Friday, August 30, 2013

More Thoughts on Roman Dux

First things first, welcome JP. He is the latest to join up here. He is a busy man with two blogs that are well worth looking at. The first is Herefordshire 1938. The second is The Very British Civil War Miniatures Guide. The Very British Civil War is something that keeps trying to tempt me but I have held firm on so far.

Roman Dux
I am getting closer to the point to getting miniatures for this. But I want some more things fleshed out. I am still attempting to decide if I am going to aim for a Hadrian's Wall based campaign or on one of the German Limes along the Rhine. The Rhine one is sorely tempting me. Those are fortifications I think I am capable of modeling. A long wooden palisade and a ditch with scattered watchtowers with signal pyres. Definitely doable. Then a fort further back to support troops. This rather than the Hadrian's wall model with two towers and a milecastle supported by a fort.

In either case, it would be the Auxiliaries that would handle most of the man power. So that led to a couple hours of Google time looking up Auxiliaries. The formation that caught my eye was the Cohors Equitatae. Since nothing is easy (Nil Facilis Est), this type of formation could have 2 different subtypes. Both offer possibilities. The first is the Cohors Quingenaria. A small force of around 500 men with 120 being mounted and the rest formed into six centuries of 80 men each. The second is the larger Cohors Millaria of around 1000 men featuring 240 cavalry and 10 centuries of infantry.

While looking into these I found an interesting sentence that I could not find anywhere else. There is a claim that these units fielded archers in addition to normal infantry. This would make one of these formations a true all arms force. Perfect for a skirmish game. I will take the smaller force as it neatly fits into the fort that would support a section of Hadrian's Wall - 6 centuries and 120 cavalry. Some sources point out that the cavalry would be more messengers and skirmishers than true fighting cavalry. But that is fine for the purposes here.

How to split this up? Well, I am determined to try the 8 man group size to base the troops on. Who would be the leaders. Well since the size of the force would be a cohort, the commander of the Cohort would be a senior centurion, the Pilus Primus. But we can't have lowly centurions being in charge of anything. This detachment will need some noble senator or the like hanging around to inspire the to deeds of greatness. So that means we need s tribune who was given an independent command. (probably as a punishment for something said while in the cups at the officers mess to end up our in some backwater). Each century would have its centurion. In addition, an Optio would be present to support the centurion. Also a Tesserarius would be present in each century as a third in command. That gives us an officer pool to draw from for our games. The cavalry would be led by a Decurio. The senior Decurio commanded a turma of 30 cavalrymen.

A watchtower would be garrisoned by a 8 man tent party that would be rotated regularly. A foot patrol would be anything from 1 to 4 tent parties of infantry led by an Optio or Tesserarius (watch commander). A cavalry patrol would be lead by a Decurio and contain two groups of 4 men. (OK a Decurio would have had 10 men under his command but what can you do) Now this is too small a selection of forces for Dux B. So what we are interested in is not small patrols but what tribune would put in the field when the locals are acting up. The whole force of 500 is way too much. So what do we do?

Lets look at what our force has. Taking some liberties, lets assume that one century of our Cohors Quingenaria is sagitaria (archers). That gives us 5 centuries of infantry. Given that we are an Auxiliary unit, our forces would be entirely Warrior rated for Dux. (Maybe. We will see) Our Vexillation that we will send in the field will include: 1 tribune (has to cover himself in glory after all), a centurion, an Optio, 5 groups of 8 Auxiliary infantry, 2 groups of 4 archers and 2 groups of 4 cavalry. The cavalry would be counted as heavy and are armored with swords.

Opposing Forces
Now, the problem part is who do they fight? For the German Limes, we have Germanic tribes. Because I am fundamentally lazy here, they would look like... Saxons. But what troops would they have? Hmmm.... Well the best way to address this (remember I am lazy) is what miniatures are out there? Well Peter Pig (I am a big fan) has javelin armed troops, Sword armed men, archers and light cavalry. Essex has javelin armed, spear armed, axe armed, and heavily cavalry. Some are naked. Obviously those poor guys must have had Mussolini as their quartermaster.

