Thursday, January 31, 2008

Flaccus returns a hero (Campaign 89)

Flaccus finally rides back into camp after months away behind enemy lines. The army goes wild at his return and he and his troopers are showered with gifts and praise. In his short time away, Flaccus has made hundreds of new friends and admirers; but one deadly enemy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another successful Raid (Campaign 88)

For the last two months general T. Manlius Flaccus has been hitting enemy supply lines and trade routes with out mercy, crippling the mighty Spanish war machine and bringing it to a grinding halt. However, Flaccus knows to stay away any longer would be foolish. Already he has ignored several desperate letters from Secundus to return and report. Flaccus knows he is on thin ice and so sends word that he is returning, blaming bad weather for his late arrival. Before he heads for home though, Flaccus plans for one more strike.
Tullus has begun to move his supplies by the cover of darkness to hide them from Flaccus's mounted marauders, Flaccus on the other hand soon learns of this simple ploy and hits another large supply train as he returns through the mountains back to Noricum and up into Pannonia.
Above, Secundus finally receives word from Flaccus and his latest success. Secundus is livid, but knows Flaccus has become a hero figure in the eyes of the army and so is untouchable........for the time being at any rate.

Secundus was so irate at the exploits of his wayward general that he threw another two hundred Pannonians into slavery and refused to shave! He was also heard strutting around his makeshift palace, hammering on the walls shouting "Bring me back Flaccus and my cavalry!"

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Field army of Syria (Campaign 87)

With the mutinous Legion of the 3rd Gallica decimated and disgraced, Alanicus now bolstered its numbers with loyal units from Cappadocia, restoring it up to full strength. They were later joined by vast numbers of Syrian Auxiliaries, mostly light troops, including horse archers. These events added yet another field army to Alanicus and his eastern empire.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Alanicus Digs In (Campaign 86)

Alanicus, still in Egypt, appeals to the Province of Judea to join his cause. A large bribe is paid and the Province flocks to Alanicus with open arms, Alanicus is taken a back by the warm reception and his assault forces are told to stand down.
This month sees the Province of Macedonia start to turn into a walled fortress, as more and more border defences spring from the nowhere. Garrisons start to appear also in Macedonia, safe guarding the route to Alanicus's Capital in Thrace. All this new development leads to a timber shortage in the Province.

Tullus's Spanish skirmishers

Thousands of Spanish tribesmen pour down from the hills to answer Tullus's call to arms. These tough, hardened people will make good soldiers and natural skirmishers, using the terrain to their advantage every time.
Painting note; I enjoyed painting these Spanish and finishing even more, for they have been on my 'to do list' for about a year! So finally here they last. To make them look a little more swarthy, I made them very unshaven and gave their faces a very light wash of black paint. The Osprey books helped a great deal with the colour reference. The figures above are a mix of Foundry's Balearic slingers and their Cesarean Spanish range. I have given some of the Balearics Spanish shields to add to their look and character.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tullus under pressure (Campaign 85)

With the scanty reports of Secundus moving out of Noricum, the Senate began its appeal to Tullus again to march on Rome and take back their rightful seat of power. However, Tullus had squandered most of his scouting forces looking for the rogue general Flaccus and had no idea of what lay a head. Being ever careful and always suspecting a trap, Tullus was reluctant to commit to the offencive without proper knowledge of the situation.
Flaccus was still at large, causing havoc and Tullus thought it unwise to stretch his supply lines any further until this marauder had been dealt with.

To deal with the growing danger of a rear attack Tullus started to buy over the loyalty of the Army of Gaul, to watch his back and safeguard his trade routes. It was also in this month that a terrible earth quake destroyed buildings in the city of Holdrianus, killing hundreds and adding to the low ebb that now carried through the morale of his army.

Secundus marches on Pannonia (Campaign 84)

When the Province of Pannonia offered help to the people of Carmuntum, it was all Secundus needed for an excuse to march on them. The Governor of Pannonia had thought Secundus to weak and depleted to act, especially with the fact that Tullus was now in a position to attack Rome. Secundus however, was a gambler at heart and trusted blindly in the will of the Gods, with this blind faith he marched into Pannonia and crushed all resistance before him. The Governor fled and the local forces put up only minor resistance before conceding. Pannonia now belonged to Secundus!

