Sunday, 30 November 2014

Baby Steps

Just a brief check-in amidst the puppy chaos and pre-Christmas workload.

At last managing to get through some work on the shieldwall, although only by snatching 30 mins here and there so it's not speedy work!

The pics below show progress to date, the guys at the back (furthest from camera) are the elite troops (nobles) in white and red, with armour, the rest are the rank and file. I've tried to get a 'uniform' feel whilst having a mix of colours, hard to tell if it's worked until basing time, but fingers crossed!

Just helmets, shields, and final touch-up (my OCD won't allow me to skip that!) and then onto the javelin and archer support and standards.
Hopefully a fuller update soon...

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Missing In Action

Just a quick post to report on, erm, negative progress.
Yes, the opposite of progress has occurred. Originally it was little to no progress, due to the arrival of a new dog in the house, Summer.
Painting time has temporarily given way to dog training time, so no progress was being made other than plans being formulated for future armies whilst engaged in various Summer related activities.

So things were proceeding slowly, or not at all, but I wasn't too unhappy until a Grendel type attack on my Shieldwall by the beast!

Before and after pictures of the unprovoked attack on my brave troops can be seen below...

The shieldwall awaiting further painting.

The aftermath of the attack...

The bodies you can see were the only ones I found, four of their comrades are still missing, presumed, erm, eaten...Where is Beowulf when you need him?!

The beast, dreaming of another attack...

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Dark Autumn

The day we watched the Roman column disappear into the mist was the last time I saw my father for the next six months. During his absence, life was chaotic; we seemed to be spending less and less time at our villa in the country and more and more time at the town house, where the dark, rainy, autumn afternoons edged slowly into winter, and were passed listening to my tutor’s tales of past Roman emperors, and suffering his rebukes at my constant failures with the Latin tongue.

I asked questions of my tutors, the servants, and the soldiers who seemed to fill the streets during those months, and managed to find out that my father was away visiting other leaders, trying to forge alliances and organise defence against the rumours of barbarian attacks.
The servants assured me that everything would continue as it had been before the Romans left, but the soldiers looked surly and edgy, and spent longer than usual on the practice grounds outside the crumbling town walls. I spent my  lonely hours watching them, and then practising my own clumsy uncoordinated thrusts and parries with the wooden sword and small shield father had given me last Christmas, under the affectionate guidance of my war tutor, Crixus.

It was in the third month of my father’s absence that the engineers arrived and the town guard, along with any man found idle, were put to work building and rebuilding the delapidated walls. A new gate was made and erected, solid oak twice as thick as the old gate, and a new, taller, watchtower was built looking out over the forests that protected us from the coast.

In the fourth month, any pretence that we still lived in the country villa was abandoned, along with my old life. I lived in the fortified town now, it felt safe here, where the villa had come to feel isolated and exposed. As I wandered through the streets during the late afternoons after my lessons I looked upon the grim faces of citizen and soldier alike, and I knew the truth.

War was coming.

Friday, 11 July 2014

More Progress

Rather than bore you with pics of undercoated infantry (don't worry, you'll be bored with pics of undercoated infantry in a future post) I thought I'd show you the cavalry arm of my first Dux Bellorum army, ready for undercoating!

As always, H&R figure codes shown below the pics, and notes regarding modifications and any other relevant comments. As with the infantry, these fellows are going to be densely based, except in the case of the mounted skirmishers, obviously.

Speaking of mounted skirmishers, some of you may have noticed my schoolboy error of having bow armed rather than javelin armed figures as per the army lists - in my defence, your honour, it's the Dark Ages, anything is possible...especially in this army!

Mounted Companions (MAR27)

...from the other side (MAR27)

Not 100% historically accurate, but if I field an Arthurian army, I'm going to have some KNIGHTS!

Ordinary Riders (MAR20)

...from the other side (MAR20)

Mounted Skirmishers (MAR24)

Noble Riders (MAR11)
With the exception of the companions, all of the cavalry have a random selection of crested and uncrested helmets (again, courtesy of myself and Stanley) to give a less uniformed and more 'Britannic' look to the army - hopefully this effect will be revealed in all it's glory upon painting completion!

OT, but this post was delayed by the ridiculous amount of tine it took me to get the captions, pictires and text in the right place - hence the still, to my mind. messy layout of this post...GRRR!!

If any other blogspotters have some advice for me it would be greatly appreciated!

Painting pics on their way - but don't hold your breath.

