Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Warband based.

Since my last post I have painted the last two figures for my Warband elements plus four slingers. I have two chariots undercoated ready to start, fine little models one featuring a lovely animated figure of Boudica as we must call her now days, (I grew up knowing her as Boadicea from the statue on the London Embankment). Hinchliffe lists the chariots as EG 46 & EG 47, both feature different designs on the wicker side rails. I will need to add one more to make up the listed three chariot elements.

If I have one slight issue it's that the wire javelins keep falling off if I so much as touch them! I used 'Ultraloc' superglue, it may be that it's not the most efficient product, but Super it isn't! I have to re glue a few of them, which makes a mess of the hands requiring touching up, a bit of a pain in the proverbial.

I often watch/listen to related YouTube videos when painting, mostly documentaries, but found this clip from 'The Eagle' extremely watchable. The film as a whole is not great in my opinion, but this battle scene does represent the wild barbarian charge very well I think, and demonstrates the iron discipline of the Roman soldier, stabbing out from behind the large shield with the Gladius. Worth a quick watch for it's entertainment value.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Back on the Woad again!

Having put the Romans aside for a while following my disappointment at the scale discrepancy (I have ditched AR1, AR2, and AR3 as being too small and replaced with other codes), I decided to have a go at a few more Britons, and having painted the first 16 figures thought a touch of woad on the bare chested chaps was in order. I selected Vallejo Blue Green and set about painting various swirls and squiggles. It was fun and freehand and produced an overall pleasing effect. These 16 figures will make up the first 'Warband' bases under DBA rules, I have more underway, plus 2 bases of slingers classified as 'Psiloi' or dispersed skirmishers, just 2 figures per base. The Ancient British force once completed will consist of the standard 12 elements per army (initially at least!) as follows:

*6 elements of Warbands: each of 3 warriors. These relied upon a single ferocious wild charge rather than a cohesive attack, they COULD break a Roman line, but only if successful in that initial charge.

3 elements of Chariots: These are small fast 2 horse chariots with scythed wheels. In addition to the driver there is also a javelin armed warrior.

2 elements of Light Horse: Mounted skirmishing cavalry.

*1 element of Psiloi: Skirmishing light infantry, in this case armed with slings.

*There is the option of swapping 1 element of Warband infantry for an additional Psiloi element.

Clearly these are going to be small forces, but deliver the kind of small space game I enjoy with lots of tactical challenges. I'm going to do the chariots next, although I need to order one more, then I'll do the Roman infantry.

Travel Battle will be finished shortly, not neglecting it, just ringing the changes :)

Monday, 18 September 2017

'Travel Battle' terrain boards progress.

A quick pictorial update now that I have finally started painting the four 10" square boards from my two sets of Travel Battle. They are not yet finished, more dappling and dry-brushing is needed to complete the look, and I have another six houses to paint, plus two more French figure sprues. As the British army is now done I thought I would lay them all out on the painted boards, and I must say I'm rather pleased at the overall results so far. I will do a run through of the rules once all is completed.

It all fits back into one TB box nicely so it is a real portable game and can be played on a coffee table.

4 Travel boards giving a playing area of just 20" x 20" ........now, do I need to just add 2 more?

The British Left flank.

The British right flank.

The flags denote Guard battalions, who get to re roll in combat.

Steady Boys!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Travel Battle - painting the British.

I felt the urge for a bit of a change recently, the Ancients project being stalled somewhat by the scale issue referred to in my last post here. Most of my hobby time has been spent on the ECW's, but I was in the mood for touch of smaller scale painting the other day so got a couple of the TB sprues out I undercoated several months ago. Some may recall that like many others I purchased two sets of the Perry 'Wargame in a box' game and so far have completed the contents of one box, two blue sprues and two red sprues, and have just started a test paint on one terrain square.

I was concerned that my eyesight may not be up to such tiny figures these days, but once focused I found it a pleasure to be picking out the shades again. For the British infantry I started with Valljo Flat Red over black primer as it's a thick paint and covers very well. I used a blue grey for the trousers, again dotting and lining, being careful to leave a black line down the centre. I managed to dot in facings too, the final bit being to carefully paint in the white cross straps. This can be tricky, you want a white that flows well off the brush, but you also want a white that is strong and requires just the one stroke. I went with Vallejo Foundation White after some experimentation, again it's a thick paint that covers well, it's flow properties are not as good as standard Vallejo white, but by picking up the paint on just the very tip of a fine brush it gives a good clean white line. Bit of patience and they turned out rather well, if I say so myself! OK, so such fine detail in such a small scale might seem overkill and unnecessary, but I enjoy the challenge and I like the result.

Cavalry were painted as Household cavalry and generic Hussars, a couple of mounted offices and artillery pieces completed the sprues.

So that's half the French and half the British done so far. I then have the buildings to do before the 4 boards. As Perry are now selling the components individually I may add a couple more sprues to try some conversions (Imperial Guard, Highlanders etc ...... seen it done!), and possibly two more boards which would give a nice 'coffee table' sized game 30" x 20" perfect for when the Son In Laws come round.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Romans - a slight scale issue but progress made!

