Monday 30 April 2012

Tempest 2012- The 82nd Airborne on the Attack!

This weekend was a one day, 4 game competition here; called Tempest. It was expertly run (as ever), and with some great terrain on tables, smaller armies it made for 4 games in one day!

I was running the US Paratroopers from the North Africa book.

Company HQ- 2 Bazookas
2 Full Strength Paratrooper Platoons
A Parchute Mortar Platoon
Two M10 Tank Destroyers
Limited Kittyhawk Air Support

And how did it go?

Well, the Kittyhawks were really... useless. When they decided to turn up (game 1 it took 15 dice before even ONE plane turned up...), the enemy was near the woods, making me have to roll to spot, which just didn't work. As a contrast, the Stukas I faced in my last game were far, far more deadly! Poor little paratroopers in the open...

The M10s were a wonderful deterrent, not really killing anything, but making people avoid, and be a bit more careful with how they played.

As for the Paratroopers, they did everything that it said on the box. They killed tanks, killed infantry, took a very long time to die, and then even when there were 2 stands, they still kept on killing things!

A particular favorite was the 3rd game, where my opponent and I had a total of 11 elements left between us, but I had 6, where he had 5, so I won!

All up, won 3 of the 4 games, ran out of time to win the first game! But, such is life, and is my own fault really. So, a respectable 3rd, the top 3 placings were all on 3 wins, it was just a point or two that separated it!

Anyway, lots of photos...

So, lots of fun was had, another well run comp! Had to do a little painting to get my Paratroopers ready, was quite fun. Perhaps it is time to finish off the rest?

But that would be distracting me from my other 5 or so projects...


Saturday 28 April 2012

Two Warlords and a Greek Horseman walk into a pub...

And then a joke ensues.

Amid the chaos of my useless joke, I managed to get some painting done over the last few days! I have been tinkering away at about 4 projects at once, so I finally managed to finish some of them!

First Warlord up?

The free Scottish Warlord that came with my copy of SAGA Northern Fury from Gripping Beast. I did a really close up shot of his face, to show the fact that I was trying to copy this guy...

I am pretty happy with how it looks, was a bit tricky because the whole model has so many other colours, that the blue didn't stand out! I had to tinker with the colours a little (and with much frustration). All in all, I like him!

And a shot of his chainmail...

Warlord Number 2 is a mounted Greek Hero, from 1st Corps Miniatures.

At the start, I was skeptical about this guy, but he turned out actually pretty good! I did only little modifications, so that head with a fantastic face is all 1st Corps' doing, I might not like their helmets, but I really like their bare heads!

The only modification I did do was on his helmet, I swapped the face of the helmet from a later, more Attic style helm, for the same atypical Greek helmet of the rest of my force.

Now, lastly there is a Greek Horseman from 1st Corps. This is the chap who was modified by me (linky) and I did finally get him all painted up.

I am pretty happy with how he looks, the 1st Corps horses are really nice, no scaling issues etc.

Now, back to painting...... must... finish.... projects....


Wednesday 25 April 2012

In Memorium

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In Flanders Fields, by Lt Colonel John McCrae

It's ANZAC Day here in New Zealand, a day to remember those who served and to thank them for the sacrifices they have made.

Have a day of reflection, pictures of painting tomorrow.


Thursday 19 April 2012

Basing Impetvs Hoplites

So, with almost all of my Hoplites painted, it became time to get them based from SAGA to Impetvs. Here in the South, we use 8cm frontages with varying depths for our armies (head here for a breakdown for units).

So for my Hoplites, this meant that they needed to be on 8x5 bases, but for SAGA, they needed to be on 25mm rounds... which is a problem.

The solution? Well, it was very simple in fact, using a Sabot base. Those of you with military minds (which is probably all of my readers, lets be fair) will know of the term Sabot, which is a casing used to allow a smaller projectile to be fired from a larger calibre. In short, more bang for your buck!

An Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot round (APFSDS) on it's way to the target

Obviously, the solution was not a cannon, but rather a base that could accommodate the 25mm round bases, to make them into an 8cm frontage. The simplest solution is always throwing money at things, so I went to a top quality laser cutter up in Auckland called Dopey Dog, to get him to whip me up some bases.

And they arrived yesterday, and look phenomenal.

