Thursday, June 20, 2024

AAR Picts Vs Late Romans

It's been three months since my last post and 6 weeks since this game, but better late than never!

Back in early May I ran a game using To The Strongest (TtS) and my Pictish and late Rom an armies.  The scenario was the Broken Ground scenario from this classic with the Picts defending and the Romans attacking.  The Picts held a line of hills and the Romans needed to capture the two passes between the hills, best accomplished by defeating the Pict army.

Can't recall all of what happened, but I do know that.

  • It was a close game, with both sides down to their last victory medal and the Romans eking it out after both sides missed opportunities for the kill.
  • Stacy and Sylvain took the Late Romans, Curt and I led the Picts.
  • The Pictish combination of Spears, skirmishers and mounted troops make for an interesting change from the bog standard war band barbarian hordes.
  • We'd played a lot of WFB type armies which don't field many light troops so it was a bit of a learning process.  The one hit units were a challenge to face and field.
  • Sylvain tried his usual wide flanking move with cavalry on their right flank (Pictish left flank in the photos), which we managed to mostly counter since he opened a gap from his centre.

The Pict centre

Our camp.  The Pictish stone came from a local "If it's not Scottish it's Craaap" shop. 

Roman flanking attempt finds itself flanked. 

A wider view of the same situation

View from the Pictish right.

First class pointing from Stacy.

The centres close.

Infantry scrum!

Typically confused state late in the day!

I take solace for our loss with the Pictish Warhound.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

AHPC XIV Post 12 Pict Chariots and The Library Cart (85 points)

 Second post this week and it includes figures that I've been working on intermittently since December, a unit of 2 Pict chariots.  These are Crusader figures although the chariots themselves are 4Ground mdf kits.

The rider in red is comes from the Irish Warriors pack, note the base under his feet.

Back last summer NorthStar had a sale on these and I picked up 4 blister packs of Celtic chariots.  Although clearly modeled for Caesar's Gallic Wars or the Claudian invasion of Britain, I figured a Celtic chariot is a Celtic chariot.  I tried to stick handle around most of the anachronism with paint work (taking away trousers and adding beards) and subbed in an Irish warrior in one case.  I also made a lot of mistakes early on and got myself tied in knots a couple of times.  Finally after a couple of rebuilds and being put aside for other pieces a number of times, I've got these completed.


Next up is a solitary Bad Squiddo figure of Noor Inayat Khan to let me take Sarah's Library Cart to the Biography Section.  Khan was an SOE operative in France during the Second World War who was best known as a radio operator.  She was a very brave woman who deserved a much better fate than being betrayed, tortured and executed.  She would make a fine Biography topic herself, but she happened to be the female figure that I had ready on the day. 

I have acquired a number of Bad Squiddos Women of WW2 range.  I don't plan on doing any gaming with Landgirls, Lumberjills or Spies.  I just like the figures and want to support Annie for developing the range.   They are universally well researched, sculpted and posed and have bags of character.  they are also a joy to paint.  IN this case Door's "briefcase" holds her radio equipment.

I kept the colour scheme to follow the example on the Bad Squiddo web store, because I know that they've done the research.  I am pretty happy with the folds in her outfit but no sure about the skin tones.

Photographic evidence of me taking the Library Cart.

I believe that these chariots don't count as vehicles (I least my Pict general's didn't last year).  The point tally goes like this
  • 4 horses and 4 chariot crew in 28mm @ 5 pts/each =40 + chariots = 60
  • I female spy in 28mm =5
  • Library Cart bonus =20
  • Total 65 85

My challenge map now looks like this...

Monday, March 11, 2024

AHPC XIV Post 11 Late Roman Archers and Epic Halberdiers [Gift Shop] (120 points)

 This is the first post from me this week, a unit of 12 formed archers for my Late Romans.  My wife flew off to Phoenix for the week yesterday and I've been left to deal with a blizzard with up to 40cm of snow expected.  So I am left at home with lousy weather, the Briar (national curling championship) on TV and some free time...

Shields are made up, based on pictures in the Notitia Dignitatum

This was not a planned unit, it just kind of happened.  I bought a pack of Victrix Late Roman Archers and Slingers over the summer mostly for the slingers, but also thinking that I could use the bow arms for Pict archers.  It turned out that the 2/3 of the figures are archers with composite bows that look out of place in the hands of Picts.  So there were 24 archers and I felt I needed to do something with them...

These are nice figures and there are lots of variant arms and heads.  I like the variety of loading, shooting and admiring one's last shot poses.  I included an officer and a musician who is likely over armoured but was fun to paint.   

My previous Roman archer units had been light infantry and I'd filled my quota under the TtS army lists, hence the formed bowmen unit.  I've given them the title Sagittarii Nerviorum. There are three units listed as Nerviorum under the Dux Britanniarum in the Notitia Dignitatum.  The name comes from the Nervii, a Belgic tribe from Northern Gaul as I continue to try and butter up my Belgic minion.  Other Nervii units served in Northern Gaul, Spain and even as an elite Auxiliary Palatina unit in the Eastern Empire.

The officer and musician come from the Armoured Infantry kit.

