Thursday, August 16, 2018

An unexpected project . . .

Hi all,

I have been a fan of the Lord of the Rings since I was younger than my son is now; the first thing I ever bought with money from my very first job as a kid was a copy of the LotR trilogy at the small bookshop down the road from where I lived.  I am an unrepentant fanboy of the Peter Jackson films, despite their omissions and liberties, and so it's a bit of a mystery to me that I've never gotten on board with the miniatures game.

Newest addition to the ranks of the painted, a Rohan Battle Company.

I actually quite like the range of figures, and have in the past owned and painted a few, but have never seen to have enough at the right time and place, i.e., when I'm around other people with an interest in the game.  Recently, however, the release of Battle Companies (skirmish campaign rules - think LotR Mordheim), the announcement of a relaunch box set (Pelennor Fields), and the discovery that there's at least a few people in the local community with an interest in (and models for) the game seem to have opened up some opportunities.

Each BC starts with three "promoted" heroes, who I've marked with piping on their robes.

I even manage a trial game the other night, a 4-way free for all in which I played Isengard, and my natural tendency towards evil cunning and foul play won me the game ;)  I promptly went home, and painted up this lot, a starting battle company for Rohan.

The figs are true 25mm, and much closer to human proportion than the GW norm.

These figs, I've had in the drawers of shame for some time - predating the move out here, anyways.  I also had some other bits and bobs, but seem to have unloaded them over the years.  I still have a few characters, and enough foot troops to play both Battle Companies, and a warband (i.e., unit) for the larger game, assuming the basic structure holds with the relaunch.  The box set will give me enough for a couple of small armies, and once I get that painted, we'll see where to go next.

Given these are older, monopose figs, they're quite dynamic.

It's worth remembering that these figures are mono-pose plastic from a good 15-20 years ago.  Although they're showing their age compared to some of the stuff GW is putting out now, they're still decent sculpts, and it was a blast finally getting them painted up.    There's plans to get a campaign up and running in the next couple of weeks, which has me very excited as well.  It's also given me an excuse to go back and look over the movies again, although granted, it doesn't take much prompting ;)

The red cloaks are a bit unusual for Rohan, but I wanted something to contrast a little, and I like painting red ;)

I'm hoping to get in a game with this lot some time in the coming week, ideally the beginning of a campaign, but in the meantime, have been painting what I have.  Also digging through the inter-tubes for whatever info on the game I can find.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Persians. Not the cats.

Hi all,

Finished up a toe in the water for a possible later Achaemenid Persian list.

Feeling so-so on these guys.  Some worked, I think, some less so

Impetus Unit Type:  FL
Base Size:  8cm x 4cm
Manufacturer:  Old Glory 15mm

These are Kardakes, and were an interesting paint for a couple of different reasons.  First, the unit type is one of the most confusing and contested that appear in Achaemenid lists, and one that effectively illustrates some of the foibles to which ancient games (and gamers) are susceptible.  Second, they represented an effort on my part to produce the odd combination of both "colourful" and "muted" in their clothing.

Same with the shields.  The pseudo-Achaemenid crest I "borrowed" from Madaxeman.

The thing about ancients is, we really don't know an awful lot about them, which means there's a tendency to both over-emphasize the "correctness" of what we do know, and a tendency to wildly extrapolate from the same.  You see this a fair bit in army lists.  Achaemenid lists are generally broken up into two eras, early and late, with the former representing the armies that fought against the greek hoplites at Platea or Thermopylae, and the latter against Alexander at Issuus or Gaugamela.  Lists from both eras are extrapolated from not very detailed, if roughly contemporary documents, and often from the work done by the WRG in the 70s.  The thing is, those two periods are something like 150 years apart, and in between, the Persians did a heck of a lot of fighting, against other neighbors than the greeks, each other, and who know what all else.  But because we really only know a little bit about them, mostly from greeks, and from periods where greeks paid attention and sources survived, this is where wargamers tend to focus, and even, I think, obsess.

Basing works, though.

