Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wargames Factory Painting Contest

I noticed Wargames Factory was running a painting contest to gather painted examples of their figures. I've painted up some of their Romans and Ancient Germans, and though they aren't the best examples of painting skill, I thought it was worth a shot to enter them.

Wargames Factory Romans. The shield decals really make these figures.
Wargames Factory 28mm Romans

Wargames Factory Roman Cohort

Wargames Factory Ancient Germans

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Tips for Warlord Games Celtic Warriors

Warlord Games Celtic Warrior build
The holidays did a whammy on my posting, but I managed to make some progress on a few of my game projects. I finally got a chance to build the plastic Warlord Games' Celtic Warriors.  I thought I'd pass on a few things I figured out while building them.

The box comes with three sprues: two warrior sprues with bodies, legs and heads, and a command sprue with the same components but swapping the heads for a standard and carnyx. There are also a few severed heads, 15 shields, assorted spears, swords and knives and a sheet of 15 shield stickers.  It's a good set of components, the sculpting is dynamic and sharp but there are very few "extras". With only 15 shields, but 30 figures, I opted to order an extra set of Celtic Shields from WG and some Little Big Man Studios decals as well. The colorful shields of the Celts is one of their biggest draws, so skimping on the shields is a little disappointing but overall this is a quality set.

Tip 1) Order extra shields.  

More tips after the jump.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hail Caesar Skirmish!

Hail Caesar Romans ready for battle

My buddy Mark was in town for the holidays, and with a handful of complete (or nearly complete) figures ready to go, we decided to take a shot at Hail Caesar to run through the rules, roll some dice and throw some barbarians and Romans together and see the sparks fly. Check it out after the jump...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My First Ancients, Finished and Based!

Finally got my first Ancients completed. Still have many, many figures to paint up, but this is an exciting milestone for me. More photos after the break.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Romans, Germans, Numidians - Progress Mid-December

"You're gonna need a bigger box."

I wanted to document my progress on my various ancient armies as I've made some headway since this Summer. Just a quick snap from my iPhone for now with better photos to follow when they are complete. I need to finish off the bases of the infantry with static grass and tufts, and decide on a basing scheme for the cavalry, and then I can get down to rolling some dice! I'm still sorely lacking in actual elements and missing generals for each army, but at least there will be some figures I can push around on the table.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We now return to our regularly scheduled program...

Wow, that was quite a break since my last post! A dead computer, work stress, and a quick diversion into rereading the Lord of the Rings put Ancients on the back burner for a bit. I've returned to painting now and hoping to get in some games over the winter holidays.

 To get back into the swing, I was catching up on some Meeples and Miniatures podcasts. Episode 77 was a review of two rules sets, Hail Caesar and Clash of Empires. Neil, the host loses some energy during his lengthy review, and I've always felt his enunciation seemed a little fuzzy, but he does give a pretty good overview of the rules. I've always found it difficult to explain new games to the folks I play with, so I thought the podcast might be a good alternative without requiring them to pick up the book themselves. The Hail Caesar overview starts at about 15:30.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ancient Germans & Romans - Progress Mid July

Despite working on my Ancient Germans and Cesarean Romans methodically over the last month, I haven't taken the time to record my progress.
Foundry Ancient Germans, painted and ready for basing.

Wargames Factory Romans awaiting bases.

There are roughly 80 figures on my work table being based now, hopefully enough to run a few more tests of Hail Caesar without resorting to proxies.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Historicon 2011

This awesome Antietam board was but one of the many ACW games this year.

Scheduling a full four day wargame vacation wasn't in the cards this year, but I did manage to make a one day excursion to Historicon 2011. Despite only having a limited window of time on site I still had a great time. Pics and a brief report after the jump.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Wargames Factory Romans, First Set Painted Up

Fella on the left just saw 10,000 naked gauls come charging out of the woods.

I managed to finish of the first two groups of Wargames Factory Romans I've been working on this weekend.  I've never completed any mass, assembly style paint jobs on 28mm miniatures before so this was an interesting test of getting good results out of repetitive painting.  I can see room for improvement, but I'm fairly satisfied with these wargame level paint jobs.

