A couple of conversions…

A quiet month on the gaming and modelling front due to the annual November appraisal yet again loosing me 2-3 weeks of my ‘spare time’. A big thanks to Dr Shipman for his psychopathic tendencies landing us with that one!

Anyway I was working on a couple of command figure conversions for a decent fellow in Belgium. Managed to get them finished recently. A little remiss I did not take more photos along they way, but then There are others I would like to do.

First up was a straight clean up of a metal Chaplain from the Character set. This is sat next to a character with jumpack.

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Simple enough conversion with the base of a Seargeant marine, with a liberated backpack from an assault marine, sporting a ‘stormshield’ liberated from a beastmen.

Slightly more involved was the three bike conversions.

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Chaplain 

Essentially a chop shop job. Torso of a Chaplain onto waist and legs of a biker. As I have started doing the Chaplains mace handle has been replaced by a 0.53mm pin as they break far too often.

Commander

Another half and half chop shop with a commander and biker. Cloak sculpted over the rear of the bike, and right arm to handlebars sculpted.

Librarian

Slightly more involved. Half and half chop shop as ever. Neither hand really works as a biker so both hands been reworked. The right sculpted to the handlebars. The left recieved a new staff and left arm, the staff topped with a raven (I assumed use with Ravenwing as these are off to lead their Dark Angel brethren).

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Three months on!!! – Roman Impetus army.

Well where does the time go to?

So whats been going on over the past three months?

Well I have finished the revamped Roman army and a Roman camp to face the Parthians in my last post, we have had Partizan II and Derby/Donnington, I have started a couple of new projects (ACW Longstreet and 17th Century By Fire and Sword), and have lost a month of my life to chicken pox working its way through our three children.

Too much to report on in one post so I shall do it in installments, and hopefully catch myself up at some point!

Roman Impetus Army

Picking up from my last post I spent the ensuing couple of weeks replacing my stand in bases for the Early Imperial Roman army and painting up their encampment. In actual fact I painted 6 legionary bases when four would have done as I still have my eye on expanding these forces to 500 point armies and also facilitating their use using the Hail Caeser rules.

The Legionaries I painted in a batch of four units and a batch of two units. This is an escalation to my more usual painting of a unit at a time. Partly I was happy to do these four units of 33 figures (132 models) in one sweep was my familiarity with the figure and its relative ease compared with others. These were mounted one unit per painting strip and it was only when I got to painting the shield designs that things slowed down.

This is what I envisage a single Roman HC ‘brigade’ may look like :-

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I must confess to a little indulgence as however much I may like the Baccus centurion commander In a fighting line he needed to lose the baton and grab himself a gladius and shield. I savaged the shields from the Rapier ‘throwing pilum’ model as it was easiest to remove. Then after careful removal of the baton, a little bit of Pro-Create saw the gladius appear in his hand. Making him look ready for business in the front line.

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With the addition of new skirmishers and cavalry the 350 point army is complete based on this list EIRoman_Impetus_350_1

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The other thing that is need for Impetus is a camp of some description – what better than a marching camp!

Roman Marching Camp

I did attempt to do this in a day just before the JoS. It was functional but unpainted by the time of the show. I was determined to have it painted to display things for Partizan II. It is a very simple construction composed of a metal base which had already been sprayed with some textured paint. I added a square of balsa wood strip to form the basis of the ramparts which were glued down in place.

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The next part was quite testing with several hours spent clipping and then sharpening cocktail sticks. The initial spike was too shallow so these had to be clipped off, then with a Stanley knife the ends were ‘sharpened’ to look like they had been done so with axes. Then these were painstakingly glued in place all around the outer rampart.

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Ramps from balsa wood were added to the corners. Then to create the effect of a ditch and also texture things up I applied a liberal helping of ‘Mikey mud’ (sand, PVA, brown paint).

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This is as far as things got for the JoS. All that remained was a pretty quick paint job and the fort was finished.

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I have some nice tents from Leven Miniatures yet to paint and adorn the inside, but quite like the manning the walls effect with some odd miniatures from my basing experiments.

Off to carry on with my By Fire and Sword (BFaS) Polish skirmish force…..