Which takes us to the Kardakes.  There's a few references to these guys, and they're confusing.  We know they made up a chunk of Persian forces in a couple of battles, we know they formed an identifiably distinct group to which the "Kardakes" label meaningfully applied, we know they were in the line of battle next to mercenary hoplites, and that Greek / Macedoniann horse were able to break through their lines.  That's about it.  From that people extrapolate that they were armed with hoplite panoply, armed like peltats, that they were a distinct class of troops, that they were a distinct culture group, and so on.  And oh, do they argue, with fervor, vigor, and spite.  After much perusing of both source material and derived opinion (as well as some consultation with my personal expert on Persians, JJM), I decided the hell with it, and painted up the figures I have.

I picked up these guys up as part of the same swap that got me into ancients, and got me started on my Antigonids.  They're OG15 Kardakes, which only come as this kind of light foot / peltast type, so that's what I'm running them as.  Kardakes as light infantry in vaguely Persian dress is certainly plausible, so why not?  I'll have a few units of them in the projected list, along with lots of cavalry, etc. (one of the things that distinguishes "late" from "early" persian lists tends to be the de-emphasis on foot bow in favour of masses of cavalry).  My plan is to loosely base my force around the Persians that fought at Cunaxa, so nominally "later" Persians, but not the ones that fought against the Macedonians.  It also gives me as close to a blank slate as one gets, in that we know there were a chunk of mercenary hoplites, some greek peltasts, a good chunk of Paphlagonian cavalry, and lots and lots of Persians and levies, both on horse and on foot.  The vaguely designated "Persian" contingent covers a pretty wide sweep, and give room in the list for plenty of choice.


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Does it count as barbeque . .

. . . if you don't cook it?

Actually got in a game the other day, believe it or not.  My old gaming buddy Chris was in town doing some re-enactment stuff, and we met up for a game of Age of Sigmar at the G-Dub.  As it had been a long day, in extreme heat, wearing a period wool uniform, we kept the game small, around 1300 points each.  I cooked up a couple of lists, one mixed chaos, one flesh eater courts, and we had at it, Chris with the chaos, and I with the bloodthirsty hordes of  (in progress) flesh-eaters..


We used the Open War cards, which I quite like, especially for pick up games of this kind.  We ended up with a deployment that favoured close combat armies (which we both had), a fairly straighforward objective based scenario, and a twist that turned into two, one that had us deploy staggered over multiple turns, and one that made casting spells easier, but also more dangerous.


We each started with our big infantry units and a buffing hero on the table.  I moved up to control a couple of objectives, and then Chris used the speed of the Gors (they start fast, they can run and charge, and they get a speed boost from the Bray Shaman hero) to get a turn one charge.  While he got in a chunk of damage, he didn't do enough to drop my unit of ghouls below 20, which meant that not only did I get a ton of attacks back (ghouls get an extra attack in larger numbers), I also was able to bring a number back with my hero the following turn.



By the time our reinforcements started to arrive, I had the upper hand in the barny in the middle.  First wave of reinforcements consisted of our big gribblies - my Ghoul King on Terrorgheist, and Chris' manticore lord and knights, with mine coming on first.  I wasn't able to get in a charge the turn my beasty arrived, and Chris managed the chump shot with both his Manticore lord and the Knights.



Unfortunately, while the knight unit made contact, he didn't get the bulk of the unit into contact to maximize the impact of the charge, and while the Manticore did put some hurt on my Terrorgheist, between the unit's native healing ability and a magic item, I had back at full health next turn.


This pretty much was the writing on the wall for Chris, especially because we forgot to bring in the third wave of reinforcements..  A couple of lucky wound rolls on my Terrogheist (a 6 to wound does 6 damage bypassing armor), and the ability to heal up my ghouls meant that Chris' force was off the table turn 4.  We called it at that point, since my whole army would be facing his third wave for the final turn.  It also meant we got the chance to chat, get caught up, and for him to get in a little shopping.

While the game was short, I had fun, and it seems to have fired my up to paint some more 28mm / AOS / 40k stuff, which I've not been motivated to do for some time.  I've got some ungors primed up as a I write this, and will be painting them soon.  I also signed up for a 1000 point AoS tournament next weekend, so should be getting more games in.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Put away wet, anyway . . .

