Monday, 17 April 2017

Starting a New Army: Ancient Germans

Strangely enough, I don't think I've ever painted the early Germans before. However, since they are making a suitably grand appearance in our slowly ongoing campaign, I thought it was about time:
For the infantry, I'm using Old Glory (28mm, of course). The idea is to use a limited number of colours for the clothing, mostly browns, off-whites and greens, except in the case of the wealthy ones who can afford things like cloaks and swords. Some of those even have colourful trousers.
Shield designs will be a mixture of plain, Veni Vidi Vici transfers, and Little Big Men Studios decals. LBMS does make a series of transfers to fit the Old Glory shields, but they are more Celtic than Germanic. I won't be using those because I want to keep them for the Gauls and Scordisci in the dim and distant future.
That limits my choices of LBMS somewhat, because the Germanic ones they make for other manufacturers all have a central hole for the boss, while most of the shields that come with the Old Glory figures have central spines. So I've been sourcing shields from other manufacturers that I can use with the LBMS transfers for Foundry and War-games Factory. This will give me something like four basic shapes: round (which do come with Old Glory); oval (Essex Miniatures. amongst others); large hexagonal (Irregular Miniatures); and oblong (Magister Militum).
Basing is a lot of Faller grass stuck in various places, along with flock of different kinds. I want these to have something of an overgrown look to them.
Here is how they look next to Companion Miniatures Romans. The Germans are a bit taller, although the Romans have an unsporting habit of wearing helmets to make themselves look bigger.
Another comparison shot. I like the idea of Germans charging Romans from behind...
And here's how they look in mortal combat. The Romans are definitely chunkier, but when you look at them from tabletop distance they are fine.

If I'm going to do this army properly, I'll need shedloads of them. I'd love to be able to play games with the likes of the Cimbri, Ambrones and Teutones, and of course Ariovistus and Arminius. I have to say that I am really enjoying them so far, and my limited painting time is being used to the full, especially over the spring holiday weekend. When I get to them, the cavalry will probably be by Crusader Miniatures, but I'll stick with Old Glory for the masses of infantry. There will be many of them - I feel a proper horde coming in the distance...

Sunday, 2 April 2017

On the painting tray: April 2017

Germans. Thousands of them! Well, the start of a large ancient German army to squish Romans. I'll be using Old Glory (25mm) with various shields and designs to get that wild and woolly look. The plan is to produce eight warbands of 48 figures, an elite warband of 40 figures, and two units of loose formation warbands/light infantry with 36 figures each. I'll then need 36 heavy cavalry, and maybe another 16 light horse. Plus command bases, of course. That should make a nice tribe. I'm thinking of making this my standard barbarian horde compostion for the period, which means I'd like to do the same numbers of Gauls and my old favourites, the Scordisci. And if I feel the need, I shall of course double the numbers to make some decent-sized armies...

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Some Numidian Standard Bearers

Six bases of Numidian light horse with standards of various kinds. Figures by Navigator:
These will see action soon as Gaetulians fighting for Jugurtha. I'm planning to run our next campaign battle as a rather large affair over the spring break at work. Quite a few people have expressed some interest, and since I have the figures, why not?

Saturday, 25 February 2017

The last of the Numidian foot

...well, until I end up organising Juba's legions, that is. These are the last of the current batch of North Africans, another couple of 18-figure units for the final confrontation between Jugurtha and Bacchus on the one hand, and Marius and Sulla on the other:
These are by Crusader Miniatures, deployed as loose formation foot for those patches of scrub and rough ground that Romans don't like.
I painted them in dirty whites and other colours.
The picture above shows the mixture.
I did enjoy the random shields. Nice and easy to paint.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Germans and Gauls: 106 BC

Gordon has sent me a report of the encounter between migrating Germans and local Gallic tribesmen in our Dies Martis campaign (summer 105 BC). Here it is, edited a little:

The Gauls have fought the Germans. There are no pictures as the Germans look very Anglo-Saxon including the two handed axes and the kite shields but it is done. [Proxy figures!]

The Gaulish army was

5 x 48 V 4-6 WB(I)
1 x 24 E 4-6 WB(I)
2 x 12 V 4-6 HC
2 x 8 V 3-6 LC deployed in skirmish
various skirmishers

The German Army

7 x 32 V 4-6 WB(I)
1 x 24 E 4-6 Soldurii WB(I)
2 x 18 V 4-6 HC
1 x 12 V 3-6 LI
various skirmishers.

The terrain was a number of gentle rises none of which had any effect on events. The German left overlapped the Gaulish right. [The armies were very similar. The Gauls had five very large warbands, while the Germans had a larger number of smaller units and cavalry superiority. The 'I' denotes possible initial charge impetus.]

From their left the Germans had their HC then the LI then the 7 WB and the soldurii on the right. 

From their right  the Gauls had the LC in skirmish facing the German HC, their own HC facing the LI and one German WB. Then a gap and the 24 fig WB then the 5 x 48s. They ovelapped the German line by 1.5 WBs.

The Germans attacked on the left and refused their right. The Gauls attacked all along the line. Although they were eventually destroyed, the Gallic HC tied up the German HC for the whole battle. Although the game was abnormally affected by the dice, the Germans won because apart from the LI every unit fought. The Gauls had one 48-fig WB that never got into action and one that barely did.

The number of units that failed to get impetus or pass the fates (more in this one game than in all the other of the games we have played since they were re-introduced) or went haring off after winning a melee was a feature of the battle. [Explanation: there is a small chance that when a unit should break according to losses accrued, it might stick about regardless because somebody does something heroic enough to stave off its demise for a time. This is called a 'fates' roll. Also, when a Warband breaks its enemies in melee, there is a chance that it will pursue recklessly rather than remain under control.]

The Gauls lost all of their cavalry; the soldurii; and two of their large warbands. The Germans lost their soldurii and two Warbands.

Subsequent campaign events unfolded as follows:

Autumn 106
Jugurtha arrives in Mauretania to persuade his father-n-law Bocchus to join him in his war against Rome. Marius bolsters his legions with more anti-Jugurtha locals to help counter the expected enemy superiority in light troops. The Teutones march back eastwards to join the Cimbri for a massed assault on Transalpine Gaul.

Spring 105
Alarmed by the threat from the north, Rome raises six raw legions from the capite censi and sends them to join the consular army already present in Transalpine Gaul. Bocchus and Jugurtha attack Marius and Sulla in Numidia.