Thursday, December 31, 2020

Parthians Coming along nicely and preparing to return to the Stalingrad project


A 6mm Parthian forces has been painted up and based.  All that's left is to scenic the bases and these chaps will be ready for the tabletop.

These figures are part of the Baccus miniatures Hail Caesar Army Pack plus one pack of 36 armored camel cataphracts.  The Baccus army packs come with a nice discount and do give you a very broad set of troop options.  As with my Republican Romans these are based to be used for the Age of Hannibal ruleset but the basing is flexible enough to use with just about any ancients rules set.

I'm still fiddling with the color scheme for the base scenery - I want a more arid look than the standard "European Field" I used on the Romans.

I  am looking forward to getting these guys on the table soon as cavalry heavy armies are a lot of fun to play in just about all ancients rule sets.  My track record as a commander of horse armies is actually pretty poor but I always have fun zooming around the tabletop.  Plus who doesn't dream of commanding a charge of cataphracts mounted on armored camels?

Once these gentlemen are finished, I think it's time to return to my Stalingrad project, roughly 40% of the table is done and using my AMAZING math skills, I am able to calculate that implies there is 60% remaining to be done.  I'm hoping be able to put this game on at Historicon this year.  I know it's a pretty iffy proposition on the chances of Historicon being held but let's think positively.  Perhaps a more precise way to set the deadline is the earlier of Historicon'21 or the next HMGS convention.  

A picture of the North section of the map, which is bounded to the North by the January 9th Square /  Pavlov's House / Grundin Mill area.  I'm thinking of darkening the road sections as they look a little too "bright" to me.  The game table will cover most of central Stalingrad down to the Univermaf Dept store and Red Square.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Republican Roman Army with Italian and Spanish Allies (Challenge Submissions 1 & 2)


My first two submissions for Challenge XI consisted of a 6mm scale Republican Roman army along with some support troops from Spain and Italy.  The figures are all from the Baccus 6mm line and were a joy to paint.  

These chaps netted me 610 points and consist of 150 mounted figures and 920 infantry of various types.  The troops are based on 40mm square bases which is the standard used for "Age of Hannibal" at the club.  These rules were written by a club member and are a very nice fast play set of rules that allow player to recreate entire battles and finish them in an evening.  They're a lot of fun and I enjoy playing them a lot.

On the left side are the Spanish troops:
- 4 Bases of Scutarii medium infantry with 24 figures per base)
- 6 bases of Caetratii light infantry with 8 figures per base
- 9 bases of Spanish light cavalry with 5 figures per base

15 Mounted Roman generals.  The different sized command bases denotes rank with the larger the base, the higher the rank

The heart of any Roman army - heavy infantry.  8 bases of Hastati, 8 bases of Principes and 2 bases of Triarii, all with 24 figures.  In the back are 6 bases of Balearic slingers and 2 bases of scorpions for a little fire support

On the right side are some Italian allies - generic hoplite infantry in the front. Italian medium cavalry.  In the rear are 12 bases of Roman Velites.

The final group are 4 bases of Samnite infantry.

I'm planning to also use the Spanish and Italian troops as Gauls and maybe even Germans if the need arose.  We don't have a full Gualic at the club but could probably cobble together a respectable force with pieces from peoples various collections.  

As you've seen in a previous post, next up on the "Ancients Hit Parade" are some Parthians.  Depending on how hard Mr Berry cracks the whip at the Baccus Casting Furnace, there will also a medium sized Dacian force (with Sarmatians!) and a relatively large Successor Army (cause who doesn't want to paint Ellies?).

Saturday, December 26, 2020

With the Republican Romans and their allies done, next up on my list of 6mm Ancients are the Parthians.  When the Baccus cart was last opened I purchased a Hail Caesar Army pack of Parthians plus a pack of Camel Cataphracts because who wouldn't want to paint armored camels?

The Baccus army deals are a great way to get started as they are offered at a nice discount so if you're just starting out give them a look.

Assume I don't break anything this army pack should yield the following:

18 bases of mounted Archers, with 4 figures per base

4 Bases of javelin armed light cavalry with 4 figures per base

12 bases of cataphracts with 6 figures per base

6 bases of camel cataphracts with 6 figures per base

4 bases of spearmen with 24 figs per base

6 bases of foot arches with 16 figures per base

2 bases of skirmishers with 8 figures per base

9 Generals 2, 2 figure bases and 5, 1 figure bases

All of the bases are 40mm squares which have just been purchased from the good folks at Litko.  I ordered them on Monday and got them in two days.  Really top notch service.

