Wednesday 27 December 2017

Old Kingdom Egyptians

These 15mm figures are Gladiator miniatures, now offered by Black Hat Miniatures UK, were purchased a few weeks ago. I am very impressed with them as they are superb and well detailed figures. Each infantry type comes in different poses and for gamers who like mixing manufacturers, they are similar in height to Old Glory, but bases are not quite as thick.

Further, the metal is not as soft as that used by Old Glory but I was able to separate weapons from figures to better animate the pose. In DBA 3, I/2a the Early Egyptian (3000 BC – 1690 BC) lists all infantry with the ‘b’ sub-list introducing the chariot for Pharaoh or the usurper to ride in. Other than the command element, the army lists are identical offering the same options.

The camp in the background is a simple embankment made form Milliput and covered with a white glue and sand mix. Inhabiting the camp are extra figures supplied from the Old Kingdom Egyptian command pack. 

Black Hat Miniatures will return after the holiday and I plan to purchase more Biblical figures and add the Hyksos, Nubian and a 2nd Old Kingdom Egyptian to the collection. The second command of Egyptians is added so civil wars could be played out as was prevalent during the period of the Old and Middle Kingdom. Alternatively, the two Egyptian commands can be paired together to fight the Hyksos with Libyan allies for a double sized battle. 

Sunday 24 December 2017

Village - Old Kingdom Egyptian

After completion of the three Biblical armies I decided to construct an ancient Egyptian village before my next order of Biblical figures arrive. As with other BUA in my collection, each house is based separately to allow its removal when troop movement through the built up area is needed. 

These were relatively easy to construct. Using pink foam board as its core, each block was glued to a base made of triplex basswood (1.2 mm). This is then covered with Milliput and with an old toothbrush the walls and roof are given a texture, followed by adding the windows and doors. 

Given an undercoat of mat white, the walls were painted an earth colour and later dry brushed white. This last step was lightly done to give the buildings a weathered and uneven look. The village is inspired by the game movie – Assassin’s Creed Origins, were many of the buildings have decorative trim around its door and windows. As to what colour this should be is still up for debate, but which ever colour is chosen, this will also have a faded look to it. 

The answer will no doubt come after the village has been in use for a number of games, but for now the village is ready for use. Now I can begin painting the Old Kingdom Egyptians. 

Tuesday 19 December 2017

A Biblical Refurbishment (project)

In one of those rare moments between fighting historical games, I wanted to do some painting but found I had no unpainted lead in house. You see, I am at a fortunate point with the hobby that all my collections are painted so this frees me to pursue the fighting of battles, design campaigns, and if needed write variant rules to use with DBA 3. 

After the recent sale of a dozen armies, I kept stumbling across a box of Biblical extras from collections which had long ago been sold. I had seriously thought about trashing the lot as these were all painted in a very old style. After taking stock of the figures I had enough to make three Biblical armies. If you are acquainted with Old Glory figures, you are aware many of their figures have weapons held close to their bodies or head. Cutting the weapon free can be done, but this requires a good dose of patience. 

The project took about two weeks to complete, but as you can see from the photos, the extra work was worth it. All javelins and bow are positioned to make them look ‘lively’ and each army is painted with a theme colour as the figures are basically identical.

I/6a Early Bedouin
Their skin tone is bronzed in comparison to the other two. Their kilts are darker compared to the others and I have given them leather headbands.



I/7a Early Libyan
Skin tone is a lighter shade than the Bedouin. Cloaks are painted in solid colour with contrasting trim. Feathers are all white with the exception of the chieftain’s element which are red. There are extra bow elements if one wishes to use the option.



I/15 Later Amorite    
These represent a wealthier group of warriors and I have therefore painted them with lighter coloured kilts, the majority of which are bleached. Javelins have been converted to war axes and sickle swords to make five elements of blade. The blue serves as a theme colour appearing on the trim and waist band. The platform car was given extra mules from the Colonial baggage set and the car is constructed from a limber covered with triplex wood.

In the two weeks it took to refurbish these I have placed an order for Black Hat Old Kingdom Egyptians which dates the collection to a pre-chariot era. I have given some thought to expanding the collection by adding Nubian and Hyksos, but this idea will be placed on the back burner for the moment. 

After painting the Old Kingdom Egyptians, I will construct an appropriate looking hamlet. I found the Assassin's Creed Origins a good source of inspiration. 


Tuesday 12 December 2017

Later Imperial Roman vs. the Suevi

Like the Burgundi, the Suevi have as home terrain 'forest' until 406 AD. That year benchmarks their migration through Gaul and Hispania giving them use of arable terrain. In this series, the Greuthingi serve as allies. 

The selection of terrain is similar as with the previous matches, but marsh is now added to the optional selections.
Game 1
Rome secured their deployment having both flanks secured with woods; each held by auxilia and skirmishers. The legion positioned in the centre had the support of the clibanarii on its right and the remainder of the cavalry formed an ample reserve.

Facing them, the Suevi placed all its infantry to form a strong right flank and in the centre were all the archers with the Greuthingi allies protecting their left.

