Thursday, August 20, 2020

DBA Special: III/17 Maurikian Byzantine (15mm)


This is the second army to emerge refurbished from my large Armati/DBM Byzantine box (which, pretty much, still has an ADLG army left in it!) ... 
This army is crafted around some very stylish Kavallarioi with teardrop shields by (these days, generally unfancied) Irregular Miniatures.  I like their swagger, although I have had to replace their slightly wonky cast-on spears (whilst retaining the characteristic penons and speartips) ... It meant the army spent too long on my desk in bits (but I think it worked) ...

Anyway, here's what you get:-

The general is a Museum torso grafted in, and the army banner is my usual foil and tissue lamination.  

He's a Cv element, as is the main battleline of the army ...

(Kavallarioi, 5 x CV - figures mostly by Irregular) 
As usual all the shields etc. are hand painted.  The dragon windsocks are actually 10mm pieces from Penrdaken (but I thought they were too big for 10mm figures so used them here instead!)
You can then mix and match around this cavalry core. 
(Byzantine Light Horse - figures by Gladiator and Essex)
I would usually take one of these LH but seldom all of them.
Instead, I would take some western-style knights ...
(Optimates: 1 x 3Kn - figures by Essex) 
All mounted options ...
 But I would usually take some of the infantry shown here, around the camp ...
The options line up like this ...

Very rarely, you might take some or all of the skirmishers

(mixed Ps figures by Chariot, Essex and Gladiator) 

The Camp 

... is my take on the time-honoured 'tooth-pick' stockade with a couple of waggons drawn up as the outer defence.

(DBA Byzantines: Waggon and stockade camp)

(Waggons by Gladiator, figures by Irregular and Hallmark)

My usual configuration for this army would be:
Cv Gen + 5 Kavallarioi (Cv), 1 x Optimates (3Kn), 1 x LH, 2 x Sp, 2 x 4Bw

It's natural opponent in my collection is Arab Conquest.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Lockdown luxuries ... Out and About.

(Northampton's Eleanor Cross; vantage point for Northampton 1460 Battlefield)

As I mentioned in the previous post, we did begin some outdoor activites in July.

10th July: Commemoration of the Battle of Northampton

(Northampton Battlefield)

24th July - the battle of Edgcote

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Ancients Stuck at Home

(lockdown luxuries: painting 6mm flags)


When I started this blog 12 years ago (yes, some 420 posts ago, in 2008) it was branded 'on the move' because we were always going places (I thought, in a metaphorical sense as well as travelling around the country and, indeed, the world) ... 

In that time, I have reported on wargame events or military history attractions in 62 towns or cities across 6 countries, from here in Northamptonshire to as far afield as Alexandria (VA) in the U.S.   By road, by rail, by plane.*

(towns and cities around the world where the Shows North team has raised the ancients banner)

For most of this year, we have gone precisely nowhere.  I have painted toy soldiers, refurbished collections, attended meetings by Zoom, played games at home and games by phone.  I have researched and written articles and been filmed for TV.  But the furthest I have actually gone is the 60 miles to my late parents' house (which we are trying to sell during the current Covid pandemic - and that, as they say, is another story).  Wargaming?  A little.  Representing the Society of Ancients?  Scarcely any options.  On the move?  No. 

The furthest afield in the lifetime of the blog has been the World Wargames event in Alexandria (VA).  We all played FoG ancients and went to Washington on Memorial Day for a day out.  I played with the full sized version of my Italian Condotta (Hawkwood) army, and renewed friendships from a previous wargame trip to New Orleans.

(far from home: the view from our room at the Alexandria World Wargames venue hotel)

(far from home: Italians on the Move ... Sir John Hawkwood takes on all comers in Virginia)

The first city we reported from was nearer to home: Sheffield, back when Triples (now itself a piece of history, perhaps?) was at its traditional venue, the Octagon.  We were downstairs in the student bar supporting the DBA Northern Cup.  Ironically, the last event we attended before lockdown was also the Northern Cup (now, of course, securely berthed in Newark at Hammerhead).

(Sheffield Triples 2008: first blog 'on the road' for AoM - Shows North) 

In the picture, you can see a 'two board' set up for a DBA version of the 1356 battle of Poitiers (which was promoting that year's SoA BattleDay).  Again, something which remains part of our formula.

The most 'tagged' event over the 12 years has been Partizan, but it does get extra hits as there are two Partizan events per year, these days.  Second - and, therefore probably the single most reported trip for us - is Salute.  My very first stint on the Society stand was at Salute, when it was at Kensington Town Hall ** and I think I have not missed one since (although I have variously represented Wargame Developments, Lance and Longbow and the Pike and Shot Society depending on who might be short of volunteers).

(most tagged show: Partizan ... here, at Kelham Hall in 2008 with that Poitiers game, now on the prototype of my trademark folding (pasting table) battlefield) ...

Cheeky insert:

(Edgcote 1469: how the pasting table battlefields look today!)

So I think Salute is the most reported single show on our travels ... here we are back in 2008 again, and Salute had recently moved to Docklands ...

When will we be back out on the road again?  I don't know.  I am still holding out hope for the Society Conference at the end of October, otherwise most of the Autumn shows have already been cancelled.  I believe Warfare, moving to Ascot Racecourse, has not succumbed, yet so fingers crossed for that.

Outdoor events are less dramatically affected, now the initial surge of the pandemic has been addressed, and Northamptonshire Battlefields Society has led the way with socially distanced commemorative events at Northampton and Edgcote.

