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Category Archives: Ancients

Murillo Gladiator (Gambler theme rounds entry for the 6th AHPC)

Murillo Gladiator (Gambler theme rounds entry for the 6th AHPC)

I have to say, this theme round, as well as the theme for this year in general gave me huge headaches. So from the start it became clear, that this year I would enter my Curtgeld into the theme round. But what was it going to be. After long deliberation, I came up with this…

Gladiatoren-pollice-verso-1872-arena

A Murillo Gladiator. IMHO a Gladiator is a gambler in many aspects. For one, you are gambling with your life the moment you enter the arena, for essentially you are dead and are fighting to get your life back. You are also taking a gamble, based on your class of Gladiator and the class you are facing, for some of those might leave you at a huge disadvantage. And I think this hold especially true for the auctorati, free (wo)men who chose to give up their freedom to live as Gladiators. Sure you were well cared for outside of the fights you had to perform, but was it worth risking your life?

Murmillo

Murmillo

And in a way, this mini was a personal gamble for me. A few years back I asked Curt “what will the theme be for the next installment?” Reason being simple… the last show I attended that year was a couple of weeks before the start of the Challenge and I wanted to go shopping there. So Curt said, “probably Gladiators, but I cannot guarantee.” In the end it turned out not be Gladiators, but I had bought this fine Murillo from Warlord Games. And I thought that after 2-3 year of spending his life on the lead mountain, he finally deserved his moment of glory in the Challenge. So here he is.

Murmillo

Murmillo

Paintjobwise, he is quite simple,but what was to be expected with a mini that is mostly skin and loincloth. I chose to do the manica and ocrea in steel rather than a bronze colour. I wanted him to be an old Centurio who had to leave the Legions at the end of his tour of duty, but who had whored and drunk up all his money and had chosen to become an auctorati. So he was making use of some of the equipment he had to buy for his army job, which would most likely be less ornamental and more functional.

Murmillo

Murmillo

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Maximus and Marcus Aurelius

Maximus and Marcus Aurelius

As some will have noticed, the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge for this year has begun. Right now I am trying to work my way through the theme round entries first since I a) do not want them to interrupt my normal painting  when they come up every two weeks like they did last year and b) since I will be away over the holidays and not be doing any painting during that time, but I do not want to miss a round. But now on to the first theme round.

When I read over the topics for the theme rounds, there were some that gave me headaches and some that did not. ”Cold” was one of the later. Lots of ideas flashed through my head from a snowman, to tanks in winter camouflage. In the end I settled for an image that I had always liked… the beginning scenes from the movie Gladiator. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure to watch it with me and listen to my mutterings of ”Stirups were not even invented back then!” will know that it is not for the historical accuracy of the movie (or the lack of it), but all the mud and snow depicting warfare in wintery Germany. So Tribune Maximus seemed like the natural selection here. And a selection I started to curse virtually instantly. My first pick was the Warlord Games offering. But the mounted version did not look exactly like Maximus and I felt would better serve on a regular cavalry base. The version on foot looked like Maximus, but did not exactly look impressive. So I turned to the 1st Corps version, which I had already bought when Warlord released theirs. I felt he would look a bit alone on his own, so I decided to add the Marcus Aurelius Miniature from Warlord to the base (even though the two were never depicted side by side on horseback in the movie). So far so good. There were a few more problems I had to face. For example the 1st Corps minis face does not look too much like Russel Crowe and the Warlord Emperor is slightly smaller. The size difference was solved with a piece of card under the emperors horse.
All that being said, I am quite happy with the end result (except for the varnish still being a bit glossy). What I personally really like about the combination of the two minis here is, that they contrast each other rather nicely. The Emperor looks frail and old and even his horse looked worn out. And the Tribune next to him all young and powerful, ready for battle with his horse shaking his head, wanting to charge.

