David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Monday 29 June 2020

Equites Romani

The heavy cavalry for Legio VI have galloped through the painting queue so I thought you'd like to see what I've made of them. The figures are by Aventine Miniatures, the shield transfers by LBM and the bases by Warbases as ever ~
The rank and file cavalrymen are multi part figures and proved to be very difficult for me to assemble given my hand issues. I persevered with them slowly and in the end managed to get them all done. The metal used by Aventine Miniatures is hard to work, compared to the softer A&A Miniatures for example, so I used UHU with an added spot of cheap superglue. This hardens very quickly and binds the legs, torso and head parts very strongly. I had mixed success though in fixing weapons and such into hands, some needing a second spot of superglue to fix firmly.
From the three packs of cavalry figures I received there's a visible size and style discrepancy between the three figures in the Command pack and those in the two rank and file packs. Having just spent a happy two hours assembling 12 of the Allied Italian Cavalry from Aventine I've come to the conclusion that my Romans might represent older figures in the range. The Allied Italian cavalry were much nicer figures and the body of the men is a one piece casting, much easier for me!
Now I have both my Aventine Miniatures Allied Italian cavalry and my A&A Miniatures Numidian Light Cavalry assembled I can get them spray undercoated and fixed to MDF pill bases ready to join the painting queue. Other good news, both my orders from Aventine Miniatures and from A&A Miniatures have arrived so I also have three Carthaginian Elephants and crew, Numidian Light Infantry, and the rest of my Allied Italian Legion figures to assemble and spray undercoat. I’ve also sent off an order for some Carthaginian veterans and some Hoplites. Looks like I have plenty to do now if we return to lockdown in the winter!

Wednesday 24 June 2020

The Wolf's Cubs reach full strength

The title says it all really, but no doubt you will indulge me just a little if I say a bit more. With the completion of Legio VI the first part of the project reaches a conclusion. I have painted 101 figures in this first stage, 100 from Aventine Miniatures and one from Agema Miniatures! Here are the Wolf's Cubs proudly parading for the approval of old Coronus Cunctator ~
Of my first two orders to Aventine Miniatures I have only the two bases of cavalry to support Legio VI together with two bases of Balearic slingers to give another skirmish support option. The cavalry are already underway while the first base of slingers are fixed to the MDF hexes I use to hold figures for painting. My third order to Aventine Miniatures has been posted as I write, so we are in the hands of Royal Mail and it's minions now...
I need to get my initial A&A Miniatures figures ready for painting next to start the Carthaginian part of the project up. I also have a unit of 12 Allied Southern Italian cavalry by Aventine Miniatures to prepare too. As yet there is no news from A&A of my Carthaginian elephants and Numidian Light Infantry, but it's early days. Following on from the recent easing of all this coronavirus lockdown malarkey Phil and I have planned a grand reopening of GHQ with an ACW game to whet our appetite for a campaign. Life goes on, at last!

Saturday 20 June 2020

It's Half Time...

...but is it oranges or lemons on the plate? As we are moving beyond the longest day of the year and towards the end of June, it seemed like a good idea to reflect on how things had gone here in GHQ since I rashly outlined my hopes and plans hobbywise at the beginning of the year. Well, the obvious answer is very much not as I hoped! There have been no games played in GHQ since mid March. Up until then we had played a dozen games and I was gearing up for the first of a series of North American set games from the F&IW, via the AWI, the War Of 1812-15, and finally the ACW. That would have left me with a campaign series of ACW games from July onwards, borrowing ideas from Longstreet, the event cards from Bull Run to Gettysburg, and Black Powder. Obviously, with all the Corona virus malarkey, that all went tits up!
I just don't get solo games. I enjoy the face to face nature of social wargamingl, not social distancing! I have had one game laid out in GHQ though, a War of 1812-15 extravaganza. Dan was due to take photos to accompany an article I'd written for WI but obviously lockdown put the mockers on that. With online tuition I took the photos myself over three days and if you saw the weekly Bitesize WI you will have seen the end product in issue 3. If you missed it the article is in the July issue as WI returns to its print format.
Although I eschewed gaming I did continue painting, although my monthly totals remained around 50 figures each month. I did a little terrain building, converting two 15mm barns by Warbases into 28mm cabins for North American games, also featured in Bitesize WI. Finally, and probably in a mad moment of optimism, I embarked on a new project in 28mm, the Punic Wars! (As an aside, the 15mm Cold War Gone Hot is available if anyone fancies taking it off my hands. It's a complete game still all in its original boxes and includes Seven Days to the Rhine rules and cards.)
I'm not sure if there is any virtue right now in looking forward to the 'Second Half', after all as a Walsall supporter of 56 years you get inured to disappointment after getting your hopes up. As I'm in the 'more at risk' age group I reluctantly expect it will be a while before Phil, Jon and I meet up for a game or two. I'll press on with my Punic Wars project in the meantime. I've an order in with Aventine Miniatures for some Allied Legion figures to supplement a purchase from Colonel Bill's and with A&A Miniatures for some Carthaginian war elephants and Nubian light infantry. I was hopeful of poping to Foundry for some Spanish infantry and cavalry and a look at the Celt options, but it doesn't seem as if their factory shop is reopening yet. It's a bugger this coronavirus malarkey and no mistake! Keep safe, and sane!

