Saturday, December 20, 2014

DBA Special III/40b Norse Viking


As promised, here is the companion army to the Pre-Feudal Scottish ... The Vikings ...

Building this army was inspired by Peter Pig's new extensive range of Vikings and Saxons and the desire to assemble them and as many equivalents from other manufacturers for a review ...


... and, with a little care and attention, I get a couple more Dark Age armies out of the exercise, Canmore's Scots and these cultural raiders ...

The V3 DBA army follows the usual formula (post 850): a solid Blade general and 10 bases of Solid Blade hirdsmen ... (and just one element tp pick and choose over) ...


The landwaster standard was made in the usual way from tissue over a foil substrate, doped with PVA and painted ...


The 12th element can be archers (Bw or Ps), Beserks (fast Wb) or Irish (fast Ax)


V3 of DBA offers slightly more choice by allowing 3 bases of substitutes from an ally (in this case Irish, Scottish or Anglo-Danish) ... that might mean a bit more variety but this is tough good-looking army as it stands.


The figures are (just under) half Piggies, the rest Essex, Donnington, Khurasan, Black Hat, Museum, Outpost, and one each from Touller, Irregular and Chariot (just to show how nicely they all mix together) ...

The camp is meant to represent the prows of some longships pulled up on a marshy riverbank ...


Peter Pig make loads of looting and ravaging figures, so, with an Essex ship there was a lot of kit to jumble together for this piece.  It is made on clear plastic sheet rather than my usual MDF basing so any river it sits on should show through ... The guarding Camp Followers are detachable of course.

I pasted together some of the shield designs again (done hand as usual)  - sorry if they come out a bit blurred by the editing ...


They are the usual mix of Celtic/Saxon/Norse designs that seem to pass for generic Dark Age these days (and honestly I know no better) ...

It pairs nicely with Pre-Feudal Scottish or, say, Anglo-Saxon

A very enjoyable project and a nice addition to any collection.



Sunday, December 7, 2014

30th November, Halesowen

WARGAMER 2014

The Society of Ancients combined with the Northampton Battlefields Society to run a stand at Wargamer in its bright new venue in Halesowen.

We took along the wargame model of the 1460 Battle of Northampton (which is only an hour down the road from Birmingham) in a display format - as Wargamer isn't one of those shows where we usually pick up volunteers for full multiplayer participation game.


I set the battle up as the Yorkist lords move their forces forward

(uncle Fauconberg at the Battle of Northampton)

There was plenty to talk about as only 2 evenings previously the NBS had picked up a Community Star award from the local residents' association in Northampton's Far Cotton and Delapre where the battlefield lies.

The award recognises the Society - and particularly its chairman, Mike Ingram (he of the excellent Bosworth book) - fighting for what it believes in: the preservation, interpretation and publicising of the 1460 battlefield at Delapre Abbey ...

(Community Star award alongside exhibition weapons from the Northampton Battlefields Society)

And I was also doing some surveying for our friends at the Naseby Battlefield Project who need to know what you would like to find in a visitor centre should you go to the ECW site (I will provide info and a link when there is an online version available) ..

If not particularly busy or intensively promoted (and the two can go together) Wargamer is a great example of a good quality local wargames show.   Lots of great exhibits from clubs and groups within an hours or so's drive and a fair mix of traders including the indomitable Dave Lanchester (Books) down from Yorkshire for the day (great support from Dave and he looked busy enough for it to have been worth his trip) ...

The show was a little easier to find than the former venue, better lit, had a bar (albeit rudimentary) and more parking ... winning all round, then.

In addition to Northampton, there were plenty of ancient games on show ...


The Cobridge (Stoke Challenge) club had this sumptuous Republican Roman Armati game.


The Border Rievers had a splendid and well captioned Battle of Mycale 


Tremendous terrain and loads of figures  ... this game was being played using WRG's 6th edition.


And The Guards of Birmingham were playing a large Hail Caesar game loosely based on Hydaspes ...


Well, add in our Medieval battle and that's some good coverage of the Society's period of remit for a local Sunday show I think.

A good diversity of style too ... 15 and 28mm ... Armati, vintage WRG and HC (and the set up for ours would have been a matrix game) ...

Other good stuff at Wargamer included ...

(WWII - Parker's Crossroads)

A couple of Renaissance games ... from Malta ...


... to the English Civil War ...


Several Napoleonics and even an interesting WWII Naval game ...