A base all ready for some FL Peltsats to use!

I mocked up my bases on the computer, and sent through the designs with measurements. Because I needed units for various purposes, there are different ones for different units. There are some like the FL base above...

Or a base for 6 FP Hoplites....

Or even one which is specially prepared to be my General's base, so my armies can be led by any of my Greek Heroes!

If getting some wargames bases done interests you, I highly recommend Dopey Dog. The quality is superb, all of the bases are exactly what I asked for- right down to the last millimeter! Plus, costs were reasonable, which is great when quality is so high. His website is here Dopey Dog, I will be sure to use his services again!

In case you were wondering how it all looks ranked up, here is my whole haul of Hoplites to date...

Now one of the locals recently returned from a trip to the Crimea, bringing home many stories and wargaming dreams, but also brought home what will now be known as the "SAGA Amphora" to be claimed as a right for winners of SAGA Trojan War games!


More painting on the block at the moment, more historical stuff for Impetvs!


Tuesday 17 April 2012

Building better Greek Heavy Cavalry- A How To

As part of my goal of having a full Greek Hoplite army for Impetvs, I required some Heavy Cavalry!

Now Greek Heavy Cavalry is an interesting topic. They are a little bit forgotten in the Hoplite period, as it was really the Hoplites themselves who (according to sources) won the day. It was only the likes of Thessaly which was famed for it's cavalry that really gets talked about as being horsemen.

Of course, come the times of Alexander the Great, Cavalry was an essential part of his army. Both his Companion Cavalry, and his Thessalians anchored each flank of his battle line, with his sarissa armed Phalangites in the centre. This usage of Cavalry can not have existed without precedent, so it is known that there was Heavy Cavalry in the times before Alexander.

But, finding good quality 28mm miniatures for Heavy Greek Cavalry is darn hard! My usual go to company, Immortal Miniatures (sold now through Warlord Games) don't have any, and the others I did find, I didn't really like. Apparently I am picky about my Greek models!

So, I headed to 1st Corps where I found that they had some cavalry which would fit the bill as CM Greek Horsemen. But, being that I am picky about my Greeks, some changes had to be made.

This is the original, unmodified Greek Horseman.

As you can see, there are some things I didn't like about the model. So, naturally I have decided to change a few things!

First off, remove his head. In my opinion, the helmet is far, far too large for the model! The head will be replaced with a suitable armored Greek head from the Immortal miniatures plastics.

After removing the head, it is a relatively simple matter to reattach the new head (in true Frankenstein style). I use two part sculpting putty (grey stuff) to help the bond attach- between that and superglue I am yet to see any breakages! The sculpting putty is also important because the head and the body don't align perfectly, so I have sculpted some long hair for him to cover up the join.

Next issue to be remedied, is his spear. At the moment, it is scaled to be very short, and also very fat. This is the tragic result of having to make the spear out of soft metal. To replace it, it is a simple matter of using one of the North Star spears, cut down to a proper size.

On the left, the North Star spear, on the right the original 1st Corps spear.

Attaching the spear on the face of it is a simple process, get glue, put spear in hand. To make it a better fit, I used pliers to close the horseman's hands; which were meant for the much larger spear. I also again used a little sculpting putty, to help the join have strength.

The final result then, looks something like this...

So, that is the first of my 12 Heavy Cavalrymen! He has been undercoated, to be finished as a tester model for the remainder of the unit.

Hoping to have some painting to show off soon, I have spent far too long assembling recently....


Friday 6 April 2012

SAGA Trojan War- On Heroic Greek Characters Part 3: Odysseus

Following on from Part One and Part Two, I humbly present Part Three of my "On Heroic Greek Characters" series, and it's all about that cunning Ithacan, Odysseus. Favoured by the gods, especially Athena, Odysseus is really the model for all Greek Heroes.

Odysseus was initially reluctant to join the Trojan War, going to the length of faking madness in an attempt to get out of it! This was less a cowardly act, rather a kingly one, preferring to remain in Ithaca with his wife and newborn son. His ruse was uncovered, and he was honour bound to travel to Ilium to be part of the war.

