Friday, September 26, 2008

28mm Old Glory Caesar's High Command

I bought Old Glory's "Roman High Command" from eBay. This is in Old Glory's Caesar's Gallic War range. It's a decent pack that gives enough Roman generals, legates, and tribunes to command my WAB Marian Roman army.

Mounted Officers

The seller claimed the package I bought was complete, but it had been opened, and it was missing one of the figures pictured here. The mounted figures are wearing breastplates with fringed leather armor. I painted them pretty simply.

Unlike Greek and Macedonian generals, Roman generals did not fight in the front rank of their armies, but they did stay pretty close to the front lines. I'm sure that in battle they actually wore helmets, but it seems to be a wargaming convention that Roman generals fight bare headed.

Or maybe it's just to better depict personalities, since helmeted generals would be hard to recognize. I think I can identify some of these figures from Roman sculpture. From left to right I believe we have Titus Labienus, Julius Caesar, a centurion, and Mark Anthony, but I could be wrong.

Dismounted general with aide

The pack includes a pretty nice dismounted officer, complete with horse holder and mounts. My friends Austin thinks that this is Caesar. I think it's the mounted bald guy. No matter. I painted them both the same so I can have Caesar mounted or on foot. I guess his hairline recedes when he gets on a horse.

I wanted Caesar to be able to join a cohort, so I based the foot general on a 20mm square base, cutting a slot so he can fit in the vignette.

Complete pack

Here they are: the figures that will command my Marian legions.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Old Glory Numidian Cavalry

Old Glory's Numidian cavalry have a bad reputation. They were released along with the Cretan archers and Balearic slingers in 1998 (edit whoops--not true of these figures. See last paragraph), and those figures are so very ugly that I won't paint any again. The Numidians clearly have the same sculptor, and some of the flaws of the two foot sets are on display here; the arms and legs look like sausages, and the faces are scrunched. Still, I'll gladly field these Numidians in my army, and I may even paint some more.

Group shot (click on any picture for a larger image)

I painted 18 of the Numidians in three days, which is pretty fast for me. The figures are wearing just a simple tunic, which made it an easy job. I decided against using the Old Glory javelins because the cast heads are just too big for the model scale. Instead I used simple brass rod. I didn't bother hammering it out to a point. I drilled out the shield hands so that each figure holds two javelins. The Numidians didn't close to sword fighting range (and these figures don't even have swords), so I figured each man would have a good supply of javelins.

The horses are different from the standard Old Glory horses which come with the rest of their ancients figures. The Numidians road bareback, sometimes using just a simple halter. These horses are sculpted without any horse furniture, except for one pose which does have the halter. The horses really save the poor figure sculpts, making a creditable looking unit of cavalry.

Numidian cavalry, side view

I purposefully kept the horses very plain looking so they wouldn't visually overpower the riders. I went with a variety of browns and bays with one grey. In this side view you can really see the strange musculature on the men, but you can also see just how well these horses are sculpted. The second horse from the left (front row) is the pose with the halter.

You can also see where I spent most of my painting time and energy: the shields. Most of my sources said that the Numidians probably just stretched cow hide over a wood frame and called it good, but I figure that most warriors would have decorated their shields in some way. The shields really make these figures pop on the table.

Shield designs, detail

I hand painted all the shields, using the excellent Little Big Men transfers for inspiration. They really are the best transfers available, and I'm planning on using them when I start my Crusader Miniatures hoplite army. Unfortunately, they don't make many transfers for Old Glory figures, so I paint the shields myself out of necessity. I used two different colors of bronze (one from Delta, one from Apple Barrel) on the shield rims. Many of the shields just got a drybrush of bronze across the face, as in the first shield on the bottom row. About half of the rest got a geometric design, and the other have got something cow-like.

Many gamers paint their Numdians as black Africans, I guess because they confuse "Numidians" with "Nubians." I'm not convinced that ancient Nubians would have been black, but the Numidians certainly were not. They were the ancestors of the Berbers, and so would have looked more like Arabs than black Africans. I painted these figures in exactly the same tones I used for my Carthaginian African spearmen, using dark flesh highlights over my custom mixed flesh base.

Numidian cavalry may not look very fearsome, but they are extremely useful for an ancients gamer. They fought with Hannibal against Rome, they fought with Scipio against Carthage, and they fought on their own against both Carthage and Rome. Roman armies of the 1st and 2nd centuries BC frequently used Numidian cavalry in their campaigns; the Romans prized light cavalry above all others, and Numidian cavalry is about as light as they come. For now, these figures are going in my Marian Roman army, but I'll certainly use them for Punic Wars battles as well.

All told, I like these figures. They're not as nice as most of Old Glory's cavalry, but they are servicable, and of course the price is right (these cost $1.80 apiece with my Old Glory Army discount). If you would like to try them, look in the "Caesar's Gallic War" range. For some reason, Old Glory put them there instead of with the Carthaginians, even though they formed the bulk of Hannibal's cavalry.

Edit: Allen Curtis writes on TMP that these are not the figures from the Gallic War range, but instead are the "auxiliary light cavalry" from the Imperial Roman range. I definitely ordered the Gallic War figures, but maybe Old Glory realizes what a bad reputation those have and so substitutes these figures instead.

28mm Wargames Foundry Macedonian Hypaspists

Edit, 10/12: These figures won a gold ribbon at my local IMPS show.