When I was researching manufacturers and paint schemes for Romans I relied on other gamer's websites.  Scott Macphee's in depth review of the WGF Romans was particularly helpful. I thought I'd add on a few more comments and provide some comparison shots for anyone in the same boat.\

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Messing with Hail Caesar

Testing out Hail Caesar with 20mm proxies

It's been a very busy few weeks for me but I did manage to get in some work on my ancient armies.  I was still fretting about basing so I took some of my shelved 20mm ancients, quickly glued them to bases with PVA and started pushing them around a table while testing out the Hail Caesar rules. Playing solo, it wasn't much of a game since I was simply trying to see if I had grasped the rules and wanted to get the feel of moving multiple bases around to see how fiddly they felt.  Despite spending most of my time looking up rules, not having enough elements on the table, playing myself with only the most basic strategies, I actually had fun. Really looking forward to playing a real game.

Some thoughts from my first test

  • There were a lot more counters on the table than I had anticipated. Towards the end of the battle, nearly every unit had at least 3 wound counters.
  • Perhaps it was only because I was playing both sides, but I forgot which side was due the "winning" bonus from round to round of prolonged melees. I'm thinking of making a small marker (like a flag or standard bearer) to mark the winning side of a round.
Production line painting

I'm also making encouraging progress on my figures. I've got a 32 man unit of Germans that just need basing, 32 figures of Caesarian Romans ready for basing, and various other minis being cleaned and primed. And next week : Historicon!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Celts from Various Vendors

Unidentified Celts
I picked up a mixed bag of miniatures from someone offloading their collection on TMPs auction board. The price was pretty good, and since I'm trying to bulk up my hairy barbarian hordes I thought the "30 Gauls and Germans: Gripping Beast, Old Glory, Black Tree, and Foundry" would offer me a great chance to get a sample of the various vendors before committing to a large mail order.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Beautiful Figures.. Now How Do I Get Them Into My Army?

Aventine phalangites, painted by Craig Davey I believe.
I've seen a few new figures showing up on various manufacturers' websites that I think are just gorgeous. I'm committed to the Punic Wars and Late Republic eras currently, but I'm hoping to find a way to work these figures into my armies.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Battle of the Nile, 47 B.C,

Caesar and Cleopatra. And her gimp.

Didn't make a lot of progress on wargame stuff this weekend. Reglued some Numidian spears that came loose (can superglue go bad?), primed them again, built a few Roman command figures and blocked in some Germanic command.  While I was puttering out with that stuff I did catch a documentary on Cleopatra's sister Arsinoe.  I like the Roman civil war era (Julius Caesar! Pompey! Mark Antony! Octavian!) but the actual battles of of two primarily Roman armies facing off aren't as interesting to me.  I like asymmetric forces, so the mirror battles of legion vs legion don't stoke my enthusiasm. I've been toying with the idea of running a hypothetical "Cleopatra at War" game, where Antony and Cleopatra forgo a naval battle for a land engagement against Octavian. The documentary highlighted a battle I hadn't been aware of though, the Battle of the Nile in 47 BC. Here's how it went down:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ancient German Shield Designs

I needed to paint up the shields for my ancient Germans, and decided to do a bit of background research to pick color schemes and patterns that at least gave a nod to historical accuracy. Here's what I discovered.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Finished up my "megawood", a huge stand of dense trees to fill a large portion of the table.  I based the design on a combination of techniques from Architects of War and other tutorials for similar woods with removable canopies.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Improving My Miniature Terrain Trees

Woodland Scenics tree on the left, my custom trees on the right.

I had an epiphany a few years ago. For all the time we spend painting, detailing and basing our miniatures, most of a wargame's playing surface is covered by terrain rather than figures.  I think it's a shame to see beautiful figures battling it out on top of some ratty green felt and half a dozen crummy model railroad trees.

I really get jazzed about beautiful set ups - wargames that look like dioramas with terrain that matches the figures in aesthetics. My first order of business when I got back into wargaming was to upgrade my terrain. I found out that I may have had some figure painting skills built up over decades, but when it came to terrain I was clumsy novice.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Basing Woes

Example of Impetus style basing from the Saxon Dog blog (

I spent a lot of time digging up information on the intricacies of basing for ancient and medieval wargames, only to find that there is no single good solution to the problem. Here's the deal. Decades ago, wargames were designed primarily as simulations. Each figure represented a certain number of soldiers, each inch of the board corresponded to a precise number of real world yards, and the bases the figures were affixed to were supposed to take up the proportional amount of area that those troops would take up on the real battlefield.  During the 80's bases got standardized to fit the most popular set of rules at the time: DBM/DBA. Since then most of the other games that came out to compete with DBM/DBA used their conventional basing for multi-figure stands since nobody wants to rebase all of their figures just to try out a new set of rules. Recently several rules sets have been published that play a little looser with the sizes of multi-figure bases, either using larger or smaller bases, or getting rid of explicit base sizes altogether in favor of proportional bases sizes. 