My idea is to leave the less disciplined German or Celt tribes as 6 men per group. So our enemy would have a Chief, a hero, and two sub-chieftains. They would have 6 groups medium infantry that may not form a shieldwall. They are rated as warriors. They have an additional 2 groups of levy troops armed with shields and javelins plus some hand weapon. Again no shield wall. The javelin armed troops may throw their javelins before they charge. They have one group of skirmishers (4 men armed with with either bows or slings). They also have two groups of skirmish cavalry armed with shields and javelins.

Ideas, Frosting and other nonsense:
In order to reward the performance of our little lead troopers, lets look at the awards presented to Roman Troopers.

As a bravery medals, the Romans gave soldiers torcs (worn on the chest rather than neck), Armillae (arm bands), phalerae (early medals in the form of gold, silver or bronze discs worn over the armor. About 4" in diameter or so), hasta pura (a small silver spear awarded for saving a life), vexilium (a miniature silver replica of a infantry standard) and a cup (probably bronze/silver or Gold). Also several different crowns could be awarded for service. This gives us some trinkets that our Tribune could be awarded out to our lead troopers.

Wikipedia has a nice picture of some phalerae. See:

A renactor site shows a centurion with some torcs above some phalerae. See:

Also a unit could be awarded phalerae as well as individuals. So the signifier would add them to his standard. The greater the decoration, the larger the unit pride.

Anyway, this is just some random thoughts.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

As CSIR nears completion....

Well, it seems like I have been saying that for a while. Just really one or two things left before I can release it.

In the mean time, I have had some friends put together pictures from their collections which came out beautifully. I wanted so share some of them with you. Most of these will be in the scenario book.

These all feature marvelous terrain from the very talented Mark Luther. He was king enough to make these for me using my poor in comparison Italian 6mm figures. I have to say of my 6mm stuff, those mules are actually some of my favorite miniatures.

Also coming to my rescue was Kevin Lowth (aka Fat Wally). He was kind enough to pitch in as well with some of his splendid 15mm miniatures.

Anyway, this is just a bit of what is there. Hopefully this will interest a few folks.

15mm Dux Britannarium Miniatures from Peter Pig

I was just stuck on a late night work call and decided to take a look at the latest offerings at Peter Pig. They have expanded their Viking range greatly and have released their first pack of late Saxons. There is lots of useful stuff in here now.

First up is the Longship. They are offering two separate boats for £9.50. These would not have been hugely different from the ships the early Saxons would have ventured over to land along the Saxon shore with. The differences are one has a mast raised and the other does not. The ships come with a choice of one of six figureheads. The one with mast raised has a steerman as well. The one without the mast comes with 14 men rowing. These fellows come with separate heads and Peter Pig is giving you 16 heads to choose from. I need to pick up one of these.

Picture taken from Peter Pig's Website.

Next up is pictures of all of the casualty packs. In a previous post, I had complained that the casualty packs did not have pictures. I ended up with the "A Bit Dead" figures and not having what I was looking for. Now all are nicely photographed so you can see what you are getting.

The two new packs that are on my must have list are the "27. Vikings carrying loot" and "14. High value plunder (gifts from God)". These would be great to include in a game where Saxons have successfully plundered a building and are trying to get away. They also have a set of male, child and female captives but I am less interested in those. There are also a pack of monks that could be interesting as civilians but they are also lower on my must have list.

The mounted vikings are another interesting pack and could work nicely as mounted Early Saxons. However, I am not sure how well they would mix with my existing Splintered Light Early Saxon Cavalry. Besides, you just do not need that much in the way of cavalry in Dux B.

Anyway, my Peter Pig shopping list just got longer with these new items. Or at least, new to me items.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another Prize Draw - Nice books as prizes

Thoughts of a Depressive Diplomatist is having a prize draw for its year anniversary. He is offering some excellent books as prizes. There are at least 3 that interest me of the offerings that he has. Check this out.

Random Thoughts, Chain of Command, More Campaigns

First of all, welcome to András Szilvásy. He has two blogs. The first is "Prinzipalität des Schultze-Böhnstadt". With this one he had me at Cossacks. The second is "Random&Creative". Another great read with plenty of nicely painted miniatures. Welcome aboard.