The Suevi warband were given the primary task to clear the wood to their front. The legion and auxilia wheeled their formation to meet the warband threat. This movement by the legion appeared to expose their flank, but as the gap widen, the reserve cavalry could be seen moving forward. In that same instant, dust clouds could be seen forming on the left flank announcing the arrival of Roman light horse.

The combat on the Roman left became critical as half the legion fell to the Suevi fury. The arrival of the Roman light horse prompted the Suevi chieftain to hasten his Greuthingi allies into action.

To counter the barbarian breakthrough on the left, Roman heavy cavalry crashed into the dense column of infantry. On the right, the light horse surprised a unit of Greuthingi cavalry. The nobles were saved by the timely arrival of Suevi skirmishers. The clibanarii, now exposed, became victim to Suevi archery leaving the Roman commander to call a retreat. Score 5 – 3 for the Suevi.

Game 2
Rome as the defender was caught in the open with only a river and marsh to cover their right flank. The Suevi could be seen deploying their dense columns into a battle line while on the opposite bank, Suevi archers could be seen moving forward into position.

Rome took advantage of the restricted ground and quickly moved forward; this would also lessen the chance of casualties caused by archer fire.

Dense columns of Suevi warriors hurled themselves at the legion as Greuthingi cavalry attacked the supporting unit of clibanarii. Either the wind or dust clouds were a problem as Suevi archery proved ineffective.  

The inconvenience of the weather did not last long, as Suevi archers quickly found their mark and the barbarian warband obliterated the legion leaving the Roman command stunned. Score 4 – 2 for the Suevi.

Game 3
Rome deployed in two lines using the woods to anchor their right. The lines were formed oblique to the Suevi deployment. The Suevi positioned their warband columns facing the legion and to their right the Greuthingi mounted with the Suevi archers deployed on the extreme right.

Maintaining a steady advance was difficult as the Greuthingi were eager to attack and so the Suevi archers had to quickly move forward or lose targets to an overeager ally.

As was planned, the earlier deployment in oblique lines forced the Suevi to commit piecemeal attacks. The attempt to clear the wood by Suevi skirmishers and warband failed leaving the dense columns to other option but to move forward. The Greuthingi rushed forward seeing the auxilia with no cavalry support; they had encircled the Suevi line and were now in a position to attack.

After a few desperate moments, the legion held their ground against the Suevi warriors and their chieftain, even the auxilia held their own against the Greuthingi cavalry, but would the light horse make their presence felt?

The Suevi chieftain, in desperation, attacked the Roman commander who was quickly assisted by a unit of skirmishers. The chieftain held his own against odds, but the field around him became vacant of friendly troops. With nearly all his infantry gone, he called for a retreat. Score 4 – 3 for the LIR.

II/72c  Suevi 250 – 584 AD Terrain Type: Forest until 406 AD, then Arable, Aggression 3
1 x general (3Kn), 8 x warriors (4Wb), 2 x archers (3Bw or Ps) or 4Wb if Frankish, 1 x javelinmen (Ps).

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Later Imperial Roman vs. the Burgundi

This test series begins with Rome invading the forest region between the Thine and the Danube, home to the Burgundi. Two woods are compulsory for the forest dwellers and as optional features the river and an extra wood were selected. 

The wood will impede communication between commander and troops, this is primarily so for the Later Roman as the Burgundi fight in dense columnar formation. As the frontage for both armies may remain narrow, players will need more time to reach a decisive point. 

Game 1
Rome, as the attacker caught the Burgundi with their backs to a river and the sole wood offered meagre protection for their right flank. Rome’s slow egress from the wooded areas would not dampen their battle lust by much.

Despite the half hour (two bounds) required to exit the wooded area, Rome was able to deploy a bold line of troops to meet the Burgundi. The Burgundi demonstrating less patience to view the martial progress threw their left wing against the auxilia leaving the wood.

Destroying a unit of auxilia, the Burgundi left pushed back the second unit deeper into the woods. Wary of a possible flank attack, the Roman commander signalled a general attack. 

In quick succession, both halves of the legion were destroyed while Burgundian losses were small by comparison. With the arrival of the light horse (Illyriani and Mauri), the situation looked less desperate.

The Roman left flank had fought well inflicting a number of casualties, but seeing the light horse repulsed and the Burgundi clearing the wood on the right, the Roman commander signalled a general retreat. Score 4 – 3 for the Burgundi.

Game 2
The Burgundi, now the attacker, opted to have the two woods and river in their deployment area, thus denying the Romans a defensive position. This left the Romans with one wood and therefore deployed their line further back from the Burgundi battle line.

The river proved less a problem for the Burgundi than was expected (class II) as the troops positioned on the right kept pace with the main battle line.

The Roman left wing easily repulsed the Burgundi effort to take the wood and this prompted the main Roman battle line to move forward to meet the barbarian. The Roman commander’s confidence was raised upon seeing the column of light horse close in on the Burgundi rear.

To counter the threat, the Burgundi chieftain launched the majority of the warband against the Roman legions and seeing the auxilia content to not leave the wood, called on a unit of skirmishers to assist repelling the Roman light horse.