Flaccus raids again (Campaign 83)

T. Manlius Flaccus now re-enforced by his Pannonian squadrons Carries on his rein of terror in the mountains of Aples Gallia. With the supply lines to Tullus's army over stretched and venerable, Flaccus has no problem locating them and destroying them in swift strikes. His horsemen loot what they can carry and burn what they can not, leaving Tullus without stores or provisions for the freezing months ahead.

Flaccus is happiest when under his own command and has ignored several requests from Secundus to return to Noricum. News of Flaccus's success has even reached Rome where he has been hailed a hero.
It was in this cold month that the city of Carnuntum in Noricum decided to appeal to Tullus and stage a small revolt. Secundus, still livid at Flaccus's success had no time for petty up risings. He was only a days march from the city and thought it mad that they should chose now to revolt. He would teach them for there treachery! On a cold Febuary morning the 2nd Augusta was let loose on the city and hundreds people were thrown into slavery. Most of them were completely Innocent of course, but Secundus was more intrested in making an example of Carnuntum rather than seeking justice.

Above, General Flaccus surveys a supply column of Tullus with greedy eyes. His antics were turning him into something of a legend, in the eyes of his men.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Alanicus strikes Gold! (Campaign 82)

Meanwhile in Egypt, Alanicus was enjoying the warm sunshine, unlike his freezing rivals camped in the frozen north of the Roman world. With his small detachment of the 6th Farrata, Alanicus had secured the city and set about fortifying its walls and borders. The tiny garrison was soon stretched to its limit, preparing for the inevitable arrival of Tullus's African Legions. Below, men of the 6th work feverishly in the African sun to fortify the Capital. The defences would hopefully slow Tullus's armies down long enough for re-enforcements from Syria to arrive and bolster the garrison. With the city under his control, Alanicus soon found (with a little gentle persuasion) the fabled treasure volts of Alexandria. Even Alanicus with his vast fortune, was lost for words when the heavy doors were pushed aside and the true wealth of Egypt was revealed. The riches seemed endless and with their added wealth, Alanicus could see victory finally with in his grasp.
Alanicus watches intently as the doors to the treasury open, he is soon bathed in golden light as the sun catches the vast horde within.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Trouble for Tullus (Campaign 81)

It was now the time of Tullus's army to feel the effects of defeat. For the last two weeks a sickness had been spreading through one of the camps, laying hundreds of fighting men low and killing a few. With their supplies destroyed and captured, the medicines requested for the camp were lost; the sick men began to riot.

Things got even worst when the victorious Legions discovered their pay chests were among the waggons and carts stolen by the raiding Flaccus. However, the last straw came when units of Spanish tribesmen started to file into the camps, they had been sent for to replace the light units lost at Valentia. The Legionaries misread the situation and thought they were being replaced because they were too sick to fight, the camp erupted into savage brawling, which ended up with many tribesmen being beaten to death before the troops finally calmed down and order was restored.

Meanwhile in Africa, Funded by the Senate, the town of Leptis Magna was enlarged, how Tullus wished he was there instead of stuck between a mutiny on one hand and fussy senaters on the other.

The Raids of Flaccus (Campaign 80)

With his camp in disarray, Secundus realized that General T. Manlius Flaccus was becoming a thorn in his political side. He thus conjured up a scheme to rid himself of this troublesome General. With Flaccus's popularity being better than ever, Secundus decided to send him on a dangerous mission, that only a man of his "extreme talents could pull off". Knowing full well that the victorious army of Tullus occupied the surrounding hills, Flaccus was sent on a mission to reconnoiter the enemy positions and report back. The latter, Secundus knew would not happen as the renown Spanish cavalry prowled the hills slopes watching every moment and patrol that left Secondus's camp. It was a thinly veiled plot and everyone on Secoundus's staff knew why his top General was being given such a mundane and dangerous task. However, Manlius was no fool and using his adept military know how, slipped by the ever watchful Spanish and started to make plans of his own. Two days out, Flaccus was joined by a large detachment of his Pannonia Horse, which he immediately put to good use in disrupting Tullus's communication network. Then came the pay day, Flaccus and his cavalry stumbled upon a large supply train of re-enforcements and armaments heading for the front. With out a second glance Flaccus launched a lighting attack, capturing the supplies and routing the terrified levies. Sent out on a fools mission, Flaccus was making himself even more popular with his men and the army. This news of a victory spread through the defeated army of Secundus like wild fire, much to the annoyance of Secundus, who soon regretted his bad judgement.

