Category: Classical era

Carthaginian War Elephants

Through some not-so-subtly-dropped hints I got a few superb presents for my birthday. One of these was a copy of the WAB supplement Hannibal and the Punic Wars which she managed to find cheaply on Ebay, and, well, what’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of Hannibal?


These are the new plastic elephants from Victrix ltd. A great product – besides obviously being plastic and thus a treat to assemble, it comes with plenty of options for Ptolemaic, Roman, Numidian and, of course, Carthaginian versions. For me, that’s great – I used the linothorax-armoured riders with Carthaginian heads, but I can also use the Roman bodies in chainmail as veterans or Latin deserters, and the Numidians as allied infantry. Great!


I used the Little Big Men Studios decals as they are simply lovely – I can freehand, but not to anywhere near the level I’d need for this kind of patterning! A word on this to those readers who are interested in doing the same: It’s much, much easier to apply the decals before you affix the tower to the elephants. I had to cut down the decals on the ‘saddle cloth’ and had a lot of trouble getting the smaller ones to stick where they had to.


Other than that, painting was straighforward. The crew were painted identically to my other Carthaginians (more news on those soon, I hope), but the elephants were, naturally, rather a different matter. I drybrushed a dark grey and then a middle grey over a black undercoat. This looked crap, so I went in with the middle grey again but applied it as a layer highlighted, in angled streaks so as to get the right skin texture. The edge of the ears received a small layered highlight of medium skin tone applied directly over the grey, before everything was washed agrax earthshade.

Overall I had a great time painting them, even though it took nearly a month of on-and-off work! Right before they were done I already played a WAB battle with them, and they were quite effective. WAB is the reason why I decided to base them on 50x50mm bases; for those games which specify a unit breadth of 12cm I’ll prepare a bare 20x50mm base to put in between the two models.

There! Hope you like these as much as I do. I’ll have more Carthaginians ready in a bit, so there might be more Ancients on the blog very soon.

Ceterum censeo Duvel esse bibendam!



With my Late Romans so close to completion I’ve given in to the allure of another ancients project… the flesh is weak! Spurred on by the release of Victrix’ Iberian infantry the Punic wars are a hot topic in our club, and I am the only one to have chosen the armies of Carthage.

I’ve picked up a box of Victrix Carthaginians, which will form the backbone of my collection, and I’ve added a number of extra command groups from Crusader Miniatures as well as cavalry from the latter. Of course I’ve also purchased the Hannibal foot and mounted model; the former will be converted into a Libyan captain of sorts. Let’s get on with this post and look at the first unit!


The middle base has a bog standard Crusader Miniatures command group, those on the left and right are Victrix plastics. As you can see the Vixtrix models are slightly taller and certainly more active looking, but otherwise they fit in fine.


I’ve painted these over a red undercoat – I was expecting to paint them with a lot more red, but eventually I used a lot more colours on these to keep them lively. As a definite first I’ve used plenty of pictorial reference material, mainly in the form of a couple of Ospreys I managed to pick up on the cheap!


Traditionally I’ve always gone for freehanded shield designs, but I think I’d go mad if I tried to replicate the shield designs you see above! So these are my first Little Big Men transfers, and I’m fairly happy with how they turned out. Things were a bit dicey when I applied black wash to the shield boss, as some of the wash decided to run underneath some imperceptible bubbles in the transfer, so I did have to go in with some paint to tidy up afterwards. Other than that, these transfers do make an average paintjob look smashing!

That’s it for now. Sorry for the long hiatus (more than a month, ouch), I don’t have as much free time as I used to and I prefer to spend it on painting instead of writing about painting. So I don’t know when the next update will follow, but rest assured – I haven’t forgotten this blog!


Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!

End of year means yours truly takes stock to consider the past year of brushwork and how to continue doing what one does best – painting some models! I’ll cover each of my projects one by one and ramble a bit. No pictures of models in this one, so if you’re the kind of fellow who looks at shinies without reading the context – check back later! Here goes.