Impetus Parthians and more

Just about recovering from last weeks late nights and the round trip to Sheffield to the Joy of Six. As you will be aware from this blog and the forums we tried to get an Impetus tournament off the ground. As such Ken (Pilgrim) wanted to take part and wanted to play a Parthian army. I scratched around in my boxes to discover somewhere in the past I had bought a 1,000 point Warmaster army from Rapier – sorted with a few additions in the form of Persian Takabara javelinmen to constitute the hill tribes. The list was drawn up to 350 points using the as yet unpublished Parthian list that I was kindly sent (Parthians_Impetus_350_1).

A couple of nights spent cleaning up the models and 5 evenings painting saw the army done. Another couple of evenings saw them based. At between 1 and 3 hours an evening the whole army was painted start to finish in around 18 hours – 11 bases and 3 command teams. As I plan to do a number of forces I decided to avoid confusion by doing each army in a theme or colour. For the Parthians I chose blue as the uniting army colour. Using a variety of colours would be more interesting but my prime aim was to avoid confusion on the battlefield especially where I am painting both sides with the potential for similar troops. Here is the finished product :-

The Army, the larger village base acting as ‘baggage camp’

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The Light Horse Archers

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The Cataphracts

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The Hill Tribes with Javelin

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The Commander

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Very tidy figures to paint quickly and effectively. Rapier saw them at the JoS and are now rumored to be considering revisiting their ancient ranges with a view to additional poses especially for the horse archers to help create a little more motion on bases. Further to discussion with Ken I shall be adding in some more Hill Tribes to create a bit more variety and the list he latterly suggested. Possibly even expand the army up to a three command 400 then 500 point army.

Painting Guide – Parthian Cataphracts

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, horses then block painted v150 German Camouflage Black Brown, Black Wash

Barding and rider armour – v 175 Bronze, and ‘elite’ riders/commanders v179 Gunmetal Grey

Helmets – v175 Bronze to lower half lames, v 179 Gunmetal Grey to skull bowl

Horses – Standard selection of browns tending to the darker colours including nuzzles and ears.

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Beards – v 169 Black

Chest Surcoat, and banner – v130 Amarantha Red

Kontos shaft – v143 Flat Earth

Cloaks – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Shoes and reigns – v127 Ochre Brown

Commander helmet plume – v029 Red.

The ‘elite’ unit I did with chainmail riders armour, white plume for the commander, and yellow banner.

W&N Nutbrown Wash, Scorched Brown base, varnish

Painting Guide – Parthian Horse Archers

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, horses then block painted v150 German Camouflage Black Brown, Black Wash

Horses – Standard selection of browns

Saddle blanket – v130 Amaranth Red

Shirts – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Trousers – v110 Deck Tan

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Moustaches – v 169 Black

Bows – v134 USA Tan Earth

Boots – v143 Flat Earth

Reigns – v127 Ochre Brown

Hats – v121 Yellow Ochre

W&N Nutbrown Wash, Scorched Brown base, varnish

Painting Guide – Parthian Archers

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, Black Wash

Tunics – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Trousers – v110 Deck Tan

Boots – v143 Flat Earth

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Bows – v126 Ochre Brown

Quivers – v130 Amarantha Red

Headband – v001 White

Hair – v169 Black

W&N Nutbrown Wash, Scorched Brown base, varnish

Parthian Light Infantry Javelinmen

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, Black Wash

Tunics – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Trousers – v110 Deck Tan

Boots – v143 Flat Earth

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Javelin shafts – v126 Ochre Brown

Quivers – v130 Amarantha Red

Bows – v136 USA Tan Earth

Shields and fletches – v001 White

Headgear – v136 Red Leather

Horn, Standard, commander shield boss – v174 Brass

Javelin heads – v178 Natural Steel

W&N Nutbrown Wash, gentle wipe over shields with tissue to lift off and preserve white a bit better, Scorched Brown base.

Quick retouch v 001 White on shields, add shield designs.

