6mm Polybian Romans for DBA — 275 BCE-105BCE

The Roam Army for DBA

These also have been complete for a few years, having been completed when I was living in Singapore.  As with the Numidians, I thought it was a good idea to show these off as well. I did in fact finish painting this army in March 2014 in Singapore.

The DBA interpretation of the Roman Army from this time assumes that the Camillan reforms to the Roman Army changed around the time of Rome’s battles with Pyrrhus of Epirus and the army appeared as described by Polybius. The army remained in this form until the reforms of Gaius Marius.

While there are significant differences between the organisation of the Marian Army as compared with the Polybian Romans, when I get around to finishing the Singapore project I started in 2012, which essentially was to put together a Punic Wars set, I will be able to use  items from the other armies to produce a Marian Roman army from the Polybian troops then coupled with the previously mentioned Numidians, re-fight some battles from the Jugurthine War (112–106 BCE).

In addition, I have a bag full of pike men here as well, so when the plague passes, a small order to Baccus6mm could see an Epirot army built as well.


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The Great Wargaming Survey 2020!

It’s on again. The Great Wargaming Survey, 2020 Edition.

This is a survey that has become an annual event now and one where the number of respondents have been increasing each year. It focuses exclusively on tabletop miniature wargaming.

The survey only takes about fifteen minutes to complete and the results will, when published, I am sure, provide grist for the podcast and discussion group mills for many months into the future.

This is your chance to have a say and hey, what else are you going to do in the middle of the plague?

Wargame Soldier and Strategy will publish the result of the survey when it completes.  and as a sweetener for participation, there are prizes on offer, and in addition, a 20% discount coupon and a bunch of WSS articles, free of charge, upon completion.

The survey is running from now until 31 August 2020. I do recommend you spend the 15 minutes it takes to complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T5H2LVP and add your voice to that of the wargame community at large.

World of Tanks Miniatures Game

World of Tanks Miniatures Game – starter set

I must admit that I have enjoyed playing World of Tanks on my Play Station for a year or so. When I moved apartments I stopped playing. Actually, it was not a case so much of stopping playing but rather inertia. I’ve been here two years and still have a few boxes that I have not unpacked. The Play Station is one of them.

Recently, in conjunction with Gale Force 9, World of Tanks released a miniatures game of the computer game. The starter set comes with four assembled, painted plastic tanks, dice, tank cards, terrain, tokens, crew and equipment upgrade cards and damage deck. Kt seems everything you need to play a game.

There are no rules mentioned but they do note the game is simple, quick to learn so perhaps the rules are on the back of the box. They will also be releasing additional models over time.

A one hour quick game from the Lardies

This came out about the same time that I was considering buying Too Fat Lardies “What a Tanker“. Just for the record, I still have not managed to buy it but I suspect the problem there is with PayPal and/or Bank of Philippine Islands – and I am betting on PayPal. Even using my PayPal account against my Aussie Bank with sufficient funds, it is rejecting.

I digress. So I am looking at purchasing What a Tanker from the Lardies. That will come with a Rulebook, and if I want , some tokens. I will need to supply my own tanks. This I prefer to the potted game as I can choose scale, the vehicles I want to use, basically all the “hardware”.

There has been a trend over recent years for potted miniatures games, and yes I realise that Warhammer and Wings of War have been available for many years but I am referring to Black Seas, Cruel Seas and the like. Now World of Tanks is added.

I can see the benefit of the potted games, my number two son for example, now has 39 ships for Black Seas and has definitely been attracted back into wargaming. I just can’t get into those potted games myself. I may well use the Cruel Seas rules, but they will be used with models I’ve researched and painting myself.

Damn, I think I am getting old and grumpy! Anyway have a look at the World of Tanks, especially if you want to attract someone into wargaming.


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6mm Numidian/Moors for DBA — 215 BCE-696 CE

A Numidian DBA Army

These have been complete for a few years now but I thought that as I was showing off new 6mm armies, I should show off a few older ones as well. Today, it is the turn of the Numidians.

The Numidians/Moors are recorded from the time of the Punic Wars to just after the Heraclian Dynasty in the East and the start of the Twenty Years’ Anarchy in Byzantium.