  • Napoleonic French: I’ve added a squadron of Chasseurs and one of Cuirassiers, two line battalions and a couple of vignette models over the course of the year. It’s my first historical project, and it’s still going strong. Next year I’d like to get at least two further line battalions ready for duty, paint up more cavalry as well as horse artillery. There’s also Napoleon’s Berlin Carriage…
  • Vikings: My second project, and one that could almost be considered finished, were it not for the fact that I continue to collect and paint Northmen for the sheer joy of it. I’ve actually sold off a portion of my Viking army this year – mainly duplicates and plastics – and I might continue to do so, just to keep the collection fresh. In 2016 I have no immediate plans to purchase or paint new Vikings.
  • Flemings/Crusaders: I’m fairly satisfied with my collection, so much of the past year was spent filling in some gaps; priests and pilgrims, a bishop, etc. What I did paint a lot of were Maltese crosses, with a decent number of sergeants and foot knights being added to the army. In 2016 I’d like to get some more cavalry done for the army, but it’s fairly low priority.
  • WW2: My Fallschirmjaegers and Red Devils both received a decent amount of attention this year, with a couple of big cats for the former and a big gun for the latter. More bodies, especially officers, for both sides as well. I have plenty of models on the lead pile to carry over to 2016 and I will certainly be adding further to both projects!
  • Late Romans/Arthurians: I’m deliberately keeping this army fairly small – I’ve painted up most of the infantry this year, and I just need to finish basing one last unarmoured unit to be done. Cavalry wise I have a unit of companions and of horse archers to be handled, and then a small selection of artillery. I’d like to handle all of these in 2016 and finally finish a project for once!
  • Dacians and Sarmatians: These were sidelined in 2015, with just one falx unit being completed. I purchased some cavalry at Crisis last year but still haven’t gotten round to them, and I also received some Foundry foot archers from a gaming compatriot which have yet to be handled. In 2016 I’ll try and finish them, but interest is currently low.
  • TYW Dutchmen: Well, shit. Nothing whatsoever was painted for this project in 2015. Better get going again or it’s Ebay time!
  • 6mm WSS Catalans: No loving for them in 2015, but just before writing these words I dug them out of the lead pile to recommence work on these imps, so how’s that for progress? I have just one foot and one horse regiment done, and my projected force will count four of the former and eight of the latter, plus artillery and commanders. At the moment I have everything but the commanders in my possession, so whils I’d like to finish the project this year I’ll have to figure out how to get a hold of more Baccus stuff. I don’t think I saw them at Crisis ’15…
  • ACW: Painted a couple of ACW units in 2014, but lost interest in 2015 completely – I guess all those Prussian uniforms put me off Union blue! Perhaps I’ll pick up the trail again in 2016, as I did see good progress on the Black Powder supplement for the ACW. Who knows?
  • Fantasy & Sci-fi: As you might have noticed on the blog recently, Frostgrave has grabbed me firmly and won’t be letting go in 2016! I’ve dug out many old Warhammer models and made some additional non-GW purchases to complement them, and I’ll continue doing so in the foreseeable future. On the 40k side of things, 2015 saw – shock and horror – a new project in the form of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but this has fallen by the wayside a bit. I just find assembling these newer models so bloody tedious, as even the infantry models don’t go together without having to look at an assembly leaflet and match numbered parts. Still, I’d like to pick up where I left off in 2016.
  • 12mm Great War models: These were a fairly cheap purchase at Warcon ’15 of which I have painted just a third of the models. They’re great sculpts, certainly, but the scale is difficult – neither my tried techniques for 28mm nor those for 6mm work well. I’ll probably get these finished in 2016, maybe buy officers for both sides, then shelve them.
  • Scenery: I built a couple of items in 2015 but didn’t finish them off and, as a result, didn’t show them on the blog. I’d like to collect and build even more, but with the small apartment we’ve moved to I don’t really have the room to store an expansive collection. Choices, choices… So my pledge for 2016 will be to finish and preserve what I currently have.
  • Commissions: 2015 was a busy year with a lot of Prussians (I reckon around 200 of them?) and some Arabs thrown in for good measure. As always, I’m stating now that 2016 will of necessity be a year of fewer commissions and more personal work; we’ll see how long I’ll keep that up!


So that’s the main overview of my futile attempt at coherently outlining my painting work in 2016. As ever, stuff gets dumped due to waning interest or laziness, new purchases are made because I am a wargaming magpie who likes shinies, and whole projects get shelved for a year or more because I have the attention span of a toddler in a liquor cabinet. Nothing is set in stone!

Still, despite moving house and breaking my elbow, my year of miniature painting was successful. The figure below will tell you just how successful:


That’s how many figures I painted, with each cavalry model and vehicle counting as a single model, and artillery pieces having the gun and each free-standing crewman count as a single model as well; and this across all scales. I was going for 600, so that’s not too shabby, eh? For next year I’m upping my goal to 700, but as I did last year I’m counting in the 255 surplus models from 2015. I’m devious like that.