I'm going to sell these off, but first I wanted to get some shots on the blog. These are Foundry Hypaspists from pack WG 9/5 "Hypaspists Attacking" with command from WG 9/1 "Macedonian Command." I used Delta Ceramcoats. The spears are from North Star, and the bases are Litko.

As always, you can click on the pictures to get larger images. I tried to get some really good close ups on these figures, so you'll see them with warts and all, but keep in mind that these figures are only 1.25 inches tall!

Group shot showing off the hand painted shields

I wanted a uniformed look to my troops, so I followed a regular painting scheme. All figures got blue tunics and helmets, all the linothorax armor is "maple sugar tan" except for one officer (I figure the officers would be likely to provide their own armor), and all the shields are the same.

Front view

I'm skeptical that Macedonian troops were really so brightly colored, but hey . . . it's the wargaming convention, and it does make the unit visually interesting.

Side view

The linothorax skirts got some variations in color. Some I did in red, some in purple. I painted edging on the shoulders of some soldiers.

Command group, front

The command figures are beautiful, but a real challenge to do well. I based the unit's standard on the painted example on Foundry's website.

Command group, side

Those breastplates require a careful touch, but they look awfully good once done. Both officers wear boots rather than sandals.

Command group, rear

Command group, side

Standard bearer

The standard pole got a wood grain treatment, but on the raw lead it's completely smooth.

Senior officer

I used two different shades for my flesh base tone. The arms and legs got Delta's "dark flesh," but the faces got a slightly darker tone that I blend myself from dark brown, territorial brown, and medium flesh.

Junior officer

This is the one set of linothorax armor that got a lighter shade, "lichen grey."

Hypaspists, front

Each hypaspist has a different head, but there are only two basic poses. Of the seven figures in the pack (and yes, this pack had seven figures rather than eight), I got five of one pose and two of the other.

Hypaspists, rear

The shields ensure that the figures look very striking from the front. I think the colorful armor makes them equally interesting from the rear.

Hypaspists, side

Here you can really see the variation I did within the limits of the overall color scheme. Everyone has the same basic color of leather, the tunics and helemts are the same, and the shields are identical. But I was able to add enough various touches to armor and helmet to make each figure an individual.

Hypaspist close up

Hypaspist close up

Hypaspist close up

These were a lot of fun to paint, but they took a looong time. I've been spoiled by painting all those Romans. I can crank out a hundred Romans in a few days. These 10 figures took me a week!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Historical Gaming Club Games

Today the Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy Historical Gaming Club met to fight two battles using Warhammer Ancient Battles. Our first fight pitted 850 point Indian and Carthaginian armies against each other. Our second fight saw a 2000 point Carthaginian army and 1000 point Parthian army take on a 2000 point republican Roman army with 1000 points of early imperial Roman allies.

Of course the battles were not based on any historical fights, but gave the kids a chance to field some of their painted armies. Click on any pictures to view larger images.

We have about 20 students in the club, but not that many show up for any one event. Today nine students attended (one didn't make it into this picture).

We spilt up the commands so that every student got to push around some soldiers.

The Carthaginians began the first battle by pushing forward a strong skirmish line of javelinmen.

This was the first time that Caleb fielded his newly painted ancient Indian army.

Their main Carthaginian battle line followed the skirmishers.

The Carthaginians maneuvered a cavalry unit away from the Indian elephant and toward the Indian left flank.

The Indians awaited the Carthaginian advance, planning to break up the attack with arrow fire.

Once the Carthaginians were in range, the Indians destroyed their skrimishers with a hail of arrows.

Then the Indians took the main Carthaginian line under fire.

But the Carthaginians shrugged off their losses and closed to melee the Indians.

Once the cavalry got around the Indian flank, the battle was decided.

The second game was much larger: 3000 points per side!

Most of the troops were mine, but Matt fielded the Parthians and the early imperial Romans.

The republican Romans were forced to abandon their neat apex triplex and extend their line to the right.

The Carthaginian skirmishers and Roman velites fought a sharp action in front of the main lines.

The Parthians moved heavy cavalry and archers against the imperial Romans.

These are Matt's imperial Romans, the first figures he ever painted.

In the center, the skirmishers gave way to lines of heavy infantry. The Carthaginians drew first blood.

The Carthaginian battle line was very heavy, but the Roman infantry held.

A unit of Roman velites tore up the Spanish cavalry on the Carthaginian left, and Roman horsemen moved up to deliver the coup de grace.

The Parthians were inflicting heavy losses on the Roman left. What to do?

Charge! The Roman infantry closed with the heavy Parthian cavalry.

At the same time, the Romans pushed back the Carthaginian center. The Roman manipular system allowed them to constantly feed fresh troops into the fray.

With their lines pinned, the Parthians struggled to contain the imperial Romans. The Parthian camels lost heavily to Roman cavalry.

Having crushed the Spanish cavalry, the Roman equites chased Carthage's skirmishers deep into the Carthaginian rear.

With both their flanks turned and their center getting pushed back, the Carthaginian/Parthian army decided to retreat.

Monday, September 8, 2008

EIR for Correus

Correus asked about EIR figures on TMP. Here are some pictures of Old Glory and Crusader legionaries. The Old Glory were the first 28s I ever painted, and the Crusader are some of the more recent, but hopefully you can see past the paint jobs and tell how they would look under your brush.

OG Pose 1

OG Pose 2

OG Pose 3

OG Pose 4

OG Pose 5

OG Command

Sole Crusader Pose

Crusader Command

OG/Crusader Size Comparison