Monday, 7 December 2009

Hyksos Skirmishers

Havinh reviewed the figures I have finished so far, I decided that the bowmen I had painted up for the skirmishers (2Ps) were probably too well dressed for troops employed in that role. As a result I decided to break up the Horde element I had painted, and rebase some as the 2 elements of 2Ps required by the lists. These guys are tribal vassals employed by the invading Hyksos.

All that is needed now is one chariot element, and the full all options A list will be complete!

More Hyksos

After a long absence from painting, I have managed to get some miniatures finished to add to the Hyksos army.

I have completed 4 elements of Axemen (3Bd), which are converted Magister Militum Hittite spearmen. Essentially, I took the figures sculpted with a spear in their left hand and an axe in their right. I then removed the spear, and added a shield I had removed from some old Essex Hittites I had.

I have no idea if the Hyksos used shields of this type, but I do know that Hittites and Mycenaean/Minoan cultures used similar shields, so it is not too much of a leap of faith to assume that it is at least possible the Hyksos could have done too. I have painted them as raw cow hide, again based on the fact that other cultures in the area - including Egypt and Minoans used hide for their shields.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Next Project

True to form, and with my usual Goldfish like attention span I have embarked on a new painting project before fully finishing the Romans! This time it will be a Hyksos DBA Army (List I/17 a and b). I will be using Magister Militum figs, primarily from their Hittite Range. I have loads opf Hittite figs ready to be painted - at one stage I was thinking about doing a Hittite DBM army, but never got round to it. Most of the figures I bought were early Syrian in look, and from waht I have managed to find out, the Hyksos sphere of influence encompassed the Syrian area. It also seems that the majority of the figs on sale as Hyksos are dressed in Syrian style with the fringed, long wraparound robes.

From my reading it would appear that we don't really have any hard and fast references as to what the Hyksos looked like, other than they were, according to the Egyptians from "foreign lands", and referred to as Asiatics. It seems that for the 100 years or so that they ruled Egypt, they adopted Egyptian styles and customs. The idea of this project is for them to be in their "pre-Egyptian" period, thus the Syrian style of the clothing.

With all of these figures, I used a black undercoat, white dry brush preparation, then blocked in the colours before applying a wash of undiluted Klear floor polish mixed with black and brown ink. They were then finished with 2 coats of matt acrylic spray varnish to cover the glossy finish caused by the Klear.

This first pic shows the four elements of irregular auxilia (3Ax). They are Magister Militum's shieldless Hittite spearmen (HNH007). These figs would be good for the Hittite 3 Sp elements too, should I wish to morph the army at a later date.

These guys are the one element of regular auxilia (4Ax). Theses are a very basic conversion. I took four of the shieldless spear figs, bent the left arm in front of the body, and added the shields which I cut off of the figures I used for the miracle wash experiment referred to in an earlier post.

This is one of the skirmishers elements (2Ps), in this case Syrian bowmen (HNH014).

Finally, a horde element (7Hd) - only 6 figs on this base, a mix of various M M figures, representing tribal levies. A mix of SUA005 Irregular Javelinmen, SUA009 Martu Guti Bow and SUA011 Martu Guti Javelinmen. A nice irregular looking mix.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

More Auxilia

Two more elements of auxilia done. This now means I only have to finish one more element of light horse.

These guys are Magister Militum figs, the bare headed version of the Auxilia I painted first ... although you will notice one of them has a helmet - he was left over from the first batch so I thought I would include him for a bit of variety. They have been painted up as the Defensores Seniores, a Pseudocomitatensis unit from the Western Empire. The stars are VVV shield transfers. I went hell for leather with these chaps, and got the whole unit finished, including basing in just over two hours.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

"Miracle" Wash?

I have seen several discussions on the Fanaticus Forums regarding the "Miracle Wash" or "Miracle Dip" so I thought I would do a bit of experimentation to see how the process works for me. I took 5 of the same figure and painted them all white - a matt white spray primer then a coat of white acrylic. When they were dry I tried different washes over the top to see how they turned out. The results are shown below:

From left to right I tried
1. Brown ink diluted with water.
2. "Klear" floor polish with brown ink added.
3. A 50/50 mix of "Klear" and water with brown ink.
4. A 25% "Klear" and 75% water mix with brwn ink.
5. Brown acrylic paint diluted with water.
(To get a better idea, click on the pic, it will get bigger!)

