Greeks and another Diversion

Back in May 2019 in Moving Right Along – Wargaming Tasks – 2019 update!, back before the plague, I noted that I had received

Heroics and Ros 6mm Greeks for yet another Ancient project. I am still waiting on the delivery from Rapier Miniatures, but I fear these are the first order to the Philippines to go astray as it has been over 6 months now Update (May 1st) – I just received an email from Stefan at Rapier (not bad, about one hour after posting this) to note that the parcel was sent but they will send again. Brilliant service guys – thank you.

The Rapier Greeks duly arrived and the original parcel was received back at Rapier in the UK a few days after a replacement order was sent to me. Ah the vagaries of PhilPost. I digress however.

Last year I had also read a fair bit of Greek history, both land battles and naval, and had decided, with all those 6mm Greeks, along with a couple of fleet packs of Navwar’s 1/1200 ancient ships and a copy of GMT’s Galley, to refight the Peloponnesian War, both on land and sea, as a project.

Reading Battles and Battlefields of Ancient Greece – A Guide to Their History, Topography and Archaeology – Book Review along with Great Battles of the Classical Greek World – Review and it occurred to me that I would have the figures available and the information to pretty much refight all the Greek vs Greek battles of the classical world in 6mm on a 2 foot square board (yes, wargamer’s megalomania at its best).

Enter the plague! Several months of listless inactivity followed by a home move out of Metro Manila to a province and I had achieved absolutely nothing. In my defense, there was a good deal of work pressure at the same time as quarantine lockdowns and what-not (yes, I know, an excuse not a reason).

Tonight, sitting in the new residence (temporary for about 6 months while the final Thomo’s Hole is being constructed) and it occurred to me that to get rolling on this project, I could use my Commands and Colors (C&C) set. I have all six expansions from the Ancient C&C, although I had not placed the Spartan expansion figure stickers on the blocks for that yet. I started that tonight.

I now have a project, doable in short order — refighting the classical Greek world using C&C. I have the blocks, I have the reference material and best of all, I don’t need much space or to paint anything. When I get up to the Peloponnesian War I will probably consider breaking out War Galley as well. However, for the time being, it’s lock shields and advance!

Ancient History Does Exist in Asia!

The Koreans ready to take the field again – figures from Alain Touller, painting from yours truly

There have been a lot of tweets recently, wargame based, dealing with ancient history and ancient wargaming. Most (if not all) have been Eurocentric. I can understand this as the largest market for wargame figures and for the consumption of Ancient History, have been Europeans – be they in Europe, the UK, the US and Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

The wargame figures and related publications cover Europe, and the Middle East across to India (think Alexander the Great).  Even Central and South America gets a look in with Aztec, Maya and Inca, although I suspect that is mainly because Aztec and Inca were conquered at the time by European freebooters.

The coverage of Asian warfare and Ancient History, with a few exceptions, is lagging far behind that of Europe and the Near East. The Japanese, Mongol, Korean and Chinese armies were the first of the Far East armies to start to be covered, in part because there was enough accessible information in English to provide information to the figure manufacturer and wargamer. The effect of cinema must also bear some responsibility here as well along with the achievements of some of those Asian nations.

The Khmer – undercoated and maiden guard painted – Irregular Miniatures

Other areas have lagged behind. Burmese, Thai and Khmer armies have been researched and modelled at least in 15mm scale (in part, perhaps because of the Khmer maiden guard). Cham and recently Sumatran and Javanese.

Sitting here in the Philippines for the past 6 years I have slowly been acquiring some information about the pre-Jesuit Philippines. This has not been easy to acquire. One reason given has been the lack of written history, and/or the inability to write it down. The Laguna Copperplate Inscription (Filipino: Inskripsyon sa Binatbat na Tanso ng Laguna) from about 1200 years ago  certainly belies the ability to write things down here.

15mm Burmese and Khmer. Prepped, based and undercoated. Now just waiting for the application of the brush. I must get around to finishing these!

In December 2014 I hunted through the National Bookstore for some information. Alas, I am still searching for a good reference work, preferably in English, my Tagalog is not up to anything that complicated yet, covering the pre-Jesuit Philippines. There were, it seems quite a few kingdoms, sultanates etc. across the archipelago in the past, with influences from India, China, Arab, Malay and of course, local.

A rich history I am sure, and one with much trading, political skullduggery, feats of arms and such but so little written about it. A history that likely touched the Indonesian Archipelago as well.

Any references gladly accepted – and lets remember that Ancient History is worldwide!


