Friday, 26 March 2021

Newline Designs Late Rome and Goths

I've been rummaging through my boxes recently and dug out my Late Romans and their enemies. It's a part of Roman history that grabs my attention yet I don't have a good understanding of it and am often distracted focusing on Rome's rise. I don't really have a focus for the collection, I may just model and paint Romano-British, Roman East, Gothic migrations and they can all hodge-podge together for any battles I set up but that's a long way off.

I initially was inspired by the Late Roman Legionaries and Cataphracts from Hat, and subsequently picked up their Medium Infantry set, which I was less inspired by, but I remained distracted by other things. Later on down the line Newline Designs released some codes for the era so had to get some in to add to the plastics. Again other eras took my attention but I have a shopping list of more of the range that keeps getting kicked down the road as the classical era took precedent on the hobby funds. 

They are lovely sculpts as ever from Newline but I have heard they are slow movers, possibly hampered by the pictures, so below is an attempt to show off the miniatures, hopefully to improve the ranges chances for future expansion. It would be great to see some of those 28mm late Roman and Dark Age codes scaled down to 1/72-20mm. I'll very briefly go over the Roman and Goth codes, mostly ideas and plans for conversion possibilites rather than a review then I have then have a few comparison pictures with Hat figures. 

Late Roman

Classic looking late legionaries, ready to wield spears but the Spatha could be modeled by a skilled modeler. I might try to bodge one also! I've sometimes seen art work or reenactors wear leg wraps around the shin, the trousers are tight looking on the figures so there is potential to paint them on or file and greenstuff some if that was necessary. Also crests or plumes could be added if that is preferable but I like this stripped down look! I was also thinking of adding a few in with the Goths as better equipped warriors either through wealth or plundering Roman kit:  

Roman command set:

Auxillia Advancing, these figures have the patches of embroidery sculpted on which gives them a distinctive Roman look. They could maybe represent open order javelin skirmishers also if they still used such methods:

Auxillia Standing:


All the Roman codes seem to come with oval shields (pictures below) which I will mention more of below in comparison to the Hat figures. Check out the webstore!


Between the standing and advancing codes there is quite a bit of variety, most seem to be in furs. There is scope for head swaps for further variety. As well as mixing in the armoured legionaries plus head swaps will bring in chainmail and helmets into the mix. Goths on Newline's store!

The Franks also hold potential for headswaps extra poses going off the website pictures. Of course it's only worthwhile if you don't end up with heads and bodies out of use! 

It seems that tunic, trousers and cloaks are a fairly generic look for the era so those poses with helmets could make good Romano British, seems like that could be the case based on the 28mm Arthurians web store pictures.




A few comparison shots now, there's a clear sculpting style difference between Hat's offerings even, so if that can be accepted then the Newline style shouldn't be an issue. Size wise they are all usable with each other being generally the same height. I'll end up using them within the same army but have same sculpting style on a single base which is my normal preference. 

Where there is considerable difference seems to be in the shield size. The Newline oval Roman shields are smaller than the cast on shields on the Hat legionaries. The larger shields seem to be more in keeping with other examples of Late Roman miniatures and the Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome which features quite large looking shields for the late era, one source suggested about 3.5-4ft long 3ft wide (roughly 17mm x 12.5mm in 1/72) while the Newline one is 14mm x 10mm. This seems more in keeping with a some of the inspirational osprey plates I've come across. Cavalry shields on the hat figures are roughly the same size these will mix well. When it comes to the Goth's shields I have even less of a clue but I don't have any plastic infantry to compare anyway. They measure at 10mm and give the option to give Romans circular shields if you prefer, which might give them a more post Rome look.

Essentially it's the customers choice whether your units have uniform or mixed sizes but when it come to Hat they are cast on and would take a considerably effort to change. Newline on the other hand with their separate shields gives you the freedom to swap them to match the cast on shields of the plastic Hat figures depending on what look you are after. I'm looking forward to get some bases done of regular Roman and post Roman units as well as some enemies! 

As I mentioned above I am pretty clueless when it comes to the late empire so I would love any insights on this era, historical, modelling painting or gaming please comment below!

Monday, 22 March 2021

Syrian Legions Rebased

Another unit has passed through the rebase process and now these 20mm Newline Designs African veterans masquerading as Syrian legionaries or Romanised Silvershields are just about done. I'm still not quite sorted with the base colour I may dry brush the exposed sandy earth bits as they are a bit too yellow still. Again it looks closer with the naked eye but I think I need to rework the base colour of the sandy earth so I'm working on toning down the yellow into my mix.

these were a bit of a challenge to rebase. the sabots of the rank and file were quite deep but the ready mixed filler was a big help I feel at least that is a big time saver for the rebasing in general. I was going to leave these as flat base coated filler with static grass but I may as mentioned above apply a light dry brushing of one of the creamy colours.

