Christmas Stocking Fillers

Christmas has gone and so has New Year’s Eve. I avoid making New Year’s Resolutions, partly because reflecting on what you are doing and what you will do is something that should be an ongoing process. Having said that, in nautical terms, i am getting very broad across the beam although I have a good deal of ballast to counter that. It is time to slim up so that is one task on my 2017 and beyond.

Work also will be interesting this year as one contract finishes and I chase another. I will be looking for something to start around July or so.

I did reflect on those things that went well and those that failed in the year just past, however, a product of the odd beer and a relatively quiet New Year’s Eve back in Manila. It is, however, time to think about the plans for the coming year, doubly so as a week has already gone.

#fails

Simply … I did next to no wargaming, or painting. I also managed to add another few kilograms overall to my already portly body shape. I kept getting great ideas, especially for wargaming projects, but managed to not spend anytime actually starting any of them. Worst of all, I missed getting back to Oz and visiting mother for about 8 months, which was very frustrating.

#ftw

There were some high spots however. Settled well into the second year of working in the Philippines and had the project progressing well. I also managed to read a lot, thank goodness for Kindle and a decent smartphone – I get to read almost anywhere.

#christmas_gifts

#books

So, as I had a little spare case this year, I spoiled myself with some Christmas gifts, and they will form the basis of the 2017 wargaming efforts.

Warship 2014
Warship 2014

First off was the two Warships I had missed from 2014 and 2015. I had not had a chance to purchase these before but they went into my Christmas stocking this year (it was a big stocking). Warship 2014 is the 36th edition and contains a variety of articles including a detailed technical description of the Queen Elizabeth (the UK’s only aircraft carrier – I guess because the French had one); details of Germany’s Braunschweig and Deutschland classes; the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour; IJN armoured cruisers; the escape of the Jean Bart from Saint-Nazaire; the submarine Mariotte; the IJN light carrier Ryûjô; Russia’s turret frigates, the Admiral Lazarev and Admiral Spiridov; and some other articles.

Warship 2015
Warship 2015

Warship 2015 is the first I have seen available in a Kindle format. It was tempting to acquire the Kindle Version, especially as it was half the price of the printed version, but I just could not give up the feel of the paper versions of this publication yet. This issue contains among other items, the Battleships of the Patrie Class; Postwar Weapons in the Royal Navy; the Tragedy of the Submarine Mariotte; Developments in Modern Carrier Aviation; and an early surface engagement between British and Japanese surface forces in WW2. I am looking forward to finishing Warship 2014 to get into Warship 2015.

Warship 2016 - New Cover Format
Warship 2016 – New Cover Format

Warship 2016 is the first of the recent series to come without a dust jacket (why did they call them dust jackets?). It long the previous 37 editions is a mix of different articles concerning naval matters from various periods of essentially 20th and 21st Century history.

This edition has articles on the Bougainville colonial sloops; an Italian colonial sloop Eritrea; the Japanese Asashio class destroyers; Fugas class minesweepers; divisional tactics at the Battle of Jutland and the conclusion to the Naval War in the Adriatic theater in WWI. There is also a piece on the use of ‘highball” on a ship – from the target ship’s perspective, in this case the French battleship Courbet.

#rules

DBA Version 3.0
DBA Version 3.0

I finally got around to acquiring a copy of De Bellis Antiquitatis, my favourite ancient wargaming rules. Plans for 2017 include not just learning these but getting some games in. I have a number of armies in Manila in 6mm and as the playing area is 2-foot square (60cm x 60cm) I also have the space to game.

This will likely make a nice project for 2017. More on that later in a separate post. I can. however, see my 6mm Numidians and 6mm Romans coming out for some early games and also provide an incentive for me to complete my DBA 6mm terrain pieces.

Imperial Skies - I was not part of the kickstarter but I do like the rules
Imperial Skies – I was not part of the kickstarter but I do like the rules

I also ordered copy of Imperial Skies from Brigade Models in the UK.

I had not been part of the kickstarter but these rules look to be a good alternative to Aeronef. I also acquired the dice and turn rulers.

