Saturday, March 11, 2023

AHPC Post 13 Imperial Pretender in the Gift Shop

 Last post from me today, I swear.

I going to make a stop in the Gift Shop for a gift for that fine chap IainW.  During last year's Challenge Iain I received a beautiful  Landsknecht commander from Iain and I wanted to return the favour.  Of course Iain also gifted me a Jacobite artillery crew that I specifically said I didn't want and I'll reward that action too at some point.

I have a pretender Roman Emperor with standard bearer, both 28mm foot figures from Gripping Beast.  During the Later Roman Empire, Britain spawned Imperial Pretenders at a great rate.  The general pattern was that Pretender X got the support of the local army commanders in Britain, declared himself the true Emperor, landed in Gaul with an Army and got his butt kicked and his head mounted on a stick.  

Iain liked the Wolf Sock puppet shield designs on one of my cavalry units so I gave the leader the same design.

The less successful got murdered before stepping foot on the Continent (this happened twice in 407 alone).  The moderately successful stuck around long enough to get recognized as Co-Emperors for a while before the True Emperor got around to dealing with them.   The most successful went down in history as Constantine the Great.  

The problem was that every Pretender stripped the Province of troops which were never replaced.  Eventually the Emperor got tired of the Fractious Brits and told them to look after their own defences (or alternately the Brits got tired of sending taxes to the Continent and told the Empire to get stuffed). Some things never change....

I mangled the original GB Vexillum because the hands weren't drilled out completely and I forced things.   I subbed a wire shaft and Victrix plastic Draco (which I think looks the business).

Carausius avoided the normal path by declaring himself Emperor of Britain after running afoul of Western Emperor Maximian over spoiled looted by Saxon pirates.  He was successful enough to declare himself co-emperor with Maximian and Diocletian and minted his own coins.  He held on to power for seven years until the Western Caesar Constantius Chlorus (father on Constantine) made plans for an invasion.  Carausius was killed by his Finance Minister Allectus, who was in turn done in my Constantius and Britain return to the Imperial fold.

Points wise that's 20 for the gift shop and 10 for the two figures for a total of 30 points.

I've updated my Studio map to show the three lots visited today, completing my Green Security pass and allowing me to move on to the Blue lots.  Since I bounce back to World Cinema after my spree in the Gift Shop I will need to do something Fantasy related or do another female figure to hop to another lot by Limo.

AHPC Post 12 Limo to World Cinema

 First up we I have to take a Limo from Under Construction to World Cinema using this 28mm figure from Bad Squid.  Challenge veterans might remember that I've got a lot of mileage out of a Bad Squiddo Women of WW2 kickstarter that I backed a few years back.  I think that this lady feeding chickens is the last of them.

I've painted her up in standard Women's Land Army kit with shiny wellies suitable for mucking about in the farmyard.  Not the most exciting figure but a lovely sculpt and I have a lot of time and respect for Annie over at  Bad Squiddo for putting this range together.


As for World Cinema, the blurb says to post something from a different part of the world from where you don't live.  I offer up the Roman trading ship Berenice of Portus Adurni (Portchester Castle).  I can guarantee that there are no sea going merchant ships in my home town of Regina, SK which is about as far from the sea as you can get.  I should note that there is one attempted ship located nearby on the Canadian prairies.  It's a sad story with a Finnish connection.

On a biographical note I should point out that I am the son of a naval officer, was born in England and basically grew up one, in or next to the sea in Halifax Nova Scotia.  Yes, moving to Regina was an odd choice, yes there's a story and yes it's a bit messy.

The ship is 28mm pdf kit from Sarissa Precision. It went together well (even if I messed up a bit at the stern) and painted up nicely.  I have asked my lovely and talented wife to stitch up a sail for her when she has space on her sewing table.  I've named her the Berenice after a trading ship that plays a key role in the Rosemary Sutcliffe novel The Silver Branch.

I did up three crewmen using mostly Victrix plastic bits plus a few Gripping Beast arms. I painted them up in a simple common uniform and left the bases a flat tan to blend into the deck.  During painting I noted that two of them have shoulder belts for swords, but carry no swords.  I guess I call these a late antiquity version of a Sam Brown belt.

