Monday, 26 March 2007

The story of the (now) British archers

So you know that I planned [transforming some Pictish archers to Romano British ones]( Well, it's done now, they're dressed in green stuff. This is them before:

Pict archers

and after:

Now Romano British archers

As you can see, I left one of them in his loincloth, just because there's a nutter in every army. There's also quite a lot of left over green stuff spread around the bases. It always amazes me how little of the stuff you actually need. Basically, take the smallest estimate of what you think you are going to need, and then mix up half that. You'll still have some left over.

Total conversion time was around 3 hours, so a bit longer that I expected, but I like the result. Now let's see how they paint up -- they're off to get some mold lines (and one 'shield knob' I forgot to snip off) removed before they go into the spray booth (aka the great outdoors).

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Celtic archers

Celtic archers.

These are Renegade figures. The painting time was again around an hour per figure. The tattoos were done with a gel pen (thanks for the tip, Koen DS).

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

The story of the Pictish slingers

At the Red Barons convention a few weeks ago, where the Mons shop guy was selling off his remaining stock for 50%, I bought a pack of 8 [Black Tree Design]( Pictish Slingers. I have been toying with the idea of building a 5th - 6th century CE Pictish army (Age of Arthur period), and those would fit right in, I thought.

Of course, when checking the book, it seems the Picts did not employ slingers, only javelinmen, bowmen and the nebulous crossbowmen. So plan B is to use them as slingers in my Arthurian army. Unfortunately, the slingers are dressed in Pictish fashion (obviously), wearing just a tunic and no trousers or shoes, and in the case of two of the figures in a loincloth and cloak only. This would not do for a (semi) civilised Romano British force. So, before painting the little buggers, I'm 'dressing' them with green stuff. Six of the figures need trousers and shoes, and two need those and a tunic.

As I'm typing this, I have finished two and a half conversions (two pairs of trousers, two pairs of shoes and one tunic) and although this is by far my most ambitious conversion project so far, I'm fairly happy with the results so far. Photos to follow when the conversions are done.

As an aside, the painting queue is now the Pictish slingers, then a Romano British cavalry command group (leader, standard bearer, musician), then 10 ACW Zouaves (which I'll paint up as Louisiana Tigers for Ebay), and after that, we'll see. The Celtic archers that were on the queue before the slingers are done and are awaiting photographs.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

King Kong Pulp game


Last Tuesday we played a 'Pulp era' game over at Phil's Den of Lead Delights (read: his attic), of which pictures can be found here.

The rules we used were .45 Adventure by Rattrap Productions, and we played with some of Frank's new alternative WWII figures and some of my Darkest Africa figures (with one new one). Players were Frank, Koen, Phil, Eddy and myself.

The scenario involved the delightful Elizabeth, assistant to the archeological team running around the jungle, mysteriously being abducted to a sinister pyramid deep in the steamy jungles (just getting into the pulp lingo here, bear with me). The archeologists, two teams of figures, went out into the jungle to rescue the fair damsel, while a bunch of Nazis and nuns arrrived after them to get to Elizabeth themselves, for reasons that were never really clear.

I played one of the archeologists' teams, with 'Winston Churchill' as the professor, his assistant Arthur and four French marines, Jean Luc, Jean Francois, Jean Louis and Jean Marc. Eddy took the second archeologist team, while Frank and Koen played the (mostly female) Nazis and (entirely female -- we think) nuns respectively. The rest of this entry will be a report of the game from the viewpoint of my character.

Before the start of the game, umpire Phil had indicated that according to ancient legend and rumour, one needed three gems to successfully ascend the pyramid, of a fate worse than bears telling would befall the climber. These gems were to be found throughout the jungle, embedded as eyes in a variety of idols and statues. So item number one on the agenda for the good guys was to find these statues and collect three gems. Eddy and I decided to go part of the way together and then split up to take different paths through the jungle to the pyramid.

As it happened, the evil guys arrived on scene fairly quickly, and we (well, Eddy) decided on a change of plan: while Winston would forge on ahead, part of Eddy's party would try and delay the Nazis who were by then hot on the trail of the two adventurers. Meantime, the nuns took off into the jungle on a path of their own.

While Eddy was playing hide and seek (or rather, hide and be struck down in close combat), I discovered the first statue and duly cut out one of its eyes -- gem number one! However, right after getting gem number one, Jean Luc, our point man, discovered the dangers of the jungle first hand when a huge snake reared up from the undergrowth and bit him in the arm. In the end, it took two of Jean Luc's fellow Jeans to dispatch the slithery bugger (the snake, not Jean Luc).

