Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Game Room Decor

My  game room has been without a curtain for years. It is a wide but shallow basement window. I was discussing ideas for an at project with my wife and we decided to paint up curtains made from my giant canvas drop cloth that I have been using for game mats. A couple of Youtube tutorials later and we were ready to paint...

The table is set for refighting Marathon 490 BC...

Persia near the river and Greeks opposite
Persian right
Persian Left

Friday, 25 January 2019

Greeks at Marathon

Having completed my Persian Army, I was glad to see the arrival of a fresh set of laser cut bases in the mail. I had purchased a venerable set of Greeks in 25mm scale last year and was glad to have a historical and similarly sized opponent to oppose them. These were from the same collection of veteran wargamer Ross MacFarlane and required a similar process to prepare for rebasing. The pictures do not do the figures justice. The shields are excellently painted and the bronze metallic looks great.

10 units of Greek Hoplites

1) Remove from the old base - keep bandaids handy for this step!
2) Remove dust with damp brush and compressed air
3) Add missing heads arms and weapons as required - this was easier than with the Persians as they were in better condition over all.
4) Remove old flock from figure bases and repaint in suitable desert color
5) Sort by unit, matching poses as seemed pleasing
6) Mount to new bases, sand, flock and seal

Allied troops or Thureophoroi - in the back are 28mm figures also refurbished from another players collection
Companion Cavalry - I have only one unit of 25mm cavalry and have refurbished some 28mm Companions form a collection purchased long ago. I am glad to have found a use for them after many years. The scale difference is especially noticeable with cavalry. These are for the Macedonian army.
 Greek light cavalry
Greek Horse Archers - these are also from an older collection and were of a smaller size, so pressed into service of the Greek army.
Greek Medium or Heavy Cavalry
Greek Archers

I am now the proud owner of a Greek army ready for the table top. I missed the joy of painting them myself but at the same time I did not miss it.

I plan to run the Battle of Marathon with Command and Colors with the map below. Stay tuned for that battle report...

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Persian Army 490 BC

 I was a proud recipient of an army donated to me by fellow wargamer and blogger Ross MacFarlane
 ( battlegameofmonth.blogspot.com ). The Persians I am told date back decades. No doubt they are veterans of many battles and I have faced them across the table on more than one occasion. Ross is in the process of paring down his collection while I remain an avid collector.

Persians under Ross' command at my place 10 years ago

Persian Line from 10 years ago

I am not sure of the figures manufacturer. They are true 25mm so they do not scale up well with the bulk of my collection. Happily, I had acquired a 25mm Greek army to oppose my new Persians but more on them in a later post.

I have always wanted an Eastern army. I have dabbled in Turks, Arabs, Saracens and the like but never splashed for the whole army. I found some good motivation for refurbishing and rebasing my gift into a fighting force fit for my preferred game systems. The more figures on the base, the heavier the formation. I purchased many 2x4" bases from Litko for this project. Expensive but I saved a bundle already on the figures so I felt justified in the expense.

 4 Immortals/Guards - 10 men to base
 6 Sparabara - 10 men to a base

I built the army to be able to play over a 200 year stretch of time. They are best suited to earlier Persians but they tend to lack the fun elephants and scythed chariots so I am suspending belief when my Sparabara represent Takabara or Levies.

These archers were donated to me by a friendly gent at my last visit to Huzzah. I found a home for them as a contingent of archers in the Imperial Persian Army. I think they are 7th century Arabs but I think they look the part. There were a few unpainted archers in the pile but they looked Egyptian or Babylonian. I got as far as cleaning them up and priming them before cooler heads prevailed and I went with the already painted Arabs. Skirmisher have six figures to a base.
The Persians had many light troops as skirmishers and here are javelin and sling armed troops. I had to remove most of the figures from previous bases. I had to reattach weapons arms and heads on many of the figures. They also had a good amount of dust on them, attesting to their venerable age. This I cleaned up with a soft dry brush and an air compressor.
The Persians were renowned for their numerous and excellent cavalry. Ross' collection was well supplied. I took what I needed to complete my order of battle and still have many cavalry figures left over. 
2 Guard Heavy and Cataphract Cavalry - 5 to a base
I based the models on 3mm plywood bases. I loaded up the base with PVA glue, added the figures and then sanded the base. I mixed three different kinds of sand to give different sizes to it. I went for a desert look to match my new game mat. I added a yellow grass flock as well as a green flock in spots for contrast. Finished with a matte varnish.
4 Medium Cavalry - 4 to a base
These models are unique in that not only do you have to clue on weapons, you also have to assemble heads and arms to bodies. I spent time cursing this process and can only imagine what the original builder went through to get them to stay together. It would have been less frustrating if I wasn't doing the whole project in one go.
4 Horse Archers - 3 to a base
4 Skirmish Cavalry
A highlight of the project was getting the funnies ready. There were some beautiful chariots and elephants in the collection. They required minimal work as I did not need to rebase them. The biggest job was getting into the cracks to remove dust.