A final picture to show that Berenice is not the only vessel to shelter under the walls of  Portus Adurni .  This is a picture of Portchester Castle taken from one of the last sailing trips that I took with my dad before he sold his boat as we sail up to Port Solent Marine.  The keep and church ruins are Norman and there are medieval upgrades other places.  However, the basic walls are from the Roman Saxon Shore fort.

The photo is bit skewiff as the boat rolled as I snapped it.

Points wise I'd count the ship as a 28mm vehicle and there's 3 crew.


  • one vehicle @20
  • four foot figures @5=20
  • two locations @20 (Limo and World) =40
  • Total 80 points.
I will count 35 for the ship and crew towards the SPQR and Carausius Emperor of Britain Side duels.

Friday, March 10, 2023

AHPC Post 11 Cat People

It will be a multi post day for me this week.  I had my University break last week and in between marking calculus midterms and avoiding my wife's hubby-do list I got some painting in.  Rather than try and stuff it all into one long boring post, I went for three medium boring posts... 

For what ever weird reason, the seriously creepy and noire 1942 original Cat People (along with the Creature from the Black Lagoon) seemed to be on local TV an awful lot when I was a kid.  However, unfortunately this post has nothing to do with Simone Simon, Natassjia Kinski or David Bowie.

I have a unit of 12 more Picts, Gripping Beast figures mostly plastics with two metal figures.   In keeping with my Pict naming protocols involving animal tribes these come from the Cat People.  They are named for the Scottish wildcat, which appears to be both seriously cute as a kitten and seriously bad tempered as an adult.  I had originally planned to avoid the whole Cat people tribe but eventually succumbed to the madness.  I blame a surplus of turnip in my blogging diet.

I only caught this now but I'll need to reprint the label, it should be pale blue to match my other Pict units.

Nothing more to add except to note the combinations of bad plaids, reasonable free hand shields and child like freehand flag.  The latter is based on a cat from the book of Kells, which is Irish not Pictish but that's close enough for government work to my eyes.  

That is 12 28mm foot figures for 60 point. These count towards the Carausius Emperor of Britain Side duel which appears to be a complete dud at this point, since I'm the only one posting points.  This also takes me over my target of 500 points for this years' Challenge.

Ok it turns out that I can't leave the title with out linking to one of my favourite Bowie songs from the 80s.  There are two versions of the song with the film version generally seen as being superior to the Let's Dance version.


Thursday, March 9, 2023

AHPC Post 10 28mm Picts


Aberlemno Stones

I have a unit of 12 Pictish spearmen this week.  Most of the figures are from the Gripping Beast plastics Pict box set.  There are two metal GB command figures and some a bits from the Victrix Late Roman Infantry kit.  The GBP picts use the same torsos was the GBP Irish (and the Welsh although I've not seen these in the flesh) with appropriately Pictish heads and odd shaped shields.

The metal horn blower is a bit of an awkward pose.  I added a shield slung on his back but I am happy that he's a back ranker.

As I've talked about before, the Picts are a rather shadowy people from beyond the outer fringes of civilization. They've left no written record, we don't know what language they spoke or if they ever had a  written language.  Most of what they left us is enigmatic rock carvings.  But these carving give us a decent idea of what their warriors looked like, as shown above.  I love these carved images, there is some meat to go on but also a lot of mystery.  they are look very Tolkienesque.

The wargaming convention tends to give the Picts spearmen, reasonable light cavalry and archers (some with crossbows).  This gives an army with a different flavour than their contemporary Scots-Irish and Saxon allies and/or foes.

Unlike Ray, I like my unit labels to stand out from my bases.  The Blue background will differentiate Picts from Green Scots/Irish and White Romans.

I've kept up with giving my units a unified shield base colour, red oxide in this case with white Pictish or Celtic squiggles.  I've decided to name my Picts units with tribal labels based on animals, in the case the Deer people.  This follows on the tribal names used by the Epidii in Rosemary Sutcliffe's Eagle of the Ninth.

The flag and shields are hand painted. the flag is not my best one, but I am out of practice and it looks good enough for the table top.  I'm not all that happy with the plaids but they look ok when squinted at from a distance.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

AHPC Post 9 Roman Infantry for Under Construction


Next up for me is a unit of 12 Late Roman Infantry for the Under Construction theme. I had a good burst of painting activity on mid to late October and got these figures partly painted during that time. Then my wife came home from visiting her mother and suddenly there was a lot of other stuff to get done.....

