Sunday, August 30, 2020

Thracian Light Cavalry #2

"Thracian month" on the blog concludes with a second unit of Thracian light cavalry.

These are Old Glory figures once again, and part of the original Macedonian lead purchase from Edgar a few years back. 

There is still enough lead in tjhe Macedonian pile for more Thracian peltasts, another phalanx or two, and some odds and ends. 

Regardless, the amount of unpainted Macedonian ,lead has plummeted sharply in 2021. 

My Old Glory Army card is good into early 2022, so I am thinking of expanding my Indian army to keep p[ace with them and the rest of my Ancient Army expansions of recent years. 

As these cavalry ride off on the past of conquest, next month looks to be Roman cavalry month!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Chariot Wars Refurb project commences

Regular readers will recall that I acquired  a substantial portion of the collection of Bill McHugh back in the Spring of 2019. Bill and I met at Historicon starting in the Fredericksburg years, and he was a regular player in my games. Sadly, just a few months after playing in most of my games at Histioricon 2018, Bill passed away quite suddenly. Jeff Grein was handling the sale of his collection for his widow, with the proceeds to benefit the choir in California  that Bill sang in. The bulk of the figures that I got were those pictured above, various non Egyptian troops of the Chariot Wars era, with the largest group being Hittites. There is another smaller lot of figures that are seemingly high medievals, mostly knights on cloth barded horses, with a smattering of spearmen, crossbowmen, and the like. . I haven't shown them as yet, as frankly they will need a lot of work to be usable. The past few weeks I have finally started the process of preparing the Chariot era figures for uptake into my own collection. 

Seen above: 2 units of Old Glory Peleset (presumed to be the "Philistines" of the Bible), a small unit of Hittite skirmishers, 2 units of Hittite Guardsmen,  ad a couple of Peleset "Heroes".  I believe the Hittites are from the venerable Foundry Ancients range. 

    Most but not all of these troops were singly based, I suspect for Warhammer Ancients or similar. Ever since I started collecting Ancient troops, circa 1976, I have used 60 mm frontage "WRG" element basing. This collection has to conform to that scheme. 

Above: 3 units of Old Glory Sherdans  plus a Hero or General ( I had to add and paint  few [4] extra figures to make the numbers right - fortunately I had a few left over figures from making my own Sherdans), and 2 units each of Hittite Axemen and Spearmen.

    Bill's troops were all based on a sort of rigid sheet steel compound, and then the space bewteen the bases was filled with what in most cases looks like Durham's Water Putty. Rock Hard" the product label says... pretty much true. Between the steel and the filler, this stuff was damned hard to cut - only cutting pliers would work, and that with much effort. The bases were *just* a bit wider than 20mm. The surface of the bases were finished in three or four completely different styles. Most were a white granular material, probably white sand and PVA glue, with areas stained in light green in places. Overall, I like the look of this basing. Others were just brown sand of 2 different styles, and others (Assyrian Cavalry) had what looks to me like aquarium gravel on the top layer. 

Ultimately the best solution, when removing the troops from their bases was the only option, proved to be soaking them ankle deep in water with some dish-washing detergent added, for 36 - 48 hrs, and then flexing the steel bases to loosen the figures enough to pry them off with a hobby knife. This created an abundant supply of somewhat obnoxious grit, but no fingers were lost!

 Pride of place goes to the Hittite Chariots - 18 in all! I believe these are all Foundry figures. Every last one needed repairs - re-attaching crew, wheels, and/or poles, and re-attachment to their bases. The chariots are all based on 40 x 60 mm stands, which agreeably matches my own scheme. The level of detailing on the cabs and teams was very uneven, so the majority needed additional painting, which is partially underway in the photo above. 

The remainder of the Hittite Chariots, plus some Hittite command bases and heroes; Assyrian Cavalry (partially updated with additional details - there will be a 6 figure Heavy Cavalry spear unit and a 4 figure Light Cavalry spear unit). I believe these are all Foundry. 

