Monday, August 8, 2011

On the Workbench: Colonial Lancers

I was determined to get the troopers done over the weekend. I need to wait for some magnetic bases I ordered from Shogun Miniatures so I can mount them. I have been purchasing bases from Robert Knestrick for over two years now and find his product to be as good as GF9, but at about 2/3s the price.

As you can see I decided to take the simple route with the horses and painted them all one colour. I guess that the images of the RCMP escort of the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge, as they arrived on Parliament Hill in the State Landau were still on my mind.

I will dig through my pile of lead to see if I can find some more spear tips to top off the lances of this unit. Eight of the figures came with the sharp end of the pointy stick, pennants flying , the rest did not.

I need to paint the two officers that came with this unit. While digging around in my minis a pack of three cavalry officers from the same Ral Partha/RAFM colonial line surfaced. Additionally I never painted the commanders of the Space 1889: Soldiers of the Queen. A total of 7 mounted figures. My project for the next week.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The War of the Ring: Fantasy Flight Publishing

In 2004, Fantasy Flight Publishing published the English version of War of the Ring, an epic board game experience based upon the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The game was originally designed and printed in Italy. It includes a beautiful hard backed map and comes with numerous thick playing tiles. Generally speaking, the game mechanics are driven by the play of cards.

In addition, the heroes and Armies of Middle Earth are represented by plastic miniatures. On the whole they are rather drab. The forces of darkness are represented by red figures and the free peoples of the west by blue figures. Leaders and personalities are a dull gray. We can go back to AH Blitzkrieg to have the units of Great Blue vs those of Big Red.

At Cangames I saw the game played where the forces of the various factions of middle earth have their bases painted a different colour to help ease the marshaling of forces.

In my opinion, the most disappointing figures are the Nazgûl, ring-wraiths mounted upon their flying beasts. The figures are both hopelessly out of scale to the other figures in the game, because of the size of the mounts, and are incredibly dull to look at. The final flaw with these figures is that they are top heavy and easily topple over.

Over my break I took the time to paint the Nazgûl and add a metal weight to the bottom of the figure to add stability. This is what they now look like.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Legions of Mars

In addition to the 20 British Lancers that have stirred my interest in the colonial era, there is also an opportunity to explore Worlds Away and struggle against new Adversaries, while in the service of Her Majesty,  the Queen-Empress on distant Earth.

Earlier this year I received three boxes of the above troops. There are no limits to where the Soldiers of the Queen, under my command may serve. I am not sure when these figures will reach my painting table. My studies take up most of my free time. Perhaps painting them will be my Christmas project.

Soldiers of the Queen, North West Frontier

In my previous post I wrote, that I purchased a NW Frontier force that came up for sale a number of years ago. The main advantage was it was already painted and I would not have to lift a brush. That wasn't quite true. This Field Force came with a dozen pieces of artillery, lacking crew, as well as numerous pack animals. These are mostly mules laden with pieces of dismantled artillery. They still have to be painted. The artillery crews, were blogged about last year.

Mounted Native Troopers (15 Figures)

In addition to the unit of 14 mounted troops, there were three units of native infantry. One unit wearing red tunics, with painted turbans (20 figures) and two units dressed in khaki drab. One unit consisted of 24 figures and the 2nd of 20 men. Twenty is  the traditional unit size for TSATF (the Sword and the Flame) rule set, as well as the unit size that was chosen for the Soldier's Companion  (Space 1889 Miniature Rules).

NW Frontier (India) Native Sepoys Unit Unknown

Khaki Drab,  Unit of 24 in March Column (4 Wide)
Native Sepoy Troops

Khaki Drab, Unit of 20 in Line (3 Deep)
Native Sepoy Troops

Since I had the colonial army on the table, it was time to finish the bases of all the infantry units. That way I can "claim" the project is complete. Origanally, the infantry figures were  mounted on government issued metal copper disks. Even the native calvary figures were glued to two. Their outline can be clearly seen through the flocking, on the GF9 magnetic bases.

I found the copper base to be slightly smaller than I liked. I also wanted something that would attach itself to the flexible magnetic sheeting I lined the floor of the tool box with. The infantry was then glued to 1 inch, steel washers. Canadian Tire sells them by the hundred at a very reasonable price.

Soldiers of the Queen

I have gone through a number of phases with my on again, off again love affair with the mid to late Victorian colonial era. I received my first two figures as a gift. A fellow gamer, Joseph Lappin, had gone on a summer pilgrimage to the old country, and when he returned he presented to his friends in the local gaming club two figures. One was a hills-man and the other, a member of Her Majesty's Forces. One of the two figures I received still survive in my collection, sans bayonet.