In my preferred wargame scale of 6mm, as far as I am aware, Baccus 6mm, and Heroics and Ros only model Samurai. Rapier Miniatures make Mongols and Irregular at least cover more areas, namely, Samurai, Chinese, Mongol, Tibetan, Burmese, and Khmer. Koreans, Sumatrans, Javanese are in short supply.

DBA Competition — Landwaster 2020

Landwaster has been an annual competition on the DBA calendar in Australia for a number of years now. Mercifully for the plague-infested world, it comes along late in the year and as most of Australia seems to have a lid on the plague currently (touch wood and whistle), this year Landwaster is on. Unlike previous years, this year it is moving temporarily from Canberra to Goulburn on Sunday 22nd November 2020 at the Goulburn Workers Club, 1 McKell Pl Goulburn NSW.

David Lawrence, the organiser, noted:

Landwaster is a happening thing and we have had an initial rush of entrants – but we still have room for more. The doors to the club will open at 10:00AM and the first game will kick off at 10:30AM.  

There will be a charge of $10 per entry to cover the hall hire and trophies.

He further notes, that with regards to meeting a COVID safe environment for the DBA games:

… for the present environment all players must use their own army, terrain, dice and measuring sticks.  For this reason I am not offering up my stable of armies or terrain.

The usual suspects as sponsors for the tournament have been rounded up and are:

  • Brian Hall of Hall of Ancient Warriors will be providing the first place trophy
  • Ray Compton of Essex Miniatures Australia will be providing discount vouchers for 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • Mick Sellman of Mick’s Metal Models will be providing an army as the Magister Militum Prize
  • Dean Bedlington of Olympian Games will be providing prize vouchers for the Executioner Award, Mithradates Trophy and Last Place
  • Barry Scarlett of Leadbears Tufts will also be providing a voucher for all of the above awards.

There s a limit of  20 entries to maintain suitable social distancing so the entries will be recorded based on email timestamps and capping the entries at 20.

Come and join them for the premiere DBA event of the ACT and surrounds (I will, alas, be watching from afar, from the Philippines). David goes on to note that “for the Canberra gamers –  remember it is only 1 hour up the road.  For Sydney based players I have cut your drive by an hour.”

Come on, sign up and play. After months of lockdowns and quarantine, blow the dust of the armies and have some face-to-face games again.

See the flyer attached here Landwaster 2020 Flyer (PDF)

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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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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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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Damned Historical Fiction – Sub-Roman British and Arthur!

I knew it would happen. I was reading David Pilling’s Ambrosius for my midnight read with a glass of Dr. Feelgood before retiring for the evening. I thought I could control the urges but the addiction was too strong.

We’ve been in Enhanced Community Quarantine here not for 37 days with at least 9 more days to go, but also with many rumours that the government will extend for an additional two to four weeks.

So in those evening hours, after a glass and a read and just before drifting off to sleep, one’s mind turns to thinking about … Sub-Roman British.

I’m thinking, “it can’t be too hard and won’t require many figures, after all I have a fair spares box from the Vikings in 6mm – the Project Start project which interestingly is a project I started one year ago, then got distracted with some ships.

So, I thought that I could use the the left-over Ostrogoths from that project and use them as your fairly generic hairy barbarian types. That project also provides some barbarian cavalry and archers as well. Once the post returns to normal I would just need to get a few Late Roman types for some of the cavalry and the more Roman looking infantry. Of course that purchase would need to wait until post is flowing freely in the Philippines again and Baccus 6mm recommences moulding. The Anglo-Saxons for the Viking project can be re-purposed. In the Sub-Roman Britain time they were all basically dense warband in wargaming terms. In the Viking times, they had become a little more organised and had a few warband but must were densely packed spears. Voila, instant transformation.

And I was going to eave it there, honest guv’nor, I was.

I started to read book 2 off Pilling’s Leader of Battles Series and started to think back to the Sub-Roman British of Ambrosius’s time. The same army would do for Ambrosius or Artorius, however, why not reproduce Vortigern’s army as well?

And if I cam going to do Vortigern’s, perhaps I should consider the hairy Scots, the Irish, Welsh and Picts of the time. Yes six armies would make a lovely campaign set again, with Ambrosius and Vortigern sometimes combining to see off the Scots and Irish, at other times facing each other across the field of battle.

So, another project to plan and an excuse to rifle through the leftover boxes on the weekend to see what I really need to purchase later to complete this set.

What is worrying is that there are three more books in the Leader of Battles series following. Still, I am resisting the urge for Artorius to travel to Gaul and assist against the Visigoths … I would need more figures for that and as a responsible wargamer I could not consider doing that … yet!

Success or two!