Hi all,

Finished up a unit of Spartan (Spartiate?  Spartish?) cavalry for the army I'm working on.

Stuck a general on there too.  I find I like extraneous command ;)

Impetus Unit Type:  CM
Base Size:  8cm x 6cm
Manufacturer:  15mm Xyston

Upon reflection, I've realized I goofed a little with this lot.  As with the other units, I'm building for Impetus (but with an eye to using the army for other rules as well), I based these guys with a number of figures equal to their VBU (i.e., combat value).  Cavalry, in the Spartan Impetus list, have two options - VBU 4 with Impetus 1, or VBU 5 with Impetus 2, i.e., I based these guys as the VBU 5 option.

This has been an interesting project for me, because of the limited palette.

 The thing is, however, that unlike their infantry, Spartan cavalry were, evidently, notoriously bad.  This suggests that Spartan (Spartiate?  Spartish?) cavalry should be the 4/1 option.  Some digging around (notably in the new and improved DBA 3.0 book, now with added army notes) suggested that the 5/2 option would likely be for Thessalian cavalry, which the Spartans took with them on some overseas adventures.  So, oops?

I also kind of like how the basing is evolving across my ancients.

I'm not particularly broken hearted about it, or anything.  Part of doing an army for me is learning about the period.  In this case, I just learned about it after the fact ;)  Given that even at max size, Spartans can't take more than 2 units of cavalry, painting up an extra figure is not the end of the world.


Another feature of this was that I painted and added Hammipoi, who were evidently skirmishers who used to run along beside the cavalry.  Either those Spartan cavalry were REALLY bad riders, or those guys must have been awfully nimble.  In game, this gives the unit a few extra shooting dice when they charge or are charged (which effectively means a chance to disrupt), which never hurts.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Back from the past

Hi all,

I seem to be on a historicals kick right now, to the point that I dug out an old project from the Toronto days, and added a little progress.


Impetus Unit Type:  FP
Base Size: 8cm x 3cm
Manufacturer:  15mm Xyston


They're a little glossy in the picture (more than in reality, in fact), but this is the rear element of my second Spartan phalanx (first one is here).


This seems to have lit a spark, and I've been working on some more Spartan stuff, as well as a test unit for an Achaemenid force.  All in all, I've been painting, and puttering up a storm, and generally having fun.  Don't know if its the summer weather, or what, but for now, I'll enjoy the productivity while it lasts.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

A few wee hoosies.

Hi all,

As the first step in getting some 6mm terrain together, I painted up a pack of "European" houses from Baccus.  I think the pack I had predated some line expansion, as the houses in question are now coded as Western European, and labelled on the website as French.  Which works, given the armies I have to deploy ;)



They come with 60x60 plinths, which will be handy markers for occupied towns - but the resin base plates on the houses seem to have warped a little, so the don't fit well.



I figure what I'll do is just swap out the houses for the plinths if it comes up in game.



I took a slightly different approach to these than my usual painting - went with a white base coat, and lots of washes and glazes.  I think they turned out alright.

Next up should be a blast from the past.  I've been playing around with ideas for ancients, and it's got me painting them as well.


Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Russians are coming!

Hi all,

First of the Russian units for the SYW are finished, the Chernigovskiy regiment:



I did something a little different with the flags this time.  Up until now, on pretty much everything, I've used steel wire for flagpoles.  This time, I used plastic broom straws, and flattened them into a spear point (something I've done for ancients for a while).  I like the effect, and the flexibility of the poles, so will likely continue with this from now on.



The Russians are also a little different in that the uniforms, at least for infantry, were standardized to a much greater extent than in other contemporary forces.  Same coat, facings, turnbacks, etc., regardless of regiment.  There's a also a lot of red in the uniform - pretty much everything other than the outer coat.  Getting contrast between uniform components was a bit of a trick, but I'm reasonably happy with how they turned out, and am looking forward to painting more.

I think with this army I'll also go cavalry heavy.  I have a bunch of Russian horse, including cossacks, and haven't tried a force in Maurice where cavalry is the dominant arm.  It'll be interesting to see how it works.