No Challenge bonus points, but I will claim the points on the Legions of the Empire Side Duel.

Also counting for the Legions of the Empire Side Duel are these Epic Empire halberdiers.  I am also going claim the the "Gift Shop" bonus points because Curt told me I could when I Voluntold me to paint these.

Curt has been running a Old World themed TtS! Campaign using these Epic scale figures and I've been running the Empire side.  More like the Sacrificial Offering giving my skill at these games.  One thing that I've finally figured out is that the bog standard grunts like these Halberdiers and pretty darn useful (and cheap to boot). 

Curt has a sizeable Empire contingent which looks lovely in a mostly blue and yellow livery.  To mix things up I went for a Crimson and White livery, which I believe means that these lad don't follow any of the Official liveries.  I will note that I've left their based un terraformed as Curt will want to base them according to his own system.

I had more fun painting these than I thought I would once I figured out a system.  By system I mean going with a wash technique and not worrying about the small details.  The flag and a couple of shields are free handed to kinda look like Imperial Eagles if you squint hard and have had enough wine.

Points wise I make it
  • 12 archers in 28mm @5 pts each =60
  • 36 halberdiers in 10mm @ 1 pt each = 36
  • Giftshop bonus =20
  • Total 116 points.
This takes me over my 500 point Challenge Target.

Finally since Martijn's been suggesting books, I have a book suggestion for him Buried by Alice Roberts.  it's a survey of archeology over the first 1000 years CE, looking at a number of specific burial sites.  She's got two others in the series dealing with the BCE and medieval eras (just out now in Canada).  The first two have some great history about the archeology in Britain and challenge a lot of ideas.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

AHPC XIV Post 10 With View Halloo Pursue the Gnu (70 Points)

 Second post from me today.  First up is a straightforward points grab for the nature shelves in the form of a 28mm Gnu (ok it's a wildebeest but Gnus are way more fun) from Ray Partha. This figure has been kicking around my spares bin for 20+ years and was picked up for a potential Southern African colonial project.

I think this needs a Wild Kingdom vignette with Marlin Perkins safely in the Landrover while his sacrificial offering assistant attempts to hog tie the gnu.  Sadly this was beyond my resources.

While others may look to use the Gnu as the basis for cheap puns, I instead will use it to reference a much higher art form, that of Poetry.  I present Good Gnu (A Vignette in Verse) by P.G Wodehouse.   This poem comes from the story Unpleasantness at Bludleigh Court in which Mr Mulliner's nice Charlotte (an animal loving poet) comes under a blood lust spell while visiting family friends.  She is most put out when Animal-Lovers' Gazette rejects this poem as seen at 18:00 of this clip Wodehouse Playhouse.

When cares attack and life seems black,

How sweet it is to pot a yak,

      Or puncture hares and grizzly bears,

        And others I could mention;

But in my Animals "Who's Who"

No name stands higher than the Gnu;

      And each new gnu that comes in view

        Receives my prompt attention.


When Afric's sun is sinking low,

And shadows wander to and fro,

      And everywhere there's in the air

        A hush that's deep and solemn;

Then is the time good men and true

With View Halloo pursue the gnu;

      (The safest spot to put your shot

        is through the spinal column).


To take the creature by surprise

We must adopt some rude disguise,

      Although deceit is never sweet,

        And falsehoods don't attract us;

So, as with gun in hand you wait,

Remember to impersonate

      A tuft of grass, a mountain-pass,

        A kopje or a cactus.


A brief suspense, and then at last

The waiting's o'er, the vigil past;

      A careful aim. A spurt of flame.

        It's done. You've pulled the trigger,

And one more gnu, so fair and frail,

Has handed in its dinner-pail;

      (The females all are rather small,

        The males are somewhat bigger).

In other gnus, I have another unit of 4 Pict Light Cavalry.  These are 28mm figures kit bashed from three Gripping Beast plastic kits. They are pretty much the same as the last two units that I have previously posted.

Note to self - I need to fix the labels which got lifted up during posing.

I think it's 5 points for the Gnu, 10 each for the cavalry and 20 for the Nature topic for a total of 65 points.

With two rooms ticked off today, my updated may looks like this.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

AHPCXIV Post 9 Saint Germanus of Auxerre for Famous Person (60 points)

 Continuing the catchup...

I missed a week last week, but caught up on some painting during my Uni's Winter Break.  My first post is of Saint Germanus of Auxerre which I am attempting to claim under the Famous Person Category.  There's a bit of ambiguity in the title here, with the Map indicating a Statue and the Library Catalogue just indicating a Famous Person.  However, Big Lee got his painted Patton under this category on the weekend, so I will use this and the ambiguity to claim my points. Also I happened to know that my minion is an archeologist whose speciality is Rome and I'm hoping for brownie points!

Who is Saint Germanus you ask and why is he famous?  He is a Bishop from Roman Gaul who came to Britain c 429 CE to defeat the Picts and Saxons at the Alleluia Battle, where the barbarians were so put of may the vocal chants of the Romano British that they figured that they were badly outnumbered and buggered off.  You can read his Bio here.  Germanus is one if the few named leaders from 5th century Britain whose existence can actually be verified since most of the names (Vortigern, Arthur, etc) seem pretty mythical.

