Carthaginian Citizen Levy

A quick update to get the blog through the summer. I just got back from Malta, where I painted this unit in the shade by the swimming pool. Good times were had.

IMG_20200807_184654

These last holidays I’ve had have always been to Mediterranean countries, so I’ve made a point of taking along models that are ‘on theme’. Did you know that the etymology of Malta is ‘Maleth’, which is Phoenician for ‘safe haven’? Well, now you do.

IMG_20200807_184756

I bought a unit of these models second-hand a year or two ago, and they’re the usual good stuff you can expect from Victrix. I did convert some of them to be holding their spears upright, to have a back rank that has more of an ‘at the ready’-look. I wish Victrix would refrain from applying their super dynamic model poses to warriors that were literally meant as a roadblock, as was the case for these poor citizens!

IMG_20200807_184929

Painting wise I started off from four different undercoats – AP skeleton bone, GW corax white, wraithbone and zandri dust – washed with sepia and then layered back up with the appropriate colours. This was to get a few different tones on their tunics. The rest of the areas were painted as usual. A rather basic paintjob, considerably enlivened by the use of LBMS transfers.

That’s about it for this update. More Carthaginians are on the way soonish, but first I have a Lannister commission to grind through. And then some…

Beastman Champion

Just a quick update today, with a single model as its focus. I finally found back the Beastman army I stashed rather a little too effectively at my parents’ house before I moved out, and I decided I’d paint up a model for that force.

This old boy is a 5th edition model from the end of the nineties which I bought second-hand some time ago. I can’t remember if it came with the back banner or not, but as I dislike back banners I didn’t mind not having it on – so I glued a spare Gor shield to his back to hide the gap.

 

This guy was painted with a mix of the old and the new GW paints – for the most part, this posed no problems whatsoever when compared to my older paintjobs. With the lockdown I had to dig out some older paints once in a while because the newer ones had run out (or rather dried out), and the older pots, some having been untouched for about eight years, are still completely fine. That goes to show…

Once the lockdown is over and our local club opens up again, I’ll be sure to dig out my old Beastmen again and field them. The thing is, I only used them during 8th edition, and we’re more accustomed to 6th edition at the club. I’ll have a bit of armylist tinkering to do, it seems!

The Union Army Thus Far

With the Great Lockdown in effect I spent the first few weeks painting up more irregular looking models, but then craved for something with uniforms. So I unearthed my boxes of ACW which had remained untouched through two changes of address, and what do you know? I fell in love. Recently I already showed off two infantry regiments, but now it’s time to take a look at the rest of the force as it currently stands.

IMG_20200517_110254

The thing about these old Perry plastics is that, because it was their first set of plastics, it was also their simplest in terms of options. That’s great! Most of the models in the set require just their headgear to be glued on, and as assembly is often unexpectedly time consuming, this leaves more time for painting. The downside is that, as the command options are on the same sprue, you end up with too many greatcoated models, and both the standard bearers and musicians have to be built from the same body which makes for some rather weird command stands. I circumvented this issue by outfitting some of the other models with leftover left arms from the plastic artillery set, or just clipping off a right arm.

IMG_20200517_110315

Speaking of converting models: as I had 20 superfluous painted Zouaves from the 5th New York regiment I painted ages ago, I decided to partially repaint these as the 140th regiment. Just the pants and the cords on their fezzes needed my attention, but also a new command stand for which I tore off the right arms of some unlucky Zouaves, added spare ones with banner poles, and built and painted a new officer and musician – the former from the regular set, the latter from a spare Zouave body with parts also from the regular set. Easy!

IMG_20200517_110502

The artillery was built from a box of the Perry plastics – lovely models, these. One simply can’t resist the urge to turn these into three little dioramas showing the various stages of artillery operation. The addition of the caissons is a nice touch and not even useful merely as decoration – for instance, in the Rebels and Patriots ruleset by Osprey Games, they can be an unobtrusive way of marking a gun that has the limber option,

IMG_20200517_110449

I had previously painted up eight Union Cavalry, so I painted up the other twelve I had lying around including command options, upgraded the older paintjobs a bit, and turned these into two 10-strong units. I will probably get some more down the line, in order to be able to field a full cavalry brigade, but that’s very low on the list of things to get for this army.

IMG_20200517_110433

Painting wise, I started off with the same techniques, but decided to apply some more highlights to the faces, hands and weapons – always the focal point of model soldiers! The other areas were left fairly basic, but as I didn’t varnish too thickly I can always go back in with some more highlights (Probably never going to happen, though – what’s done is done).

IMG_20200517_110410

The count currently stands at 6 infantry regiments, of which two are Zouaves, two cavalry regiments, two 12-pdr Napoleons and a 12-pdr howitzer. I also painted up the sniper one gets for free with the Glory, Hallelujah! sourcebook from Warlord. This brings the number of painted models in this army up to a goodly 159, and enough for two full brigades.

