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Friday, 24 November 2017

A Douglas and a Percy


My first two knights for Lion Rampant are a Douglas and a Percy.  The castings are Donnington New Era and very nice they are too.  The heraldry especially for Percy was more than tricky and to be honest I need to improve a bit there.  I’ll get there with practice or less complex designs I suppose.



Anyhow the psychological barrier is broken and I’ll now press on a pair of knights at a time.  



Here they both are with their pals.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

IR Macquire Painting White on White- A Method





This is IR Macquire and as you can see their uniform and accoutrements are mainly white.  This of course is a painter’s nightmare especially in the smaller scales.  The difficulty is making detail stand out and not be subsumed in a sea of whiteness.  There are many proposed solutions to the problem from black lining which looks unnatural to building up various shades of grey or cream to white which is very time consuming.  Worse, unless very skilfully done it might not work.

I want to share another method to bring succour to fellow aficionados of French or Austrian Forces. Let’s turn again to IR Maquire who could so easily be a white out but instead have nice definition.  




This is how they were painted in a timely and effective fashion.

The cleaned-up Blue Moon 15/18mm castings were given an undercoat of undiluted white.  Then the bases were painted tan with no care to avoid overrunning on shoes or gaiters.

Once dry the hats, gaiters, shoes, scabbards and cartridge boxes were painted black. Once again overrunning was ignored.  Then musket stocks and hair and haversacks were painted. Coloured facings and cockades were added.

Finally flesh and metal buttons, hilts etc were carefully painted and the locks, barrels and bayonets of the muskets.

Once dry the castings received a wash of undiluted brown ink and were left to dry overnight.

Then using white I painted over the now nicely delineated straps, turn backs, hat lace and highlighted limbs and waistcoat edges. Leave to dry, varnish and base.


I hope you’ll agree they do look tolerably nice.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Here come the Huns

There was a time when we thought we knew about the Huns. 


There was a time when we thought we knew about everything-but naturally enough we are still learning.



The Huns moved off the steppe of the Great Eurasian Plain, they used an asymmetric composite bow that was a world beater.  Some of them, or all of them, practiced, facial scarification and cranial deformation and so to Europeans looked utterly hideous. The one description we have of their body type makes them sound like Comanches, powerful, squat and bandy.  I suggest no connection.

Apparently, they favoured a mouse skin garment, which sounds funny until you consider how many mice had to be carefully flayed and tanned to cover even a bit of the smallest Hun.  That was conspicuous consumption on a grand scale.


We don’t know their language, or even what they called themselves never mind what the actually looked like.  We do know that when in battle they could disperse and combine at a frightening speed shooting their hard hitting bows at will.  Unlike some other nomadic horse archers all Huns liked to get stuck in.  Ferociously.



For a brief period the Huns ran the greatest protection racket the Classical World had ever seen. Many subject German Peoples fought for them.  A combination of sheer terror and a share of the loot for the leading aristocrats held them in place.  The Huns really did change everything as Peter Heather rightly tells us.  



These are mine for Romans Rampant.  That leaves me with just one more unit of unarmoured German cavalry to do and my retinues for Roman Lion Rampant can hit the table for a try out.


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Love and Marriage

One night as they lay in bed Medb said to husband Ailill I brought more to this marriage than you did.  He is outraged and denies it.  The row escalates and soon the whole household is up as the royal couple shout for the totality of their possessions to be assembled to settle the argument.  Matters proceed apace but with each new comparison no supremacy can be established.  Until that is, the cattle are compared.  Ailill has a bull that is indubitably better, better by far, better beyond dispute. 

Did Ailill crow? Did he chortle? Did he quietly and provokingly say Sin E (That’s that.) and decide to go back to bed?  It didn’t matter because Medb was furious and she called her people to her and demanded they bring her a bull to match that of Ailill and restore her loss of face.  So, the Táin Bó Cúailnge, the Irish Iliad, begins and so does a war.

Let’s deconstruct what is going on here.  Our protagonists are the ruling couple of Connacht, royal from the day of their births.  From their first spoonful of honey and cream thickened porridge they had been told that they were without compare. First in beauty, wit and valour.  By dint of family connections and personal ability they had got to the top in a very competitive world. 