The destruction of the light horse was celebrated by the chieftain and his guard, but looking back at his centre; the Roman legion had survived the warband onslaught and broke through. Further downfield, the clibanarii draco standard could be seen above the heads of his warriors and with a heavy heart signalled a general retreat. Score 4 – 3 for the LIR.

Game 3
Rome, now the attacker, secured two woods for their deployment area leaving the Burgundi with a river at their back.

Upon leaving the wood, the Roman battle line left wheeled and moved forward, leaving the cavalry on the far right to bide their time and wait for their signal.

The engagement now became general as combat was taking place up and down the line. To redeem their poor performance in the previous battle, the light horse swept around the wood to enter unopposed, the rear of the Burgundi line.

The light horse proved their worth by assisting in the destruction of the Burgundi skirmishers. Nonetheless, the situation became serious for Rome as all their legionnaires fell before the warband fury.

The Burgundi had suffered (three elements) heavily, but the Roman commander looking at his centre now filled by an oncoming wave of savage barbarians, called a general retreat. Score 5 – 3 for the Burgundi.

Of all the test games to date, these were the toughest games. The terrain required extra time to negotiate, so many bounds were filled with manoeuvre and no combat. The casualties on both sides were frequently even, sometimes last several bounds.

Despite the large game board, 80 cm x 80 cm, the battles were confined to relatively small areas which were due to the river and three woods. The risk of having troops outside command distance did influence how the game developed.

II/70  Burgundi 250 – 539 AD Terrain Type: Forest until 426 AD, then Arable, Aggression 3
1 x general (Cv), 1 x nobles (Cv), 8 x warriors (4Wb), 2 x archers or javelinmen (Ps).

Saturday 2 December 2017

Later Imperial Roman vs. the Ostrogoth

The Ostrogothic army are an unusual combination of knight class cavalry and skirmishers. The cavalry pose a definite threat to Roman infantry and if supported by skirmishers they can quickly roll up a Roman battle line. While Roman cavalry can counter the threat of the cavalry, they are not of sufficient number to sustain a long engagement against them.

Home terrain for both armies is arable; BUA (hamlet) is compulsory with two difficult hills and a wood are the selected options.   

Game 1
Rome is defending and form their infantry line near the base of a difficult hill, while the cavalry have taken a position on the open flank. The Ostrogoth has evenly distributed their skirmishers on each flank and all their cavalry have formed in the centre.

As a result of poor communication (low pip scores) the Ostrogothic advance did not move as quickly as planned. Rome took advantage of the delay to secure the hill. Once secured, the Roman infantry line advanced forward. In the meantime, the Ostrogothic skirmishers on the right occupied the Roman cavalry long enough for one of their noble cavalry to catch them in the flank.

In two successive bounds, two equites were destroyed leaving a sole Illyriani stunned. In an attempt to retrieve the situation, the Roman commander moved his infantry line forward supported by the clibanarii.

The Illyriani retreated away from the immediate threat leaving the Roman left entirely exposed while on the right, the auxilia were holding their own against the Ostrogothic skirmishers. Emboldened by the success on the right, the Ostrogothic chieftain led his nobles against the Roman line eliminating half the legion and a unit of auxilia. With a third of his army destroyed, Rome called for a general retreat. Score 0 – 4 for the Ostrogoth.

Game 2
Rome defending this time, the Ostrogoth selected a position denying Rome the use of any terrain. It was a questionable choice as the noble cavalry could only find sufficient ground to deploy on the extreme right flank leaving the skirmishers to hold the hamlet and hills.

Rome set a quick pace leaving the Ostrogothic chieftain no choice but to set priority on holding the high ground and hamlet.

The moment came when the Ostrogoth could deploy his noble cavalry, but this was only half of their total number.

Rome easily countered the Ostrogothic threat and was making headway against the skirmishers positioned on the hill and centre.

The effort proved decisive as Rome destroyed half of the Ostrogothic skirmishers and scattered the rest. The loss of one noble cavalry convinced the Ostrogothic chieftain tomorrow is another day. Score 1 – 4 for the LIR.

Game 3
For the final battle, the terrain was ideal for both sides. The Ostrogothic army formed their nobles in the centre and skirmishers taking positions on either flank. The Romans for their final battle mimicked the Ostrogothic deployment which caused some consternation.

Unencumbered with armour, Ostrogothic skirmishers kept pace with their cavalry while Rome marched steadfastly forward leaving a small distance between battle lines.

The clash of arms echoed across the valley as the battle lines quickly dissolved into smaller battles. The generals on both sides were in the thick of the fight with both sides experiencing casualties (2 – 1) but the Goths were gaining the upper hand.

The defenders in the small isolated battles quickly became overwhelmed and this earned Rome two more casualties, but the Goths held their own scoring an equal number bringing the battle to a close. Score 3 – 4 for the Ostrogoth.

II/67b Greuthingi 200 – 493 AD Terrain Type: Littoral if Herul, Arable if not, Aggression 3
1 x general (3Kn), 5 x nobles (3Kn), 6 x archers (Ps).