Above, the General T. Manlius Flaccus awaits his orders.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Winter in Noricum (Campaign 79)

As the seasons draw in and the roads become wet, muddy quagmires, the armies of the West settle down for the Winter. Taking stock and preparing themselves for the dark cold months to follow, the men busy themselves with collecting fire wood and food, anything to stay warm in these frozen lands. While their commanders busy themselves with making plans for the coming spring. Even now, in these quite months Secundus was plagued by misfortune. For his Generals, began to argue again over the right course of action to take in the spring. Secundus was for launching a full blown attack on Tullus in Aples Gallica, whereas his Generals were for consolidating Rome and the power base of his empire. However, Secundus was eager to have another crack at the Spanish, saying they had won down to luck and not bravery. His men were ready for another go and this time they would crush Tullus's republican goat herders for good! General Dewolfus was ordered to stay in Lugdunensis, (much to his relief ) where he could threaten Tullus's army from the North.

However, General T. Manlius Flaccus split the camp with his demands to march on Rome instead of chasing armies and restoring hurt pride. Flaccus carried a lot of weight in Rome and with the army, Secundus for once, was lost for a words. For days they argued and Secundus knew he needed a victory now more than ever, to pull these jackals back into line.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Tullus's African army gathers strength

Hot off the painting table this week are the rest of the skirmishers for Tullus's North African army. They are mostly Garamante tribesmen from the Sahara, but their number has been supplemented by Sudanese warriors (the guys without the litham face covers).
I'm looking forward to seeing these guys on the battlefield because they look so different from everything else and have a real African feel to them. Having no command figures for this lot I decided to turn one of them into a chieftain by painting in a crown and decorating his belongings in rich colours. Being just untrained tribesmen, the warriors points cost is very cheap compared to that of the trained Roman line troops, It will be interesting to see in the game if the overwhelming numbers carry the day. Twenty four javelins coming at you is always going to be better than just twelve (from the Roman skirmish units). We will have to wait and see. Still to come is another unit the same size of Numidians. Below are some Moorish Cavalry that will swell the mounted ranks of the African army. They join a unit of ten lightly armed Numidian Horse and will turn this desert army into a very maneuverable one indeed!
The figures are from Newline Design's 'Spanish' range, a company that in this day and age, I find really good value for money. Yes, the actual sculpting may not live up to the likes of Wargames Foundry etc, but with a little extra care panting, they can scrub up great.
To add a little more African character to the unit, I sculpted some raw hide cloaks and big cat pelts onto some of the riders. This is total fantasy on my part, but I thought a few Leopard skins would quite striking in the unit and give them more of an Identity. The shields also, are a selection from my 'bit box' of spares, rather than the ones provided in the packet. Another thing about these Newline Design Spanish I like, is the fact they are bereft of the characteristic Spanish chest armour and so can be painted up as any Light cavalry from anywhere with in the Empire. In my case, fast Moorish cavalry from Africa.
Adding cloaks is a great way of taking the eye away from the reuse of multiple figures, which go to make up units.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Characters behind the paint

So here he is, Alanicus the Benevolent finally takes to the field to command of his Eastern field armies. With all three Emperor figures finished, I thought I'd say a little about each one and explain a few of the details I had to consider when painting them.

TULLUS, the character of Tullus comes partly from the figure Tom chose to portray himself, a large striking figure who very much leads from the front in battle. He looks more like a Warlord than an Emperor in his stance and weaponry. Tom plays Tullus as a Soldier Emperor, in the same vain as someone like Trajan was. The two have other trates in common, being both Spanish in origin, Trajan became Tom's role model for the character of Tullus. Being a soldier at heart, Tullus doesn't suffer from the huge ego of the other two pretenders and tends to look on his calling as more of a sense of duty, than a Divine right to rule. Almost reluctant to give battle, Tullus likes to take his time and watch his enemy, waiting for the other to make a fatal error in judgement, giving Tullus an easy victory to save the lives of his men and resources. Also, being a soldier Emperor places Tullus very dear in the hearts of his men, who's hardships he suffers alongside them at every turn. With the Senate flocking to Tullus for support, he now finds himself the reluctant new saviour of the republic and the champion of freedom throughout the Empire. The Senates constant nagging for action and battle grate against Tullus's calm, methodical ways and leads to much friction between them.

