Monday, March 30, 2015

First Legion Hastati and Principes

This is two units of hastati, two units of principes and a legion command stand. I finished painting these a while ago and posted a WIP shot to this blog about them. The figures are exclusively Old Glory and they are based for my uncle's rules, Marathon to Marius. These go with the red shielded Triarii and Velites that I completed and posted earlier to complete the infantry portion of my first legion. Once I have two full legions worth of infantry painted up I'll paint up the cavalry to finish both of them off.

All of these figures were finished using the Future dip method that I tested on my Vorenus and Pullo sample figures. The final recipe that I settled on was a bit darker than the test figures. all in all I like the effect just as much as the Army Painter Quick Shade and it's cheaper, and doesn't cause enamel metallic paints to bleed and run.

 This is a shot of the entire red legion infantry. The legion includes a single stand of Triarii, two Principes, two Hastati, two velites and a command stand.
A photo of my back yard to explain the high contrast white background. Yes on March 29th we still have plenty of snow on the ground. In fact it snowed all day Saturday, although not much of it accumulated. Old man winter is a bit tenacious this year and refuses to accept that his time is over.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rome vs Carthage - Marathon to Marius House Rules

Friday evening we got together to play a Rome vs. Carthage game using my uncle's ancients, previously called "Hannibal at the Gates" now renamed to "Marathon to Marius". Previous posts on this blog labeled "HATG" have been retroactively labeled "MTM" to reflect the name change.

The game was a pickup game, not part of our campaign and featured classic 2nd Punic armies. Rome brought two Roman and two allied legions and a small group of Praetorian guards and Extrodinarii. The Carthaginian army was based on Hanno's army in Northern Italy and contained two warrior wings, a large contingent of Gaul warriors, and a large contingent of Ligurian/Trans-Alpine Gauls. Also with Hanno was a wing of Spanish including Scutari and cavalry and a small contingent of African veteran spearmen and Carthaginian cavalry. Shown in most of the photos, the players of Rome, Rob, Ralph and Charlie. Below right, the Carthiginian right wing commander Don. Not pictured was the other Carthaginian commander Bob and myself.

This was a GREAT game. Both armies slugged it out right to the end with the final turn exhausting both armies when the very last two units to fight in the last turn eliminated each other. Everyone played well and everyone at some point had good and bad luck. I had a lot of fun..thanks to everyone especially Ralph for hosting.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Vorenus and Pullo - Magic Wash Test

On our club's mailing list we have been discussing alternatives to the Army Painter Quick Shade product. These conversations were mostly started after one of our members watched this YouTube video from Dr. Faust's Painting Clinic channel. I'm currently using the Army Painter products, but in the past have worked with various Future Floor Wax wash formulas. Up until watching the above mentioned videos my washes were always a ratio of Future and water with pigment to taste. This test was done using 100% future and black ink to see if that gave better results than I've had in the past.

I started with two figures I've recently painted, Warlord Games' Pullo and Vorenus, Heroes of Rome personality pack. Since I wanted to use the figures as command figures in my republican Roman army I chose the bare-headed option for the Vorenus figure as his helmet was far to Cesarian for my army. The photo below left shows the figures before the wash. Note I use Privater Press' flesh wash during my painting process, so the flesh areas already have a good brown wash on them. My choice for pigment for the overall wash on the figure was black ink in 100% future.  The other two photos in this post show the end results. I think it works quite well with the added benefit of being able to mix as much or as little pigment into the wash as you like. These photos were taken while the was was still wet, but it does dry to a high gloss finish. A final coat with Testor's Dullcote or your preferred matte finish will be needed.