It’s tempting then, to see the incident as an overprivileged couple badly falling out over a trifle.  That would be to miss the point, the story is entirely political.

When Medb questioned Ailill contribution to the marriage she was instigating a challenge to the distribution of power in their kingdom.  For their marriage was legally of the best sort. Comadas and Comchenél, suitable and equal the jurists said. The couple were equal in beauty, wit, courage and status and both of their kin groups approved the marriage.  It provided for equal decision making within the union.

Were such a marriage to be dissolved, as they often were, then all brought to and gained by the marriage would be divided by halves.  That was the law.  There were of course many other less advantageous forms of marriage.

Ailill would have been alarmed at Medb’s words.  Probably he feared she had identified a future husband which would mean a civil war in the kingdom.  He had after all killed Medb’s previous husband in single combat. Possibly his life and the prestige of his clan were at stake.  At the end of the great counting he could relax, he had moved from equal to superior.

Not so Medb, the instigator was undone, she was no longer an equal and had badly devalued the status of her marriage, damaging her own clan’s prestige in the process.  Ailill could now, at least in theory, seek a wife of equal status who would be pre-eminent. To restore the balance, Medb was willing, and more importantly able, to launch a war.

So, the story goes and stripped of embroidery it no doubt reflects events but it’s importance lies in the world it shows us and its rules and conventions.

As a result, the world has the Táin Bó Cúailnge that provides a window to the Irish Iron Age, Cú Chulainn has literary and folkloric immortality and we, well we can understand that Celtic royal women had an agency of their own.

All of which makes me think Icenian Boudicca and her late husband Prasutagus.  I would suggest they had enjoyed a marriage of equals. Boudicca famously led a war.

Brigantian Cartimandua and her husband Venutius also clearly shared power and separately both of them started wars.  

Cartimandua took a lover, the ‘armour bearer’ Vellocatus - for whom the Romans thought she risked everything.  Contra Tacitus, I'd say he would most likely be another royal, albeit clearly too young to have achieved position.  I'd guess he was a close kinsman of Venutius.  A nephew, if we take tradition as our guide. 

Did sexual desire for a younger man move Cartimandua to civil war?  That would not be unlikely, but the politics of maintaining the Roman alliance would have weighed heavier. Venutius, a man pre-eminent in military skill as Tacitus tells us, was happy enough to take Rome on and eventually did so. Cartimandua preferred not to.

Cartimandua’s fate is unknown to us, as is that of Venutius, Vellocatus and Boudicca.  Medb and Ailill long ago passed into legend.  Yet all of them are recognisably human like us.

Mycenaean Lion Rampant Libyan Stats

So far as I can tell there was nothing particularly good or bad about Libyan forces back in the day. Among the Libyans there was not much armour about or even a systematic use of shields. I’ve gone for archers for the Libyan missile troops but equally and perhaps more fun they could be fielded as Bidowers.  

As no one seems to have talked of the ferocity of Libyan warriors I've eschewed the Fierce Foot category in favour of Yeoman spears with javelin throwing ability.

The Libyans seem to have been of average competence and numerous.  With that in mind here are my proposed stat’s for them.




Unit Name: Chariots of Libya – one unit

Points: 6
Models: 2 Chariots 4 runners

  Attack 6+
Attack Value
3+
Move7+, Max. Movement 5"
Defence Value5+
Shoot 6, range 8”
Shoot Value Hit on 4
Courage 3+
Armour 4
Special Rules

Counter-charge




Unit Name: Mighty Mesh Wesh – one unit

Points: 6
Models: 12

  Attack 6+
Attack Value
4+
Move 5+, Max. Movement 4"
Defence Value 4+
Shoot 6, range 3”
Shoot Value Hit on 5
Courage 4+
Armour 3
Special Rules





Unit Name: Warriors

Points: 4
Models: 12

  Attack 6+
Attack Value
5+
Move 5+, Max. Movement 4"
Defence Value 4+
Shoot 6, range 3”
Shoot Value Hit on 4
Courage 4+
Armour 1
Special Rules






Unit Name: Archers

Points: 4
Models: 12

  Attack 6+
Attack Value
6+
Move 6+, Max. Movement 4"
Defence Value 4+
Shoot 6+, range 3”
Shoot Value Hit on 4
Courage 4+
Armour 1
Special Rules


Saturday, 11 November 2017

IR Haller


I seem to have recovered my Seven Years War painting mojo.  Here are a couple of pics of IR Haller.  I’ll complete another Hungarian regiment and see how I’m going.  