But wait, there’s more! I have ordered some more boxes of infantry (the newer Union boxes, as they come with skirmishing poses), as well as some essential commanders, dismounted cavalrymen and casualty figures. With these I’ll certainly have enough for another full brigade, amounting to a complete division. Looks like I have my work cut out for me…

P.S. Mainly due to how quick these painted up, my painted model count since the lockdown started is at 321. Try and beat that! 🙂

More Union Infantry

Only after an hiatus of five-and-a-half years do I present you with more ACW paintjobs!

Whilst moving boxes from room to room in these times of quarantine, I happened upon several pristine boxes of Perry ACW models. Having painted irregularly outfitted models for the past weeks, I decided I was in for some uniformed stuff, and so I set to work on adding to my long-neglected Union army.

IMG_20200426_111510

These are built from the old plastic ACW infantry by Perry – I don’t have the newer models (yet), but I reckon the newer ones are more time consuming to build and paint. Most of these are monopose and rather twodimensional, which I actually prefer for regimented models!

 

IMG_20200426_111530

Both battalions were painted over the course of the last week, with roughly two days of painting and half a day for basing each. That’s good progress for me.

IMG_20200426_111545IMG_20200426_111629

Both units were built right out of their boxes, which does account for a lack in variety in command models. The flags were also taken from the sheet included in the boxes.

IMG_20200426_111653

I have taken the decision to collect 20-strong infantry units instead of the 40-strong ones I envisaged before – much less work for me and much less bulky on the tabletop! That does mean I have half a unit of New York Zouaves that I won’t be needing anymore. I am currently debating whether to try to sell them, or to try and remove these models from their bases and repaint them as another regiment.

More ACW to come soon, so check back soonish!

Alexander Nevsky

It’s been a fair while since I spent this much time on a single model, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

IMG_20200418_143932

 

 

 

 

IMG_20200418_143907IMG_20200418_143858

Excellent model by Fireforge Games, although I noticed some roughness on the top half of the sword – which I hid with some blood effects by GW.  I also wasn’t too enamoured by the moulded base consisting of a roughly rectangular rock, so I used some putty to work the rock into the base a bit more.

Apart from that, it was just painted as usual. I’m quite proud of the paintjob although the much-enlarged pictures on the blog bring every mistake and inaccuracy of the brush to the fore.

That’s all I have to say! Stay tuned as more Landsknecht/Empire are on the way.

From Russia With Love

Here we go with another small project: medieval Russians.

The reasons for collecting the army are manifold – I”ve never collected an Eastern Medieval army, my friend Flor has a large Teutonic Order to field against them, and my other wargaming compatriot Pascal just happened to offload two boxes of Fireforge plastic Russian infantry last year!

After many swervings through different historical rulesets I think I’ve settled on WAB as my go-to framework for composing armies. In this case I’ve chosen to build up this project as a Western Russian army from WAB: Age of Chivalry, mostly because it was the Western Russian states that came into contact with the Teutonic Order and because it has a lighter emphasis on the cavalry arm.

One issue with the plastic Russian infantry from Fireforge with regards to my own project, though, is that they are rather too well-armoured and well-equipped to make for convincing city guards – the bulk of the Russian army. Fireforge do sell bow- and spear-armed city guards, but these are single-pose resins which can look a bit samey in a big regiment, not to mention the cost when compared to plastics. All of which means I have had to be slightly more creative with assembling these models – let’s take a look.

IMG_20200414_164932

This smallish 12-strong unit is all I have right now – I’m an inveterate batch painter so even my test models come in batches!

IMG_20200414_164950

In WAB: Age of Chivalry, many units can have a mix of archers and melee troops, with the former usually standing at the back. With some well-timed reforming when enemies approach, this means you have a unit that can do a bit of both.

IMG_20200414_165044

Experienced Dark Age hobbyists will undoubtedly spot the Gripping Beast plastics I used. For these archers I used the two bodies on those frames that don’t have their left arm in front of their stomachs, and clipped off the left hands to replace them with the bow hands from the Fireforge Russian plastics. I also added the quivers from that set. Lastly, for the right arms, I mostly used a few different arms from a stray Wargames Factory Bondi set, which allowed me to create a few poses where the archers are grabbing an arrow from the quiver, and one who actually does have an arrow in his hand – sourced from a GW Skeleton set. Bitz boxes galore!

IMG_20200414_165134

For the unit leader and bannerman, I did use the Fireforge Russians in their entirety – although I used a slightly longer banner pole taken from their Templar Knights set as it’s slightly longer than the supplied spears, and a resin banner from their Russian command set.