#figures

Ros and Heroics 6mm (1/300th scale) Poles
Ros and Heroics 6mm (1/300th scale) Poles

I purchased some opposition for my 1/300th scale modern Danes. These are in the form of some Heroics and Ros 1/300th scale Poles. We will have sometime this year some T-55s out against some Centurions. This will be part of a separate little project, part of which will be to complete the Danes and relocate them from mother’s garage to the Philippines. These will be used with Cold War Commander. I must admit, whilst the GHQ castings are superb detail wise, I still like the Heroics and Ros for wargames figures.

Aeronefs ... lots of them!
Aeronefs … lots of them!

Naturally, having purchased Imperial skies one needed some Aeronefs to go along with the new rules. Brigade Models Christmas discount helped me to acquire Argentinian, Brazilian and BENELUX fleets for this game and for use with Aeronef as well. I also acquired some Italian ‘nefs in the purchase along with some Russians to round out my Peshawar project, if I ever get back to that.

I really am looking forward to getting some paint on these models.

Baccus 6mm ECW Boxed Set
Baccus 6mm ECW Boxed Set

Last of the stocking fillers was the Baccus 6mm English Civil War boxed set. This consists of butt-loads of figures, bases, buildings and Polemos rules. I will admit up front that I purchased these to play with the Impetus Rules however the beauty of the Polemos basing is that I can also use these as based for bopth Polemos and Impetus.

Another project for 2017 for later description.

Overall, Santa was very kind to me at Christmas, as well he should have been!

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Camillan Romans finished — DBA Project Army 2

The 6mm Camillan Roman DBA Army - figures by Baccus, painting by numbers!
The 6mm Camillan Roman DBA Army – figures by Baccus, painting by numbers!

I started these chaps about two years ago or so — soon after I finished the Numidians. They have been sitting, about 25% finished, just above my painting table where I could not miss seeing them gathering dust. I decided last week that to combat a large degree of stress in my professional life I would finish these off.

All that had been completed before were the velites (two bases front to the right in the picture to the left). The others had been undercoated and the cavalry was half painted.

Of course, it had been so long since I painted them that I could not remember the paints and flocks that I used doing the basing.

I managed to match them off quite well at the end and I like the way these guys look at the moment. Best of all, I can now play 6mm DBA here and finally get around to teaching the lady the game. She likes kicking my butt in chess so this should be a lay-down misère 😉

The DBA 6mm collection slowly growing. Here are the Romans arrayed next to the Numidians. These are the first two of my seven army Singapore wargames project that I should have finished two years ago!
The DBA 6mm collection slowly growing. Here are the Romans arrayed next to the Numidians. These are the first two of my seven army Singapore wargames project that I should have finished two years ago!

Just for reference and because it has been so long ago, I arrayed the Numidian figures on the playing surface next to the Romans. I built the Numidians with all options so picked 12 of the most interesting (that’s the 12 around the elephant) and then put the rest of the figures in a third group.

As you can see there are quite a few more Numidians than Romans. That Roman Army, however, has absolutely no choices except for the choice of a general on foot or on horseback. I just assumed that with the amount of close order foot there I would never really think about taking the general other than as the mounted option.

Both armies are built from Baccus Miniatures 6mm figure range — a wonderful range of ancient troops.

I still have to get around to doing camps and such but that will be later in the project.

I’m not sure what will be next under brush. Maybe the 6mm Japanese World War 2 tanks, perhaps a DBA Parthian Army (seems appropriate as I am reading Peter Darman’s Parthian Dawn at the moment – and feeling very horse soldierly as a result) or even the next army in the Singapore Wargames Project – Gauls or Spaniards.

I will leave you with a parting picture – this for the non-wargamer reading this so they can get an idea of scale.

And for the non-wargamer, a sense of size of the 6mm figures ... yes they are small and no I do not have a lot of patience, I am a grumpy old fart!
And for the non-wargamer, a sense of size of the 6mm figures … yes they are small and no I do not have a lot of patience, I am a grumpy old fart!

The First Decals

20120604-234804.jpg

So, I tried the first few 6mm decals tonight (four down, 150-odd to go). My initial reaction was that it is really quite fiddly. Tonight I put four decals on the figures and will leave them to dry overnight. Tomorrow I’ll hit them with some decal set which should soften the decal and have it grip the shield underneath (boss included).

My worries?