These two figures will be added to Old Glory figures in the future. Pullo will become an officer in a principes unit and Vorenus with his decorative chest piece will be a legion commander accompanied by a standard bearer and musician. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Roman Legion - WIP

Last week my wife had the entire week off for a 'staycation' - i.e. a vacation at home. I wasn't able to get the whole week off due to work deadlines, but I was able to take part of the week off. I spent a day catching up on home improvement chores and a day preparing for family to visit for an early Easter dinner. That left one day to paint. This is the remainder of the infantry for my red legion. On the right the principes, which were in process before my day of painting. On the left the hastati, which were painted entirely during my vacation day. In the front figures for a command stand that were painted with the principes.

I gloss my figures before using the Army Painter figure quick shade on them. I feel it helps the quick shade flow better. After shading I spray the figures with Testors Dullcote to give them their final matte finish. I have to let the gloss dry for several days to a week to prevent the army painter quick shade from dissolving it. I've found if I rush this step the figures get a very undesirable hazing or crazing of the finish. In about a week I'll post a final finished figures post for these units with hopefully better photos.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thirty Years War Play Test

Last week Rob, Charlie, Ralph and I visited my friend Ed's place to help him play test his game for our upcoming club game night. The rules are Ed's own design, a very interesting combination of miniatures with a board game area layout. The rules feature an interesting combination of combat and management of reserves. The game went well and the scenario seems well balanced. I was on the Imperialist side which at the time we called the game looked like it was going to be on the worse side of the affair, but with still plenty of game play left. The Protestants, Charlie and Rob played well and focused their force on our right and did well in their attacks. If it wasn't for some very fortunately rally rolls, the game could well have been concluded during our play test.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

28mm Hedges

Inspired by this YouTube video I've just completed these hedges that I plan to use on my Bolt Action tables. The set consists of eight straight pieces, eight corner pieces and two gates. I made the gates and wooden bases on my laser but they could have easily been done with hand tools by switching the gate style to a plain wooden gate. I've attempted to use some faux painting techniques to make the gate posts look like granite. I'm only partially satisfied with the look, but since this is only a terrain piece, it's probably as good as it's going to get.

If you're interested in making some for yourself, I used heavy duty scotch brite brand scouring pads that I purchased at the big box home improvement store. Two packages ran me about $4.00 total. The spray paint and blended turf flocking I had on hand in my shop, but I would guess I only used a few dollars worth of each. Pretty good deal to get all this terrain for under ten bucks and a couple hours of work.

Monday, March 9, 2015

28mm French Napoleonics - Ebay Purchase

These are four battalions of 28mm French Napoleonic figures that I purchased about a year ago on Ebay. They were originally sold by a company as "Glory Napoleonics" - as pre-painted figures. I got them for a very reasonable price. I still need to add proper flags to the standard bearers.

These are based for my friend Charlie's Napoleonic rules, Napoleon's Rules of War, but will also work just as well with my friend Ed's Volley & Bayonet wing scale house rule variant and eventually hopefully with my own Electronic Brigadier rules.

As the shot below right shows, this is only the start of what I hope will be a much more extensive collection. There's plenty of room left in this drawer, and I expect that at least one more drawer will be dedicated to French napoleonic figures. These figures came un-based. They've been sitting on my table waiting for basing, and with all the recent re-basing I've been doing I used the momentum to get them off the workbench.

Conquest of Italy Campaign - Board Game Session

Sunday we got together to advance our First Punic War / Conquest of Italy campaign at the board game table. It was time to pay the piper for Rob and I after our recent loss at the battle of Panormous. Our losses were moderate - 40% of our army. Greece lost 20% of their forces in the win. It looked very grim, but the next battle was too lopsided for the tabletop and in a stroke of great luck, Carthage prevailed in the board game's battle resolution roll with a great dice roll. This kept Greece at bay, at least for the time being.

Elsewhere Rome incited a revolt in an unprotected Greek city. When Greece sent an army to squelch the uprising, the tiny Roman army there also beat back the Greeks. Closer to Rome, the Greeks marched to relieve a city from the Roman siege there but Carthaginian treachery turned the army back on the march.

