Tuesday 28 November 2023

My big fat Greek army - part 2

 Afternoon all

Over 12 months ago I put out a post that discussed my next army build - you can read it HERE

In this post I mentioned that my next focus was going to be on Greeks, Macedonian Successors and Persians. The project started and then stalled with the house move BUT I am delighted to report that this phoenix has now been resurrected and work continues apace. 

However the focus has changed a little bit. As opposed to two phases I have decided to break the project into three manageable pieces. The first will focus on the Greek State city wars also known as the Peloponesian wars. In essence these were the civil wars of ancient Greece where massed ranks of hoplites would bash and stab one another.

Phase two will focus on the Macedonian Successor wars where massed ranks of pike armed phalangites would stab at each other from a distance whilst fighting over Alexander's empire. The good news is I can press my aforementioned Hoplites into these battles as additional troops. Plus I get to field Elephants.

Finally phase three will focus on the development of a Persian Army not only to take on the chaps of phase 1 but also phase 2. In all three phases I am going to need Greek light cavalry and light skirmish troops.

Back in 2022 I had completed around 150 Hoplites and 300 Phalangites (pikes). My summer and autumn have not been idle as I can now field almost 1000 Hoplites in units of 32 men per unit. 

All the Hoplites are from the excellent value Warlord Games Greek and Spartan starter sets. Each box provides around 150 figures ad all of these have been sourced via ebay at discounted prices. My best guess is I have been paying around 25-30 pence per figure.

I did consider the Victrix sets but the cost was both prohibitive and for the volume I am looking for their assembly is much more complicated. I will however use Victrix for Skirmish and Cavalry units.

Each 32 man unit has been painted with a particular distinctive three colour scheme, typically bronze or lined white cuirass. a dark colour for tunic. and white/light colour for plumes/tunic. This colour combination has then been mixed up on the shields. It provides some unit uniformity but also creates variety that would be expected of the period. The exception all the majority of Spartan units that have been given their distictive red tunics and plumes. I also decided that any bronze cuirass would be a Spartan (There is one on each sprue).

If needs be units can be mixed up to provide less uniform looking troops - eg picture below

I have adopted a factory line approach to his vast number of figures - from assembly to priming and onto painting and varnishing. Typically working in blocks of 96 figures I have been cranking three units out every two weeks when time permits.

The excellent shield transfers are added once the figure has been painted with army dip (my go to process to both shade the figure and strengthen it) and only then is is given a coat of matt varnish.

The figures are mounted 4 to an mdf base which is 40mm x 40mm. The basing is yet to be done and I intend to do this en masse at the end.

With the Greek hoplites almost finished ( I think I have enough figures left to make two more units) attention will turn to the skirmish and light infantry units, cavalry and command stands. 


Drop by again soon

Par 3 of this series can now be found HERE



Tuesday 14 November 2023

I'm back - Shiver me timbers !

 Afternoon All - following some technical difficulties I have been unable to access my blog for some weeks but the good news is I am back and have a load of new posts and news to share.

I'll update you on the progress of the house build in a future post but suffice to say that my hands have been rather full over the autumn months. The good news is that the work has started.

Lets get onto the most important business - the gaming and hobby projects. Monday night saw regulars of the Shed crew get together for a spot of piracy on our ficticious Pirate Island. Its been several years since this period saw some action and we were all raring to go.

The table was approximately 6ft x 9ft with three zones, the mountainous jungle area featuring Skull mountain and the lair of Ben Gunn, and in the valley some old lost ruins. The terrain is a bit of a mash up from my jungle, peninsular and desert set ups. I think it all works well together.

The village of St James sat across the seafront and backed onto the jungle

and down on the coast a full third of the table was occupied by the sea, port and a coastal castle

The two ships moored off the coast were just for terrain purposes and could be boarded by the players but not sailed away. Scattered across the coast were a number of rowing boats. We house ruled that a boat needed a minimum of two players to move, it would move at the same pace of a walking man..If for any reason only one or no person could man the boat it would drift three inches per turn towards the castle and founder on the rocks with all treasure and lives lost. 

We used the excellent Fist Full of Lead rules for our game and with five players each commanding seven figures its was a full on experience. At the bottom of the post is a roster sheet of the crews created in advance for the players. In essence three groups of Pirates were raiding the island for treasure and other valuable goods. The goods themselves were marked up with values/points ranging from 1 to 10. 

The players did not know the value of the goods until; they were picked up. The goods themselves would then have to be transported to the Pirates lair (each Pirate had a ship off the coast, or in the case of Redbeard an old tomb at the end of the Island. Facing the pirates were the local garrison of British Redcoats and a marauding unit of French marines. The government forces got points for killing Pirates. At the end of the game the player with the most points was declared the winner. In the event that one player lost all his forces he would be given control of the towns militia and these only acrtivated/appeared if one player was knocked out.

The following are a few photos from the game - with a short narrative.

I commanded the British, Tony the French and Mark , Vince and Sven the Pirates. Sven pirates started in the jungle with the tomb as their lair. As it turned out both the British and French turned their attention towards Redbeard (Sven) believing the other two would do the damnedest to scupper each other plans.

The coastal Pirates (Mark & Vince) seemed to strike up a cordial relationship and began to plunder the town with a view that there were enough spoils to share around.

Poor Old Sven's pirates were coming under significant fire from the French Marines sitting in the higher ground with only the temple ruins as cover.

Perched on their high advantage point the Marines poured fire into the helpless pirates.

Elsewhere Mark and Vice were happily rowing their boats taking treasure back to their ships....

Fortunately for Sven he was somewhat helped out by the marooned pirate Ben Gunn sitting in his camp on Skull mountain. Gunn was an NPC (up until someone could rescue him) and given he was mad he would open fire on the nearest target when possible. Ben's unerring accuracy put paid to two of my redcoats before the third could overcome him and convince him to join the Kings cause. 

By now the French were in the jungle and mopping up the remaining members of Redbeards (Sven) crew.

Sadly for Redbeard his force was eliminated and so Sven switched to command the militia. The shot below of two pirates on the rope bridge was not from the game but I just wanted to share that this resin bridge is fish tank ornament but works so well for this 28mm scale.

With Redbeard dealt with the French turned their attention onto the remaining redcoats now heading back into the town. Seargeant Croissant took up a high vantage point in the church and soon scored a kill on the Redcoat commander.

A firefight on the beach broke out between the militia and the coastal pirates who had now cleaned the town out of valuable (without coming to blows I should add)

The last Pirates soon made their escape and with the clock marching on a halt to the game was called

Our winner was Mark who had quietly amassed a total of 56 points of treasure, in second place Tony and Sven shared the honour with 40 points, with Vince one point behind on 39. Sadly the poor old redcoats came last with 26 points.

It should be added that if Vince had counted carefully he would have noticed the nine units should have been eight - (private joke !!)

An honourable mention should go to Roger the Cabin boy who from the walls of a villa in the town managed to take down one redcoat with his blunderbus. Despite being hunted down for the rest of the game he managed to flee the scene intact. 

The crew rosters

Hope this was of interest and there is more to come soon...what does 1000 x painted 28mm Hoplites look like ??