(Northampton Battlefield 2020: wreath laying at the Eleanor Cross)

(Edgcote Battlefield 2020: a strung out anniversary walk on the 24th July)

Indoors, of course, I am sure we have all been catching up on painting projects, storage, reorganising parts of the collection and tackling the lead pile.  I acquired some very nice Kieler figures from Germany to expand the Roman legionaries Phil Barker originally painted for the Tony Bath ancients game ...

(lockdown luxuries: new additions to the Tony Bath wargame flats collection)

... and, of course, the DBA collection - organising and photographing - goes on apace ... you could say 'unaffected' but, really, there is more time ... so, as well as a new page on camps and baggage, I have added new profiles on Arabs (15mm), Arabs (flats), Byzantines (flats), Mongols, Turks etc.

(lockdown luxuries: a small fraction of the 2020 painting output - see the links above)

The light at the end of the tunnel?  Local wargames are resuming under the protection of a gazebo, I am probably going to be given to go ahead to do a history talk outdoors.  Our community arts project reopens in August and my fingers remain crossed for some late Autumn shows.  I am not particularly keen that anyone takes any risks with this pandemic, however (and I not advocating anything that encourages people to use public transport just yet) ... 


*my fuller tally would say 12 countries across 4 continents, but the heyday of 'international wargaming', for me, was immediately before starting this blog, when, e.g., as a Society of Ancients team, we attended Historicons in the US and IWF events in Durban, Melbourne, Athens, Rome, Dublin etc. 

** as soon as I type that, I need to confess that I don't think it is actualy correct: back in my school days, we made an expedition to the Model Engineer Exhibition at the Seymour Hall and put on a demo game of WRG 4th ed Ancients (which was definitely a Society of Ancients 'thing' as Charles Grant was there).  My recollections of the event and its organisation are incomplete (I didn't book us in - but we definitely were booked in and I remember we had complimentary tickets for that reason) and I don't believe there are any photos (not that we have, anyway) but, in truth, that was probably my first shows gig for the Society of Ancients.  It would have been mid-70s .

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

14th March, Newark ... the one that got away ...

A casual comment on Facebook got me to flip back on posts just before the great lockdown - and indeed I did not post a report on Hammerhead and the 2020 running of the SoA's annual DBA Northern Cup.

Worse, all the work was done - pictures edited up and filed ready ... so aplogies for that.  I suspect I was ahead of the game with the photos and waiting for confirmation of the results etc. when the great curtain dropped on everything (and the posting bit didn't get done) ...

So here we are - 3 sections of pictures.  A quick dash around the show itself (we were most of the day in the - actually more comfortable - hall acros the carpark playing DBA, so it is brief as I had some shopping to do. Then my show game contribution: 54mm DBA Bosworth.  And some pictures from the Northern Cup.  

As it is a while back (and not in 'front memory') I'll get the pictures up (and then back fill some of the details as best I can) - so if you read the email version, and want a bit more detail, be sure to open up the website version in a few days as there will probably be more to read.



The 2020 Society of Ancients DBA Northern Cup

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Camps and Baggage Page

Just to announce that I am creating a new page on this blog specifically for the camps and baggage vignettes that I know a number of you particularly enjoy.

It will mostly be a gallery, but there will be links to the armies the camps come from, and occasional notes on which figures or bits were used.

The idea, of course, is to enable a little bit of themed browsing in the hope that visitors will find something inspiring.

I'm about half done ... and once I have caught up, new pieces will go up there as well as their other relevant page(s) with cross-referencing links.

You can find the page by going direct to it Ancients on the Move/Camps and Baggage ...

Or by looking across the page header and clicking on the button.

Please have a look around - please leave comments if you would like.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

DBA Special: III/25b Arab Conquest (30mm flat Zinnfiguren)

DBA Book III List 25b: Arab Conquest 639 to 660 AD

This is the army that fought the Byzantines at Yarmuk in 636.  Yes, there is an anomaly with the dates ... list b starts in 639, but Khalid's army at Yarmuk in 636 matches the later list, particularly in respect of the regular cavalry contingent (known to Arab historians as Khalid's Mobile Guard) who went on to win the battle.

The figures are 1960s flats originally painted by Phil Barker to play the Tony Bath ancients game.  They pre-date WRG.  I refurbished and rebased them for the Battle of Yarmuk project (for the DBA3 Great Battles of History compilation).

At the time, the DBA armies page didn't exist and the 2 command/24 element armies for the project vary from standard (to simulate the armies present for the battle).  For this gallery, I have extracted into a single command 12 elements that match the orthodox list.

(Islam's finest commander - the Sword of Allah)

Known as the Sword of Allah (in Arabic سيف الله), Khalid ibn Al-Waleed was arguably the greatest general of his age and, whatever the odds, was never defeated.  He commanded at the Yarmuk.  He was a master in the rapid use of cavalry to outflank and encircle the enemy.

(vintage 30mm flats: quintessential Arab lancers) 

 (Arab archers)

The infantry had to draw in and hold the enemy while the cavalry did their work.  They were stoic fighters, rated by DBA as swordsmen (4Bd) but had camels (at least, to aid mobility in the desert) and at Yarmuk, were partially re-armed with spears to enable them better to protect their archers (hence my improvised mix of swords, spears, camels and bows) ...

(although DBA's notes emphasise straight Arab swords, these vintage figures carry the trademark curved scimitar) 

Yarmuk is another of those battles where the engagement went right up to line of the (Arab) encampments.  This was either an indication of how close Khalid came to losing the battle (the traditional explanation) or (as I believe) shows him using a deliberately weak and vulnerable deployment to draw the enemy forward in order to trap them.

Either way, camps are fought over in this battle and are not just decorative.

(the last line of defence at the battle of Yarmuk) 

This army pairs with Maurikian Byzantine