Friday 31 August 2012

Hobhounds and Hobgoblin Master

Whilst painting the Greeks I took the opportunity to finish off and old (1984 IIRC) Citadel Hobhounds and Hobgoblin Master set that was sat on the workbench. This set will join the Goblinoid army along with a regiment of Hobgoblins also bought in the mid-eighties.

 I have based the set on a DIY sabot base so the hobhounds can be removed and launched at the enemy in the game. I added foil reins to the handler which are not attached to the hounds, not 100% sure about them but they look better with than without IMHO.

 I've done a lot of the block painting on the Athenian cavalry but not finished it so I'll probably have to extend Athenian Month into the weekend...

Thursday 30 August 2012

(Athenian Month) Veteran Hoplites

Finished the Veteran Hoplite unit for my Athenian army, a smaller eighteen man phalanx made up from Immortal plastics. To reflect their veteran status, the front rank all wear a bronze cuirass, though this is purely aesthetic, the unit as a whole is equipped with light armour.

I did consider painting them up with uniform shields or tunics but in the end decided just to have them all sport blue and/or white plumes on their helmets. Their Spartan enemies will be uniform enough I suspect.

This just leaves the cavalry to do...

Athenian painted running total:

125/125 infantry
0/16 cavalry

Tuesday 28 August 2012

(Athenian Month) Hoplites and Peltasts

Hurray, panited figures! The return to the themed month idea has been rewarded with the completion of two more units for the Peloponnesian War project's Athenian army; a third Hoplite phalanx and a unit of Peltast light infantry.

The Peltasts are from Foundry, picked up off eBay during the period Immortal went AWOL prior to their purchase by Warlord. The crescent Peltast shields are actually Wargames Factory from the Amazon box and the transfers for them from Veni Vidi Vici. Whilst I was a tad annoyed at the time, the neater/richer look of the Foundry light troops seems to suit the idea I have in my mind of the Athenian populace being a tad more urbane (and possibly affluent) than the slave helots that the Spartans will have (using the Immortal metals).

The third Hoplite phalanx is, like the first two, Immortal plastics. As with the other two I have gone for a slightly grungier look than the normal wargames shiny white. I cannot accept that troops on campaign on the Plain of Attica would not look grubby and dusty, nor white armour stay "Daz White", after a couple of days. The shield transfers are from the box set.

This just leaves one unit of Veteran Hoplites to complete (they just need the bases painting) and the sixteen Heavy Cavalry I have (which are just about to be undercoated), so, touch wood, the Athenian army should be finished this month.

Athenian painted running total:

109/125 infantry
0/16 cavalry

Saturday 25 August 2012

Reaper Bones Kickstarter

You may have seen that a number of games companies are using Kickstarter to raise funds for future projects, a process similar to that which a number of bands have done to cover the costs of recording new albums or touring (Marillion come to mind here).

Reaper Miniatures are one of the latest, looking for $30,000 to fun a more rapid expansion of their plastic fantasy Bones line. To date they have received pledges of $2,816,765!

The project only has a few hours to run and there are various levels of pledging bring various levels of reward. I haven't bothered with pledging on Kickstarter before, but as I like Reaper's models and what I've seen of their Bones line I decided support the project and after some consideration opted for the $100 Vampire level which currently buys 225 miniatures.

I'm not sure what I'll do with all of them but it is too good an offer not to take up. If you are interested in checking the offers out (and note the whole thing only has a few hours left so don't tarry), more details can be found here.

Update: in the end the Kickstarter pledges reached $3,415,448. I must confess to getting a tad carried away. Even as the $100 level was increased to 240 miniatures, I decided that some of the options were too good to pass up on, especially some of the larger dragons and creatures (and come on, an eight inch tall Cthulhu for just $10, that would be insane to pass up on!)

Thursday 23 August 2012

Exam Day of Doom?!

Well today was the day of doom for many 16 year olds in the UK, one Saul Blease included, as the GCSE (O-level in old money) exam results were released. Fortunately Saul exceeded the entry requirements for Sixth Form so he won't be asking me "do I want fries with that" at McDonald's next week.*

The press and politicians all seem to pontificate about how the exams have been dumbed down over the years but this is (pardon my French), bollocks. Saul has worked bloody hard at his subjects over the last two years and has been rewarded with good passes in those he has no aptitude for (ie. hates), and got the grades he wanted in those subjects he does like (though we are all, Saul included, baffled how he got three distinctions in ICT!).

His forte is music and the science, math, history study is all a means to an end to be able to study what he wants musically (and become a rock god) and I thought I would share with you one of his GCSE Music compositions for which he was awarded an A*.

* if you know someone who did not get what they wanted, give them a hug and support and let them know that there are opportunities out there and to keep working at it. Don't give up!

Wednesday 22 August 2012

A Slight (Soviet) Diversion...

Yes, I know August is Athenian Month and I have been busy beavering away on hoplites and peltasts (honest) but whilst the hoplite shields were drying my eyes alighted on a 1/72nd Altaya pre-painted T72 that I had picked up for the Whirarwistan project last year. Unfortunately the pre-paint was pretty horrendous and I put the tank to one side to re-paint.

The pre-paint scheme was sand and black and looked awful so yesterday I overpainted the black with some Vallejo Russian Uniform green and then washed the whole model with GW Devlan Mud wash. I must say I am really pleased with then end result. Anyway enough distractions, back to the Greeks...

Sunday 19 August 2012

Empire: A Roman Spectacular

The Blease Clan set off across the water today to the the annual re-enactment event at Roman Legion Museum at Caerleon in South Wales. The two main attractions were Ars Dimicandi, an Italian group of "experimental archaeologists" who test archaeological theory on gladiators by hitting each other. Their gladiatorial combat re-enactment was well done and proved popular with the crowd.

