Tuesday 28 May 2013

Greek casualties

These are by Foundry and Warlord Games:
They will sit on the sabot dials I made a few days ago.  Most are hoplites, but I'll use the the unarmoured ones for the few cavalry present at First Mantineia, their first outing.  A very few are Spartans.

Monday 27 May 2013

Hi Mark

Mark Woods, that is, and all the way from Perth in Western Australia if I'm right?

Monday 20 May 2013

A Few Huns More - courtesy of Oldbob!

Oldbob who hangs out on The Miniatures Page very generously sent me these guys, who were surplus to requirements - enough to make an eight-figure unit plus the obligatory looting party:
Figs by Foundry.
I gave them a smattering of shields, with a few left-over LBMS transfers of hide coverings (for Numidians, I think, but who cares...).
These were fun to paint, and they will be in the centre of the Hun contingent the next time we play Chalons.
That will be in a month, and in any case I thought I should paint them as quickly as possible after they arrived.
The looters were really different from the usual.
I like to think that the woman who has been grabbed has just killed the guy lying on the floor.
And that probably makes her better at killing Huns than her menfolk!
I also included a command figure.
These made a nice interlude from painting ancient Spanish.  But before I go back to those, I have a whole lot of dead Hoplites to finish for First Mantinea.  Cheers, all!

Saturday 18 May 2013

Idea for Casualty Markers

Tactica II can have units of up to 48 figures, and damage is attritional, with units being destroyed when they reach a certain threshold.  This is based on the number of figures multiplied by a fraction that depends on the unit's morale.  It sounds more complex than it actually is, since almost every unit is classed as veteran as standard, with a unit breakpoint of two-thirds.  The largest unit has 48 figures, so it would be destroyed at 32 hits, every one of which needs to be recorded.  For a long time now I have been becoming more and more dissatisfied with the ways we keep track of casualties, especially for large display games.  Counters or pipe cleaners or whatever always look ugly.  I know that there are commercially available casualty dials, but I would need loads of these.  For example, our next big game will be First Mantinea, and the Spartans and their allies alone have 18 units, of which 11 have 48 figures.  Since most dials only go up to 12, and cost 60p each, it doesn't take a genius to work out that it would soon become prohibitively expensive to do it this way - and that's just for one army!
These photos show my patent answer - cheap, home-made and durable.  I constructed a whole load of double-sided card circles, with the help of my daughters.  Numbers are 1-12 on one side, and either 13-24 or 25-36 on the other.  Each side has a piece of flexible steel paper because the bottoms of the casualty markers have some magnetic flexible tape type stuff; the combination should hold them steady.  The idea is that the dials can  be used for any army at all, and that the individual army would have the appropriate figures, one per unit.  In other words, these are sabot dials.  You could make them look more professional, say with printed numbers, but I'm hoping these will look the part.  Too many counters and things do detract from the look of a large battle, but cheap and cheerful should do the job.

Sunday 12 May 2013

Chalons in Scotland

Report on our Society of Ancients (Scotland) battle at our traditional venue of Carronade in Falkirk.  Some photos by me, and some courtesy of Michael.
The first picture shows the relative army deployments.  On the left, we have the forces led by Attila.  Off in the distance is a small command of Huns tasked with masking or taking the only significant terrain feature, a steep hill in front of the Roman deployment area.  Moving more into the centre we have the Ostrogoths, and then waves of Huns.  In the immediate foreground at the left of the photo are the Heruls and Gepids.  On the right, the Roman forces are already beginning to move.  At the far end of their line is a detached command of Visigoths at the hill, then the main Visigoth contingent of Foederati.  In the centre of the army we have the Alans, with Aetius close by.  In the foreground at the right are the only Romans on the field.  The deployment is pretty much the same as in our previous playtest game at the club.
Most of the subsequent shots are taken from behind the Hun lines, because that's where I was stationed.  Above, the Ostrogothic cavalry shifts to the left of the army.
In the centre, the Huns advance to engage the Alans in an archery duel.  You can probably make out some acetates on the field - I decided to print command information on clear plastic instead of card or paper, to try to keep disruption of the photos to a minimum.
Picture number three is taken a little later, as the Ostrogoths sort themselves out.  Unlike the previous game, the Romans have advanced en masse, rather than rely on the time limit to win it for them.
In the centre, arrows darken the sky.
On the right, the forces close.
On the far left, the Huns plus Gothic foot archers open up a killing zone with lots of bows aiming up the hill.
In the centre, the Huns do exactly the same against the advancing Alans.  This is the second major point of difference from the first game - the Huns are going to use their archery superiority rather than physically attack the Alans.
A massive crunch on the right.  The legions in the centre of this area do not receive the initial charge very well.
Michael's close-up of the action here.  Graham did supply some Late Roman infantry, but they are based somewhat differently from our usual.  Hence the Hinchliffe Skutatoi standing in for their earlier brethren.
Michael also took this shot of the entire field at the same time.  You can clearly see the struggle in the foreground between the infantry masses, and the arcs of fire elsewhere in the battle.
After weakening the enemy on the left, the Hun forces make their attack.  Gordon's newly painted Gothic cavalry make their first ever charge in the centre of the photo above.
Another photo of the same moment, slightly more to the right.
The Alans press forward under a hail of arrows.  To the right of this photo you can just see Aetius charging in to try to shore up the infantry on the left of the Roman army.
The left of the Hun army is victorious.
On the right, gaps are starting to appear in the Roman lines.  One legion is destroyed, and other is barely hanging on, but the attrition on the Gepids is horrendous.
Suddenly, the Gepids rout in their entirety, leaving Adaric defiant with the mangled remnants of his personal guards.  With only two hits left, he leads a grand final attack on the reserves behind the Roman lines, determined to take as many of them with him as possible.  Such glorious futility...
As night falls, the Huns try desperately to finish off Sangiban's Alan nobles to win the battle, but it is not to be.  With only one hit left, he survives.