IMG_20200414_165304

For the rest of the infantry, the other three Gripping Beast body types were used, with a mix of the Gripping Beast handweapons and some taken from the Fireforge set as you can see on this warrior on the left, and the GB musician’s horn also came in handy as the Fireforge set doesn’t have a musician option – an unfortunate omission for WAB players! The shields and heads on these warriors were also taken from the Fireforge set, and these two parts were really critical for the Russian city guard theme to come together!

IMG_20200414_165229

Putting those Russian armoured heads on plain dark age warriors meant I had to take out the modelling putty, and as it has been ages, the result is far from perfect. I had to make do with 15-year-old Milliput – not even the fine version! – to add some mail coifs to these models.

Painting-wise I’ll be brief – I used three different reds plus a few other colours, with the red being a focal colour for this regiment. I’ll probably do a second city guard unit with a different scheme to get the point across that they’re from another city, and I’d also like to do more heraldic types of tunics with split or quartered schemes. The reason I didn’t do it on these models is that I made the mistake of undercoating them black which meant I didn’t want to go in with fifty coats of white for that kind of scheme. Lessons learned! I did add some different kinds of patterning to many of the models, which took me right back to Viking times!

Lastly, I really like how the bases came out – it’s sand painted dark brown, drybrushed white, with some arid-looking static grass and snow effects from Vallejo. It fits the bill for Lake Peipus and surrounds!

What’s next for this army? Well, I have all these Russian plastics, so I’ll probably be making a largish unit of dismounted Druzhina from them. The excellent Alexander Nevsky model from Fireforge is also on the painting desk. Sadly, the rest of the unit will have to wait until later this year, as I am out of Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors to complete this unit.

I hope you liked reading this article as much as I liked writing it. See you next time, tovarich!

 

 

 

Everything Vampire Counts In Large Amounts

It’s a beautiful Spring day, so what better way to celebrate it than to show off the massed ranks of my Vampire Count army eh?

As usual, this army kind of snowballed from a few select models for Frostgrave, like the Tomb Banshee and the Spirit Hosts, via a short Shadespire detour with the Sepulchral Guard, to where we are now – at a rather big army. It all happened so suddenly… Actually, most of the models were purchased second-hand for the insanely low price of 50 euro for 40 skeletons, 10 Black Knights, Vlad and Konrad Von Carstein, 20 Zombies, 10 Grave Guard and a Corpse Cart!

Veteran readers of the blog might also remember the Undead Great Cannon I displayed many moons ago. In essence, this is the second VC army I have painted up in my career as a hobbyist, although this one is much lighter on the conversions, with a much larger emphasis on the colour scheme.

Let’s take a look at some of the units, one by one. Disclaimer: the pictures are far from ideal as I currently don’t have a setup for photographing large units let alone entire armies. I’ll make sure to photograph my character models in the lightbox soon!

IMG_20200409_112033

There it is in all its glory! Infantry to the front, special stuff to the rear.

IMG_20200409_112104

One of two 30-strong units of Skeleton Warriors, these are armed with hand weapons, the other with spears. I painted these up identically to the Sepulchral Guard.

IMG_20200409_112123

A nice big block of 40 Zombies. As you can see these were repurposed from my previous VC army, as these models have been kitbashed extensively with Empire Free Company parts. I actually repurposed them by dumping coelia greenshade, the driving force of the eerie colour scheme I have going, over the old paintjob and then highlighting the colours back up.

IMG_20200409_112136

A unit of 10 Direwolves, which will probably be split into two units of 5 in-game. These were my least favourite models to assemble and paint, and I was happy to finish them off. Never again!

IMG_20200409_112200

A big 10-strong unit of Black Knights, which took me quite a long while to finish. Lots of intricate detail like the vines.

IMG_20200409_112214

One character to show here, though, as I’m not sure it’ll fit into my light box! I found this Zacharias the Everliving on the shelves of my local game store as a leftover from a round of Made To Order and could’t say no. Perhaps I wish I had… The model was a pain to assemble, as parts somehow didn’t take my superglue very well. Just before shooting these photographs I actually had to glue Zacharias’ right hand on again as it had somehow fallen off whilst sitting on a shelf. To make matters worse, I managed to drop the model during basing… Lessons learned.

IMG_20200409_112224

An unconverted Corpse Cart this time. The model had been completely assembled by the previous owner which made some aspects of painting it a veritable challenge, but it worked out alright. For this one I used a barbarian flesh undercoat from The Army Painter rather than skeleton bone, as much of the model is defined by fleshtones. A couple of the army’s spot colours tie it in nicely.

IMG_20200409_112236

Finally, some Ghouls. I ended up buying the Ghoul warband from Warhammer Underworlds, which comes with a Bat Swarm as well. If I can get my hands on an old Bat Swarm or two that would be nice! The reason I went with this set is that I’ll mostly be playing this army under 6th edition, in which Ghouls are small skirmish units rather than the main battleline blocks of later editions.