The Numidians were renowned as the best light cavalry in the period around the Punic Wars and are one of the easiest armies to paint, consisting of a plain tunic of unbleached material, a plain hide shield (undecorated as near as I can find), flesh and hair. Job done, a true four colour paint job!

A Later Moorish force

The Numidians and Moors rode ponies, generally without bridles or saddles controlling their ponies with their knees. They were usually light troops and performed excellent service for both the Carthaginians and the Romans.

These make a great army for a campaign set as they were both allies and enemies to the Carthaginians as well as to the Romans. If I grab a few more I can even manage the civil war between Jugurtha and Adherbal in 112 BCE.

The figures are from Baccus 6mm Miniatures. I finished painting these back in 2011 when living in Singapore (goodness, has it been that long?). They are part of a set known in Thomo’s Hole as the Singapore Project. The army was constructed for the previous version of the DBA rules as are the rest of that set. DBA Version 3 was released in 2014.


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Well that was the week that was — the next week!

So, we are now at the week after the week that was. The condo building has three more days quarantine to serve then should have its quarantine restrictions eased. The mega city that is Metro Manila has another week to go before the government decides on whether to ease, tighten, or leave the restrictions as they are. Some of the cities in Metro Manila are performing better in comparison to others but will the government set tighter restrictions for some cities over the others?

After watching Kesari last week I have avoided rushing off and building a Sikh force for the Pehawar project … just!

I was able to work back in the office from Tuesday which was great. I am slowly cleaning my stuff out of the office in preparation for my exit from SOFGEN at the end of next week. Four more work days, then I think I will take a couple of weeks with my feet up, then full on looking for more work … if you know anyone who wants an old fat project manager, CIO, country head or similar, I am available!

The rules and the Army blocked up for the “press shot” 🙂

On the wargaming front, I completed the Anglo-Saxon DBA Army this time last week with the varnishing. Last Monday night I took the press shots of them (on the left and see 6mm Anglo-Saxons for DBA — 701-1016 CE). They are now waiting for me to get off my fat backside and paint up an opponent.

As for the middle eastern village buildings I was working on,  let me note that I have actually managed to do nothing at all on it this week.

It still looks exactly the same as the photograph below – in fact, it hasn’t moved at all on my painting/office table area thingy.

Plan is that today, I WILL finish these buildings. Some roofs, some windows darkened, a little sepia (maybe) wash and a dry brush and they will be finished.

I will then clean up the coffee table and my painting desk so I can do a couple of things. One is prepare the 2mm army for paint. Second is to sort books that arrived in the last nine months in a read/unread stack. Then I want to lay out some board games for a few solo games. Lastly I will need some space for a new laptop. My old one (now 5 years old) is giving me problems with the power supply – but it is probably a good time to get a new one.

So, a week when not so much has happened but hopefully ready to springboard into my last week at SOFGEN, then a couple of weeks of relaxation. Of course, the prospect of spending quality time by a pool with a hollowed out pineapple, a rum based drink in it and a fruit salad hanging off the side with an umbrella to reduce evaporation, well, in the middle of a pandemic, that may be hard to arrange but we will have a little period of relaxing.

Right then, where are my brushes?


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Books to a Deserted Island

At the Virtual Wargames Club last weekend the question was posed, “what book if you only had the choice of one would you take with you to a deserted island?”

Tough question and I will admit that my first choice was one volume from Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships but then I thought, surely a four volume set only counts as one book so I said, all four volumes of Conway’s?

The question got expanded this week over a few emails to four books and I found that if I had to take my four favourites, well, it would be one or two more than four. Strangely, given a choice of four books, I settled for the following, in no particular order:

