual assortment of broken spears, paint damage and so on, but there is also a problem that has appeared over a number of years. I don't know if anyone has come across it, but basically it's to do with the use of enamel paints and enamel varnish. Over time, these have dulled down very considerably, and a full repaint is needed.

In practice, it turned out not to be as bad as I had expected. The dull paint takes an acrylic highlight beautifully, giving the overall effect of a a layered paint job.

The artist's varmish really finishes it all off, bringing out the colours very nicely indeed. I also replaced all of the lances with Xyston 15mm pikes. These are 5cm long, which is just about right for 25mm lances. They can also be cut down for shorter spears or javelins.
As with Gripping Beast figures, the horse trappings took a lot of effort!

Friday 12 June 2009

More Horse Archers

More Warrior Miniatures Parthian horse archers, this time painted by me:
This time I haven't used IrfanView to crop the pictures. Instead, I've left them as taken, so that they are clickable.
These figures were painted a few years ago. I've been using them again recently as filler for the Sassanians at Callinicum.
I tried out some basic designs on the tunics to give them some variation and colour; the result looks fine on the tabletop.
I have 64 of these guys, as well as those Derek painted, so it's a reasonable contingent. Ultimately, the plan is to use these for Armenians, Pontics and so on, and produce a full Parthian army using a different manufacturer. But that's all a long way off...

Wednesday 10 June 2009

The Revenge of Croesus

The title for this post sounds like a nasty stomach upset! Yesterday evening we played Achaemenid Persian against a conjectural list of Lydians in Tactica II. The figures for the Lydians weren't quite right, but occasionally we manage to try out slightly less well known opponents for the main armies. I chose the Lydian list and deployment:
The skirmishers on both flanks were bowmen, the ones in the middle had javelins. The leftmost heavy cavalry contingent was composed of the famous elite Lydian lancers; the right wing was a mixture of medium and light cavalry. The centre was composed of medium infantry in the form of Lydian spearmen and Egyptian marines, together with some heavily armoured, but poor morale Ionian hoplites. The deployment map was made using Battle Chronicler, as suggested by "BravoX" in a post on The Miniatures Page. I played the Lydian army on my own, while Gordon and Mark played the Persians. I don't have a detailed note of their army or deployment, but from my perspective it seemed as though my centre left infantry hung over towards their cavalry wing, and their centre left infantry was partly deployed opposite my right cavalry wing. My plan was simple: attack as soon as possible before all that Persian archery decimated my army. It worked, but only just. My main left wing attack was successful, ploughing through waves of Persian cavalry. I lost one unit of lancers in the process. The centre left infantry attack was also successful, but the centre right fared badly. One unit of Lydians was routed by the Immortals, and the Militia grade Ionians next to it caved in on morale. My right wing cavalry chased off after Persian light horse, and some managed to get themselves caught by big blocks of Persian levy. The crisis in this battle came when my centre left infantry destroyed some Sparabara and the Immortals failed their morale role. The Persian commander joined in to try to shore them up, but to no avail. I won by four figures as the Immortals and their general went down fighting. I think if the Persians had taken some camels to help negate some of my cavalry, I would have lost, as happened historically. I really enjoyed this game, and not just because it was so close. It's good to play a real polyglot sometimes; in 25mm, it certainly looked good.

Monday 8 June 2009

Horse Archers

These are some of the horse archers that Derek remodelled and painted, Warrior Miniatures again:
A few of the figures are individually mounted with quite a lot of sculpting of terrain on their bases.
As well as using three dimensions effectively, it gives more of a skirmishing cavalry feel.

I use the single figures as officers.
These guys have seen service as Parthians, Skythians, Armenians and Sassanians.
I'll post some photos of the same figures, but painted by me, another time.
The relatively "clean" Warrior figures gives a great deal of scope for clothing designs, such as the trousers on the figure to the right in the photograph above.

Wednesday 3 June 2009


Last night I played Camillan Romans against Simon's Gauls. The Roman army was a standard consular array. I set up with a left wing of mediocre Roman cavalry; the legions in the centre, offset towards the left; a centre right group of mediocre Italians; and some light horse on the right. Both cavalry wings were screened by missile skirmishers. The Gauls had cavalry and chariots on both wings and a horde of deep warbands across the centre, covered by skirmish javelinmen. They also had a large unit of skirmish slingers facing my heavy cavalry wing to my left. As with the most recent battle against Simon, our luck was better than average and his was worse than average. The skirmishers cancelled each other out right across the board, apart from our right flank slingers, who severely mauled the Gallic cavalry. When it came down to combat, we did well right across the field. Our militia heavy cavalry destroyed two smaller Gallic cavalry units plus a large chariot contingent. The legions ground their way through the centre, as is their wont. And we managed to hold on our weaker right. The crisis came when our rightmost legion felt the pressure of too many Gallic warbands, being forced right back onto the Triarii. At the same time, our militia cavalry heroes routed the last of the Gallic chariots on our left, disordering their general's warband at the same time. The Gauls fled en masse. Simon's set up was pretty much symmetrical, while mine was not. It was a good game, and gave us an opportunity to try out some variations on Tactica II for Republican Roman armies. Unfortunately for the Gauls, they did not manage to emulate Brennus this time.

This is an attempt to render the deployment. Each legion was comprised of 8 Velites; 12 Hastati with pila in a single rank; 24 Principes with spear in two ranks; and 12 Elite Triarii in a single rank. The two Citizen Cavalry each had 18 figures and were classed as Militia Grade; they deployed in two ranks. The two Italian Infantry units had 24 figures in two ranks, and were also Militia. The extreme right had two units of 8 Light Cavalry in two ranks. The two skirmish infantry units each had ten figures, one unit to each flank. I won't go into the details of Tactica II too much, but suffice it to say that the Hastati, the Citizen Cavalry and the Italians counted as medium troops; the Principes and Hastati were heavies. Army Breakpoint comes when half the massed figures in an army are destroyed. The Republican Romans, however, don't count any legionaries as destroyed until an entire legion routs, which gives them serious staying power. Billy played the Citizen Cavalry and the two leftmost legions; I played the right of the army.

Monday 1 June 2009

Parthian Cataphracts

These are the Cataphracts, also painted by Derek:
From this first shot, you can see how he has remodelled some of the helmets. The Warrior Miniatures figures are "true" 25s. They are quite slender in comparison to more recently produced figures, and they are also less well detailed, but that gives the modeller a good basis from which to work:
The overall effect is subtly different from the original figures, adding in enough variation to make the unit interesting:
After I bought these from Derek, I managed to buy some unpainted ones from Eric at the club, to increase the numbers. Here are some, by way of comparison:
This is one of my older paint jobs and it is perfectly adequate, but it's not up to Derek's standard. The relatively static pose is very visible:
And again: