DeBAKLe 2013 — the AAR

The guys getting ready for start of DeBAKLe 2013  -- organiser David Khoo is sitting, back to the camera preparing the first round draw
The guys getting ready for start of DeBAKLe 2013 — organiser David Khoo is sitting, back to the camera preparing the first round draw

I stood in the maelstrom that was emigration from Malaysia at 2CIQ (Tuas Second Link) on the way back to Singapore and as I was jostled in the crowd for around 30 minutes, my mind started to drift off to contemplate the weekend in Kuala Lumpur — pondering not just DeBAKLe 2013 but also the general wargaming scene in Malaysia. It does appear healthier than here in Singapore with quite an active group of wargamers meeting regularly to battle through different periods of history.  There is currently a large Napoleonic campaign in under-way (Leipzig) with the battle being broken down into component parts and played over different weekends.

At dinner with some of the guys on Saturday night (great choice of dishes by the way guys and a good reason for my weight having shot through the roof again – love eating in Malaysia) inevitably conversation was centred around wargaming, and armies and tactics, this was a refreshing change for me where wargaming conversation in Singapore is all too infrequent.

For DeBAKLe 2013 there were a mix of experienced players and new, a good sign for the hobby there, as was the fact that there were 14 players at DeBAKLe 2013, the number up on previous years and causing David (who organises it) to consider four rounds next year.

As readers of Thomo’s Hole will know, I had painted a Nubian Army to take to DeBAKLe 2013 over the five days before leaving for the competition. I am still pleased with that effort and some nice things were said about the appearance of the army there.

On to my games.

Game 1 -- vs the Ch'in (Book II/4a) -- after the first moves
Game 1 — vs the Ch’in (Book II/4a) — after the first moves

This was my first battle – the Ch’in were fielded by AJ KJ and in what was a huge surprise to me, I was the attacker. It was a surprise as the Ch’in aggression was 3 and mine was 1. So, the Nubians invaded Ch’in China!

AJ KJ laid out two woods and a road. His army consisted of two heavy chariots (a sweet target for my bows), some cavalry and mostly warband and bows. The Nubians (Book I/3) consisted of two warbands, seven bows (one of which was the general) and three Psiloi.

Game 1 - at the death
Game 1 – after my first casulalty

AJ KJ advanced over the table and tried to keep his heavy chariots away from my bows. He was successful in doing that however I managed after an early set back to remove his Cavalry, Psiloi and a Bow. I had lost two Bows by this stage.

AJ KJ marched his warband into the wood to clear out the Psiloi there whilst I prepared to roll up AJ’s right flank.

The best tactic possible then came into play. When AJ’s KJ’s warband hit my Psiloi, the battle factor was 2-1 in his favour and looking at little awkward for the Nubians. The die were cast and the result was a role of 6-1 in my favour. Scratch a warband.

Game one then was a 4-2 victory to me – scoring me 8 points and AJ KJ 2.

Game 2 vs Faris's Patrician Romans - Book II/83 (west)
Game 2 vs Faris’s Patrician Romans – Book II/83b (east)

Faris was my next opponent and he was using Patrician Romans – a nice force because of the variations possible. He had a mix of knights, cavalry, auxilia, light horse, blades and psiloi. A good mix to take on the Nubians with a lot of good match-ups likely from his side of the table.

The Patrician’s are aggression 0 and I am aggression 1 but I lost the attacker/defender roll and laid out the terrain. Two sand dunes and an area of rough ground. We deployed and my plan was to move things around so that my warband and psiloi faced off against his auxilia whilst my bows concentrated on his knights and cavalry and tried to stay away from his blades.

The end of game 2 - and another win
The end of game 2 – and another win

Faris came forward and tried to get his bow killers into contact with the bows. However, I managed to keep out of the way of the Auxilia and manoeuvred the bows to get some shots on the cataphracts. Cataphracts died. It was a hard victory however as Faris managed to get some good troops into my bows and managed to kill my general. At that point I was three elements down (two bows and a psiloi, one of bows was the general however) and Faris was also three elements down. I rolled for PIPs and needed to roll at least 2 to do anything. A role of 4 saw me able to position myself well against his Psiloi and the result was a 4-3 victory my way, with another 8 points. Faris picked up 5 I think for this – 3 points for killing a general and two for the other two elements.

I was in the top four at this point (surprisingly) and so it was on to the final round.