Varnish

In preparation for the JoS I also cobbled together a 350 point Early Imperial Roman army (EIRoman_Impetus_350_1). The premise was they were on Parthian soil and hence the army was tailored to having some counter aspects to the masses of horse archers they would be facing. The only thing missing was some Armenian allies. Keen to keep this army essentially a Baccus incarnation I had another rummage and came up with some Sarmatians who make splendid stand ins for the one base of cataphracts and two bases of horse archers I needed. I did replace all the lead Kontos with pins for a bit more durability. All three units took around 2 hours to paint. The variation in the horse archers gives a little more movement and action on the bases compared to their Rapier counterparts – I like them both for different reasons. I am currently working on some army specific figures so will go into more detail in a future post.

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….. and a final thing was the Normans which was going to be the initial ‘loan’ army. 300 points worth have been painted but did not get to basing as my time was channeled into the Parthians and Romans. I plan to expand the force to at least 350 if not 400/500 before I base these, and then it will be onto a Saxon army to oppose them…

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Leven Miniatures and The Joy of Six

Well, 24 hours left before I need to pack for the trip to Sheffield for the Joy of Six. What a hectic 24 hrs I have ahead! Sadly the Impetus competition I was hoping to get people along to will not be happening – Plan B has created a little more unexpected preparation. We will now be setting up 4-6 tables for people to come and play on. Having painted up a Parthian army for Ken to use I am in the throes of the final touches to the opposing Early Imperial Roman Army – three units of cavalry to finish tonight!

To bestow this board with a bit of non-figure related eye candy I have been gratefully sponsored by Leven Miniatures (http://www.levenminiatures.co.uk) with a selection of Middle Eastern buildings. They looked pretty nice on their website and certainly not disappointed when they arrived. Only needing minimal cleaning up these were rapidly ready for undercoating, which was done in Army Painter Desert Yellow Spray.

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Above you see the work in progress a couple of hours ago (yes whats on the board needs painting before the Joy of Six!). To allow maximum flexibility I decided  to insert magnets into the bottom of the buildings so they could be mounted on different sizes of steel bases depending on the games needs (thanks for the idea Ian). To keep the magnets in close proximity to the steel I used a  textured stone effect spray paint from B&Q on the steel base, which I then drybrushed up.

So first up was a test building which turned out very pleasing. I particularly liked the patches where the plaster had come off exposing underlying brickwork. (Painting guide at the end).

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Happy with the scheme I went on to paint all the remaining buildings in about 60 minutes at a fairly leisurely pace.

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The wells are as yet unavailable, the ones pictured on the right have been filled with GW water effect. Very pleased how these have turned out and would highly recommend them. Leven Miniatures also do a nice variety of buildings for different eras.

Leven Miniatures – Middle Eastern Building Painting Guide

Undercoat – AP Desert Yellow

Main building walls – Overbrush v110 Deck Tan, Drybrush v001 White

Wooden doors and hatches – Block v133 Cork Brown

Slate Tiles – Block v137 Cavalry Brown, Drybrush v130 Amarantha Red

Windows and openings – Block v148 Burnt Umber

GW Agrax Earthshade wash applied to wood areas and exposed brick areas.

* for the brickwork on the wells I overbrushed v110 Deck Tan, then washed in Agrax Earthshade, then Drybrushed v001 White.

The Joy of Six


33 hours to go before this prestigious event… Still three units of Armenian Allies to paint, a roman marching fort to make, and a dozen or so bases to finish…. and I am out most of tomorrow. Its going to be a long night but well worth it I am sure! Better get cracking.

Lots to report on over the past four weeks but I shall be leaving that until the other side of the weekend!

6mm Rapier Seleucids

Can’t believe it is over a month since I have blogged. Its been all a bit frantic and busy. There is lots to report so I will attempt over the next few days to get the blog up to speed with all that has been going on over the past 5-6 weeks.

First up on the back of WMMS was the completion of a ‘unit’ of Rapier’s Selucid Pikes. I almost finished a strip of 20 models at the SMS clinic I did at WMMS and this led me to look at the sabot basing for pike blocks whilst also kicking out a rarther intimidating unit.

Rapier are relative newcommers to the 6mm market and have largely concentrated on Biblical and Ancients. Although the models are stripcast they are essentailly individuals which require seperating and mounting. Personally I find the bases rather thick and judiciously apply a stanley knife to thin them down to a thickness I am happier with (casualty rates is probably less than 1:30 and as yet I still posses all my digits). Generally speaking the castings are good and although first impressions are of a fairly ‘bland’ model these paint up beautifully. I think they have the right level of detail for painting in 6mm. I personally would have liked to see the cavalry on slightly larger horses. These do take significantly longer to prepare than their Baccus counterparts but I think it is time well spent.

