Saturday, 13 August 2016

I guess Rome reigns down in Africa

I had an hour or so to myself today and thought about doing some painting, but I've lost my painting mojo at the moment. So instead I broke out the DBA Polybian Romans and Later Carthaginians and decided to invade Africa.
The first game went according to script (if you are Roman). The Waterway went down and the two pieces of terrain that were chosen were rolled for the same table quarter so things looked a bit bare. The Romans (via random dice roll) chose the side of the board with the difficult hill in it. The Carthaginians decided to line up their whole army and forego a littoral landing.

The Carthaginian line-up.
The Romans squeeze into their deployment area.
The two lines plough into each other, with a bad first round for the Carthaginians - 2 elements down in the first clash.
The velites engage the Carthaginian light horse trying to outflank the Roman line.
The Romans realign.
The Carthaginian General takes out an element of hastati. Things are beginning to even up.
Numidians decide that they would rather go home than face the velites. 3 elements down for the Carthaginians.
The Punic line is looking rather ragged.
BANG! A Libyan spear element is destroyed and the battle is over. 
A relatively decisive defeat for the Punic cause.
There was time for a second battle, to give the Carthaginians a chance for revenge!
In case of deja vu the marsh and woods rolled to be in the same terrain quarter and didn't fit. Once again the Romans chose to deploy on the edge with the difficult going.
The armies after the first turn. In the background the Carthaginians have made a littoral landing!
The first few turns see the Romans lose an element of cavaly and the general being recoiled. The Gallic warband is destroyed in the centre, losing 2 elements for the Punic cause.
Back into battle, the Carthaginian cavalry try to turn the Roman right flank.
On the right the Roman velites are destroyed by the Carthaginian light troops - revenge for their humiliation in the last game!
The Balaeric slingers close the door on an element of Principes who end up caught between the toes of a Punic pachyderm.
With the battle won on the main front it turned out to be a good idea to distract the Triarii with a littoral landing.
So a win a piece!
You can see in these shots my completed camp elements which are the maximum size possible (4 base widths). They were finished at the end of the holidays, three weeks ago, but I just haven't had time to post much (or paint much) since then. However, I've started to get back into it, and Craig's next lot of figures are currently on the painting tray.

I got a fantastic surprise this morning too. It is a few days early, but Dan sent me a birthday present all the way from Australia:
Ancient Spanish! Perfect.
Looking forward to getting these guys on the table... eventually.


Friday, 22 July 2016

Pacifying Palestine

It has been almost a month since I last posted, and that is largely because work and life got hectic. But I have not been idle on the wargaming front. I've taken the opportunity to use these middle school holidays of the year to take a break from painting for others and do a bit of painting for myself. The result has been this Later Hebrew DBA army to match my recently reacquired Philistines:
Doing Yahweh's work...
I wanted the army to represent the Israelites at the time of King David - hence the magen David on many of the shields. I also went with quite dull colours on the chariots after my initial paint jobs made them look like refugees from a Culture Club concert.

Of course, one cannot finish an army without putting it through its paces, and a showdown with the Philistines was on the cards. Thanks to some spectacularly poor dice rolling on behalf of the Philistines (a trend that would continue throughout the evening), the Hebrews packed up their tents and marched down to the coast for their summer holiday.

The field of battle - Philistines at the top, Hebrews at the bottom.
 The Phillies set up their compulsory Waterway and put down two pieces of Rough Going - a woods and a marsh. They didn't really want to have too much difficult terrain because they have a lot of spear which like good going and were facing Auxilia who thrive in the rough. The Hebrews chose the edge with the most difficult going. The Phillies deployed in a long line with a second line of reserves. They eschewed the prospect of a littoral landing because they wanted to try and present a solid line across the board. Possibly a mistake.

The Hebrews also deployed in 2 lines. This was going to be a big knock down battle of attrition - nothing fancy at all.

The lines move towards each other
 The first pips saw both armies grind towards each other.
The first rounds of combat.
 The initial clash delivered some shock results. The Philistines lost a chariot, an Auxilia and a Psiloi element. In return the Hebrews lost a single element of Auxilia to the spears in the centre of the line.

 Both sides then paused for a moment to reform their lines, feeding in reserves to fill in any gaps. The next round of combat saw the power of the spear elements in action. The Hebrew auxilia had no answer, their whole line bouncing back, despite having an initial overlap on the left flank. Only the general's chariot and the right hand psiloi saved the day for the Hebrews. a '6 to 1' roll gave the Hebrew skirmishers victory over their opponents, and all thanks were given to Yahweh.

The death toll.
The Hebrews triumphed with some lucky rolling around the fringes, but the centre of the Philstine line was solid. I am very impressed with spears in DBA 3.0. I always found them a bit underwhelming in 2.2, but the +1 flank modifier makes them a rock now. It will be interesting to see how the Anglo-Danish army goes against the Normans when I have them all up and running.


Thursday, 23 June 2016

DBA - only took a year...