So, with Chain of Command released by the TooFatLardies, I sit and patiently await a hard copy to be delivered. I also am awaiting the hard copy that Rich is sending to Terry Haney's wife. He was kind enough to dedicate the rules to Terry's memory. Terry was an early convert to the ways of Lard.

Now, what am I planning on doing with Chain of Command? Item 1, make a campaign. This is actually kind of fruitless as I rarely get to finish out my campaign ideas. I have a Sharp Practice campaign that is languishing and a Lebanon '82 campaign that is collecting dust at the moment. Why would I want to do another? Well, I find it fun.

With WWII, I have way too many interests. Almost all of which are early war. I have troops for a number of theaters. Specifically, East Africa, North Africa, France, Greece and the Eastern Front. I have some late war items for Normandy and the Eastern Front but for some reason I am just not as attracted to it on the game table. Granted the armor looks nicer and is definitely more effective but the early war stuff just captures my interest.

I am thinking of doing an August 1941 Operation Barbarossa campaign to start with. I have all the figures I need for the Soviets, Italians and Germans. Given that I have been working on my CSIR supplement for over 5 years now, I may have to go with Germans rather than Italians for a bit as I need a break from them.

One thing thrown about the TFL group has been the thought of all armor games. This is interesting. I am thinking about having a platoon of armor and one of infantry for both sides and running the campaign.

An old picture of some of my Early War German Panzer IIIs.

My favorite early war Soviet tank has to be the T-26. It has so many variants making it a swiss army knife of tanks. I still do not have any of the double turret models which I need to pick up at some point. They would likely be my opponents.

Once again, Platoon Forward will serve as the backdrop for the campaign. It is such a flexible system. I would replace the scenarios from PF with the ones offered by the Chain of Command rules. The terrain generator will probably get some exercise though.

One other project I may explore would be the Italian invasion of France in 1940. I have the French troops and the Italians ready to go. It would make for an interesting project. The only missing items are French VB gunners. That is something I hope to remedy in the next month or two.

For East Africa, I have a bunch of Italian Colonial troops that are collecting dust. These troops would be quite a challenge to lead as they lack light machine gun support. They press the attack with rifle and bayonet alone. In battles such as Mill Hill, their attacks resembles something out of a Great War nightmare with the poor colonials charging machine gun positions repeatedly. The Lancia IZM armored Car and other great early war vehicles really make this a fun period to model.

So how are you, dear reader, planning on using Chain of Command? Isolated scenarios or are you planning on a campaign of some sort?

Monday, August 26, 2013

More distractions - Ancient Rome

Having been thoroughly entertained by the Jack Ludlow series on the Norman Conquest of Italy, I decided to give his Republic series. I am now well into the second book. It has been very entertaining thus far. While this is set during the Republic Era of the Roman Empire, it had the wheels turning in my head.

I have wanted to do a campaign game featuring Imperial or Late Imperial Roman troops. Something set on a border somewhere. Most likely somewhere on Hadrian's Wall or the like. Similar to my previous thoughts of a Norman campaign, I started thinking about this as well instead of focusing where I should be. On that note, all pictures are ready for the book. Waiting on a forward from a friend and I am ready to release the CSIR supplement.

What scale?
Well, like everything else I am doing, 15mm. In particular, I am looking to pick up the "big men" from Eureka Miniatures. The Optio, Centurion, Primus Pilus , Mounted Legatus, Signifer and Cornicea figures in particular will be Eureka minis. For the whole of the men, I am looking at trying the Rebel Minis Legionary and Auxiliary figures. And lastly, the Corvus Belli scorpion and mule team figures.

What would this look like?
Well, that I have no idea about. I was looking at a number of web sites for what would be the garrison of a Roman Milecastle on Hadrian's Wall. That answer seems rather flexible. It seems that the barracks within a Milecastle would vary from 8 men to 32. This is interesting as 8 men maps to a Roman Contubenium or tent party. This was led by a Decanus or file leader.