I have not been neglecting my 'DBA' project, but things did come to a temporary halt while I sorted out a slight problem I faced with the scale of some of my Romans. Hinchliffe code AR1 is a wonderful figure representing a Legionary with pilum behind a large shield, and I painted the first 8 as you see below. However, when I painted a base of AR2 'Light infantry', it became very apparent that the latter was much smaller than the former in scale, and as much as I tried to ignore this it bothered me! AR8 'Asiatic Archer' looked closer to AR1 to me, so I painted a 4 figure base of these and they do scale up much better. Looking through the range I saw AR31 'Auxiliary infantry attacking' so ordered some with a view to replacing the painted AR2 codes. These are indeed chunkier castings that match both the other Roman codes and the Brits so problem solved. For some reason that I assume is connected to the re moulding process (?)Roman codes AR2 and AR3 (slinger) are indeed smaller than the rest of the range, not a major problem but a heads up to anyone considering buying the Roman range.

The next issue to be solved was that of the Roman shield design. As said above AR1 is a great figure, but when I ordered the Veni, Vidi, Vici shield transfers they did not fit, the slightly raised rim of the shield being a little wide. I had in the meantime ordered up 20 of code AR34 'Legionary attacking' and these arrived bearing slightly larger shields with thinner rim and a more accurate curvature typical of the period.  They also come with nice separate cast pilum (I was expecting wire 'spears') so all good there. Had I been familiar with the range from the start I would no doubt have gone with code AR34 for my basic Legionary figures, but having painted 8 of AR1 I wanted to be able to use them too. Solution was ( after much head scratching) to order the shield transfers designed for the 20mm HaT Romans, repaint the shield rims red and Bingo! looks good enough to me at least. I will now crack on with both codes to produce two 5 base Legion units each of 20 figures  ....... somewhere down the line I think 'Double DBA' (yes, it does exist) beckons.

AR1 with shield transfers applied, not a perfect fit but good enough and greatly improves overall look.

Rear view showing the nice bright basing style.

Asiatic archers - reminds me of the old Aifix set!

AR2 ;Light infantry' sadly too small to use so will be replaced.

The figure that will replace them AR31, you can clearly see the difference in size here.

AR34 at right, a good match for AR1 and better shields.
So with the Romans sorted I turned my attention back to the Hairy Brits of which I had the first 8 figures half painted. The shield designs were a bit of a puzzle for me, I found painting Celtic style swirls a problem with even the finest brush, but persevered to what you see below. For the next 8 however I want more typical oval shields so a bit of conversion work is required, and a quick file job on a test figure produced the result you see below, not too bad and will provide some contrast in the units. I also plan to try fine art pens to line and detail shield designs and for those swirls.

All in all I'm now happy with things and have a good stock of castings laid in from the Hinchliffe Summer Sale, with figures reduced to 75p each from 90p, about 80 castings per side, two chariots and a fine Roman catapult. Time to crack on!

A mix of Ancient Briton codes, may add a touch of Woad to finish them off.

Slight shield conversion to produce rounded oval shields.

The Hinchliffe Ancient lead pile.

Finally: I received an email sent via 'Wellington Man' from 'Rob G' who is currently working on his own Romans v Britons project. Many thanks for the comments Rob and for the wonderful picture of your conversion work, I hope that you will not mind me sharing it here by way of inspiration?  I love the rounded shields and the animation and shield designs are fantastic.

Robs Ancient Brits!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Hinchliffe Roman test paint & Hairy Britons!

My first Hinchliffe 'Ancients' order arrived on Friday from Ian Hinds, even before I had received the invoice such is the service, and I wasted no time in getting the first 8 Roman infantry undercoated in Vallejo black primer. Barely a sign of any flash, and the castings are crisp and clean, this range having been completely remoulded only recently by Ian. I ordered a mix of both Roman and Briton codes, in addition to two chariots that are to follow. All are a delight, being true 25mm scale with the kind of animation I have come to expect.

The first to receive a lick of paint was AR1 Legionary with pilum, these I found very easy to paint, starting with Flat Red over the black (this is a nice solid red that covers well), highlighted with Amaranth Red which is quite an orange/red. Next went the flesh, Light Brown base followed by Flat Flesh highlights as usual, possibly I could have gone for a more Mediterranean tone, but these guys are serving in Britain so those tans must have faded somewhat! Then the armour received a dry brush of Natural Steel followed by a highlight of 50/50 Natural Steel and Silver. Belts were then painted in Red Leather and sandals and pilum shaft in Citadel Mournfang brown, my favourite brown and the only non Vallejo shade I use these days. having checked references I painted the edges of the shield in  a Khaki shade. The shields will of course be finished off with transfers from Veni Vidi Vici once I can establish what size to order, these shields being smaller than for example Warlord one's, my thinking is that the HaT transfers for their 20mm plastic Romans may be closer to size but I need to check. There is no doubting the shield transfers are a great finishing touch though, yellow on red. Finally I went back and painted toes, and even though I only managed three per foot it did improve the final look.

I took a few pics of some of the other Roman Codes I ordered, I'll paint another 8 Legionaries first before doing some Auxiliaries. After that I'll do some of the wild hairy Britons that you seen below, again lovely castings with variations in poses. All will be based for DBA, the Romans being 4 x 'Blades' the Britons being 4 x 'warbands'. DBA of course utilises just 12 elements per army. I continue to paint ECW's on the other blog, Dragoons both foot and mounted being required to finish things off there.

Hairy Britons, just look at those faces, complete with 'Jason King' style moustaches!