  1. Warship, and not just Warship 2020 but the full series on the grounds it is just one long continuous book with bits released each year 🙂
  2. Maritime Operations in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905: Both Volumes by Sir Julian Corbett – Corbett was an Englishman given access to the Japanese archives to write this, although I would still like to get a copy of the maps
  3. The Tide at Sunrise: A History of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05 by Peggy Warner – see a pattern emerging here?
  4. 1904 Korea Through Australian Eyes by George Rose – brilliant book of photographs of Korean life circa 1904 including Varyag (and maybe Korietz) parked at Chemulpo, Incheon, before facing up to six  Japanese vessels and a torpedo boat division – that was only going to end one way. Rose photographed for the 3D viewers popular around the Australian countryside for the entertainment of the cockies and their families in the early 1900s
  5. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown – a book my daughter and I both agree on. An uncomfortable but worthwhile read, and reread
  6. Nomonhan, 1939: The Red Army’s Victory That Shaped World War II by Stuart D. Goldman – the battle that took place around Khalkin Gol that resulted in the peace between Japan and Russia from 1939 allowing Russia to concentrate on the German invasions later
  7. and lastly (although I could name another few hundred, Lost Battles: Reconstructing the Great Clashes of the Ancient World by Philip Sabin (and I guess I should therefore include Simulating War: Studying Conflict through Simulation Games)

OK, so I can’t count! And much as I love ancient history and ancient wargaming, apart from Sabin, everything is 19th and 20th century! I could also be persuaded smuggle some historical fiction as well, perhaps the Hornblower series!

So, an interesting list and books I refer to or read multiple times.

What would you take to the deserted island?


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Painting Sea Bases (and some ships)

I put together some images of setting sea bases underneath 1/3000 scale model ships. I did dry brush rather more heavily then intended on one pass but overall, the information is good for those preparing small scale model naval vessels.

I based this exercise on two French Armoured cruisers from the early 20th Century – the Ernest Renan and Jules Michelet. The models were sourced from Navwar. They are presented as images below. Click on the images for a expanded view.

The Ernest Renan – French Armoured Cruiser and the Navwar model

I should note as well that this was part of a presentation put together for the Virtual Wargames Club, one of my two connections to sense, relaxation and de-stressing in this increasingly stressful world.

The Jules Michelet – French Armoured Cruiser

Why two French cruisers from prior to World War I? I did toy with the idea of using a couple of battleships but given the choice of the excessive tumblehomes of the battleships compared with the multiple funnels of the cruisers, it was a tough choice. However, who doesn’t like all these funnels?

THe models (both sides) and the material for the masts

Clean up the models, add the masts using the TLAR (That Looks About Right) principle.

Preparing the models

Next we get down and dirty.

Getting messy fingers – making waves

For this step I keep a damp rag or some damp kitchen towel handy to wipe the fingers off. Makes it easier that way. Also, once done, the fingers wash off quite well in soap and water.

I then looked at painting just the water surface but decided to paint the vessels anyway as part of the process.

Painting part 1 – view from left to right

First step, undercoating and I had some brown undercoat from Vallejo I wanted to try. That was followed by covering ship and base with black, then in order:

  1. Dark Blue (Prussian Blue or similar)
  2. A middle shade of blue, applied as a kind of heavy dry-brush
  3. A light blue (in this case, something like a sky blue) also dry brushed a little less heavily
  4. A very thin wash of a light green – in this case, lime green but Citadel has some bright fluorescent greens that will work well. This wash, applied lightly and wet will give a hint of green phosphorescence when the base is finished

After painting the bases, a medium sea grey and black wash was added to the ships

Painting part 2 – view from left to right

Medium sea grey is now brushed over the vessel then the ships are painted with the various colours for the deck, corticene areas, and black in the area where the coaling occurs. Black on the funnels and masts and lastly, a light dry brushing of white on the water surface.

The final product – and two other variations on a sea base

The wakes are then painted on the final version for the two vessels (see the left most images) and voila, done! Some varnishing can be done with your favourite varnish.

The other two images are other variations of a similar process with the Dante Alighieri illustrating the lazy man version of the Sea Base.

I do trust you have enjoyed this how-to post.


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6mm Anglo-Saxons for DBA — 701-1016 CE

The DBA Anglo-Saxons with one option fully laid out.

I finally finished these over the last couple of days, the Anglo-Saxons for DBA as part of the Bloodaxe Project. The post that took the original idea and then set it all in motion is the Dark Age Campaign Set – the Figures needed and Dark Age Campaign Set – the Figures ordered. Noticing how long ago it was I purchased the figures, it has been a year to get one of the six armies complete. If I keep at the same rate, I will have it all finished by Christmas 2026.

The rules and the Army blocked up for the “press shot” 🙂

These troops represent the Anglo-Saxons from about 701 CE onward, about the time the Anglo-Saxons adopted shield wall tactics in battle until the time of Knut.

