Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thureophoroi (2)

Here is the second unit of Thureophoroi for my Atallid Pergamene allies. These are more of the same Old Glory 15s figures that I used on my first unit. I had to replace the broken spears on two figures with brass wire as the figures came with partially broken or weak spears. In hindsight, it was easy enough to do that I probably should have done it for all of the figures of this pose just to insure against further breakage during use. This unit is a full eight stands, based again as medium infantry.

My friend Mike, who's somewhat of a mentor to me when it comes to ancients, gave me some nice compliments on my first unit of Thureophoroi. I probably should have taken those compliments to heart and painted this unit with the same color scheme as the first one, but I couldn't leave well enough alone and painted these with a modified color scheme of my own creation: blue tunics and chocolate brown cloaks. I stayed with the white thureos and red helmet plumes. I like the first color scheme a little better, but I think I like having two differently uniformed units more than I dislike this second scheme.

Next up on the painting table is a small battle group of Seleucid scythed chariots for the upcoming Magnesia game followed by a unit of armored Gaul cavalry battle group for my Atallid Pergamene allies. Both of these will take a while to show up on the blog however, as I'm heading out for a week's vacation on Saturday. During the trip I may make a post or two, possibly containing photos from my planned visit to the Fantasy of Flight Museum.

Seleucid Shield Patterns

My second Field of Glory army will most likely be a Seleucid army. I'm going to be running a Magnesia game this summer with some friends, and in preparation for that I'm going to be painting up several Selucid battle groups. With these, and a few of the optional battle groups I've already painted I'll be a good way towards a full army, so I might as well finish the job. I'm still waiting for my pike figures to arrive, but while I wait I decided I could start working on making up the graphics for my shield decals. There are several good brands of decals available, but I like making my own when I can. This picture shows several variations of the classic Macedonian star shield decoration that I created myself. I'm thinking I will most likely use the top center red pattern on a white shield background for one of my units, and one of the black patterns on silver shields for my Argyraspides. My friend Mike, who always gives me great advice when it comes to ancients, tells me that "Argyraspides" means "Silver Shields" in Greek. That makes picking shields for my Argyraspides unit a foregone conclusion as far as I'm concerned.

This is another design I'm considering using. I got this image from the Internet and cropped it and cleaned it up. I think if I reduce it to the correct size it might make a decal that gives the shield the look of a real embossed bronze shield. This trick will help compensate for the fact that most 15mm figures come with smooth shields, not the fancy embossed shields that some 28mm figures have.  While I'm waiting for my pike figures to arrive I'll be working on a battle group of Scythed chariots after I finish up the second unit of Thureophoroi that I have on the painting table.

Monday, February 15, 2010

French 12 lb. Mortar

This is a French 12 lb. mortar model that was created by Friedrich Giesler. I first saw this model over on Friedrich's Blog. I posted a comment about how much I liked it and Friedrich was kind enough to offer me one for just the cost of postage from Europe to the USA. This is a home-cast model, and considering that it has great detail and was easy to paint. I've always wanted some mortar models, but up until I found Friedrich's blog I hadn't found any that I was very happy with. I'm honored that I was able to get this one.

I've painted the model up with a natural wood carriage, so that I can use it not only with my French troops, but also with other nationalities. Since I don't glue my guns to my bases, I can easilly move the mortar between all of my AWI armies. Here I've displayed it on a French artillery stand, since that's how it was designed to be used. I'd like to publicly thank Friedrich for his generous offer. If you haven't visited his blog, there's a lot of interesting AWI figures there, and some other one-of-a-kind scratch-built artillery models. Friedrich is quite the sculpter. Maybe some figure company should offer him a job!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another FOG Campaign Game

We played another Field of Glory campaign game today. This game pitted the northern Carthaginian force, commanded by Hasrudal against two of our newly-raised legions. These legions are comprised of average troops instead of veterans, a force which Hasrudal had already previously beaten soundly in an earlier game. This time we were fighting in the mountains in a heavily terrained area of the map. The battlefield featured a fordable river and many dense woods and hills. All of this terrain, and the numerical advantage seemed to be in the Carthaginian's favor with their myriad of light and medium troops. Having two legions in the field and two Roman players at the game, Mike and I each took a legion and half of the battlefield to cover. I took the more heavily terrained half on the left, shown in the photo above. Mike drew the more difficult assignment, the open terrain on the right half of the battlefield. I shifted a couple of my legions toward the center and Mike took two of our three commanders and our only cavalry to help cover the larger area. We also chose to deploy our only unit of Triarii on the right flank where we expected the Carthaginian African Veterans to attack.

