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!

Dark Age Campaign Set – the Figures ordered

These will serve as the Andalusian cavalry.
Photo taken from Baccus website (http://www.baccus6mm.com)

To begin the process of adding more lead to the pile, I mean, after all, you can never have enough lead, I looked at all the figures I would need then though, I should by these in groups as they will cost a bloke an arm and a leg. I then received a bonus at work and thought, “what wargaming items can I spend this on … after all, it’s mine, allllll mine”!

These will be the core of the East and West Franks. Photo taken from Baccus website (http://www.baccus6mm.com)

Damn it if it did not seem like a great idea to get all the lead for this project, after all, it was only going to be another 1,800 figures or so. Best part was, when I looked at the order, I calculated that there would be enough left over to purchase a World War 2 French army for Blitzkrieg Commander IV. This was important as I had picked up a paint set in Sydney from Hobbyco. Even though the store was disappointing, the paint was not. French armour from World War 2, paints were Ammo by mig. I have wanted to try these paints for a while and yes I know, I could have purchased a set for early war British or something but the French seemed so, well, colourful and best, it means I will have a WW2 and a Modern French force.

I digress.

What exactly did I purchase. Remember that I was looking to build the project around six armies:

  • Viking
  • Andalusian
  • Anglo-Saxon
  • West Frankish
  • East Frankish and
  • Leidang

So, what did I purchase I hear you ask? Here is the order list of pack numbers I purchased:

Andalusian

1 x CIS17 – Saracen Command
1 x CIS01 – Seljuq Turk Heavy Cavalry
1 x CIS04 – Seljuq Turk Light Cavalry – Gallop
1 x CIS09 – Fatamid Spearmen
1 x CIS16 – Sudanese Spearmen

East and West Frankish

1 x EMC – Early Mediaeval Casualties
2 x EMN01 – Norman Armoured Cavalry, charging
1 x EMN02 – Norman Armoured Cavalry, stood
1 x EMN03 – Norman unarmoured Cavalry
1 x EMN04 – Norman armoured infantry
1 x EMN05 – Norman Archers
1 x EMN07 – Norman Crossbowmen
1 x EMN06 – Norman Leaders
1 x AGO03 – Gothic Heavy Cavalry

Anglo-Saxon

1 x EMA01 – Huscarles with Spear
1 x EMA02 – Huscarles with Axe
2 x EMA03 – Fyrd Spearmen
1 x EMA04 – Anglo Saxon Archers
1 x EMA05 – Saxon Leaders and command

Viking and Leidang

2 x EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen
2 x EMV02 – Unarmoured Spearmen
1 x EMV03 – Armoured Axemen
1 x EMV04 – Viking Archers
1 x EMV05 – Viking Luminaries and Loonies
1 x AGO01 – Gothic Infantry
1 x AGO02 – Gothic Archers

Anglo-Saxon huscarles.
Photo taken from Baccus website (http://www.baccus6mm.com)

The armies will morph as well. I can make Irish Viking out of these figures for a bit of variation. I can also manage the Finns as well

The entire armies will be Baccus and I will admit to looking forward to their arrival. I am trying to clear the painting table and queue in anticipation. Mind you, I am not sure that ordering 1,800 figures in one hit, even 6mm figures, is the smartest thing to do. Still, wargamers will understand.

Dark Age Campaign Set – the Figures needed

Baccus Sudanese doubling as Andalusians – photo taken from Baccus Catalogue

I spent some time this week having a look at the figures needed to make up the Dark Age set. Recall in Dark Age Campaign Set I identified six Dark Age armies to build the set around, being Viking, Andalusian, Anglo-Saxon, West Frankish, East Frankish and Leidang.

First decision was the figure range and while both Baccus 6mm and Heroics and Ros have the same ranges available, the pricing of both companies is near enough to the same to just pick one range on appearance.
I do like Heroics and Ros, especially for World War 2 and Modern wargaming but for Ancients, Baccus is a very nice range of figures so I decided to build the set with the various Baccus ranges.