  1. The boss on the shield will not line up with the dot at the centre of the decal
  2. I may have put the decals on rotated 90 degrees
  3. The whole thing will crap out anyway
  4. After decal setting, the decal won’t set

I must admit, in the future, I think I will paint shield patterns, especially in 6mm. To do that, I think I’ll find some fine-tip coloured pens and use those to make the pattern.

I think were I to use decals again, especially on 6mm Roman shields, I would remove the boss before painting and leave the black dot at the centre of the decal as the hint of a boss.

More after the next step

The History of Rome

One of my favourite podcasts has been The History of Rome. I have spent many an interesting hour driving to visit my mum near Coffs Harbour or my kids in and around Canberra, listening to this podcast on my iPod as the kilometres sped past.

This has been an ambitious project of Mike Duncan, to cover the History of Rome in podcasts and currently he is up to an episode called The Broken Bow. In his own words he describes this episode as:

In the early 450s a string of deaths changed the political dynamic of Roman world. Between 450 and 455 Galla Placidia, Aelia Pulcheria, Atilla the Hun, Flavius Aetius and Valentinian III would all die- leaving the stage wide open for the next generation of leaders.

Also, an announcment [sic].

I believe the announcement is that he is completing this series around 476 – the traditionally accepted date for the final collapse of thw western Roman Empire. I shall miss this although I must admit, I am still around episode episode 120 (I do only listen to the podcasts when driving north or south from Sydney after all).

As a wargamer, I have found this series remarkable … and I am sure that the purchase of some of then 6mm Roman figures I acquired not so long ago are the result of listening to some of these episodes.

This series I can thoroughly recommend as a good primer.

The Armies – II/33 Polybian Roman

P1000974This weekend is a busy weekend. I’m meeting my old boss from Korea, CW, at 2 for a couple of beers at Changi and then this evening on to Beerfest Asia 2011. I suspect that as a result of these two cultural events, tomorrow will be spent reading … but picture books only. Saturday morning though I got on with a couple of things whilst doing the weekly washing. I managed to finish painting the base board (more of that in a later post) and also to write up the Polybian Roman Army.

The Polybian Roman army reflects the Romans organisation at the time of Rome’s struggle with Carthage and Hannibal in particular during the Second Punic War. To that end the classical symmetry of the Roman Army is reflected in the structure of this army.

Probably the best initial wargamers source for information on the DBA Polybian’s in particular is at the Fanaticus website – and in particular the notes on the Polybian Romans.

Number Type Comments
1 3Cv The general element and bodyguards
1 3Cv Roman or allied cavalry. Could also be Spanish or Gallic Cavalry instead of native Roman or Italian allies
2 4Sp The Triarii – the veterans of the Roman Army and generally those that formed the third line. Armed in the traditional way of a long spear and shield – in many respects the Roman version of a hoplite
6 4Bd These are the Hastati and Princeps – and are those that perhaps did the majority of the fighting. Armed with the new pilum and trained in its use as well as the use od the short Roman stabbing sword
2 2Ps These are the Rorarii or Velites. At the start of the period, Rorarii which were lightly armed skirmishing troops. These later evolved into the Velites, light infantry armed with shield and javelins and wearing the famous wolfskin.

There are no variations possible with the Roman army. What is listed about is the Roman Army in its only variation. IN many respects this reflects Rome well.

As with the Numidians mentioned previously, I am using four 6mm figures for each 15mm figure recommended in the rules for infantry. The Velites will therefore have 8 figures on the base and the Hastati, Princeps and Triarii will have 16.

The cavalry and the general are scaled to three 6mm figures for each 15mm figure recommended. The 3Cv bases will therefore have 8 or 9 figures on them (I’m still undecided exactly on how many to use).

The terrain requirements for this army are listed as Arable. This means that as I make the terrain I will need to make sure I have the following for this army:

  • Steep Hills – two are needed
  • Gentle Hills – two are needed
  • River – one needed – it should cross the entire board
  • Waterway – one is needed
  • Woods – two are needed
  • Built Up Area (BUA) – one is needed and this is one of the compulsory features
  • Roads – one is needed as this is the alternative compulsory feature to the BUA. It should be long enough to cross from one side of the table to the other

This the organisation of the figures and terrain for the Polybian Romans. The picture at the top of this is the figures and bases sorted and organised for the eventual painting

The Singapore Wargames Project – Part 6 the Materials

P1000946So I finally collected everything. I have the baseboard (thank you Doug for the idea), paint, materials for terrain, figures to make 7 DBA armies from around the time and area of the Punic Wars as well as pre-cut bases to base on it all.