    The next thing I have to figure out is how to approximate Bill's original white grit basing style (I will be adding tufts to the bases as well). That may take some trial and error! 

Finally there is a mass of nondescript skirmishers - Bowmen, Slingers, and Javelinmen. I suspect these are supposed to be Canaanites, and are probably Foundry again. I don't particularly care for the rather featureless brown sand  with the occasional patch of light green flock used for their bases.

On the other hand, their bases are the right size, and so is the number of figures per base, so I think it won't be too hard to just add the new basing material over the top of this. 

    Work on this project will likely continue throughout the month of September, with the Chariots looking to be the first to be completed. They will then join my existing Hittites, which were also acquired second hand as a gift from my Band of Brothers 2 co-author, Ken Baggaley. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Thracian Peltasts #2

Although from the same pack of Old Glory  as the first unit of Thracians, these are about as different as can be.  

Partly that's the different style of shields...

and partly a very different set of colors and painting style. 

Much more subdued colors on these.

Obviously a different tribe from the first uinit! 

I especially enjoyed doing the cloaks!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Mid 3rd Quarter, 2020; Quo vadis?

   Yes, I have been painting some Romans, and no, this post is not about the book or the film (opening scene above) of the sane name. Quo vadis literally means where are you marching to, or where are you going? Usually by mid August I have recovered from Historicon and am ready to consider where the end of the year will take me, hobby wise. This year of course, Historicon, like almost every other convention after Cold wars this past March, was a casualty of the damned Covid-19 pandemic, and any of the usual conventions this Fall seem more or less out of the question. Tim Couper from the UK and I are already planning to attend Historicon 2021, although even that us far from a sure thing at this point. Ergo, Quo Vadis, Petronius? (with simncere appologies to anyone out there who actually understand Latin grammar!)

    First of all, given the continued relative dearth of gaming, the accelerated assualt upon the famous Lead Pile is likely to continue through the end of 2020 at least. Napoleonics and Ancients have seen the bulk of the action thus far, with a smattering ECW unist for spice. The same trend is likely to continue, with the refurb and rebase project on Bill McHugh's Chariot Wars figures obtained, sadly from his estate,  last year being already well underway. Other possible additions would be some additional Renaissance troops, and making a start on muy small Darkest Africa/Congo project.

    Second, I have been doing quite a bit of Zoom gaming ()to be covered in a later post) with Tim Couper and David Knight (both located in Scotland), play testing a new set of rules for the Wars of the Roses and related conflicts that they have been working hard on developing. I expect that to continue for some time. My one attempt at hosting a Zoom game was less than successful when I discovered that the never used camera in my laptop was non functional. A webcam has been obtained, but I have yet to tackle setting it up. To the Strongest would appear to continue to be a good candidate for Zoom games.

    I hope to hold a small FTF socially distanced game or two, probably in the garage, in September/October if the Covid-19 pandemic remains pretty quiet here in Connecticut (after a very harrowing Spring, we have had among the lowest rates of Covid-19 in the US for several months now). That could change quickly, though, with the return of kids to school in various fashions happening soon.

    Certainly, some continued solo gaming remains a high probability. I continue to have quite a few rules sets that I want to try out, including FoB3 for the ECW, Grand Fleet Actions for the Age of Sail, and several Sci-Fi naval sets. Then there are Mark's 123 Napoleonics, General d' Armee, and Eagles Cheaper than Brain Cells on the Napoleonic front. Fionally, late in the year, some Congo scenarios might appear.

   On the professional level, I am slated to decrease my (nominal) office hours from 4.5 days to week (about 60 - 70 hours worked per week) as of October 1st. So what did I do?  I accepted a new job as Family Medicine Clerkship Director for our Network, starting October 1st! Am I dumb, or what, LOL! Actually, I've been teaching 3rd year medical students (as well as a few NP and now PA students) in my office since about 1985, and at one time or another have held appointments as an Associate Clinical Professor at 4 different medical schools - The University of Connecticut, Quinnipiac University, American University of the Caribbean, and the University of Vermont. The job entails supervising the 3rd year students clinical rotations (called clerkships in the odd terminology of medical education... don't ask me why!); making sure thety all have a place to go for training, overseeing the process and quality of experience, some formal teaching sessions, and doubtless other annoying duties that I will be learning too much about shortly, I fear !  :-) I will continue to teach individual students in our office, which is really a high point of my work life.