Undeterred, either by slitherings in the bushes ahead or the cries of combat behind where Eddy was entertaining the nazis, we forged on to stumble upon a crowd of natives (well, three) in front of their hut. Not wanting to go into combat and losing time which we could not afford, I held aloft the gem from the statue and bellowed across the jungle 'Behold the Eye of Umbulumbuth'. That put the fear of, well, Umbulumbuth into the natives who promptly scattered into the jungle never to be seen again. Well done, methought.

And onwards to the jungle we go, taking out a tentacle (and presumably whatever was attached to said tentacle below the water) with a single well aimed shotgun blast (thank you, Arthur) and accepting the handover of a gem from one of Eddy's henchmen that had come running forward. Two gems collected!

At this point in the game, Eddy's delaying action had pretty much played out, with all of his figures in the delaying group being put out of action (something about a blademaster in the nazi camp), and the rest of the gems were out of reach or in the hands of the bad guys. After a mercifully short deliberation, we decided to take the 'legend says' part of 'get up the pyramid with three gems' with a good grain of salt and take our chances with only two.

So on we went to the pyramid, this time with Jean Francois leading the way. Of course, after successfully vaulting over a stream that turned out *not* to be fordable at a ford (thank you, umpire Phil), a rumble in the jungle just ahead of him turned out to be a huge herbivorous dinosaur, although Jean Francois might disagree with the plant eating bit, as the dino promptly took off one of his arms. However, fearless Winston, having paid attention in school, dug out the remains of his lunch and threw a healthy bit of lettuce downrange, momentarily distracting the big beastie and allowing the party to smartly bypass the behemoth and start the ascent of the pyramid.

And so it was done. While Arthur and two of the Jeans held off (well...) the increasing pressure of the nazi pursuers (who, together with the nuns, had 3 gems for themselves by now), Jean Francois and Winston climbed the steep steps to the top of the pyramid. It was then that they found out who kidnapped Elizabeth in the first place ... a big hairy ape, that was very big, sitting on top of the pyramid and was really big. Did I mention it was big? Anyway, undeterred, or rather being out of other options as well as lettuce by then, I bravely ventured further onto the pyramid. To my great relief, the ape seemed to be ignoring me (bad after shave?), though he did throw Jean Marc (who had had enough of the nazis) into a three a few miles away. After this however, a party of nuns arrived to entertain the monkey, and Jean Francois and Winston reached the top of the pyramid.

Thus we came to the crux of the evening, the pinnacle of excitement, yea even the climactic apotheosis, when Winston took his two gems and placed them in gem sized indentations in the altar Elisabeth was enchained on.... CLICK ... turns out that the old legends could'nt count. We won!

I had a blast with this game, even harking back to my roleplaying days (a long time ago when I was still wet behind the ears) at times (the natives and the lettuce ideas came from there). The rules proved a tad awkward at times (a bit too much math on occasion, even is it is just addition and subtraction), but they did get the job done. To be repeated, I'm sure.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

'Gangster' Churcill

'Churchill' gangster

This figure has already seen action in a Pulp game (report to follow, but see pictures here).

Saturday, 10 March 2007

More Romano British Spearmen

The last of the unit have been painted:

Romano British spearmen

I timed the painting for these ones, and it still came out rather high to my likings. To paint these 6 figures, basing included, I needed 3 2 hour sessions, so 1 hour per figure. I still think I should be able to paint faster, and one way I can see this happening is using [LBM]( transfers for the shields, which will probably save me 5 - 10 minutes per figure. It's not that my shield designs are so intricate that they take a long time , it's that a typical shield has around 4 - 5 different colour layers (basic colour in two or three layers and design in two layers, or decal and highlight layer) on it, and that is what takes the time.

Next up to paint are a 1920's 'gangster' Churchill (actually, he's already painted, but needs some grass on the base before photographing) and 8 [Renegade]( Celtic archers, which are primed and awaiting transfer to the painting table.

Friday, 9 March 2007

WAB: Romano British annihilate invading Saxons


Tuesday (6 Feb 2007) Alan, Koen and myself played a WAB game, of which [pictures can be found here]( This was our first battle using the new [Age of Arthur]( book, and featured my Romano British, commanded by Koen, defending a river crossing against Alan's invading Saxons. The scenario we used was the 'Battle on the River Glein' scenario from the book, also the first of Nennius' famous list of Arthur's 12 battles.