I'm looking forward to getting these on the battlefield, the late Seleucids don't really have any armies featring these under Lost Battles (yet!) but they will be a useful addition to a Pompeian army to take on Caesar's veterans. Of course both Late Seleucids and Late Republican Romans are miles away from usable armies, especially with the rebase mission which will ultimately focus on getting the Mid Republican Roman and 2nd Punic war Carthaginians ready to re fight some Lost Battles again. Also a long way off! 

Next I'll be finishing off the rebase of my blue shielded Hannibalic War African infantry. These should be more straight forward than this batch once I've remixed my basing paint. Until then they're might be the odd rambling or musing post if I get a chance.  

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Punic Wars Table Battle

In the constant quest for a gratifying ancient miniatures battle I came across Table Battles game from Hollandspiele. As ever I was inspired by Here's no great matter blog post,  I was intrigued by the clever use of miniatures to give Table Battles more pleasing visuals.

In brief Table Battles has opposing armies made up of some cards, each with how many hits it can take and what dice is required to undertake an action as well as what conditions trigger a reaction. There is no maneuvering instead each card has a target it inflicts damage on. Each turn is played by taking an action then a dice roll. In the first turn no action can be taken so the full six d6's are rolled then one formation per wing can be allocated dice if the right pips are present. Furthermore if a formation has to react to an enemy action that counts as their action phase and in their own turn will have to go straight onto the roll phase. There is a print and play version available too so I'll get that once it's been updated to 2nd edition.... and a few of the expansions, Alexander and Wars of the Roses perhaps! It has simple rules but it's the interaction between the cards in the various scenarios that provides the meat of Table Battles.

I thought it would provide a quick game and a good excuse to get the miniatures out so I hastily experimented with 6 formations each side. 2 cavalry, 3 heavy infantry and 1 light infantry formation, in its own wing to allow the skirmish screen to operate as well as being able to get the cavalry engaged or prepare the Heavy infantry in reserve. In practice the composition of formations in Table battles doesn't really matter it just adds a bit of flavour in this battle.

I did write a quick roster, but some home made cards would be better! I'll probably end up doing this once I've had a bit more play testing since I made a few mistakes. It would also be better to play the original game and expansions to get a better feel for the game itself, but I' had to seize the moment  and take what I can get for now gaming wise.

I made the Roman infantry better than the Carthaginians, they were able to attack without taking losses themselves, unless the Carthaginians were able to react and counter attack, the Carthaginian foot also had an extra strength point. I gave the cavalry edge to Carthage, it was much easier for the Carthaginian horse to launch attacks to the point where it was inevitable that they would break and pursue the Roman horse, at least on one flank. I also wanted to introduce an element of maneuver so gave the cavalry an ability to change their target formation representing their regrouping to fall on the Roman rear however it would cost a lot of dice in a particular roll to work.

I intended to have the other cavalry wing be a bit of a stalemate between Numidians who could screen and Italian cavalry who was also a bit slow to attack but I messed that bit up by getting mixed up. I gave them counter attack instead when I was being distracted. Never-mind, that's why some cards with info would be useful. Despite this I was able to have an enjoyable battle and all in about an hour including setting up and packing away:

The two armies deploy no need for measuring the formations target their opposing enemy formations.

Eagle's view; each light formation had 3 hits, each cavalry 4 hits, Roman foot 5, Carthaginian 6.
Heavy foot was in reserve, they could be allocated dice but unable to perform actions until the light formations fled or retired.  
As expected the Punic heavy cavalry quickly routed the Roman horse and began to peruse only to return if they were given 3 dice rolled showing 1,2,3.
Whilst the cavalry dueled, the light formations being in their own "wing" were able to load up dice as well as one other formation in the army. After a mutually wearing each other down  the Roman lights withdrew to make way for the Legionaries. 
The Carthaginian light troops stayed in place in the hope to slow down the approaching legions, sacrificing morale to keep the Carthaginian heavy foot fresh. 
The Numidians and Roman cavalry eventually ended when the Numidians launched a last ditch attack which broke the Romans but forcing their own to break. This was the best of a bad situation that prevented the Roman cavalry winning outright which would have given Rome the edge in morale.
The Carthaginian Right after some hard pushes managed to break the Roman Left
The rest of the Carthaginian line gave the Romans a good run for their money despite each attack causing a hit on themselves, but the Roman infantry without that problem finished off the Carthaginians. The Cavalry never arrived and with Rome gaining +2 morale won the field battered but victorious. 

