Sunday, 4 October 2020

Pantodapoi Phalangites

I originally painted these Newline Designs 20mm Seleucid pikemen 10 years ago and some of the first Newline figures I painted. They had been in a box awaiting a re-paint and re-base for a while before the re-base project and with them being pikemen with a recent command finished seem like the ideal candidates for the experimental stage of the project.

The figures went through my standard repaint which was basically adding highlighting to what was originally basecoated and heavily washed with citadel Delvan Mud. The armour was given various brown shades and the pikes repainted. The helmets were simply highlighted with Vallejo Old Gold and the shields basecoated with Vallejo Bronze and the designs with Old Gold. Then to further add a bit of variety the clothing was highlighted and some had a few different colours and patterns added.

Next was the basing, which served to trail again the new colours as well as try to work out a method going forward. Furthermore it was a trial of the new heavy infantry format of 12 figures to a base as well as the format of pike units.

Firstly the modelling and colours. I glued the figures onto a painted MDF base 80mm x 30mm with some general purpose glue, it was a squeeze for the levelled pikemen but I like the close packed look! I knew it would be a challenge to paint the base but it was doable. Since changing to a more finer basing material to suit the scale better I though I should tackle the issue of the figures individual base. I mixed together haphazardly all purpose filler powder, very fine sand, bit of water and some paint which made a nice gritty pasted which dried with subtle texture and blended the figure bases together. The recipe will need a bit of refining but a good start and did the job required. I think the grass is fine maybe could be a bit darker and the drybrush was a bit too heavy and lightened the sand a bit too much but will do for me. Next time I may use the darker sand coloured paint I have mixed (see previous post for details) and use a different dry brush shade or just not go too overboard with it. Still some thinking to do and a future post on the new method when I have it nailed down.

For pike units I like this format, 2 bases of 80mm x 30mm with 12 figures each. The command set is 80mm x 20mm so when they are all together makes an neat 80mm square, this includes the command figures as well as keeping the pike hedge! In reality the first 4 or 5 ranks would have their pikes leveled which I like to represent with 2 ranks of figures with pikes leveled. This presents practical issues with basing and I am also considering having just the front rank with pikes leveled, more musing.

On the gaming front the command base is just an aesthetic piece, each base will represent an average pike unit in Lost Battles or a standard unit in To the Strongest! which could be doubled up to make a Levy pike and deep unit respectively. I still have to write up some musing on basing formats with these games in mind, especially with  Lost Battles idiosyncratic large grids and attack limits. I still need to write up some thoughts on covering or not covering these quirks!

Monday, 28 September 2020

Re-basing Project: Intro

As I mentioned in my previous post I have decided to rebase my ancients armies. A rebase is quite a big task and I have thought about it a lot which after weighing every thing up I am going for it.

Firstly it was the format and size of the bases. I really like the look of larger Impetus style bases and looking at my table size 80mm seems to be the best frontage. With that size I feel I can get a more substantial look. Another reason is the depth, I have found my 2mm thick bases hard to handle particularly when picking them out of storage. Finally the corner cutting basing I have been doing has caused some bases to warp!

Secondly the aesthetics. My usual tactic of desert sand and stone mix and static grass has served me well. Originally using Games Workshop's Sand and Grass tubs to achieve a quick and effective basing. However as they do these items were discontinued and I found that Javis had a suitable alternative and a mix of static grasses managed to get a good match for GW grass. This consistency served me well however running low on the Javis sand ans stone mix I found the new batches different colour and consistency. This frustration coupled with previous issues clinched the rebase project.

With my new Geek Villain cloth on here I thought it would be great if the new bases matched the colours of the cloth's design! I had seen a video on You Tube of Simon Miller's For King & Parliament game with an impressive almost invisible basing scheme. I won't be able to make them invisible but the matching basing colour to the board became an objective.  

I was initially planning to do a quick sand and grass basing again but after being inspired by other blogs and the work of my commission painter friend I concluded painting the sand a MUST. It is the most reasonable way to get consistency and matching the colour of the sandy rocky areas of the cloth's design.

So I gathered paint and basing materials and did a few tests. For the paint quite a few Wilko tester paints were used to achieve a shade similar to Vallejo's 'Dark Sand' which is a close match to the sandy rock areas of the cloth. There is plenty of scope to achieve various earthy tones, after trying out various shades I remembered I had an ochre already in. The mixing tester sheets: 

In the end Retro Yellow and Soft Hessian mixed at 1:2 gave a good match for the base colour. I may also use Chocolate dream for a slightly darker version but either will work. Their Lemon Sorbet shade works well as is for the dry brush highlight to bring up the very fine and light dusting of sand applied.
Any stones I stick on I can paint up grey and then its just a case of the static grass. The spring was too bright and the Summer too dark, mixed roughly equally gave an almost spot on blend. Then it was just a matter of testing a few figures on the new bases with the new basing recipe:

Quite happy with these results but wasn't too keen on the thicker lighter edging so a nice slimming black was applied which finished it off nicely: 

Also a bit of added self adhesive grass tufts for vegetation variation: 

My commission painter friend recommended cutting down the tufts for more usage and if smaller tufts are needed so will try that down the line. I will have to attempt a step by step post once I have got a standardised plan going forward until then I will muddle through the various formats until I have it nailed down but overall I am happy with this style. It was straight forward doing it for this Seleucid pikemen command stand but the bases of pikemen themselves packed onto the base will be another story! Before I base them I will be "updating" their painting style and will also form a test piece for future pike units. I will write a post on the format of units in relation to their base size and density with regards to rules.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020


Its been a while, I hit a wall with the hobby, so after a bit of a break I'm starting with this general update which will go through various aspects of the hobby and the direction the blog will go. Hopefully this will get me back into the blogging also which has become a bit of a chore with slow laptops and fiddly phones! Neglect of the blog has also lead me to neglect the various forums I visit and other blogs I love to read but that is also real life getting in the way. 