A Roman Centuria was formed around 10 of these Contubeniums or 80 men. They were led by Centurian and his second in command - a Optio. Each century had a standard bearer (a Signifer) and a musician (Cornicea). This gives us just 2 fellows that qualify as a Big Man in game terms for a body of 80 fighting men. This does not work out too well for Dux Britannarium. However, there were others that one might consider. Within the ranks, there was some room for upward mobility. The lowest of the low were the recruits (Tirones). These were newly recruited troops in the first 6 months of their service next were the Milites Gredarrii or ordinary troops. It seems that there were two career paths after this. First there was the route of the immunis who provided some of the skilled craftsmen and clerical workers for the army. In terms of soldiering, there was promotions in pay. There were those that received pay and a half and those who received double pay. But for purposes of a game and a trooper who would be useful in the chain of command for a body of 80 men. This could be found in the Tesserarius or guard sergeant.

Dux B used groups of 6 men as the basis of a group. To make this work for Romans, lets think about making each group a single tent party or Contubenium of 8 men. It seems that the tent party was the division in which postings were made. For instance, it is supposed that the garrison of a milecastle tower to either side of the milecastle was 8 men. The possible garrison size of the milecastle itself is either 8 or a multiple of 8. Easy enough but that still is not a very cool looking game to have a single block of a century out in the field against a barbarian horde.

This poses the problem in that it seems that Legions had a fairly homogenous units within them. A normal infantry Legion was made of of 10 Cohorts. Each Cohort was made up of 6 legions. Just to muddy things up a bit, the first Cohort of a Legion was double sized. The Legion did have a artillery unit of 30 pieces of artillery in addition to the scorpion that was assigned to each century. The legion also possessed a tiny cavalry arm of 300 cavalry with it as well. Still that gives us no archers, no skirmishers and no light infantry. I want to play a skirmish game not an army based game. So how do I get a variety of troop types on the table and still be historically accurate? The answer is, I don't really know. But there is this.

It seems that Rome would create adhoc formations called Vexilations. Here troops would be groups together from various legions and posted out to the frontiers to deal with problems. One example of this is a Vexilation of Legio X that was sent to Jerusalem to deal with the insurrection of the locals. Only a portion of the legion was sent. In other places, cohorts of legions were sent out to far flung posts to occupy the border forts and pacify the populace. Could a Vexilation be formed by units from multiple legions including Auxiliaries to form a "combined arms" force that is usable by a skirmish wargamer? The answer is maybe. I have not found anything that proves this was not done (again, that is based on a couple hours of Google searches and not serious research).

So lets return to our Milecastle. The Milecastles were typically tended by Auxiliaries rather than regular legion troops. Between the two towers and the milecastle, you had possibly just over half of a century guarding a stretch of wall about 1080 yards long. It is unlikely that just one century would be assigned to the milecastle. The rest of the force would be based back at a fort that would house around 480 infantry and 120 cavalry. That is interesting as the fort offered cavalry as well as infantry. The fort would not have enough room for an entire Legion. Instead it can house only one Cohort yet it also housed cavalry. This is of course based on a couple of forts in England behind Hadrian's Wall rather than any searches beyond this one small border of the Empire.

The 120 cavalry would equate to four turnae of cavalry with each turnae consisting of 30 cavalry troopers. This would be less than half of the cavalry contingent that would be part of a Legion. This suggests that it is likely that if one cohort would rate almost half the cavalry of a full legion, this is possibly a mixed legion fortification. Well, at least in my imagination. Proper historians out there are probably rolling their eyes.

So what would our little fort consist of? The wall itself was manned by Auxilliaries as noted before. So most of the fort would probably be some form of Auxilliary troops. So of 6 cohorts, say 4 are Auxilliaries. Of those two are infantry and two are archers. The remaining two centuries would be regular legions or the heavy infantry. Likely the cavalry would have been a homogenous group rather than from several different cavalry legions so they would either be Auxiliary light cavalry, Auxiliary heavy cavalry or Regular legionary heavy cavalry. Of artillery, you would have the scorpions from the various centuries plus probably some engineers present with some other assorted onagers and the like.

This gives us an interesting mix of troops to tinker with. So our little vexilation in the fort supports one or more milecastles. They are all connected by roads. The milecastle guards a gate to the other side of the wall that allows commerce to pass between the tribes to the north and the pacified tribes to the south.

