One of my favourite YouTube channels is the Little Wars TV channel. I come home from work, late at night, set the TV to YouTube and tune in to see what is up with the guys this week. The guys re-fight battles, review rules and generally behave and talk like wargamers behave and talk. This week I enjoyed the refight of that well-known battle of Hannibal’s – Trebbia. The Romans were defeated historically in this, Hannibal’s first battle on Italian soil and most ancient wargamers know the Battle of Trebbia so it is hard to get the Romans to walk into the trap that is set there. The Little Wars guys do it well. It is also great looking at the way they have based and used 6mm figures for the game – with all figures based in 40mm square bases. They do give the impression of two armies facing off against each other.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As one of the about 100 projects I have started at the moment (I really am a wargame butterfly, floating from bright flower to bright flower), I started the basing of my Polemos Ancients. I have three Baccus 6mm armies in various stages of completion:
Pontic – unpainted
Numidian – painted and attached to bases – flocking to be done
Imperial Roman – painted but waiting for me to attach 150 decals to 6mm shields and then base.
I thought then a quick update well in order, especially as I haven’t posted anything for a while.
The photo above is of the raw materials laid out – the figures, MDF bases and adhesive magnetic tape. At my favourite stationery store, Stationery Superstore in Funan Digital Mall ((incidentally, my favourite mall here in Signapore as well)) here in Singapore I have discovered a nice range of magnetic tape. They are in rolls with widths of 15mm, 20mm and 30mm – what could be better for a wargamer. They also do a very nice inexpensive stackable storage box, but more on that later, perhaps. So, the photo above shows the basic materials for this stage of the process.
The magnetic tape is cut to length and stuck to the bottom of the MDF bases.
The next step is sorting the figures to the bases. The Numidians being a basically skirmishing army are fairly spread out on the bases so each base will contain 8 infantry and either 4 or 5 horse. The Numidians have been painted as lighter skinned with differing coloured shields and tunics. The traditional view was of darker skin and unbleached tunics along with plain shields but hey, these look nice and will morph well into other armies when needed <—wargamer’s excuse for something a little out of the ordinary!
A quick snip with the cutters, a dob of glue, in this case, Tarzan’s Grip from Australia, and the figures are adhered to the base. ready for flocking later.
I finished the 6mm Numidian DBA army this weekend – part of my Singapore project. I painted all options for this force and they can all be seen in the picture. This will enable me to pad out some of the Punic Wars collection as well as well as provide an army to play some battles of the Jugurthine War.
The next army to be painted will be the Polybian Romans – a good opponent for the Numidians for the Jugurthine War. The Jugurthine War takes its name from the Berber king Jugurtha, nephew and later adopted son of Micipsa, King of Numidia.
To provide for the full list for DBA, I painted 21 elements (a DBA army normally consists of 12 elements). This lets me adopt most of the interpretations, in wargaming terms, of how the Numidians arrayed for battle. The most significant difference is in the infantry where the Numidians can be represented as a pure skirmishing force or a force with then ability to stand against some opponents and to excel in rough terrain. The elements produced were:
1 x Light Horse Commander in Chief (and his alternative, a Cavalry C-in-C)
5 x Light Horse – the famous Numidian Cavalry
6 x Psiloi – Numidian light foot – this is one interpretation of Numidian foot
6 x Auxilia – these can be swapped for any of the Psiloi above to provide the other main interpretation of Numidian foot
1 x Blades – these are like legionaries and represent Roman deserters during the Jugurthine Wars
1 x Elephants – there is some evidence to suggest that Numidians may have used a few elephants at various times.
I am looking forward to getting the Romans painted, and some terrain made, so that I can get down to some games.
Over the weekend I finished the first six elements of the test Army. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was building a six army campaign set. To that set I added a Numidian force, as much to test out things as anything else. Of course, they will also provide a contemporary opponent for most of the armies in the campaign set as well.
I finished six elements of Light Horse over the weekend. I finally decided to use four figures per base for the Light Horse, these looking in sufficiently open order to pass as Light Horse.
Apart from working out how the figures would work in 6mm scale for DBA along with the number of figures per base to use, I was also trying a number of new things and techniques with this army. I had been talking to some friends who had a different method of painting to me which included both basing the figures before painting and undercoating in black followed by a wet dry brush of white, then normal painting and washing after that. The new things I was trying were:
That new method of painting
Reeves Poster paints when used with Citadel Acrylics
A new varnish (Krylon)
Finishing things in the Singapore environment
The picture above shows the final result with a ruler placed for scale. Note that if you magnify the photo to 1:1 scale (that is, the scale the camera sees) you can see a whole lot of bad in the painting. Looked a 1:1 life scale – that is, where 1cm in the photo measures 1 cm in life – and the figures look quite neat.
