Saturday, 30 June 2012

June Review: Early Imperial Roman Refurb and Viking Civilians

June has been largely dedicated to painting bits and pieces, given that I was busy with work, the army and life in general. The good news is that my Roman army for Vespasian in the East is now fixed. The shields have been reattached, and the chipped painted reapplied. Here is a picture of the Roman host:

The Roman host without their general Vespasian, the Eagle and their two scorpios.
The Muleteer at the head of his army.
I used this army at the BHGS Challenge WAB competition in 2006 where I finished dead last. The army also included some Commagene horse archer allies, Nabatean archers, and slingers from Chalcis which are not pictured here, as these were dragooned from my Seleucid army. I always enjoy fielding an army from a specific theatre or campaign, even at a tournament. I realise that I could simply field an army of drilled legionaries, but I prefer something with a narrative. I am currently gathering the lead for a Western Empire project, a force to fight Caractacus or the Germans, and of course, play the other sides in the year of the four emperors. I am thinking of painting that army in a far less uniform manner, ie. less red!

Having fixed up the Romans, I have started getting my Norwegian Viking army back into one piece. The years have been unkind to them and they are quite battered, most shields need reaffixing and a lot of chipping needs painting, but actually it has been a good opportunity to add a highlight here and there as I get through them. I also managed to knock out a few Viking age village folk and a cottage for scenarios. I recently received my Saga rulebook, so skirmish level gaming is a go and civilian figures and village buildings are great for that sort scenario based gaming. I have another Gripping Beast cottage to paint up, which I will try and get done soon to go with this one. Looking forward to the month of July, I am going to push on with a 28mm Napoleonic project which I have been thinking about for some time. I will document the planning and practice of it on this blog as it happens. The vikings and dwarfs will share the table with some Victrix Old Guard Grenadiers which I got for my birthday in June.

Black Tree Designs Early Imperial Romans

Black Tree Designs recently ran a sale on their infantry which saw the prices plummet. Not wanting to be left out, I ordered a fair few packs of Early Imperial Romans for a Western frontier project I am planning. I was a bit reticent as opinions seem rather mixed regarding BTD, but at £2.75 for a pack of five infantry I could afford to take a risk. I ordered Legionaries in cloaks in the less animated poses, as well as Auxiliaries with cloaks, about 30 of each. I also bought some casualties as they are a nice way of adding variety, and will make nifty casualty counters for Hail Caesar.

My order was placed in late May and arrived a few days ago, so the turn around time was about a month. For me this wasn't a major issue as I was in no rush, but be warned, this company has a reputation for being quite slow to deliver. Other than that I am quite pleased with the figures, the sculpts are clean and detailed. In terms of scale, these chaps are a bit on the big side, and tower over a Perry Foundry Roman, fitting better with the Saleh Foundry sculpts as you can see below:

From left to right: Foundry (Perry), Black Tree Design, Foundry (Saleh)
One thing I do really appreciate is that the auxiliaries come with pila, which allows us to choose to equip them as either pilum armed or spear armed, provided of course you provide your own spears. As a Classicist who has read Agricola in the Latin and studied these things, I am very much of the opinion that the difference between Legionaries and Auxiliaries is often over stressed, being in my mind largely a difference in status, but that is a differed discussion for another day. In short, I think that ranked auxilia should be armed like their legionary counterparts.

I haven't painted any of Black Tree Design figures yet, but I imagine look like they will come out nice. One thing I was hoping to do was to avoid using Black Tree's command figures, which look thoroughly uninspiring. Gripping Beast and Warlord Games tend to match the Perry Romans, but the tall Saleh and BTD chaps will need more robust command figures. Based on this picture, I would say that Aventine looks like a good place to look.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

May 2012 Roundup

May has come and gone, and I thought I would share some of the month's goings on. Firstly, it was all about books, mostly rulesets, in fact 13.4kg of books. Coming back to the hobby after many years "away" I have been trying to get reacquainted with the lay of the land ruleswise. I got the Field of Glory rulesets, the Warlord Games publications "Hail Caesar," "Pike & Shotte" and "Blackpowder," alongside the "Clash of Empires" series from Stuart McCorquodale. Given the demise of Warhammer Historicals, Mr. McCorquodale is currently running a deal for us floor crossers which can be found here. £50 for the core ruleset, "Rise and Fall of Persia" and "Age of Ravens" supplements is a great deal, and I was also pleased to receive the two freebie miniatures in my delivery.

I also got hold of the Principles of War rulesets for the Renaissance, 18th Century and Colonial periods from Northstar to fill out my collection of these rules, which are actually quite good. I have also ordered Saga from Northstar, but it is almost universally out of stock at the moment, but Nick assures me I won't wait too long. My only miniature purchase this month was a singular AB Figures 6pdr Austrian cannon from Fighting 15's, this is to provide the final missing cannon for my 1809 Austrian Army which I will in all likelihood sell in the near future. I am trying hard to avoid buying figures at the moment and paint what I have.

The next month will probably be focussed on testing the various rulesets. Taff and I have already played Field of Glory, and I will endeavour to get the battle report up soon. The next set to be tested will probably be Clash of Empires, with small opposing forces to get a hang of how it plays.