What does our Dux force look like?
At the moment, my thoughts are still forming. The force represents a force being sent out to interdict a tribal revolt north of the wall or to block a force that has crossed the wall. The whole force would be lead by a senior centurion. Two groups of regular legions as the Heavy Infantry/elites. Rounding out the force would be three groups of Auxiliary Infantry/Warriors and one group of archers (subdivided into 2 groups of 4). The force can be supplemented by cavalry or a scorpion.

More to come later.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fun with Google Ad Sense and more Welcomes

I signed up for Google Ad Sense back in 2009. I laughed at it thinking "Sure, that will work." With no real belief that I would see anything come out of it. Recently Fjodin posted on his blog about his Ad Sense account with an appeal to help fund his miniature habit through it. This caused me to wonder if I had come close to that magical $100 earnings mark. *Queue Drum Roll*

*Dramatic Pause*

I have so far raised $12.74. WhooHoo! I am going to rush out and buy... well nothing as they don't pay unless you reach $100 in commissions. Oh well. It was still fun to look. No, this is not attempting to encourage anyone to start a clicking campaign on the ads that appear here. Honestly, I am not too sure of what appears for other folks. Its probably as appropriate as feminine hygiene products marketed during the Super Bowl. Because nothing says tackling the enemy like Tampax.

In terms of hobby work, I have done nothing this week. Honestly. NOTHING. I have a book that is sitting at 98% ready to release and I have done nothing. I have armies waiting for a turn on the painting table and I have done nothing. I have no idea what my problem is. But I am convinced I will snap out of it shortly.

Lastly, I would like to extend a warm welcome to my two newest blog followers: Czaki and Fjodin. Not sure if Czaki has a blog or not but you are certainly welcome here. Fjodin has a very nice site with a wide range of topics.

Until next time, Enjoy.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

More Contests. More Free Stuff

There are three that I know about at this point.

#1 Laughing Ferret's. I was not familiar with this site until spotting a post on Loki's Great Hall. Seems to be a clever fellow who I am going to look forward to following. He is celebrating 200K hits and is nearly to 300 followers. Great Job. He has 11 prizes to give away.

#2 Canister and Grape - Another new site to me. They are celebrating 50k hits. Another great achievement. This site is giving away 3 items. A very nice painted 28mm Post-Roman Briton figure being among them as well as a book and a bag of unpainted lead. Fun Stuff.

#3 Last but not Least is Andy Hawes's blog Andy's Wargaming Blog. He is giving away another post-roman briton Warlord. Very nicely done. Andy is celebrating 100k page views.

And I am not jealous of their accomplishments or anything. No, really. I'm not. :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Distractions and Welcomes

My apologies for this post. It is rambling. It is disjointed. But it is some thoughts that I am putting together for a potential project.

On someone's blog recently they mentioned Jack Ludlow's Conquest series. Well I picked up the audio books and have become hooked. Not a good thing at the moment with a scenario supplement to finalize. Anyway, this got me to thinking. The Norman conquests could make for a great game of Dux Britannarium. Each player would be a Baron controlling a base set of forces. This set me off to figure out what the Norman organization really was. It seems that a cavalry convoi was at least 5 men but could be up to 50. It seems multiples of 5 was the magic number. Usually they attempted to train in groups of 10 advancing in two lines of 5. Well, this is what I have gathered from Wikipedia and other online sources so far.

Anyone have any idea what the foot contingent would be like? Lets say our Baron has a conroi of 10 heavy cavalry/milites. How many other troops would they have?

What troops would there be? Well the Miles/milites are the heavy cavalry. Then there are the VAVASSEURs. These are typically teen children of nobles learning the skills of being a milite so they would be essentially more milites. Somewhere the foot soldiers/pedites have to come in. First off would be the heavy infantry or SERGENS. They would be equipped similar to the milites but without the horses. Next would be the ARRIERE-BAN or medium infantry. Helmets, shields and spears would dominate this groups as well as archers. These would probably be closer to a levy class of troops.

