Friday, January 27, 2012


OK, the first 12 gladiator models for the upcoming club campaign are off the painting table. Here are the six more-heavily-armored gladiators...

And here are the six poorly-armored dudes.

These are all Foundry 28mm figures from their excellent gladiators range. While most of the figures in the range are a mix of armor and weapon types, I tried to pick out six archetypes from historical arena matches.

The first is the "Thracian." He is characterized by the sica sword (well, sort of a facsimile), which was designed to reach around shields and hit the unarmored backs of opponents. He also has a medium shield and the griffin-topped helm.

Next, we have the "Secutor." He is the traditional match up for the Retiarius gladiator (see next below). He is armed with the gladius sword (for short stabs), and is defended by a large shield and the secutor helm, which is finished smooth so that the Retiarius net cannot entangle it, and small single eye holes to protect against the trident.

And here is the "Retiarius." Armed with the traditional net and trident, the Retiarius tactic is to ensnare, then impale his foe.

Next we have the "Hoplomachus." This is a Roman rendition of the traditional Greek hoplite warrior...though why this poor fellow had to suffer with such a small friggin' shield is anyone's guess. After throwing his spear (should he have chosen to do so), the Hoplomachus could draw a gladius sword to continue the fight.

Here is the twin-bladed "Dimachaeri." Not a pervasive gladiator type, but cool looking nonetheless. This one wears a secutor helm.

Finally, we have the main archetype for the heavy gladiator, the "Myrmillo." He carries the standard scutum shield, gladius sword, left leg armor and a crested myrmillo-style helm.

And, as you can see, the Hotzmap arena showed up in the mail this week...yeah!

Well, looking forward to starting this campaign soon.

Next up, it's back to Cryx. I played in a local Warmachine Steamroller tournament last weekend and took 3rd with a 3-0 record. How do you get 3rd with a 3-0 record? Tiebreakers. Now, the main tiebreaker in Steamroller tournaments is enemy warcaster assassinations. The 1st place guy had 3 assassinations. The second place guy had 2. I, in third place, had 1. You see the pattern. Well, I play Menoth at tournaments, and Menoth is not generally an assassination faction. However, Cryx I'm going to go Cryx in the next tourney. We'll see what happens. Anyway...

'Til next time.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gladiator Skin

Alright...first club project for this year. Gladiators. Over a year ago, I got the idea in my head to run a small gladiator campaign at the club. Every guy in the campaign is the head of a ludi gladiatori (gladiator school), and starts with a set amount of money (20,000 denarii). There's a slave auction...guys bid for fighting stock. There's an initial fight to see who's fit to undergo training. There's equipment, betting, and plenty of visits to the arena. You get the idea.

Anyway, that idea slowly went to sleep until I started watching the Spartacus series on DVD. Bad television aside, the gladiator campaign sprang back, front and center on the hobby table.

The first 12 gladiators...

I based on 1" hexes since Hotzmats has an appropriately sized gladiator ring mat. That's on order...but knowing Hotz it will arrive in it's own sweet time. Never mind. That time will be put to use painting and getting the campaign game components put together.

So, I started with skin. Most gladiators in the 1st century were slaves brought to the schools from all parts of the Roman Empire. A good opportunity to try a lot of different skin shades. I have several different skin series from Foundry and Reaper, so I thought I'd try a few.

Here are the North African and Olive Skin sets. North Africa, good. Olive skin...yuck. Way, way too green. The guy looks like he should be a zombie. Reaper...what were you thinking?

Next, we have the African skin and normal flesh series from Foundry. I've never painted dark skin before...the Foundry African skin series is really nice.

Finally, we have the Bronzed and Tanned Skin series from Reaper. Again, Tanned Skin looks a little off...not a warm enough color. However, the Bronzed Skin is pretty nice to my eye.

I think the rest of the figure painting will go pretty quick, so I'll have these 12 guys completed and posted next week.

'Til next time.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Gravus, the Menoth Dragoon

It's inevitable that when you collect an army, you eventually get down to the last few pieces you feel compelled to paint. I was feeling this with the Menoth Vessel of Judgement, painted a few months back. I certainly feel it with Gravus. There was the Menoth Dragoon (a piece with mounted and unmounted versions), sitting on the table saying "Hey, you should really paint me if you want to finish off your Menoth collection...sucker!"