During the war, Odysseus fought with much honour, both as a leader of men on the battlefield, but also enacting guerrilla style raids against the Trojans with Diomedes (the second most cunning of the Achaeans). Odysseus and Ajax were the ones to recover Achilles' body after his death, both claiming his armour as their own. So a challenge was undertaken, which Odysseus eventually won. Although Achilles was the "best of the Achaeans", the position as second best fighter was a bit more disputable. In Part 2, I gave that title to Ajax; as his victories were done without the help of the gods, as well as he was the only other Greek Hero to encounter and best Hector the breaker of horses in single combat. However, Odysseus does have to lay claim to that title too, he was able to draw a wrestling match with Ajax (with Athena's help).

His primary reason for fame at Troy was the Trojan Horse itself. Odysseus was the one to come up with the cunning ruse and was also one of the fighters inside of the horse. The ruse was simple, war had been on the shores of Illium for years, so the Greeks would feign withdrawl of their ships, leaving behind a large statue, dedicated to the gods to grant them safe passage home. Instead, the ships sailed off out of sight, and the offering was filled with armed Greek soldiers! It was only one of the Trojans who anticipated foul deeds, the High Priest Laocoon. Luckily for the Greeks, Athena was on their side, and so sent two sea snakes out of the ocean to kill both Laocoon and his two sons.

The Trojans took it as a sign, and took the horse inside. The rest, as they say, is history.

After the Trojan War is where the real adventure for Odysseus begins, at the start of his 10 year Odyssey to get home to his loving wife Penelope, who is beset by suitors searching for her hand in marriage!

Odysseus sets sail for home, but Poseidon is a little cranky at the whole dead Trojan thing (he was a fan of them), so he takes it out on Odysseus by sending him basically everywhere in the Aegean but home!

Odysseus had many adventures on the way home, but I will recount just one here which speaks much about his character (if you want to know more, stop being lazy and read the Odyssey!).

The first is when Odysseus and his men became stranded on the island of the Cyclops, Polyphemus. Odysseus and his men became trapped in Polyphemus' cave, where upon the Cyclops began eating Odysseus' men for dinner. Odysseus tricked him, by making him drink a bit too much wine, and passing out. Odysseus was unable to roll the boulder away from the door, so instead blinded Polyphemus.

Odysseus taunted Polyphemus, saying that "Nobody" had blinded him, making his cries for help ridiculous, ensuring no other Cyclops would be drawn to the cave. This allowed Odysseus and his men to escape wearing the pelts of sheep, as Polyphemus did open his cave to let his sheep out. As Odysseus sailed away, he yelled that it was he, Odysseus who blinded him. On the surface of it, it was a dumb move. Polyphemus cursed his name, getting his dad to wreak some vengeance on him (his dad was Poseidon). But this incident relates to what was discussed in Part 1, that Greek Heroes had a pathological desire to be remembered. Odysseus then, deliberately opens himself up to harm, simply to be remembered. He goes on to lament the ignobility of dying in a shipwreck, lost at sea. In fact, without a proper burial it was believed that the shades (spirits of the dead) were unable to enter the underworld.

When Odysseus finally returns home after spending 7 years with a nymph, Calypso, a year with the Sea Witch Circe, seeing the Sirens, avoiding cannibalistic Cyclops, visiting the underworld, avoiding Scylla and Charybdis, visiting the Phaeacians, accidentally eating the cattle of the Sun God Apollo and getting hit by a thunderbolt for it; Odysseus finally returned home.

But all had not been well in the around 20 years he had been away, his son, Telemachus had grown up (and had his own adventures in the Odyssey. You should read it). His wife Penelope was at her wits end, trying to get rid of suitors for her hand in marriage. The suitors were attempting to eat her out of house and home, and are generally portrayed as totally reprehensible characters.

Odysseus does not return in glory, he adopts (with Athena's help) the guise of an old man, to check the lay of the land and to check her intentions. She had been faithful to him (not like he was to her), so he creates a plan to be rid of the suitors. A competition is set up to decide the best of the suitors, shooting an arrow from Odysseus' great bow through 12 axe heads. All of the suitors attempt, and fail to even string the bow. Telemachus has a go, and would (probably) have succeeded, had Odysseus not intervened. He took the bow, strung it, shot the arrow through the axe heads, then turned the bow onto the suitors. Odysseus' plan was ruthless, all the weapons were hidden earlier, the doors were locked and boarded and he and his three helpers (a shepherd, his son and his dad) they slaughtered the suitors. It was the ultimate sort of action movie endind, he reveals himself to his love lorn wife, they embrace, roll credits.