Early on things looked like they were going to go badly for the Romans. I failed my first five complex move tests, and in the opening skirmishes I lost a velite unit in two turns by rolling a death roll of '1' in ranged shooting in my bound, and then rolling another death roll of '1' in the melee the following turn. Having paid my dues to the luck Gods, things turned around for me and I had much better luck the rest of the game, starting with winning the impact against a unit of Baleric slingers on our extreme left flank. I took a photo of this as it was the first time I got to use one of my new status markers in the game.   In the center the victorious Carthaginian skirmishers pressed forward through the void my dead Velites left with a large unit of Gauls also crossing the river. I turned a battle group of hastati and princeps to face them while the only Roman cavalry rushed to my aid and helped by intercepting the Gauls. After the impact and one round of melee the cavalry left, as the melee was a stalemate, neither side becoming disrupted. On my left two units of medium infantry pressed the flank. I shored up the area by putting a single battle group of hastati and princeps into the only clear gap in the terrain, hoping they would hold.  You can just seen them in the lower right corner of the photo above. The enemy are just out of sight behind the river.

This photo is after a few more turns. I was lucky enough to win the melee with the Gauls thanks to the Roman's skilled swordsman factors and superior armor. On the left flank, sheer luck allowed me to out-last the slingers and some good fortune and crowding on the battle lines allowed my heavies in the gap on the left flank to turn one unit of Carthaginian mediums to the rear as well. In the center my over-confident extraordinarii pursued the Carthaginian skirmishers one turn too far and had to spend the rest of the game running from elephants while suffering the indignity of being pelted from two directions by Carthaginian javelins. Isolated and disrupted, they would probably have eventually fallen prey to the four battle groups pursuing them had the Carthaginians not fled the field.  In the center both side's heavies stared at each other across the disordering river terrain, neither side wishing to blink. On the right my partner Mike lost his unit of extraordinarii to a particularly rabid unit of Spanish scutari who rolled five (5) hits in one turn of melee! The dice were hot on both teams left flank this day. That's for sure. With his left flank mostly collapsed, Hasrudal chose to leave the field rather than continue to press on in order to keep his invasion force in tact. A wise choice for sure, that is bound to provide us with more good battles to fight in the future.  

For a lot more photos you can visit the Northern Conspiracy's Photo page.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Field of Glory Status Markers

Up to now we've been using short pieces of colored pipe cleaners as status markers while playing Field of Glory. While they're fairly serviceable as markers, almost without fail about half way through the game we realize that some of us are counting the yellow pipe cleaners as disrupted while others are counting the orange ones as disrupted. It's all very confusing. We have another FOG game tomorrow, and since I have all the troops I need for the game already painted up, I decided to spend a couple of hours with my laser making up these status markers. They're made using colored 1/8" thick acrylic sheet. I'm probably going to order some yellow acrylic and re-make the fragmented markers in yellow with black text, but for tomorrow's game I had to use red since I didn't have any yellow, or any other colors for that matter, available. At least with the status clearly marked on the face of these there will be no more confusion.

I decided on the oval shape in order to try to protect the figures from accidental damage. I thought square markers would have sharp corners that might chip paint off a figure if the markers were tossed about carelessly. I'm looking forward to trying these out tomorrow to see how they work. I hope the other guys in my club like them.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Blog Layout

I've modified the page layout of my blog by expanding the width an additional 100 pixels. If you notice anything looking strange, particularly the background of the main body of the blog, you can hold down the <shift> key while clicking reload/refresh on your browser. That will tell your browser to re-load all of the background texture images and should resolve any problems. If you have any trouble with the new layout, drop me a comment here and I'll look into resolving it.


Saturday, February 6, 2010


This is the first unit of Thureophoroi that I've painted for my Attalid Pergamene Allies that will support my Mid-Republican Roman army. I had originally wanted to go with a paint scheme that matched this Angus McBride illustration, but after cleaning the Old Glory 15s figures I decided that not enough tunic was showing to allow the white stripe to show properly, so I left it out, while retaining the rest of the coloring. I chose a white field for the thureos which seems to be a popular choice among most of the painted Thureophoroi figures I could find images of on the Internet.

Since I was using a darker tunic color and these figures have a lot of undercuts and shadow lines, I went with a black primer technique. I'm still not leaving enough of the black showing between colored areas, but I'm working on that. The large capes on these figures make painting them quite a quick affair, so quick that I think I'll move on to a second unit of them straight away.

