Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rebuilding my Carthaginians

Lately, I've been digging into a pile of Punic era figures to finish a long-stalled Field of Glory project.  I sold my Mid Republican Roman army last winter and in the process, I cannibalized my Carthaginian to build out the Romans.  I planned to paint up replacement battlegroups but then along came a gladiator project, 3 Impetus armies and my Maurice Ottoman army.  After 8 months delay, here are the replacements!  All Old Glory figure.

Numidian Light Horse:  My Carthaginian cavalry is generally outclassed or ignored in my matches so I'm going to try a different approach.  I'll max out on Numidian Light Horse (3 battlegroup) and take a Numidian ally which  allows a 4th BG.  That  should be enough to tie up enemy cavalry while sending one unit after the camp. Colors are variations on a brown theme but I do like the look of these fellows all massed up.  This time through, I deduced that the small blob at the bottom of some shields is a feather!

Cretan Archers:  I trimmed the red tunics with white but it had a Santa's elves meets Candy Stripers vibe.  I switched to sky blue but a darker blue would've worked as well.

Stompies!  The upside to painting figures a second time is the opportunity to change things up. I've been doing a bit of reading (a dangerous thing!) and learned that war towers were not used in the 1st Punic War.  In the 2nd Punic War, war towers were used BUT not on every elephant.  In fact, there is a line of thought that war towers were used infrequently.  This batch will be sans towers.  After filing away the ropes, I decided to use Green Stuff to make large tusks on 2 of the ellies.  You wouldn't think this would be diifficult but in fact, its quite fiddly in 15mm.  Oh, and I added a crash helmet for one of the mahouts.   

Thureophoroi: A unit of Thureophoroi is sitting in the painting pan. These guys will be tough to paint after the Xyston Thureophoroi I painted for my Pontic army. Even by Old Glory standards, these are poor molds.  Which begs the question, when did I cross over and become a painting prima donna?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Terrain for Maurice

I recently took a look at my terrain collection and realized I need to buff up my choices for Maurice. I made a trip to a big box hardware store and bought a 4' by 2' board of mdf (aka hardboard).  I'd been buying it from a local Blicks art store and paying dearly for it.  The cheaper stuff works just as well as the high priced product so unless you're loaded, grab your mdf from a hardware store.  The only downside is I don't have a table saw and it's a bit of work to chop up a large sheet with a circular saw. Going into this, I had 3 goals for my terrain:

1.  It must look better than a piece of felt.  Some people shoot for the stars.  I aim for the ground because I can hardly miss!

2.  It must be light.  Since I rarely host a game in my house, I have to drag my 6' x4' canvass terrain mat, a box full of terrain and my armies on the road.  It's quite a load and the more terrain I make, the heavier my terrain box becomes.  So this time, I'm not putting loads of water putty onto the mdf. 

3.  It must be versatile.  My current collection of terrain was bought or made for Field of Glory.  The terrain I'm making here is for Maurice.  As time goes by, there'll be more rules and systems to play so ideally, I want this to work under multiple rulesets.

First up was a marsh. You're thinking that right away, I violated Rule #3.  It's hard to pretend a marsh is anything other than a marsh but I made so it's sized to work under both Maurice and Field of Glory (if I push all 3 pieces together).

I mixed up a thick batch of water putty, smeared it on the mdf and dropped bark in to give it visual interest.  Then I covered it with a dark brown basecoat with dark green in the low spots where the  Woodland Scenics Water Effects will go. After it dried, I put a wash of diluted brown ink over it to muddy up the water.  Then some flocking and I've got marshes.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

British Dragoons for Maurice

I've been thinking of painting up a 2nd Maurice army to serve as a loaner for my friends who game only Ancients.  I'm thinking this might tempt them to game in the Era of Gentlemen and Philosophers, even though these fellows can hardly be mistaken for gentlemen.They're hard-pressed to put on a pair of pants before venturing into public, such is their love for the Gauls. Coarse as they are, my ancients-loving friends might one day be persuaded to serve as bayonet holders for my Ottoman army.

As I was looking at the options for Seven Years War armies, it dawned on me that I'd never painted a tricorn hat.  And wasn't that #22 on my bucket list?  Good lord, time to stop procrastinating and get my lace on! My friend Mark was working on his British-inspired ImagiNation army so I asked if he had any units I could train on, er, paint up.  As luck would have it, he had a dandy SYW British Dragoon unit in the wings.

