15 March, 2022

Livestock and Objective Markers for Saga

Five of the scenarios contained in the Book of Battles supplement for Saga use either livestock or objective markers as part of the victory conditions.  I wanted to upgrade what I had available as part of my ongoing terrain improvement project.  I needed six bases of each type.  

Along with the ruins and rocky ground pieces I bought from Acheson Creations and which I posted recently, I also bought some resin pieces to use as objective markers.   After the usual washing with soap and spraying black, I painted them with several coats of Ceramcoat Terracotta, then a wash of GW Agrax Earthshade, followed by a matt varnish.  I painted watered-down glue on the bases, then dipped them in a tub of brown ballast.  After that dried, I used more glue to add patches of static grass and small bushes.

Clockwise from top left are a stack of amphorae, a large pot which came without a base (I glued it to a 40mm round base), a 28mm Cretan archer guarding the loot and showing the scale, and my favorite piece which has two half-buried amphorae along with a large bull's head; perhaps a relic of a collapsed Bronze Age civilization?

Four identical groups of amphorae.  They came cast on 40mm bases which are the perfect size for objective markers.        

With a 28mm Cretan archer to show scale.

I needed six bases of livestock.  I already had 2 Highland Cattle and 2 pigs from Irregular Miniatures that my daughter had painted for me in 2014 for use in Saga 1st edition.  They were on different size bases so all I had to do was rebase them.  The Highland Cattle got a coat of Iron Wind Red Brown, followed by a drybrush of Howard Hues Mideast Flesh, then a brown wash.  When my daughter painted the pigs, we googled English heritage pig breeds and she picked the Wessex Saddleback (l) and the Gloucestershire Old Spot (r).  A Viking is attempting to rustle them.

I had a pack of 6 Gripping Beast Manx Sheep that I had bought for this purpose and put 3 each on two bases.  For the sixth base I looked through my unpainted miniatures and while I didn't have any more farm animals, I did have 4 deer from Iron Wind/Ral Partha, so I used one of them.    After some quick paint jobs they were finished.

For the Manx sheep, one base was painted Iron Wind Khaki and the other left with the white primer.  Then I used GW contrast paints (Aggaros Dunes or Skeleton Horde), followed by a drybrush of Army Painter Skeleton Bone.  The lower legs and faces got a wash of dark brown.  Now that they're finished, I can't tell which base was painted khaki and which just primed white.

I painted the deer as a European Red Deer with an initial layer of Coat d'Arms Barbarian Leather followed by a wash of GW Doombull Brown to give it a reddish tint like the photos I saw online.  The face and hindquarters got patches of off-white and I used GW contrast Skeleton Horde for the antlers.

Thanks for reading!

07 March, 2022

28mm Samnites and Thureophoroi

When choosing mercenary units to paint for Saga: Age of Hannibal, the Samnites were a natural choice.  They would provide the Epirotes that I was building a unit that is good in rough terrain, which the Epirote phalangites want to avoid..  I also decided to build the thureophoroi, who besides having some nice special abilities that work well with the Epirote phalanx, should also be usable with some of the armies in the upcoming Age of Alexander book.

For the Samnites, I used the 'Samnites in Triple Disc Armour' pack from Crusader Miniatures because I liked the look of the disc breastplates.  The pack of eight miniatures contained two each of four different bodies and four different heads which resulted in plenty of variety.  While I am not a big fan of separate heads in metal, they fit very well and superglued on securely.  The tunic and shield designs are heavily borrowed from/inspired by two books:

Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars by Phil Barker

Caesar's Legions by Nick Sekunda

The Thureophoroi are also from Crusader, the 'Greek Thureophoroi' and 'Greek Thureophoroi Command' packs.  I gave them the white shield that is often seen in depictions from the Hellenistic era.  While the mercenary unit only has 8 figures in Saga, I have 12 in case I want to use them as Epirote levy skirmishers instead.

02 March, 2022

Ruins and Rocky Ground Terrain Pieces

One of my ongoing projects has been to improve my terrain collection.  The primary goal is to cover all the terrain possibilities for my Saga games, though most of the pieces are usable for other games and periods.  In 2021 I bought a set of terrain pieces from Terrains4Games.  Included in the set were 6 area templates that I could use for woods, rocky areas or ruins by placing different pieces on top.  At the end of 2021 I got a bunch of new trees by 4Ground secondhand but unopened.  They are great trees but no longer appear on their website so are likely out of production.

In July 2021 I bought some resin terrain pieces from Acheson Creations.  They have a wide range of items and are my first stop when I am looking for terrain.  The owner is retiring at the end of May so I encourage you to take a look and order something before then.  Part of my order consisted of pieces to use for ruins and rocky areas.  After finishing an army project in late February 2022, I was motivated to paint them.  After running them through the dishwasher on the gentle cycle to remove any mold release, I spray painted everything black.  Next I used thinned black craft paint to cover any areas I missed. 