A great selection: I counted 17 games: 5 Napoleonic, 4 WWII (3 land; 1 naval), 3 Ancient, 1 Medieval, 1 Renaissance, 1 ECW, 1 ACW and 1 Indian Wars … in a good mix of scales and using everything from glossy published rules to oldies and homebrews.  

What a showcase.  There was also a Bring & Buy.

The weather was good for travelling so this was a great day for the midland wargame enthusiast (if you didn't attend this year I am sure you will want to look out for next year's show) ...


That was the last show outing for the Society of Ancients for 2014 although my own wargaming is moving on apace over the Winter break (and more special features are in preparation - so keep an eye on Ancients on the Move or just hit the follow by email button) ...

Oh ... and don't forget to renew your Society subscriptions (the majority of members still lapse with the distribution of the November issue - and that's the next one coming) ...



Saturday, December 6, 2014

DBA Special III/45 Pre-Feudal Scottish


Sorry for the low level of activity here, I have been busy with a number of projects (some of which might well find their way onto this page in due course) but normal service is being restored as I catch up ...

First, those Pre-Feudal Scots that did such sterling service for me at the DBA Open ...


They are now tidied up, ready for pictures and adjusted to Version 3.   The core adjustment is that you lose a skirmisher and the Warband option goes up to 2 elements ...  anyway ...

The army is mostly Peter Pig Viking figures (with some help from Outpost, Donnington, Essex and Chariot ... plus, to make a mix, a figure each from Curvus Belli, Old Glory, Minifigs, A Touller and Lurkio) ...


I have tagged this army Malcolm Canmore's Scots .... Malcolm, of course, was the adversary of Shakespeare's Macbeth ... so an ideal opponent for your run of the mill cauldron boiling Scot.

It was Malcolm's army that removed Birnham wood to Dunsinane in the classic denouement (and I suspect gives rise to this army's core of 3Pk spearmen ... ) ...

Canmore apparently means 'big head' so I've given him a big head.  He is a Touller figure with an Outpost Varangian head (between 2 Outpost cavalrymen - the left of which has an Essex head)


The left is an old Essex one piecer with added spear and Outpost head ... the right hand figure is also Essex but with a Lurkio top half.   They match up nicely, I think ...


The Scottish thegns ... an Outpost Varangian amongst 3 Piggies ...


The core of the army.   Mindful that V3 was changing these spearmen to 3Pk, 


I chose to model them as generic Dark Age infantry with very big spears.  I deliberately did not go for shieldless schiltron types as I suspect they may be anachronistic.    These look the piece for me for 11th Century foot, and I think are fine for the 3Pk designation (but its just my interpretation) ... nonetheless, not all have shields.  Again, the shield designs are generic Dark Age with a Caledonian twist and there is the odd yellow warshirt ...


Men in skins... men in warshirts ... more Hollywood than Galwegian with a deliberate hint of wildness.   not to be taken too seriously ... Chariot wild men, a couple of Piggies an Outpost and a Minifig.   They mix well.


V2.2's useful 2 elements drop to 1 in V3 ... Corvus Belli, Outpost (with dog) and 2 New Era Donningtons ...


I made this broch-like encampment from an old Airfix (Nottingham Castle) turret ... and added a mix of junk including some sheep, a dead cow, a camp fire and a likely anachronistic kingly flag.   The army is making camp (and maybe looting ... a bit ... ) at a newly captured tower ...  There is an Outpost shaman dancing in a loincloth.   Answers on a postcard?

As an alternative I have based up some Museum monks ... the army pairs up with some Vikings, so the monks are their natural foes ... when needs must ...


This beautiful Barker Marker is actually the top half of a 28mm MDF cross from Timeline.   It was just too tall for this collection so I chopped it down (and am very pleased with the results) ....  I set it in a spiral pathway mimicking contemporary shield designs.   I have no idea whether there is any justification for this.


I had quite a lot of fun making the camp, and it views well from a number of angles.   I was particularly pleased with this guy emerging from the tower ... actually he is a PP wounded figure but the pose just seems to suit.   It is also a tremendous little figure (yes - that is 15mm!) ...

As I say, the shield designs are generic Dark Age with  some Scottish flavours ... there is some authenticity to the swirly designs North of the wall, but mostly it is generic/conjectural ... anyway, I clipped a bundle of them together so you can see for yourself.


Occasionally there's a bit of something else in the way - and sometimes the angles are quirky - but, by and large, this seems to have worked (I'll do it again for the Vikings I think) ...

So ... here is the army reconfigured for V3 ...