It was an enjoyable and fairly quick game the simple game mechanics provided tension with punch and counter punch. It was tricky for the Carthaginians, they had to allocate dice to the heavy infantry it was difficult to get the dice for the command roll, there were some close ones but it made more sense to prepare the infantry line to attack or counter attack, especially since the Romans were rolling well and getting ready for a devastating attack on the Carthaginian infantry. Because of this pressure it was difficult for Carthage to get enough dice on a formation to make the attack worthwhile since the attack automatically takes a hit to the attacker and if the Romans were ready to counter attack another hit to the Carthaginian attackers. I'm not sure if that is how the counter attack rules work in Table Battles but its what I did for this battle which created dilemma and friction.  

Overall it produced a fairly historical result and being a close and tense battle was entertaining. It would be an ideal set to resolve campaign battles lots of food for thought. Although a very hastily put together and experimental battle I reckon it was a successful one.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Thureophoroi Again, Rebased

The latest rebased units and the brown tunic wearing Thureophoroi's hat trick post. I used a ready mixed pot of filler to do the ground work which is simply painted and then dry brushed when dried. Then a few applications of static grass to finish. Ready mixed filler made the process was a lot more straight forward although its awkward with the figures being close together which just comes with the territory. 

The pictures show the the painted filler as an almost totally different colour however the base colour is well matched to the sandy areas on the cloth. I think its just the angles and materials bouncing the light off. These photo shoots are always haphazard and done on the fly and the photos have been edited to attempt to compensate for the poor lighting conditions. I forgot to crop the top picture but it looks like a dusty day from a storm or marching armies!

Next on the bench are more rebases that are ready for the ground work. Currently I have 5 bases of Seleucid legionaries and 4 bases of Carthaginian African Spearmen its going to be a bit of a grueller but that will be the part rebased units done for now. Debasing will start after the hopeful move and I have 2 part painted cavalry units that need finished, I'm sure these will be more than enough to keep me busy till then.

These rebases have had some 32 man units reduce down to 24 man units in some cases which is leaving me with spare painted figures. I'm still working out what to do with them but I'm sure I'll reform most of them into a full base one day, some might need a command set or combine with other spares or possibly become an elite or light unit with less figures per base needed. I'm just rambling now because I can't face faffing with the filler! ;-)

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Heroquest quest: Orcs

A friend asked me to paint up his Heroquest pieces from the classic MB and Citadel boxed game from the 90s. So far I have done these 10 and a previous test figure. I was going to get some better snaps for here but my wife took them over before I had a chance! So these hasty just finished and WIP shots will have to do.

They were pretty straight forward to paint up, nice chunky sculpts, in a mono pose and I kept the schemes simple. I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into here there is an unknown number of figures coming my way but this quest will be a sidequest I need to keep up the tempo with the rebase and Magnesia. But all will have to wait bar a few part way done units until after the move if all goes well.

In the mean time I might continue the update to the blog appearance. I'm pleased with the refresh so far a bit more colourful and the Nile mosaic of Palestrina background represents the main thrust of the blog's primary project. I mainly want to update the header next and that will probably do for now. 

I would like to post more content but to do that there probably will be more filler posts and musings! It's also dependent on time to write up posts, in the end I'll just sporadically post as usual but hopefully slightly more often. When we get settled I would like to attempt a bit of Vlogging as I would like to contribute to the wargaming content on youtube since I have found that watching youtube has sometimes been easier to follow when I've been too tired to read! Trouble is I would need to get over the grating sound of my own voice on camera and other such hurdles but it would be good to increase the wargames content available. 

Newline Designs 20mm Ancient German cavalry

A quick few snaps of "raw" Newline Designs 20mm Ancient German cavalry. It was a request on the Newline painters facebook group for any pictures of Ancient Germans and thought I may as well upload them here for future reference. I only have the cavalry as they seemed to be used as Auxillaries or Mercenaries for my Roman armies. I'm not a huge fan of the EIR enemies preferring the Civil wars of the Imperial era.

These seem to be from a unit pack so the chainmailed riders must be the command code and the unarmoured warriors in 2 poses must be the cavalry rank and file code. Also there was at least 4 varieties of horse poses should make a nice unit down the line.