What’s next for this army? I still have a 20-strong unit of Grave Guard to tackle, another 6-strong unit of Ghouls (the 6th edition metals), and around 20 more Zombies which are in absolutely dire shape. I’ll try and keep you updated on their progress.

That’s all for today. I hope you’re staying safe and getting lots of painting time in – since the quarantine began some three weeks ago I’ve managed 159 models!

Huntsmen of the Empire

The Empire Huntsmen/Archers kit might be the best human models GW ever produced, so I treated myself to a box of them last summer. These were painted quite a while back but were only recently based (I don’t like basing at all, you see).

IMG_20200307_091231

Realistic proportions, lack of skulls, plenty of options in the kit including a dead orc vignette – which I didn’t make use of as I want to use these models in a historical game as well. I used the heads with the fur hats, so that I can use the more normal heads among the rest of the infantry for greater variety.

 

IMG_20200307_091422

These were painted up in the same manner as the rest of the landsknechts, with the exception of their surcoats.  It’s a bit silly with their super colourful attire underneath, I know! No worries about camouflage though, as they will probably be used as cheap skirmish screens and charge redirectors in game. Poor sods…

IMG_20200307_091514

That’s all for today. I have one more blog post in the pipeline for this army and then it’s temporarily on hold in favour of my usual myriad of other projects. Tah!

WW2 French Support

Returning to WW2 models after a lengthy hiatus was, well, swift – It looks like I’m out of them again! Below are the rest of my fledgling French force for now, painted, of course, with the same techniques as the infantry shown before.

IMG_20200229_094014IMG_20200229_094035

From left to right we have a medic, a senior officer with incredible whiskers, a forward ordnance observer (normally included with the anti-tank gun, but more useful in this role) and a henchman for the officer, no doubt ringing HQ for an update on the croissants.

Then, the artillery. The French were noted for relying on their field pieces and so, in Bolt Action, they can field a single anti-tank or howitzer without paying points. I decided to pick up the 47mm anti-tank gun, which was a joy to paint but quite tricky to fit onto the supplied base!

IMG_20200301_173440IMG_20200301_173628IMG_20200301_173709

Finally, we have the sniper, anti-tank rifle, and light mortar teams. I generally don’t like prone models too much as they take up more space, but these are fine.

So that’s it! I have vowed to not purchase any new models until Crisis 2020 rolls around come Novembre, and in case you’re wondering: it’s a vow I have been upholding succesfully since Crisis 2019! After Crisis 2020, however, you can expect further additions to this project to grace this blog.

À bientôt!

 

WW2 French Infantry

A new project, because why not?

IMG_20200226_122733

One annoying habit I do have is that, when abroad, I always want to visit any nearby hobby stores. My wife usually kindly obliges (she usually is in charge of organising all the other daytrips!) although the one where I bought these models was a bit harder as it was a freezing cold January day in Vienna to a store quite outside the city centre!

IMG_20200226_122857

So why French? Well, ever since the film Dunkirk I have had the urge to collect a Fall of France/Retreat to Dunkirk army. These French from Warlord Games are the first of the small force – I plan, of course, to add quite a few British Expeditionary Force models, some Senegalese, some Belgians, and mix these models to truly drive home the theme of a multinational force of volunteers that try to stop the Boche from reaching the beaches.

IMG_20200226_122919

These models were painted with the usual dirty cheap techniques you know me for. I started from a death guard green spray coat, painted the backpacks and legwraps ionrach skin, the skin tallarn flesh, the water bottles elysian green, the webbing and boots mournfang brown, the wood XV-88 and the gun metal leadbelcher. Then, surprise surprise, everything was given two successive washes of agrax earthshade, and the helmets a final wash of drakenhof nightshade.

IMG_20200226_122952

Then, highlights: the greatcoats with death guard green, the legwraps and backpacks ionrach skin, the metallics stormhost silver, the boots and webbing steel legion drab, the helmets waaagh! flesh, the water bottles elysian green, and the wood zandri dust – adding some woodgrain effect – with a final wash of reikland flesh. The skin was highlighted tallarn flesh and then kislev flesh, with a dash of carroburg crimson on the lower lip for some subtle colour. And, of course, the sergeant got a nice Colgate smile to stand out from the other side of the table!

IMG_20200226_123049

Lastly, the bases – really chuffed with these. I added two layers of sand mixed with a little grit to hide the rather thick moulded stands, washed this with nuln oil and then drybrushed them with pallid wych flesh. Some highland tufts from Army Painter were added and that was it. I tried to go for the look of the northern French and Belgian dunes in unseasonal weather, matching the bleakness of the atmosphere of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, and I think it worked out well. The only thing I’m still debating is whether to paint the base rims, and if so, which colour?

More for these French soon, as I have an HQ nearly ready, and then some support teams and the obligatory 47mm anti-tank gun to stop those nasty Panzers!