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 The list was drawn up to 350 points using the as yet unpublished Parthian list that I was kindly sent (Parthians_Impetus_350_1).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.

6mm Rapier Persian Camel Archers

Continuing from the Rapier Persian javelin armed light cavalry I painted and used for photographing the ‘Mikey Mud’ post, I went on to prep up and paint the set of Camel Archers I had. Cleaning the models up I thought to myself – these look like they are semi-naked. This led me on to a picture hunt whence I came across this site (http://iranpoliticsclub.net/photos/U04-Achaemenian3/index.htm) which has a lovely archive of military photos.

I managed to find a photograph which the model could well have been sculpted from :-

Achaemenian Arab Camel Cavalry Unit

These were a joy to paint (even if the models don’t have a quiver). Given the colours involved I spray undercoated in AP Desert Yellow followed by a black wash. The camels recieved a fairly heavy drybrush of Tan Yellow (v122), followed by a light drybrush in Dark Sand (v123). Next up I painted the flesh on the riders by block painting in Cork Brown (v133) and then using a dot and blob technique picked out the major muscle groups in Dark Flesh (v019). This is a technique I have used on 15mm ancients but never in 6mm, it has given a very pleasing result and if anything a little less paint would provided a little more contrast and definition. Next I painted the saddle cloth in Red (v033) with a double bottom edge stripe in Light Yellow (v010). Hair and beards were painted Black (v169), reigns in Cavalry Brown (v137), and finally the bows in Light Brown (v129). A wash in the old W&N Nutbrown Ink and varnish before basing.

The only thing that saddens me about these is that most army lists only allow one or two units!

Rapier Persian Camel Archers - front shot

Rapier Persian Camel Archers - side/rear shot

Rapier Persian Camel Archers and Light Cavalry

Looking at the two units side by side makes me wonder if using 6 or 7 of the Camel archers per base would look more open order, or perhaps having one more light cavalry per base. I guess I shall have to wait to see what the heavier cavalry looks like alongside.

Struggling to decide what unit to paint next for the Persians, especially as I have a number of other dirstractions. Quite possibly will do a light Infantry and a skirmising infantry unit next.

Basing using Mikey Mud – AKA DIY Basetex

Having put a similar article on the Baccus forum some while ago I thought it time to update it, do a few more photos, and post it here. Often at the SMS clinics I only really get chance to talk to people about basing techniques in 6mm given the problems of drying times. The two main methods I tend to discuss is the floodwashing technique (AKA the Baccus basing system) and the Mikey Mud technique.

So what is Mikey Mud I hear you cry. Well over the years I have tried many basing techniques. Firstly was the old PVA and drop on some sand, but I found this ‘flat’ and  kept coming off by the grain or even sometimes in chunks. This led on to mixing the sand with PVA which added more texture but still shed all over the place ( I think the PVA I was using and the plastic bases had some part to play in this). Then came the 15 min epoxy which was very solid but also very messy and very expensive! I had a trial out on basetex but found is consistency to be inadequate. Things came to a bit of a head a few years back when I was confronted with the rebasing of some 7-800 28mm Wars of the Roses figures. I needed something that was going to be relatively cheap, easy to use, workable, acted as a filler to cover integral metal bases, and ideally acted as a base colour to paint from.

My thoughts were that something along the lines of basetex was the right direction to go in. I concluded that I needed a particular base (sand), PVA, and a pigment (paint). Happy to do a bit of ‘structural’ gardening I often had some builders shard sand knocking around (bought by the tonne it’s as cheap as chips). The next step is really important unless you want to grow a variety of fungi and moulds in your Mud pot. This is cook the sand – this burns off the carbon matter in the sand. I tend to do mine in an old roasting dish and cook in the oven at 200 C for an hour or so, two or three lots has provided me enough sand for over 5 years now.

Next is to get the grade you are after. With the 28mm models I initially was using this on I thought to use raw would provide some more stoney bits I can use to give greater depth to the texture. I quickly learnt that it was better to have removed these as they proved more trouble than they were worth as it was so much easier applying and working with a ‘smoother’ mix of mud. This is where personal preference comes in as to what ‘grade’ you want to go for. I use an old children’s fishing/butterfly net or a fish tank net. I feel this gives enough texture to the mix whilst being very workable. Keep the larger stones and grit that are sieved out as they come in handy later to add clumps of rocks to the bases.

The ‘Ingredients’

Baseing - Mikey Mud ingredients

..and as I embark on expanding my Epic 40K forces and get stuck into some 15mm Sci-fi I find the need for a black mud so here is a fresh pot.