A can of Tiger beer and a planning session gave me the plan. The project will follow the following order (well, that is the plan at the moment at least).

  1. Paint the base board. The reason for starting with this is that I feel it will be a basically straightforward job, fairly quick and give me something complete to look at to encourage me for the other parts of the project (especially as there is another wargaming project at the back of my brain at the moment as well).
  2. Cut, assemble and make the terrain pieces. again, something reasonably quick and there are a couple of techniques I want to play around with.
  3. Paint and base the army with the least number of figures to deal with. This will be the Numidians. Whilst they are not part of the base set, there are some Numidians present in some of the armies anyway so the extra bases will be painted at the same time. They will give me a head start to some of the forces as well as giving me something pretty to look at.
  4. Start on the main 6 armies. When it gets closer to this time I will decide on the order to take.

P1000951

OK – ready to start. As I mentioned earlier I’ll be blogging the progress as this will help force me to keep to the plan.

To the left is a close up of some of the figures. The wooden bases you can see are 40mm x 30mm in size and the figures are just over 6mm small.

Right then, to paint! Tally ho the brush!

The Singapore Wargames Project – Part 5 the Figures

I mentioned that I was going to build this set using 6mm figures from Baccus 6mm. There are seven armies being prepared over time but I thought, as it was payday last week, to buy all the figures at one time.

Two orders were therefore sent to the nice Mr Berry of Baccus (his shopping cart got overloaded halfway through the order Open-mouthed smile) and if previous deliveries are anything to go buy, a nice parcel should arrive at the office next week.

The order was for the following:

Quantity ID Name
1 AGR8 Unarmoured Hoplites
1 AGR1 Hoplites
1 AGR6 Greek Cavalry
1 AGR11 Greek Bolt Throwers
1 AGR4 Psiloi – Bow
1 AGR3 Psiloi – Javelins
1 AMA9 Theurophoros Infantry
1 AMA15 Tarantine Cavalry
2 AGD1 Greek Decals
2 AIT1 Samnite Infantry
1 ARR1 Hastatii w pilum
1 ARR2 Triarii
1 ARR3 Velites
1 ARR5 Roman Cavalry
1 ACA3 Libyan Cavalry
1 ACA5 Veteran Infantry
3 ACA4 Elephants
2 AIR6 Roman Generals
1 ASP5 Spanish Heavy Cavalry
1 ASP4 Spanish Light Cavalry
1 ASP2 Spanish Caetratii
1 ASP1 Spanish Scutarii
1 ASP3 Balearic Slingers
1 ACE1 Celtic Infantry, stood
1 ACE2 Celtic Heavy Cavalry
1 ACE3 Celtic Javelinmen
1 ACE4 Celtic Slingers
2 ACE5 Celtic Chariots
1 ACE6 Celtic Leaders
1 ACE7 Celtic Infantry, charging
2 AMO1 Moorish Infantry
2 AMO3 Moorish Cavalry

This will be enough figures to make the seven armies with leftovers.

Later I will break up the armies into their contents. In the meantime, the next step is to an email an order to East Riding Miniatures for bases for the figures. I will be using the standard DBA 40mm wide bases for this.

The Singapore Wargames Project – Part 3 – the Armies

Yesterday I detailed the terrain to be purchased for the project. I mentioned earlier as well that once I started looking at possible armies, one of the campaign sets popped up as an obvious choice. The 2nd Punic War campaign has a good group of armies all of which are fairly competitive and that together will make some interesting combinations for big battle games.

Of course, given the usual wargamer’s megalomania, I could not just leave it at that six but decided to add a seventh, just for interest sake. All these armies will be made with Baccus 6mm figures and based on 15mm sized bases.