The Seleucid pikes come in standing pose and 45 degree angled pose. The spears are cast on and I do wonder if an open handed pose like that which Baccus offer would be appropriate.

Basing took a little thinking through as I can envisage these being used for Impetus and also Hail Ceaser. In Impetus they can be fielded in large units of two and three bases deep. Hail Ceaser is more flexible so essentially if I can get the effect right for Impetus they will morph across to HC.

For playing Impetus in 6mm the most generic option would be the 60mm wide bases (ie half 28mm size as previously discussed on various forums). Those from a warmaster background may well prefer the 80mm width option. When considering base depth the suggestions are 20mm or 30mm for heavy infantry. So two bases 40 – 60mm and three bases 60-90mm. Personally a unit that is deeper than it is wide looks wrong to me.

The ‘solution’ I trialed with these was doing a front rank base of 30mm x 30mm with subsequent bases using 30mm x 15mm. On the front base placing two ranks of angled pikes with one rank of standing pikes. On the additional bases placing two ranks of standing pikes. I am pretty pleased with the reults.

The ‘Elements’

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Sabot options

These can be saboted up in a variety of ways. Firstly the standard 60 x 30 unit can be made from two 30mm x 30mm side by side. The 30mm depth complies with the Ipetus depth suggestions. As they will invariable be fielded as a large unit adding a rank behind makes them 45mm deep, again complying with Impetus depth suggestions for two heavy infantry units (40mm -60mm).

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Going all out three deep units we add another rank of 30mm x 15mm elements. This brings the footprint to a 60mm x 60mm which still complies with three Imetus heavy infantry unit depts.  However, this to me looks a little ‘deep’. When considering 300-400 point Impetus armies it is most likely thay will be fielded as ‘two-unit’ deep large units, so I am not going to lose sleep over it.

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Now if I was a megalomaniac and wanted epic battles on my 10′ x 5′ table then we would want something more the size of the Trebia bases which are 100 mm wide….. Fear not! Adding another file of bases brings this close enough at 90mm width and the visual impact of the unit is stunning.

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Gulp…. you mean you want us to attack that!!!

Models are already in line to expand the formation and show more on how these elements can provide flexibility, and also doing a Baccus comparison unit. Also planned is a look at some more options in Sabot basing.

Painting the Seleucid Pike block

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, valejo black wash

Cuirass – v001 White

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Spear Staff – v127 Ochre Brown

Tunic – v025 Light Orange

Shield Strap – v136 Red Leather

Shield Back – v143 Flat Brown

Spear Tip – v178 Natural Steel

Helmet and Shield – v174 Brass

Bases – v146 Hull Red

These are the order in which I painted things. I opted for a very styalistic white for the cuirass as I plan to do the elite Agryspades in red cuirass and white tunic to help differentiate them. The shields were painted as the central disc and the rim leaving a dark line at the interface to enhance the effect. If I was going all out then ‘collars’ could be painted on half way down the pikes.

These were competed in readiness for Sheffield Triples for their first showing at the SMS clinic.

Sabot basing – making a footprint base

With our sabot basing we mount our models on steel bases from PWS (http://www.freewebs.com/pwsltd/). These can be arranged on different sizes of footprint base to represent different formations or allow us to play using units of different widths depending on playing area available. To make a footprint base we take an appropriate sized steel base (again sourced from PWS who will happily cut sizes to order) and apply some self adhesive magnetic sheeting from Magnetic displays (http://www.magneticdisplays.co.uk/).

This is a simple step by step guide which may be stating the obvious to some but I have decided to include it for completeness.

Step 1. Acquire your materials.

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Step 2. As you are often doing multiple bases cut a strip of an appropriate width. Here I am doing some 60mm x 60mm bases so am cutting a strip of a sheet of self adhesive magnetic sheet 65mm wide.

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Step 3. Peel off self adhesive backing and placing bases onto the adhesive surface. I tend to place a single base at a time and cut it off as it helps maximise the amount you will get from a magnetic sheet.