Baccus Goths doubling as Hairy Dark Age barbarians – photo taken from Baccus Catalogue

Some “repurposing” parts of the Baccus range was necessary to achieve the six desired armies (and to be honest I am thinking of adding a Slav army to round it all out … but not yet). For some of the East Franks and the Norse Leidang I am opting to use some Goths from the Roman range. The Andalusians are being drawn from the Saracens in the Crusades range – using mainly the Seljuqs and Sudanese.
I have calculated that to achieve the desired results here, I will need to purchase 30 packets of figures from Baccus. This will amount to around £152.00 not counting postage 😦

The figure count (and therefore the painting queue) will grow by about 1,500 foot figures and 300 mounted figures, plus/minus.

I think I may break the order up into chunks and will plan to develop this project over the coming 12 months. In the meantime, I have a lot of modern naval in 1/3000 scale to paint up (not to mention 1/3000 scale World War 2 and World War 1).

Time for another planning session I reckon – off to the pub!

Collision Course – DBA Competition

Davis Lawrence is running a DBA competition called Collision Course in Canberra, ACT, Australia on Sunday, May 26, 2019 (See flyer CCV Flyer).  Brief details:

  • Venue: Austrian Australian Club –Heard St Mawson ACT
  • Date: Sunday May 26 th 2019
  • Time: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM – first game starts at 10:30AM
  • Rules: DBA 3
  • Scale: 15mm

Cost to enter is AU $18.00 but there are discounts

You can contact David on:

CCV Flyer

Dark Age Campaign Set

Having studied History at University (when I was supposed to be reading Economics) I always feel a little less than professional when I refer to the Dark Ages as the Dark Ages – but it fits. The glory days of Rome were well past and there were many years to go before the golden age of the Renaissance appeared. Even in China we had just come out of the Tang Dynasty and were heading into Five Dynasties. (907–960) and then Song Dynasty. The glory days of Yuan when the Mongols took over China were not until 1200 C.E. or so.

I have always had an interest in the Norsemen however, especially as I did study the Vikings in those misspent university years. The project Vikings in 6mm – the Project Start came as a result of reading some historical fiction around Erik Bloodave. I have been doing some research over a Tim Horton’s coffee or two and have settled on the following armies. I intend to purchase enough figures to build them so that they can be used for both DBA version 3 and Basic Impetus

Army Name DBA Army Basic Impetus
Viking Army III/40b Viking Army 850-1280 CE 14.8 Viking 789-1066 CE
Andalusian III/34b Andalusian 766-1172 CE 18.3 Later Andalusian 961-1072 CE
Anglo-Saxon III/24b Anglo-Saxon 701-1016 CE 14.9 Later Anglo-Saxon 789-1016 CE
West Frankish III/52 West Frankish/Normans 888-1072 CE 15.3 Normans in Normandy 900-1072 CE
East Frankish III/53 East Frankish 888-1106 CE 15.11 Eastern Franks & Ottonians 898-1125 CE
Leidang (Norse) III/40c Leidang 790-1070 CE Haven’t worked this one out yet 🙂

I had to do a bit of converting troop types and rules to work these together for two different sets of rules. Firstly there was base sizes. I did consider using 60mm base widths with 30mm depth for pretty much everything as both rules would work with that as they both use base widths for measuring ranges and move distances. However one thing I am very short on in the Philippines is space, so a 2′ x 2′ (or 60cm x 60cm) playing area was the first constraint. I then decided that I would use standard DBA/DBM bases of 40mm frontage. As both sets of rules use base width measures it would still work OK.

The second task was to determine a conversion between Basic Impetus and DBA trop types. I settled on the following conversions:

DBA Troop Type Basic Impetus Troop Type
4Bd FP
Sp FP
3Wb FL or S
Ps S
4Bw T
3Cb T
3Ax FL (Irish)
Cv CM
LH CL
3Kn CP2 or CP1
7Hd FB

I reckon by the time I finish I will have a few more to add to the list.

As for basing, as I am using 6mm figures, I am planning on  basing 4 x 6mm figures for what would be a single 15mm figure on a 40mm base for the likes of 4Bd (16 figures to the base). For loose order (3Ax etc) then 12 figures to the base (normally 3 x 15mm figures). Light troops will be 6 to 8 skirmishers. For mounted troops I will be using a ratio of nearly 3:1 for all except Light Horse. So 3Kn will have 9 or 10 figures on the base. LH will be 4 figures on the base.