Deployed ready to face the Anglo-Saxons (Actually, I think these were Anglo-Danish so IV/71)
Deployed ready to face the Anglo-Saxons (Actually, I think these were Anglo-Danish so IV/71)

I’ve been reading a lot of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon series recently so when I saw the Anglo-Saxons, a mix of blades and spears (the shield wall) I thought of Uhtred! This battle was against Tony, also undefeated at this stage and his army was a mix of blades, spears and the odd Psiloi. They were aggression 1, same as me, but I ended up being the defender again. I placed my two areas of sand dune and one of rough going.

We deployed and started to play. My only real hope in this battle was to get my warband into his infantry and hope for a quick kill. The shield wall rather than the blades was the target.

I used my light troops to anchor my left flank on sand dunes and arrayed myself between dunes, narrowing his attack frontage and I hoped keeping enough of his troops out of the battle until I could make some inroads into his forces.

Tony left me an opening on the right of his centre and I was starting to work that. I really only needed to hold his centre and then start to wrap around it and even though it was the bows doing it, I figured I had a good chance to start to roll him up.

The opening combat was therefore my bow general against his blades – a starting factor of 2-5 his way. I added one as I was a general and he subtracted one as he was overlapped so now 3-4. I rolled one on my dice roll so a roll of 4 or better on Tony’s and I was toast. He rolled 4 or better. The rest of my combats were closer but all my elements lost and were pushed back. Game over! I lost it 1-0 with the general being the casualty so 11 points for Tony and none for me.

Joint sixth place
Joint sixth place

After the game totals were all tallied, I had come in a creditable (well, I thought it was creditable) sixth place using the Nubians, not a world beating army but with all those bows, one to strike, if not fear, at least a little uncertainty into the hearts of opponents.

Deployed for a Big Battle DBA
Deployed for a Big Battle DBA

To finish the wargaming off for the day, we had a Big Battle DBA – which our side managed to lose conclusively with two commands broken and the third one element from breaking.

All in all, it was a great day.

After the wargaming was over, we adjourned to a Chinese Restaurant somewhere in Shah Alam or the Klang Valley for some typically great Malaysian Chinese food.

Thanks to the Broken Bayonets for a wonderful weekend of gaming and special thanks to David Khoo and his family for putting me up and feeding me (more about the burger later).

DeBAKLe 2013 — 15 February 2014 — The Army Painting Progress — Day 5

The Nubians Complete
The Nubians Complete

Day 5 and today was broken up into short painting periods – over lunch, over afternoon coffee, waiting for the baked beans to heat and so on. However, pretty much everything was done before today, all that was needed was the odd light touch-up and dry brush plus add an anachronistic touch for someone on Saturday to be able to say, “hey, Nubians never had [insert favourite anachonism]. Still, I think they look dark and menacing as they stand. I’m also quite happy with the way the dry terrain turned out. Looks sufficiently Sudanish!

My view of the Nubians
My view of the Nubians

My view of the Nubians is also nice and I hope this is the only bit I see of them, although I suspect I will see more of them running away than staying to fight the same day 🙂 Next task is to spend half an hour or so tomorrow looking for my rules. I also need to cut out some terrain pieces and nobble up a camp. And I need to buy my bus ticket so I can tell Dave where to meet me. I’m quite looking forward to DeBAKLe 2013, it will be good to catch up with the Broken Bayonets after the last time (that was 10 years ago IIRC). Lastly, I’ll leave you with a hawk’s eye view of the army.

A hawk's eye view of the Nubians
A hawk’s eye view of the Nubians

DeBAKLe 2013 — 15 February 2014 — The Army Painting Progress — Day 4

2014-02-12 01.48.56Day 4 painting was a little less than planned (doesn’t that always happen when you are getting close to your target?)! Domestic matters took over in the evening and they went longer than expected – still, a picnic dinner at the beach at sunset was a welcome change of scenery. It also gave me a chance to stop into the Samsung store in VivoCity and find out that whilst my phone is genuine (I never doubted that), my S-View cover is probably a fake (I had started to suspect that after the upgrade to Kit Kat when S-View stopped working). I’ll deal with that later.

On to the painting.

I managed to finish the figures except for a final dry brush on the tunics and completing the shields on the warband. That will be done over lunch today. After that, I’ll add some clumps of grass to the bases, even out the colour on the edge of the bases then when the glue and paint dries, varnish them last thing tonight.

I am wondering whether or not to “weather” the army – that is, make the soldiers look a wee bit dusty. Still pondering that.

However, I’m starting to feel confident that they will be finished today (Day 5) and ready to use tomorrow.