For me the results were very interestig. I had been led to believe that the 25%/75% would give the best results, but for me, and I think the pics show it the best results were using 100%"Klear". Klear seems to induce a capilliary action, drawing the pigment into the recesses quite nicely. I could see this happenning as I was putting the wash on with 2, 3 and 4. Interestingly, when the washes were being applied, the paint mix looked really goog, but as it dried, the effect looked very messy.

With all of the washes, there was some tainting of the original white colour, but more so with the ink and paint mixes. I think I will do some more experiments with different pigments, and maybe even try some of the specifically manufactured washes. I will report back - watch this space!

Another Element

One more element for the Patricians, another Psiloi element. This time Roman equipped rather than foederati. I now only need 2 more auxilia and 1 more light horse to have all options for both East and West Patrician.

Saturday, 6 June 2009


Here is another army I did a while ago, I/8b Makkan, again for a themed tournament. I like the idea of themed tournaments because they give an impetus to get armies painted that I might not otherwise have chosen. The army consists of 6 x 3Wb (incl. general), 2 x 3Wb or 3Cm (I chose the camel option), 2 x 3Bw and 2 x 2Ps. All figures are Magister Militum.

This shows the 6 warband elements. I have not been able to find much out about the Makkan, so chose general purpose shielded javelin/spearmen. The general's element is identifiable from the red edges to the shields and the fact that two of them have swords. I made the swords by trimming the spears down, hammering he remains flat, and filing to a blade shape. I know that the swords should probably have been painted in a copper or bronze colour rather than the iron colour I did them in, but I didn't think of that at the time!

...and here is the rest of the army, all fairly generic figures - as I said earlier, I could not find out much on what these guys looked like! Also I can use the figures for other Middle Eastern biblical era armies should the need arise.


Whilst I had the camera out I thought I would post a few pics of the first specifically DBA army I painted for myself. I had painted several which were sold immediately on eBay, but this lot were done when I decided to get back into gaming again. I did it about 3 years ago to play in a Parthian themed tournament - I didn't do too well as I recall!
Army consists of 4 x 4Kn, 7 x 2LH and 1 x 3Ax.

Here are the knights. The figures are actually Magister Militum Sarmatians, but they do the job - close packed, fully armoured hooligans on horses.

These guys are the Light Horse archers, these figs are again Magister Militum Hun figures. Not particularly Parthian, but my argument is that they are Chionites, who were a Hunnic related people who came within the Parthian empire. The auxilia element is made of Essex Cuman javelinmen. Again, not especially Parthan, but look OK for Kurdish Hill Tribes, who also fell under the Parthinan sphere of influence.

So there you have it, and entire Parthian army with not a single Parthian figure amongst them!!!

Complete so far

...and here we have all the Patrician elements completed thus far - 18 in total:

1 x 3Kn (gen)

1 x 3Cv (gen)

1 x 4 Kn (Cataphracts)

3 x 3 Cv/3Kn (foederati)

4 x 4Wb (foederati)

1 x 2Ps (foederATI)

4 x 4Ax (Palatina and Pseudocomitatensis)

1 X 2LH (Equites Sagitarii)

2 x 4Bd (Legio Palatina)

Some Roman additions

My wife was out at a Hen Party last night, and my daughter was in bed early (for once!) which meant a few hours uninterrupted brush time!! As a result, some more recruits have been painted for the Patricians....

First up, two more elements of barbarian horse. Fairly generic, again Magister Militum figures (code DARK004). Unarmoured spear and sword armed cavalry - would do for 3Cv or 3Kn Foederati troops. Just need the bases finished now.

So here we have all three completed Barbarian horse elements. I have enough figures left to make several more elements. I will get them all done at some time so that I can use them for Vandal/Goth or whatever, but at present they are mercenaries in Roman service!

I also completed a second element of the Pseudocomitatensis auxilia (4Ax). Painted in the same colours as the first. Only two more auxilia elements to complete to have as many as I need for any Patrician Roman option, East or West. I have the figures, all I need is the time to paint them.

