Saga: The Phalanx of Syracuse

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , on April 7, 2021 by Sean

My Greek army of the city of Syracuse is complete. This force will serve in both Saga: Age of Hannibal and Clash of Spears. I plan on adding more units later, but for now it is done.

Here is the complete army. In Saga terms it has 3 points of Warriors (24 in total), 2 points of Hearthguard (8 men), and 1 point of Levy (12 javelin men). On the table the Warriors will form 2 12-man units, flanking the 8-man Hearthguard unit. Depending on the scenario or opponent, the Levy will either form up into a 12-man swarm or 2 6-man units to skirmish.

The second pic is the force formed up into a more historical phalanx formation.

The Warlord, the Tyrant of Syracuse, was posed pretty aggressively, advancing with his standard bearer to battle. The model was taken from Mortal Gods, and the banner man is from Victrix like the rest of the army. I wanted the Warlord to bear a unique shield, so a red-eyed cyclops glowers at his foes. The standard bears the golden laurels of victory.

The next pic is the other half of the Levy unit (I posted the Peltasti previously). These men are Thureophoroi, an evolved Greek soldier, a derivation of the hoplite. They were mostly unarmored, with lighter thureos shields based on Celtic designs. They filled a role between phalanx and skirmish, capable of fighting with spear and javelin. I built them out of unarmored Hoplite Victrix models, with a mix of javelins and spear. They got capes from the Gallic plastic set, with topknots from the same set. They stand out from the Peltasti so I can field them as a separate unit.

I plan on adding a unit of Greek cavalry, a mounted Warlord, and some Archers at some point, but it’s nice to reach an endpoint.

Blood & Valor: Down in the Trenches

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2021 by Sean

This week’s game of Blood & Valor was a fun variant of the Disabled Tank scenario. The French had broken through the German lines, into the secondary trench network, but their push had stalled and a tank was stuck in the middle of it all. With the Germans coming to take back their trenches, the French scrambled to rescue their tank.

We had a cool table, criss-crossed by trenches and craters. I’ve been thinking of a variant rule for trenches, and we tried them out.

Trenches and dugouts count as hard cover as normal. In addition, for this scenario, they also count as difficult terrain at their edges. Units could choose to either be ‘on’ the trench, on a parapet, firestep, or ladder, or ‘in’ the trench, running on the boards. Units on a trench line have normal LOS, but benefit from cover. Units in the trench do not have LOS, but also cannot be targeted by normal shooting. Grenades, bombardments, flame throwers, and snipers can target units in a trench. A unit on the outer edge of the trench can see down into it as normal.

To move into a trench from the surface is a normal move, but moving from in the trench to on the firestep requires a move action, as does moving from on the firestep to the surface. Movement inside the trench is normal, so units can move or run down the line.The LOS restrictions also affects commanders, so the Grand Maneuvers and command points might not work on all units nearby. A commander on the trench wall can draw LOS to units inside the trench and on the surface.

Not sure how well these rules changes work out, but it seemed interesting for our game. It changed up our decisions that’s for sure. In the game the French swarmed their side of the table, while the Germans were more careful. We both snuck units forward in the trench network, with both sides sending units over the top to push forward. The tank crawled away, but lucky fire kept pinning it down. French casualties were building but we ran out of time with the tank still in question.

My French army is currently a mishmash of Great War miniatures from WW1 and WW2 French from Warlord, with a few German units standing in as well. I plan on rebuilding most of the army with proper WW1 gear and uniforms when Wargames Atlantic releases their French plastic set. I think it will be a mix of sky blue and khaki, representing colonial forces and Foreign Legion units reinforcing the standard French army.

Saga: Hammer and Anvil

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , on March 2, 2021 by Sean

The army of Syracuse for Saga: Age of Hannibal grows. I’ve finished a unit of the Tyrant’s Bodyguard (2 points of Hearthguard) who form the core of the Greek phalanx. In most games I’ve played with the army in Saga, the Bodyguard have been the unit bringing destruction to enemy lines. With Warrior units on each flank, they can crush most enemies.

