Ancients: 15mm DBA Carthaginians Finished

15mm DBA Carthaginian Mounted I purchased this army four years ago, back in 2006, and I finally got the last base off my paint station a week ago. This is a DBA army and like all DBA armies, it consists of 12 bases of figures. That means I’ve painted this army at a rate of THREE 15mm bases per year which by any definition is a fairly relaxed painting schedule.

To be fair I have painted other things in the interim, and at the moment I’m just working to clear the odd figure off my paint station. In particular I desperately need to finish Griff’s Genestealers which have definitely been festering in my garage for far too long! Also, if you’re wondering, it was the General’s base to the right of the Elephant that I had to finish to complete the army.

15mm DBA Carthaginian Infantry We haven’t really played a lot of DBA for years either, although now I have one painted army, I’m tempted to just base up the Romans as well and try to lure Aaron into some more games. The few games we did play I quite enjoyed. DBA is a nice fast system and you can get a game over in an hour which means you can cram a couple of games into an evening week-night pretty easily. Daniel has been raving incoherently about Fields of Glory being a better system, but frankly with a three hour play time per game I’m not really that interested. I’m happy to sacrifice a level of detail for a considerably shorter play time. Feel free to weigh in with your DBA vs FOG comments below if you’re experienced with both systems.

Ancients: Final Carthaginian Spear

15mm Carthaginian Spear Continuing on with things I’m supposed to have finished last year here’s the last 15mm Corvus Belli Carthaginian Spear for my DBA force. This leaves me the final ‘General’ unit of Cavalry to paint before the close of January, which might actually achieve.

It’s hard to believe I picked these forces up over two years ago, but apparently that is the case. Once the Carthaginians are complete I’ll start on the Polybian Romans, then I’ll try to lure Aaron and other gaming buddies into a few more games of De Bellis Antiquitatis. I’m confident they’ll fall for it if I can offer up two painted 15mm Ancients armies to game with. Of course given my track record with the first army they’ll probably be safe until around early 2011! By which time my eldest son will be seven and a half, which might be a good age to start exposing him to war games like DBA, possibly in a slightly simplified kid friendly form?

15mm Carthaginian Spear At any rate the painted Carthaginians are looking quite nice ranked up on my garage shelves and I’m looking forward to posting some shots of the finished force. For the interim, here’s the three Spear bases ranked up. If you’re wondering about the simple flat colour shields, it’s because I am still considering purchasing some 15mm decals to apply to them for a little more ‘pop’.

Ancients: Carthaginian Cavalry

Carthaginian Cavalry In order to get 2009 off to a good start hobby-wise I’m determined to finish my Carthaginian DBA force this month. Aaron made a joke at our first gaming night of 2009 and damn it he’s right that it has taken me a long time to paint twelve small stands of 15mm Ancients figures.

So last week I finished off this cavalry base which leaves me two bases more to go: the General’s cavalry base and a final base of Carthaginian Spear and then I can start on the Polybian Romans. That’s a total of ten 15mm figures left to paint.

All six figures on this cavalry base were painted separately. The horses first, which were then based and left until the painted riders were added. This turned out to be something of a mistake so I’ll glue the primed horses and riders together for the General’s cavalry stand before painting.

I really should try and convince Aaron to play some more DBA this year as well, because the handful of games we had last year were certainly interesting…

Ancients: More Carthaginian Spear

Corvus Belli Carthaginian Spear Painted Once again it’s been a slow month here hobby wise. Largely because we have a teething baby in the house and I’ve been looking for a new job. At any rate, here’s another base of 15mm Spear men for my DBA Carthaginian army.

These chaps have been given red shields to distinguish them from the other base I’ve already painted. Historically Liby-Phonecian Spear men were the ‘citizen soldiers’ of the Carthaginian army, so it’s entirely possible each man had a personal shield decoration. Indeed 28mm Ancients gamers do seem to enjoy painting unique shield patterns on their Carthaginian forces, like this fine example from Lonely Gamers.