I really like fielding cavalry heavy armies for ancients games and am looking forward to trying these guys out on the table.  My first few outings will likely result in complete disaster as cavalry armies tend to be finicky forces to field but they are always fun.  I doubt all 6 of the Camel units will ever get used at the same time but their just too fun not to paint up.

When the Baccus cart opens up, I'll likely pick up another pack of Spearmen (for another 4 bases) and maybe another pack of horse archers.

Now for some research on how to paint Parthians.....


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Merry Christmas from my Lair to Yours


Merry Christmas to you and your families from St Michaels, Maryland.  I know 2020 has been a difficult year for all of us and we're learning to celebrate the holidays in different and "more distant" manner.  Still we can test new ways to celebrate and it's better to have a positive outlook than not.

At my house, this will be the first Christmas we will not have our son in the house with us Christmas morning - an inevitable outcome but one that will take some getting used to.  On the positive side we will get him and his girlfriend for a socially distant Christmas dinner and is suspect Mary Beth will be pulling out all the stops to impress his young lady.  Impress or Intimidate - I never under this  higher level female communication stuff.  It's probably best if I don't trouble my pointy little head about such matters.

We'll be trying to create some new traditions this year and will likely be having a large Christmas dinner with the extended family over Zoom.  It will be a shambles but a shambles that I will really enjoy.

Speaking of new traditions, I finally broke down and built a Eastern Shore of Maryland holiday mainstay - a Christmas tree made out of crab traps.  Yes these little beauties adorn houses, docks and boats during the holiday season and the scream out class and sophistication.  I bet you can hear from wherever your reading this blog right now if you listen carefully...

Anyway, I kind of like the tree and it's nice to see peeking through the trees as one trundles up the drive way.

Be safe and be positive this Holiday season - we will get through this period of trial to better days in 2021.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

"And So it Begins" The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge version XI.0 has started

This year's Painting Challenge has started and after a fairly long painting session yesterday, I've painted and based the majority of my planned Republican Roman army.  All in glorious 6mm with the figures from Baccus.  The bases need to be painted and have some scenery added which will be today's project. 

Along the left side of the picture is a row of partially painted Spanish and Italian allied troops and some Roman generals in the back.  I'll try to get those chaps finished before Christmas.  In addition to being Spanish, Italians or even Samnites, these figures can double for Gauls and Celts in a pinch.

All of the figures are based for the ruleset "Age of Hannibal" which uses 40mm square basing for all units.  Generals are based as single figures on round 25mm bases.  The rules are simple but very fun and allow one to play very large battles to a conclusion in an evening.  They were written by fellow club member Greg Wagman and I suggest you check them out.

There has been a rather silly logistical failure on my part for this year's Challenge.  I seem to have forgotten that is one is building several armies that all use 40mm square bases, one should check ones supply of said bases.   Let us just say the currently my demand for 40mm bases exceeds my supply.  Well my failure is the gain of those fine people at Litko as an order for a rather large number of 40mm bases was placed yesterday afternoon.  Let us all hope their base making machinery has not gone on Christmas break yet.  Crack that whip, Mr Litko - I NEED those bases!!!!!!

Ok, that last line might be a little over-the-top.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge - More and Betterer Preparations & Annoying Social Commentary


Its roughly 5:16am on Dec 19th and preparations for the impending start of the Challenge continue at a frantic pace here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Legions of tiny 6mm Romans have been glue to popsicle sticks and primed.  This morning's efforts have shifted back to terrain making for my 15mm Stalingrad project.  I need a bunch of hexes made to finish up the table - about 350 to be exact.  I cut these ones out this morning.  Most of them are the standard 1/2 inch think but the ones on the far right are 1/4 inch thick and will be used for the Volga River and making terrain with depressions - like trenches!

Here's an example of a test trench section I made a few weeks ago.  The area in front of Pavlov's house (upper left of the picture) was heavily entrenched and for the Campaign version of the game I want to give players the option to build trenches and "alter" the terrain board.

I will need to get a ruling from the snowlord on how to treat some of the "landmark" buildings that have been scratch built but not painted prior to the start of this year's Challenge.  Two examples are the Univermag Dept Store and the Soviet State Bank building.  I think I should discount their points by 50% but there is a logical argument they should not be able to earn any points.  Either way is fine - I've got plenty of other buildings to make!
The reason the trench is so wide is to allow standard Flames of War bases to fit.  These trenches need some more design "flourish" to be really look good but the basic concept works.  And yes I have purchased some pre-painted Germans and Soviet troops from Gajo Miniatures.  They are way better than I can manage and having 3/4's of the needed figures "done" makes this project doable.