Colonial Highlander (painted I think by John Saranic)

In the first incarnation in the early 1980s I built a small force of British and Zulus with 15mm Mike's Models. I based 4 figures per stand, and I don't even know what rules I had in mind. Nor do I know what became of the figures. About the same time I picked up two packages of either Ral Partha or RAFM colonial Egyptian Infantry for sale at a local Halifax gaming store.

Egyptian/Sudanese Colonial Infantry

I decided that I wanted to increase the scale of figures I was using. About the same time ESSI came out with both British Colonial Infantry and Zulus. I bought three boxes of each and spent a summer painting. They were the last soft plastics I painted, but they allowed me to run a good number of the Sword and the Flame Colonial Skirmish games.

The ESSI figures were retired and sold on eBay. Part of the proceeds were able to cover the cost of two boxes of the Space: 1889 Soldiers of the Queen. These troops were sculpted by Bob Murch, and produced by RAFM for GDWs Space 1889 RPG.

Soldiers of the Queen First Company Forming Firing Lines.

I know I am going to take some heat on these figures. The colour is wrong, the facings should be on the collar and not the shoulder straps, etc, etc, etc...I admit that I am not a historical purist. Like the song goes, " Wargamers just want to have fun." I look at my figures as toy soldiers to be played with.  In that, my armies succeed.

Soldiers of the Queen, 2nd Company
(notice different colour painted on the washer)

I have had these figures for a while and I cannot say that they are a new project. But recently my interest in the colonial period has been stirred. I won at auction, 20 British Colonial Lancers, which are my current painting project. I have been meaning for some time, to finish the bases of Her Majesty's Forces. In addition to the two boxes of Soldiers of the Queen, I purchased a NW Indian frontier force that was for sale about 5 years ago. At the time it was a very good investment (cost vs already painted) and it filled the spot that was open due to the sale of my plastic Zulus.

Daredevil Adventures: USRC

I have been a big fan of Bob Murch, and his pulp era figures for a long time. I recently won an action on eBay that provided me with an 4 open packs of his US Rocket Corps figures from Pulp Figures. I received one pack each of PYS 20 (US Rocket Corps Flying) and PYS 21 (US Rocket Corps Landed 1) and two packs of PYS 22 (US Rocket Corps Landed 2) at a price that was too good to be true.

1st Squad with Group Leader (looking up)

The figures will make a great addition to my Daredevil Adventures if I ever start to run it again. As well, it is an excellent unit for any WW2 skirmish game, and I'd suggest that they can easily replace a unit of paratroopers or commandos on the table. I divided my figures into two 7 man squads, lead by a 15th figure.

 2nd Squad looks like it is led by Doc Savage, Man of Bronze

IMO the figures clearly resemble a certain hero featured in a mid 1990s Disney adventure film. I lost the 6 inch action figure, of the Rocketeer, late one night in a poker game.

The five flying figures are painted but I still have to mount them as aerials. These figures bring back memories of the late 1940s Republic serial action adventures King of the Rocket Men, as shown on television in the early 1960s on a local Halifax kids show, called Firehouse Frolics.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cangames 2011 May 20-22, 2011 Ottawa Canada

I have posted the first part of my Cangames 2011 experience on my parallel blog, Captain's Blog; Form 540.
I have been asked when will my write up be available, and the response is now, so please check out the first part.

Revolutsi! Chechnya, December 31, 1995

I just posted a description of a 20mm skirmish game that I took part in last month. Check it out on my parallel blog at Captain's Blog: Form 540

It was part of a weekend convention held in Montreal May 14-15.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

HOTT 15mm Generic Undead Army

Last year when I flew down east (Montreal to Halifax) for my summer vacation I was asked to bring along my 15mm HOTT Undead army. They would see action. It was the first army that I rebased with magnetic bases, but this trip would show that the product used  was not up to the task. Those bases were composites composed of a magnetic bottom layer and a thin cardboard top layer.The heavier miniatures glued to the cardboard, separated from the base when my luggage was handled by the cargo crew. They pulled off the cardboard layer.

 15mm Undead (Old Style Bases) vs Goblins 
Battle over Sacred Site
July 2010 Halifax

I resolved to rebase the army and I managed it in two steps. I placed an order for some figures from Peter Pig and at the same time I ordered pre-cut plastic bases. I already had a supply of Litko self adhesive magnetic bases that I would attach to the plasticard bases. I do not trust the self adhesive tape to hold so I used super glue to insure a solid  fix.

