Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Libyan Spearmen: WIP No.1

Next up for me is two units of Libyan spearmen. The photos below are of the test model I painted to see how the color palette I had in my head would translate to an actual model - I think it ended up looking pretty good and I'll be using these colors for at least one of the two units.

The figures for the Libyans are from Gripping Beast and look great in my opinion and will match up with the veteran units wearing chainmail very well. All figures in both units will be standing with upright spears rather than in any attacking stance. I was on the fence for a long time about adding a design to the face of the shield, but I think I like the simplicity of the bronze with just the painted outer ring.

Now, due to poor planning, I just need the weather to warm up so I can base coat about 36 of these and get to work!

  Citadel: Daemonette Hide
  Vallejo: Tan-Earth
  Citadel: Mechrite Red
  Citadel: Blood Red
  Citadel: Gehenna's Gold
  Citadel: Snakebite Leather
  Citadel: Tallarn Flesh

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hannibal Defeated, Recalled to Carthage

Following another staggering loss by the Carthaginians to the Romans early in this campaigning season, Hannibal has been officially recalled to Carthage by the judges of the Hundred and Four to answer for the string of embarrassing defeats. Hannibal, in true Barcid form, has ignored the arrogant summons and instead has quickly dispatched Mago back to Northern Africa to recruit additional Libyans and Numidians to the cause against Rome.

This month's game of Hail Caesar, played yesterday afternoon, certainly did not go the way of the Carthaginians in the end, but it was great fun and I am learning more and more about the rules (and my army) with each game. Since my regular opponent and myself are both in the process of building our armies, each month's battle gets a little larger, a little more fierce and a little more fun than the previous month -- military escalation at its finest. My Carthaginian army is super fun to play, but I still make some very stupid mistakes and Aaron, who is a great player, is always swift to punish them.

Hannibal deployed the Spanish in the center, two units deep with a unit of Carthaginian veterans to each side. The cavalry anchored the left flank and an elephant on the right. Ligurian slingers were shielding each of the veteran spearmen as word had been received that the Romans had brought archers as well as some light artillery. A large wood stood the the left of the field and and a large rock outcropping to the right - it was Hannibal's decision to march the army forward in formation and reach the gap between these two natural barriers before the Romans, thus securing his flanks.

Hannibal's wise intent was to hold the cavalry in reserve, but the ever impetuous Mago, fearing the cavalry becoming trapped behind the chaos of the battle lines, sent the horse forward beyond the woods in the hopes of meeting some Roman auxiliaries and finding glory. The Romans, who had camped nearer than anticipated, easily intercepted the cavalry - trapping and destroying them before the battle had even begun.

Hannibal, despite the routing of his cavalry, continued forward with renewed determination  The Romans began firing the light artillery which they had carried to the battle, causing casualties to both the Ligurians and the Spanish. The slingers on the Carthaginian left had great success against the advancing Romans, driving them back with devastating and well-placed stones. This flurry of bullets was enough to delay their advance and caused chaos among the Roman army as their lines became disorganized and unresponsive to orders.

On the right side of the field, the Romans were unhindered and charged the sole Carthaginian elephant, thinking that it would easily be driven away. Instead, the elephant reluctantly held its ground and was quickly joined by a fierce line of Hannibal's finest veterans. Together they pushed, pursued and ultimately destroyed the aggressive Roman unit on the right.

Hannibal now noticed the center of his army becoming disordered and unresponsive to his commands. The Spanish, under heavy missile fire, sheltered themselves behind their large shields and refused to be moved, either by the nearness of the enemy or by the shouts of their commander. This reluctance of the middle proved to be the undoing of the Carthaginians on this day. Despite the brave and glorious efforts of the veterans and the elephant crew on the flanks, it was not enough as the Romans smashed into the decimated center, routing the army.

The elusive Hannibal rallied the remaining units to him and made a brave escape across a nearby river.

Here are several photos of the battle, I hope you enjoy them:


Friday, February 22, 2013

The Entire Carthaginian Army

The second unit of the Spanish Scutarii have finally been added to the mighty Carthaginian army under the watchful eye of Hannibal and his most decorated officers. These warriors have been placed in the army's center with each wing held by Hannibal's must trusted veterans. The army gathered in the early morning mists shortly after breakfast in the hopes of inviting the Romans, that had camped not far off, to battle on the ground of their own choosing. The lazy Romans were not roused, despite creative taunts, and so the Carthaginians went back to bed.

After finishing up the basing of the Scutarii yesterday, I thought I would take a look at the state of the army.
  • Two standard units of Liby-Phoenician veterans
  • Two standard units of Spanish Scutarii
  • Two small units of Ligurian slingers
  • One standard unit of Liby-Phoenician cavalry
  • One elephant and crew
  • Three command stands including Hannibal and Mago Barca
That is 100 figures, 11 horses and 1 elephant painted and based for this project since August 17, 2012. That is six months work. Not bad.

These guys are going to battle against Aaron's Romans tomorrow. Wish them luck, and may the blessing hand of Tanit protect them and the arm of Ba'al Hammon smite the enemy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Steampunk? You Bet your Pocket Watch!