I have decided to merge posts from PARADE GROUND WORKSHOP with this main blog. I'll keep it up for now but all future posts will be posted on here since I rarely post on there (or here really)! I want to also change the appearance of this one so I'll probably be tinkering on with it at various stages it needs a freshen up. I would like to also expand into doing videos but lots of work and not a lot of opportunity to experiment with that currently and I hate being and speaking on camera so quite a few barriers there to overcome but I am inspired by fellow hobbyists' Vlogs and You Tube channels I think they are great for the hobby!

Desk Referb

My painting area was an absolute TIP! Too many projects on the go, I did a large batch of prep last year for my ancients project and by this point I needed a bit of a change (Ashigarus to post in time) but ended up needing to prep them the desk was grid locked the drawers bursting needed a good sort but I kept putting it off. So the desk top was cleared almost completely and I bought a few desktop organiser drawers and sorted the main drawers also. Also got a neat little LED lamp with 3 colour settings and 2 brightness settings. Nearly all miniatures except the current batch have been moved away, so things are running smoother there now and it is an enjoyable place to paint and model now.

Gaming Mat Saga

At the start of the year I decided I would take the plunge and invest in a gaming mat/cloth. I was sick of the sight of my old green throw and I wanted to improve the aesthetics of my games. Decided early on to go for Gale Force 9 Neoprene doublesided gaming mat. No Luck however everywhere was out of stock and awaiting supply. I contacted the suppliers they apparently are planning a new batch but not sure when owing to the current Covid situation! Nevermind! Found an Italian gaming store selling a few! YES! After waiting 2 months and a worrying lack of updates from courier and company I ended up with a refund.

It was meant to be, I went back to the drawing board and came across a few You Tube videos reviewing Geek Villian's heavy fleece gaming cloths. It seemed a far more attractive and practical cloth compared to the bulky rubber mat, ideal here where space is becoming an issue. I have some hastily taken photos below and I am looking forward to fighting battles over it! Overall I am very pleased with the outcome.


A good friend sent me a a few sheets of printed cloudy sky pictures to provide a very pleasing background. Alongside the new cloth and the daylight bulb of the new lamp I was able to get some well lit photos at night. Hopefully that will improve the chances of getting nice clear photos and not depend on poor lighting conditions, it tends to be very bright or very dark typically. So this will be the format of the "finished" blog pictures although there might be more rough pictures since the blog is now merged with the work in progress blog as mentioned above.


After clearing the decks and sprucing up various aspects of the hobby I feel the hobby mojo is returning. I need to remind myself that it is the painting aspect of the hobby that is my primary focus. I need to stop rushing out units for scenarios I don't have time to play currently, and the pressure to do that makes the painting a chore. So I intend to take a bit more time and enjoy the painting and hopefully improve on it. Another thing I would like to improve on or at least spend more time on is basing. I have decided to rebase my ancients and I will post next on that subject.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Persian Slingers part 2

Finally got these 20mm Persian Slingers from Newline Designs photographed and uploaded here! 8 more done to go along with the original Persian Slingers (included in the picture below). These were a small step towards the Magnesia project before I started painting odd ancient figures. The current state of play for the Magnesia project is 2 cavalry units basecoat started and I have undercoated a few figures for a unit of foot, Armoured Thracians as Galations. In the mean time I am going to paint a few Kappadoccian cavalry command figures before cracking on with the main project.  

I have also received notification that the gaming mat has been dispatched! I have been trying to get one all year so I will be chuffed when it arrives and hope it will spur me onto having more games. 

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Hastati Standing

20mm Hastati this time, again nice sculpts from Newline Designs. Like the princepes I will probably get a few more and some command figures to make a couple of unit bases. 

I have been getting addicted to painting a few at a time from a variety of troops, which will make getting back onto units difficult! It will have to be done soon.

Saturday, 11 July 2020


Another few figures from Newline Designs 20mm Ancients range. This time its the newest set of Pricepes standing that have been available for some time. Very crisp sculpt and I will have to get a few more to upgrade them to a based unit, along with all the other odd sets I have done during the break from the Magnesia units.

In other news I have tracked down a Galeforce 9 doublesided wargames neoprene mat on ebay so I am hoping to receive that by early August. I also picked up a copy of "To Ur is Human" although to see how it goes with Hellenistic warfare. Like "To the Strongest", which I also need to have a good try with, is gridbased. Of course the gaming side of the hobby is difficult to get done currently so these are long term goals.

I have enjoyed taking a more leisurely approach painting fewer figures at a time. I have some Hastatii standing to paint up next but when I come back to unit sets I might break them down a few figures at a time.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Kappadocian Command

Latest set from Newline Designs 20mm ancients, Kappadoccian command. I haven't yet painted any Kappadoccian units but they will be handy for a variety of armies that operated in Anatolia namely Seleucid and Mithridatic Kingdoms and Achaemenid Persians I am sure. 

I have no idea what colours they might have worn, I just picked a few colours I liked and kept the scheme simple by leaving out patters. Again a very welcome addition to the range!