Corvus Belli Carthaginian Spear Painted However I have neither the time nor the patience to come up with twelve uniquely painted shield patterns. Instead I’m going to do each base with a different set of shields as it’s easier and presents a less busy looking army when they’re finally all ranked up. Although of course I could always purchase some 15mm decals and apply them to the flat coloured shields at a later date.

Speaking of ranks, after painting this base I’m left with three more bases to go to complete this DBA army. Another base of Spear men, and two Cavalry bases, one of which is the command group for the army. The two Cavalry bases will be the most fun to paint, so I’ll probably do one of them next. With a little luck I may have at least one DBA army finished by the end of this year!

Corvus Belli Carthaginian Spear Painted Here are the two bases of Spear men next to each other and it seems the chaps with the red shields are a little better drilled than the first base I painted. Ranking them up like this does make me wonder if the figures should be presented facing front, with their shields to their right side, but by the gods if I was a soldier on an ancient battlefield I’d certainly be facing shield forward!

Ancients: Carthaginian Spear, Numidian Auxilia

Corvus Belli 15mm Carthaginian Spear I’ve painted two more bases of Infantry for my DBA Carthaginian force. This time it’s the first of three Corvus Belli Liby-Phonecian Spearmen, and the single base of Numidian Auxilia.

As I mentioned in my last Ancients post, these figures were all painted separately and then glued to their base which was built up and painted around them. This turned out to be less of a challenge that I thought it was going to be, thank goodness. Normally I base my figures and then paint them after I’ve done the ground work around them, but I guess plenty of people go the opposite way, so I don’t quite know what I was concerned about.

At any rate, the Liby-Phonecian spearmen turned out quite nicely I thought. I couldn’t think of anything particularly interesting to paint on the shields of this first unit, so went with a basic bronze finish. One of the advantages of playing Ancients is description of the forces and individuals involved often rely on tiny fragments of ancient text, or have been entirely lost to time. So you can often do whatever you want with the paint schemes.

Corvus Belli 15mm Numidian Auxilia I plan to paint the shields on each base the same, but vary the shield colours between each of the three bases for a bit of variety. Ideally I’d really like some 15mm round decals to apply to these curved shields for some really fine detail. However I haven’t really explored finding any suitable decal manufacturers in this scale – Veni Vidi Vici look interesting though. Can any of our fine visitors recommend a good supplier of 15mm round decals they’ve used in the past?

The Numidian Auxilia I’m not so happy with as I’ve always had difficulty in painting a darker skin tone. Largely this is because I typically do a couple of rounds of simple highlighting in 15mm, but for darker skin colours this just seems to end up looking muddy. Mind you this base was painted pretty quickly as I found them fairly uninteresting sculpts. Ah well, they are only Auxilia!

All that remains to complete my DBA Carthaginian army is two more bases of Liby-Phonecian Spearmen and two bases of Cavalry, one of which includes the General and his retinue. This next week I’ll probably focus on knocking off the next two bases of Spearmen before concentrating on the Cavalry, which is much more time consuming to paint because of the horses. Then I’m really looking forward to lining them all up and taking some shots of my entire Carthaginian army.

Ancients: Carthaginian Elephant, Numidian Horse

Corvus Belli 15mm Carthaginian Elephant I’m still painting my 15mm Corvus Belli Carthaginian army for DBA. This weekend I completed two more elements to bring the army to the half way point of six painted elements.

First up is the Carthaginian War Elephant which was an amusing unit to paint. Hard to believe the War Elephant was an effective unit in Ancient armies, but apparently it was, particularly against cavalry and massed units of infantry. As this elephant miniature featured in my Pinning with Blu Tack tutorial back in late 2006, it’s nice to finally see it complete and varnished.

I had fun finishing this element as I painted the mahout and soldiers separately from the elephant and then fitted them together once dry. I then discovered I couldn’t get the mahout to sit behind the ears, mainly because of the long pole that ran from his right hand to his hip! A little swearing followed by some creative filing fixed that without visible effect on the final piece thank goodness.