So, I had only just posted that I’ve got a spare Pikeman … or two! and what should turn up at Makati Central Post Office but a book! And what a book.

This is Volume 1, covering all our favourite diadochi, like Ptolemy, Antigonus, Seleucus and Lysimachus, to name but a few. Mithridates of Pontus even rates a mention.

Is this the start of a new project?

 

I’ve got a spare Pikeman … or two!

The re-purposed Romans … almost completed the basing. Figures by Baccus 6mm

I have been re-purposing some 6mm figures recently and had re-based and am in the process of decorating the bases of some Early Imperial Romans. I purchased them a few years ago to base for Polemos’ SPQR Ancients. I decided to move off SPQR Ancients and return to DBA and/or Basic Impetus for my Ancient Wargaming, partly on the basis of space. When I purchased the Romans, I also purchased Numidians and a Pontic Army. The Numidians have been hacked around providing filler for the some other forces I have and I had clean forgotten about the Pontic army.

I rediscovered those figures the other day when looking for some decals in a little accessed box. Goodness I have a few. In fact, the following (all Baccus 6mm):

  • 144 x Thureophoroi
  • 18 x Skythian Light Horse
  • 48 x Foot Archers
  • 6 x Generals
  • 18 x Tarantine (??) Cavalry
  • 18 x Cataphracts
  • 144 x Imitation Legionaries
  • 144 Phalangites with no Sarissa
  • 192 Pikemen (pikes forward and raised)
  • 192 Pikeman (pikes raised)
  • 16 x lights, chariot crew, don’t know what
Bags of 6mm successor figures, pikes, imitation legionnaires and the like – the Pontic Army in 6mm

Quite a mountain of figures so … a re-purposing is in order. I can make a Mithradatic Pontic force (DBA Book II/48) from this bunch and will likely have enough figures left over to build another DBA army, maybe of Successors. I will need to add a couple of things though:

  • Scythed Chariot (maybe 2)
  • some slingers
  • some Javelinmen (maybe I can get some leftovers from the Erik Bloodaxe project)
  • some Companions  (for guard)

Of course this will naturally segue into more forces as the enemies need to be built as well and Pontus managed to acquire quite a few over time:

  • Skythian
  • Kappadokian
  • Bithynian
  • Sarmatian
  • Galatian
  • Parthian
  • Marian Romans (although I can substitute the Camillan (Polybian) or Early Imperial Romans for these.

I am really enjoying the ancient period again and I can see my lead pile increasing in the near futures again!

Damn, another wargame project – Illyrians and the Great Revolt!

Yes, the bay is there – faintly visible. Invisible is the Bataan peninsula and other landmarks at the mouth of the bay

I’m sitting here, suffering with that most horrible of diseases, man ‘flu, looking out over a hazy, smoggy Manila Bay with a coffee and listening to the wireless playing Christmas Carols (it is the ‘ber months after all). I am also reading Jason Abdale’s recent work, The Great Illyrian Revolt concerning “Rome’s forgotten war in the Balkans AD 6-9” (review to come later – Mal’s review is here).

So as I am reading I am also thinking, “hmm, I am repurposing some Early Imperial Romans to DBA use, and they will make two armies”, followed by, “the Illyrian Revolt Abdale is talking about occurred just before the loss of the four legions in the Battle of Teutoburg … hmmm”.

So I started thinking, here is an excuse to buy some more wargame figures (like a wargamer needs an excuse!). Better, I can double up armies. The Illyrians are basically a loose style (Auxilia) within DBA rules so may need a little tweaking to start to get some historical balance. They also fought themselves as much as external enemies but those external enemies included Romans and Greeks so they fit well with the figures I have painted already as well as the future plans (the Peloponnesian Wars one in particular).

In addition, I could add to the Illyrians a couple of German armies for an additional enemy for the Early Imperial Romans.

Image taken from http://home.exetel.com.au/thrace/illyria.htm

As to the look of the Illyrians, I will need to do some more research, always a good thing, but I am thinking from what I have read recently, perhaps a little Thracian like, with some southern Italian, and Greek Thureophoroi rolled in. One of the neat things about the Illyrians will be the ability to raid my spares box and drag out a few of different types of figures to mix it.

The clothing colours of the Illyrians are described as broad, colourful  vertical stripes.

The illustration the the left is from the Warlords Games website, a firm who offers Illyrians in 28mm size, although they are currently out of stock.

My forces will be in 6mm size – probably from Baccus and Rapier as both those ranges are close in size. So yes, just what I need, another project. I think I will stop weighing the lead pile and simply measure the number of incomplete and unstarted projects to estimate the future lifespan of the wargamer!