So that gives us an idea of what would be available. But how many would a Baron have? Great question. I have no idea. The Baron would be granted land by his overlord or the King/Duke/Count. He in turn can have others who he would give a knight's fee (fief) too. These men would owe him 40 days per year of military service. Well of a 365 day year, 40 days of service when most of that would be eaten up just going from place to place does not seem... very promising. Surely these guys had better than that. Well, yes they did. It seems that the baron would have his own familial retinue. No, this is not just the Baron having a large number of sons or other relatives hanging about in armor (though that was possible). These are a paid force on permanent retainer by the baron. It seems that unlike modern mercenaries, these men were VERY loyal to their baron. So, that gives us an idea. We can use the Briton list from Dux Britannarium. So that is 1 group of elites (milites). Then two groups of Warriors (SERGENS) and three of levy (ARRIERE-BAN). The milites can be mounted or not.

This little unit would represent the familial retinue of our Baron. But the numbers seem to be wrong. Well that can be fixed. The base size of infantry is groups of 6. That should still work. For cavalry, we will increase the Norman cavalry to groups of 5. This way they can attempt to perform as they did historically. The Milites can be either mounted or dismounted troops.

For the Feudal troops, the available forces would be variable. A knight's fee (fief) can be subdivided as well. One source listed that 1/10th of a knight's fee would equate to 8 days service of a single sergen. For the purpose of the campaign, the Baron would have 20 knight's fees that he would hold. His feudal servants would not be available for every battle/skirmish that the baron wants to fight. Since they only owe 40 days of service per year, this works out to one or two battles/skirmishes that they can be called on for the whole year. In addition, they can send cash instead of showing up for service which would enable the baron to hire out replacements.

So, of the 20 knight's fees that the baron has available, the baron would have to wisely choose how to use these. Plus, his feudal servants potentially could defect to another lord. Creating more problems than they were worth. In fact, part of the Baron's actions may be to squash unruly subjects as much as fighting an enemy.

Which brings us to our next point, what is our Baron actually trying to do? Well, lots of things. Lets give a place and a time to this. 1067. Our Baron is one of the ones who accompanied William over from Normandy and was made a baron and given land. He has been there long enough to set up a Motte & Bailey fortification for himself. The fortifications sport a wooden tower and not a true stone keep... yet.

OK, but who does he have to deal with? Well, remaining independent Saxon or Welsh lords. Rebellious vassals. Calls by his liege lord to fight. Any number of things. All the makings of a decent campaign game.

Good enough. But what makes the Saxons or Welsh different from the Normans? Well, the cavalry of the Welsh and Saxons would still be based on 4s rather than 5s. Other than that, I have no idea.

How would I look at pulling this off? Well, Splintered Light, Khurasan, Baudea and Donnington (casualties) would be my miniatures of choice. Mostly Splintered Light, I think. Sgt Major miniatures also has some nice looking Normans but they lack Medium infantry.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

And Now for something different.

Welcome to the newest followers: Kaph & Rosbif. I could not tell by Kaph's profile if he has a blog but Rsobif has an excellent blog - Monsieur le Rosbif & Johnny Frog. Stop on by and check it out. Kaph, if you have a blog, let me know and I will post it up here.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Troops Weapons and Tactics

I played through a quick game of Troops, Weapons and Tactics last night with the aim to get some pictures for the CSIR book last night. I managed to take a number of bad pictures and a couple of potential keepers. The scenario is Campaign 4, Scenario 2 from the book. A esploratori platoon is occupying the outskirts of a small village and must hold it against a Soviet counter attack. Playing this solo, I had the esploratori attempt to move and occuply better positions as soon as possible. One squad ran through the woods to try to get to a barn while others shot up the road to a fenced in farm.

The Soviets entered in force. They had some difficulty moving at first but then got going quickly enough.

The Soviets attempted to charge the newly taken Italian position in a fenced farmhouse with bad results.

But things did not go the Italians way in the advance through the woods. The Soviets got their MMG going with some excellent movement rolls. They set up and let the Italian squad moving through the woods have it. The Italian squad was badly mauled with its survivors running away.

With the esploratori down to two squads and both were in good cover. One mauled Soviet squad and two others at full strength, the game ended up with the Soviets attempting to flank the Italians. This they were not able to achieve before reinforcements arrived. The game went to the Italians as they held on.