Of course, the suitors families are a bit unhappy, but again, Athena comes through to calm everyone down.

For more about this, really, really do read the Odyssey.

But, for SAGA, here is my take on Odysseus.

I decided to show him with the traditional Greek Statue head, with his helmet atop his head. The shield design is an owl, Athena's favorite animal. The model was converted from an Immortal Games hoplite, with his right arm taken from an Ancient Briton.

The two hoplites flanking him are some Ithacan Royal Guard. I needed 2 different looking hoplites for Impetvs, to show an elite hoplite base, so I made these two guys up.

The one with his shield up has his arm from an Ancient Briton (again).

I thought writing about Odysseus was going to be easy, the Odyssey was the first classical text I ever read and Odysseus is one of my favorite characters, but writing all this down was much harder than I thought!

If you have an idea which Greek Hero I should make next, add it to the comments.


Wednesday 4 April 2012

More Hoplites!

Over the past week or so, I have been chipping away at getting some more Immortal Games Greek Hoplites painted up. The reason? Well, I have previously mentioned that I like SAGA, so having more warriors for that is all good, but the real reason is to use them in Impetvs. And the first step for that is that I needed more hoplites!

This is another unit of 12 Hoplites. They are the "blue" unit (contrasting to the previous red and green units). They are painted the same as the other hoplites that I have already done, they are only missing the Army Painter tufts of grass, which I ran out of! More are on the way shortly, which will solve that problem. For SAGA, this unit represents another 1.5 points of Warriors, and for Impetvs it will break into two bases of FP Hoplites.

This is another 6 hoplites, or one base of FP in Impetvs. I actually have run out of Hoplites again, I would like another 6 for this unit, so that I can run a full 48 Warriors in SAGA! At any rate, this is the "yellow" unit. The plan is with the 5 different colours (yellow, red, blue, green, black) is to mix them all together for Impetvs so that the Hoplites look nice and colourful, which is what they would have historically been. I quite like the Yellow unit, the mustard-ish yellow makes for a nice subtle contrast with the off-white armour.

Just a quick little update today, come back tomorrow for another "On Heroic Greek Characters"!


Monday 2 April 2012

The SAGA of Cu Eion

Jamie and I managed to get a couple of games of SAGA in yesterday, giving my Irish army it's first proper run around! We played the "battle of the ford" scenario since Jamie has some lovely river terrain, it was only right to use it!

So it was Ragnar Hairy Pants against the Irish (Republican) Army of Cu Eion, fighting over pillaging rights for some poor Welsh farmers!

The left flank of the Viking battleline, viewed from the Irish lines across the ford.

How did the first game go? Well, on one flank, the Irish surged across the ford, adopting human wave style tactics.

Where they met some Vikings....

Who they then proceeded to slaughter through cunning use of Javelins and other such pointy sticks.

On the other flank, it was the Vikings who surged across, led by their warlord, Ragnar!

But after a hail of Javelins, there were suddenly less Vikings on the ford....

So Cu Eion himself led a glorious charge against Ragnar, seeking him out in singular combat! Actually, that is not entirely true, Cu Eion "might" have brought some friends along....

But the result was without doubt, Cu Eion has crossed the ford, ready to pillage the Welsh countryside!

Sadly however, Ragnar had not been slain, he had gotten away! It was not long before the foul Viking had returned to claim the pillaging rights once again...

The second game was no less brutal, Ragnar had stacked his right flank, seeking to crush a hammer blow through the Irish lines. Battle was once again joined on the ford....

But again, the superior numbers and large amount of javelins took a heavy toll upon the Vikings.

Before long, there were only a few Viking warriors, fleeing for their lives away from the rampaging army of Cu Eion!

So, two engagements over the fords, two victories for Cu Eion! Admittedly, he didn't roll badly but the combination of large numbers of javelins and use of some of the battleboard abilities meant that the Vikings were weakened when they got over the ford, so the superior numbers of the Irish could bring them down! I do really enjoy SAGA, it is a good, simple beer and pretzel style game. Plus I do really like my Irish army!

Until next time, for now, the ford is mine!