It just so happens as well that I believe the next issue of Slingshot from the Society of Ancients (Slingshot 324, May/June 2019) will have an article about a Dark Age campaign using 6mm Viking figures, among other things. In fact, just checking their Twitter feed there will be DBA Danelaw Campaigns as well as Tweaking DBA 3. I’m looking forward to that issue (and joining the Society of Ancients is recommended for anyone interested in Ancient Wargaming).

As for figures, I really only have a choice between Baccus 6mm and Heroics and Ros. Both have good ranges of Dark Age figures. For the Andalusians I will need to trawl through the Crusader ranges. Most likely that will be Baccus who have a larger range of Saracens and Seljuqs. Goths (as a nice hairy barbarian type) will also make an appearance in these armies doubling for some of the Finns and Slavs or Rus.

And yes, just what a wargamer needs, another project and more figures. I think I will slip off now and start my modern Soviet fleets in 1/3000!

The Next Step – Normans

In When Inspiration is Failing Along Comes Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy 97 I mentioned that I was developing an interest in the Anarchy – Stephen and Mathilda’s brawl with each other over the English crown in the period 1135 to 1153. I spoke of Normans. I also mentioned that it was leading me to consider another wargames project so last night I did some more reading and research.

The Anarchy was some 70 years after William’s invasion of England so in fact, we are not talking about Normans as such but rather the Anglo-Norman successors of William’s invasion. The English barons supported Stephen so we are dealing with the Anglo-Normans.

Mathilda’s supporters included Robert of Gloucester and the Battle of Lincoln in 1141 pitted Robert against Stephen so Anglo-Norman vs Anglo-Norman army. Later Henry, Mathilda’s son, invaded with some knights so I can find an excuse to add a Feudal French force. The Normans also invaded Sicily so add a Sicilian opponent. Other enemies over the period involved include the pre-Feudal Scots and Scots Common, the Welsh, and lastly the Anglo-Norse. A fine collection of forces for a matched set.

A Wargamer’s Guide to the Early Roman Empire – Review

I recently had a look at and reviewed Daniel Mersey’s Wargamer’s Guide to the Desert War. I am fortunate to have received a copy of Mersey’s Wargamer’s Guide to the Early Roman Empire to have a look at.

The book is paperback of 126 pages so slightly longer than the Desert War, was published by Pen & Sword Military on 4 July 2017, ISBN: 9781473849556. It is one of the range of wargame books being published by Pen & Sword. Best of all, it is on sale currently.

The book follows a now familiar format, although in this case, it contains seven chapters:

  1. The Roman Empire 27BC t0 AD284 – an overview of the history of Rome and its wars over the period of the Early Roman Empire
  2. Armies, Organization, and Equipment – covering, well, the armies, their organisation and equipment. A generalised discussion of the organisation covering the Romans; Britons; Caledonians; Dacians; Germans; Palmyrans; Parthians; and Sassanids
  3. The Key Battles – covering (briefly) the battles of Teutoburg Forest; Idistavisus; Medway River; Cremona (Bedriacum); Mons Graupius; Tapae; Issus; Lugdunum; Nisibis; and Emesa. These sections within this chapter briefly describe the battles then provide suggestions for wargaming the battle
  4. Wargaming the Battles of Rome – covering Facing the Might of Rome; Command Structures; Missile Fire; Legion versus Warbands (and Cavalry); the Role of Auxiliary Infantry; and Getting the Right Look
  5. Choosing Your Rules – a summary of a number of rules, including: Armati II; Aurelian; Commands & Colours: Ancients; De Bellis Antiquitatis; Hail Caesar; Kings of War Historical; Legio VI; To The Strongest; War & Conquest; War Games Rules 3000BC to 1485AD; Brink of Battle; Broken Legions; De Bellis Velitum; FUBAR Medieval; Lord of the Rings Battle Game; Of Gods and Mortals; Open Combat; and Song of Blades and Heroes
  6. Choosing Your Models – a look at some of the main manufacturers in various scales including manufacturers of 28mm, 20mm, 15mm, 10/12mm and 6mm. This chapter also discusses scale for each of those figure sizes. There is also a handy table of manufacturers and the ranges they cover (refer point 2 above for the ranges)
  7. Scenarios – presents the setting up of some scenario based battles to provide some variety in the games we play

There is also an index and a list of titles for further reading.