So now to the important part, do you think these pictures are useful? I already cropped them down. Any other suggestions? I have GIMP and can try to fiddle with them some more. I had one overhead lamp over the table and another LED light pointed at the table as well. They seem to have come out darker than I thought they would have.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Getting Closer

I am in the midst of reformatting the CSIR book. It is going rather well. Some formatting pointers from Rich and I am off and running.

I was lent some Woodland Scenics snow for some more pictures as well as a white ground cloth to prevent the Pool table effect that my regular ground cloth seems to make as well as some dead trees. (Thanks Mark)

Pictures should wrap up this week. (maybe) Once all that is done, I should be ready to go.

In other news.... 90 followers! Thanks folks for bearing with me. Rob of the Captain's Blog and Ronnie Postma are the latest to sign up if I am reading the Google Followers tool correctly. Welcome aboard.

Friday, August 9, 2013


I have now hit 88 followers on this humble blog. I have also decided that I need to acknowledge those that are joining. To my long time followers - thank you for putting up with my ramblings.

Welcome to Alex Mayer. Not sure from your profile if you have a blog or not but the icon of Napoleon riding a motorcycle has to be acknowledged. Thanks for joining up.

Another giveaway

This time it is from Alea Est Iacta. He has hit the 50,000 page view mark in two years. Stop on over an congratulate Alex on the achievement.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

More Pictures and New Terrain

Well I just got in the Battlefield in a Box Cobblestone roads. The roads are nicely painted and look good. My one gripe is the size of the cobbles that are modeled. Cobbles are supposed to be about fist sized. For a 15mm figure these cobbles are larger than their heads. Much larger.

Also as I alluded to in my last post, I have inherited some terrain. A good friend passed away some time ago. Terry Haney lost a battle with cancer. We had played a number of games together. He was a prolific gamer who had an unbelievable collection of miniatures and terrain. I was given several items from his collection. A train station, a coal yard, a ruined building and a factory were all given to me by his wife. Before he had died, he had given me a platoon of Italian Bersaglieri. He was a generous soul and a pleasant companion at the game table. I have been struggling with what to post on this for a while and I still am not sure what I should post.

Anyway, I need to move on. I have been trying to figure out how to do snow terrain without having to have more than one set of terrain. I tried using sand for snow. Anyway, this is what I came up with.

This is the Bersaglieri that Terry had given me prior to his death in front of his train station.

Here are some of my Soviets in front of Terry's coal yard. I had been eyeing this piece from an ebay vendor for a while.

You can partially see the factory that I inherited from Terry here with his Bersaglieri.

Had to move some trees out of the way for this shot. Here are some soviets defending the ruins in Gorlovko against the Italians.

And also from the Gorlovko playtest, an NCO orders his men. The ruin is another building from Terry.

All in all, I kind of like the snow effect from the sand. It provides a light dusting. It was easy to clean up. It did not stick to terrain or figures. It stuck a bit to the felt but that was not a big deal. What do you think? Does the sand work as snow?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Messing about with my camera

Since my light died, I don't have a good light source except for an overhead lamp. So they came out a bit dark. So I started to muck around with GIMP and the White Balance feature.

First up is a picture of the Rifle Section that I painted up over the weekend.

After trying the white balance, I get an equally bad picture.

Next up is a LMG section of 2 LMG teams. This also shows some new terrain that I have inherited. The Train station is really nice with a removable roof. Next to it is a coal yard.

Lastly, I have a picture of my Company HQ patrol. This is a 13 man section. From what I can tell, this patrol had no Light machineguns as part of its organization.

Well, I will continue to try new things and improve the pictures.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Birthday Prizes from Mike

Well since many others have thrown this out there, I will too. Mike just turned 50 and to celebrate he is doing a fantastic prize draw. Check out his site Trouble at the Mill. What makes this extra special is that the prize is all lard goodness just in time for the release of Chain of Command.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Well, my workday is not finished but the miniatures are. I forgot to bring paint for the bed rolls on the Soviet infantry and bases to mount my new Italians on or I would have done so. This was a productive night. Things are going well at work too. All and all a tiring but fruitful endeavor.

