Shiny Things, or Rather the Perils of Being a Wargamer and Reading a New Book

Actually, two books. I received a copy of A Naval History of the Peloponnesian War – Ships, Men and Money in the War at Sea, 431-404 BC written by Marc G DeSantis, ISBN: 9781473861589, published on 29 November 2017.

When reading that I thought it would be a good idea to read Great Battles of the Classical Greek World by Owen Rees, ISBN: 9781473827295, published on 15 August 2016 at the same time as there was a degree of overlap between the two.

Both books are published by Pen & Sword and both look at one area of particular interest to me. I will review both books separately in other blog posts.

So, what is the risk to the Wargamer? Well, it is simple. My favourite periods of interest are Ancient Wargaming and Naval Wargaming. The Peloponnesian War has both. The 25 years of the Peloponnesian War covered a bitter period of classical Greek history and warfare. By this time the Greeks were well settled into the hoplite style of warfare with armoured man, large shields and a long spear standing in a long line with other men similarly armed.

To my pile of uncompleted projects I have added two Greek projects. One is the Greek world circa 670 BCE to 450 BCE – the period when hoplite panoply and warfare was developed to its peak. This was also the period where the Persians were defeated at Marathon and Plataea. The second is the Greek world circa 450 BCE to around 225 BCE which includes the Peloponnesian War.

Fortunately the core troops from the earlier period will also double up for the later period. Currently I am planning the hoplite forces. This little project will be in 6mm for reasons of:

  • space
  • cost
  • speed of painting

Rules will either be DBA or Basic Impetus. The armies should be easy enough to build to be useful for both rule sets. For example, the early Athenian army in Basic Impetus consists of a maximum of 8 bases of Hoplites, and one base each of Slingers, Javelinmen, Thessalian Light Cavalry and Thessalian Medium Cavalry. The DBA equivalent is 10 elements of Hoplites and two elements of skirmishers.

The only real question I have to consider from the rule perspective is whether to use 60mm or 40mm wide bases. DBA would normally be a 40mm element frontage while Dadi and Piombo recommend a 60mm frontage for Basic Impetus in 6mm. 60mm frontage is also the base frontage for Baccus’ SPQR rules.

The base size will set the area that is needed to play and 40mm has the attraction of probably only needed a 2-foot square area (DBA) or 3-foot square (Basic Impetus) while 60mm would set a 4-foot by 3-foot area (Basic Impetus).

More updates later as I start to plan further.

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Paint or Sell — Minoan and Mycenaean Greeks

Chariot Miniatures this time. I’m starting to lean towards the Classical and Dark Ages periods for ancient wargaming rather than Biblicals so I am now looking closely at these fellows. As with the others, there should be around about 400AP (plus or minus) in DBMM terms although the army probably needs another chariot. The Chariot Miniatures are really very lovely but I think I have fallen out of love with the Biblical Period.

Chariot Miniatures
No Code Description Infantry Cavalry Chariot
2 MYG1 Spearmen tower shield 16
2 MYG2 Spearmen figure 8 shield 16
1 MYG3 Javelinmen with plume 8
8 MYG4 Archer 64
3 MYG5 Naked spearmen tower shield 24
2 MYG6 Naked spearmen figure 8 shield 16
2 MYG7 Javelinmen with helmet 16
1 MYG8 Naked slinger 8
1 MYG11 Javelinmen pelta shield 8
2 ENK22 Libyan psiloi javelin/spear 16
4 MTG13 Square 2-horse chariot 4
7 MYG14 Square 2-horse chariot 7
4 MYG15 Round 2-horse chariot 4
6 MYG16 Round 2-horse chariot 6
Total 192 21
Mycenaean and Minoan in 15mm from Chariot Miniatures
Mycenaean and Minoan in 15mm from Chariot Miniatures

The red stain on the packets is not Thomo’s blood (although a late night accident with a carton cutter last night almost had me bleeding over my figures) but rather a bottle of red glaze that leaked on a move from somewhere to somewhere else with the figures.

An Interlude

Figures bases are soaked n water which generally weakens the bond with the glue
Figures bases are soaked n water which generally weakens the bond with the glue

Before settling into the next painting project I thought I’d take the opportunity to rebase some 15mm ancient Greeks I had purchased some time ago from eBay. They were all on different bases and some were based incorrectly. In addition I had had some Greeks painted to basic standard and they needed basing as well.

A good soak, a quick bit of finger work and most of them were separated from their basis – all except the Psiloi that had been based on solid plastic bases. They took a little skilful knife work.

The rare earth magnet under the hoplite base
The rare earth magnet under the hoplite base

I also have a lot of hoplites based on a plastic base with a rare earth magnet underneath that allows them to stick to a metal surface. Unfortunately, the rare earth magnet was not really strong enough for the job. I was therefore looking at ripping these off the bases, repairing any spears damaged as a result and then re-gluing them to new bases.

The lady came up with a suggestion however. “Why don’t you stick them to the new bases as they are?”

“They’d be too tall”, says I.

“Try one”, says she.

The "too high" hoplites
The “too high” hoplites

I did. Now I can’t decide either way. I guess it’s OK. See how I feel in a week!

New Toys

2012-10-17 21.30.26Jessica called me to the front desk today. When I arrived she handed me a box. It was from the nice folks at Miniature Lanka and should contain the rest of my Union ACW forces in 15mm. This should be another couple of regiments of infantry, a lot of figures for command stands, an ambulance, 10 or so artillery pieces and crew as well as a supply wagon or two and a brace of limbers.

Also in the box will be some 15mm Ancient Greeks. For the life of me I cannot remember buying these little buggers let alone giving them to Priyantha to paint but apparently I did. Looking forward to unpacking the box but I fear I do not have time tonight so you’ll need to wait until tomorrow night to see what was in there.

A 15mm Diversion – Ancient Greeks

DSC01434A little while back Anthony and I decided that we needed a little 15mm DBA action here in Singapore. Whilst I am building 6mm DBA armies, Anthony is being a bit conservative with the old “too small, can’t see them” arguments. We shall see on that note.

So, 15mm DBA. What was it going to be? Beer was produced and a planning session started. After some discussion, we decided that Ancient Greeks offered a good possibility. We had not really decided on Early or Late Hoplite Greek, just Ancient Greek.

Anthony had an interest in Spartans, so, as it looked like the Peloponnesian War was going to erupt in Singapore, the Delian League seemed appropriate for me.

I knew Anthony wasn’t planning on painting figures but rather would buy painted. I wondered how I was going to find time to paint and so thought “nah, let’s have a look for painted figures!”

Off to eBay I went and found some light infantry and hoplites (both armoured and unarmoured). I needed about 12 elements of Hoplites but over achieved and ended up buying 32 elements (it was a good deal). Oh well, some big battle DBA coming up.

I also needed some peltasts so some more hunting and I found some 15mm Thracians. Add some Thessalian Light Horse and four elements of Greek Cavalry and I have enough for two or three Greek DBA armies now. I also ended up buying some new Old Glory 15mm Greek cavalry as a plan B when I could not find any painted ones so I may just paint those up as well.

In the typical model of megalomania found in most true wargamers, I am also considering the odd purchase of more painted hoplites to take the army up to DBMM size. I was also thinking that as the Persian War was the lead in to the Peloponnesian War that perhaps I should look for the odd Persian as well.

Look out KL, I may actually get to your annual DBA competition this year!