The Hearthguard are almost all Victrix, like the rest of the army, with the addition of a miniature from Mortal Gods. The leader of the Bodyguard eschews armor in favor of pure machismo apparently, but I liked his unique look. The rest of the unit is armored up, many carrying aprons on their shields. The shield devices were all hand-painted this time.

The other unit is half a point of Levy, in the form of Peltasti with javelins. These light troops are the army’s skirmishers, able to run around and harry enemies with potshots, or in a pinch swarm weakened targets. In one game they put fatigues on a Carthaginian elephant unit with a javelin toss, before charging, exhausting them. This allowed a Hoplite unit to finish them off. I love when units play to their historical roles.

The other 6 Levy will be painted up as Thureophoroi, heavy skirmisher/spearmen with larger shields and thrusting spears along with javelins. In games the two different groups can be fielded together or as 2 units of 6, and the visual divide will help matters.

More to come. I have a bunch more Hoplites to do, as well as the two version of the Tyrant (foot and mounted). I plan on doing a point of Greek cavalry to give me choices too.

Saga: Magna Graecia

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2021 by Sean

It’s been a while since I’ve updated. A mixture of teaching, moving, and working through some painting fatigue slowed my production down. I have been working on my own models to help overcome that inertia.

My Greeks for Saga: Age of Hannibal have been underway for a few weeks now. I’ve finished enough to post here. I plan on using the Syracuse faction rules for the army, but might use the Italiotes rules sometimes. The Syracusans’ rules are the closest to a classical ‘Hoplite’ formation, rather than the Macedonian-style of Epirus or the light Thureophoroi/Peltasti of the Italiotes.

Pictured here are some of the Warriors Hoplites, armed with the traditional spear, linothorax, and hoplan. By the time of the Punic Wars, this style is pretty archaic, supplanted by pikemen or thureophoroi. Their armor and helmets are all over the place historically, with some helmet designs separated by centuries, but I liked the mix of styles.

The Victrix plastic kit is pretty nice, but has the problem that the armored torsos only have 4 poses (8 on a sprue, doubled up). I wanted some more variety, plus I liked the idea that some of the phalanx wouldn’t be as well equipped as others. I mixed in a bunch of unarmored torsos from the Peltasts kit. In battle, the armored spearmen would fight up front, with the unarmored bringing up the rear.

The second pic features the Hoplites formed into bigger phalanxes. I also wanted to show off the armor, since the shields tend to cover the whole body (their point of course). The shield devices were almost all hand painted, with a few transfers added in.

I’ll be adding more Hoplites, picking out a few individuals as Hearthguard (mostly the ones with shield aprons). I’ll also be working on some Peltasts for the Levy javelinmen. I’m looking forward to painting up the army’s Warlord, the Tyrant of Syracuse.

Saga: Age of Hannibal- The Gauls

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2021 by Sean

With the arrival of the Age of Hannibal expansion for Saga, my Gauls now have another route to take the field. The army was originally built for Clash of Spears, which I managed to play a few weeks ago. Still a great game! But I really was looking forward to Saga’s take on my favorite mustachioed madmen.

The army converted to Saga was almost unchanged, with a few additions. I had to create a mounted version of the Warlord (Saga Gallic Warlord is always mounted, whereas the Clash version has a choice of foot or mounted). I also had to add a pair of extra Gallic Nobles to field 2 points of Hearthguard. I already had a full 2 points of foot Hearthguard. They can also be mixed into the Warriors units to pad out their numbers.

Next up are a couple units of Warriors. These didn’t require any changes, though I added a few more random Warriors models just in case.

Alongside the Warriors are a couple units of Levies, the Juves. One unit is armed with javelins, the others have slings. Since I would only field 1 of these units at a time, their standard bearer can join either one.

Here is the army massed for their first game of Saga. I played a friend’s Republican Romans in a standard Clash of Warlords fight. He was subbing in his Late Romans for Early Romans, which explains all the pants and pepperpot hats.

The first game went very well, with the Gauls able to unleash lots of dice in combat and move bunches of units all at once.