Maximus and Marcus Aurelius

Maximus and Marcus Aurelius

Maximus and Marcus Aurelius

Maximus and Marcus Aurelius

Maximus and Marcus Aurelius

Maximus and Marcus Aurelius

And this is it for now already. Up next is the second theme round entry “Mount(s) and Rider(s)” which will take us back to Napoleonics. But since the theme round only gets its official outing on the 28th, this will probably be my last post before Christmas! Hope you are all having a good and festive time until then!

 

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Römerfest Xanten

Römerfest Xanten

This weekend saw the “Römerfest” in the Archeologischer Park Xanten. This is the archeological park build on the remains and rebuilding the Colonia Ulpia Traiana, the second most important town in Germania Inferior (after Cologne) under the Romans. The place is always worth a visit IMHO, but this year saw them host the Römerfest again. This means the place is filled with re-enactors (mostly German, but I saw groups from Belgium, the UK and Italy as well), traders and host a number of displays, like Roman drill, cavalry display, artillery demonstration and gladiator fights. The weather was fine and the camera even allowed me a few decent photos. I will leave you with the photos and only a few comments of my own:

Up first the drill display (as this was a UK based group of re-enactors “The Ermine Street Guard”):

Xanten1 Xanten 1

The cavalry display showing 4 riders with equipment from different periods from late republican to late roman. The outfit was called Timetrotter. (Please be aware, that they do reserve the rights for commercial use of any photos showing them. While this is not legally binding, if you want to make any commercial use of these following photos, you have to contact them not me to avoid any troubles.)

Xanten 7 Xanten 4 Xanten 5 Xanten 6 Xanten8 Xanten 10 Xanten8 Xanten 8 Xanten 9

There were lots of Ballistae of different sizes on display. There is one thing I want to mention regarding this one very fine example. I was standing by when one of the re-enactors was explaining a good deal about this weapon and their own research to some visitors. When he was done one of the visitors said that they were tabletop wargamers and while this was bleeping great to see it live they did not care too much about the background and much less about the actual firing of this weapon. Not sure if you should happen to read this blog, but if you are… Next time please show some respect!!! This man was as serious and passionate about his hobby (which is not too far from yours) as you are about yours (hopefully) and he sure deserved better than for someone to tell him he did not care, because you were just after a peepshow! Imagine how he would have felt with the roles reversed!

Xanten 11

There were parades on of the main walk in the park at various times during the day, which was a good chance to see all the “Centuries” and their uniforms!

Xanten 2 Xanten 15 Xanten 19 Xanten 18 Xanten 17 Xanten 16 Xanten 20 Xanten 21

Here are some impressions from the various camps:

Xanten 12 Xanten 24 Xanten 14

These two were later used in a life firing display:

Xanten 13 Xanten 22 Xanten 23

And last but not least another drill display by a local outfit which also performed the firing display:

Xanten 25 Xanten 26 Xanten 27 Xanten 28

I assume this broken torsion arm was from an earlier use of the stone thrower, for on Saturday everything went just fine!

Xanten 3

 
18 Comments

Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Ancients, Historic research, Romans

 

Crisis Antwerp 2013 picture report

So having returned from Crisis, I would like to show you some of the sights that could be seen there.

As usual, all pictures are linked to bigger versions!

If you did host a game and you can not find any pictures of it, I really apologize, it is probably that the pictures I took of it were no good. Sorry!

First of, just to give you an idea of the size of it all (and this is just the first hall):

Crisis 2013 1st Hall aerial shot

Crisis 2013 1st Hall aerial shot

I will refrain fro saying too much about the games and rather let the pictures do the talking, now if you should find anything that is mislabeled please let me know!

This could be a find example of that since I simply call it Wild West although from the looks of it, it was post ACW US cavalry vs. Native Americans.

Wild West

Wild West

Wild West

Wild West

Now Warmachine is not my cup of cake, bit this one was great with its two levels!