I purchased the beginnings of this army from Irregular Miniatures in the early to mid 1990s.Other figures, mainly characters, were added. Some were 25mm scale but they served a purpose. Additional units were built from the Ral Partha 15mm line of figures produced for the AD&D Battle System. The final group of figures used to build this force are Black Raven Undead units.

Three weeks ago between painting my Nikaian Byzantine DBA army and my Burgundian Ordonnance DBA army I took the time to finish my undead basing project. Last winter I had already taken the time to remove the figures from their old bases and glue them to their new ones. I only had to texture paint and flock the new bases. The end result is my large collection of undead. I am not content to use just the suggested Undead Army list  available in the HOTT rules but have incorporated almost every troop variant available.I am still looking for a suitable undead dragon to add to this army.

1) The Magician General (Three Elements) Majority of figures by Irregular Miniatures. Figure in Red Cloak by Black Raven Miniatures. @ 4AP each

2) Sneakers ( Three Elements) All by Irregular Miniatures @ 3 AP Each

3) Flyers ( Two Elements) by Irregular Miniatures @ 2 AP Each

4A) Knights (Skeleton Chariots) One Element Unknown Make @ 2 AP Driver is by Irregular Miniatures

4B) More Knights Ral Partha (Four Elements) ADD Battlesystem Figures @ 2 AP each. Can also be used as Riders

5) Riders Three Elements by ADD Battlesystem Figures and Four Elements by Irregular Miniatures @ 2 AP each.

6) Lurkers ( Three Elements) Irregular Miniatures @ 1 AP each

7) Hordes (11 Elements) Mostly Irregular Miniatures some Black Raven Miniatures

The Following Troop Types are not on the HOTT Generic Undead Army Lists but I feel that if you read enough stories or watch enough movies, you will find that these troop types are available to certain dark forces.

1) Irregular Miniatures Undead Artillery (Two Elements) @ 3 AP Each. My friend Les, once commented  that these guns are what the Aztecs would have produced if they invented canons.

2) Undead Heros or Anti-Heros . Even the Forces of Darkness have their champions. Two Elements @ 4AP Each.

These are two of my favorite figures. Both are 25mm. One was a Ral Partha (or RAFM) Figure sold as an Undead Adventurer. The 2nd is an unknown make but is a Dwarf, who heart has been ripped out. I was referred to as a sick twisted ba***rd for having adding that figure to my army. Needless to say that complement was bestowed upon me by a Dwarf fan.

3) Undead Behemoths (Two Elements) @ 4AP Each. Again these figures were 25mm figures that I felt would fit in nicely with a 15mm Army. The figure on the left is of a Ral Partha (or RAFM) Undead Japanese Ogre. I do not know what the 2nd figure is, nor do I do not know the maker of the figure.

This army is totally separate from the Undead Army I have previously blogged about.  This was the original Force of Darkness, in 15mm. The other army consists of 15mm figures on the 25mm HOTT base widths in order to obtain a massive looking army. The Irregular Miniature Undead figures are the oldest presented here. They are rather crude when compared to either the Ral Partha ADD Battlesystem Line or the Black Raven Figures that are shown, such as the Undead Dwarf Anti-Hero standard bearer.

The Irregular Figures of this age are soft and malleable. Because they are skeletons they break off at the legs very easily. I prefer not to use the Irregular Riders for this reason. Some of the figures are in danger of snapping off the stands, as are a number of the Horde Infantry. The Irregular Miniature standard bearers are extremely robust and I advise people using this army to use them to move the horde elements.

This army can still use more troops but in total I can field 85 AP worth of Undead with the figures above.

The Final Element

 The Price of Failure.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

DBA IV/84 Burgundian Ordonnance

IV/84 Burgundian Ordonnance 1471-1477AD
1x3 Kn (Gen), 1x 3Kn, 3x 3Kn//4Bd, 2x 4Lb, 1x 4Cb, 2x 4Pk or 8Bw, 1x 2Ps, 1x Art

 Army with all options shown.

As previously blogged last year I fielded a Burgundian Ordonnance army at Cangames. It was a hodge-podge collection of miniatures that were selected from various fantasy and renaissance units about an hour before I headed to the train station. In spite of having more than enough time, I failed to plan ahead. I flipped open the DBA rulebook and browsed for something that I could throw together in 15mm scale.  My object was to avoid the armies that I used in previous years. And that was how the army of Charles the Bold went to Ottawa.

I decided that I will bring the Burgundian Ordonnance army to Ottawa again, but it would have to be a totally dedicated force. I found some figures that I had not painted in my collection of renaissance lead, that would work for the period and the remaining were ordered from Essex Miniatures. The past two weeks were spent in preparation.

