Monday, 23 March 2015

15mm War & Conquest figure

One of West Wind's new War and Conquest figures.  Almost spot on 15mm foot to eye.  To small for me to paint anyway.  I've put them on eBay!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Roman Invasion of Britain

Why can't you get these in 28mm?

Thursday, 19 June 2014


I was in Orc's Nest today so picked up the new Hail Caesar Germania supplement.  It has a half a dozen scenarios but, of course, given the distance back in time of the conflict most of these are rather more generic than the excellent ones in the Zulu War book produced by Warlord a few months ago.  The real issue I have with it, in my rivet counting way, is that no-one, and certainly not Warlord produce appropriate figures for the Roman army of the time so all the Roman figures in the book are wrong.  I find this very odd, especially given the anniversary five years ago.  Annoyingly the cover of the book (from Osprey) shows exactly what they should look like; mainly chainmail but with cingula and older bronze helmets plus a few of the early lorica segmentata.  Caesarian troops are missing the cingula so don't work and there are hardly any EIR in chainmail.  I suppose it's not that important but it's rather like having British Crimen infantry used for the battle of Salamanca in the Peninsula or WW2 troops for WW1.  

Some figures I have that are fine are my Foundry Ancient Germans by Mark Copplestone (now being reborn as 18mm fantasy figures ,many of them!)  These are some of the first 28mm figures I painted after starting some Darkest Africa and Vikings about fifteen years ago and they really look it now.

I did upgrade most of their bases when I had to field them for a game at Guildford seven years ago but they really need a complete face lift.

The only good thing about them is that I can use them with my Aventine Romans for the Marcomannic War.  I think I'll dig them out and see how much work they will need to bring them up to an acceptable standard.  The scenarios in Germania will work fine for the Marcomannic War 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Grand Manner Roman Galley 4: oars under way

Finishing the Roman Galley was put on hold last year for a number of reasons, not least of which was my panic at working out how to do the the oars.  The Grand Manner model comes with a rather curious strip of textured sea into which 39 holes have been made to take oars.  This means the oars are inserted into the sea not the ship.  Initially I thought that this was a very odd idea but now I have started to do them it means I can keep them as a separate unit and just place them in position next to the ship's hull.  

The aim now is to get the galley ready for Salute in two weeks time for Big Red Bat's invasion of Britain game.  Today he kindly sent me some pictures a friend of his had taken of his work on the same model.  Even better, the person concerned, Mark, sent me a couple of emails with useful information on oar length etc.  As a result I have managed to glue in two out of the six banks of oars this afternoon and I have cut the next two banks worth of oars to length.  My wife said that Waitrose bamboo food skewers should be about the right diameter for the holes and she was spot on; they fit exactly.

I also base coated the two resin sea pieces today using the same paint Big Red Bat used for his Thapsus game.  I don't know if he is using the same scenery.  The colour is rather too blue for the English Channel compared with the Mediterranean!

So, tomorrow my aim is to finish the oars and the sea base.  During the week I want to tidy up the painting on the galley, including working on the two eyes for the bow.  Next weekend it is masts and thinking about some rigging.  This will be very minimalist as I want to be able to carry the galley to Salute in pieces as I am going on public transport (that should limit my purchases this year!)

Monday, 19 August 2013

Grand Manner Roman Galley 3: Some issues with shields

Prior to undercoating

I have finished the filling and sanding on the main hull and have now undercoated it.  It's such a big model it took a full can of Humbrol aerosol to cover it!  I put on some paint today as a test and I think it will look quite striking as I am going for a yellow and red colour scheme.

I have a few issues so far. I am not brilliant at using my hands so the filling of the (quite substantial) gaps between the bow and stern pieces and the main hull isn't brilliant.  I am running out of time, however, so I just needed to get on with it.  The main problem is the one of the shields mounted down the side of the guard rails.  I really wish Grand manner hadn't done this as it sets it in a particular period.  At this time (46 BC) the Romans were using the spined, curved top scutum as depicted in the excellent new Warlord Games plastics.  The flat oval ones were used by auxiliaries from a little later (before they were universally adopted a few hundred years later).  So, the shields are wrong for the period.   

I don't have any reference books on Roman Warships (there isn't an Osprey, surprisingly, as there is for Greek warships) so I am restricted to Greece and Rome at War and Warfare in the Classical World. Neither of them, worryingly, give any information on rigging!  This illustration, from Greece and Rome at War, is based on a relief from Ostia, of about 30 BC and clearly shows spined shields overlapping along the guard rails.