Warmachine

Warmachine

Warmachine lower level

Warmachine lower level

TSA Afghanistan Participation

TSA Afghanistan Participation

THS  (Fort George 1779)

THS
(Fort George 1779)

THS  (Fort George 1779)

THS
(Fort George 1779)

THS  (Fort George 1779)

THS
(Fort George 1779)

THS  (Fort George 1779)

THS
(Fort George 1779)

Stirpitz Hussars  Ocana 1809

Stirpitz Hussars
Ocana 1809

SELWG Valhalla Demo

SELWG
Valhalla Demo

Red vs. Blue

Red vs. Blue

Red Star Games Dien Bien Phu Table

Red Star Games Dien Bien Phu Table

RCW (I think)

RCW (I think)

Rapid Fire Market Garden

Rapid Fire Market Garden

North Star Games 1672

North Star Games 1672

Napoleonic Paper Flats

Napoleonic Paper Flats

Militia Brabantia Wargames Club - Punic Wars Naval

Militia Brabantia Wargames Club – Punic Wars Naval

Militia Brabantia Wargames Club - Punic Wars Naval

Militia Brabantia Wargames Club – Punic Wars Naval

Megabattles Ligny

Megabattles Ligny

Megabattles Ligny

Megabattles Ligny

Megabattles Ligny

Megabattles Ligny

Medival Japan Demo table

Medival Japan Demo table

Medival Japan Demo table

Medival Japan Demo table

Flames of War Market Garden

Flames of War Market Garden

Flames of War Market Garden

Flames of War Market Garden

Korean War

Korean War

Korean War

Korean War

Flames of War

Flames of War

Flames of War Ardennes

Flames of War Ardennes

Fire and Sword Demo

Fire and Sword Demo

De Alde Garde Geulders vs. Geulders

De Alde Garde
Geulders vs. Geulders

Darkest Africa

Darkest Africa

Darkest Africa

Darkest Africa

D-Day

D-Day

D-Day

D-Day

D-Day

D-Day

Culloden 1746

Culloden 1746

Culloden

Culloden

Crush the Kaiser

Crush the Kaiser

Crush the Kaiser

Crush the Kaiser

Blood Bowl

Blood Bowl

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich

Barry Hilton

Barry Hilton

Barry Hilton

Barry Hilton

ACW

ACW

54mm ECW

54mm ECW

Now these were the general impressions from the show and now on the game I hosted… the battle of Möckern. I have to admit, that we did not really get to play a lot. There were always so many people who came to chat, that eventually there was no cohesive game to speak off. This will be remedied soon though, since we are planning to game it for good, before the year is over.

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

Thanks to all who came by and introduced themselves, really enjoyed chatting with all of you. Hope you got the same feeling in return!

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

What surprised me, was that this was the only game on display that dealt with the Völkerschlacht of Leipzig / Battle of Nations. Given that the bicentennial was only two weeks ago, I would have guessed there would be about a dozen other games.

And I was even more impressed by one gentleman who looked at the uniforms and flags of the troops on the table in detail and then went on to ask if this was Möckern. Really impressed by this kind off-the-top-of-the-head knowledge!!! And it made me proud to see that all the details I have worked on have not been wasted. Thank you!

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club  Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

DHC Wargames Club
Völkerschlacht von Leipzig, Battle of Möckern

Now someone lease also made me proud and that was Sami, who spend the day (and the previous night in the hotel) in the most well behaved way. Not bad for a dog of 5 month on his first big trip to a war-games show!

Sami

Sami

And this is the view we got just when we left the grounds at the show.

Scheldt

Scheldt

Hope you enjoyed the report and hope to see you next year!

 

 
18 Comments

Posted by on November 3, 2013 in ACW, Ancients, Medival, Modern, Napoleonic, WWI, WWII

 

Ancient / Medival village

Ancient / Medival village

Since it is not completely unlikely, that we also play some games of SAGA at my place, I decided to do some terrain for it was well. Now I bought these resin pieces a couple of years ago from Warlord Games from my ancient Celts, but I think these would be just as suitable for the dark ages. I just checked and these are no longer available. A bit of a shame. While they were not the best pieces, they were dead cheap and offered good value for money. The minis shown for scale are Celtic women from Warlord Games, painted by my better half.