The other major activity this time of year is Christmas preparations, which this year are pretty easy.  MB and I elected to go light on the whole "gift" thing - we really don't need anything and have decided to use those funds plus a little more to make a donation to our local food bank to help them cope with the unprecedented level of demand.  One of the cruelists aspects of this plague is it exacts its highest toll on our most vulnerable population segments and has economically savaged the lower end of the economic ladder.  The level of demand on our local food bank is at a historic level.  I was speaking with the head of a local Food Bank and she was in tears recounting how they had to turn some families away because there was no inventory.  There's a double whammy at play here as a large source of food donations are local restaurants and they just can't do that right now.  There is no shame in needing help during a crisis - there is shame in choosing not to provide that help when you can.

Please note, this isn't a veiled rant against social distancing - those restrictions are needed and more than justified.  Its more that the rest of us need to step up and help out rather than whine about the injustice of wearing a face mask to protect others.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge XI: 6mm Republican Romans Assembling for for duty

Preparation efforts for the AHPC XI are accelerating to a frantic pace here in the Lair.  On the work table getting ready for priming is a good part of my planned Republican Roman army.  All of the figures are from Baccus and there are Romans, plus Italian and Spanish allies.

There will be a lot of 6mm ancients painted during this challenge.  The last time the Baccus cart was opened up in early November, I think I can safely say there were some unwarranted exuberance in the shopping cart.  Somehow over the course of a few days 4 different armies were purchased.  Historical scholars will debate for years on what exactly transpired and if I was lead astray by the wiley Peter Berry and his cunning and diabolical marketing ploy of "superb miniatures for a very reasonable price".  At this point, it's best I do not comment further as my lovely, yet fierce wife does peruse this blog and any statements I make can and will be used against me in a future tribunal.  We live perilous times.

In a addition to said Republican Romans, there other armies to be painted are some Parthians, a Dacian/Sarmatian force and a Successor army with lots and lots of Phalanxes.  

on advice of consul, I can not comment of the prospects of a 5th or 6th army as that does require the Baccus cart to be re-opened.  But there are candidates under review......

Friday, December 4, 2020

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge XI: The Pigment Arsenal is Being Readied for Action


With the commencement of AHPC XI now less than 3 weeks away, there are fevered preparations being undertaken down in the Lair.  

The first step is a moderate cleaning of the painting desk.  It will need another pass but at least now I can actually see the wood top.  As with past challenges, I like to start off with a brand new set of Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes in sizes 0, 1 and 2.  They are super expensive but I've yet to find anything that matches their quality and durability.  Challenge XI will see two new forms of pigmenting weaponry deployed.  A magnifying visor and some extra fine sharpie paint markers (white and black).  There will be a lot of 6mm miniatures involved in this years effort and my eyes are struggling a bit to see the details on those wonderful Baccus casts.  I'll be using a magnifier visor to help with the painting.  It will take some getting used to but it's already a huge help.  On the plus side, I do look truly dashing while wearing them and am hopeful that images of me in the visor will lead to lucrative modeling contracts in the near future.  The markers may be considered a bit of cheating but are really handy for drawing in straps and reins.  We'll have to test to see how durable this method is on the figures.

The terrain work bench has also been cleaned up in anticipation of finishing off the remaining 60% of the Stalingrad table I've been working on.  Pictured are pretty much all the tools I use for scratch building outside on large contraptions like my 3D Printer (when it chooses to cooperate) and my Cricut cutter (ALWAYS dependable).

Here's the north 40% of the Stalingrad table which is pretty much done other than weathering and is not suitable for this years Challenge.  Don't worry there is another slightly large section that will go on the left side of the picture which will require a good deal of terrain work.  Expect to see some 15mm Soviet and German miniatures along with the terrain.

There also may be a little Napoleonic related terrain to work on that will be used for an upcoming LWTV episode but that's top secret so don't go blabbing that to anyone else.  I'm sure I can trust your discretion.

Points wise, the "official" points target will be 2,500 but who knows what's going to happen.  At least my hobby time will not be curtailed by business trips for the next few months.  I really do miss my monthly sojourns to London where I can pretend to be a "investor".  

Stay safe everyone.