Hellenistic thureophoroi advancing past eight ruined columns, painted with successively lighter shades if gray until I was satisfied with the look.  The final coat was Vallejo Silver Gray.  The stones surrounding the pillars were painted in various shades of gray.  The columns will also be useful in my Stargate project.

I drybrushed the 12 boulders in various shades of gray craft paint.  Next I coated the base with glue, then dipped them into brown ballast.  When that dried, I used glue to add patches of flock and bushes.

Two of the Terrains4Games templates as rocky areas with boulders and some 28mm Vikings for scale.

Various types of stone walls and pillars.  First drybrushed a dark and medium gray, then I painted some of the individual stones in one of 3-4 different shades of gray for variety.

Two of the Terrains4Games templates as ruins with 28mm Vikings for scale.

29 January, 2022

28mm Factory and Barn

For me, one of the benefits of the lack of wargaming conventions over the last two years has been the discovery of new wargaming companies online.  One example is Father and Son Gaming.

Located in central Ohio where I am originally from, I don't recall how I first found their website in January 2021.  They were very responsive when I emailed with some questions.  When I asked some of my Ohio gaming friends they gave positive recommendations.  They have a nice line of MDF terrain and other gaming accessories.  Many of their buildings are for WWII but can easily be used in other settings.

In February 2021 I ordered three 28mm buildings from them.  After an extended lull in terrain building, over the winter holidays in late 2021 I assembled two of them: a factory and a barn.  The third is still being painted.  Both of the buildings were easy to assemble.  Although they did not come with written instructions, the photos and videos on their website were more than sufficient.  All the parts fit together very well.  The only modification I had to make was on the factory floor pieces where I filed down some of the tabs that fit into the walls.

The factory is a good addition to my modern terrain.  I quickly spray-painted it a medium gray.  I considered making the roof a different color but decided to leave it all the same depressing factory gray.  The photos include three of my biker gang who are doubtlessly guarding all manner of illicit goods.  The large windows work well for gaming purposes.

The roof and upper floor are removable and there is plenty of room for miniatures.  The building also includes a ladder that is hidden in the shadows of a winter afternoon.

The barn did not come with a base piece but the website description is very clear that it does not.  I spray primed it black, then assembled it.  I gave it a quick coat of thinned black paint to cover any spots the primer missed, followed by two coats of Howard Hues Wood, then two drybrush coats of Howard Hues Colonial Khaki.  A coat of GW Agrax Earthshade brought out the detail.  I glued it to a piece of styrene for a base.  I coated the styrene with a 50/50 mix of glue and brown paint, then spread a mix of ballast across the base.  On the exterior I added patches of static grass, various tufts and bushes.  I left the interior as a plain dirt floor.  The final step was two coats of Testors Dullcote.  I am very happy with how it turned out.  It will serve for a variety of periods.  I have left the side and back doors off for the pictures but they can be put in place.  

The bikers are again guarding their stash.  I like how you can see the outline of the biker at the other end of the barn.  There is a loft at one end.

26 September, 2021

28mm Rastafarians

In February 2021 I ordered new decals for my motorcycle gang from Studio Miniatures in the UK.  (see previous post).  I took a look around their website to see if anything else caught my eye; I already have a lot of their Survivors range for post-apocalypse gaming.  The Rasta Gang drew my interest as they would fit in with some scenario ideas I have.

Similar to the motorcycle gang (and the other gangs in the range), the Rastas included one leader and six bodies (three each of two different poses) with separate heads and arms.  There is also another leader available separately.

One of the things I like about these sets is the variety of weapons available.  The only issue I had was that the set of the arms holding a baseball bat broke when I was trying to glue them on and I could never fit them back together properly.  I didn't want to use the chainsaw since I had already used it in the motorcycle gang so I ended up using a spare set of arms left over from that set.  That is why one of the rank and file has sleeves.

With only 8 miniatures I figured they would assemble and paint up quickly.  I pinned the arms before gluing them but the heads fit securely.  I put them together in mid-July and primed them, then they sat on my desk until September 10th, when I finally started painting them.  One week later on the 17th they were finished.  They were fun and easy to paint.  I used a simple color scheme with darker pants and brighter shirts including a lot of  red, yellow, and green, with gold jewelry.  I used GW contrast paints on most of the clothing.  I experimented with skin colors, eventually using four different tones (two mid-brown and two darker brown), each shaded with a wash of GW Agrax Earthshade.  Pictures were taken on an appropriately warm and sunny day.

I wanted to use some Rastafarian symbols and after a quick Google image search I had several ideas.  For the leader (King Marley in the Studio catalog) I painted an ankh on the back of his coat that I think turned out well. The bag is from a set of accessories I picked up somewhere.

For the second in command, I checked my stock of decals to see if there was a star I could adapt into a Star of David.  I ended up finding a lion in a set of 15mm Arab muslim decals by Veni Vidi Vici that fit as a representation of the Lion of Judah.

Part of the fun assembling these miniatures is matching the weapons and heads.  I think these two are my favorites.