Village

Village

So this is the village as a whole. Two small round huts (I left the roofs off these so they can be stacked inside one another), a grain storage, a large roundhouse, a longhouse and some odds and ends. I think they cost less than 40 GBP, which I feel was a good price.

Longhouse (front)

Longhouse (front)

Longhouse (back)

Longhouse (back)

The longhouse was the first piece to require some extra effort. The wooden supports for the roof above the entrance and the handrails were missing on the original model. I felt the roof needed these supports so I build them from real wood. Otherwise it was a bit of a pain in the behind mating the roof with the rest since it would either just sit at an angle or there would be huge gaps. In the end it worked out with a minor angle.

Large roundhouse

Large roundhouse

This one came in three parts… the building itself, the main roof and the small roof above the entrance. These pieces came sanded, but the had sanded off so much that there was a very visible gap between the two roofs. So I sculped some new roofing using Milliput Grey. Worked out fine in my humble opinion.

Round huts

Round huts

Not much to say about these. Just some air bubbles to fill and these were good to be painted.

Grainstorage

Grain storage

The grain storage. Again not the best of fits, but it worked out. My better half gave me the idea yesterday, that I should add some bushels of straw to the inside. So before the first game with them, I shall glue some pigs hair inside.

odds and ends

Odds and ends

These are the odds and ends. I think they were not part of the original offer, but Warlord tossed them in for free, but I might be mistaken. Anyway, they are a nice selection. There are clay pots of all shapes and sizes, a small beehive, fireplace, a stone oven, three clay ovens and a millstone. I have decided not to glue them onto the base of the longhouse or even base them at all. Most of them could be useful up to more modern times, so I do not want to restrict myself there.

Village from above

Village from above

I will have to add some more Viking-like buildings in due time and some wattle fancing. I will probably buy some of the later from Renedra at Crisis (Antwerp) in the winter, but for now this will have to do.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Ancients, Celts, Medival, Terrain building

 

Ancient Miniatures and thoughts on rules

Ancient Miniatures and thoughts on rules

Today I want to show you something that I have going on as a side project if you like… Ancients. Ancients and especially (Early Imperial) Romans have intrigued me for a long time. Those steady blocks of infantry in gleaming armour, those ragged lines of the (commonly known as) barbarians… all this has a certain charm. I always shied away from it due to the numbers of minis and resulting costs involved. That changed a couple of years ago when Warlord came out with their plastic Romans and Celts and I took the leap. I think you still need a lot of metal minis, but the basic cost sure has come down. Right now it is lingering a bit for two reasons, but more on that later. Lets start with the Romans:

Roman veterans

Roman veterans

These are what Warlord sells as Veterans (I have replaced the damaged shields with mint ones). I do not think that there is anything like a “veteran unit” within a Legion per se. I guess if there is something like that, it would be the first cohort and that is what these men will represent with my forces. In fact these minis do not really stand apart from the other Warlord Romans since they are virtually the same minis… They just have Manicae armour on their right arm, but this is about the only thing. The Centurio (since these men represent the first cohort the Primus Pillus) and Optio are metal minis and I sculpted the Manicae on to make them fit in. The Signifier and Cornicen are conversions, too. l sculpted crocodile vests and helmet covers onto them, inspired by the one that can be seen in the British Museum in London. So at one time my Legion must have served in Egypt. Otherwise I used black shield transfers from LBMS instead of the normal red ones that come with the minis.

Warmachines

Warengines

These are the Warengines. Four Scorpio catapults and two Ballistae. What you might be able to see it better on these photos… I have opted for red tunicas with my Romans.  I know most historians these days agree that they were white, but I wanted the classic look I have gotten to know from movies in my youth.

Balearic Slinger

Balearic Slinger

These are the Balearic Slingers. Now back when I dipped my toe into this project (which for me usually means buying vast amounts of minis) these were the only slingers available. Back then I did not feel like mixing with other manufacturers, plus I am not even sure any other company did Legionary slingers in 28mm. So I made do with them, even though I felt they were too high-profile for what I had in mind. But I might one day add some Legionary slingers now that Warlord actually released some.