The figure of Tullus therefore is quite drab compared with the others. His cloak is that of an ordinary General, being scarlet in colour. He also proudly wears the awards and decorations won in battle, on a Centurions harness, again reminding all who see him of his humble army origins and his rise through the ranks. He is the only character to carry a shield, this too shows his preference for being very much in the thick of the fighting. With each Command base getting three attacks in the game, the base of Tullus leaves no doubt in the mind of the enemy, that a lot of the hits and kills achieved will come from Tullus himself, rather than the others in the Command party. For this reason Tullus only has two other figures on his base. He just doesn't need the same level of protecting as his less skilled rivals.
SECUNDUS, is the definitive bad Emperor. His lust for power and control makes him few friends in the Senate and his unstoppable drive makes him a man to be feared with throughout the Empire. I love to play villains and Secundus is no exception, I based the character of Secundus on the fat, greedy, inept Emperor, Vitellius, with his multiple chins and attitudes to match. Vitellius was popular at first and was put in place by his own Legions, those of the Rhine. After his rise to power however, things started to go very wrong for him. Secundus captures the essence of Vitellius, but he tends to bring out all of his misgivings rather than his strong points. For this reason I draw Secundus as a fat, arrogant, lay about, who cares not about the suffering of others, just results. I think he would be a hard man to beat in a war, because he would never admit he was wrong or had made a mistake, he would just blame someone else and carry on. He sees himself as the rightful Emperor and is willing to sacrifice thousands to make it so and claim his god given right. However, this arrogance is not lost on his troops who view Secundus warily. This had led to revolts and even mass desertions within his own army, something that Secundus reacts to by again showing his inept leadership skills and punishing the troops without mercy. Secundus doesn't deserve to rule by any stretch of the imagination and it would be a crime if he won, but that's what makes the game interesting, shit happens.
The figure of Secundus was chosen because it looked a little like me in the face, with the thoughtful hand to mouth pose just topping it off nicely (I do it all the time when thinking). He wears the colours of a Senater on his cloak, to give him a moral high ground when in the field and to give more weight to his claim of Emperor. Being more Senator than soldier, Secundus's command base is packed full of staff officers and bodyguards, the bases three attacks are unlikely to come from Secundus himself, who relies more on his bodyguards to protect him in battle than the war like Tullus.

Alanicus, is the new threat to the Empire and a late starter. After watching from a far and preparing his forces in secret, Alanicus finally launched a devastating campaign against the East. Using his collected wealth rather than brute force to roll up province after province all the way across to Syria and down to Eygpt. Alanicus's lightning campaign has proved that, when it comes to greedy governors, the coin, is mightier than the sword. Alan enjoys playing Alanicus very much and it has brought out a rather very dark side in him. Basing his character more on the Emperor from Starwars than from Ancient history, Alanicus has knocked the arrogant Secundus off the top position of villain in the game, with his Machiavellian dealings and under handed ways. Alanicus has also shown that he is prepared to great risks and gambles openly with fate. I like this personally as it reminds me of Julius Caesar. Alanicus now finds himself in Alexandria with a tiny strike force of Legionaries, just like Caesar found himself when chasing Pompey. The Romans loved irony and so do I.
The figure of Alanicus reflects the fact that he IS the Emperor, rather than just claiming it. Whereas the other pretenders only have a dash of royal purple on them to mark them out, Alanicus is a wash with it. His large cloak is all purple and is a bold statement to all around him, he also openly flaunts the forbidden red sandals of a king, again another unmistakable sign that he IS the Emperor. If however you manage to miss these blatant signs, Alanicus's royal standard fluttering over his head should remind you. With his birth sign of Leo boldly decorated on it, Alanicus will be very hard to miss on the battlefield. Something I've told my archers! Alanicus himself, was a renowned war hero and was well trained with a sword, however, age has caught up with him over the years and he now relays on staff and body guards to protect him in battle like Secundus.
The model used for Alanicus is that of Caesar from Companion Miniatures, again another Caesar reference. I thought it closely matched the cartoons of Alanicus I had drawn for the Blog with his hard features and bitter expression. Also to add to Alanicus's pomp, trumpets and standards were added to his command base.

So there you have it, all three contenders ready for war but as everyone knows....there can be only one true Emperor.