Archive for 2009

Reading List: Rome/Carthage

The local library is invaluable when conducting research when building/painting  historical armies (or I should say, my wife the librarian is invaluable when conducting research).    Be sure to check the juvenile section of your library – many of the well illustrated volumes are located in the kids section.

Several books that I have/am reading to get me up to speed for my new Punic army.

Warfare in the Classical World by John Warry – the book covers the whole of the classical world, with only 3 chapters dedicated to the period of the Successor Wars/Punic Wars.  The strength of the book are color prints of solders from the various armies – limited to one or two per chapter, the prints provide a strong reference for army building/painting.  For the Punic army: solders typically dress in white tunics with purple trim.  (Per Goldsworthy, the purple trim was for Spanish soldiers only.)

Roman Warfare by Adrian Goldsworthy – a rise to fall overview of the Roman military.  Battles are well mapped and well diagrammed.

The Fall of Carthage by Adrian Goldsworthy – in depth history of the Punic wars.  Text with limited battle maps.  The author borrows text from Roman Warfare in the overview of the two powers.

pg 207:  Hannibal’s army at Cannae August 216

10,000 cavalry: 4K Gallic, 2K Spanish, 4K Numidians

40,000 infantry:  8K skirmishers, 20K Celts, 8K Libyan and 4K Spanish

Generals: Mago (brother of Hannibal), Hasdrubal – hv cav, Maharbal- Numidian cav

pg 208:  “Our sources were most struck by the diverse dress of the enemy army.  On the one hand were the Libyans, dressed in Roman helmets and armour, and with oval scuta, then the Gauls stripped to the waist (since this is probably what Polybius means by ‘naked’), and the Spanish in their white tunics with purple borders, to which we might add the unarmoued Numidians with their distinctive hairstyles and riding their small, shaggy horses.  It is uncertain how accurate this picture is.  The Spanish had left home two years before and one may wonder how many still wore their native garb and had not replaced it with what ever was available locally or could be made in camp.”

215BC and 214BC – Hanno leads smaller armies of local troops from south-west Italy:  Bruttians and Lucanians with Numidian cav support.  These smaller forces were routinely defeated by the Romans while Hannibal was unchallenged.

pg 242:  Hasdrubal 207BC attempts to march reinforcements into northern Italy.  Defeated at battle of Metaurus.  Hasdrubal killed & army destroyed.

“Significantly” fewer than 40,000 men.  Spanish and Gauls.  10 or 15 elephants.  Little cavalry.

pg 243:  Mago 205BC lands near Genoa.  2800 cavalry, 18000 infantry, 7 elephants.  Forces drawn from Balearic Islands, Ligurian tribesmen and (presumably) Libyan/African forces.  Army defeated in 203BC, Mago dies of battle wounds, and army is withdrawn to Africa.

Roman Fort by  ??? – a fully illustrated overview of a typical Roman fort based on findings from Hadrian’s wall.  The pictures are a good source of information for terrain projects.  (lost track of the author’s name)


Washed Celts

Round 2 of the Celt paint plan test.  This test set uses 4 washes:

  • GW Badab Black
  • GW Devlan Mud
  • Wonder Wash original (black)
  • Wonder Wash Dirty Dark Brown

The GW washes dried matt with even/smooth shading over the whole figure.  Black and Mud returned very similar results with the black darker by a hair.

The Wonder Wash washes dried with a high shine.  Shading is uneven with puddles at the feet and at the bottom of shields.  The Dirty Dark Brown is very red and produces a very unpleasant effect on light under colors.

Conclusion:  I will be using two washes on the army models: Devlan Mud on cloth/weapons and Gryphonne Sepia for skin.  The skin tone with Devlan Mud is far too dark for fair skinned Celts, but could be perfect for a more Mediterranean look.



WAB classical campaign: Adepticon 2010

We are launching an online Warhammer Ancient Battles classical campaign.  Results of the campaign will feed into concluding events at Adepticon 2010.   Rules of the event are free and easy – its more of way to get a few games in than a simulation of the Successor Wars/Punic Wars.  If your interested in signing up, visit for all the details.

As an aside – the web site is my creation.  I’ve been reading about web design for the past year & this is my first chance at a live site.  The base of the site is a template used as a starting point.  Version 2.0 should come later this summer (after I get my campaign army finished!) with a whole new, and original  layout.  If anyone has feed back on the design, I’d love to hear from you.

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New Miniatures Company: Gorgon Studios

Gorgon Studios launches with their first miniature;  Temperance, a 40mm collectors scale figure.  Soon to follow are two line of Classics miniatures sculpted by Steve Saleh:  early Spartans and Etruscans.

gatesfront temperance

I know the folks behind Gorgon Studios.  I’m both excited to see what they have to offer and confident that they can deliver quality productsto the gaming community.

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Dipped Celts

Playing with two new toys – Wargames Factory Celts and WoodSheen by Minwax and I’m slowly warming to both.

The Celts are plastic 28mm figures for historical wargamming.  The figures are cleanly cast, without significant mold lines.  Assembly is a bit of a chore – the models are intened to be dynamic, which makes it a bit hard to sort out what angle an arm belongs at or where to hang a shield.  Sculpting is adaquate – hair stands out as the one area that needs improvement.  The figures are true to human scale, which means they fit with with GW’s Empire humans but are dwarfed by Chaos Maurauders.