I decided to base these as medium infantry, or auxilla in DBx terms. They'll be working with my Romans mostly, and I don't need any additional heavy infantry when adding supporting troops to my Roman army. Another reason to base them as mediums is that they're most likely to be classified that way for historical battles, or if I choose to use them with DBA/DBM. I chose a six stand unit as this is what the Roman list allows in the optional troops section. The next unit will likely be at least eight stands to allow me to properly flush out the Pergamene Allies numbers.

The only complaints I have with the sculpting of the figures, is that they are only carrying one spear and not also carrying some javelins. I suppose I could probably rectify this with some creative use of fine brass wire. I might do that on the next unit. I think I'd only have to modify a few figures to give the impression that the whole unit was so equipped.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Make Your Own Terrain

Phil B. made a post on the cost of pre-made terrain over on his blog today. That post got me thinking that my old terrain making articles on our old website aren't easily accessible any more. Here they are, re-printed from our old club website:

Basic Hills

These are some basic hills I made out of home insulation foam. I used a battery powered hot-wire to cut the foam, but it eats batteries like crazy so I have since bought a plug-in one. You can get them from Micromart or woodland scenics. These are ridiculously easy and nobody should be paying $5.00 per hill to get pre-made ones.

The procedure is easy:

Cut out the hill from the foam with a hot wire.

Paint the hill top and bottom with interior latex house paint. Have the hardware store mix you up a quart of O.D. green. Cost for a lifetime's supply is $5.00.

After the paint dries, paint the top of the hill with a second coat of the latex paint and shake some Woodland Scenics turf on it and let the paint dry. Shake off the excess. I used medium green 'blended' turf for grassy hills. Other colors are available for desert, mountains, etc.

To make the turf more durable, coat it with Woodland Scenics scenery cement, watered down white glue or Testors Dullcote.

I made a dozen hills over the course of 3 evenings. Total time invested was under 3 hours. Total investment was under $15 and I have plenty of turf and paint for many more hills.


Standing Crops

These are some standing crops I made for use with V&B. The crops need to be able to be trampled down by troops who pass through the terrain piece.

First, go buy yourself a welcome matt made of natural fibers. I got mine at Wal-Mart and it had a plastic backing that the fibers were fixed into. Cost for the matt was about $10, but it was enough to make 15 fields worth of crops as well as having plenty left over to give some to friends.

Cut the matt up into squares. I made mine 1" X 1" since my stands are all in multiples of 1" and it seemed a convenient size. I used a utility knife and a straight edge from the back side of the matt. I used scissors to clean up the fibers on the edges of the squares so they would sit beside each other easily.

Next, make some field borders for the squares to sit in. I just cut felt in sizes appropriate to hold 9, 12 or 16 squares in different shapes. Glue some foliage clusters on the edge to make it look pretty. I made about 15 fields in an hour using a hot-glue gun. Cutting the foliage clusters into thin strips with scissors sped things up.

I store enough squares and fields for any large battle in a plastic shoebox sized storage box. Total cost for fields, squares and storage, under $20.00.

The rest of the Northern Conspiracy's terrain making articles can be found over on our club's archive site here:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roman Velites (2)

This is the second group of Roman Velites I've painted up for Field of Glory. This batch uses up all of the remaining Velite figures I had from my original order which is why it's a single unit of six (6) bases instead of one or two units of four (4) bases, which will be the way they'll be deployed most of the time. For the first unit I used all of the figures I had that were wearing wolf skins leaving this unit entirely in helmets. I was hoping this would give me two different looks for the same troop type. I think it worked well, although I wish the two poses in helmets weren't nearly identical. It would have made this second unit look a little less uniform. 

I'm not as happy with this unit as I was with my first unit. I ended up having to prime the figures twice. I brush primed these and the primer I used 'foamed' up when I brushed it on, trapping some air bubbles in the primer which made the figures look horrible. This meant I had to prime them a second time to fill in the bubbles which also filled in more of the detail on the figures. Originally I wanted to go with yellow shields, but that also ended up being a problem as I couldn't get the paint to cover in a way that made me happy, so the shields got two additional coats of blue paint to cover up the yellow. After all that I'm happy just to have them finished. What should have been a quick and simple unit ended up taking far too long and ending up far too shabby for my tastes.

I really think I want to switch back to enamel paints. I have so much trouble getting some colors to flow and cover properly with acrylics. I think as my acrylics run out and dry up I might slowly switch back to oil-based enamels. The only question is which brand....more on that later after I make a decision. Next up on the painting table a battle group of Thureophoroi medium infantry.