Roman command

Roman command

And the current command. Two Tribunes and the Aquilifer. While the minis above were done with the Armypainter, I wanted these to stand out a little more, so they were painted the classic way. As were the next minis.

Praetorians

Praetorians

Praetorians

Praetorians

Again these have more of a Hollywood look. Mainly because I wanted them to look menacing. So their armour is a dark gun-metal black with bronze inlays, black tunicas and horsehair crest. The one you can see in the background with the red and white crest is meant to be the Optio. I felt tit hard to set him apart without going for different colours in a unit where everyone is wearing a crest.

Next up re their opponents, the Celts (although I also have minis for Parthians lying around as well):

Celts

Celts

These are the warriors. Right now a wild mix of “normal” warriors, naked fanatics, fighting women a few Druids and slingers. Many of these were done with the Armypainter again, with the more characterful minis done a classic way.Hope your are able to make out some details on this photo (all photos are linked to larger versions by the way)!

Celt chief

Celt chief

And their chief. I really liked this mini when Foundry announced it in 2009 and wanted to buy it at Salute. I could not though since [quote:] “We do not sell specific minis at shows!”. I wonder what I was supposed to buy… something I did not specify or in turn want? Bought it via their website together with a huge batch of Napoleonic Russians when they had a sale later that year, although I had to go via an intermediary in the UK due to the well-known fact that they force you to buy in Euro, but work with exchange rates from the time when Margret Thatcher with still Prime Minister.

Unfortunately the minis themselves were not any more pleasant to paint since the minis lacked detail and were generally quiet wooden. Plus he faces and especially the eyesockets were a pain in the behind.

Celt Chariots

Celt Chariots

Celt Chariots

Celt Chariots

These are the Chariots for the Celts. Looking at the photos now it dawns on me, that the left hand one on the second photo still needs a warrior to ride in it!

And this is the level where this project has stood for about two years now. Why? Well for one thing, this project is mainly being painted by my better half and she has had too much to do with work and courses she has to take for work to paint at all during those past two years. The other thing is rules, since I am quite undecided which ones to use. Most ancient rules call for quiet specific basing and I would not want to rip everything off its bases once I have decided on a different set of rules (it might be bad with those minis I have painted and based as singles so far anyway). So let’s go through my thoughts on rules, shall we:

Most important for me is that the rules give a real life feel and that the results should be realistic. The rules should also reward the use of real life tactics, making forces the most effective if used like they were historically meant to. But they should also be fun and easy to play without bogging you down with excessive charts and rule-reading during play.

Now i have decided against Warhammer Ancients, Hail Caesar and DBA / DBx. Warhammer is too much Warhammer for my taste (I never liked the basic concept too much) and too little history. Hail Caesar falls in much the same category for my taste. It lacks some of the power gaming aspects of Warhammer, but is too much on the fun side and too little on the historic simulation side for my taste. DBA / DBx is geared way too much towards tournaments and being able to pit any force against any other even if the never met in history. So having ruled these out, which ones are in the running right now?

Field of Glory

FOG is quiet well know since it hit the market a couple of years ago. While it also allows you to pitch forces against one another that never met in history, it lacks the extreme tournament feel of DBA / DBx. The fact that you need a large tabletop to play chariots or cavalry in 28mm is not really a problem for me. The people I play with use it in 15mm as well (in fact we played yesterday evening) so I wold have a ready base of players. Plus it seems to lead to some good historic results.

On the other hand, I feel that the rules are quiet complex and complicated. Some of my friends have a good number of games under their belts and still there was a fair amount of rules reading involved yesterday. The tables are complex and the text not always easy to comprehend either. (I make a living by understanding texts that are anything but easy to comprehend, so this last aspect means something.) Plus they are very much geared towards terrain being re-arranged at the beginning of the game. I like games that look good and terrain that is that easy to shuffle around does not look too pleasing anymore IMHO.