... and finally, two Early Saxon warband figures. I will be knocking out a couple of elements of these, not that I plan to have an Early Saxon army, but I do feel that they would serve for any Germanic type foot and as such would be useable in a wide range of army lists. I like the figures (Magister Militum's SAXN002 Saxon Nobles), there is a lot of variety in the poses, weapons and shields - very warbandy! I have to say that I am impressed with the variety with all of Magister Militum's Dark Age foot figures. But then, as you will guess, I am a fan of M M - and no, they aren't sponsoring me to say that!!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Video Fun and Games

A bit of fun I had with Windows Video Maker - not very polished or professional, but fun nontheless

25mm Celt

A new venture for me, just for a bit of a change. I recently picked up the Warlord Games Celtic Warriors Boxed set, so I thought I would have a go at painting one. The set contains enough hard plastic bits to make 30 Warriors, including command figures. I have to say I am impressed with the quality of the figures, which fit together well.

I wanted to see how quickly I could paint a 25mm figure to a half decent wargames standard. For speed I decided to rely mostly on drybrushing. Here is a blow by blow account of how I painted the first one out of the box:

First, I started with my trusty tried and tested method of a black undercoat with a white drybrush over the top to pick out the detail. Next was a thin dark brown wash over the flesh areas. The next stage was a dry-brush of Citadel Bronzed Flesh with a touch of dark brown added. Once that was dry, a light dry-brush of Elf Flesh to lighten and provide highlights.

Once the flesh was complete, I painted in the moustache with a dark gingery brown, and touched in the gold torc at his neck and the bracelet on his right wrist. When the moustache was dry I highlighted with a lighter brown. I also painted a wash of thinned dark green over the trousers, which when dry was drybrushed using Citadel Goblin Green, followed with a very light drybrush of a Goblin Green and White mix. I also painted in the sword blade with Citadel Chainmail, with a touch of black added, and when dry highlighted with pure Chainmail.

The next stage was to paint in the hilt of the sword with a bronze colour, and aslo the hilt and pommel of the dagger on his belt. The belt was painted in with a light leather colour, and the dagger scabbard with a darker leather colour. His feet were given a wash with dark brown, which when dry was drybrushed carefully with a lighter brown.

Basing next, I firstly put some basetex on the base in patches which I left to dry. Once dry, a wash of dark brown went all over the base - carefully avoiding the feet! When that was dry, two successively lighter dry-brushes went over the basetex. The final stage when all the rest was dry was some dabs of White PVA glue onto the untextured parts of the base, and a sprinkling of static grass.

The set comes with 15 shields, which I think is a little on the low side for 30 warriors, I appreciate not every one would have had a shield, but I personally would have liked a few more. Also included are 15 self-adhesive shield designs. Very attractive designs they are too, but you have to cut them out yourself - very fiddly, and for me a right pain in the backside! Needs a very sharp knife and a steady hand. Above shows the prgression from unpainted shield straight out of the box to completed masterpiece in all its glory. Took a total of about 15 minutes painting time, and easily as much again to cut the design out!!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Roman Progress

First up is the completed barbarian cavalry/knight element. I am quite pleased with these, just a fairly average paintjob overall, but I spent some time and effort on the shields which I think has lifted the element. I will get a few more of these done - maybe even enough to provide a barbarian enemy for the Romans. For the time being, these guys will be a Foederati 3Kn contingent for the Patricians. The figures are by Magister Militum - DARK003.

Next up is another Auxilia element. Less well equipped than the Auxilia Palatina I have already done. Their equipment is more suited to the 3rd and 4th centuries, so my argument is that these guys are a unit of Pseudocomitatensis, hastily recruited and equipped. I have painted them as a rough approximation to the Transtigriani, which according to my (albeit limited) research were a unit of Persian exiles, forming part of the forces of the Eastern Empire. Having said that, the hair and skin colour I have used don't really fit with the Persian Exiles theme ... I have to admit I hadn't thought of that till I finished them!! The figures are Magister Militum SPQR26.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Barbarian Horse

This is a Magister Militum "Buscelarii" figure from their Goth Range. The original figure had a big plume sticking out of thr top of his hat, and was holding a javelin. I decided to takethe plume off, and add a longer spear/lance. I also added an Essex Miniatures shield (because I lost the original ones that came with the figure!!) The reason for changing the weapon was that in the Patrician lists, I believe the 3Kn reference relates to indiginous barbarians working for the Romans. It just doesn't work for me, the thought of a javelin armed knight!! The addition of the lance is in keeping, I think, with the Knight designation. I am very pleased with the endr result, and when his two mates are added, will provide a generic dark age horse element, suitable for everything from Goth through Lombard to Gepid.