I want to avoid having to rip my figures off their nicely textured bases in the future, but settling on a single type of base size has been tricky. I really like the look of very large bases, 120mm x 60mm that use fewer figures and allow the miniatures "to breath". I've seen this referred to as "Impetus basing" after the popular Impetus rules that use it as their standard basing. I've also been reading the new Hail Caesar rules, and while the authors state time and again that any basing type will work, they use 40mm x 40mm bases and group several of those into units. Because units need to disperse into open order (usually shown by spreading the bases apart so there is a gap between the various bases within the unit) in order to move through woods or rough ground, I think this is something I'll need to take into account. And then there's the venerable DBA/DBM rules that use bases 60mm wide that are still suggested in wide range of rules.

I'm pretty pysched to try out Hail Caesar, so currently I'm leaning towards 40x40 basing but I'm not quite settled on it. I may need to just stick the figures to temporary bases to try out the rules and see how it actually feels moving the various base sizes around during a game.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hail Caesar is right up my alley

"HC doesn't lend itself to the kind of precision that is dependant upon scientifically
accurate measurement, or complete sobriety for that matter;"
- Rick Priestly

Awesome :)

Cranking Out Some Ancients

I assembled a dozen Wargames Factory Romans last night, a nice cap to the three day weekend. I picked up a pair of these "Caesar's Legions" boxes during the WGF one-day sale a few years ago, and they've been sitting in storage ever since.  When I decided to switch to 28mm from 20mm for my ancients, using these Romans as a core to build from made my decision a lot easier.

After reading a number of bad reviews I was expecting the worst of these figures, but they didn't turn out too bad. Detail is soft, and the one squatty pose does look a little odd, but overall they went together quickly and I think I can get them painted up rapidly. I really like the pose in which the legionnaire has his gladius poised for a thrust over his shield.

Taking stock of my current projects, I have a number underway. I like to keep several going at once so as one is wrapping up I can easily jump into another, while prepping a third.
  • 24 Ancient Germans (Foundry and Wargames Factory) finished, awaiting shields.
  • 10 Ancient Germans primed.
  • 12 Romans assembled (84 to go! Yikes!)
  • 6 Numidian Light Cavalry (Warlord) assembled.
  • New woods terrain 80% finished.
Looking forward to getting some of these finished and based so I can start testing out DBA, Impetus and Hail Caesar.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hexagonal Shield with Clipped Top and Bottom?

Painted up some Foundry Ancient Germans that have been in my lead pile for 10 years.  I have a motley collection of shields to go with them, some Germanic, some Celtic or Roman, and even a few hoplite shields I won't be able to use.  There were two shields in the collection I couldn't identify - hexagonal shields with half circle clips taken out of the top and bottom.  I don't recognize them. Are they Germanic? Celtic? Hoping to get an ID on these...

Edit: Thanks to a response by Alan Curtis and Swampster on TMP. Turns out these are based on a few, probably ceremonial shields in Briton.  I decided to clip the "points" off the top and bottom to create regular hexagonal shields.

20mm Gauls and Numidians. Shelved.

I've already started working on the 28mm version of my Carthaginian army, but before I send my 20mm version into either storage or eBay, I thought I'd post some pics.  I managed to get them onto 60x30mm DBA style bases, but I was holding off on finishing the bases until the whole army was finished.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

Hello internet! After a long hiatus from the world of miniatures and wargaming I've decided to hop back in. I've played a wide range of games for decades but I only got interested in historical miniatures around 2005. With funds being tight at the time I started off with a few Airfix WWII armies before dabbling in some 20mm ancients.  I was still working on a pair of antagonists for some ancients battles when the birth of my son put wargaming on hold.

A few years have passed, things have been sorted out on the homefront and I find myself able to devote some time and energy to wargaming again. Wow! A lot has changed since I took a break. Plastics seem to be appearing left and right and ancients are going through a minor resurgence with the release of Impetus, Hail Caesar and Clash of Empires. Drooling over the Perry brothers' collections in Hail Caesar convinced me to switch scales from 20mm to 28mm and upgrade my terrain collection as well. Since I'd be kicking off a number of projects, I thought it might be a good idea to get a blog started to keep track of my progress. Hopefully there's something on here that will be useful to you in your own wargaming endeavors.