My usual army will be a mounted Warlord, 2 points of mounted Hearthguard (8 Nobles in one unit), 3 points of Warriors (24 Gallic Warriors in 3 units of 8), and 1 point of Levy (12 Juves with javelins or slings; ruleswise Gauls can’t take slings, but I had painted up the unit for Clash, and since bows and slings have the same range, I just use my slings instead).

Last up is a preview of the next force for Saga and Clash- Greeks!

Blood & Valor: No-Man’s-Land

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2021 by Sean

I’ve gotten in some more work on armies for Blood & Valor. The Germans are still waiting for some random models, but I’ve finished a few units for my future French army. I’ve been using my Bolt Action Early War WW2 French for games, subbing them in as the Foreign Legion, which had uniforms roughly similar to their WW1 counterparts.

I plan on building a proper force in the mid-war Sky Blue uniforms when Wargames Atlantic releases their plastic French Riflemen. Until then I’ve got a few metal units from Great War Miniatures.

First is a Hotchkiss M1914 machine gun team, crewed in some of those lovely bright blue longcoats and hats. The gun itself is pretty unassuming, with a dull black metal finish and green tripod. I like the detail of the extra ammo boxes and the crewmen’s rifles off to the side. I found out the ammunition wasn’t belt-fed, instead being fed into the gun on a large strip like an automatic rifle.

Next are a small unit of Rifles, wearing early-to-mid-war uniforms. I wanted to use the sky blue colors rather than the amazingly garish dark blue coat/red trousers look. I added a detail to show the packs these poor guys had to hump around on the battlefield. I imagine that metal cup on top would hit you in the back of your head every step you took. It’s interesting that these French and my Germans barely look like they’re from the same war.

Once again I found myself seeing the limitations of metal models. These have thick and sometimes chunky details, soft edges, and odd undercuts. Not to say they weren’t fine models, I’m just more used to plastics nowadays.

On another note, I’ve been getting in some games. The most recent saw my Germans face off against a friend’s Americans in the Downed Pilot scenario. I’ve done that one before, as the Defender, but this time I was the Attacker. This meant my force was set up at the start, and the Americans moved on, but at least they were able to set up the Pilot in the center at a point of their choosing.

I set up the table using the Green Stuff World trenches set. These are the neoprene prints, and I can’t recommend them more. They do so well at making a great looking table. We set it up like this was an abandoned section left from when the front shifted, leaving it in no-man’s-land. The pilot had scrambled to the trenches for shelter before our forces came looking for him.

My Germans set up across the trench line, covering the whole front, since I wasn’t sure where the Americans would deploy the pilot. He ended up being on my left flank, but I still had plenty of troops to go after him. An artillery attack from the Americans completely missed its mark, hitting off table (he rolled a 2 so I placed it, but he had no troops on the table yet). Both sides were very aggressive in their movement, using the Grand Maneuver immediately to surge forward across the whole battlefield. The American drew first blood, cutting down a few Stormtroopers while they made a beeline to the pilot, right into the teeth of the American assault squads. Some close range firefights and grenade tossing wiped out the close combat teams, but cost the Germans several men.

The Americans valiantly kept attempting to grab the pilot under fire, but it was too much and they got cut down. Any Germans trying the same suffered the same fate, so they opted to destroy the Yanks instead, which worked in the end. By the end the Americans had lost all but 2 Riflemen, while the Germans had lost a scattering of Riflemen and all but 1 Stormtrooper.

Looking back, I don’t think the pilot was placed in the best position for the Americans, but you never know. My friend also fields 2 (!) close combat specialist units, which certainly eat up his points. My Germans, with some squads from the reserve companies, outnumbered the Americans by a fair bit.

Crimson Fists: Red Crusade

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , on December 20, 2020 by Sean

I’ve added a flurry of Crimson Fists Space Marines to the army I’ve been painting for a client for the last few years. At this point, I’ve painted several Companies of Marines.

I’ve painted a few more models from the Indomitus box, as well as the Shadowspear box set.

The Ancient carries his standard proudly. Like the Captain I painted earlier, he seems to favor carrying a literal corpse into battle, an honored hero of the Imperium whose pretense will inspire the Brothers in battle. Like the other characters from the Indomitus box, he wears a white robe, here more like a cassock. He also bears personal iconography on the shield warn on his chest. He carries an appropriate silvered skeletal hand as another icon.