As for DeBAKLe 2013, I still need to book my bus ride to Kuala Lumpur and make some terrain to take with me – namely sand dunes as the Nubians are a dry climate army.

The next post should have the pin-up shot of the Nubians, finished and ready for battle. Now where did I put my copy of the rules?

DeBAKLe 2013 — 15 February 2014 — The Army Painting Progress — Day 3

Day 3 Painting Progress
Day 3 Painting Progress

Day 3 started fine, warm and sunny. An altogether nice day. I did a little painting in the morning, then headed out for some meetings and lunch and back again in the early afternoon.

Today I got the block colours done on the rest of the figures, although I still need to do the shields on the warband.

Fear of leopard skins had me madly searching this morning for various large animals that roamed the area occupied by the ancient Nubians, at the same time as the ancient Nubians were around.

Apart from leopards, there were lions, oryx and various antelopes mercifully in single shades. The colours of their pelts ranged from white to almost black with a few shades of “Frasier Browns”1 thrown in for good measure.

I painted various browns. Some white was added for the headband and arrow flights (the flights will appear grey when finished), bow, arrows and quivers painted and hair painted. For the warband I mixed some red and brown to give a kind of natural red hat for the warband. Bird feathers are white. For the chief I saw an illustration with a number of Nubians and one was in a long tunic with coloured strips on it. I ignored the fact that the illustration was a female and went ahead and gave the boss stripes.

Lastly, I did some interpretive leopard skins on two figures. You can see my poor interpretation below. 🙂

My interpretive attempt at a 15mm leopard skin ... well, I ain't no Rembrandt!
My interpretive attempt at a 15mm leopard skin … well, I ain’t no Rembrandt!


1. From the TV series Frasier, one of my favourite exchanges (see for the full script)

Niles: What color is the new carpet?
Frasier: I’m going up a shade… to “Harvest Wheat.”
Niles: I thought the next shade up was “Buff.”
Frasier: It used to be, but they’ve discovered a whole new color in
Niles: So now it’s “Tofu, Putty, Oatmeal”…
Both: “Almond, Harvest Wheat”…
Frasier: “and Buff.”
Niles: That’s going to be hard to get used to.

DeBAKLe 2013 — 15 February 2014 — The Army Painting Progress — Day 2

Thomo's Painting Hole with the Nubians under paint - reference pictures handing from the shelves
Thomo’s Painting Hole with the Nubians under paint – reference pictures handing from the shelves

I thought I would start today’s painting update with a shot of Thomo’s Painting area – set in the man cave.

I admire deeply all those fellow wargamers who have a neat painting area, with paints all colour coded in special stands. Really, I do admire that. I am a little more laissez faire in my wargames workshop storage skills however.

Yep, stuff everywhere but hey, I know where to find everything — even if the lady had to show me where I put my dried grass tufts tonight!

On to the painting report. The picture to the right is the current position of the army.

Painting Progress -- Day 2
Painting Progress — Day 2

After the basing and undercoating yesterday, today I got the bases almost finished. Three dry brushes of increasingly lighter browns has given a good desert appearance, I think. The last colour will be a dry brush of a light grey only to larger rocks.

I also tested the skin tones for the Nubians today. I tried a black wash on the brown undercoat and a brown wash. Both left the skin tone a little light for my tastes. I then used some Citadel Scorched Brown (I think that is now called Rhinox Hide) for the base skin tone and tested again with a brown and a black wash. The darker brown with the black wash is the winner in this case, giving a good, dark skin tone for the Nubians, who the ancient Egyptians described as being very dark.

So, 40% of the five days gone and tonight I am going to bed considering the leopard skin tunics for some and wondering, were black panthers found that far north? 🙂

Nubians in the Desert
Nubians in the Desert

Lastly, I thought I would leave you all with a shot of the first three almost finished bases – three bases of Psiloi. The only thing left to do on these is to touch up the brown around the edge of the bases and then varnish. I’m temped to gloss varnish then matt varnish the figures so that they end up with a nice satin sheen. I’m still; thinking about that.

In the meantime, you can get an idea of how my desert bases are going to look now.

To sleep, perchance to dream … about leopard skins!

DeBAKLe 2013 — 15 February 2014 — The Army Painting Progress — Day 1

The results of the first day's painting for the Nubians
The results of the first day’s painting for the Nubians

Day One of painting the Nubians in about 5 days (did I really say 5 days — plan B is looking better and better all the time!) was completed with a night out with an old business contact and friend. That consisted of Pizza, Beer, watching Liverpool go 4-0 up against Arsenal before we started our second beer and then a beer or 10 at the infamous four floors of whores (Orchard Towers).

