Saturday, 30 November 2013

Impetus Auxilia

I bought these (clickable) chaps off Saxon Dog, recently; they are from his Last of the Free! collection. I've re-based them for Impetus (and my own To The Strongest! ruleset), for my EIR2 project, which is really starting to roll along, now.

The paint jobs are beautiful, better than I could do, and I didn't touch them at all, except to muddy up the shields.  Which seemed almost criminal.  I'm also very impressed with these particular Warlord castings; so dynamic!  

I also have some archers, and two elements-worth of David's legionaries, which I hope to base next week. I'm ploughing on towards my 52 unit target for the year.  I'm currently at 41, but have a couple more close to completion...  

(Note to self- Base coat is Steel Legion Drab, highlighted with SLD + Buff Titanium and the lightest drybrush of Buff Titanium with a little SLD.  Shields are washed with Strong Tone, then stippled with SLD, SLD light tone and the very lightest drybrush of Buff Titanium.  After tufting, wash the bases with matt varnish with Army Painter Strong Tone ink added)

Thursday, 28 November 2013


These are the supporting archers of the Petulantes, a particularly famous Late Roman Auxilia Palatina regiment.

These (clickable) chaps are some of my favourite minis. I bought 8 of them from Saxon Dog around 2005. I don't believe they were actually painted by David, but understand he finished and perhaps based them. Whoever did them they were very nicely painted, and I learned a great deal about painting and basing from them (indeed, all my minis are based to a similar standard). As part of my Winter Offensive, I've painted 2 more minis to match (one is the officer), and tarted up the bases to my current standard.

At some point I will need to paint the rest of the unit, and the associated Celtae regiment. But there are lots of other units to finish, first! There is a real danger that I may soon have enough Late Romans, to be able to play a game with.

In other news, Graham at Scotiaalbion has been experimenting with my rules, and has made up some lovely cards featuring illustrations from Ironmitten's blog. I look forward to seeing the cards in action...

Monday, 25 November 2013


These chaps used to be past of the old Whitecross display stand, before the range was sold to Chiltern Miniatures (now OOP, I fear).  I bought them perhaps 5 years back.  I've recently added 2 more minis, painted in the same style (red tunics), and brought the bases up to my modern standard.  They will serve in my Pontic army.  

I'm currently trying to base up as many minis as possible, in an attempt to finish 52 units this year.  It's touch and go...

Friday, 22 November 2013

Flocked Indian

Last night I finished basing the Vendel Indian Elephant that Raglan very generously gave me. It is a resin model, with metal crew, and very nicely sculpted. 

The escorting light infantry are miniatures that I bought already painted, in 3 separate lots, though eBay. Luckily they matched pretty well.  I painted the crew lighter-skinned, as I picture them as being higher caste.

In the "To the Strongest!" rule-set I'm developing, a generously-sized escort postpones the inevitable moment when one's elephant rampages back through one's phalanx.  ;-)

I'd like to add a second beast, but unfortunately this range is no longer manufactured in the UK. Should anyone have any Vendel Indians lurking in their lead mountain, I'd be very pleased to swap or buy some. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013


I've noticed that my green terrain boards have been "balding" around the edges, where gamers such as I lean on them, during play.  I thought I'd try out my new static flocker on them.

It seems to work very well, although I'll have a better idea when the glue has dried and I've shaken away the spare flock.  Previous experience suggests 2 coats will be required.  I'm using a blend with some darker grass in it, which I hope will break the lurid spring-green expanse up, somewhat.  

This time, per the instructions, I diluted my PVA 50% with water, and added a drop of detergent to get rid of the surface tension.  This is a big help.  I have been able to observe the flock standing stock upright on the latest set of bases, so the static principle is clearly working fine.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Indian nellie WIP

I couldn't resist posting this WIP shot of a Vendel Indian elephant that I've just painted. I still need to add the rest of the crew, and base with the escorting archers and swordsmen.  

Raglan very generously sent me the miniature.  The elephant is a very nice model, and I now regret not buying more Vendel when they were in the UK.  Their Indians were nice, and the Persian heavy cavalry, also.

Friday, 15 November 2013


This is my latest attempt to base some Thessalians in a convincing manner. I have another unit that has been based twice, and now needs to be re-based again, in the same style. These are the front six figures of a unit of nine. When complete the unit will be in the form of a rhombus, 19.5 cm long. As usual, Nick painted the minis very nicely, and I added shield decals, highlights and stained.

Below is the traffic jam on the painting tray.  These include Numidians, Scythians, Celts, Romans and a nellie!  There are so many minis that I want to paint, just now...

Monday, 11 November 2013

My fifth Blogiversary, and a new major project

My first ever blog post was on 8th November 2008, and I have realised that I have just passed my fifth Blogiversary! Since then, I appear to have made no fewer than 675 posts, and have had just over 570K page views. Can I offer a huge thanks to all of the visitors, who make this such an enjoyable activity! 

For my next major project, I've decided to assemble a second* Early Imperial Roman army from the delightful Foundry Perry range, based for Impetus (or my own "To the Strongest!" rules) on a 12cm frontage. Do 'ave a click!  I do like the look of Impetus basing.

With this army, I'm going for a deliberately wet, muddy look, based upon my impression of the opening scene of the film Gladiator.  All the miniatures will be pre-owned, purchased from eBay, and "tarted up" as described in my recent article in Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy Issue 69. I aspire to approximately 10 elements of legionaries, 6 of auxiliaries, 2 of Praetorians and 4 cavalry together with lights, generals and artillery. Even using pre-painted minis, this may take a little time...