It was surprisingly good (came 2nd) as a V2.2 army, so I will now wait and see how effective 3Pk are in the latest version - it will add another dynamic to the now interesting and variable Dark Age infantry fight.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

19th October, Portsmouth


The 2014 English DBA Open

I very nearly had to open this post with one of those 'the monkey writes Shakespeare intros'.   You know ... you go on bashing away randomly for long enough  ... More anon ...

The Open is a one-day DBA event ... take any army you like but the players will then be arbitrarily pooled by date.  After a round robin of pool games, the winners and runners up go forward to a knock out scramble for the trophies.

In addition, the Open was the last round of the Society of Ancients UK DBA League - with some positions still in doubt on the day pending the open scores.

So two sets of trophies come day's end.

(front - alongside the latest Slingshot: plaques for the DBA Open; behind: shields for the DBA League)

I do hope you like the shields ... these are hand cast and embellished in Northamptonshire and are unique to the Society.    In this case a number of ugly old figures, miscasts and off cuts were melted down and recycled.     As many of you know, I have a soft spot for old figures so rest assured no classics are being lost to posterity in this process - indeed I hope it is a sort of Valhalla for yesterday's misshapen and abandoned warriors.

DBA Open

I took along some generally unfancied Pre Feudal Scottish (III/45b)

Malcolm Canmore's Scots

3Kn Gen, 1 x 2LH, 1 x 4Wb, 6 x 3Sp, 1 x 3Wb, 2 x 2ps.

These are the rest of some bags of  Peter Pig Vikings and samples from other manufacturers which I put together for a Slingshot review.   I had them just about ready for Portsmouth - they will have a few clumps of heather added to their bases when I find where I have put the little bag.

The only fiddling - other than mixing in the different makes - was lengthening a few of the spears: this army will become '3Pk' under V3 (and lose a Ps for a Sp or Wb) and I wanted it ready for the new version.

(the AD Pool: portrait shot of Tim's splendid Mongols about to sally forth)

In my 'AD' pool I got Mongols, Samanids, French Ordonnance, Magyar and a cross-over tussle with Babylonians ... a challenging series of opponents but not bad for an Open competition.

With all those LH my main plan was to channel the enemy with woods, back up my flanks and close the enemy down as rapidly as I could.  Attack rather than defend if there was any choice at all.

(closing down the Mongols: if they roll a 1 now, I am in business - my Zocs are coming)

(Channeling the French ... in fact the flank skirmish in the woods - and its implications - decided this one)

(Samanids: I was very wary of that elephant but managed to get onto its flank and turn the game)

I failed to get to grips with the Magyars (hard to pin them down with infantry and there's not much time to faff about with Portsmouth's sudden death timings), and, against the Babylonians, (put simply) I failed to find an answer to the disruptive effect of that wooded blob in the middle of the table (especially after an enemy Ax had jumped into it at an incompatible angle!) ...

(crossovers ... this terrain was too complicated for me and it blunted my attacking intentions)

Even so, the plucky Scots topped the pool and thrust me into the semis.

Knock out ... Roses civil wars ...

So choices over ... the format for the final phase of the Open is for all 4 players to take the same army (in this case Wars of the Roses, although options could be chosen).

(semi-final: a favourable Wars of the Roses engagement)

I have to say I don't really find WotR in DBA 2.2 a test of much other than die rolling - but I got lucky and proceeded to the final ...

(Final: no gifts in this game ... more WotR ... an unfavourable engagement - I couldn't kill anything)

Then I got unlucky and came Second - Game over.

(2014 English Open: Babylonians vs Chinese; Kushite Egyptians; more knock out WotR; Samanids vs Mongols) 

So in the end not the complete works ... maybe an accumulation of errors ...

Winner: Martin Smith; Runner up: Phil Steele; 3rd Martin Myers; 4th Duncan McCoshan


Society of Ancients UK DBA League 2014

All this was sorting out the finishing positions for the national DBA League as well - although in the end Martin Myers did not manage to overhaul Richard Pulley's 3rd place score (so, by day's end, things looked similar to how they had started)

(Martin and Colin collecting their shields - Richard and Findlay were not able to play the final round so will receive their trophies at the next event)

Many thanks to Bill, Lindon and the Portsmouth club for their customary first class organisation (and a new venue that was easy to find) and to Martin for the extra photographs.

The Society of Ancients and Magister Militum sponsor the English Open

The Society of Ancients and Monarch Books sponsor the UK DBA League

More details, standings and results on the Paws DBA page