Monday, May 23, 2016

Hobby WIP: Roman Spear Phalanx (Part 2)

Real life has been busy lately. Suffice it to say, hobby time has suffered a bit… but I have made some real progress on my test unit of Spear Phalanx, and figured I'd share.

We're back!
If you are just tuning in, the above pic is where we are starting from today. I’m using the Roman Legionaries kit from Warlord Games, some Vallejo white pumice paste for a sandy basing effect, and a lot of leftover 20mm magnetized bases from my old Empire models. Feel free to check out the WIP post on these guys from a week or so prior for more info.

After a string of being out and busy on nice days and home and free on dreary ones, I lucked out and managed to have some free time on a nice day and managed to get these soldiers all primed up, and then get some painting in over the weekend. A few of my brushes are nearing the end of their usefulness, so the idea here was to slap down a layer of paint with those brushes and get used to the models, and then touchup/cleanup later on with a better brush, and then move on to shades/washes/etc. and finish the model. The approach seemed better than demanding a lot out of a few good brushes, or trying to do detail work with bad brushes.

Off to a good start!
Above is a pic very early in the process. Only three colors in so far: a diluted wash for the sand; some dark brown for the sandals; and a grey metal for all the armor. As you can see, the painting is less than precise here; some toes are sandy; some sand is dark brown; some noses are metallic. But we’re making progress.

Almost there....
Some indeterminate amount of time later, and the models are looking more colorful. I still need to add some kind of other metal to the scabbards and to the studs on the cingulum belt… but other than that, everything has gotten its first coat of paint!

When I set out to paint up this test unit, I did actually build in a few things to test. After painting up more than 70 Chaos Warriors in my brief time in the hobby, I knew the shields would be painted separately and glued on later, but I wanted to see if it was easier to:

·         Paint the arms before or after they are glued on
·         Paint a group of models on 40mm bases or individually
·         Paint the heads before or after they are glued on

In future units (and there will be more Romans appearing in this army!), I’ll absolutely paint the shields separately. I didn't fully appreciate the poses these models have, and the shield needs to be fully painted for most of these models as it is away from the body. So, good call there, self.
I will also paint up the models and the weapon arms separately. It’s wasn’t a big deal to attach and then paint, and it was nice to not have to work around the spears.

Painting a group of models on the 40mm was (surprisingly) easily doable, particularly without shields and weapons getting in the way. Since the unit is supposed to be more compact and defensible though (and I already have all those magnetized 20mm bases) I think I may just stick to individual 20mm bases on these units for now.

Lastly, while the models do have exposed necks, I think I’ll attach all the heads before gluing next time. Heads are a pain to prime separately, and getting at the necks isn’t a big deal, despite the awkward paint job above. The bad paint job came from me painting metal before most everything else. Next time... metal will be one of the last, if not the last color to be applied.

I have already learned a lot from this test unit! I will hopefully finish them off in the next week, and get a finished Hobby Update post for them posted soon!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hobby WIP: Roman Spear Phalanx

One of the other projects-in-progress that I have going right now is a regiment of Romans. Romans! Golly-gee, it’s about time! A few months ago I picked up two boxes each of the Roman Legionaries and Roman Praetorian Guard made by Warlord Games. I finally opened the boxes about a week ago and set about planning out my future Roman units…

I had read that the designers were pretty crafty in designing these kits and most of the bodies, heads and weapons were easily interchangeable. With that “exchangeability” in mind, my intent when I bought these was to spread the weapons around and make the Legionaries into some Spear Phalanx Regiments (using the Pila bits), and the Praetorian Guards into the more elite Foot Guard (using Gladius swords bits) for the army. Eventually, I’d pick up some more boxes of Legionaries down the road to build up with swords as units of Shield Wall. Eventually, my more defensive infantry regiments would all be Roman-themed. It was a good plan! But it quickly fell apart. 
Henceforth, the official model of the Regnum Aeternum's Foot Guard's will be "Sharing is Caring."

Ouch. A box of Praetorian Guard (20 figs) will net me 4 swords for the rank and file. The Legionaries are a bit better, with 8 swords for their 20-strong unit. I don't know what the Hail Caesar rules are for arming your legions, but I was hoping for a more even split of stabby things. I only have myself to blame though: pics of the spries are all over the website. Live and learn.. and then buy more plastic I guess. There you go. Life lesson right there for your budding hobbyists.

Each kit comes with a ton of pila, however, so while I try to figure out how I'm going to get more swords, I've started on a test unit of pila-armed Legionaries, which will become a unit of Spear Phalanx for the Kingdoms of Men.