*Ultimately there will also be a third, Aventine, late-Early Imperial army

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Pretty Cataphractii!

Adam very kindly sent me these pics of his painting of his own sculpts, I'm very taken with them!

The coifs are based on the Dura-Europos synagogue frescoes.

Lovely vibrant colours... and the painted shafts are very special!   The minis available from Aventine.

p.s. Couldn't resist adding these legionaries; one day I shall get around to this army!  I'd be delighted to paint half as well as Adam.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Chaeronea 86BC at the Wargames Holiday Centre

Yesterday the Mark at the Wargames Holiday Centre very kindly hosted a re-fight the battle of Chaeronea 86BC (i.e. not the better known earlier battle with Alexander and Phillip). This later battle fought between the forces of Mithridates' Pontic army, and Sulla's veteran Roman legions, in Greece in 86 BC.

I won't go into too many details, as the piece will hopefully shortly feature in a wargames magazine, along with some other photos I took, but I can't resist posting a few (clickable) snaps...

View from behind the Pontic left.  Chaeronea is on the skyline, and the smaller temple is on Mount Thurium
The Roman army was much smaller than the Pontic, but largely composed of bloodthirsty veterans.  The Pontic army included scythed chariots and a phalanx of freed Roman slaves; more than likely the last phalanx ever deployed on an ancient battlefield.

Scythed chariots charge...
Harry, eldest scion of the Miller family, and I led the Pontics against Mark and Paul's Romans.  The flow of the game was all-too historical, as the Roman veterans first routed our flank detachment, and then smashed our phalanx with a combination of frontal and flank attacks.  It was very entertaining though.  We used my "To the Strongest!" card-driven rules; the card play was very entertaining, especially when units got to make multiple attacks (as with Sulla below).

Sulla and his cavalry bodyguard got on my flank, turned, and rode down one phalanx after another
The last-surviving Pontic slave phalanx, completely surrounded by the Romans...
Eventually the final phalanx succumbed (above), and our army routed.  As a small compensation, though, it had bought time for my Scythian light cavalry to loot the Roman camp!

Mark was a very kind host and I hope to visit the Wargames Holiday Centre again, next year...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

I am playing a game tonight (and another at the Wargames Holiday Centre, tomorrow), that needs 10' of hills, and was 6' short.  Luckily I remembered that I bought some GW hills a few years back.  Looking in the loft, I found 3 unopened boxes, with 6' of hills in them!  A big  +1 for hoarding.

The painting tray has been reloaded with an eclectic mix of Indians, Scythians, Numidians and Celts.

The odd selection is because it occurred to me recently, that I have completed 35 units this year.  There would be a certain symmetry in completing 52 in 52 weeks...   I have a lot of painted minis that need basing or units that are an element under strength, and could easily be finished.   The two "santas" will finish off the Scyhtina unit in the foreground, for example.  I'm going to give it a go... 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Rump of the British chariots

Here are the rump of the first wave of chariots.

Above, chariot 3 from behind.  This one is entirely Wargames Factory, except for Foundry horses.

Above and below, chariot 4.  Factory passenger, Foundry driver, Newline ponies.

Above, chariot 5.  Renegade passenger.  This one is designed to be viewed from behind; it'll face away from the Romans and depict a retreating chariot- the plan is that the chariots will be going in all directions...

Above 6; all Factory, except Foundry horses.

Above 7.  Possibly my favourite; Black Tree charioteer (generously donated by Streetline), and Renegade passenger. The chariot colours on this one, are lovely .   

And finally number 8.  Foundry passenger.  The Green came out very well.

The Wargames Factory chariots, as supplied, are not very realistic, but there is a lot of really good material in the box, once the less useful bits have been discarded. A huge thanks to Nick Speller who painted all of the riders, his tartan is superb! One last special chariot to follow tomorrow or Thursday....

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Chariots 1 and 2

The chariots are finally finished, and I've grabbed a few snaps. This one, I've imaginatively named "Chariot 1"! It includes parts from Relic (wheels), Newline (ponies), Wargames Factory (sitting crewman) and Wargames Foundry (standing).

Nick painted the crew, and I painted the rest.

Chariot 2 has some Black Tree nags, donated (some years ago) by Streetline. The crewmen are Factory and, I believe, Renegade.

I'm hard pressed for time today, but will post the others tomorrow and Tuesday!

Friday, 1 November 2013

A highly charged experience

This morning I took my life in my hands and fired up the static grass applicator (purchased off eBay).  This made a humming noise, reminiscent of the Proton Packs in Ghostbuster.  At one point the sieve touched the crocodile clip and there was a terrific "zap"; it was a bit like "crossing the beams!".

My modus operandi was to paint wood glue onto the base (around 50% coverage), attach the crocodile clip to the element's base, press the on button and tap the applicator against my other hand, shaking the grass onto the glue.

I found the normal 2mm grass looked a little short, and mixed in some 4mm long strands, for variety. Most of these longer strands stayed in the sieve, but enough made it through to make a difference.

So did it work?  I think so.  Quite a bit of grass is on the bases, and it seems to be fairly vertical.  I needed to apply a second coat, in places, to make the grass appear thicker, but then I always do that.  It was a faster process than using my trusty Noch puffer bottle. All in all a success!

I hope to add tufts to the bases tonight, and then spray matt tomorrow (weather permitting), to conceal the gloss left by the glue.  After that I can finally attach the finished chariots to the bases.