So I finally put some figures on the board and had my first DBA v3.0 game last night, having purchased the rules a year and a half ago. This saw the Carthaginians invading Italy (for a change).
The two armies deployed
 The Romans had a Built Up Area (BUA), and garrisoned this with some Italian allies. Some rough woods were on their right flank. They deployed with the blades in depth on the right, the cavalry in the centre and the spears and auxilia close up to the BUA. The BUA anchored the flank nicely and gave the Romans a nice compact line.
On reflection I probably deployed the Carthaginians poorly. I loved using Light Horse around open flanks in DBA 2.1 and I wanted to see if the cavalry could do the same in 3.0. Given the Roman deployment I didn't really get the chance to find out.
I drew up the warband opposite the blades looking for an autokill, and the elephant opposite the Roman cavalry to hopefully squash the general.
Almost time to crash... errr... clash
 The two sides closed very quickly. It wasn't long before the battlelines were pinning each other.
The Carthaginian line breaks
 First blood went to the Cathaginians, who killed a Legionary blade with their Warband. I looked to see if that auto-killed the element behind it, but couldn't find anything that said that it does, which validated the idea of having the blades deployed in depth. The Warband pursued into combat with the survivors, but didn't break through. In return, the Legionaries to the side of the Warband scythed through some hapless Spanish Psiloi. The Roman general kept bouncing the elephant back.
The end
The breaking of the Psiloi turned out to be the decisive move. After a bit more back and forth the blades that had broken through were able to 'close the door' on the Warband and killed both elements. On the Roman left the Triarii took out an African spear unit and that was game over. 
As you can see in the last photo, the Numidian Light Horse did manage to turn the Italian allies, but by and large the Carthaginian cavalry had very little impact on this battle.

I'm still not 100% about what I'm doing - I can't believe it has been about 5 years since I last played DBA and I'm not sure I've quite picked up the nuances of the new rules. For instance, I know that the rear corner of an element can 'interpenetrate' another element when it is wheeling. As far as I can see, this does not have to be only friendly elements, but I wasn't sure. So I didn't let my Romans close the door on the Warband until the Spanish Auxilia had pursued their opposing Psiloi and cleared a space. I'd be interested to know, if anybody can tell me, if the blades could have made the wheel even though they were starting in side edge contact with the Spanish. (Edit: I found a thread on Fanaticus today that confirmed that yes, the move was legal if starting in side edge contact.)
I'll have to have another game soon and see if I can get back into the flow of things again.


Saturday, 18 June 2016

Woodland Indians, Vikings, a geriatric hillbilly woman and Oliver Cromwell walk into a bar...

And they all say ouch.
Seriously, how was I supposed to end that title? It refers of course, to the latest batch of painting for Geoff. Without further ado, here is the parade:
These are some of the Blue Moon Woodland Indians.
And their three friends.
Gripping Beast berserkers. I'd be crazy too, if I lived that close to the North pole and wandered around shirtless.
'So ya'll want my guns sonny? Come and get 'em!'
The Seventeenth Century's answer to the Cromwell tank...
I have marking to do and reports to write, so it is unlikely that I'll be posting anything much in the coming fortnight - but you never know! The next item on the painting tray will be Japanese tanks for Craig.


Saturday, 11 June 2016

Samurais and Supers

I finished off another ten figures for Geoff today - some North Star Ronin figures. This was a mix of figures from the Bandit Buntai and Koryu Buntai sets. They are really very nice figures to paint.
Four Koryu Buntai figures
And from the back where the patterning is a bit more obvious. Not sure if the holes in their butt-cheeks are meant to be for sword scabbards?
Some bandits runing amok
The other three bandits from the group
I think I have my recipe for Japanese flesh down pat now. Base coat of Chocolate brown, mid coat of US tan earth, followed by a mix of tanned earth and flat flesh. Then a wash with a fleshtone wash. What do you think?

I also finished off the Protectorate - my second Superhero team.
The gang all together - Aura, Nuclein, Hoplite and Stormchild
Here's the three members who haven't been featured yet, along with their super powers.
Hoplite. He needs a shield design, but not too sure what it will be yet. Power armour.
Aura. She is a conversion of the DC Ice Heroclix figure. Force fields.
Stormchild. A straight-forward repaint of Mary Marvel. Lightning and stuff.
I haven't really thought much about their origin etc. They must be a fairly tight-knit group to go in for the whole uniform colour look. I've toyed with the idea of them being employed by the European Union - would explain the colours and uniform - and having them be from France, Austria, Greece and Germany (a blond with blitz powers - why not make her German?). This would leave the door open for expansion to include some other nationalities. I'm not even sure who the leader is. Maybe Stormchild - it would be nice to have a woman in charge. Powers are also ill-defined at the moment. I'll come up with something for Clobberin' Time, run them against some villains and see where we go from there.

The next Super gang will definitely have to be some bad guys and gals!

I have a ton of marking to do this weekend and it looks like it will run into next week (why do Year 13s feel the need to use every page in their exam booklets... sigh), but I'm determined to finish the last dozen figures for Geoff this week. They should be complete by next weekend.