For the miniature on the right I used a set of leftover arms from the motorcycle gang set (also by Studio).  

The one on the right started out with an open left hand, I added a gun from the old plastic Wargames Factory zombie survivor sprue. 

The whole gang ready for action.  Note that the leader miniatures are taller than the rest.  I guess that is why they are in charge.

31 August, 2021

28mm Motorcycle Gang

Recently I was looking for a quick project.  I had just finished painting a Viking army for Saga and next on the list was resuming work on my successor phalangites.  In between I wanted to do something small that wouldn't take more than 1 week.  I decided to fix up my 28mm motorcycle gang.  

My motorcycle gang has a convoluted history.  Back in March 2020 I realized that my vision had started to deteriorate and my detail painting was suffering.  Just before everything shut down due to COVID, I bought a pair of reading glasses for use during painting and they solved the problem.  I also realized that some of my recent projects had suffered, the bikers among them.  I originally painted my bikers in summer 2019 and they were not up to my usual standard due to the aforementioned vision issue; this project gave me the chance to correct that.

A motorcycle gang is one of those groups that frequently appear in modern and post-apocalypse settings, so I would be able to use them in multiple games.  I started collecting the miniatures some years ago with the plastic Warlord Games Project Z Biker Gang sprues, which were originally made by Wargames Factory.  They have been out of stock for a long time as the game appears to have been abandoned.  I bought one each of the sprues; together they had enough parts to make 4 on foot and 3 on motorcycles.  One thing that disappointed me is that only 1 of the Warlord bikers is wearing a leather jacket.

The rest of my gang came via the 2017 Kickstarter for Turf War Z, which I received in early 2018.  These metal miniatures are now available through Studio Miniatures as a set of 7 and a separate leader; The set of 7 has 1 complete miniature and 6 bodies (3 each of 2 different poses) with separate heads and arms.   Included were extra heads and arms to allow for customization.  Most of the heads are clearly inspired by characters from the Sons of Anarchy tv show, which of course I watched during some painting sessions.  After taking stock of all the pieces I had and some test fittings, I assembled them all at once.  I pinned most of the heads and arms to secure them better.

The color scheme is pretty simple.  Lots of leather jackets and jeans, with shirts mostly in dark shades.  I added some different colors here and there for variety.  A lot of the Warlord minis are wearing leather chaps for some reason.  On initially painting these miniatures in 2020, I came up with a gang logo with the help of Google Images, then printed decals on white decal paper.  The design didn't come out as distinct as I had hoped but I used it anyway.

The repainting project consisted of redoing the areas that looked the worst.  This included removing the original decals and substituting Sons of Anarchy decals that Studio Miniatures now sells, re-lettering the backs of the jackets, repainting the eyes, and touching up anything else I didn't like.  When lettering the backs of the jackets I used 'Sons' for the gang name and 'Nomads' for the chapter.  Honestly I don't think I could fit more letters than that.  The minis with decals are full members.  those without decals are prospects or hangers-on.

I also made some additions as part of this project.  When I was assembling plastic zombies in summer 2020, I had some parts leftover.  I noticed recently that the Studio Miniatures zombie sprues had a body wearing a leather jacket.  I wondered if I could use them as living bikers.  I took three of them and added leftover biker heads, arms and weapons from the Warlord biker sprues.  To add some variety, I cut one body off at the waist and used the Studio torso with a Warlord lower body.  The Warlord sprue also had a female motorcycle passenger that I hadn't used.  I cut it at the waist and used a set of extra Warlord legs to make a fourth new miniature.  A quick paintjob later and I had 4 new gang members.

One week later and this project was complete and my 21-member motorcycle gang is ready to go on the table.  I am finally happy with how they look and already have some scenario plans.  It would be nice to have some motorcycles for scenery.  If you know of a source, let me know in the comments.

Three of the Studio Miniatures.  When I did the lettering I used the smallest brush I own.  It isn't perfect but at least it's legible.

The chapter president and a chainsaw-wielding biker ready for close combat (Studio).

The heavy weapons contingent (Studio).

The Warlord motorcycles had a lot of parts to glue together  but they turned out well.

Two of the Warlord/Wargames Factory plastic miniatures.

The ladies of the chapter are ready for a fight.  The one in the middle was originally a motorcycle passenger.  Those chaps don't look comfortable for riding!

These are the ones I converted from Studio Miniatures plastic zombies bodies with Warlord heads and arms.  The one on the right also has a Warlord lower body which made it taller than the other two.

I already had these 2 in my post-apocalypse collection and they fit right in with the rest of my gang.  Made by Project Zeke Miniatures which had a small post-apocalypse range but is no longer in business.

A size comparison: (l-r) Studio metal, Warlord, Studio plastic zombie, Warlord, Project Zeke.  The Studio metal is on a thicker base so the overall height looks better.  Note all the Warlord female minis are very tall.

The entire gang assembled and ready for action.