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Monday, December 14, 2009

Rohan to the Rescue

King Theoden of Rohan takes the lead in this stand of knights with Gamling and a royal guardsman close behind.

Erkenbrand, the real hero of Helms Deep. Made conspicuous by his absence in the film, Erkenbrand led a vital contingent of the Rohirrim in a counter attack against the orcs of Isengard. This figure is one of those infuriating GW sets that pairs a nice metal rider with a cheap plastic horse. If you look closely you can see the support pin I had to put into the horse's belly to stabilize the figure.

Now counter attack would be complete without Gandalf to lead the way.

Here are two elements of riders who are the vanguard of a much larger force. I have enough for 1 more element of riders and 6 elements of knights already painted. They are just waiting on the basing.

Erkenbrand on foot with some royal guard, and some aerial support featured below.

Isengard Unleashed

Here we have some plastic Games Workshop Lord of the Rings (LotR) Uruk Hai. The plastics were fairly easy to base as I just tacked the plastic sprue on which they are resting to the wooden base with super glue, and then built up around it. The banner is a nice little customization of a pike.
Some blade elements and a large troll which will play as a behemoth.

Here is a close up of one blade stand. I tried to give the armor a good crude rusted appearance. On some stands I have mixed in armor that appears newer, as much would have been just produced. Below are the archers. In the pipe are some more crossbow, blades and of course, Saruman

Sunday, December 6, 2009

DBA Samurai Camp

Finished up my camp for the early samurai. Now just a few more elements of bow and blade and they will be ready to go.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Painting contest entry

This is my entry for the TMP intimidation Doubled painting contest. Unfortunately I was a bit slow in getting it submitted (graduate school and family has a way of changing priorities) so I doubt it will be includded in the contest, so I thought it would be nice to at least show it off here.

My son was kind enough to provide computer assistance and help out with the background for a nice finished look. As for the model itself, I did a bit of snipping and cutting. I rearranged the sword arm to be a bit more aggressive and disguised the joint by adding a little hair. I also draped some more hair over hear chest as she was rather buxom, and I thought she might appreciate a little modesty.

The basing is done with sculptamold paper mache rocks and static grass with a turf under base.

These are just raw images but show the shield side of the figure. The shield came with raised detail, so I was limited in design. I would have much preferred a blank shield and almost filed off the design, but lacked the time and energy to do so.

I'll probably pop her up on eBay, so if anyone is interested in taking this figure home let me know in the comment section. I don't play any RPG games at the moment, so though she was fun to paint, is of little use to me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Command Elements for Fields of Glory

While at Nashcon I heard a lot of good things about Fields of Glory (FOG) so I thought I would change some of the basing arrangements of my large big battle DBA Persian and Macedonian armies. The only significant lack I had was command elements, which are separate in FOG, whereas in DBA they are incorporated into a regular element. I found some Foundry packs on clearance at Nashcon, so was able to get many of the extra figures I would need. I also need to finish up a few light Persian troops and some Macedonian pikemen, but hope to have the army ready to go by the summer break. My idea was to be able to play FOG or BBDBA once I get the additional troops done.

I have tried to incorporate mounted and infantry elements in the command stands as this mix of troop types helps to distinguish them on the field. The cavalry commander is an older paint job, done with a fair amount of drybrushing. The infantry are new paint jobs done by using washes and some deliberate highlighting.

Finding appropriate Persian figures has been a real challenge, as most are made for the Xerxes / Marathon period and not for the armies of Darius which fought Alexander. Essex makes the nice commander with the standard. The horseman is from Old Glory and the swordsman is from 1st Corp.

I love this figure on horseback, but every time I pull him out I want to repaint him, but so far I have resisted the temptation to do so.

I rather like the way this element turned out. The horseman in back looks as if he is keeping an eye out for his commander and I just like the dynamic of it.

A view from behind.

Not a great example of photography, but I also put together a few markers with casualty figures for disruption status. I'd love to get some of the Foundry Persian casualties, but at $20+ for five dead folks I think I'm going to have to pass.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Early Samurai DBA Army Under Way at Last

It has been a long time since my last update. I guess Nashcon kind of took it out of me, but I have been slowly painting. Lots of small projects have kept me busy, like re-basing some of my 25mm Persians and Macedonians so that I can give the Fields of Glory rules a try. Grad school is also getting very serious now, and with working a full time job and going to school my time for painting has shrunk dramatically. School didn't keep me from dreaming however and I got a wonderful Eureka Early Samurai army from a fellow Fanatici and have been slowly whittling away at it. This army required much more research than usual, because I just didn't feel comfortable starting until I had a better understanding of the period and more specifically the armor and all of it's intricacies. I used several books on the samurai as a guide, but relied most heavily on the Heiji Scroll, a period illustration of a raid led by Minamoto no Yoshitomo, a relative of Minamoto no Yoritomo, who would eventually become the first Shogun of Japan and establish the Kamakura shogunate. Here is a link to a wonderful interactive website for the scroll:

Here we have the mounted Samurai. The banner is that of the Minamoto clan, and though I don't know if he had a banner other than the present one, the command stand is meant to represent Minamoto no Yoshitsune, the brother of Yoritomo, and one of the most famous warriors of Japan. There are two very early novels about the period entitled Yoshitsune, and the Tale of the Heike, which details the actions of the Taira clan in their struggle against the Minamoto clan in the late 12th century.