This illustration, from the same book, based on another relief from Praeneste, is from slightly later.  The shields on the railing seem to have been replaced by a solid bulwark (the Grand Manner ship uses the classic Roman X rail design) with, it is thought, decorative shields painted on.  Of course, the shields my not be present because the marines on board are carrying them.

Interestingly, Warfare in the Classical World has a reconstruction clearly based on the classical original from this relief.  The interpretation of the ram here is exactly as Grand Manner have done it.  The placement of the castle is interesting as the illustrator has interpreted it as being with the sides at 45 degrees to the side of the ship's bulwark, rather than parallel.  Is this what the original shows, or is it an attempt to show perspective (which would be very unusual in ancient painting)?  Another decision to make!

Ever since I bought the Osprey Roman Legionary 58 BC - AD 69 I had wanted to have a unit of marines in this striking blue colour.  I did order some Warlord Games flat auxiliary shields to match the ones cast on the galley but I have now decided to go for the authentic shields they come with and not worry about the difference in shape.  

I went into Orc's Nest last week but they didn't have any of the Warlord Caesarian bolt throwers so I have just ordered a couple online.  Let's hope they actually arrive as the auxiliary shields never did and although the money was taken from PayPal I never received an order acknowledgement.

Anyway, more hull painting tonight as I puzzle as to what colour to paint the decks.  All the wooden decks on boats I have seen are a pale grey in colour but I don't really have the right colour. 

Monday, 12 August 2013

Grand Manner Roman Galley 2: Assembly begun

Having lost a lot of weeks with travelling I have suddenly realised, with some sense of panic, that Colours is only just over a month away and I need to complete this galley and a unit of Roman marines to go with it.  I have decided to use the Warlord Games plastic Caesarians for these as I have already started them.  I have ordered some metal oval auxiliary shields for them from Warlord.

Today I have glued on some of the main parts and found that superglue really sticks resin well (as I find that it hardly sticks anything else I use it for).  In fact, so well that you only have a few seconds to position everything correctly!  I have not stuck on the starboard fence rail yet as I have run out of glue. The two oar galleries and one fence took a whole tube!  

There are quite a lot of gaps to fill and I had to do some sanding and filing to get parts to fit.  I intend to have it ready for undercoating this weekend.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Grand Manner Roman Galley 1: The main components

I got up in the loft today and managed to extract the Grand Manner Roman galley from my resin pile.  It was in a crate with the Grand Manner Greek Galley, the ruined Roman fort, a Bronze age house and some walls I can't even remember what they are for.  The hull is a really heavy lump of resin and measures over 18" long which works out at about 90 feet scale length; perhaps a bit shorter than the real thing.

Here are the main components to be attached to the deck: bow, foremast foot, castle, hatch, hatch railings, tent and stern.  There are a few other pieces too.  They will all need trimming, sanding, attaching and filling as the fit of the parts is not that great.  

These are what I call the linear components (except for the yard and furled sail).  Top we have the guardrails with attached shields.  Fortunately, Little Big Men do specially shaped transfers for these.  Next we have the side galleries (I need to get a book so I know what the proper names for all these bits are!).  The final pieces are rather curious representations of the sea into which you are supposed to insert sticks to represent the oars to then attach to the body of the ship.  It strikes me that this would be fiddly beyond belief!  Given that the scenario Big Red Bat is contemplating requires anchored vessels and that I bought the galley for use as a floating battery for actions such as the crossing of the Medway and, perhaps, supporting the legions in Scotland, then I think I can forget about oars. 

Concept painting for the Battle of Actium from Cleopatra (1963)

There is no doubt that I would love to have a wargame involving a clash between fleets of ancient galleys, as seen in Cleopatra, but it just isn't going to happen.  It's not just the cost (the Grand Manner ship is £82) it's all those fiddling oars!  Grand Manner actually make pretty all of the ship types you want, including sinking models.  I'm not interested in smaller scales either: I would want troops on the decks!  So I will confine myself to the one ship (well, maybe one more!).

First job is to clean up the hull, undercoat it and then glue on the main components.  I think that superglue may not be up to this so may have to go for something like Araldite.  Does anyone have any experience of gluing large bits of resin together?