The next model is a Primaris Lieutenant, also from Indomitus. As a Lieutenant, he wears a white and red stripe on his helmet, as well as a person heraldry on his armor. The tower shield he carries is a bright bone and brass. He also carries an ancient volkite pistol. The scroll work on his shield and shoulder pad are blank at the moment; I was awaiting the names that client wanted.

The last of this group is the Vanguard Librarian from the Shadowspear box. He wears Phobos armor and a dark cloak. In order to show his proper status as a Crimson Fist veteran, he wears red gloves over his armored gauntlets. His force sword was given a cool blue tone, blended from black, to blue, to white at the tip. To showcase the strange quality of the psyker weapon, some of the ‘highlights’ are edged in black.

The last character of this batch is the Primaris Techmarine. This huge guy wears the brick-red hues of the Techpriests of Mars, different than the deep crimson of his chapter’s iconography. His armor carries multiple extra limbs, including a shoulder-mounted heavy bolter, servo claw, and mechadendrite. All this extra metal was given a simple coat of P3 Pig Iron with Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade wash to properly age it.

In addition to characters, I finished a squad of Primaris Inceptors. These are the Inceptors carrying plasma guns instead of bolters. Their Gravis armor is super bulky, and the jump packs give them a look akin to a small hovering aircraft. The stabilizer fines were done in red to break up all that dark blue. I included a full squad as well as a detail with other angles. The Sergeant of the unit has his blast helmet open for the usual Space Marine reasons, but I was able to suggest his proper red Sergeant’s helmet with a stripe on the center of the helmet, as well as a iconic triangle on the hood of the armor.

The flying stands are a nice design, allowing for a more natural attitude for the models. However, the contact points are terrible…I pined for the old plug into a socket from the old flight stands.

Saga: Warlords

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2020 by Sean

I’ve finished a trio of mounted Warlords for my Saga forces. While I have specific models for my factions, there are a few groups of miniatures that can be used for multiple. The Welsh models also can stand in as Britons or Irish, Anglo-Saxons can also be Anglo-Danes or Vikings, Polish can also be Northern Crusaders or Russians, etc. A good way to differentiate the factions is their Warlords.

First is the Baltic Pagan Warlord, leading the Pagan Peoples faction. He represents an Lithuanian or Curonian chieftain, riding his armored charger into battle. I built him from a mix of models, the horse and rider coming from Fireforge Russian Druzhina, with arms from the Fireforge mounted sergeants. I wanted to show that despite wearing heavier armor, his arms are still relatively bare. A further nod to his ‘wilder’ culture is the wolf-skin cloak, swiped from Warhammer.

To show the influence of the Russian and Central Asia, his clothes and armor are colorful, with bright patterns and contrasting hues. The mount’s padded armor is a deep red with golden yellow trim, a variation of that combination also appearing in his shield design and the pagan rune.

Second is a Welsh Warlord. While no one else in the warband is mounted at this point, I like the option of giving him even more speed and maneuverability for the faction. This model is unchanged from the Gripping Beast metal, with the addition of a shield hung off the saddle. The shield shows off a dragon design.

His clothes are pretty simple, with a rich red cloak and off-white tunic. The Horse was painted up to be a Welsh Cob, with a dappled grey coat and white legs.

Last is a Gallic Warlord, a chieftain of the Vertamocorii of Transalpine Gaul in Italy. He wears a colorful mix of plaid tunic and striped pants, with a deep green cloak. He carries a blue and red/yellow checkered shield as he leads his tribe in battle. His bronze helm is topped by a plume of feathers, and a trophy head hangs from his saddle.

The miniature comes from Victrix, using the same kit as the rest of the Gallic cavalry from the army. I wanted to add a mounted option to my Gauls’ leaders for Clash of Spears, but the new Age of Hannibal expansion for Saga gave me the push to finish him. My Gauls will serve for both games, with little actual change of the unit compositions (I planned out groups of 8 for units, which works for Nobles/Hearthguard and Warriors in either system).