Celts are played in a hoard – my tentative 1K WAB list has about 90 warriors.  There is no way I’m painting that many figures by next Adepticon.  The solution is dip.  I chose WoodSheen:  Rose Wood as an alternitive to the standard stain products as it advertises a 2 hour dry time.  I applied the dip by brush and with 24 hours of dry time, the figures were slightly tacky (which is still better than the huge stink and 2-3 day dry time of stain).  After two layers of matt spray sealer the figures were presentable.  The biggest adjustment in using this product will be the choice of base colors.  All subtle shades are lost under the dip, I’ll need to add more whole colors such as grey and white to my color scheme.

Celts 007

Celts 009

This figures need a bit of touch up on facial details and the shields need to be fixed.  But other than that, any other advice?  I’m thinking the dip is too heavy on the skin tones & that I might want to try a better brand of matt sealer to completely kill the shine.



Inspiring Sources

Terrain building is more fun with a constant stream of inspiring sources.  Look outside the typical hobby forums for photographs (and photoshops) of real life.


Source: bpkelesy photo used without permission

Could this become a Hirst Castle on an ice peak?  Why does our gaming terrain always have to be flat!

It does not take Photoshop to make something incredible, history is still in the world around us.  Travel logs are rich in photos of castles, forts, churches and abbeys.


The world of architecture has plenty to offer:

Deviant Art is a constant source of images, both real and imagined.  Search by Urban and Ruin for a world fit for any battle field.

Painting decay, rust and ruin can be difficult to master.  Look to real examples to get the tone right at Smashing Magazine.


Source: daniel cheong photo used without permission

Finally, web design sites provide a plethora of textures.  Look at steel, stone, marble, rust and bone for real world color.

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Gaming on a Budget

From the Warp asks:  if it’s a money saver, let’s hear about it

Financial Budget:  keep a record of all hobby spending.  Its not so hard to do – keep a spreadsheet with all your hobby cash in and cash out.

  • Set a yearly budget
  • Keep a running total and wait to be surprised by your expenses after six months or so
  • For those of us with families its easier justify large purchases (new armies, air brush, convention trip) if the hobby expenses are under control

Time Budget: gamers are notorious for starting (and not finishing) too many projects.  Stop wasting money on products which never make it to the gaming table.  Only buy figures and supplies that will actually get used.

  • limit yourself to 2-3 projects at a time
  • set a due date for each project – if you have no plan to finish, will you ever finish?
  • clean out the back stock – paint 2, buy 1


Quick Links: TableTop-World

Table Top World is a new resin terrain company creating fantasy buildings.  Not only do they have 3 three very nice kits to launch their web store, but their build style is completely unique.  When creating a stone effect, they literally use stone to create the model.  Read all about the method in this interview with the owners/sculptors on Cianty’s Tabletop Wargames. Additional images posted to photobucket.

table-top-world-wip table-top-world-forge1-2

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Ruined Castle – Complete

Took about 10 weeks of hard work, but I’m rather satisfied with the result. In the end, the 8×4 table was consolidated into a tightly packed 4×4 table – perfect for a skirmish game like Legend of the High Seas. The event organizer was please with the terrain & apparently the castle was a hit with the players.

Looking at the finished project, I would to add a few taller pieces.  The jungle plants are nearly as tall as the castle structures – I’d like for the castle to break through the forest canopy.  Guess that’s a project for next year.


ruined-castle-016_600 ruined-castle-014_600 ruined-castle-012_600 ruined-castle-009_600 ruined-castle-006_800 ruined-castle-017_600

Pirate Castle Series:

  1. Ruined Pirate Castle
  2. Its a Jungle out there
  3. Ruined Pirate Castle – layout
  4. Ruined Pirate Castle: paint list

Pirate Castle At Play:

  1. Cursed Treasures:  Cursed Isle at Adepticon
  2. Plastic Legions:  Give it up for the Pirates!!



Ruined Pirate Castle: paint list

Adepticon is almost here & the castle is nearly finished. For this project, I’ve spent a lot of time painting with a sponge. Its a great little tool which completely eliminates any brush marks. With the highly textured surface of the Hirst blocks, the sponge quickly applies paint to the surface & leaves shading in the crevices unmarked. Wet blending is a snap – the sponge easily blends from color to color.

All that is left is a bit of static grass on the bases and creeper lines on the walls with flock.


Paint List

Field Stone:

  • tan house paint base
  • Dark Brown with hints of Light Red Oxide & Hunter Green (Folk Art)
  • 80/20 brown/black wash with water, future wax and white glue mix
  • Desert Sand top coat (Americana)

Chipped Stone:

  • medium grey house paint base
  • Medium Gray (folk Art) & Dolphin Gray (Apple Barrel) undercoat
  • 80/20 black/brown wash with water, future wax and white glue mix
  • Medium Gray top coat


  • medium brown house paint base
  • English Mustard (Folk Art) 1st dry brush
  • Desert Sand top brush