Latest additions

I have been busy again, and two more elements completed. The first pic shows the second element of blades, same legion as the first lot. Now I have 2 x 4Bd completed, that brings me closer to being able to morph to an Eastern Patrician (although I know the legion I have depicted actually belongs to the Western Empire!)

... and here is an artillery element, for when I want to use the figs as a Late Imperial rather than a Patrician. I have some more figures on order, which should arrive any time, mainly more auxilia, some legionaries in mail, and some barbarian horse. I have a feeling this project may begin to grow uncontrollably!! I may even end up with a matched pair of both Eastern and Western Armies.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Patricians Finished

So, here we are ... 12 elements of Patrician Romans complete, painted and based in what must be a record time for me - just over a month!

The make up is as follows:
1 x 3Cv (Gen)
2 x 3Kn (although one is actually a 4Kn!)
1 x 4Bd
2 x 4Ax
4 x 4Wb
1 x 2Ps
1 x 2LH

The army arrayed in all its glory

The 4 elements of Roman horse

The regular foot - one element of Legoinaries and two of Auxilia

The Foederati, four warband and one Psiloi

Same Army, different angle - cummin atchya
I will paint up a couple more elements of warband, four more auxilia, another light horse two cavalry and some Psiloi I think. That should give me enough to be able to field all options East and West Patrician, but that will be for a later date.
I might knock out some Donnington Dacians next, or shall I finish my half-done Hittite Empire .... then again there is always that bunch of Seleucids in the box ...... not forgetting the Etruscan League ......... mumble mumble .........................

Bases - one down, 11 to go

I always do the basing of an army in one go once I have finished painting it. A good base can make an extraordianry difference to the way a figure or element looks. I really do believe that even with a very mediocre paint job, spending a bit of effort on the shields and bases can improve the look significantly. Conversely, a superb paint job can be spoiled by sloppy basing.

I tend to use Basetex, produced by Standard paints for most of my basing. I don't know who retails it I am afraid, I usually pick up a jar when I go to Wargames shows, and never take note of which stand I bought it from! It is esentially a water based paint with grit in it - I guess I could probably make my own, but at £2 a jar, it's just not worth the effort.

I use 2mm thick plasicard for my bases. I have never had a problem with warping or splitting, and it is easy to cut.
Before the figures get stuck onto the base I score the surface, this is to make sure that whatever I am going to stick on there - Basetex or whatever - has something to grip to. I have never tried it without scoring first, but I suspect the surface would be too smooth. I also paint in the edges of the base at this stage, it makes the whole thing look so much tidier when its finished.
Once that is done, I slap big dollops of basetex around the figures using an old tatty brush to work it up to, and onto the figure bases. I use enough to fill the gaps, and even out the overall surface, using a stippling motion to retain the grainy texture. Once that's done, leave it to dry out completely. This will ruin a decent brush, so make sure you use one you don't care about. Stiffer bristles are better.

When it is dry, as in the top left picture, I then dry brush the whole lot with a colour a couple of tones lighter than the Basetex, as shown top right. I then follow up with another dryer dry brushing using a lighter tone. This really accentuates the texture of the base (bottom left). The last stage is the static grass. I put irregular patches of slightly diluted PVA glue on the base - usually including the area around the figure's feet, then scatter the whole lot with static grass. Give the glue long enough to dry - about 10 minutes or so - then tap the excess grass off. A final blow to get the last of the loose stuff off, and there you have it one element totally finished.

Static grass is magic stuff, as I understand it, the synthetic material it is made from builds up a static charge (especially if you shake it before you use it!). When it is sprinkled onto your chosen area, the static causes the strands to repel each other, causing them to stand up. Thus the very realistic grassy look - clever aint it? I get my static grass from model railway shops, it's not too expensive. Games Workshop also sell it, but with an apparrent squillion percent mark-up, my advice is to stick to the model railway shops.

