Friday, 26 August 2016

The First of the Newly-Raised Legions

A long time ago, even before I went to Poland at the start of the nineties, I painted an army for the original Tactica supplement's list for the Pontics. I used Essex figures, because those were pretty much the best available at the time, and I still have a soft spot for them. One of the options was the imitation legionary, so I painted three units of 24 figures, each with a different colour of plain shield, using the Essex 'Roman' Argyraspid figure.
I had always intended to pick up from where I left off with these, and use them as the basis for a newly-formed legion. Fast-forward another few years (!) and I finally got around to doing this with one of them. I took the guys with the red shields, 'distressed' them a little bit, and added another forty legionaries and assorted command stands to bring them up to strength. The original guys are lurking at the rear in these photos.
This is something of a test, and I think they have come out fine. I can do the same with the other two batches at one point, but I thought I'd give this a shot now so that I could use them as part of my cast of many for the upcoming Philippi game at the Society of Ancients conference in October.
They will probably be needed in the coming years of our campaign, because there is going to be a lot of Roman in-fighting. At one point I will paint up some Greek-type commands to turn them back into Imitation Legions again. I hope the uniform look and the plain shields make them look like raw recruits.

Next up: a mounted legate and some casualties for this legion, then it's some cavalry for Philippi: Roman Equites and Celtiberian auxiliaries.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Finished another Roman legion

Lucky Thirteenth:
Again, figures mostly by Companion Miniatures, with embossed shields (thanks to Happy Gordon in Newcastle!).
Progress has been faster recently, thanks to holiday time. There are eighty of these, plus a mounted legate and five casualty markers on dials.
Officers etc. are a mixture, mostly by Navigator Miniatures. This gives me thirteen of the fourteen legions I need for my mini-campaign of Philippi. Of course, if I had time to organise more I would!

The fourteenth legion will be something of a test. I have three batches of 24 Essex Miniatures Argyraspides with pila that I have been intending to use as the basis for Imitation Legions for our campaign, since we are going to need those in a while. Originally I got them for my Pontic army, but I have bought some more to beef them up. I reckon that I can add enough to a batch reasonably quickly to raise another legion; I already have the commands painted. Eventually I'll do that for three of them, and the plan is to produce another one from scratch to give me four of that type in total; they could then be used for newly raised legions. All I'd then need to do is paint up a few more with Hellenistic commanders and they can do double duty as imitations as well.

Monday, 1 August 2016

On the Painting Tray: August 2016

Romans, of course:
Companion Miniatures; white shields with red insignia. The legate is by Old Glory, and the dead 'uns are Warlord Games plastics. Or at least, they will be when they get their right arms...
I've made quite a bit of progress on this legion, because I have been on holiday time for a week, with another to go. Should see this lot done before going to back to work for a short time. Then I have more holidays. Just as well, since I've volunteered to run a three-part mini-campaign based on Philippi for the Society of Ancients Conference in October. I need all the painting time I can get for that...

Monday, 25 July 2016

Beautiful Persian Army

I especially like the effect on the shields and flag of the Indian infantry. Will definitely be borrowing this one!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Campaign Events: 106 BC

I am still running the Dies Martis campaign as a remote umpire for the guys in Glasgow, and several decision points have been reached. First of all, Marius has consolidated his hold over Numidia while Jugurtha has appeared in Gaetulia and raised an army there. The Germans are continuing their migrations, and the Teutons have appeared in Aquitainia; there will be a battle there between them and the disgruntled locals - a proper war band clash.

I have also decided to rest things at the eastern end of the map. The Indians were no longer on the offensive in this period, so I have assumed that a Parthian army has stayed there for security. Eventually this will rebel and form the basis of the Indo-Parthian state. In the meantime, though, it will allow us to concentrate on matters further west. I know that Gordon at least is champing at the bit about squishing Romans...

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Red Legion, Yellow Legion

Or, in this case, a legion with red and yellow shields:
Figs mostly by Companion Miniatures. I have no idea who the officer is at the leftmost position as you look at it - he came with the stuff Roy passed onto me. I really like his (handpainted!) shield, though, so I left it on him.
The other shields came with the figures, one of several embossed types that Companion made. Thanks to Happy Gordon in Newcastle for swapping them! I didn't quite have enough for this legion, so I added in a few plain ones - after all, on campaign one makes do as best one can. All I now have to do for this lot is add in some casualties and a mounted legate. Then it's onto the final legion, for now at least. I then have a cunning plan, or perhaps an insane one - running a three-part mini-campaign based on Philippi for the Society of Ancients conference in October. My running total for 2016 is now 330 foot, 20 mounted and an unfeasibly large Aventine nellie.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

What to do!?