I based my version on this lovely illustration from a recent Osprey offering.

The figures are from the Victrix Late Roman Armoured Cavalry kit, which is excellent.  I didn't have a cross so swapped in a Chi-Rho vexillum for Germanus to wave.  I never liked the jumping jack hold two weapons up pose, so gave him the shield carried by the infantry man in the foreground.  His body guard is a Roman Cavalry officer, who gets a proper helmet instead of his Smurf Hat Phrygian Cap.

Germanus' visit(s) to Britain came after the "withdrawal of the legions" in 407CE, but what happened afterword is very cloudy.  I plan on using him as a standard bearer or general for my Late Roman Defenders of Britain.

Points wise that 2 28mm cavalrymen @10 points =20 plus 20 for the Famous Person bonus for a total of 40 points.  I will claim the figure points under the legions Side Duel. 

Friday, March 8, 2024

AHPC XIV Post 8 Pict Light Cavalry

I am catching up on some posts from the last two weeks.  February is now over and the end of term is in sight.

Another small post from me as I crawl towards my goal.  It's February, we've had mostly sucky weather recently (grey and sloppy underfoot), I've got a heavy teaching load and a ton of February blahs....   

I've got another unit of 4 Pict Light Cavalry based for my To The Strongest Late Roman Britain project. Figures are mostly a mix of two Gripping Beast plastic kits,  Late Roman Light Cavalry and Dark age Cavalry.  Heads, shields and weapons are from the GB Pict infantry kit and the rolled cloaks came from a Victrix Roman infantry kit.

These were in the queue since last May.  After priming I found that I'd made the Proverbial Porcine Posterior on assembly (I like alliteration a lot!).  Eventually I filled the most glaring errors and decided to ignore the rest.  They look ok when one applies the two foot rule.

Four cavalry in 28mm is 40 points with no bonus rooms.


Wednesday, February 7, 2024

AHPC XIV Post 7 Manilla Bay 1898

A slow week again for me (teaching an overload course and wife's birthday) but a few things made it off the workbench.  A few more ships from my ongoing Spanish American War naval project, mostly Spanish and mostly from the Battle of Manilla Bay 1898.

The Spanish squadron in the Philippines was a collection of obsolete cruisers in a pretty dodgy state of maintenance and training.  They gave Dewey's American squadron little opposition but with some proper preparations and work, things might have been tougher for the US Navy.  Dewey had the easier challenge in battle but had a host of other issues to deal with.  His squadron was operating thousands of miles from a US port and had to shepherd colliers and other support ships.  He also had to stare down the German Asiatic squadron which anchored in  Manilla Bay and deal with Phillipino rebels that the US Government was preparing to throw under the bus once the Spanish were out of the way.  

The Reina Christina was an Alphonso XII class unprotected cruiser and flies the flag of Admiral Motojo.  She was the best of the Spanish squadron at Manilla and went down fighting.   This class of ships was named for member of the Spanish Royal Family and both the ships and royalty had pretty sad careers.  Christina was the Queen Regent in 1898, widow of Alphonso XII (who died in 1885 at the age of 27 from TB and dysentery) and mother of Alphonso XIII (born posthumously in 1886 and deposed in 1931).  Her sister ships were named for Alphonso XII and his first wife Reina Mercedes who died at age 18 from typhoid fever after 6 months of marriage.  The Alphoso XII was immobile in Havana harbour in 1898, but her crew helps the crew of the USS Maine after she was sunk.  The Reina Mercedes traded shots with the US Navy at Santiago, but was too sow to take part in the the breakout,  She was sunk as a block ship to deny the Americans access to the port.

The Castilla was an even older unprotected cruiser.  She served against the Tagalog Revolt but was thoroughly worn out by 1898.  Her machinery gave only a very slow speed and she in the early days of the war was found to have a serious leak that could only be patched with cement around her propellor shaft, immobilizing her.  The Christina had to tow her into position.

Two member of the ill fated Velasco class of small cruisers.  Tow of the class had been lost at sea prior to the war and three more members were sunk at Manilla Bay including Velasco herself.  She was immobilized on the day of battle (are you sensing a theme here?) with her boilers ashore and under repair.  Isabel II was at San Juan Puerto Rico in 1898 where she took part in two actions against the US blockaders.  She served in the Armada until 1907.  Isabel II was the mother of Alphonso II and had a troubled reign from 1833-1868.  Her succession caused the Carlist Wars (the other side was lead by an uncle who refused to accept a Queen), and she was deposed by a revolution in 1868.  She lived until 1904 but had abdicated while in exile in favour of her son.   

Finally some pretty good little ships.  USS Petrel was a gun boat that fought at Manilla Bay and further against against first the Spanish and then the Philippinos.  Very useful in the brushfire colonial campaigns of the day.  And another flotilla of two Spanish destroyers, which were modern designs for 1898.  

Thats's 7 1;2400 scale ships (all Tumbling Dice castings) at 2 points per hull for a total of 14 points.  I  should have something more substantial next week.