Ellies - two are manned with Sassanid crews
The army was built with the goal of fighting the scenario for Gaugamela 331 BC against Alexander's Macedonians. I have managed to run the game 4 times and have tweaked the scenario to balance it as best I can. Ready to take to Huzzah in May.

 Brave Commanders

All told about 200 infantry and 50 cavalry. Next up Greeks and Macedonians!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Operation Winter Storm

I purchased a few of TooFatLardies Chain of Command campaign packs including and older one called Winter Storm. This pack contains 22 scenarios set in a series  of fights based on Germany's efforts to break though to relieve the 6th Army trapped near Stalingrad in December 1942. Chain of Command is a platoon based game so the scenarios are snapshots of bigger actions. The first two scenarios are focused on the assigned German troops travelling to Russia by train. They are opposed by Soviet partisans. This gave me the excuse to expand my collection to include Partisans and trains.

When I visited Victoria this summer, I went to my former favorite hobby shop and purchased a variety of second hand train cars. The missing piece was a locomotive as these included engines and were expensive. I found one locomotive that was just a shell but it was too modern looking for my purposes. I googled trains for this period and will have to build my own locomotive. I will spray bomb the remaining cars black as this seems to have the color of choice at the time. The cars are ho scale which is 1/87. This is a little big for my 15mm figures and terrain which are 1/100 but close enough for me. I had some tracks at home but was not sure what scale they were. It turns out they are 1/160 or n gauge which was too small but the train did sit on the track precariously. It would cost about $40 to upgrade which I am not sure I will do for one or two scenarios. I might make my own...
New train and terrain - needs a station house...

It has been a long time of hobbying between this latest batch of posts and I have to remember to make not of new additions to my collection. Also featured in the photo are newly minted 15mm Russian village buildings. These were purchased at Huzzah from a company called Things From the Basement. They have removable roofs and I added some teddy bear fur thatching to some of the roofs to add variety. The roads are also new. They were done in a similar style to my cobble roads but are 2.5 inches wide as opposed to 4 to accommodate 15mm scale.
Partisan section

I also purchased a company of partisans from my local game store produced by Battlefront for the Flames of War game. These are nice figures and did not require a lot of prep before painting. One pack gave me all I needed for fielding a platoon and supporting elements. For the scenarios. I can borrow from my large pile of Soviets if I need anything unique.
MMG support

I also upgraded my German platoons. My original Chain of Command Germans were cobbled together from leftover figures from producing a Flames of War army. FoW has moved on to a new edition and I have not moved with it, as it would require a significant outlay of cash to upgrade on new rules, cards etc. I also like Chain of Command better as a game so, I went to work pulling figs from my FoW army and rebasing them to Chain of Command.
3 sections form the platoon

I had fun painting the Partisans in non uniform uniforms. The blue I used was a little too bright. I was trying to get a denim look but failed. None the less, they are complete and ready to go. I just need the engine and track and I am ready to play. Despite it being Russia in December, it is southern Russia so the snow is only patchy. I bought some white felt and cut out snow patches to add to me battle field.
AT rifles

Stay tuned for the scenario write ups...

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Gaugamela 331 BC

I have decided to build armies for the battle of Gaugamela using Command and Colors Ancients. The scenario was copped from the free website which contains all the rules and scenarios for the game as well as many fan made scenarios. 
This scenario is "epic" which means double sized and multiplayer as opposed to the usual one on one games. I am getting ready for Huzzah in May and plan to make use of the lovely painted Persians and Greeks acquired from Ross as well as my Macedonians.

I spent a week or so rebasing the Persians and they are complete except for 4 light bow infantry. These are the only figures I will have to paint up. There will be a little scale mismatch as some of the figures are 28mm and some are 25mm.

I ran a test game today with my son, Eric. I was the Persians and got beaten handily but after falling behind early, I was able to battle back to prevent a rout.

Rebased Persians - the Camels are my favorite

Persians on the left - Macedon on the right
 Persian left
 Pike blocks 
 Persian centre

Friday, 4 January 2019

writers block

I have once again allowed the blog to lapse. It is a new year and I will take the opportunity to invest new energy into this worthwhile project.

I have not been writing but I have been very busy with the hobby, gaming, painting, shopping and building terrain. This week we played a six man game of Command and Colors Ancients using the Epic rules. The Scenario was Ilipa in which Scipio's Republican Romans took on Hasdrubal's Carthaginians in Spain 206 BC.

I was able to show off my newly minted, purpose built game mat. 9x26 four inch hexes painted onto a heavy canvas drop sheet. I was inspired by the material and painting Ross McFarlane of https://gameofmonth.blogspot.com/ for his European gaming mat. I wanted one for the ancient world and one that shared the look of the C&C game board and this is what I came up with.

I build a template to put the hexes on and that was the most painstaking part but well worth it. I had a test battle with e Zama scenario as seen below. I am working on refurbishing a Persian and Greek armies. These will be based to match the battle map. I am thinking this will be the game I take to Huzzah this year. Stay tuned for me or this plan.