Monday, 25 September 2023

Indians, Pike and Shot and Tiny Swedes!

This months quota of Plains War Indians are 100 foot warriors. Just ready to paint the final batch of 20  figures - I find 20 a comfortable days work - then next month back to more mounted warriors. There are a further 300 mounted Indians to paint in monthly batches of around 60 before the US cavalry arrive! 

I worked hard to try and capture the darker skin tones while giving a touch of highlight on the muscles, research produces some fine old photographs, which are of course in black and white, but photos of their ancestors helped me a lot. I think it's just about right and certainly the satin varnish helps to bring out the colours. Again the castings are nice and crisp with some fine detail and all arrive pre primed in matt black which only requires a quick thinned wash after digging them out of the packing layers of sawdust. 

While I have reduced most of the Epic painting due to pressure ( new painter Daniel is proving a good choice I'm pleased to say) I am doing the odd Pike and Shot box for Noel who has been a customer for a year now and is always happy to let me fill in as and when. These four sprues were painted a couple of weeks back or so and are finally based and flagged ready to go.

In addition I have also made a start of more 2mm's for Geoff who has also been waiting patiently for a few months! Deluge Swedish just need bases finished off with a little fine flock in patched. 

For myself are more DBA Classical Indians including a couple of heavy chariot bases. As these are not strictly Indian I added some tiny parasols as suggested by Geoff! I superglued tiny discs of green stuff to dressmakers pin heads, a process which also saw me sticking my fingers together several times. I think it was worth the effort in the end? I'm now finishing the army  with 2 cavalry bases. At this poin t I was planning to call it a day with this 3mm project but have decided that some post Republican Romans would be useful so I'll finish with a Marian Reform army which is currently on order from Magister Militum.

I'll probably finish this month with a few more Peter Pig ECW units for John, a friend of Grahams who was rather taken by his ECW's and asked me to paint the same for him a few months back. Alongside another couple of 2mm armies for Geoff. 

Sunday, 17 September 2023

Indian War Elephants & more 3mm terrain !

I could not resist painting the 3mm Elephants for the 3 DBA Indian bases, I have learned a huge amount on the subject from research, for example I was unaware that Elephants were so long lived and that they were considered to be in their prime between the ages of 40 to 60 years when they could be trained for battle. They were obviously highly prized and heavily protected with skirmishers defending the rear in particular. I wanted to try to reflect this in the rich colours and addition of the infantry behind them. Possibly they could have been a little less 'regimented' but base size (40 x 40mm) was limited and the amount of work there is no way I am going to rebase them! I just need to figure out how to mark which base represents the 'General' possibly King Porus himself?

The recent spell of hot weather  and the decision to takes a bit of a break for a week or so has allowed me to spend some time working on more terrain for the new folding game board project. I had been thinking about woods and wanted to make areas that could if required 'flow' slightly up the side of hills for a more realistic look and the discovery in Hobby Craft (UK) of the felt sheets you see below in numerous shades gave me an idea and tons of PVA glue and clump foliage - which took  a few days to dry out - resulted in my first flexible wood section. I then wanted to make some Arable/bad going areas to break up the green surface and a bit of experimentation resulted in a couple of rather pleasing pieces. Next was river sections, again avoiding 2mm MDF as too thick for the scale of the figures I experimented with magnetic paper as I had quite a lot spare from magnetising the bases, It's functional and looks OK to me, built up the banks with PVA and flock and the river from gloss varnished paint, the main advantage of the sheet being that it does not warp due to the coating. So far so good.

Saturday, 9 September 2023

DBA Rome v Gaul - time for a bash!

With the exceptionally hot weather I'm having a few days break from painting, I have a few other things to sort out. Yesterday morning on impulse I unpacked the folding board from it's bag, laid out a few terrain bits and having rolled for board edge and attacker defender deployed some soldiers. Rome v Gaul was the choice - both these armies having expanded somewhat beyond 12 elements per side just because you get so many per bag - and with the Gauls choosing to defend and deploy first the Romans deployed in their traditional 3 line battle formation with the Velites in this case protecting the flanks. I had a fun couple of hours that resulted in a Roman victory although I have to say I was surprised just how tough the warbands proved to be when fighting 'blades'. The initial light chariot charge was easily beaten with all three elements forced to 'flee' 600 paces which effectively put them out of the fight. One shock was that Roman 'blades' when beaten by half or more on the dice off are immediately destroyed as I learned when 3 elements of legionaries were lost in a single turn as the Gauls rolled up the front line! As a result the second line - the Princepes - were bought up to extend the ranks and the tide than slowly began to turn as the combats started with a useful flank overlap in favour of the Romans. The trusty spear armed  veteran heavy infantry of the third line - the Triarii - advanced menacingly in support ready to fill any gaps but were not needed and did not see action. On the Roman right, which was protected by cavalry including the General, the warbands were kept at bay although I was wary of committing the Generals element to combat preferring to use as a flank support. I called it at 5 elements lost by the barbarians but probably could have continued a bit longer.

All in all an enjoyable experience as one who has struggled with enthusiasm for the gaming side of the hobby for some time and no doubt I will play more using some of t he numerous DBA armies that I now have, probably  sticking with the basic 12 elements per side. But it's clear that this compact 30 x 20 board can produce an exciting and enjoyable game  and will offer me lots more going forward especially as I become ore familiar with the nuances of the rules.

I have now just started army number eight, classical Indian, with a test paint of some war elephants, huge in 3mm scale :)

The army of King Porus begins!

Tuesday, 5 September 2023

Game board for 3mm DBA and Old John's Poles finished!

 I have just finished off Old Johns latest box of Poles and very pleased with them I am too (as is OJ of course which is what matters). Once again the satin varnish does it's magic in lifting the colours and especially the horses. Photos are below.

Meantime I have been quietly working on producing a playing board for my DBA games in 3mm scale and finally have some results to share here. I wanted to find a way of producing a truly portable game system, it began with the neat magnetised wooden storage boxes and I wanted a way of making a board that packed down to about the same size! A lot of thinking time went into this idea and I finally came up with using a second hand folding boardgame, the kind that z folds down in 6 or (in this case) 8 sections to fit in a box (or in this case a plastic ziplock bag). I started by covering it with a thin coat of Vallejo Diorama FX lightly textured Earth shade ensuring that it would still fold down when dry which it did. I had then intended to use paint to build up a drybrush finish, but when I did it looked pretty awful so decided to use javis fine grass flock and go for a basic green surface thinking that with wear and tear and a bit of shredding of the surface flock the earth texture would begin to show through here and there. However, the PVA coating seems to have made a very good job of holding the flock and there is very little to shed! I'm not worried at this stage, it's green and that's OK, we shall see how it goes, but bottom line is that I have a nice little board 30" x 20" that I can play some solo games on and fits the truly portable concept that I was so keen to produce. More terrain pieces will follow, maybe lay on fields to break up the greenery and some river sections etc. I'm happy so far!

Here you see a few stages of development and the newly enlarged Macedonian army deployed for action to show scale of everything. I'm starting the Indian army of King Porus next, elephants, 4 horse chariots, cavalry and bow armed infantry. I stumbled across this clip (bottom) on YouTube and like many a war movie it's an inspiring clip of the elephants emerging from the trees to attack the Macedonian phalanx, bit on the gory side though!

Below: Old John's completed Poles!