The layering of the Japanese armor is very complex and it took some time before I felt like I had a good grasp of how all the pieces fit together. The breast plate of this period was often covered in white deer hide and intricately designed, as were the turned back cheek protectors of the helmets. The armor was meant to be collapsible and the Japanese name for it means "box armor", because of it's ability to be collapsed and stored in a compact box. It was designed to collapse to accommodate a warrior as he sat on his horse and during this period was primarily an arrow defense, as the samurai still relied most heavily on the bow as their primary weapon.

You have to love the helmets of the samurai commanders. It seems bigger was almost always better. The really tall hat is based on a much later helmet worn by Tokugawa Ieyasu, perhaps the most famous Shogun who established the Tokugawa Shogunate at the turn of the 17th century.

I tried to give the swords a shiny wavy line on the sharpened edge which is so typical of the Japanese blades.

The horses have lots of tassels which I assume served as a protection from arrows as well as decoration. The bridle is slightly different from the western design as their is no strap over the nose connected to the bit. I gave some of the samurai patterned robes, but also a lot of just plain utilitarian robes, or ones with a subtle woven pattern that simply would be too difficult to try and paint at this scale.

You can see here why I love these Eureka figures as the sculpting quality is just marvelous. These are hard to find on their site because for some reason they have been listed under the "Pirates" tab. They are available with Sashimono (back banners), but the samurai are really modelled on the early period. The Ashigaru are perfect for the banners however.

Here is a detail shot of the back. I used a black Micron pen to line the horizontal divisions of the laced armor.

The command stand from the back

These are the lesser samurai and armed peasants that play as Auxilia. I started with these first to try and gently warm up to the period.

One of the strange phenomenons of Japanese warfare was the class of warrior monks. Many sons of noble Japanese families populated the Buddhist temples and so it was natural for them to have military training. There are also many elements of Bushido (the way of the warrior) which are closely related to Buddhist ideology. Warrior monks were often indistinguishable from regular samurai, but often wore a white head cloth or white robe as a sign of their religion. At one point rival warrior Buddhist monks almost destroyed the capital city of Kyoto.

A good shot showing what the back of the armor looked like. The small square shoulder shields were designed to move freely to accommodate the shooting of a bow. The arrows were held in a wicker box that held each arrow individually in a lattice-like structure.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

DBx madness at Nashcon

This year's Nashcon started with a bang, of musketry that is. We got the games rolling with a DBN demo game that I wung together at the last minute to try and help fill the Friday afternoon slot. I was going to play a test game, but folks kept stopping by and watching, so I just stepped aside and turned over the game to some willing volunteers. After that it was off to the races with a DBA campaign game run by Bob Kelso Friday night, an afternoon of DBx open gaming Saturday, culminating with the 2009 open DBA tournament.

The French columns supported by lancers prepare to assault the allied line in a "Road to Waterloo" scenarion based very loosely on Quatre Bras. The game was played with 25mm DBN rules on a 3x6 table.

Brunswick Avante Garde take position in a village to the front of the allied line.

The Snoopy Blimp overview of the action. Terry Webb (in the hat) is helping to coach the players through the rules.

The French Lancers charge into the Dutch, trying to break their lines before the rapidly approaching Brunswickers can turn and oppose them.

Friday night featured an eight player campaign game based on the first crusade. Bob Kelso hosted the game and provided all of the miniatures and terrain. Bob knew the period very well and kept things moving along at a fast clip all night.

Crusaders and Saracens about to clash!

Dave Cliffel was the eventual winner of the campaign and received a cash prize to spend in the dealer area. Bill Banks came in a close second and received an Essex DBA core army as his reward.

Here we see a shot of another DBN game, this time in 15mm. Glenn Little coached players through DBN during the DBx clinic and open gaming session. Glenn's French look to be taking advantage of my Prussians and Saxons due to the absence of their normal general (me).

Terry Webb and Chris Ward face off in a large Boxer Rebellion game put together by Paul Potter and using the Humberside extension of the DBA rules. Chris Ward went on to win one of two door prizes, an essex DBA core army. I actually won the other drawing and choose the artillery bastion terrain piece from Murray Terrain that I had been coveting.

Though I wasn't present for their innaugural battle, I did eventually get to sit down and take command of the orcs as they fought to crush the elf host. Unfortunately the orcs succumbed to the skill of the elven general, but managed to take a good many of them to the great beyond, before fleeing the field of battle. You can see more photos of the HotT games at:

Nahtan Clairday, a relative newcomer to DBA, borrowed my HYW English for the tournament and managed to shoot his way into the top spot and win the DBA open. Ed Dillon can be seen in the background brushing the rust off of his game.