The armies:

List Number Army  
II/9 Syracusan  
II/32 Later Carthaginian  
II/33 Polybian Roman  
II/39a Spain The Iberian option was selected rather than the Celtiberian or Lusitanian options as the Iberians fought with both the Carthaginians and the Romans
II/11 Gauls  
II/8a Italy  
II/40 Numidian This is the extra one added to the set – purely because it just makes sense for some variety. Interestingly I also have a Numidian army to paint for Polemos Ancient

OK, these then are the armies to be purchased and painted.

Cancon 2011 DBA – Rajputs v Polybian Roman

P1000718 Game three saw me pitted against Chris Hersey and army II/33 Polybian Roman.

Whilst on the surface of it, the Romans look fairly vulnerable, they are really quite a good, general purpose type of army. It is true that my knights would “quick kill” most of his infantry but if he played well, his blades in particular would prove quite deadly against my bows and his triarii, backed with one of the Psiloi would also be able to stand up to the knights quite well. His force consisted of:

  • 1 x 3Cv – the Cavalry General
  • 1 x 3Cv – more cavalry
  • 6 x 4Bd – the hastati and the princeps
  • 2 x 4Sp – the triarii
  • 2 x 2 Ps – the velites – some light troops to both back the triarii and work the bad going.

Once again, I rolled low on the aggression dice (his aggression factor is 1 to start with whilst mine is 2) so I ended up being the defender again. I placed the now obligatory wood, rough ground and boggy ground, Chris rolled for sides, deployed and then waited for me. I had decided this time to take the all knight option so my general was mounted on a horse for this game rather than his elephant. I’d decided that over the six games I’d use the elephant general three times and the knight general for the other three games.

We advanced on each other. I’d deployed my blades in the boggy ground on my left flank to protect the archers coming forward and my psiloi on the right where the rough ground was near to where I expected to encounter the Romans. My bows, with the blades supporting were facing blades but the knights were facing his cavalry, general and some blades. My Psiloi would eventually ensure that his spears did not get at my knights.

My blades moved forward to cover the bows (who were really not going to get involved in this fracas at all).

P1000719We finally closed and after some melees that saw some of my knights recoil, Chris then lost an element of blades and this evened out the combat between generals. I rolled well, he didn’t and the result was his general becoming hors de combat and it was game over.

Another 8:1 victory to me. Another general eliminated.

The photo to the right is the conclusion of this game.

It was now lunchtime and after three rounds I had amassed 18 points from a possible 24. This apparently saw me in the top part of the middle of the field and meant that after lunch I would be facing a number of other two game winners, including some more very good DBA players from the Canberra area. Canberra has about 4 DBA tournaments a year so the players there are quite experienced.

Cancon 2011 DBA – Rajputs v Late Imperial Romans

P1000713

The first DBA game I played at Cancon 2011 was against Jason Dickie’s Late Imperial Roman Army. Jason was using the East variant of this list, enabling him to take more knights.

I had rolled lower than Jason for my aggression dice which when the rolls were added to our aggression factors ensured I was the defender. I laid out the tropical terrain of a wood, rough ground (the brown area) and boggy ground (the blue area).

Jason deployed a Late Roman army from list II/78b:

  • 1 x 3 Cavalry (the General’s element)
  • 2 x 4 Auxilia
  • 2 x 2 Light Horse
  • 2 x 4 Knights
  • 3 x 4 Blades
  • 2 x 2 Psiloi

I deployed my army, using the elephant general option. Jason then swapped two pairs of elements from his deployment and it was game on. As this was my first game with the Rajputs, I wasn’t sure of how the mix of troops in the army would work together so kept to a simple plan of engaging his knights with mine, trying to get my elephant general into contact with his knights as well and holding his blades on my right flank until the knights and elephant had done their business.

Jason managed to get a light horse in front of the elephant and matched his knights and general against my knights. The melees in the centre then flowed one way and the other until eventually my knights started dying against his knights. I managed to remove one of his knights as well but try as I might, my elephant could not despatch his light horse and get into his camp. I eventually lost four elements and my first game.

The scoring being used at Cancon DBA was 8 points for a win, and one point for a loss plus, on the loser’s side, one point for each enemy element destroyed. The element destroyed count was kept for both sides as well as camps sacked and generals eliminated for count-back purposes. So, 2 points to me and 8 to Jason.

This meant that for the second game I would be facing another first round loser.