Now that I've been in Cheltenham for nine months, I'm taking stock. I have found several games clubs, but they are either all sci-fi and fantasy, or miles away. And distance is a killer when you play with the size of 28mm armies that I like, as is the limited time available at club meetings hereabouts. Gaming is therefore limited to forays out to major events, or as a guest player with a couple of folks I know in Cirencester and Stroud. I haven't done the latter yet because I am still unsettled, renting while waiting for our new house to be finished.

So this is a good moment to think about where to go from here. I am still running the Dies Martis campaign remotely for the guys in Glasgow, but it is slowing down, which is inevitable given distance. My painting has slowed down too, not only because work is really heavy, but because I lack the stimulus of a regular gaming situation. I work best when I have some purpose for what I am painting at any one time. I am now thinking about what to do when I finish my current batch of Marian/Caesarean Romans in the next few months, roughly in time to move into the new place. I do have some 15mm stuff (1812 Russians and Sengoku Jidai Japanese), but I'd need to do a huge amount of work to add enough to those to get any sort of game. So I think I'll stick with the 28mm I really enjoy.

Here are the options:

1: Continue painting for Dies Martis, which means that I will need to choose which army to collect next. The Glasgow boys can usually cope, but they do seem to have problems putting certain games together. They struggle with the Parthians because although one of them has some, it's not enough for a full game - I used to supply the other half. I could remedy this situation by going for it properly. It would then be a case of collecting their opponents beyond that - Indian, perhaps, and Ptolemaic Egyptian. Other options would be the European tribals, probably starting with the Germans.

2: Accept that I am not going to get any regular gaming done, and instead try to reduce the lead mountain. I have two partial armies sitting there: Alexandrian Macedonian and Camillan Roman. If I do those, I will coincidentally have two of the main players for an Empire Campaign of my own. This would mean abandoning Dies Martis at my end, apart from acting as an electronic umpire.

3: Start my long-dormant Greyhawk Wars campaign for solo play, or perhaps occasionally at a club. This is completely mental, as we say where I come from. A long time ago I ran a campaign based on the original Greyhawk Wars boardgame because it allowed me to use my secret stash of fantasy figures as well as my historicals - the idea was that most of the human states were based on historical analogues, exactly like Tony Bath's Hyboria. In other words, a sort of Imagi-Nations setup. I'd like to pick up where the Greyhawk Wars left off, with a resurgent Undead Great Kingdom ruled by Ivid the Insane. I already know which figures to buy (skeletal Roman legions) and who would be their first target - Elves and friends, most of which I already have. If I were to do this I'd paint armies on a rolling basis depending on what is needed, which would include historicals.

So - any comments? Inspiration would be very welcome...

Saturday, 2 July 2016

On the painting tray: July 2016

More bloody Romans:
Finishing off a legion and starting another, the final one for the foreseeable future. Never say never, after all.
They are beginning to rank up very nicely, as I hope the second photo shows. Now all I have to do is find somewhere to game...

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Campaign Events

Summer 107
The Ptolemies inflict a major defeat on the Parthians in Palmyra
The Teutones continue their migration, moving en masse into Arvernia
Jugurtha raids the Romans under Marius in Numidia

Autumn 107
Marius finishes off the Numidian army, but Jugurtha remains at large
The Ptolemaic Egyptians consolidate in Palmyra

Spring 106
An Indian army attacks the Parthians in Sind

New ancients blog

By Robert Heiligers, a prolific writer of articles for Slingshot:

The more the merrier!

Quick edit - thanks to Robert for following on here too!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Online library: resource for Roman history

Hi all, I've been looking for easily accessible information on the interrelationships between the Jugurthine War, the Cimbric migrations and the ongoing problems the Romans were having with the Scordisci and friends. Found this on the web:

There's quite a lot of other material on there too - might be of interest to someone?

The reason I was looking is because this is where we have got to with our ongoing campaign, with me umpiring and the guys in Glasgow playing the battles.

QUICK EDIT: I posted this link on the Society of Ancients forum, and the consensus there is that erenow is a form of internet 'privateering'. In other words, they'll post stuff, but if the author sees it and complains enough they'll take it down. Not quite piracy, but close...

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

On the painting tray: June 2016

Took these photos at the beginning of the month, but haven't had the time to post them:
Romans, always with the Romans...
Some more finished than others. This is the penultimate legion of my Companion Miniatures figures. Embossed shields courtesy of Happy Gordon in Newcastle-ish.