Terry Webb played his Feudal French and in the back Paul Potter can be seen setting up his powerful Navareese army.

The champions: (L-R) Bob Kelso in 3rd place playing a Qara Khitan army with 75 points, Nathan Clairday with the HYW English squeeked in to 1st place by one point with 76 total points, Joe Collins playing the Alexandrian Macedonians entered the final round as the only undefeated player, but fell to Paul Potter's Navareese and ended up placing 4th with 72 points. Paul placed second with 75 points. All four players received either an Essex Core army or an army pack from Splintered Light Miniatures. The participants and their armies were:

Terry Webb - Feudal French
Ed Dillon - Anglo Normans
Paul Potter - Navarese
Nathan Clairday - HYW English
Glenn Little - Early Polish
Bob Kelso - Qara-Khitan
Gray Strick - Mongols
Dave Cliffel - Turks
Jamie Gentry - LIR
Chris Ward - Marian Romans

Mark Leitheiser - Phyrric
Joe Collins - Alexandrian Macedonian

A special thank you to our most generous sponsors: Baxter Key at Wargames, David McBride at Splintered Light Miniatures, and Barry Scarlett from Murray Terrain.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Elves and Orcs Ready to Rumble

Ever since I saw these figures back in the early eighties I've always wanted an army of Orcs and Elves sculpted by Tom Meier for Ral Partha. Thanks to the magic of Ebay, I have finally acquired enough figures to make that dream a reality. I have based them for the DBA variant HotT (Hordes of the Things). Though I have enough figures now to make the requisite 24 point armies, the Elves far outnumber the Orcs, but not to worry. Waiting in the wings are about 40-50 more Goblins which I will mount up as shooters and hordes.
This Dragon is one of the few figures in the army not sculpted by Tom. I believe this one was sculpted by Julie Guthrie, but if anyone knows better please let me hear from you.  (Edit - I actually just heard from Jacob at Ral Partha Legacy, who let me know this dragon was actually sculpted by Tom Meier.  Many of these figures are available once again here: ) I will most likely play this element as an aerial hero or as a flyer, not as a dragon.
Here we have the Lord of the Nazgul with a wolf rider escort. The wolf riders are sculpted by Tom Meier, and it wouldn't surprise me if the Nazgul was as well, but I'm not really sure. Once again please let me hear from you if you if you know the sculptor
Here are two elements of wolf riders which I will probably play as beasts. These figures are still commercially available, but I found out later that Mr. Meier still owns the copyright to these figures and they are being produced without his consent. They are clearly old molds, as some of the detail of the chainmail on the riders is virtually non-existant now. These ferocious fellas will represent the general's element of Uruk Hai and will be played as a warband element. The drummer in the front was one I painted way back in the day, and there is no telling how many repaints and bases he has been on, hence the rather grity appearance of his drum.
Uruk Hai shooters. The bow strings are made from horse hair that I stole from an old violin bow.
The main body of Uruks will be played as warband. Once again some of these figures are still commercially available, but apparently without license to be sold. The spearmen are not available and I was thrilled to find an unopened pack of six on Ebay a while back. I have painted them in bronze armor, and being Orcs who are not to concerned with cleanliness, I have given the bronze a green cast from lack of polishing.
The Elven Host
Once again a dragon sculpted by Julie Guthrie with an elf rider sculpted by Tom Meier. I'm thinking aerial hero for this one.
The much feared Elf archers. Most of these are an older paint job, but serviceable. I did add the horse hair bow strings and touched them up a bit.
The Elven knights. You can see here the evolution of my painting style. The blue riders are underoated in black and the armor drybrushed. The Green riders are primed white, and then the armor and other details are given a wash and then highlighted in places. I much prefer the white undercoat and washes as they help keep the colors bright, while still giving good definition to the wonderfully sculpted detail.
The elven horse archers will play as riders. These are once again a mix of old and new paint jobs. I did some touch up work on the older figures, but I imagine it is still fairly obvious which ones were painted a long time ago.
The Elf spearmen are a mixture of figure types. In front are mainly sea elves I believe, and in the back row are converted Halbardiers. I like the halbardier figures, but I just had too many of them and they looked great as pikemen or spearmen, so out came the clippers.
Here are some of the Halbardiers as they were meant to be. The central unit comes from a pack labelled as Starbrow's select. Though I love Mr. Meier's work, these I'm afraid were not one of his best efforts. Some archers came with the pack as well and they are among my least favorite. The last stand is a mix of halbardiers and short spear, which I will play as a blade stand. I just didn't have enough of either figure type to make a homogeneous stand, so though not my favorite stand, it'll do. As of yet, neither of these armies has made an appearance on the field of battle, but Nashcon is coming up in a couple of weeks and I'm sure they will make an appearance there.