Basing - Mxing the ingredients 1

Basing - Mixing the ingredients 2

This made too thin a mix so ~ 30% of it went into another pot and more sand was added. Essentially use the water and sand to create the texture you are after.

Mikey Mud in Action

So here we have a step-by-step guide to using Mikey Mud on some freshly painted Rapier Persian light cavalry. Please note I would normally be holding the mounting pot but only having two hands meant I have placed it down to take the photos.

The finished models on their painting strip.

Persian light cavalry to be based

Figures stuck down to the base (basing is for Impetus 60mm x 40mm).

Basing - figures attached to base

The Mikey mud is first of all spooned on to the base using a modelling tool, focus on getting the right amount on the base as opposed to getting it the right place.

Basing - Applying Mikey Mud

Basing - Rough Mikey Mud applied

Next up take a largish brush and using liberal amounts of water you can mould the Mud across the base and into the recesses. This also brings up a bit more texture on the surface.

Basing - Sculpting and texturing Mikey Mud

To further add some texture I drop on some grit and stones which are gently tempered down into the mix.

Basing - Adding stoney crops

Basing - temping down stoney rocks

Painting the base

First up is overbrushing the whole base with Valejo 127 Ochre Brown. Firstly this is done around each model with a smaller brush before using a larger brush to cover the larger areas.

Basing - Painting - Initial overbrush - detail

Basing - Painting - Initial overbrush - large

Next up is a patchy drybrush of Valejo 123 Dark Sand, using two coats on the stony areas.

Basing - Painting - Highlight drybrush

Finally an edging in dark brown and the addition of MiniNature Moss pads late fall (747-24 S)

Basing - Painitng - Adding tufts

… and the completed base, which will be available for viewing on the Rapier stand at Triples (onwards) along with other Persians I have painted.

Basing - The finished article

Ottomans – The Janissaries

Having finished adding the flag to the Levant base I did for Derby/Donnington I thought I would review things to date a little.

Its been three years since following another year querying as to when Baccus would be doing the Ottomans I suggested over a cup of coffee with the Boondock Saints that I might have a go at sculpting. Now bear in mind my only training is collecting and painting models over the preceeding 28 years (although I had done some Epic 40K conversions), essentially this was going to be uncharted territory for me. Having no idea how to approach starting from scratch the first sculpts were conversions based on the Baccus ACW Zouaves. I was a little suprised at my first efforts, which encouraged me and I followed these up with a series of 6 sculpts. I attempted to do two of these as kneeling poses which were cut and shut jobs with some kneeling Colonial British artillery crew. Looking back on them (as I am currently trying to do a kneeling pose to finish off the Levant), I realise that despite kneeling they were almost as tall as the standing pose! I am told that getting a kneeling pose right is one of the more challenging sculpts (as I am finding out).

Anyway from these basic six poses I did my first base of Janissaries, replacing one swordsman with a standard, and giving one a more fancy set of headress feathers. These have been based 120mm x 40mm bases as this is what we decided upon would work for future demonstration games. Essentially this is a double bases (taking 60 x 30 as the de-fascto 6mm standard) with a little extra depth to allow a little more scenic effect to be added and facilitate a more irregular look. The Ottomans were excellent marksmen and focussed on the individuals fighting prowess. When they assaulted they often formed a fighting wedge and rushed the enemy. I have tried to reflect this on the base with a small group of formed infantry, a heavy skirmishing firing line and a wedge of close combat troops.

I eventually completed the Janissary range with an additional number of poses which went one step further with me working from a cut back torso and did my first sculpted from scratch weaponary. My thanks to Peter for his help and direction, his years of invaluable experience helped alot at this stage.

My proof moulds took a hammering getting figures ready for the Boondock Saints 2011 demo game, and everyone went into Janissary painting overdrive to provide the core Ottoman forces for Vienna 1683. Desperate to be the first to paint a base of them this is what I put together. A center containing various pole, sword and axe weaponary with the flanks occupied by musket and bow armed troops, with a screen of skirmishers to the fore. The central close combat troops were a little more dense tending to form into a wedge like before.

When the Janissaries went into production at Baccu I also got to paint up the Stand models….

OTT1 – Janissaries, musket – formed

OTT2 – Janissaries, musket – firing and loading

OTT3 – Janissaries, Polearms

OTT4 – Janissaries, Swords

Next up the Levant that took part in Petwerdian 1716….