So, it was with little enthusiasm that I finished Gravus off. Will I ever use him? Well, character restrictions are coming to the tournament I can see him going into a Kreoss list when the Book and the Avatar have already been claimed into my main list.

Now, what I have left for Menoth are actually a few pieces I am excited to do. Those are the new models that came out in the Wrath expansion. Thyra, Nicia and the Blood of Martyrs are three models made with work well in a list with one I'll be happy to paint them and try them out on the battlefield. Those, along with a few random Mercenary figures should finish off my Menoth collection for the foreseeable future (famous last words).

'Til next time.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Star Spangled SPAD

Last weekend I wrote up my 2011 review. As I was posting that blog entry, I realized that I hadn't done a single WWI model last year. What?!?

Time to right that injustice. Fortunately, I had a project I really wanted to do. A few months back, I'd ordered away for some after-market decals for 94th Aero Squadron post-WWI showbird paint schemes. Captain Reed Chambers' "Stars and Stripes" scheme I found particularly eye-catching. These decals came from Mark's Models and Toys and were designed for the Eduard 1/72 late-model SPAD XIII.

There are a couple of photos of the original plane, from March 1919. Reed Chambers met with a fair bit of success during the war. He was credited with 6 enemy planes downed, as well as one balloon.

Each SPAD in the squadron was painted in its own unique and spectacular scheme. Marvelous!

As you can imagine, this project was an exercise in decal application. I sprayed the wings with Reaper Linen White (bright white, as a paint, did not come available until long after WWI). I started with the wing decals while closing up the fuselage and filling with GW's liquid green stuff.

There were chunks of the fuselage that needed to be painted in the same shade of blue that appears on the wing decals. I was able to get a pretty close match by mixing Vallejo French Blue with Pale Blue Grey. I masked and sprayed for the nose and tail plane.

Fuselage stripes and lots and lots of little star decals.


Rigging was heated, stretched plastic sprue, painted metal.

Pilot figure was a resin piece I had in the parts box.

Even though this scheme was painted 5 months after the war, I'll have no reservation fielding this in our next Canvas Eagles game.

'Til next time.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Looking Back at 2011

What a year!

2011 was many games, so many models, and plenty of projects to keep a hobbyist busy. Looking back over the last couple of years, it looks like the pattern that's developing is to knock out about two big army projects a year, and then supplement that with plenty of work in other areas.

This last year, the two big armies that got put together were 1) 1st century AD Celtic army (which can double for many different Gallic, Germanic and British armies)...

...and 2) A rather large Cryx army for Warmachine. This shot is of a unit of Mechanithralls; just one component of a project that ran close to seventy figures.

2011 turned out to be a pretty prolific year. I finished over 300 models and got close to putting the finishing touches on a couple of other big armies, like this Early Imperial Roman force...

...and an ever growing Menoth Warmachine army. Ah yes, Prime Severius and his 35 point juggernaut force. Good list!

My army projects seem to focus in on putting together one or more games for MayDay (our local miniatures convention). In 2011 it was the Battle of Sotium. MayDay is a very good driver for this sort of thing.

Some of the painting projects this year leaned towards the big end of the scale. The new battle engines for Warmachine came out this past year, and I did two of them. The Cryx Wraith Engine...

...and the Menoth Vessel of Judgment.

Another big project that got knocked out this year was getting all sorts of paint into dropper bottles. Wound up with more than 800 of these little buggers.

This past year I started posting a number of tutorials. These turned out to be pretty popular on the blog, so I'll continue this trend in 2012. I really enjoyed doing the horses tutorial.

I played lots of games this year, thanks mainly to our lunch time Warmachine group at work, and the Tuesday night Edmonton Wargame Group. Five game systems took up most of my time in 2011, including Warmachine/Hordes, Command & Colors, Conflict of Heroes, the new SAGA (pictured here)...

...and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition, which we use for our Middle-earth-based RPG system.

Well, that was a busy 2011, and 2012 shouldn't be any different. There are already several new projects underway on the hobby table, which I'll be posting on in the coming weeks. Hope you have a great New Year!

'Til next time.