Anyway they are finished now, 12 28mm figures all of them Gripping Beast.  Ten of the figures are stock from the Plastic Late Roman box kit while the standard bearer and one of the officers are metals from the Arthurian range. 

I have painted them as members of the Legionis Secundae Augustae based at Rutupiae near Sandwich in Kent, now known as Richborough Castle, under the command of the Comes litoris Saxonici per Britanniam. This is one of the units based in Brittania which are the descendents of Legio II Augusta who had been part of the original Claudian Invasion force and never left the island. Rutupiae is where a lot of the action in Rosemary Sutcliffe's novel The Silver Branch takes place.  

So far I have painted several units based on Legio II Augusta including some Lanciari and a ballista earlier in the Challenge. I'll treat this as a standard unit of Auxiliary, neither Verean or Raw, under the To the Strongest ruleset we've been using. The GB plastics give a nice regular look to the unit with a couple of archers in the back ranks for a bit of long range fire power. The vexillum has a rough impression of the Capricorn (a sort of goat/mermaid hybrid) emblem of Legio II Augusta.

I also thought I'd share some photos from a recent game played with my Barbarian Conspiracy period armies, which I began work on during Challenge XII. It's at Curt Clubhouse using his terrain mat and river, but you can see my British Village, Dark Age fort and a lot of my troops on table.  Also visible are JeremyM from prior challenges, SylvainR (with beer) and Curt's legs.

The Scots Irish deeply so as to give the ballistae in the fort a wide berth.

Roman battle line

The bases I used are a little wide for the fort's ramparts so we used MDF bases to prop up the missile troops

Typical late antiquity scrumming the background, with Roman Cavalry in the foreground.

I make it 60 points for the figures plus 20 for the Under Construction theme.  The base points count toward both the SPQR and Carausius Emperor of Britain Side duels.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

AHPC Post 8 Limo to Black and White

 I've been largely ignoring the Studio lot themes, but thought I'd try and pickup a few theme points using stuff at hand.

First up I need to take a Limo using this figure to secure my ride. This is a RAFM Call of Cthulhu figure that I picked up 20 years ago. She came in a pack of nurses, most of which ended up in may Colonial collection. I also think she bears a resemblance to Tamsin when a new Challenge member prematurely hits the "Publish" button before getting his or her minion to vet the post.

I'll have the Limo drop me off at the Black and White Studio and claim this greyscale bat and stalagmite (or is it a stalactite?  I await Dr Cook's rebuke.). The bat came in a pack of familiars sold by WizKids. I painted it as a shameless grab for points but it could prove useful in a dungeon crawl etc.

We live in a Bat friendly house, with each of our vehicles having a colour coordinated guard bat on duty. Better yet we had a Biology grad student set up a Bat Monitor in our back yard and we turned out to be in a high Bat Traffic Area. It took a lot of self control not to refer to the young lady as the Batgirl (at least not to her face).

Elizabat on duty (our Forester is blue). Other members of our colony are Zippy and Batsmeralda while former member Batrick went to live with the Batgirl Bat Researcher because she drove a green car.

Here's my updated studio map.

Points wise it 5 for the 28mm figure and maybe 1 terrain point (1/20 of a cube) for the bat plus 20 each for the Limo and Lot location.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

AHPC Post 7 Late Roman Watchtower


A cohort of Tungrians mans the ramparts 

I was travelling for 4 days this week, so only a small offering in the form of this 28mm Roman Watchtower.  As with most of my BUAs it is a Sarissa pdf kit which went together nicely and painted up well.

It's not as substantial as a Saxon Shore fort or Milecastle on the Wall, but should be useful in scenario applications or as table dressing.  The whitewash with red brick trim comes from Osprey books on the Saxon Shore forts and the Wall, but is also confirmed by serious history books written by respected academics. 

The interior space nicely fits one of my 60mm square bases.  The top floor removes so that you can access the first (UK) or second (rest of the world) floor.

Interior view.  

I added some minimal ground cover, except that under the stairs looks like a place blackberries would grow.  I also added some grammatically correct graffiti to the back wall.  See this following link for a reference (incidentally when my daughter was having trouble conducting verbs int French immersion I used this clip as a teaching aide)....

Points wise this measures out to about 1/2 a terrain cube. I'd give the math but I don't want to cause pain to Greg, so we'll go with the "here's where the miracle occurs" method common among my students when approaching proofs.