As you might be able to see from the first picture, the models have built-in oval bases. What you can't see is that that's all I got: no other bases to glue them to or to help them rank up. Luckily, having converted over all those old Empire guys, I have a use for the 100+ magnetized bases that I already have. Recycling! Anyways, I attached the minis and then applied the Vallejo White Pumice Paste once again. We'll see how it works with feet this time; the horses were galloping and were easy to do; this took a little extra effort, and even still, every 4th one seemed to get nice and gooped from the knee down. Fortunately, the paste is water soluble, and easy to clean off.

I couldn't decide betwen: "The commanders have lost their heads." or "We're not very well armed, are we?" So you get both. Sorry.
The regiment may appear half-built and/or haphazardly constructed, but really, it’s all for the sake of testing, I swear! Most have heads, no shields, no weapons, and are on individual 20mm bases to help with painting, as I think this will be the best way to hobby on them, but just in case…

·         Some models have spear arms glued already, to see if it’s a pain to paint around the spears or not.
·         Some models don’t have heads, to see if that’s better to paint the noggins already on the mini or separately
·         I have included one 40mm square of multi-based units, so see how difficult it will be to paint a unit of these Romans already set up and glued in a multi-base fashion

These should be pretty quick to paint up, I think. I just need find some time to get to work on them….

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hobby WIP: Scouts with Bows

Most of my hobbying lately has been on some D&D baddies and bosses for an ongoing campaign I’ve been DMing… but some minor progress has been made on a few Kings of War units. First up are some Mounted Scouts with bows!

I ordered these months ago from Firerforge Games, from their Mongol Horde line. I picked up a box of their Mongol Cavalry (12 figs), and two packs of their Heavy Cavalry Archers (4 figs each).

My original plan was to build up 4 Troops. Three Troops would have 4 normal cavalry models led by a Heavy, and the Forth Troop would be all Heavies, and either see the table rarely, or be given a magic item like Fire Oil to help my opponent keep my units straight in their head.

In retrospect, I overbought, and could have done without the second pack of Heavies. The sculpts for the Heavies are made from a very brittle material, and generally lackluster. I even broke a few things here and there just cleaning up the injection lines… They'll make good unit leader models, but I’m not sure when (if) I’ll get around to working on their exclusive 5-man unit at this point.

Everything you get in a pack of the Heavies. Not bad, but very little room for customization, and everything is very brittle.
That said, I really like the kit for the normal Mongol Cavalry, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a more Eastern or explicitly Mongol style army or models. Like the Mounted Sergeants from Fireforge, which I just did up recently, the basic Mongol Cavalry sprues are simple, but very well designed.

There are only three distinct horses and four distinct humans, but each has simple tweaks to get a lot of milage out of the kit. Each human is leaning a bit, so mixing and matching, you should be able to get a very dynamic unit. Additionally, you not only get bows, but also options for a shield, as well as lances and swords. Lots of great bits!

Simple, but very well designed to give the hobbyist lots of options.
So, those are the models. I’ve been looking forward to getting a few units of these Scouts on the table top for a while now. They unfortunately still aren’t ready for a game yet, but progress is being made...

Lots of armor on the "heavy" horse... but you can't be the unit leader if you're dead.
Like their Mounted Sergeants, these models have a built-in base for stability, which necessitated me using the Vallejo Paste again(White Pumice). I applied it a little thicker than I did before, and also played more with the orientation of the horses, to try and show more of their Nimble special rule (and to possibly enable me to model up some Scouts attempting more of a Parthian shot, when I get to the humans).

All the normal Mongol cavalry have bumps on the reins. Which is probably knotted cloth or something, but I dry brushed some shiny gold onto it. Raiding has been good.
Again, I used this wonderful horse website for coloring inspiration, but ended up not experimenting too much. I wanted enough variation to make the unit look interesting on the table, but similar enough to try and show the mounts in each of the units all belonging to the same horse lineages, if that makes any sense.
A few pebbles here and there and the mounts will be good to go!
The mounts have been in this mostly-finished state for.... almost three weeks now. So what’s taking me so long to get these troops done? Well, the humans are the issue this time around. The Heavies are all clad in armor, and were pretty simple to plan and do. All the regular Mongols, however, have wrap-around clothing (unlike the simple draping tunics of the Mounted Sergeants). The wrap-around complicates my usual split white/purple clothing.

I’ve experimented a bit, and am nearing a workable solution with the colors of the cloth. I am also working on some simple kitbashing/greenstuff (mixing the Mongol bits with some GW hats, Roman-style bits etc), in an attempt to try and show that these are more auxiliary or more irregular troops, since the style is decidedly different from the Roman theme I'm shooting for this army in the long-run.

I'm hoping to be done with these guys in a week or so... but we'll see. I've been bouncing from project to project and getting distracted lately. A few posts may end up intervening before these guys are finished up.