Back to my gaming roots
One of my first ancient armies for wargaming was a box of Airfix Ancient Britons. Despite the archaeological anomalies like the solid wheels on the chariots and odd arms and armour in places they were great fun to paint and fought many a battle in the 1970s. I did sell them off when I moved up to 25mm metal figures from Minifigs. However, the Roman invasions of Britain and Boudicca’s revolt kept the interest in gaming with Ancient Britons alive. Sadly I’ve no photos of those early Ancient Britons nor their Roman opponents
Airfix never had druids and screaming women!
Going down a size
Moving house twice in a year focussed my attention on just how many unpainted little metal men I had. Yes, I used the past tense there!
I decided to clear out anything I just have a few of and wasn’t going to turn into a complete army. I also decided that for big ancients armies I would move to 15mm size figures. This is because they take up less room, are quicker to paint (as I can’t see so much detail now!) and thanks to scale creep are almost as big as my old Airfix figures were!
Before making this decision I considered trying 10mm for ancient and medieval but found them not quite right for me. I used some Pendraken 10mm Vikings as a test and can while they did not suit me I suggest trying Pendraken if you are considering 10mm. I sold these on eBay as part of the grand clear out in the end.
Cracking on in 15mm
Another consideration was having a Peter Pig Roman army in 15mm I had painted for DBA and DBM. Getting a similar scaled opponent made sense of course but like most wargamers I try to leave sense out of it when choosing armies and scales!
Peter Pig Romans
The challenge with painting an army of irregulars is getting the variety there without painting each figure separately. I have a simple system for this involving strips of cardboard!
This is a rather ocd variant of the old take a colour and paint a different bit of each figure with it. To ensure variation I sort the figures into groups with a minimum of duplicates. Then each group is glued to a cardboard strip and undercoated.
I paint all flesh first using a red brown wash then a warm flesh colour.
After that the fun begins! Well my idea of painting fun anyway. Take a colour and go through a strip of figures applying it to different areas, so a dark brown is hair on figure one, trousers on figure two, belt on figure three and so on.
Then take another colour and move onto the next strip. As you can now see repetition of colour and pose is kept to a minimum. Having plenty of paints helps!
One point to keep an eye on is use brighter, historically more expensive, colours on better equipped wealthier types. Use patterns on clothing and showy shield decorations as well, again more so for those who could afford them.
For the sake of sanity and speed use one colour for shield backs, spear and weapon shafts, metals. Then varnish and base to taste!
Chariot Miniatures slingers
Chariot Miniatures Warband
… and not in canoes!
I finished this last batch of Indian Allies for my British in North America some time ago. Having caught up with the rest of my life I am catching up with blogging!
Come on in, the water is sticky
Using the water effect was nice and easy. It poured out smoothly with no sudden surges. Well, years of pouring ales and wines may have helped here! Once in place there were some small bubbles.
Getting rid of these with a pin, as I have done with resin casting in the past, was not a good idea. I actually split some bubbles into two! I switched to using an old paint brush and just brushed them out without any problems.
The verdict is I like this product and found it straightforward to use with a little care. I got mine from Maelstrom with some other odds and ends, so I got a discount and post free.
That’s enough of those native chaps for now
I have now finished the three units I planned. Hopefully the idea of using a different theme on each unit’s bases will let me recognise them on the table top. The photo below should demonstrate the theory!
Before you start making bases check the rules and army list. Then you should be able to work out how many bases and of what size are needed.
Sometimes I use ready made plastic bases but the bulk of my painted figures are based on card. I use thin mounting card from art shops as I find it sturdy enough once figures and ground material is added, and it avoids the figures looking like they are mounted on a paving slab! I know thick (2mm or more) bases are robust but I feel a smoother join with the table top looks better. So what else do I use?
I use a set square and pencil for marking out the base outlines on the card. Then I use a steel ruler as a guide and cut the card with a heavy duty craft knife. Two key points are: a new blade in the knife and several gentle cuts. Oh, and a self-healing cutting mat so I don’t have to French polish the table afterwards.
Sticking it all together
Once the bases are cut out and any wounds dressed it’s time to stick the figures on. Yes, knifes are sharp and the best way to avoid cuts is a series of cuts rather than forcing the blade through the card.
I plan what figures are going on which base before I glue. I may go so far as to arrange them in the order I will glue them on in an assembly line manner. I find with WRG rule the bases sizes are pretty tight and this is essential. In fact sometimes it’s like trying to build a Twister diorama …
Then get gluing and I use a standard contact glue – Uhu is my favourite. PVA is just as good and really it’s using something you are happy with. I regard super glue and epoxy as overkill for card.
Today I am mostly basing Orcs
Yep, it’s time to base some Mithril Miniatures orcs for Hordes of the Things. I had these based for Warhammer but now have enough suitable figures to retire these. The idea is to use these for HoTT Middle Earth forces.
Colour the hatchets red
I have had an interest in the French-Indian War since the 1980s when buying a book with Gerry Embleton illustrations in piqued my interest. More reading followed and I have small forces of militia, non-combatants, rangers, and Indians in 30mm.
Since then I have wanted to depict larger engagements on the table top. A combination of two Pendraken 10mm armies on eBay and satisfying my curiosity about Piquet by buying Field of Battle resulted in rules and figures to hand.
Being a typical wargamer I decided to use my new Pendraken Indians for the French forces. This meant needing to buy (yes, of course I needed to) some Indians for the British. I decided to use Old Glory figures as their AWI line includes a bag of Indians, and they are cast as single figures not on strips.
What they are like and how I painted them
The figures are nicely proportioned although some muskets are a bit tree trunk like, and very little flash to remove. I primed with Citadel white undercoat, painted with various makes of modeller’s acrylics, followed by a brown wash over flesh and warm colours, and finished with Humbrol satin varnish. Results are below.
Paint some British officer types to identify the units on a table and then it’s basing time!