The army as painted covers the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria as well as some minor states.

These kingdoms were the ones that bore brunt of the Viking invasions and later struggle for control of England.

For those looking for the inspiration for this period, there are many books, both fiction and non-fiction around the period as well as coverage with fictional and semi-fictional TV series coming to mind. The Last Kingdom, set in the time of Alfred’s England and the Vikings, set just a little earlier are two that come to mind.

In wargame terms and for the DBA wargame rules, the army is III/24b Anglo-Saxon Army 701-1016 AD. The army as painted can also be used (morphed) into the Anglo-Saxons of 617 to 700 CE, when the infantry behaved more like warbands.


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Well that was the week that was!

Well, that was the week that was. Monday was a normal day, well as normal as it can be under General Community Quarantine. Tuesday morning, however, things got interesting. There was a note on the wall of the condo elevator as I was walking to the office.  I didn’t read it until getting to the office. It noted that there was an active Covid-19 case identified in the condo. Letting my Admin Manager, know, I was instructed to:

  1. Go home
  2. Get a test to ensure I was negative, and
  3. That the office would be closed until after my test then a deep clean would be organised (I did wonder why the wait)

The specimen was collected when a doctor dropped around to the apartment and shoved a swab the length of my umbrella up each of my nostrils. Technically it does not hurt but my goodness don’t the tears half fall?

Result came back today, SARS-Cov-2 viral RNA NOT DETECTED.

Great, life can return to near normal and I can exit the Condo from time to time.

I still managed to work from home, uncomfortable as it was, finishing up a few things before my enforced retirement at the end of the month. I also worked on finishing up some wargaming things that had been hanging around. I also managed to catch a few movies on Amazon Prime and Netflix.

One that I really enjoyed was Kesari, a movie made in 2019 (IMDB Reference) which is based on the real story of the Battle of Saragarhi in which an force of 21 Sikhs fought against 10,000 Pathans in 1897.

The background story is based around Havildar Ishar Singh disobeying orders from his English officer and saving a Pathan woman from the local mullah and men. This was on the North-West Frontier in Tirah, about 20 miles from Chat, 40 miles from Peshawar. After that, Havilday Singh was sent to the outpost and then the Pathans decided to get restless.

Wikipedia notes about the battle:

The Battle of Saragarhi was fought before the Tirah Campaign on 12 September, 1897 between the British Raj and Afghan tribesmen. On 12 September 1897, estimated 12,000 – 24,000 Orakzai and Afridi tribesmen were seen near Gogra, at Samana Suk and round Saragarhi, cutting off Fort Gulistan from Fort Lockhart. The Afghans attacked the outpost of Saragarhi where thousands of Afghans swarmed and surrounded the fort, preparing to assault it. The soldiers in the fort, who were all Sikhs and led by Havildar Ishar Singh, chose to fight to the death, in what is considered by some military historians as one of history’s greatest last stands. The post was recaptured two days later by another British Indian contingent.

Well, according to the movie, 21 Sikhs and a Pathan cook.

The movie was brilliant, although without English dubbing. Still the subtitles were adequate for following the plot lines and once the Pathans attacked, it was not difficult to work out what was being yelled.

Best of all, the area the filming was in allowed me to get an idea of land form and colours on the North-West Frontier and therefore for my Peshawar project.

Over the rest of the week I worked on finishing the Anglo-Saxon 6mm DBA Army as well as the Middle Eastern Peshawar buildings (building progress photographed to the left).

The DBA Anglo-Saxons had the edges of the flags painted to remove the white edge and blend the flags in.

The Anglo-Saxons were then varnished with a spray matt varnish. The varnish is Liquitex Professional Matt Varnish an seems to have worked well. The army is shown on the right with the varnish drying.

The Liquitex Matt Varnish was the only spray varnish I could get from the local paint store. For gloss or satin, all I have are varnishes that require brushing on – perfect for ships, less so multiple figures on a base.

What’s next? Well tonight it is time for the Virtual Wargames Club (and tomorrow at 14:30 local time). After which, I will take some “press release” photos of the Anglo-Saxons, finish the Middle East village and then clean my painting table/office, as well as the  coffee table just over there to the right. I want to lay out a board game or two and have a play. In addition, I will also be looking for a new job more seriously as well as brushing up my COBOL skills and maybe learning ELM.

