Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ancient Warfare & Medieval Warfare

On Sunday mornings I very much enjoy going to the local bookstore, getting a nice cup of coffee and browsing magazines and books. I have discovered a couple of wonderful magazines during this regular trip that I now purchase each time a new issue hits the shelf. If you haven't already, do yourself a favor and pick up Ancient Warfare and Medieval Warfare - you can thank me later.

These magazines are well designed, of very high production quality and hold a wealth information on topics including battle formations, equipment, daily life of soldiers, politics, weapons, military training, intrigue, baggage trains... well, you get the idea. The magazine is full of amazing illustrations of soldiers for inspiration for us wargamers as well as detailed maps of campaigns and battles that could be very useful. But be warned, these magazines will set you to dreaming of new armies and projects, so make room on your table.

It is a bit pricey over here in the States ($9.99 a copy), but if you buy them one issue at a time with a cup of coffee you will never notice.

I highly recommend these magazines.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Carthaginian Commander

Psychologically, this was an army that had known nothing but the most decisive sort of success since it had entered Italy. In a life and death struggle, confidence is crucial, and the recent past had given these men every reason to believe in their own fighting skills, as well as their commander's ability to drive opponents into positions of utter vulnerability and near helplessness.

~ Robert L. O'Connell, The Ghosts of Cannae, 2010.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Painting the Carthage Veterans

Progress is moving along nicely on my Carthaginians - I'm getting a little time to paint each night which really helps... you know, that slow but steady thing. I am painting these in batches of six models, which will comprise a full base of figures with each unit having three bases for a frontage of 180mm. I'm trying to get at least four full units of my Carthaginians done as soon as I can since they have some very respectable Romans to rout on the battlefield.

For my own record-keeping, and perhaps because others may find this beneficial, here is my process and colors used to paint this unit of veterans. I am listing a mix of old and new-name Games Workshop paint colors since that is what I have. It will be easy enough to make the conversion if you need to. As a designer, I would much rather be working in Pantone numbers.

01. Basecoat in black
02. Paint all skin using GW Tallarn Flesh
03. Paint the tunic using GW Loren Forest
04. Paint the chainshirt using GW Chainmail
05. Paint the greaves and helm using GW Shining Gold
06. Paint the helemt frontage and decorations using GW Tin Bitz
06. Paint the hair and beard (if any) using GW Chaos Black
07. Paint the sandals using Vallejo Burnt Umber
08. Paint the leather belts and straps using Vallejo Tan-Earth
09. Paint the sword and dagger scabbards using GW Mournfang Brown
10. Paint the sword hilt using GW Ushabti Bone
11. Paint the dagger hilt using GW Boltgun Metal
12. Wash only the chain shirt using GW Devlan Mud
13. Wash only the greaves and helm using GW Gryphonne Sepia
14. Drybrush the chain shirt using GW Chainmail
15. Paint the chain shirt trim using GW Dwarf Bronze
16. Paint the sword scabbard details using GW Dwarf Bronze
17. Touch-up any painting mistakes
17. Wash entire model except for the chain shirt using GW Devlan Mud
18. Drybrush greaves and helm using GW Shining Gold
19. Highlight tunic using GW Nurgling Green

Carthaginian veterans nearing completion.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Liby-Phoenician Test Model Painted

"The study of ancient history is as much about how we know as what we know, and engagement with all the processes of selection, constructive blindness, revolutionary reinterpretation and willful misinterpretation that together produce the 'facts'... out of the messy, confusing. and contradictory evidence that survives."

~ Mary Beard, Cambridge classicist

I was able to complete the color-test model for my Carthaginian veterans last night and I am very happy with the result. I wanted to find a suitable and pleasing color palette that worked across an entire figure before beginning the process of painting these en masse. Remember, these need to look good on the gaming table, so things like contrast and color saturation play an important role in selecting the color palette. I knew right-away that I didn't want to go with a red linen for these troops as that is fairly typical and too obvious a choice, so I decided in the end to go with a nice shade of green instead, which will work well with the silvers and gold/bronze of the armor and the ochre I have chosen for the shields.

I am really looking forward to getting started on these this in earnest week!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Carthage Rises Again!

With my Scots of the English Civil War project well under way and making good progress, I have decided to jump back into the Punic Wars project that I started but never really began. Specifically, I will be working on the Carthaginian army.

Many months ago I purchased a good amount of Carthaginian figures from Gripping Beast. These have been quietly waiting in plastic bags until late last night when I began sorting, organizing and planning how I want to tackle this (large) project. I currently have forty-eight Liby-Phoenician veterans with spears, twenty-four Libyan heavy infantry with spears and ten heavy cavalry. The plan is to start with these as the "core" of the army and then add other interesting units such as Numidian light cavalry, Balearic slingers and Gallic warbands to round-out the force.

The Gripping Beast models are of very high quality and I am very happy with them. All types are supplied with a good variety of poses, all of which seem to be fairly natural and will make for a dynamic looking army on the table. I had very little trimming or filing of mold lines to do to prepare the figures for washing and mounting on temporary painting bases. All of the models are stocky but proportional, which is very important to me - there are no gigantic heads or stubby arms like you see in some other figures. I was most impressed with the sculpts of the command figures supplied - their appearance is fantastic and are easily differentiated from the rank and file by their "I'm in charge around here" poses (holding a helmet under their arm and pointing for example) and their armor and equipment.