Lessons learned from this process however were:
Reeves Poster Paints, whilst heavy in pigment, seem to take a long time to try enough to use a Citadel wash over the top of. The Devlan Mud wash was washing the poster paint away. Fortunately, not too much of it washed off and it, by accident, provided a third layer of colour to the horses in particular.
I varnished the figures with Krylon Spray varnish. I took the figures to the balcony and sprayed in the morning on a sunny day when the humidity was a bit lower than normal here and the temperature a little lower. When I bought the figures back into the apartment and the air-conditioning the varnish appeared to cloud up over the figures. The black hair appeared grey for example.
I need to try some test varnishing on Reeves black as well as citadel black to see whether it is the atmosphere or the the paint causing the clouding.
All in all, however, I am quite satisfied with the first six elements. I have an element of elephants, one of Cavalry and all the infantry to paint next. Wednesday night will be the next painting session. I’ll also get around to writing up the making of the playing surface you can see below the figures.
The wargame at Anthony’s over the weekend has also motivated me to start working on the terrain for the DBA project.
I started to prepare the Numidians for painting. The first task was to sort the army out again. As I was going to try some, for me, new painting techniques, I also decided that I should try a dry run of the figures to see how they would look when based.
I figure it is better to muck around with that now rather than later. First off for testing was the cavalry.
The Numidian horse is mostly light horse. Originally I was planning on using 3 x 6mm figures for each 15mm figure. However, looking at a base with that many figures on, it seems that it is too many. I shuffled a few things around and tried 2 x 6mm figures for each 15mm figure.
The base on the left is with 6 figures, on the right, four. The one on the right looks more like skirmishing cavalry so Light Horse will now be four figures per base.
Originally I had planned on 3 times the 15mm figures for 6mm for the cavalry. I tested both 8 and 10 figures per base for the 3Cv bases and both look OK. I’m inclined to us 8, 9 or 10 figures for the 3Cv bases. Even with 8 figures to a base the 3Cv will look a lot more dense than the Light Horse.
Basing is therefore planned. The figures were cleaned and prepared for painting. Some where glued to tongue depressors and the rest to their bases. They were then undercoated in flat black paint. I will cover the painting of these in the future.
I spent some time this weekend doing two things for the Singapore Wargames Project. The first was starting on the game board and the terrain. The second was sorting the figures and the bases out. I was expecting that I would have some errors in purchasing and I did. I had a few too many figures left over from a couple of the packs I purchased – like why did I buy Tarentine cavalry? I also ended up discovering that I had miscalculated the number of bases I needed in the 40x20mm size. I know why that happened. As I sorted the figures out I found that I could pretty much do all the variations so I started to plan that way. This left me short some bases. Oh well, a quick order off to East Riding Miniatures tonight will see that corrected.
I decided to start with the Numidians as I am guessing they will be the easiest of the seven armies to paint. Looking through the list, I need to allow for the following troops to meet all the requirements.
This is the general and can have Gallic or Spanish bodyguards
An alternate general to the one mentioned above
The famous Numidian Light Cavalry
Numidian Light Troops – Psiloi. There is some discussion about whether these were, in fact Psiloi or more closely grouped troops such as the next type
Numidian foot troops – classed as Auxilia in the rules. These are good broken terrain troops but a little fragile in the open when faced by cavalry or close order infantry
An elephant base. Elephants were used in the armies of Jugurtha and Juba
These are imitation legionaries or Roman deserters – these are from the later period, after the Punic Wars when Rome and Numidia fought.
These are either Spanish Scutarii, Gaetuli, or Ligurian deserters – trained by the Romans but fighting for the Numidians
These then are all the elements that I need to make to cover all options of the Numidian Army. For figures per base, a little experimenting and I worked out the following ratios:
Infantry – use four 6mm figures for each 15mm figure recommended in the rules. In this case, a 3Ax base of 6mm figures will contain 12 figures (the 15mm equivalent is 3 figures).
Cavalry – to give a little more space, I decided to use three 6mm figures for each 15mm figure recommended. A 2LH base in 6mm will therefore contain 6 figures (the 15mm equivalent is 2 figures).
Elephants, Artillery and Chariots – I decided that two 6mm models per base would work best. The 15mm equivalent is one model.
For references on the Numidians, perhaps the best starting places are:
So 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).
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).
Cut, assemble and make the terrain pieces. again, something reasonably quick and there are a couple of techniques I want to play around with.
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.
Start on the main 6 armies. When it gets closer to this time I will decide on the order to take.
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.
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 ) 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:
Greek Bolt Throwers
Psiloi – Bow
Psiloi – Javelins
Hastatii w pilum
Spanish Heavy Cavalry
Spanish Light Cavalry
Celtic Infantry, stood
Celtic Heavy Cavalry
Celtic Infantry, charging
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.