The scenario involves a passable river (half movement speed for crossing, defensible banks) with two crossing points -- a bridge and a ford -- across the length of the table, with some ancillary scenery left and right. The victor of the battle would be he that controlled both, or controlled one and contested another, river crossings.

The Romano British army was led by Bartholomeus Sinister Grassus himself with Flavius the army standard bearer. The rest of the army consisted of:

* A unit of 15 commanipulares (BSG's personal warrior retinue) led by Cassius, a tribune
* The Invicti Iuniores Brittaniciani, a unit of 18 milites (professional soldiers, in my case with a decidedly Late Roman look)
* Three units of 24 Pedyt, citizens with sticks (low quality warriors)
* Two units of 8 cavalry, classed as mounted milites
* A unit of 10 bow armed skirmishers
* A unit of 10 javelin armed skirmishers (of decidedly Celtic complexion)

Alan's Saxons were essentially the Ecgfrith list from the Age of Arthur book, but with the horsemen replaced by foot sloggers and some other minor modifications to fit Alan's figure mix. They had a general and ASB, and

* A unit of 12 Gedriht (hearth guard) -- the tough professional warriors
* A unit of 12 armoured Duguth -- good veteran warriors
* Two units of 24 unarmoured Duguth
* A unit of 28 Ceorls -- farmers with sticks, as the Pedyt
* A unit of 8 javelin armed skirmishers
* A unit of 8 bow armed skirmishers

Both armies weighed in at around 1500 points.

Alan, being the invader and living up to the Saxon reputation, advanced aggressively across the line, with his hearth guard jogging up to the bridge at a healthy clip (triple move in a three model wide column) and the rest of his army advancing towards the river. Koen advanced the Romano British more cautiously, except for one of the cavalry units that went of on a large outflanking movement.

After the Saxon Gedriht had occupied the bridge and taken up position on it, the action started heating up -- there was only some skirmisher fire left and right during the earlier turns -- in the center around turn 3, when a Saxon Duguth unit set foot in the ford. The duguth were charged by two Romano British units, and the result of this charge would more or less determine the game. After (barely) losing the second turn of melee, the Duguth broke in panic and fled to the rear -- a result that greatly relieved Koen, who was rather glum about his changes in this melee before. This unit fleeing in turn led to the famous WAB morale cascade: at the start of the next turn, every Saxon within a certain distance of their fleeing friends had to check for morale. And, lo and behold, everyone but the Gedriht on the bridge and the lowly Ceorls failed their test and ran off!

Although the next turn did see a slight resurgence in Saxon hopes and fortunres, there never was a full Saxon recovery from this disaster. The slight resurgence was due to a British unit, itself fleeing from a charge in the flank while it was busy to its front, taking a number of its friends with it. All was well again the next turn however, and with the last Saxon unit in the ford area dispatched by the British commanipulares a bit later, the only obstacle was the formidable Gedriht still holding strong on the bridge.

A well placed charge by British pedyt took care of the Gedriht however, who having stayed on the bridge could not deploy any wider than 3 models, reducing their efficiency in the combat.

When the dust had settled, a massive victory was declared for the Romano British. The Saxon invasion had been driven off with massive losses, while the British themselves only lost 22 models (vs the entire army of the Saxons).

We were all very happy with the game and the result, and great fun was had by all. To be continued, definitely.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

The painting queue

This entry is as much for me as a reminder as it is for the edification of the great masses that read this blog (ahem), but here's what I'm planning to paint next, in order.

1. 6 Romano British pedites. These are the last to complete [this lot](
2. A figure of Winston Churchill in 1920's gangster mode (bowler hat, smoking cigar, clutching Thompson SMG). I got this as a freebie with an order some time ago -- I have no idea anymore from whom, but I'm not sure. This figure will be painted up for a pulp game Phil is putting on next (though he might not be used in the game, that's up to Phil).
3. 8 Renegade Celtic archers. To replace the generic types currently serving as the missile arm of my [Celts](
4. 8 Pictish slingers from [Black Tree Design]( I got these at the last Red Barons convention from the store in Mons that was selling of stock at 50% off. These will serve in the Romano British army as extra skirmishers.
5. No idea yet. Further directions might be building an Arthurian age Pictish army, starting the Carolingians, or something else entirely.

That's it -- plenty of painting to do.