Impetus

Just like FOG they have created a huge fellowship in recent year, especially here in Germany. So it should be easy to find players as well. From what I have seen the results seem as realistic, but the rules are easier to play. What I really like are the bases, which allow you to create little dioramas, which would cater for my visual preferences.

The downside I see is, that each unit is represented by only one base. So there are no formation changes, so tactics only come from the way you arrange and move your units, not from formation changes. Although I am not too sure if there was actually as much formation flexibility in ancient times as some rules give us.

Ager Proelii

Now these were published recently in Miniature Wargames 345 by James Roach. I am deeply impressed by the AARs on his blog. While these are geared towards the Punic Wars period, it seems not too hard to adapt them to Early Imperial Roman (something James confirmed). They are easy and fast, yet seem to lead to quiet realistic results as well. A bit plus is that these rules are not too strict on basing and Impetus style basing would work for them as well.

If there is one downside to them, it is th fact tha they are little known and that it might be hard to get people to play.

Roman Optio

Roman Optio

Other rules

Now other rules I have eyed were “Crusader” and “Clash of Emprires”, but honestly… I can not really comment on them.

So what do you people think? I know a lot of you readers play ancients as well, so what are your observations? Please let me know, since it might help me make a decision!

Roman Centurio

Roman Centurio

 

Painting mud

The recent posts about the minis for the La Bricole painting competition kicked off a lot of requests for my recipe for how I painted the mud. I am happy to deliver, but I have to say that it is so simple, that I am too embarrassed to call it a tutorial.

First a few words on where to paint the mud. Now while battlefields themselves can be wet from constant rain and the like, they are often not that muddy. This requires the soil to be churned up. Either from plowing, dozens of feet walking over the same spot, hooves, wheels, tracks or explosions. So this might not happen at too many places on the battlefields themselves, but it sure happens on the march or in camp. So even with soldiers just arriving on a pristine battlefield, they will be dirty. Obviously most of the dirt will around the feet and ankles, their knees (while striking tents, preparing foot or just sitting on the ground) or if you want on their behinds (usually not worth the effort since it would be hidden by the coats anyway). The exception I make are officers, since they usually had people setting up their tents, cooking their food and most of th time did not have to sit on the ground. So I only “muddy” their feet. With soldiers wearing greatcoats I also muddy up the lower edge of the coat, assuming that it would brush on the ground while kneeling, sitting down or just getting their share of mud thrown up by the shoes while walking or marching.

Now on to the actual painting. Obviously you should have painted the clothing and boots by now, or anything you want dirtied up. What you need is an old, wide brush. The ones usually used for basecoating are just fine. The hairs should not be longer than 1/2 the original length and no less than 2/3. It does not matter if some hairs are longer then others. Now you can use both synthetic or organic (red sable), but chances are good that paint will clog the brush up. So organic brushes are better since they will not melt if you need a solvent to clean them. So the brush should look like this:

old brush

old brush

Pick up paint with it and brush it out on a piece of paper until you have about the amount left on it you would need for drybrushing. Now stiple the dirty areas with paint. For the first step I use Valejo “Flat Earth” (VAL 983). This represents the mud that is still somewhat wet.

Mud step 1

Mud step 1

I now repeat this with Valejo Panzer Aces “Feldgrau II Highlight” (VAL 339). This represents the mud that has already started to dry. Go easier on the spots you already did since you still want “wet mud” to be showing through. And stiple some on a little higher, giving the impression of mud that splashed well… a little higher. In real life the higher you go the less will splash there, meaning there will be less new mud getting there and giving the old more chance to dry.

Mud step 2

Mud step 2

And that is it. I usually paint metal stuff like sword sheaths, spurs and so on after doing the mud. Assuming that there is no fabric it can soak into, I think it will not cling on as good, dry out and fall or rub off faster.

In the end the results should look like this:

Loading 6pdr.

Loading 6pdr.

Bavarian Grenadiers

Bavarian Grenadiers

French Grenadiers

French Grenadiers

As you can see the effect works best on dark and light colours and not as good on tans and browns (what a surprise). Hope you can put this to good use!