    Of course, as anno 2020 has so amply demonstrated, no plans ever survive the encounter with reality intact! I hope that all of you stay safe meanwhile!


Sunday, August 16, 2020

Thracian Light Cavalry #1

Earlier this summer, I completed 2 units of Thracian Heavy Cavalry, a key component of Alexander's forces.  These are some of their lighter armed brethren!

They are composed of yet more troops from my original Macedonian lead purchase  from Edgar back in the Fall of 2016. 

With only 4 castings needed for a LC unit in the scheme I use for To the Strongest, they require few figures. 

I am pretty sure these figures are Old Glory, especially judging by the horses. 

Light cavalry don't get much glory, but they do the essential work of the army in scouting, screening, raiding etc.!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Wizard Kraft Rivers, redux

Unfortunately, a year or so ago, the bulk of my collection of Wizard Kraft blue rivers disappeared to parts unknown. I really love this stuff (see my pots related to their Kickstarter a few years back), and there really isn't anything else quite like it. Fortunately, I was finally able to procure replacements and more for all of the rivers I had purchased over 20+ years direct from William. 

20 l;near feet of straight 1" (water width) rivers, including 3 foerds, some 8" and 4" sections, and many with rocks as well. Virtually none are the same!

 32 x 45 degree curves!

 Once again, almost no two pieces are exactly the same, and many have the new "rocks" added as well.  

1" extras of various kinds 

It isn't obvious at first, but 2 Y's can be used to make an island within a river, such as at Landshut! I love the new swamp designs William did for the Kickstarter as well. The end pieces come in very handy, and two of them together can make a small lake or pond.

I use 2" (water width) rivers for major rivers (in 28 mm), such as the Danube or the Elbe.  

 Once again, each piece is unique!

2" extras.... 

3 Forks, 15 curves (William included quite a bit of langniappe with my order!), 4 end pieces and three swamp pieces. 

Tim from the UK participated in the order as well, and got this awesome collection of 1/2" rivers (streams). Using much less of the resin, flock, etc that William uses to create these pieces, the set was surprisingly reasonable.

The Kickstarter back in 2016 kind of exhausted William, and he decided to go with just selling at local conventions thereafter, for the most part, but has done mail orders for some past or highly interested new customers. With no conventions happening this year, he's open to some additional orders. If anyone is interested, I can put you in touch with him.   

Monday, August 10, 2020

Thracian Peltasts #1

Returning to the Ancient era, next off the production line is this unit of Thracian Peltasts. I see I need to add paint to their beards, though!

The Thracians were a diverse group of tribes, with traditional dress varying quite a bit from area to area. They were known as fierce fighters, and on foot they fought lightly armed, using mobility to harass and evade the heavily armed hoplites of the Greek city states. 

They proved so successful that the Greeks hired them as mercenaries, and also emulated by developing their own Peltasts, the troop type as a whole being the epitome of the old WRG "light Medium Infantry". 

Whether the characteristic crescent shaped shields of these Thracians was made of wicker or not is a subject of debate, but these Old Glory figures have shields with that appearance. 


The shields might be painted with animal faces or other decorations, perhaps in part varying by tribe. I was feeling lazy so I went with leaving them relatively plain!

Their cloaks could be adorned with various geometric patters, but once again laziness lead to the lack of same appearing here!

In addition to their Javelins, the Thracians were usually armed also with a long spear, or the fearsome rhomphaia, a somewhat curved single edged long sword, usually wielded 2 handed.

An interesting short video testing two  modern rhomphaias