Late Roman Gothic Levy

I thought that, since my Viking army is already fairly extensive, I’d best find an alternate place for half a box of plastic Dark Age Warriors. With my Late Romans being in the spotlight, I thought I’d add some barbarians to their ranks.


Models by Gripping Beast, with Old Glory shields.

Models by Gripping Beast apart from one Wargames Factory chap, with Old Glory shields.

I built most of the models stock from the box, but I opted to use some Old Glory models’ shields which have no leather covers. They simply look more low-tech, especially when compared to those of their overlords’ scuta.


Quite a difference between the two.

Quite a difference between the two.

I chose to use a Late Roman to lead the unit. The way I see him, he’s an old veteran, having to lean onto his spear, and perhaps he wears a face plate so as not to show his age to his oft-unruly men.


Rather less colourful from the back.

Rather less colourful from the back.

Apart from the leader, I painted these models from a mournfang brown basecoat with drybrushes of several brown, ochres and beiges – I really didn’t want them to look uniform. Still, I did add a touch of green and white here and there to tie them in a bit. On the other hand, the shields have the same colours of those of their overlords, but applied in a variety of simple patterns or with no pattern at all.

And that’s that, now I’m really laying off the Late Romans for a while. Up next: Dreadball!


Second Blog Anniversary part two: Late Roman group shot!

Disaster! The battle of ChalĂ´ns refight has been changed into a Sassanid versus Eastern Romans refight! No mushy Hunnic horse lovers to fight through, but tough-as-nails cataphracts…

Still, it’ll be a nice refight. I don’t have too many models, but I thought I’d show the small contingent I’ll be adding to my clubmates’ Romans next Saturday.

The full spread of my small Late Roman army.

The full spread of my small Late Roman army. Click the picture to enlarge it.

As you’ll notice I’ve repainted the hats on some of the lighter troops – I mistakenly assumed these were flat helmets instead of felt hats. Thanks to those who were both knowledgeable and bold enough to point this out to me!


Lovely models by Gripping Beast.

Lovely models by Gripping Beast.

The latest unit off the workbench are these cataphracts. I finally managed to find a unit to try out the AP plate mail metal spray onto, and it did cut some corners. The lining on the horse armour might be a bit over the top, but I really wanted the unit to draw some attention – which they’ll undoubtedly do in our wargames as well! I might add socks to the horses’ feet, but otherwise I’m satisfied with them for now.

That’s that then, two years on the blog! I’ll be sure to keep the thing going forwards in its third year as well. First up are the final Landwehr, and perhaps some Vikings as well. Exciting times!


Late Roman Archers

Continuing the Late Antiquity theme of late, here are some archers. Three units plus a commander done now!


Models by Gripping Beast.

Models by Gripping Beast.

Paintingwise these are identical to the unarmoured warriors, apart from the fact that their shields are somewhat smaller and have no metal rim, which made painting them a bit easier.


I'm not entirely sold on the colour of the quivers.

I’m not entirely sold on the colour of the quivers.

As you will have noticed, I’ve given these models separate 20x20mm bases. This is so I can use them for skirmish games like Saga, but they’ll still rank up nicely for the likes of Hail Caesar and Sword & Spear.

So that’s them done. Next up are some Prussians, these should be on the blog in a day or two. Until then!

Dacian Shamen

Lately we’ve been playing plenty of Sword & Spear in our club, with anything from ancients to dark ages to crusades being touched upon. Brilliant little ruleset, by the way. My Dacians have been doing sterling work against a slew of Romans and other barbarians, but one thing I noticed was that I could really do with some more commander models. Lo and behold, my Christmas stocking held a pack of Celtic druids from Warlord Games which were converted into Dacian types.


Models by Warlord Games.

Models by Warlord Games.

It’s the tried and tested painting formula I’ve applied to the 166 other models in the army so far, so I won’t go into the details too much; suffice to say I had a lot of fun painting these miniatures as they’re a bit of a mixed bag (and an old bag too, if you count the middle model).


The fourth model, a naked druid, will be incorporated into a future unit of naked fanatics.

The fourth model, a naked druid, will be incorporated into a future unit of naked fanatics.

So that’s another small addition to my burgeoning barbarian horde done! I’ve still got some cavalry to do for the army, but they’ll have to wait. I’ve one further blog update for you which should go live this evening, so I hope you’ll enjoy that one, too. Furthermore, work has commenced on a Prussian foot artillery battery – splendid Perry models – and I hope to get these done by the end of the month. A challenge!