Both sides had only two army breakpoint units left, and if the Huns had managed to destroy Sangiban and his men they would have won the battle with the last throw of the dice.  But darkness saved the Romans.  This was a much closer game than the previous outing, with the historical outcome left intact (although not quite how it really happened).  We might get a third chance for the Huns to win it later this summer.

Saturday 11 May 2013

Initial shots from Carronade today

These are photos of some of the other games.  Our Chalons game had about half the number of figures we used on previous occasions for large battles like Zama or Plataea, so it was a relatively relaxing day for us today.  As well as setting up and running the game, I got to roam around the show a bit more than usual.
The Westerhope Wargames Group was running a great game next to ours: the fictitious Battle of Camelon 143, an assault on the Antonine Wall.  Lots of local flavour then, with loads of celtic loonies.  The figures were almost all cast from Prince August moulds, and the wall and rampart sections could be replaced with destroyed bits.  The burning carts rolling over Roman casualties were a really nice touch!
Here's a closeup of one of them.
And here they are in action.
This is a shot of the central rampart piece.
The idea behind the scenario was that the locals attacked before the wall was quite ready; here is where it currently ends at a rocky outcrop.
Another game that was next to ours was a nice 25mm Charge of the Light Brigade.
And yet another 25mm game, this time a WWI skirmish.
A lovely setup...
...with some really nice buildings and models.
I think this one was the German command position.
In the meantime, Thomas was busy with some plasticine.  He insisted I take this photo.
The Leuchars guys were running a Japanese attack on a large carrier model.  The umpire ran it from a mock bridge, which you can see the the top left of the photo.  Appropriate headgear was essential too.
I can't remember who did this setup, but I took a photo anyway because it caught my eye.
A large sci-fi attack on a cityscape, snapped on a quick flypast as I zipped through the halls.
Glasgow & District Wargames society, courtesy of Balkan Dave.
He sneaked in a Hussite war wagon, which I had to photograph close up.

It was a good show, and it was nice to catch up with various folks, including Russ from Brushes and Bases.  Thanks are due to everyone at Falkirk Wargames club for being such genial hosts.

Wednesday 8 May 2013


...has joined; wanted to say thanks very much.  Have a look at the blog here; lots of Napoleonic goodies.

Monday 6 May 2013

Companion Miniatures Spanish Cavalry

I've painted these guys as so-called 'long shield' cavalry, the relatively close formation, heavier guys used extensively by Carthage against Rome:
I acquired 36 of them, mostly unarmoured but with a smattering of men with circular bronze chest pieces.
That's a good number for most of the times I'll need massed shock cavalry, so I mixed them all in together to make two units of 18, or three of 12.
I bought some Gallic type standards from 1st Corps; half are boars and the other half (believe it or not) are chickens - I'll use the latter for my Celtiberians when I get around to them.
The boars will do for the rest of the Iberians, including this lot.
They look rather mean and nasty, probably because of the collection of grisly trophies, which I hope are Romans.  I stuck to the colour scheme I used for the Scutarii, ie mostly white tunics offset by the shields and different types of headgear.  I don't know when these will first see action, probably the next time we run an ancients game for the First Tuesday meeting at the club.  I'm thinking of Ilipa for that, so I need to get cracking with the rest of this army...