Thursday 18 June 2020

Velites added to Legio VI.

I've completed the two bases worth of Velites for Legio VI, and with them the last of the original Aventine Miniatures Army Deal I ordered to kick start the project. In the deal you get 16 figures labelled as Velites, but I only wanted two bases of 4 figures for my structure, so the other 8 figures, which I painted first, will serve as Levy skirmishers for either side in future games ~
In my Army Deal package I got a few extra figures it seems, amongst which was a musician figure with a miscast right foot. He's been pressed into service to partner a more static Velite figure to suggest the command figures for the Velites on one of the two bases ~

With these chaps finished now I can turn my attention to the extra bases of figures, included in my recent order, to bulk out the Hastati and Principes to 28 figures. The order also included the missing transfer sheet, so they can be completed with shields as I go along. My next order includes some Hoplon shields which I hope to use for one or two of the more senior officers in the Legion. I'm ordering more transfers from LBM for my impending allied Legion, so those can be pressed into service to enhance the look of Legio VI's more senior officer figures.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

The Triarii muster in!

As I'm managing to keep my foot on the pedal on the painting front at least I've now completed the Triarii element of Legio VI ~

Having reached this milestone, the next element to be completed was the Legion's command base, a vignette of four figures. Now they are completed I'd hope to crack out the two bases of Velites ~
From my two previous orders from Aventine Miniatures that will be all the figures painted for the Wolf's Cubs. There will eventually then be a further eight figures added to each of the Hastati and Principes elements and then I will call them completed. Since the errant order arrived those extra figures are assembled and ready to be spray undercoated. In the meantime, here are Legio VI, the Wolf's Cubs, lead by that wiley old campaigner Coronus Cunctator ~

The cavalry element should be next up in the painting queue after those, and then two bases of Balearic slingers to complete the initial Roman force for the project. By then I hope to have my small A&A order for Hanibal and some Numidian Light Cavalry to get the Carthaginian side of the project underway. The erant order from Aventine also contains enough archers to make up two skirmishing elements and some mercenary cavalry to add to the Carthaginian army. I quite like the look of the Wargames Foundry Spanish infantry and cavalry, so they may get ordered in, along with some Celts from one of their offerings, although I'd like to see those up close before purchasing. That might be an excuse to pop over to East Stoke when/if they reopen their factory shop that is.

Saturday 13 June 2020


...and nonsense, perhaps? During all this Covid19 lockdown malarkey I've been plodding along on my lonesome tackling the first figures for my Punic Wars project, Legio VI, the "Wolf's Cubs". Since the initial order to Aventine Miniatures I've ventured two further orders to fill out the Legio, as I detailed in an earlier post, and acquire figures for additional elements in the shape of Roman cavalry. Now, despite the disruption of a Bank Holiday, the first two orders arrived in an acceptable time frame all things considered, but the third...? Well, Keith posted it out a week ago last Wednesday. Chatting by email with him on Friday he told me of four orders sent out the same day only one had been delivered to date, in Scotland, while the three to England were somewhere in Royal Mail's system. I stress the 'somewhere' here as when I entered the Tracking details the response was to say that it could only be tracked when they'd tried to deliver it!
While a similar packet from A&A has still to arrive I had more joy with one from Colonel Bill's, some Aventine Etruscans. They were posted this last Monday and arrived on Friday. Just about acceptable I'd say. But as to my order from LBM for transfers, still nothing. I can't help but wonder if a bit more competition is long overdue for Royal Mail. I have a further order almost ready for Aventine Miniatures now, given his two week backlog of casting as a lone worker and the current abysmal performance of Royal Mail, at least in Northern Ireland, that's towards the end of July I'd expect them. Probably just about the time I'd finish those already in stock. Why does all this aggravate me? Well, I guess it's my age, impatient nature and the cumulative effects of lockdown...
On a more positive note to end: Aventine Miniatures figures are first class, a joy to paint, and Keith's service at all stages is very good. Can't help but wonder if Royal Mail's performance is hindering him though in discouraging orders and needed cash flow. Also, I've just noticed I've accumulated over 250 Followers and made over 700 posts since I started this Blog. I hope it survives Blogger's planned platform change later this month. Old dog, new tricks... Cheers!