I am not as well read or learned in the Punic Wars as I am in other periods of history, and so this will be a learn-as-you-go experience for me. I'm sure I'll make some mistakes along the way, but I'm excited to get this going.

Carthaginian veterans by Gripping Beast.

Libyan infantry by Gripping Beast.

Carthaginian heavy cavalry by Gripping Beast.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Put a Pike in that Cork!

I have read enough blogs over the years to have learned a few tricks along the way - those a-ha moments when I slap myself on the forehead and think "why didn't I think of that before?!". Maybe this will be one of those moments for you... or perhaps not.

Need an easy way to apply paint to those pikes, spears or other pointy fiddly bits laying around the table? I have found that wine corks work perfectly for such a thing.

Brilliant right?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Some Nice Things that Have Caught My Eye

Here are two things that have recently caught my eye:

Dux Bellorum: Arthurian Wargaming Rules AD 367-793
I have a long interest in this era of history and this region of the world, so when I discovered that Osprey was publishing a new set of Arthurian rules written by Dan Mersey it captured my interest greatly. There was an article and interview with Mersey about these rules in the most recent Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine. When asked "what makes your game different from other rule sets?", Mersey replied:

"I suppose the big one is that I have focused on recreating battles from a very short, defined period of history. Using a set of rules designed exclusively for use in Arthurian Britain means that I've worked out what I think is important and what to ignore, unlike those ancient rules that try to cover 4,000 years."

He raises an interesting question regarding generic(ish) rule sets that span large amounts of the historical timeline versus rules that aim to recreate a very specific period of history. Which do you prefer? While I didn't have any immediate plans to jump into painting and gaming this period, I'll be picking up this rule book to add to my bookcase for future fun. (and yes, I also know about Dux Britanniarum).

Crann Tara Miniatures
These new Scottish highlander miniatures by Crann Tara Miniatures are simply fantastic and quite honestly, I can't wait to paint some of them. These figures are in true 1/56th scale (about 33mm) and are intended for the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Again, this isn't a project I had on my radar, but I know some of these models will find there way on to my painting table!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Highlander Pikes WIP No.2

I wasn't able to get all eight pikes painted and based this weekend like I had hoped, but I did manage to get seven painted to my liking. I'll finish the last pikeman this week and then get back to the lads carrying the muskets.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Highlander Pikes WIP No.1

My goal for this weekend was to paint and base eight Scottish Highlander pikemen. Well, I am off to a decent start - despite being distracted by other things, I nearly completed four figures yesterday (I still need to paint a tartan on the bald man's plaid and do some touch-ups and highlighting to the others) . After a week away it was very enjoyable to spend some time at my work table.

I really like the model of the bald pikeman from Eureka. He is completely wrapped in his plaid and has discarded his bonnet. Unlike the other figures, he doesn't hold the pike in one hand, but instead holds it close to his body, almost using it for support, as if it were a staff or walking stick instead of a weapon. He seems to be a wise veteran, perhaps just returned from fighting in the Thirty Years' War.

Today should see some more progress as there is a baseball game this afternoon and I like to paint while listening to a ball game.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Time in the Mountains and Goals for the Weekend

I've spent the greater part of this week on vacation in Breckenridge, Colorado with my son and wife. We enjoyed the mountains, hiking, the pool and the cooler weather - but all of that recreation didn't result in any progress on my ECW project, but that is probably a good thing as I am excited to spend some time on painting this weekend.

My goal for this weekend is to get two bases (8 figures) of pike fully painted and based. That might be a lofty goal as I am sure there are some errands around the house I need to attend to, but I'm going to try nevertheless.

I did put another order into Eureka USA for some additional figures for the Highland warband unit I am planning on adding to the Badenoch Royalist Battalia (that is Pike & Shotte speak - I guess groups of units are called Battalia in those rules).

Speaking of rules, I do plan on playing some games with all these little army men I am painting. But, it looks more than likely that I will need to provide both sides of the conflict to have any playing partners - so I will be alternating finishing regiments for the Royalists and Covenanters for awhile, which means I need to start thinking of the Covenanter regiment that I want to work on next.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Badenoch Regiment WIP Photos

The Badenoch regiment is coming along great and I am having a lot of fun with the painting. Last night I was able to get the models completed for the base that would be carrying the regiment's second flag - the Banner of the King of Scots.

I also took some time this morning to take some photos of the entire regiment as it currently stands: 3 bases of shotte and 2 bases of banners and pike. So, to complete at least the pike & shotte portion of the regiment I still need to finish three more musket bases (12 models) and 2 bases of pike (8 models). 

I have decided to add a small highland warband to the regiment which will be fun - and of course I still need to paint and base the commander of this brave lot, Ewen Macpherson of Cluny and his piper.

The Banner of the King of Scots and ensign.

Out on morning drill while waiting for the rest of the lads to arrive.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

ECW Flag: Banner of the King of Scots

I needed a second flag to be carried by my Royalist Badenoch regiment - so what could possibly be better or more suited for the battlefield than the Banner of the King of Scots (Bratach rìoghail na h-Alba)?

I created this flag using Adobe Photoshop at a suitable resolution for printing (300 ppi) and when printed the final flag measures approximately 40mm x 36mm.

Please, if you like this flag, feel free to download the large version and use it in your own ECW Scottish Royalist regiments.

Banner of the King of Scots. Click for printable version.