Friday, August 31, 2007

Planning to build a Roman Villa?

A picture in a book really caught my imagination the other day, it's from page 69 in the Warhammer rule book. It's a simple line drawing of a group of Franks raiding a villa which is being defended by a group of late Romans. The thought of having a Villa to defend in the Campaign made my mouth water and I thought it would make a great focal point for a game.
So I started to give the idea some thought, looking through books and doing endless sketches and designs on the way to work. Using the line drawing as a guide I recreated the rest of the Villa from scratch and started to collect materials.
I was able to take off cuts of Foam board and scraps of card from a finished job at work which saved some money, also working with highly talented model makers I was able to pick their brains and show them my designs for advice....which was priceless. A lot of my ideas didn't work and I had to come up with new ones to solve the problems, so if any of you out there are looking to build a Roman Villa, here's how I did it, I hope it helps.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sir Ralph's tip of the month

Hello every body, I am Sir Ralph Willard Chedgy and together with Mr Tiggles here I hope to bring you some good advice. I've been an arm chair Historian now for..... thirty two years and there's not a lot I don't know about the subject.........arm chairs that is.
My tip of the month this month is to get yourself over to black tree designs and check out their figure deals. If like me and Mr Tiggles here you have a soft spot for the Ancients and let's face it who hasn't, then we think you'll be impressed with their offers. As many of you will know, to field a 2000pt army in any Barbarian list will cost you nearly as much to buy the bloody thing...what! So where was I..oh yes, Black tree. With all the companies putting up their prices on a daily rate, get to Blacktree now before they realize themselves and put THEIR bloody prices up. Anything Celtic or German and you'll be quids in. Say goodbye Mr Tiggles I think it's time for a nap, don't yo.................zzzzz ZZZZZ

Tramp tramp tramp tramp HALT!....Tramp tramp...

There is a lot to take in when you're travelling on the road, that is why I have created this expandable image, so you can take in the details of the journey.

The Evocati are finished at last.

Finally I can show you the tough old veterans who have been called back into service after five years in retirement. As they fight behind their old Standards and banners, I have given the unit three , this helps to show the fact that the cohort is made up of Vexillations of the XIIII, V and the X. I also added some dark blue shields into the mix of the Cohort and gave them all shield decals taken from various re-enactment groups here in the UK.
Another touch was to give the men grey-white hair and beards to underline the fact they're getting on in life and I had to search my collection for suitable characters.
This shot shows the rear of the cohort, all but three have been added to and customized giving this unit a one off look. I enjoyed this project loads and it gave me a chance to practice my sculpting. It was a lot of work but I think it was worth the time.
The command base with it's three standards. In game terms I will not use these figures as veterans with the according high stats, for they are old and just a little past their prime. Instead, because they fight behind their beloved standards I will count each standard as a plus in the combat results (WAB rules). So, in a way they will still be an effective fighting force on the board.
This is one of my favourite custom jobs and one of the easier ones to do too. This old cavalrymen has taken his trusty Spatha into battle as a back up, well, you can never have too many swords in a battle. As you can see these figures have just been flocked and are still covered in loose grass.

Secundus's Book Review

Hello and welcome to yet another Secundus book review, for what it's worth, I'll be writing up my latest Roman literature conquests and giving them a Secundus mark out of ten. Well, where do we start. Simon Scarrow and his EAGLE series has turned out to be quite good, I've just finished the fourth novel in the line and it was OK. 'When the EAGLE HUNTS' continues the story of Macro the Centurion and his trusty Optio, Cato. This time they are sent under cover to find a commanders kidnapped family, say no more. I enjoyed the Celtic factor in this book and the details of how Scarrow thinks the Druids lived and acted. The major problem I will always have about these books is the fact that Scarrow has them quote famous lines from other historical characters through history, as a little nod to all arm chair historians through out the world. Also the fact that every thing of the time is tied together in a way that would make George Lucas proud, an example of this is when Macro introduces his latest girl friend, a tall, fiery, red headed girl from the Iceni tribe....any guesses who she might turn out to be? Saying all this, I still enjoy the books and they make the train journey fly by, but wait! What's this...If you haven't read any of the Stephen Dando-collins books go and do so now. Rather than make the train journey fly by these books make you curse that the train journey is coming to an end. Not being a strong reader as a kid, I never dreamed I would ever say " That book is unputadownable!" if ever such a word exists that is. Nero's killing machine had me reading everywhere, I loved it. It traces the story of the 14th Legion from its creation all the way through to the Boudicca revolt...we're back to her again I see. Anyway, It has the best write up of the Varus disaster in Germany I have ever read and I've read whole books on that subject alone! I'm reading Mark Antony's Hero's at the moment, another in the range and again I am in love with it. As far as inspiration goes for painting and all things roman, these books fill my massive bloated head and keep me marching all the way to the station and back again every day.
Secundus gives the Simon Scarrow 'When the EAGLE HUNTS' 6/10, a good read but a little to 'Sharpe' in sandals to get any higher. Secundus gives Stephen Dando-Collins 'Nero's killing Machine' 9/10. This book is one of my desert island reads...along with all the rest in the series that is.

Secudus leaves Alpes Gallica and invades Noricum (campaign 64)

After waiting for two weeks for re-enforcements from Germany, Secundus, impatient as ever, decided to with draw from Aples Gallica dragging his injured pride behind him. This had been the first major battle between the two leading men of Rome and one that he had lost, tired, weary men trod their path behind secundus's standard for six miles as he marched north.
Although Secundus had been beaten, he wasn't finished by a long shot and with his army in tow, he saw another opportunity for gain. Swinging his army east he trudged into Noricum, at first there was minor resistance from a border Garrison, but when the sheer size of Secundus's force was realized, the province flocked to his colours. Even in defeat, Secundus had claimed a minor victory. Here his men would rest up and take stock, for secundus could take comfort in the fact the Tullus's force had fared little better and he was in no position to push the advantage, for now the campaign would slow down to a game of waiting and watching. That is, until Secundus's German Legions arrived! Then the sandal would be on the other foot.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Battle review

The battle was more of a warm up really, than a serious fight. It's been years since I've played a game and Tom Hasn't played WHAB before at all. Saying that, after quite a slow start we really started to enjoy ourselves and everything fell into place. These days I tend to see myself more as of a painter and collector than gamer and with every one's busy lives, this suits me just fine, but it is nice to use the figures in anger every now and then, It makes a nice change.
We both learnt from the Battle of Valentia, things both good and bad, which will no doubt influence our future gaming, and at the end of the day, a great time was had and that's the most important point of all. Above, Tullus helps his army snatch victory from the Secundus by leading his hard pressed Legionaries from the front.