In the meantime, let me leave you with a little more of my movie recommendation (and in case you are wondering, in true Bollywood style, they did manage to weave two songs into the movie!

Do Wargames Rules Writers have a Eurocentric View of Terrain?

In a post on Twitter, @GodsOwnScale noted:

And one more thing. The trend to base figures with a half earth, half grass look. Where did that come from. Standing in the middle of the field yesterday, I didn’t see how that style of basing reflects anything in reality.

The Parthian General

What GOS is describing is the current trend in basing Wargame figures with a mix of soil, gravel and static grass, as illustrated with the picture to the left.

When I first started wargaming, bases were simply painted in green, one of two shades. There was a dark chalkboard green used and another was the what became the somewhat ubiquitous Citadel’s Goblin Green. Gobbo Green was a colour slightly lighter than the shade of the grass mat to the left.

Many wargamers creating Armies based around the 18th century armies still use plain, green bases, paying homage to the armies of some of the grandfathers of wargaming like Brigadier Peter Young, Colonel J. P. Lawford, Don Featherstone and Charles Grant among them.

We then started flocking bases. Initially this was with model railway flock, sawdust and the like and was a universal green shade. For variation, some brown acrylic paint could be mixed with the PVA glue prior to basing to create a kind of green lamington. Now, many of us base figures on textured bases and using static grass.

A hawk’s eye view of the Nubians

Bases were made to look more and more like the terrain the Army being painted was used to operate in (and yes, those Nubians to the right are 15mm – I do sometimes paint giant figures).

Given a dry environment, more sandy gravelly stuff was on  the base with the odd tuft a dry grass.

GOS lives in England and there is a reason that William Blake, when protesting those “dark satanic mills” built during the Industrial Revolution wrote:

I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

England is indeed a green and pleasant land. There is (mostly) constant water available to ensure the grass grows thick and green. The forests and woods are thick with trees that prevent light reaching the ground so underbrush really only appears at the edge of the forest, and that combined with the absence of light in the wood itself means that it is almost impossible to see anything actually in the wood from the outside.

A countryside ger from Sukhbaatar Aimag, south-east of Ulaanbaatar

However, outside of England, the land is somewhat different. The photo to the left is a ger (yurt) in Mongolia. This area is between the steppes of Dornod Aimag and the Gobi. The grass has a taste similar to chives, so the mutton herded here comes pre-seasoned.

The point is, that this is neither a green and pleasant land, although it is very pleasant, nor is it a desert, well leastwise, not this part of it anyway.

This segues nicely into the other part of this discussion, and what I really started to think about after GOS’s comment on Twitter. Wargame rules writers I was exposed to in my early days of wargaming were inevitably English or American, and the Americans tended to concentrate on the American Civil War, much of which was in the Eastern Theatre and therefore in green grassy lands presumably with forests similar to England.

It was always confusing for me to read about ambushes being laid at the edge of woods when with every wood/forest/bush land I had seen, I could see at least 100 metres into it. It was the same in many other locations I visited around the world. It was only after my first visit to the English countryside that I realised woods in England were such that you could ambush from within. Famous ambushes such as Teutoburger Wald and those of the French and Indian Wars now made sense to me.

When basing naval miniatures, I base them on a blue base because, after all, we all know the sea is blue. But on those trips to England and Scotland, the North Sea was far from blue, more a miserable grey colour. Surely, if I am painting and basing my World War I ships, I should put them on a grey sea base. Given that the sea colour is a reflection of the sky, and as I come from sunny Sydney originally, to me the colour of the sea is that nice deep blue of the Pacific.

Gravelly, grassy terrain on the base

As wargamers, we tend to see terrain through familiar eyes. I see forests through Australian eyes and therefore thin, and sea through the same eyes (blue). As for grass, well it may be green, or gold (OK, yellow) or brown but again, where I am from, it is thin and seeing gravel around it, or the grass patchy, is quite normal.

And as we have deserts in Australia (the well named Great Sandy Desert for one), deserts are sandy and more a pale brown than yellow or white.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then so is the terrain basing underneath figures.


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