I am not content to just paint an element, I feel the deep desire to field units. The photo above shows all the elements of this DBA army, but the following photographs are the entire body of troops I painted. The primary colours for the Burgundians were Blue and White. Infantry were to wear a Blue and White surcoat  along with a red Saint Andrew cross  for identification. Knights were encouraged to use Blue and White for the feathers worn in their helms or on their horses. I have tried to incorporate these guidelines to some degree with my figures. I was not happy with my attempts to paint a small clear St. Andrew's cross and as a result painted over most of them. I just could not get a thin steady line that I was happy with.

1x3 Kn (Gen) and 1x 3Kn

When I searched through my collection I discovered I had 15 gendarmes without horses. I wrote to Essex Miniatures and they were very happy to provide me 6 horses, without riders for the same price of a regular package of figures. I asked for a 3 package mix of the horses used for MER52 and MER53. Enough horses to provide me with 5 elements of knights. Banners and Flags are by Warflag. These accessories help bring this unit to life. The General Element bears the banner of an ordonnace company.

3x 3Kn//4Bd (Mounted)

The army list includes 3 Elements of knights that can fight dismounted. Instead of using the same figures as the General and a second gendarme element I found I had another 16 figures in plate armour bearing a lance. Their horses did not have barding or caparison. From their squat appearance I labeled them as Mike's Models. I know that the Mike's line was purchased by Essex Miniatures in the late 1980s and these figures could have been produced by Essex Miniatures after their take over.

I painted 8 elements of men-at-arms. They have the same general appearance of the knights above and provide the needed 4 man Blades Elements. This unit (or two units) was built from 4 packs of Essex MER36 (Dismounted Knights).

3x 3Kn//4Bd (Dismounted) 

2x 4Pk or 8Bw
The two elements of pike (MER40 and MER41) may be replaced by two elements of 8 Bow. These double element units were an innovation of Charles the Bold and are represented by 4 pike placed in front of 4 archers on a 40mm x 40mm base. I tried to keep to the Blue and White colour scheme but added some red and yellows to add some variety.

2x 4Lb

1x 2Ps

The archers which were used for the 8Bw elements and the 4LB and the 2P are all from the same set. MER84 provides two main figures and I had 4 packs. One was used to make 4 elements of 2 man Psiloi, one for the two elements of 8 man Bow and two for 4 elements of 4 man Long Bow.

1x 4Cb

Two packages of Essex Miniatures MER45 provided the figures for the crossbow unit.


I already had the artillery train, but I had to paint crew figures. I found 11 figures that had the appearance of  the Mike's Model line.  It is possible they were some form of Squat Football Team, but I drafted them for the Bleu et Blanc.

To complete the army list I needed a camp. An assembled supply train with escort fulfills this function.

As I stated I was not content to just paint one DBA army. The figures here allow me to field close to two and a half armies for a Big DBA game. With other figures I already I can easily field the 36 elements needed. Just to be safe I'll just have to pick up a few more packages of pikemen next weekend at Cangames.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What's on the work table

Work has progressed slower than expected. I hoped that I would be posting the final product today. Instead I must just leave you with just a taste of what's to come.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

DBA IV/31 Nikaian Byzantine Army

As previously blogged, last May at the Cangames DBA Open Book Tournament I placed second and won an Essex Miniatures Nikaian Byzantine (IV/31) army pack.  Patrick Laffey provides an excellent commentary of the tournament from the POV of the Chanca (IV/70) Commander in the September 2010 issue of Slingshot (No. 272), The Journal of the Society of Ancients. In the article, I was one the four opponents he faced in the competition.

Nikaian Byzantine Army

With Cangames rapidly approaching I felt I should open the package and make the army battle ready. It will accompany my troops to Ottawa next month and will be made available as a loaner. As per DBA 2.2 the army consists of just 12 required elements, represented by Essex Miniatures by the following figures.

1x 3CV (Gen)  1 EMED43 (Cv General) with 2 CRU28 Bodyguard        
1x3 CV            3 EMED43

2x 3Kn             3 MID10  Kn (Franks) and 3 MID89 Kn (Eastern)

4x 2LH            4 CRU30 LH(Cuman) and 4 MID88 LH (Turkopoloi)  

 1x 4Sp             4 BZA25 (with Psiloi rear rank)

 1x 4Bw            4 BZA26 (with Psiloi rear rank)
2x 2Ps              4 CRU32 (See above photos)

David Kuijt provides justification for expanded army lists for a number of the Later Byzantine Armies.

His variants may be found at Medieval Armies DBA Page

With those comments in mind, I purchased another 19 infantry figures which fellow blogger Sean of,  I was a Teenage Visigoth fame had offered for sale. Check out his blog .