East of Rome, the Romans also rushed to the aid of one of their Cities which was under siege by the Samnites. The resulting battle will be our next tabletop game.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Electronic Brigadier Cavalry Play Test Game #2

This afternoon my friend Mark D. and my uncle Ralph came over for another round of play testing of the Electronic Brigadier rules. Today's game was the second game with multiple cavalry units on each side. The last try revealed some areas that needed improvement so today's game was hoping to test out the recent fixes.

The good news is cavalry versus cavalry and cavalry versus infantry not work in the computer programming system properly. There may be some future tweaks in relative strengths of cavalry vs. infantry, but things are definitely close which is good. The game featured each player playing with identical forces of two brigades each. The cavalry ended up all shifting to one flank with the American player, Mark being able to bring some of his infantry's musketry to bear on to Ralph's British dragoons. On the other flank Ralph set up an excellent two on one attack against Mark, but his troops had trouble. One unit refused to charge and the other got stopped on the way in from Mark's defensive fire. The former was due to a very bad morale roll, the latter expected once the 2 on 1 attack became a 1 on 1.

I'd like to thank both Ralph and Mark for helping play test today. This was Marks' first game and he played like an experienced veteran. Ralph played several situations in ways that helped test rare occurring cases rather than what might be tactically best. An enjoyable and very productive afternoon.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Ancients Re-Basing (3)

Next up in my ancients re-basing project are most of my foot skirmishers. In total 15 units in Hannibal at the Gates, formed from three Field of Glory battle groups. 
 These four units were made by re-basing my Balearic slingers originally painted in March, 2013.
 These Cretan archers were also originally painted in March, 2013.
These six units are a portion of the Numidian skirmishers that I painted in May, 2013. I haven't decided what I will be doing with the balance of those figures yet. They may also get re-based, or may get sold off.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Romans vs Macedonians - HATG Play Test Game

Last Sunday four of us went over to my uncle's house to play a game of Hannibal at the Gates. This game was Romans versus Macedonians. We wanted to test out how the new battle line rules effected the hoplite and pike durability compared to Roman legions.

I had a very lucky night and opposite me, my friend Don took it well. It seems all the rolls I didn't get in our campaign battle finally decided to show up.

As for the game. Don and Charlie, below left lined up their three pike/hoplite wings in the center and rolled forward with cavalry on their flanks. Bob and I demonstrated against two of their core wings while Bob focused on their cataphract cavalry and I focused on the left most infantry and cavalry. We lost ground in the center badly, but by the time we were pressed firmly against our baseline, the Macedonian formations we focused on were dead.

The new battle line rules make core units able to use it strong. They make pike and hoplite units, with their extra numbers, particularly tough. A Roman army, using its flexibility still has a fair chance, but 1 on 1 the hoplite and pike wings are stronger than a single legion. We're going to fight a couple more test games to get more data on this...which is OK by me because they're great fun.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ancients Re-Basing (2)

This is the second batch of figures for my recently started re-basing project. The hopes is for me to get all of my 28mm figures re-based for our local home brew rules, Hanibal at the gates. This is the start of work on my Carthaginian army. The photos below include all of the stands re-based in this batch, including twelve newly painted figures to make the old units fit the new basing scheme. Every unit has at least one new figure, most have at least two and some three. I'm fairly happy that looking at the units you cannot spot any of the new figures. This was particularly tricky since some units used a black wash and some used a dark brown wash. As shown below, I've continued to put magnetic label holders on the rear portion of each stand.

This is a close up of my re-based second Scutarii unit.

Hmmm. Time to fire the photographer. Somehow I intermixed the stands of the red shield veteran spear unit and the white shield veteran spear unit in the photos below.

Carthaginian citizen hoplite unit.
My first Spanish scutarii unit. I was happy that I was able to organize both of the scutarii units into cohorts with similar colored helmet plumes. This helps tie each stand's figures together into a more cohesive looking unit.