The beauty of painting outside your comfort zone is that, well, it's outside your comfort zone. The downside is that there are probably ten good reasons why it's outside your comfort zone.  For me, I haven't read much on the Seven Years War and I had no reference material for the armies or era.  I sent Mark a text asking if he had any inspirational material for his British Hussars.  Oooops. Wrong word.  I learned that Hussars and Dragoons don't mix, unless it's on a battlefield.  After a bit of bumbling out of the gate, here are the results:

These Old Glory figs are crisp and loaded of detail. To my surprise, I discovered that each Dragoon carried more gear into battle than paratroopers took into Normandy.  A brace of pistols, a musket, a sword, three separate ammo packs and a bed roll.  They were Death on Hooves. If I do paint up a SYW  army, I'll be ordering it from OG.

Next week, I'll try to turn this mdf board into terrain for Maurice.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Maurice Ottoman Army finished!

I wanted to do Janissary in black.  Of course, black by itself would have left the figures looking like I'd primed them and put them on the tabletop. So it was black, dark grey highlight and a lighter grey highlight after that.  In other words, not too black when you're finished!  Here and now, grey is my new black.

And the inspiration.

No matter the continent, century or cut of cloth, combatants always look crisp in crimson.  I think it holds true here.

9 foot, 4 cavalry, 3 irregular foot and 5 cannons-the Maurice Ottomans massed up.

That's enough to give me plenty of options in my campaigns so I'm calling the Ottoman Project bitirdim (if you guessed finished, you are a clever lad or lass).  In retrospect, I could have build this army to more closely parallel its 18th century counterpart.  I'm embarrassed to admit this didn't cross my mind when I started out down this road. I didn't realize OG carries a Seven Years War Ottoman line or that the SYW figs are in marching order.  What I've done is painted up an army and at the finish, realized that technically, I'm on the Imagi-Nation road.  It was a short drive and I rather like the view.  I'm now ready to get a campaign going so all is good.

As is my habit, we'll exit the brief Ottoman Project with The Pogues "Turkish Song of the Damned."  Here's hoping Mark's British army will be doing the two step off the table's edge when they meet my Ottomans in Maurice!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ottoman Janissary for Maurice

This weekend, I had the pleasure of playing my second game of Maurice.  It was a nail-biter with the game going down to the wire. The deciding rolls were preceded by good-natured hooting, hollering and high fives.  Before you deduce that we're a bunch of hooligans, let me just say Maurice is flat out fun to play.  It's so much fun that it's pushed everything else we play off the plate.

The game is driven by action cards used to activate forces and modify actions on the field.  I grew up in the era of wargaming without cards and as a result, I sometimes view card driven games with a bit of suspicion. No more.  The  action cards are where Maurice shines.  Each player has a hand of cards and actions/activations on the field cause you to use your cards.  As the active player, you are limited in which forces you can activate and use.  During your turn, your opponent can play a card that interrupts an action or activity.  This means that every turn unfolds with surprises, a punch and often a counterpunch. At the same time, you have to pace yourself because you don't want to run out of cards and have your attack or decisive action thwarted.  No cards means no actions for a turn.

Maurice also incorporate a system where you can choose the national attributes for your army, meaning that one army can  have a different style of play in each campaign.  This is in contrast to Field of Glory and other systems where you have to paint up a whole new army if you're looking for a different style of play.

After our first game in June, my friends Mark and Brent agreed to paint up Maurice armies in 15mm to run in an Imagi-Nation campaign.  I realized that I could use much of my 15mm Later Ottoman Turkish army in Maurice including:
  • 5 wicked looking pieces of Ottoman heavy artillery  
  • 4 units Ottoman cavalry
  • 4 Ottoman command stands
  • 2 Irregular units
With these units in hand, I only needed 9 units of infantry to complete my Ottomans for Maurice.  I put in an order for 160 Old Glory Janissary and out came the brushes! For my first batch of 5 units, I painted the base color in a dark blue, then a wash shadows, a mid tone and a highlight over the mid tone.  I generally don't do triads in 15mm as it's a bit of work for a smallish payout.  I think the results here are decent if subtle. The highlight does help them pop a bit and in 15mm, that's an effect I like. You can judge for yourself.    

For the sake of the photos, I put them in column but most of the time, they'll be fighting in a single line of 4 bases.  For the hard core Maurice folks, you'll notice that my Janissary are in a single line per base.  I did try to base them in a double line but I didn't account for the fact that 50% of the Old Glory figures are in firing poses.  As such, you can't properly mount a double line of figures on a single 40mm x 30mm base.  In the 17th century, the Ottomans were a throwback army so I'll attribute their odd appearance to that fact.  If you want to build an Ottoman army with a double line per base, pass on these Old Glory 15s and find a line that does Janissary in march order.

Edit:  Its been pointed out that there is in fact an OG line with marching Janissary.  You have to do a word search for "Janissaries" and it'll turn up the SYW Ottomans.  No photos available on the website so I'm taking this on the word of someone who told me on TMP.  Thanks for the correction!

Here was my inspiration for these units.