Saturday 29 August 2009

Principes for Zama

I Legio Principes to go with the Hastati I've already painted. These 1st Corps figures have some touches that I really like. The standard bearer has a lion skin; the Hastati standard bearer wears a bearskin. There are two different standards, one of which has a small eagle part-way down the shaft as opposed to the discs the guy in the picture above has on his. There are also two kinds of throwing spears, one of which is meant to be the slightly lighter one for the initial volley, to be followed by the heavier one with the square weight behind the shaft. For the Principes, I've chosen to place the heavier one in the left hands behind the shields. The good thing is that all these slight variations plus the several different poses make the Romans a little bit less uniform; it certainly makes them less of a chore to paint. This is going to matter, because I'm planning to do four legions of them, and one can quite easily become bored if that number of figures are too similar. I have a large Seleucid army, and after a while all those pikemen became rather tiresome to finish, even when varying the paint schemes as much as possible. I've scheduled myself to paint a couple of dozen legionary figures every two weeks, which is within my budget. It will also allow me to finish the legions for the first time we put on the game in April next year - I'm in for the long term grind...

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Armenians against Pontics

Last night was Armenians against Early Pontics. Simon chose and deployed the Pontic army (in red, above). Their right wing (William) was a mixture of cavalry types: T1 and T2 each 8 Tarentine light horse in two ranks; S1 8 Skythian horse archers in 2 ranks; and HC1 and HC2 each 12 Heavy Cavalry in two ranks. Their centre (David and Paul) was an interspersed mix: P1 and P2 12 Peltasts each, in two ranks; G1 and G2 each 36 Galatian Warbands in six ranks: B Brazen Shields Phalanx in four ranks of twelve; Ch1 and Ch2 2 Scythed Chariots each, followed by CAT x2, units of twelve Cataphracts in 2 ranks. Their left (Billy) was composed of Th, eighteen Thureophoroi in two ranks; HC 3 and HC 4 each twelve Heavy Cavalry in two ranks; T3, a unit of eight tarentines in two ranks; and S2 and S3, each eight Skythian horse archers in two ranks.
I chose and deployed the Armenian army, in blue above. The left wing (Willy) was CAT1, a unit of eighteen Cataphracts in two ranks, and H1 and H2, two twelve-figure light infantry units in two ranks. The centre (Gordon) was five Warbands of Iberian infantry, each of 36 figures in three ranks. The right (Finn), was two more units each of eighteen Cataphracts in two ranks, and two units of twelve Armenian horse archers in three ranks. Unlike the Pontic army, the Armenians had a large number of skirmishers spread across the front of the army. Because of the number of players, and Finn joining in, after set-up I bowed out, which was a nice change. I actually got to speak to folks for a change.
The Pontics won quite easily. The strong Armenian right wing failed to break its opponents, while the left was swamped by the large numbers of Pontic cavalry. In the centre, the Iberian warbands failed to destroy the Scythed Chariots on contact, meaning that the Armenian centre was mostly stationary (little impetus) when the Brazen Shields and Galatians went in, followed by the Cataphracts. The Armenian centre simply crumpled.
The plan above is my first attempt at a full battle deployment showing both sides in one image; I'm feeling a little more comfortable with Battle Chronicler.

Saturday 22 August 2009

Legio I Hastati

These are my newly completed Hastati for the 1st Legion at Zama; figures by 1st Corps. I bought all of the heavy infantry for this legion at Claymore at the beginning of August, and now the production line is beginning to roll. I find painting these figures easy, but the shields need a lot of work to do them justice. Having already used Little Big Men transfers, I decided (wisely, as it turns out), to finish the shields first, before gluing them to the figures. The reason for this is that the designs need to be carefully cut out and placed on the shields in two halves, one either side of the spine. Doing this on an already finished figure seemed as though it would be too difficult for my mediocre modelling skills, especially since some touching up is always needed. It took a while, but I am very pleased with the results.
I decided on a couple of specifics for these guys, so as to differentiate them from the Principes. First of all, I decided that I wanted men with pectoral plates for the Hastati, while the Principes are in mail as, of course, are the Triarii. I know this may not strictly be accurate for the Zama period, but I thought it would help to show the differences on the table top, as well as enabling me to use the figures for earlier legionaries in other games. Secondly, I decided to use slightly different colours for the crest feathers. Basically, the idea is that the more senior the troopers, the less deep red they use, and the more black. So the Hastati have two red feathers and one black; the Principes will have one red and two black; and the Triarii will have all black. I'll still keep the small ruffle of feathers around the base of the crest red for all three lines. I know that there is still a lot of debate about these colours, especially over exactly what constitutes what the sources describe as "purple", but my feeling is that we'll probably never know for certain anyway. Plus, red means Roman to me, and they're my figures...