Monday, 6 June 2016

My Wargaming Week 11

Managed to get a dozen figures painted for Geoff this week. These are Mutton Chop Early War British. Really nice figures, with quite fine detail:

 Geoff bought the AK Interactive British WWI Uniform triad and sent it through for me to try. I have to say that I'm really pleased with the resulting colour. I felt that the final highlight colour was too stark a contrast with the other shads, being too tan for my liking, so I ended up mixing it with the base shade. It has neat that some of the definition is lost, but I think it looks more realistic.

I e-mailed Geoff and admitted that I was too scared to try and paint eyes on these figures, but then I plucked up the courage and did so this morning. They are barely noticeable, but they are there!

I also managed to get a couple of Heroclix repaints in. Below are Nuclein and Compost:
Wham! Take that Compost!
And here's are the 20+ year old design sketch of Compost:
He's built out of a combo of Man-Thing and Swamp-Thing:

Man-Thing with Swamp-Thing's head - incredibly easy conversion for one of my favourite baddies! The Prince of Putrescence was actually born at about the same time as Nuclein, who has here been made out of Ace from the Royal Flush Gang:
I knew what he would be as soon as I spotted the model!

My first ever drawing of Nuclein. If the pose looks vaguely familiar it is because it was copied off Todd MacFarlane's picture of the Hulk from the Handbook to the Marvel Universe update '88. No-one drew the Hulk as good as MacFarlane, before or since. You may disagree, but I'm entitled to my opinion because it's right.

This week I have some Samurai to paint for Geoff, and then I think I'll do the last dozen figures that he sent through. Then Craig's Japanese tanks. At the same time I am going to try and squeeze in a few more heroes and villains. Although Nuclein was originally designed a s a member of Delta Wave, he is actually going to be part of the Protectorate with Hoplite, Stormchild and, yes, a new Aura!


Tuesday, 31 May 2016

My Wargaming Week 10

For the second week in a row I've ended up having to have time off work, and off painting! The gastro bug had no sooner passed than I got a cold that managed to remove my voice. It is really hard to teach when you can't talk, although I did try!
Anyway, I did manage to get some stuff finished. First up:
A dozen German dragoons for John's WWI armies.
A bit of a close up with the officers
And the troopers. All of these guys were painted to 'high wargaming' standard to fit with the existing collection - that is with 2 tones of paint and some ink washes.
I did some painting for myself as well. This is The King, or as I like to call him, Evil Elvis - he's a gang leader and one of Captain Kiwi's bad guys.
Speaking of the Captain - he had a make-over. He is no longer looking at the sky and he now has some clubs to beat people around with. Just like Daredevil, except he has a utility belt like Batman. He could be called Bat-Devil. Except he has a Kiwi  emblem on his chest. Whatever - he's kick-ass! Watch out Evil Elvis.
 In other news, My collection of Practical Wargamer magazines nears completion with the arrival of these five from Caliver Books. I only need a few more issues and I'll have the whole set, but if Caliver doesn't have them in stock, who would?
1993 is completed!
In the same parcel, a Zvezda Lee for my 1944 14th Army turned up. I only ordered one to see what it would be like. It is simply the best Zvezda tank I've ever put together. Recommended!
And 3 Battlefront Honey Stuarts for the Japanese. I had to order a whole box of five, but I only need 3. The Japanese tank commander was kindly donated by Craig.
 I also lost a machine gun from my Japanese MG platoon. I picked up the element and forgot that it wasn't glued down. The Machine Gun fell off and after pulling out the stuff in the cupboards and searching all around, I think it went down the inside of a metal pipe which is bolted to the floor. I emailed Battlefront about a replacement, but they don't have any in stock, so if anyone out there has a spare 15mm Japanese MG, or knows a good place to buy one, please let me know.

The Punic Wars DBA armies arrived back, in exchange for painting John's cavalry.
Also showing up today, an order of random Heroclix figures from Troll and Toad. The figures on the bottom right will join the Marvel/DC collections; the figures at back right will join the random civilians that are kidnapped/rescued/endangered in scenarios; and the figures on the left are for conversions into NDC characters (that stands for Nate Dan Comics).
My time off has given me plenty of time for reflection, and I've come to the conclusion that less is certainly more. As a bit of a Wargames Butterfly I've looked at dabbling here and there, and rules like DBA and One Hour Wargames only encourage this. But I've been reading through the old Practical Wargamer Magazines and decided that maybe what I really want is to do a few periods and do them well. To that end, I've narrowed down my wargaming focus to the following periods/games:

1. Punic Wars, using Big Battle DBA.
2. The Great Northern War using an adaptation of Neil Thomas' Introduction to Wargaming rules for Pike and Shot. (I can still pull out a few units for OHW games as well). It will have about 15 - 20 units a side.
3. The French and Indian War using Muskets and Tomahawks. The only historical period in 28mm. This is the project where I want to spend lots of time on making the figures and terrain pretty.
4. World War I using the rules featured here for 1914, and Flames of War for 1918.
5. World War II using Flames of War - both the Eastern Front mid war and Pacific.
6. Superheroes using Clobberin' Time.

For most of these periods, I actually need to buy more figures, but not a huge deal more. If I can focus, the goal is to have them all painted and ready for the end of next year.