Tuesday 9 June 2020

The Wolf’s Cubs are growing

Steady progress at the painting desk here in GHQ over the past week has seen positive developments with my Republican Roman Legion in the form of the second element, the Hastati. In my second order from Aventine Miniatures I received a pack of Etruscan officers suitable for use as Roman officers, enabling me to have a slightly more varied look for this part of the Legion ~

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m expanding the number of bases and figures in both the Principes and the Hastati components of Legio VI, the Wolf’s Cubs as I’ve named them, but they will be tackled after the Triari who have now reached the head of the painting queue!
In the meantime, here are the finished elements of Legio VI and Coronus Cunctator ~

Sunday 7 June 2020

A gift from Matt

A birthday during all this lockdown malarkey is certainly both different and memorable, mostly but not exclusively, for the wrong sorts of reasons though. Aside from the usual handful of cards, all heavily stressing the 70 on the covers, I also received a surprise package from Matt. When I opened it I was delighted to find several metal castings of Roman figures he had sculpted for Agema Miniatures and one for Warlord Games. The Tribune I've added to my Command base for the Wolf's Cubs and the other figures I've arranged into a small vignette featuring the Consul, Julius Fantabulosus, and his retinue ~
They'll be a good way down the painting queue unfortunately, as I'd like to finish the Legion's Triari and Velites first, but I thought you'd like to see them anyway.

Friday 5 June 2020

Consolidation of my Republican Romans

Now that I've painted up a goodly quantity of my Aventine Miniatures Republican Romans I've had a chance to take stock of how I want them to look on the tabletop. Leaving aside the issue of their cavalry elements for the moment, I've settled on 28 Principes, 28 Hastati, 20 Triari and 4 Legio Command figures.
Basing them up is a matter of personal choice, as I'll do both sides and we use an expanded version of Neil Thomas's Ancient and Medieval rules here in GHQ for our games, so I've no need to worry about rule conventions at all. The command elements of each of the three component parts of the legion will be on 50x50mm bases, while the Legion command will be on a 50mm round base.
The Triari will be on two 80x50mm bases, each of 8 figures. The Principes and Hastati will have two eight figure bases of 80x50mm and two four figure bases of 40x50mm each. This should mean that I can represent the two century depth of each of those components with an 160mm frontage, expanding to 320mm on contact with an enemy. Having arrived at that decision I needed to order up 12 more figures for the Principes and Hastati to add to the 4 already in place to make up the two 40x50mm four figure bases for each of them.
In addition to the three components of the Legion I've two 80x50mm bases of Velites to provide the skirmishing element of the organisation. This gives me a total of 90 figures to represent Legio VI, the Wolf’s Cubs, the core of my Republican Roman army. With an eye to later expansion I ordered up a unit of Mercenary cavalry and another of archers. Together with the unit of levy skirmishers I've already painted and the unit of Balearic slingers from my second order they will be able to be fielded both by the Romans and by the Carthaginians, making early games more flexible I hope in the Autumn.
With that in mind I've also placed a small order with A&A for some Numidian Light Cavalry, equally useful again for both armies. I also added in their Hanibal and generals pack to give a distinctive look to my Carthaginian army Command base. My next order to Aventine Miniatures later in June should be for the core elements of my Carthaginian army, though I'm still mulling over exactly what I'll get to begin with. I would hope to have completed the core of both armies by early Autumn and then look to expand both over the winter using figures from both Aventine Miniatures and A&A, though I expect that other ranges will also make an appearance in the respective forces knowing what I've seen out there!

Monday 1 June 2020

Coronus Cunctator...

...and the Aventine Miniatures Republican Romans I completed in May ~
 The first elements of Legio VI, the Principes, shield transfers by LBM, kindly cut out by Sue for me as it proved too difficult for my hands to manage ~
The total figures completed so far for the project ~
My overall impression of Aventine Miniatures so far is favourable. Communication from Keith is first class, keeping you up to date with the progress of your order through from receipt to posting. The figures themselves need little cleaning up, bar some trimming of the undersides of some bases. There is sufficient variety in pose and arms/equipment to make a varied look if that is desired. The figures seem to love the paint and the end product even of my limited painting is more than pleasing to me. Now, I need to think about raising the start of my Carthaginian army...