Thursday 20 August 2009

Mark Antony against Agrippa

Tuesday evening saw a vicious encounter in Egypt between the forces of Marcus Antonius (red) and those of Octavius Caesar (blue), the latter of course led by Agrippa. The Octavians deployed their (elite!) legionaries in classic two-line checkerboard (Billy commanding), with heavy cavalry on their left (William) and lighter troops on their right (Simon):
E1: Eagle Cohort, Legio I (16 figures in two ranks)
C1-C9: Cohorts, Legio I (8 figures in two ranks)
E2: Eagle Cohort, Legio II (16 figures in two ranks)
C10-C18: Cohorts, Legio II (8 figures in two ranks)
Ill: 18 Illyrian Light Infantry in two ranks
N1-N3: 8 Numidian Light Cavalry in two ranks
T1 and T2: 12 Tribal heavy cavalry in two ranks.
R: 16 Rhodian Slingers
J1 and J2: 12 Javelinmen
The Antonians deployed their central two legions in already reinforced cohorts, creating a long line of sixteen-figure units, in an attempt to make up for their inferior militia quality. Graham commanded both legions. I was looking after the two flanks. On the left, our Light Infantry were hidden in rough ground, and on our right we had the Egyptian contingent of two medium phalanxes and the cavalry:
L1 and L2: 10 Cohorts each of 8 figures, reinforced to make 5 16-figure units each in two ranks
P1 and P2: 32 Egyptian Phalangites in four ranks
Pe1 and Pe2: 12 Light Infantry in two ranks
C1: 18 Cleruchs Medium Horse in two ranks
C2: 18 Cleruchs Medium Horse in three ranks
T1 and T2: 8 Tarantine Light Cavalry in two ranks
A1 and A2: 10 Skirmish Archers
J1 and J2: 12 Skirmish Javelinmen
Our plan was simply to wait and see what developed, hoping that an opportunity would present itself. Unlike standard units, which simply rout when they reach a specified breakpoint based on morale rating, a Roman legion of this period has special rules to reflect the ways in which they fought. Tactica II allows various individual unit options for the cohorts; the important thing is that a cohort is destroyed only when all figures are killed, and the legion as a whole routs when it reaches a breakpoint based on its overall morale level. The combination makes Romans very tough indeed. I wasn't expecting Simon to pick two elite legions at full strength of 88 figures, each needing 66 losses for us to break them. Our legions had 80 militia grade figures, each needing only 40 losses to rout. Of course, what we lacked in quality we hoped would be compensated by quantity.
The plan worked, barely. The Caesareans advanced purposefully, extending their right legion by moving its Eagle Cohort from its reserve position, swinging it right. However, opportunities presented themselves on both flanks for us at roughly the same time. On our left, our Light Infantry appeared from the rough, forcing the Roman rightmost light troops to retire before re-aligning. This gave our left legion a temporary overlap against its opposing legion. On our right, the Caesareans similarly swung their second Eagle Cohort to their left behind their cavalry. I charged their cavalry with our Cleruchs in order to keep them pinned, with the Egyptian Phalanxes attacking as well, then followed by the second Legion. Melee became general across the field. We won by destroying all of the Caesarean supporting troops and the Legion facing Graham's overlap, although not before our own second legion collapsed. When the dust settled, not much was left of either army...