This book has found a welcome place on my bookshelf (actually, coffee table as it has become the favourite for flicking through with a cup of coffee this week). Mersey has set a standard for his Wargamer’s Guides and continues to deliver to that standard. Whilst much of the historical content is familiar to me it is good to be able to read that from another gamer’s perspective. There are 8-pages of eye candy in the middle of the book with painted figures from Simon Miller, Daniel Mersey, Barry Lee and Wargames Illustrated to encourage the reader to whip out the paintbrushes and finish off those Early Imperial Romans.

Mersey discusses the troop types against the very familiar descriptions of troops found in the old Wargames Research Group Series of rules, particularly the 6th edition. He discusses their use in battle, their formation, speed and armament.

I am now torn between completing my Desert War Armies or dragging out the Early Imperial Romans, getting them sorted then building some Britons, Germans, Dacians or Palmyrans for opponents. Hmm, now that I think about it I have some Sassanians tucked away here somewhere as well.

Well recommended for its general nature but also for the inspiration it provides.

A 6mm Morph – What to Change Into?

The Numidians in for a change
The Numidians in for a change

I was sorting the jumbled figures from the move and in one box I have Numidians and Romans, part based for Baccus’s Polemos SPQR rules. I’ll come back to the Romans later. The Numidians, however, are basic and are extra to my current Numidian needs. I have an all-options 6mm Numidian army already based for DBA. The question becomes, what to do with these blokes?

The stock consists of 80 general javelinmen type figures and 40 general cavalry figures. So all figures are armed with javelins (or short spear in 6mm), a shield and no armour. Tunic Colours are mixed and the figures have a Caucasian appearance.

Any suggestions as to what this can be morphed into. They will be re-based on standard DBA 40mm bases and ideally will have a number of figures backed onto the bases to make them look like there are more than there are.

Suggestions?

First Repairs Done

Before I outlined the possible plans for the weekend and they were:

  1. Watch TV
  2. Go out and drink beer
  3. Get back into wargaming items
15mm DBA armies a little jumbled - these are the Hungarians and Koreans
15mm DBA armies a little jumbled – these are the Hungarians and Koreans

Whilst it was a tough choice as one does enjoy the odd tipple, what finally worked was to drink beer of Friday night (way too much as it turned out) and then I got into some wargaming related stuff today. First cab off the rank was to repair the existing figures after their move from Singapore to Manila. They looked a little messed up when I opened their box:

Figures were jumbled all over the place and there were a number of bent spears. I was more worried about anything that had broken off. Fortunately, nothing was broken off, just a lot of bent spears and the odd paint chip. The paint chips were not seriously noticeable so I have decided to leave them as they are. Now these three DBA armies are ready for battle again.

All the figures here are 15mm scale with the Later Hungarians being from Essex Miniatures, the Nubians are old series Gladiator Games and the Koreans are Alain Touller Figurines.

De Bellis Antiquitatis 3.0

DBA3Finally, I received my copy of De Bellis Antiquitatis version 3.0 (DBA 3.0). Of course, ordering it was a joy but receiving it was a bit of a trial. Ordered and paid for through Amazon UK, the book was dispatched air mail on 4 November 2014. Judging by the Post Office stamp on the parcel, it arrived in Manila on 5 December, a full month later. Eight days was the turnaround to Kuala Lumpur so obviously the flight from KL to Manila takes 22 days.

It then took from 5 December to 12 December to work its way though the Philippines Post Office and for me to get a card to collect the goods from then Post Office. I collected the rules today.

Whilst I can’t understand why the Philippines Post Office does not just deliver books as there is no duty payable on them, I can understand it taking 7 days to get the notice to me as there was a distraction called Typhoon Ruby here so I won’t complain about that last delay.

Still, it’s good to have a meaty read for the soon-to-be-flight back to Oz for Christmas. From what I have seen so far, I am looking forward to playing with these rules in then future.