Painting therefore finished early on Day 1. Over the first day however I managed to:

  1. clean the figures up a bit
  2. glue the shields on (and in a couple of cases, glue the shields in multiple times), firmly adhere my finger to my metal paint stirrer (thank you to the lady for the use of her nail polish remover)
  3. glue the figures to some pre-cut MDF bases. With the psiloi I am trying a slightly different technique but I will talk about that when the army is finished
  4. sprinkle some sand and rocks to the bases to set them up for a desert appearance
  5. spray undercoat the lot in Army Painter brown.

The last task was managed just before putting my shirt on to go out so the man cave had a wonderful smell of sprayed paint when I did finally get home.

Day 2 painting continues later today.

DeBAKLe 2013 — 15 February 2014 — The Army Choice 3

OK, it is one week before I commence a journey to Kuala Lumpur for the increasingly misnamed DeBAKLe 2013 (yes guys, I am still planning on attending – working out travel logistics this weekend). As it is seven days to go, I thought it was about time I thought seriously about the army I plan to paint and take. I had looked at some possibilities and had narrowed the field down. Now with the pressure of a limited time period in play, it’s time to get serious!

The Khmer - undercoated and some painting started
The Khmer – undercoated and some painting started

The Khmer are based, undercoated and one element is already complete (the Maiden guard was my test base for colours etc). Whilst I like the idea of an Asian Army for DeBAKLe 2013 and whilst the Khmer will be very pretty when I finish them, I do have some repair work to do already. The umbrellas either need to come down or I need to add a brass wire umbrella pole (umbrella pole? Hmmm, and English is my first language).

This will probably also be the heaviest army to transport with the weight of the elephants.

Still, I can see this being a nice army – figures are from Irregular Miniatures.

Gladiator (now Black Hat) Nubians
Gladiator (now Black Hat) Nubians

A short-priced favourite to take, ancient Nubians. The army is from the old Gladiator Miniatures (now Black Hat Miniatures).

These have the advantage of not being powerful as an army and therefore perfect for a competition like DeBAKLe 2013 (or so the guys in Kuala Lumpur assure me) as well as being light to carry and likely quick to paint.

Finished, I think they will look very nice.

Gladiator (now Black Hat) Early Arabs
Gladiator (now Black Hat) Early Arabs

Option 3 is another Gladiator army – this time, Early Arabs. This is a mix of Auxilia and Psiloi with a Light Chariot General and some camels as its main strike force. Yeah, this is powerful … not!

It will look good however.

Still, if I can get unlucky with the dice and roll low for Attacker/Defender then place more sand than you can see in a KL building site, this army might do OK.

Who am I kidding!

I am Spartacus ... from Essex Minitures
I am Spartacus … from Essex Minitures

The Slave Revolt Army (Spartacus edition) from Essex Miniatures is a nice collection of Roman looking figures and wild(ish) Gauls. Actually, the Gauls look pretty sedate but it will end up being a good looking army when finished and should, with its mix of blades and warband, give any budding Crassus a difficult time.

This army has the most figures to paint of all the possibles.

Having said that, who can resist having the guys in KL walk past the table and each time they do, have them say, “I am Spartacus!”

Plan B - Koguryo Koreans are ready for a second competition outing
Plan B – Koguryo Koreans are ready for a second competition outing

And now I present … plan B!

If I can’t get one of the above decided and started tomorrow and then well underway paint wise by Monday night, ready for varnishing Thursday night, then it may well be time to take the Koguryo Koreans north. A mix of knights, spears, bows and light cavalry suggests that as an army they will perform well and at Cancon 2012 they placed firmly in the middle of the field so not that impressive as an army goes.

Having said that, the Alain Touller Miniatures are very nice and the army looks good in white.

Right then, that’s where we are down to in the selection process. Anyone, especially in KL, have any favourites that they want to see at DeBAKLe 2013?

David, I’ll contact you later when I work out the travel arrangement and whether the entourage has decided to come to KL that weekend as well).

Malaysia High Commission London – Services

mal_hc It seems that the Malaysian High Commission in London has been moonlighting. Entering “malaysia high comm london” results in the map to the left with additional information being displayed.

You should be able to see the “extra” service.

Seems it is a visa with a happy ending.

Thanks Scott for pointing that one out.