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Step 4. Trip off the excess from around the base, and you are done!

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Making these is the easy part – the difficult part is deciding what size to make your sabot elements and consequently what size footprints you will need.

Sabot basing – Black Powder Era – 1

Picking up from a couple of threads already running in my posts and as requested by Steve (Fenton) here is the first installment of the Sabot basing focussing on the black powder era. As mentioned in the ’45 AAR we use ‘double’ bases for our black powder gaming (taking the 60 x 30 base size as the standard). So our units in line have a foot print of 120mm x 30mm , in column of attack & battalion mass 60mm x 60mm,  in march column 30mm x 120mm, and in square 45mm x 45mm (all will be revealed later regarding square). We use steel bases provided by Precision Wargames Supplies (http://www.freewebs.com/pwsltd/) and our basic sizes are 30mm x 15mm and 15mm x 15mm (there is some variation in our group when it comes to cavalry which I will touch on later and may be deserving of a future post). Our footprint bases are also steel from PWS covered in self adhesive magnetic sheet from Magnetic Displays Ltd (http://www.magneticdisplays.co.uk/).

So with our figures suitably painted and based we make our unit from four 30 x 15 troop element bases and one 30 x 15mm command base. In addition we do two 15mm x 15mm and two 30mm x 15mm blanks to act as fillers (these do not necessarily need to be blank and can be used to add skirmishers to our units especially when we get to the Napoleonic period). So we have our unit (nice SYW Austrian composite grenadier unit) and footprint bases below :-

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The astute amongst you will note there is three 30 x 15 troop bases and two 15mm x 15mm troop bases. This is ultimate future proofing. Ian and myself drove ourselves barmy considering the many subtly different sabot basing systems to give maximum flexibility in our model collections. One of the systems we looked at was the ACW rule set of Regimental Fire and Fury where units are typically 6-8 elements large and base removal is part of the mechanics. Hence 15mm x 15mm becomes your element and 30 x 15’s are used as double elements. I think this is probably one step too far for myself and for my future black powder era units I will be using four 30 x 15 elements.

Anyway I digress. The first and probably most common formation you will be using in the black powder era is the battalion in line. Using the 120mm x 30mm footprint base place your troops in a line at the back, command central front, either side of this place one of each 15 x 15 and 30 x 15 blanks and ‘voila’ one battalion in line.

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Of course, when it gets to Napoleonics you may well want to represent the skirmish strength of the unit as demonstrated by this ACW unit.

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Other formations you may see on the black powder battlefield are ‘column of attack’ using the 60mm x 60mm footprint.

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… and as these are Austrians we have ‘battalion mass’ again on the 60mm x 60mm footprint, and below showing two layouts representing this formation.

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For manoeuver in the early stages of battle and for reserves there is the ‘march column’. Using the 120mm x 30mm footprint end on.

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More prevalent in the Napoleonic era where cavalry was taught to charge home infantry increasingly used the ‘square’ as a defensive formation. SYW troops were trained to adopt this formation but the cavalry threat meant that there was rarely cause to use it. This is represented by a 45 x 45 footprint. This looks good on the gaming table as you get a real sense of troops bunching together with the smaller footprint area and it feels right that they become increasingly susceptible to artillery and musket fire.

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So a quick run through how we use sabot bases for our black powder era games. This is by no means the only option as a lot can be done using 20 x 15’s and other base sizes. Some of this will be dependant on your playing area amongst other factors. I hope to look at the 20 x 15 sabots in more detail when I get around to painting up some ACW armies.

Things are slightly different in our group when it comes to cavalry. Some feel that the Baccus cavalry is a little on the small size and prefer the larger horses of Adler. Those that use Baccus base their cavalry in the same way as their infantry but with the command team integral to one of the ‘troop’ bases. Those that use Adler cavalry need a larger depth to the base and so use 30 x 20’s for the figures and 30 x 10’s for the blanks.

Hopefully this and my future musings on sabot basing will not muddy the water how to base your models. My hope is that these ramblings will provide an insight into some of the more common options and the pros and cons around them. If all else fails catch me at one of the SMS clinics at various shows where you will be able to see these in the flesh and see how they might work with your own gaming.