Corvus Belli 15mm Numidian Light Horse The other unit I completed was the single base of Numidian Light Horse in the army. The Numidians were mercenaries for Carthage in the Punic wars. Like the Romans, the Carthaginians used a fair number of mercenary units in their ancient armies. This is reflected in the DBA Carthaginian army list, which is something of a mixed bag of DBA unit types, from Psiloi and Auxilia, Light Cavalry (which is what these Numidians are) to Cavalry, Spears and Elephants.

All these unit types makes them a challenging army to play I think because you’ve got a number of options regarding fighting strength and maneuverability. Compared with the Polybian Roman army I’ve put together, half of which consists of six Blade elements, the Carthaginians are a positive circus. Still it makes them an interesting army to paint and I’m looking forward to seeing them ranked up once they’re done.

Next on the list is a unit of Numidian Spear as Auxilia and possibly a Phonecian Cavalry element. That will leave me the General’s Cavalry element and three elements of Libyan Spear to paint. These remaining six elements will all be a challenge because their close formations mean I can’t use my usual method of painting on the base. The figures are being painted separately and then based and finished, which is something I haven’t really tried before in 15mm scale.

Ancients: Carthaginian Slingers

Carthaginian Slingers It’s been a wet and wild month in New Zealand, with the country encountering an almost record amount of rainfall for July. A month of awful weather has inspired me to get some painting done, and a desire to try some DBA means I’m focused on painting my two 15mm Corvus Belli Ancients armies. First up is the Carthaginians which I ordered in December 2006, primed in April 2007 and have since been languishing in the gaming cupboard.

Carthaginian Slingers As it’s been a while I’ve warmed up by painting the least interesting units in the army first, four elements of Baleric Slingers or Psiloi as DBA classes them. As a DBA army always has twelve elements, these four bases represent a third of the entire force! So it seems a pity it’s taken me so long to get around to painting them, particularly considering they’re only eight 15mm figures in total.

Ancient slingers were a force to be reckoned with apparently, and in DBA they evidently act as a nice supporting unit to front rank elements. Now they’re out of the way I can paint up some of the more interesting units in the Carthaginian force!

Review: Musketeer Miniatures Naffatun

Musketeer Miniatures Naffatun Shortly after I posted a link to Musketeer Miniatures excellent sculpting tutorial back in March I ordered a couple of their 28mm Naffatun figures from their Armies of the Caliphates range and some ProCreate epoxy putty.

Unfortunately my first order got lost in the International mail, but Bill from Musketeer was good enough to send me a replacement free of charge which reached me last week. I certainly appreciate that level of customer service and it was very kind of him considering the margins most independent figure manufacturers work with.

The figures are expertly cast with barely noticeable mold lines and a few tiny flash spikes from venting holes. It took me around a minute each figure to flick the spikes off and run an Xacto blade over the mold lines. The figures are cleanly sculpted and posed in convincing throwing stances. For people wielding naptha bombs they’re appropriately dressed in heavy robes, trousers and have covered faces. I’ve you’ve seen 300 recently you may recall Persian Naffatun appeared briefly before suffering an unfortunate accident with their stockpile of grenades.

Muskeeter have several interesting ranges that seem to be aimed at the Warhammer Historical rule set. These Naffatun figures come from the Caliphates range which I believe is designed as opponents for early Medieval Crusader armies around 1000AD. Their other ranges include early Saxons, from a similar period, as well as Russians and Swedes from the 1700’s.

However I’ll be using them as generic Pulp Hashshashins, throwing who knows what – could be naptha, or hand grenades, or pots of flesh eating scarabs! This is why I’ve placed a Copplestone Castings Pulp Hero between the two Naffatun above for scale comparison. As you can see they’re a perfectly good match for the 28mm scale hero and it’s something of a pity Museketeer only have two distinct Naffatun figures otherwise I’d have ordered more. These figures didn’t come with bases by the way, I’ve rebased them on the Games Workshop plastic bases I use for all my Pulp figures.