Have a good weekend, comrades!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Signs Of Progress

Ok, I haven't exactly started painting, but I have made some progress - honestly!

Since returning from Malta I've spent a happy hour or two (Ok, maybe three or four. Five, tops) clipping and converting and getting ready to undercoat. From talking to fellow Generals I often get the feeling I spend longer than 'normal' on this sort of thing for such small figures, but I figure they're going to be fighting for years so I'm happy to spend a few hours now getting them to look how I want - even if no-one else notices!

The troops are 'blu-tacked' to wooden sticks (huge bag of these sticks is only £2 from Hobbycraft, and they never wear out) and ready for spraying.

Close-ups and H&R figure codes shown below, including comments where I've modified units.

Command Figures (from MAR28)
These are actually the command figures from the light infantry pack, the heavy infantry come with standards but no specific command figures. I like the pose of these guys and fortunately I ended up with 4 of them so I can use one on each Shieldwall base. One of them lost his sword (careless) so I'm going to have to do something creative with him before painting!

Bowmen (MAR9)
Originally the bowmen had small plumes on their helmets, which Stanley and I removed, followed by some brief filing so hopefully they look less Roman and more Briton now!

Shieldwall 1 (MAR10)
These are the rank and file Shieldwall, spear armed infantry. As with the bowmen, I've removed helmet crests from most of these guys, and hopefully this gives them a more 'irregular' and less Roman look.

Shieldwall 1 (MAR10)
The standard version of the Shiledwall spearmen, helmets intact!

Shieldwall 2 (MAR13)
These lads are going to form the majority of the front row of the Shieldwall as they seem keen to confront the enemy (good lads!). Again, helmet crests removed to give the 'Briton look'.

Shieldwall 2 (MAR13)
I've left some helmets with crests, and I figure I'll dot these randomly along the front line and cluster them around the standard and command grouping on each Shieldwall base.

Skirmishers (MAR28)
Foot Skirmishers - nicely animated figures, although an extra pose or two would have been good.

Standards (4 per pack)
Standard bearers. 4 figures per infantry pack, nicely detailed. The standard bearers on the right are from the Light Infantry pack and are correspondingly less armoured - I'm probably going to use these for the Tribal Militia bases.

Shieldwall On Parade!
The shieldwall troops arrayed! Approximately 250 Heavy Infantry that are only going to make 4 units with the dense basing I plan to use, but just from this pic I'm confident that this is the way to go - even if it's trebled my painting time!
That's all for now - I'm off to spray! Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Tribal Issues

I'm pretty sure I said something like 'minimal research required' because of the small number of units and existing army lists?
First read through of Warlords has revealed a very tribal nature to post-Roman Britannia, which actually seems to be pretty much unchanged since the pre-invasion days.
So now I'm thinking my Romano British army needs at least one, maybe a couple, of what I'm going to call Tribal Militias. Using Dan's army lists I'm going to class them as 'Warrior' ally  units to reflect their un-reconstructed method of warband-style fighting.
Fortunately I happen to have some un-painted Gaulish infantry and cavalry (H&R MAF1 and MAF2) lying around the war room (who hasn't, right?) and a quick inspection of these boys suggests they'll be perfect for how I picture the tribal militia looking!

(A few members of the newly formed tribal militia - I'm going to paint something soon, honestly!)

On another subject, I've been looking for a map of Dark Age Britannia I can pin to the war room wall, but the only one of been able to find so far comes with TFL's Dux Britanniarium - I'm hoping to unearth another source, so any suggestions would be most welcome!

I'm off to Malta for a few days tomorrow, so the project is on very temporary hold, but hopefully I'll have lots of reading time while I'm away...

Friday, 13 June 2014

Really Vague Book Review

The books have arrived, the troops have arrived...and instead of starting work I've started reading.

You could call it poor prioritisation - but the first book I've started has really given me a feel for the post apocalyptic style desolation that was Dark Age Britannia following the departure of the empire.

Britain After Rome, by Robin Fleming, covers a massive 600 years of history, but the first three chapters have already got me hooked despite the non-military focus of the book. Robin Fleming really gives you the feel of a desolate and depressed world, the rapid decline of Roman civilisation, and the exodus from crumbling, villa based towns as people re-formed communities in old places of safety such as abandoned hill forts.
Not by any stretch of the imagination a military history, but I already feel like I know the dark ages and have a feel for it's atmosphere. More to follow when I've delved into the other two - Warlords by Stuart Laycock looks particularly promising.
Next up, thoughts on basing, and hopefully some close ups of the new recruits...