All the toys are Blue Moon 15/18mm.  They are very nice but it is as well to carefully clean them up before painting as very fine wires of flash cling to the castings and may only become visible during painting.



The lovely flags are from Kronoscaf.  http://www.kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=Main_Page

As Honours of War requires five bases per unit compared to Field of Battle’s four I’m making up the difference with a base of Grenadiers.  These of course can happily be brigaded together for Field of Battle games.  Also painting 6 grenadiers at a time is not an overwhelming task.  Once again I'm appreciating the six figures per 30 x 30 base effect.

All good.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Mycenaean Lion Rampant Sea Peoples Stat's


Like every other gamer who read The End of the Bronze Age by Drews I have pondered how the Sea Peoples, nemesis of all chariots, would fare on the table top. I’m about to find out. 



At the moment I am treating all of the various Sea Peoples the same.  Experience or just the desire for variety might change that.  Here are the stat’s for Sea Peoples for Mycenaean Lion Rampant. They are, in Lion Rampant terms, fast moving Expert Serjeants with the javelin throwing ability of Foot Yeomen.  A handful in other words-but so were the Sea Peoples.

Unit Name: Sherden

Points: 6
Models: 12

  Attack 6+
Attack Value
4+
Move7+, Max. Movement 4"
Defence Value 4+
Shoot 6, range 3”
Shoot Value Hit on 5
Courage 4+
Armour 3
Special Rules

Counter-charge



As you can see my Sea Peoples retinue is a bit of a one trick pony, they swiftly advance, throw javelins and go in for the kill.




The toys are mostly Black Hat with some Chariot Miniatures mixed in.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Mycenaean Lion Rampant Chariot Stat's

I thought I’d done this an age ago, but seemingly not.  As you can see the ideas are quite simple we have three different type of chariot warriors.  They have a lot in common but there are differences.  

The Hatti charioteers exemplify the ideal, the Libyans are still reaching for it and the Mycenaeans are doing something different.  I’m an 'Arial Dogfight' and shoot ‘em up sort of chariot gamer favouring the model proposed in Slingshot by Ian Russell-Lowell.  

Contra Drews I’ve not gone for Mycenaeans with composite bows, instead they have javelins which they expertly cast and advantageous long spears. Note how powerful the composite bows are.  They are going to outrange and hit harder than all other bows on the table.  I had thought of giving the Libyans ordinary bows but reasoned if they could they could meet the expense of using chariots they could afford composite bows too.


Unit Name: Chariots of Hatti

Points: 6
Models: 2 Chariots 4 runners

  Attack 6+
Attack Value
4+
Move7+, Max. Movement 5"
Defence Value5+
Shoot 6, range 8”
Shoot Value Hit on 4
Courage 3+
Armour 4
Special Rules

Counter-charge





Unit Name: Chariots of the Mesh-Wesh

Points: 6
Models: 2 Chariots 4 runners

  Attack 6+
Attack Value
4+
Move7+, Max. Movement 5"
Defence Value 5+
Shoot 6, range 8”
Shoot Value Hit on 4
Courage 3+
Armour 3
Special Rules

Counter-charge




Unit Name: Chariots of Mycenae

Points: 6
Models: 2 Chariots 4 runners

  Attack 6+
Attack Value
3+
Move7+, Max. Movement 5"
Defence Value5+
Shoot 6, range 3”
Shoot Value Hit on 4
Courage 3+
Armour 4
Special Rules

Counter-charge, Battle Taxi-can either dismount and remount as part of a normal move.