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Scorpion Clan: Infantry

I've painted two sets of these; they probably represent a specific troop type, but I don't know Clan Wars in that kind of detail.

Monday 17 August 2009

Scorpion Clan: Ninja with chain weapons

I decided to use a different set of colours for these guys. From role-playing, I remember how hard the chain weapons are to master, but how effective they can be once learned.

Sunday 16 August 2009

Scorpion Clan: Ninja Archers

These could be used in pretty much any Japanese-style games, which I suppose is the attraction of some of the Clan Wars figures.

Saturday 15 August 2009

Clan Unicorn: Heroes

I still don't know anything about Clan Wars, apart from some vague impressions of the background garnered from those who play this sort of thing. It seems quite reasonable as a fantasy background, but personally if I am going to play something like this, I'll stick to role-playing Bushido. The Clan Wars miniature rules are too complex for my taste, although I do know people who play all of the associated games, including the collectible cards. It is rather strange: I'm a gamer, but there are certain types of games that just do not grab me. Collectible card games is one; so is live role-playing. Perhaps it's something to do with available time: I'm sticking mostly to 25mm ancients/medievals and 15mm Napoleonics because there is plenty to do there already. I need new projects/periods like a hole in the head...

Friday 14 August 2009

Clan Unicorn Infantry

Only the four of these. The guy who bought them did so when there was a massive discount, I believe when the company that owned Clan Wars was going bust or something. So he grabbed as much as he could at random; I've ended up painting them...

Thursday 13 August 2009

Clan Unicorn: Cavalry

Not a lot more to say, really...

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Yoritomo's Alliance

At least, I think that's what these are. I know nothing about Clan Wars, apart from being asked by an old friend to paint up the figures for him. They are very nicely cast, but hard work - all that Japanese style armour. I don't have all of the figures I've painted, having handed some of them over a while ago, but I'll post photos of those I still have at the moment...

Later Pontic versus Caesarean Roman

Yesterday was a reprise of a game we have tried before. As the Pontics, we had a powerful left cavalry wing (my command); a centre composed of large blocks of imitation legionaries and Galatian warbands (David); and a secondary cavalry force on our right, with cataphracts (Gordon). The Romans deployed with all of their cavalry on their left (William), and two legions across the centre in triplex acies (Billy); Simon was in command of the rightmost legion facing me. The Romans made the mistake of advancing without prior preparation, while for some reason hanging back with their cavalry attack. This gave me the time to start to make headway, putting severe pressure on Simon's legion. When fighting did break out in our centre and right, Gordon dealt with the Roman cavalry. We were about to win when our infantry all ran away; at the same time, I crushed the Romans opposite me. A draw!

Monday 10 August 2009

Skirmish Archers

More from the batch I bought from Eric, so I think they're Foundry. This should be the last post of the Greeks for a while, as I concentrate more on the Romans for Zama.

Saturday 8 August 2009


Generic sling types. For some peculiar reason, these particular guys seem to perform well almost every time I use them.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Egyptians against Hittites

Tonight was a very quick game indeed, 1750 points Egyptians versus Hittites, with Simon's figures. I don't know much about this period, and I really don't want to get into painting chariot armies, so I'm happy to let others do the hard work. It was me, Billy and William as the Egyptians against Eric and Gordon as the Hittites. Our deployment was pretty much symmetrical: light troops and chariots equally weighted on either flank of a massed infantry centre. The Hittites set up with a powerful right wing in waves of chariot attack; a hard-charging but brittle centre of heavier chariots interspersed among heavy infantry and a poor quality warband; and a lighter chariot wing on their left. I played on our left against the main Hittite attack. It was all over in less than an hour as they charged in the centre, hit reasonably hard and then were pasted. William won handsomely on his flank, and I managed to trade hits on the left, delaying it long enough for the rest of their army to disintegrate. We lost one unit of noble chariots on my flank, one unit of poor quality massed archers in the centre, and some light infantry. Good fun and fast, but not a period that grabs me.


Psiloi: not a lot more to say, really...