Why do I always tell myself not to start new projects, when such good intentions are clearly in vain? Here’s another one fresh off the painting table: Celts! I was foolish enough to pick up the wonderful Vercingetorix model from Warlord Games at Warcon ’18 and think I could leave it at that – well fat chance, Victrix is releasing some terrific plastic Gauls these days and I had to bite. My friends brought a set of their new Gallic Warriors as well as one of Fanatics home from Salute ’18, and I’m happy to report they’re already done! Huzzah!
First up, we have the meat-and-bones of the force: a big warband of your ordinary Celts. These were pretty straightforward to assemble: a mix of the both the topless and the fully dressed bodies, and of both the helmeted and bare heads, with swords, spears and a few javelins thrown in for good measure. Painting-wise, I opted for a radically different technique: I undercoated the models AP skeleton bone, heavily drybrushed them white, then applied all colours with just washes. Usually several washes were needed across a given area to get the required result, otherwise things would look too pastel. For instance, the skin tone is two washes of reikland fleshshade and one of seraphim sepia. Obviously, the metallic were painted in the usual manner, and I took special care to make them look super shiny for contrast. Also, as Celts wouldn’t look the part without them, I added freehanded patterns to at least one item of cloth on pretty much every model, with regular paint of course.
Also built from the Gallic Warriors set are these skirmishers. I elected to use just the topless bodies and bare heads for these – to get the point across that they’re the poorer kind of warrior. For these I had to do some cutting on the left arm to equip them with spare javelins, which means they’re not equipped with shields – hence, they look a lot less spectacular than the others!
Penis! These are the fanatics, and they were stupidly easy to paint with the aforementioned technique. It’s a 24-strong block of troops but I think I’ll be getting some more to bulk out the unit, for games like WAB where they really shine when fielded as a big block. In the first rank you can see a druid model from Warlord Games, which was a leftover from my Dacian project. He’s a bit smaller (haha…) than the others, but otherwise fits in fairly well. Using watered down incubi darkness I added tattoos/warpaint to these models to spice up their appearance, which I think was much needed.
Finally, here are two other characters; the first is that wonderful Vercingetorix model from Warlord Games. I altered just one thing, which was to give him a spare plastic shield so that I could apply a LBMS transfer without too much of a hassle.
The second is a plastic command model from the Gallic Warriors set which I’ll be using as a Battle Standard Bearer in WAB, or a regular standard bearer for other games. This guy received an open left hand from a Victrix hoplite, so that I could portray him leaning on his sheathed sword. Not my most impressive conversion ever, but I think it’s an effective little distinguishing feature.
So, well, there you go! A whole set of Celts, ready to be fielded alongside or against my Carthaginians. As models always look better when put next to each other, I have a couple of group photos for you.
This first group shot is for those moments when I’ll be playing WAB. The two decently sized warbands will be intimidating to most opponents – the druid confers Hatred to the already Frenzied fanatics, and the Battle Standard Bearer and Warlord go into the big Warrior block to boost its staying power. The skirmishers will either be fielded as a single big unit or two smaller ones.
The second group shot shows the troops broken down into 12-strong units, for our games of Hail Caesar, To The Strongest, Sword & Spear and the like. It’s a pretty healthy division, with five standard units and two small units.
Project done – for now… I once purchased a box of Gallic cavalry from Warlord as well as a Gallic cavalry command blister to use with my Dacians but never got round to using them, and I think they’ll be used here. The new Gallic cavalry from Victrix are also leering at me, of course. As 24 or 25 is a bit small for a Naked Fanatic unit I’d like to bump the unit up to around 32, and I might purchase some metals from Warlord Games for variety as another pack of 24 plastics would be a little much. Finally, I’m of a mind to build a warband of nobles on foot, using the regular plastic Gallic Warriors but all helmeted, with swords, and with the capes attached (which I didn’t use much yet). Plenty of options!
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!
And so we come to part three of our Monster Update! This will be the final part for today, but I do have other stuff lined up for the coming week. In this blog update: Greeks. If you read my Crisis 2013 show report, you’ll have gathered that I have come into possession of nearly a hundred hoplites in a rather haphazard way. I couldn’t resist building and painting some test models, so here we go.
I have to say, I do like these kits, even though there are a few flaws. First off: why four different kits (Athenians, Spartans, Thebans and mercenaries) for what amounts to, in the end, small differences in headdress and accessories? Doesn’t make much business sense to me; and the right honourable Dave Thomas had a huge stack of Thebans on discount at Crisis 2013 and not a single of the other types, for instance. Another problem is that some of the bodies have their shield arms attached, and the hands on those shield arms are much bigger than those on the separate weapon arms. A nasty rendering problem, but not unforgivable as the shields cover it up. And other than that, the kit is excellent, with particularly well-rendered detail on the linothorax armour and a wide variety of poses you can achieve.
I decided to try out some new approaches to painting on these models. They were undercoated white, and I basecoated the cloth areas in lothern blue before applying a drakenhof nightshade wash all over. I then painted the metal bits in runefang steel; the iron bits were washed nuln oil and agrax earthshade, which is fairly standard, but the bronze deserves special mention. I used successive washes of seraphim sepia, fuegan orange and druchii violet. This is the first time I’ve used fuegan orange, it’s a rather strong dark orange wash. I can’t see myself using it quite often, but it worked out well on this bronze.
Moving on, the skin, wood and leather were painted as per usual. The armour was highlighted with ceramite white while its edges were picked out in caledor sky. This blue was applied to the shield, too. The shields will definitely receive decoration; a sheet of waterslide transfers is currently in the mail. I’ll show you the results once I’ve got an entire 24-strong unit painted and based.
This project will probably be put on ice for quite some time, but at least my hoplite fixture was sated (I’ve been playing a lot of Total War: Rome II lately, you see). With the two 48-strong Victrix kits I’ve got enough hoplites to build four units, which is enough for a well-sized division in Hail Caesar, and I might be ready to pick up a command model and some peltasts at Crisis 2014. We’ll see how it goes!