I summary I’m perfectly happy with the figures and impressed with the level of service I received from Musketeer, particularly since I placed such a small order. I also received a pack of ProCreate putty from Musketeer which I haven’t had a chance to try yet. I’ll review this in the future once I’ve sculpted something interesting with it!

Primer Madness II

Primer Madness Keeping on the painting roll, I’ve primed another batch of figures including my first Ancients DBA army: Corvus Bellis 15mm Carthaginians. I’ve also dug up enough research (thanks in part to Phil from PitYak) to paint them in some reasonable approximation of historical accuracy.

Although of course there’s a lot of leeway in interpretation, since modern descriptions of armies that existed over two millenia ago largely rely on contemporary fragments of ancient statuary, pottery and books, many of which were created hundreds of years after the fact.

De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) requires your 15mm figures to be based quite close together, particularly Infantry elements like Blade and Spear, which also have quite shallow bases to represent their disciplined nature (it reduces the command distance). So for the first time I’ll have to resort to painting most of the 15mm figures prior to basing them which will be an interesting exercise. Hence you can see a lot of Infantry and Cavalry horses on iceblock sticks or with lengths of garden wire up their fundaments. Now they’re primed I have to say they don’t look that daunting. DBA is twelve bases per army, which is equivalent to say two full Infantry platoons in Flames of War. Surely they won’t take that long to paint!

I’ve also primed two more Flames of War British 6pdr Portees for my NZ force. My gaming group is starting a 600pt Flames of War campaign which I think we’re all using as an excuse to get a few more figures painted. Nothing motivates one more than a few games with unpainted units! I’ll be playing my primed DAK Germans, but figure I might as well knock a few NZers on the head first. Flames of War with 600pts a side is good fun by the way as you can play quite a challenging game to completion in around an hour and a half tops, even with foot sloggers involved.

Finally to the far left the last group of figures to get primed were the Westwind Cairo civilians which I need to get painted up for the next .45 Pulp Adventure campaign.

Primer Madness

Primer Madness I have a garage full of unpainted figures and various spray cans of primer, colours, varnish etc. like most hobbyists I imagine. I tend to clean up, base and prime figures in small batches and leave them on my paint station until they’re done. That way I’ve always got something to pick up when I feel like painting, but I don’t have to expend a lot of effort to clean and base figures that aren’t going to see a brush for months or even years.

Late last year I finished up my last can of Citadel ‘Skull White’ primer and dutifully purchased a replacement from a local model store. However I didn’t get around to using it a couple of weeks ago, when I discovered to my disgust that a full can of white primer had somehow rusted itself shut around the point the nozzle attaches to the can. I’ve never had a can do this to me before so I’m at a loss to explain what caused it. It’s summer over here and the can was stored on a high shelf in a bone dry garage. Yet there was obvious rust around the can top and not a drop would spray – despite the fact the can was definitely full.

It was at this point I noticed the can I’d purchased late 2006 was the older style – namely a simple white can without the Games Workshop branding. Does anybody recall when GW changed their primer can branding? Presumably the can I’d purchased had been sitting on a store shelf long before that.

After cursing the fates, local model store owners, Games Workshop and swearing never to use their products again I eventually relented and picked up a fresh can of primer from Vagabond in Queen St. This time I made very sure it was a new blue, rebranded spray can.

Since then I’ve been in the grip of ‘Primer Madness’. Basing and priming all my outstanding Pulp figures from Copplestone, Artizan and Obelisk, including the Obelisk Baboons and Hyenas that just arrived last week. I’ve also primed the two Bolt Action Sdkfz 222 Scout Cars that arrived mid January and that 15mm Flames of War Jeep you can see to the left is the last transport vehicle I have to paint to complete my NZers.

Ominously there also appears to be something odd with my current can too: the nozzle tends to angle spray downwards, hitting the side of the can and your hand as well, which is why the can top above is slowly turning white. I just hope the damn thing lasts long enough to prime my Flames of War DAK Panzergrenadiers and Corvus Bellis Romans and Carthaginians.

Now I’ll have to spend the rest of 2007 painting this lot!