Something to note for my Warlord models. I usually add some sort of battlefield debris to the bases for decoration. It’s almost always a cast off shield of an enemy warrior, so the Pagan gets a Teutonic knight’s tower shield with German cross, the Welsh rears over a Norman kite shield, and the Gaul has a Roman Velite’s small parma shield. The Velite shield has a bit of arterial spray, suggesting the previous owner’s fate.

I’m working on some more models to expand the Gauls for both Clash and Saga. More to come.

The Lion: Primarch of the Dark Angels

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , on November 14, 2020 by Sean

I’ve finished yet another Primarch of the Space Marines Legions for Warhammer 30,000. By now the Horus Heresy battlefield is getting a bit crowded.

This time around it’s Lion El’Johnson, Lord of the Dark Angels. First Primarch, grand strategist, knightly warrior, and apparently a real beast in close combat, as evidenced by the bodies piled around him.

The Lion’s armor is fairly simple, compared to some of the other Primarchs, but it still has plenty of details to have to worry about.The black plating is offset by metal ribbing (it looks like a artificer version of Mk 2 power armor?). Befitting a knight, he wears a surcoat wrapped around him, along with a giant cape with lion’s fur trim.

The first pics include the scenic base his 40mm base clips into. Depicting the Lion in the middle of the fight, he cuts rebel Night Lords Marines down left and right. It should be said, in all the scenic bases covered in slaughtered Marines I’ve done (more than you’d think), this is the one with the most gruesome carnage. Severed arms, legs, disembowelment, even a head mid-bisected. Their armor is pitted and bullet-ridden, and they lay sprawled in a heap of rubble at the Lion’s feet. One lone survivor valiantly (insanely?) levels a volkite pistol at the Primarch.

The Primarch has 2 options for heads, one with helmet, one without, and 2 sword options, the Lion Sword, a broadsword, and the Wolf Blade, a giant chainsword. I added detail pics featuring all the options. All the optional parts got rare earth magnets to allow them to be swappable.

Like all the Primarchs, this miniature was a beast to paint. Being a Forgeworld piece, it was highly detailed. Also, because it was Foreworld, there was the inevitable casting problems. I have yet to see a complicate Forceworld piece that fit together properly without some work. The extremely narrow tolerance for fitting is often undone by wonky casting. The cape and fur coat were especially hard to fit right.

Only a few more Primarchs to go. Next up will be the Khan. If he gets a bike, it will be as big as a Rhino.

Blood & Valor: Die Rekruten

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2020 by Sean

I’ve been working on various projects for clients, but also dipping into my own miniatures to keep me going. The latest are more Riflemen for my Imperial Germans for Blood & Valor.

The new squads are Inexperienced Riflemen, representing the late recruits and reserve units moved up to reinforce the attack regiments. I’ve finished 2 more units of 7 and 6 men.

I talked about them in previous posts. The units are distinguished from the Regulars by wearing Feldm├╝tzen caps instead of the standard Stalhhelm. I liked the idea that the newbies are still learning how to keep their heads down, and not wearing their proper helmets yet. Both units also still have clean uniforms and boots.

One unit is built from the Wargames Atlantic plastics, like the rest of the force. The other uses Great War Miniatures, which are metal. This unit still wears their rucksacks, which my research has said was left behind in the trenches by the experienced troops. The backpacks help my opponent and I tell the units apart on the table.

There is something to be said for the state of current plastic sets. I don’t paint too many metal models these days, and I find returning to them to not always be enjoyable. Metal can sometimes have thick and blunt details, while the plastic casts are nicely thin and have sharp details. The Great War Miniatures are fine, but I guess I prefer plastics now.

Next are a set of barbed wire emplacements I kit bashed together. They started as Renedra Generics fences. I broke up the poles and crossbeams, wrapping them in brass wire to represent the wire. I wanted them to look ‘lived in’ and having been on a WW1 battlefield for some time. I’ve made 4 pieces so far, which covers ~18″ on the table. I’ll need to make more at some point.

I included some pics with the soldiers to show them off.