I have been enjoying the Steampunk movement long before it became the fashionable mega-craze that it is today - heck, Steampunk is almost on par with teenage vampire romance novels these days. I am a founding member of the Society for Advanced Meta-Exploration, I have been known to occasionally wear a fancy waistcoat and pocket watch to the office and I have personally hand-crafted several magnificent pairs of goggles that may or may not allow the wearer to detect psychic-anomalies in an urban environment. If I could fly a zeppelin today, I would do it.

Without a doubt, I will be pre-ordering the new Steampunk skirmish rules In Her Majesty's Name by Osprey Publishing along with the fantastic looking models that are being being released by North Star. I probably don't need another game to play right now, but this sounds perfect for me. There have been other Steampunk rules in the past, most notably Dystopian Wars, but those have all been ship-based games and so I have thus far been able to avoid them.

In addition to the obvious love for the genre, I am excited about these rules for several reasons: First, the games are meant to be small and quick and I can get started with just a few painted models. Second, there is a larger campaign component to add story and some aspects of role-playing to the games if desired. And third, the rules seem to be fairly open and can be customized and appended based on each persons style of play and imagination. If my understanding is correct, new types of characters, new adventuring companies and weapons can all be devised by players and used in games. That is a huge win for me. 

I don't think I'll have any trouble recruiting other local players to join me on some adventures!

The League of Steam

Monday, February 18, 2013

Second Scutarii Nearing Completion

I have been back at the painting table this week and it has felt great. The second unit of Spanish Scutarii is shaping up nicely. I only have a few more models to paint and they will be ready to base tonight or tomorrow. Good thing too, because Hannibal is going to need them for a battle against the Romans this weekend (am I the only one that gets excited about a game that is almost a week away?)

On a side note, the blog recently hit 20,000 page views. That is a pretty nice milestone, but really it is the connections I have been able to make through this blog and the opportunity to share my interest with friendly like-minded people that makes this worthwhile, not the numbers. Thanks to everybody.

Only a few more models to paint and the unit will be complete.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tutorial: Painting Bronze Armor

I have been painting a lot of bronze recently and I am happy with both my method and the results. I have a simple four step process that I follow that produces consistent results that, in my opinion, look great on the gaming table. Many people have commented and asked about the process I use, so I thought I would share a quick tutorial for those interested.

I use mostly Games Workshop paints and washes currently. The process should work with similar products from other manufacturers, although I have not tried it.

Step one: Apply a nice gold base such as Gehenna's Gold by GW.

Step two: Apply an orange wash such as Seraphim Sepia by GW.

Step three: Apply a dark brown wash such as Agrax Earthshade by GW.

Step four: Drybrush using the original gold base color.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Glorfindel and Asfaloth

This is the mighty Elf-lord Glorfindel riding his white horse Asfaloth.

Despite what Peter Jackson has shown us, it was Glorfindel that helped Frodo Baggins and his companions reach the house of Elrond and evade the pursuit of the Black Riders after Frodo was stabbed with a Morgul-blade.

"Suddenly into view below came a white horse, gleaming in the shadows, running swiftly. In the dusk its headstall flickered and flashed, as if it were studded with gems like living stars. The rider’s cloak streamed behind him, and his hood was thrown back; his golden hair flowed shimmering in the wind of his speed.... it appeared that white light was shining through the form and raiment of the rider, as if though through a thin veil."  —The Fellowship of the Ring

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Scutarii & Random Thoughts

I have been painting at a snail's pace since finishing the last unit of Spanish Scutarii - you know the story, stress at work picks up, motivation goes down and attention gets diverted to other important things. But I am painting again and working to get the second unit of Scutarii done... the good news is that I have another battle against the Romans on the 23rd of this month so the promise of sweet revenge will give me some added motivation.

I have been on Aventine's site almost every day this week wanting to place an order for some of their fantastic Republican Romans but I have yet to add anything to my shopping cart. The problem is there are just far too many choices, there is something like 23 different 4-figure packs for the Principes alone in their catalog. I'm overwhelmed by the variety and so I do nothing.

I'm also about to place another order with Relic for some nice pieces to shore up the Carthaginians. I need a command figure to represent Hasdrubal Barca (the other brother to Hannibal), another elephant for the army and some Numidian cavalry and/or skirmishers.

Now, I'm going back to some painting... Have a good weekend everybody.

Some proof that I am in fact still painting the Spanish Scutarii.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Hail Caesar Unit Reference Cards

I haven't felt the painting mojo this week. I've certainly had my opportunities, but I'll sit down to paint and fifteen minutes later I'm up doing something else - I'm sure you know what I mean. The second unit of Spanish Scutarii are on the table, but progress has been slow. Despite that, I have managed to do some fun hobby related things - such as planning the Republican Romans and creating these Hail Caesar unit reference cards for the Carthaginians.

The cards measure 3.5" x 2.5" and includes a icon, the unit name, type and size, game statistics and a list of any special rules and definitions. My plan is to print a card out for each unit type in the army and have them handy at the table's edge for quick reference. I made the cards using Adobe Illustrator and they can be easily saved as a PDF file for printing. I'll print these on card stock, cut out each card individually and then place them in plastic card sleeves for protection.

Now that I have a design and temple, creating cards for additional units and armies will be easy. If anybody that plays Hail Caesar would like some cards created for their specific army please let me know and I can mock them up and send you a PDF file. I'm serious.

This is a low resolution example of the Hail Caesar unit reference cards.