12th Element

Here is the last element needed for a full Western Patrician Roman army. Clibanarii based as a 3Kn, with the option to use as a Kn general should the mood take me. The standard bearer is a Magister Militum figure (SPQR64), with the original flag pole removed, and a wire one added for resilience. The general, his horse and the other rider are Essex Miniatures figures, left over from an earlier project. I have replaced the lance with a wire spear, and bent the arm a bit so it can rest on the rider's shoulder.
The army is not all-options yet, but at least I now have a DBA legal 12 element army I can field. I will continue adding to it to cover all options for East and West.
All I need do now is complete the basing - more on that soon.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Forthcoming competition

I am hoping to be able to go to a DBA competition in Alvechurch (West Midlands) in a few weeks time ... I have the time off work, I just need to work on getting a Visa from my wife! I am thinking of using this army, see how it goes ... I will keep you posted.

Then in June, the Portsmouth and Allied Wargames Society are having their Quarterly themed competition. From the list of allowable armies, I am toying with using Patrician Roman (thus the rush to finish this project) or possibly Alan, which I can knock together combining Sarmatian Knights with Hun Light Horse, both of which I have already painted, plus some of the Gothic foot from this project. Decision decisions!

Warband Complete

The last two elements of warband are complete, shown here as the front rank with the already completed elements behind. I like the variety of the figures - all from the same product code (Magister Militum DARK005). So, all the Foederati Warband I will need for any of the Late Imperial/Patrician lists.

One last element of Knights to paint, and that will be a 12 element Western Patrician Roman DBA army complete - albeit with some extra elements to do for the all-options version. Then a few more to be able to morph to an all-options Eastern version. Oh, and some more still to be able to morph to all-options Late Imperial. Best keep painting then!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Another element done

I have completed the second Auxilia element - colours the same as the first, so here is a pic of all the Roman regular foot completed thus far. Two more elements of Auxilia do for the all options Western Patrician. I think I will go for a different unit for those two elements.

...and just for the hell of it, another pic of the warband. There are two more of these elements to do too for the Western Patrician to cover all options. I think I will do those next.

Roman Reinforcements

An element of Catafractarii complete. I know that the Patrician list only includes 3Kn options, but I do like the look of cataphracts, and it would be a sin not to base thm 4 to a base - they would not look like a big solid mass otherwise.

I note from the DBM lists that Clibanarii are allowed in the Patrician Eastern list and that both Cataphracts and Clibanarii are included in the Late Imperial lists. Although I said earlier that this project is a Western Patrician I am hoping to paint enogh figures to morph all options for both Patrician and Late Imperial, so I will find a use for these guys somewhere!

The figures are Magister Militum SPQR63. I replaced the original kontos lances with wire spears for strength. Unfortunately in doing so, two of the riders' hands broke off, so they are holding their lances with stumps! (I decided against making new hands with Miliput ... just too fiddly). The shafts of their kontos are painted red - don't know if this is historically accurate, but it makes them more colourful.

Here is the Psiloi element - more foederati tribesmen. The figs are Magister Militum Goth Bowmen - DARK010

Monday, 20 April 2009

More Romans

So, here is the 3Cv general option. Painted in the colours of the Equites Batavi Iuniores. The stars are VVV shield transfers.
The Vexillum is supposed to be in the style of Constantine's Labarum.

The general and standard bearer are Magister Militum code SPQR51. The right hand horseman is actually an Essex Miniatures figure that I had in my spares box, but I find that Essex are very compatible with Magister Militum. His horse is Magister Militum.

This is one of the Auxilia units (4Ax) - a few more to paint, but I will get round to those later. Painted up as Auxilia Palatina - one of the Celtae Units. VVV shield transfers were used, touched in with yellow paint to brighten them. Figs are Magister Militum SPQR33.

Here are two elements of the Foederati Warband (4Wb) - Magister Militum Goth figures (code DARK0005). Two more to do for the Patrician West list.

The Light Horse element - Equites Sagitarii. Colour scheme was invented by me ... I like green! Again, Magister Militum figures, but I think these are an old out of production line.