Hopefully, I will go home soon. Once there, I can wrap these figures up then get some sleep. I now can field a full company of both Italians and Soviets for IABSM. I already had a company + a platoon in 6mm miniatures for IABSM already. Since i have WAY more 15mm terrain than 6mm.

Italians finished?!?

In a burst of speed I have managed to finish off my CSIR Italians in 15,, Now this could be because I fell asleep in the midst of painting and thought I did more than I really did but they looked pretty good. The only other minis I brought with me are 8 Soviet troopers. I am debating on painting these now. I think I will have to pass as I can barely keep my eyes open. Time for more coffee.

Updates on my long night

Well, I finished off the first 21 miniatures. I was pleasantly surprised that the remaining touches did not take as long as I feared. So I have started on my next batch of 19 miniatures. We will see how far I get with this group.

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but when attempting some pictures for the CSIR book, I ended up stepping on two of my miniatures and snapped them both off of their bases by their ankles. This not only hurt my bare feet but saddened me as I am not sure I can fix them. I would need to paint more and I just don't want to paint more than I have to.

Confirmation of my snails pace.

Since my last post (almost 5 hours ago) I have managed to paint the base uniform color, flesh and web gear of only 21 15mm miniatures. I still have rifle stocks, boots, barrels, and other equipment to paint. At this rate, I probably will only get these figures painted by morning. Still, it is more than I had finished when I started.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Some progress for the evening

I have flocked the remaining painted items that I had. That is the start of my third platoon of Italian infantry in 15mm. Plus a 65mm Mountain gun for a support weapon. The pictures are bad as the lighting in my cubicle is not so great.

This shows half of a platoon: one Rifle Section of 13 men and an NCO, a light machine gun section of two gunners, two loaders and four riflemen. Also a pistol wielding officer.

The flash was not kind in this picture but is shows the light machine gun teams. The Breda was a goofy weapon in that it was tray fed with an odd built in oiler that did not handle extreme cold or dust very well. This meant that the two theaters that it was deployed in (Russia and North Africa) proved it to be unreliable. The tray feeding mechanism meant that it could only fire in bursts and not in a sustained fashion. Definitely one of those "What were they thinking moments."

Here is a closeup of the 65mm mountain gun. What I have read shows that most of the Italian artillery was actually quite good if dated. The crews served their weapons well especially in the retreat back through the Ukraine in winter of 1942/3.

Next up is some painting of two more LMG teams and one last rifle team and the HQ squad.

Question about Blogger

Well I noticed that I have gained a couple more followers recently. I wanted to check who was the latest to join up but I am uncertain about how the sort order shows up. Is there a way to tell who signed up to follow your blog and when?

It's A Major Award! and What I am doing all night

Mr. Parker: It's a Major Award!

Swede: Shucks, I wouldn't know that. It looks like a lamp.

Mr. Parker: What is a lamp, you nincompoop? It's a Major Award. I won it!

Swede: Damn, hell, you say won it?

Mr. Parker: Yeah, mind power, Swede; mind power.

Well, what was my Major Award, well it was none other than the prize I won from Trouble at the Mill's prize give away.

The postman dropped off a wonderful package with GW LOTR's Orcs, warg riders and a few men of Gondor thrown in to boot. Now these will be some of only a few 28mm figures that I own. I have a painted set of the Sharp and Harper figures from a contest that the TFL ran. An unpainted set of Sharp and Harper that I got from buying Sharp Practice when it was released. I inherited an unpainted Hugh Jarce from Terry Haney. Now I have 12 men of Gondor, six bowmen of Gondor and nearly a Dux Britannarium force of Orcs with six Warg Rider cavalry. Once the CSIR book is done, I will put these one the painting table.

Thanks Mike! These are great!

Other than getting my prize, I get to stay at work all night for a customer install. So in order to keep myself awake, i brought with me a pile of Italian infantry to paint and a few Early War Soviets. I have half of a platoon that I need to finish basing. The intent is to use the 18 hour marathon conference call as an excuse to get some painting done. I will probably be posting throughout the night to keep myself sane and awake. Below is what I will attempt to do.