More photos of Ars Diminicandi in action can be found here.

The Ermine Street Guard need no introduction and they are celebrating their 40th anniversary as the 2nd Augustus Legion by parading at Caerleon where the Legion was historically based.

They demonstrated Roman military equipment, training for both foot and cavalry, legion formations and Roman artillery which was really impressive with shot hurtling out of the arena into the fields beyond!

Great day out, the Guard are fantastic and more photos of them can be found here.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Dux In A Row...

No doubt you are all aware that Osprey have started releasing wargames rules in the Osprey MAA book format, one off stand alone titles covering various periods, kicking off with A World Aflame (for the Inter War period) and Dux Bellorum (for Arthurian Dark Ages). As a rules addict and because Amazon had a 30% off offer on I picked them up.

Dux Bellorum has grabbed my attention more than I suspected it would and I'm lining it up to be an early 2013 project. The reason for this is that the game doesn't require loads of miniatures (forty or fifty a side would seem ok), if I used sabot bases I could also use the miniatures for other games such as Brtyenwalda and the rules themselves seem like they could be quite fun. I like the way that Leadership Points can be bought at the expense of troops and the fact that measurement is by base widths (so how you base your units is up to you - I am pondering using the GW LOTR sabot ones).

This could also sneak in under the "no more new projects" rules as I have a few packs of old Foundry Arthurians somewhere and some Old Glory figures given to me a while back. I had planned to use them as fantasy humans alongside with the plastic GW Rohirrim but they could do double duty as fantasy and historical.

On more immediate projects I have gotten back on the horse today and put some paint on some more Athenians so hopefully some new painted stuff soon...

Saturday 11 August 2012

No Plan Is A Bad Plan...

Another knock on the door this morning and another delivery by the postie - this time a copy of Warwick Kinrade's Normandy Firefight rules picked up from one of North Star's increasing irresistible special offers - my credit card curses you Nick Eyre! :-)

Flicking through them I started mentally working this out as a project, thinking about the 1/35th stuff in the attic etc when I had a "hold the horses" moment. What the hell was I doing?! Yes, this looks all very inspiring but so do the 101 other projects partially started and not finished.

Looking back at when I have actually managed to get things done my project of the month approach seems to have been the most successful so I have decided for the remainder of 2012 I will follow the following plan:

August is Athenians:

I have two hoplite phalanxes 80% completed, plus a unit of undercoated peltasts and some untouched heavy cavalry. I am away working next week but have the last two weeks off and the plan is to work through the Athenians in order.

September is Orcs:

My WHFB2 project stalled badly as I got seduced by eBay and started bidding and buying old Chronicle, Grenadier and Citadel orcs. I will now go back to Plan A which is to paint what I have to provide a decent OPFOR for Saul's Dwarves. I also have a unit of undercoated Dwarf Rangers converted a few years back that need painting so I might include these in the month's painting for a little variety.

October is Zulus:

I have made up the Zulu starter army I bought a little while back but have got carried away and bought some "bargains" off eBay to give me enough figures for ten Zulu regiments. This is going to be a "dip" project and quite boring after a while but the idea is to get them all done in one go.

November is Persians:

Since writing about the "Clown Army" I have picked up a couple of Osprey Campaign titles with artwork by Peter Dennis. His Persian "look" and that of Rick Scollins seems much more achievable and realistic. I need to work out an army with what I have and probably need to purchase some more models for a unit of Immortals, some more cavalry and possibly some subject troops but this will require some research and I may just concentrate on the four Sparabara/archer units and box of cavalry that I have.

December is American Civil War:

I have the Bickley rules, I have the Perry infantry and cavalry, ok I need some artillery, but all this project needs is a coat of paint.

Well that is the plan and whilst no plan survives contact with the enemy it seems a better approach than no plan at all...

Sunday 5 August 2012

The Great Clown Army of Ancient Persia

"I must stop going off at a tangent and get back to the Orcs and Zulus..." And almost a month later I am, of course, still off on that tangent. July was pretty much a bust hobby wise (the only painting I have done of late is my Mother's storage room) and I need to re-focus my efforts in August.

I have stuck together one unit of the Wargames Factory Persians and with a little effort they can be made to look really nice, I undercoated them last week and have been pondering painting them. I picked up the Osprey Elite Persian Army book on the cheap and must say I'm really disappointed. Not only is the bulk of the book descriptive text of the colour plates (rather than just the last few pages as normal), the plates are almost exclusively Immortal regiments not the full army.

Persian Infantry on campaign in Greece according to Osprey...
The text is also unconvincing, the author states that Persian units quite probably wore uniforms but the only source evidence he gives is of troops being given cloaks of the same colour. On top of this the plates are ridiculously colourful. I know the Greeks said the Persians were colourful but not only do most of the troops wear yellow and purple (two of the rarest colours in the ancient world) they are so bright, colourful and wearing intricately patterned clothing they look more like clowns than pre-industrial troops on campaign with elongated supply chains.

By dint of some Google-fu I have found copies of all the Richard Scollins plates from Duncan Head's out of print The Achaemenid Persian Army which show  much more realistic colour look to the Persian infantry, even of some of the patterned cloth is pretty daunting from a painting point of view (and I am still slightly dubious that this would be common for run of the mill infantry if a uniform look was the case).
Persian Infantry on campaign in Greece according to Scollins...
Quite where this leaves me I'm not 100% sure. I think I will pretty much ignore the Osprey book and use the Scollins illustrations plus some pages on the Achamenid Persians I have found on the internet, especially this page by the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies which includes some interesting information on colour dyes from the time. Overall I think I need to follow the same basic principles with the hoplites and make sure I tone down the brightness so I don't end up with an army of clowns...