Wednesday 30 March 2011

Once and Future Bling

It should come as no surprise to those who read this blog (a big thanks to both of you!) and those who game with me that I'm a big, card carrying, got the t-shirt, fairly tragic King Arthur nerd.

I love all iterations of the Matter of Britain (even the truly stinky) and will indulge myself to no end.

I've finally decided it's time to do the big Arthurian DBA game for FallCon I've planned for many years. So it's time to get painting. Here's my first-off interpetation of Splintered Light's superb Sub-Roman British Warriors.

'Let's fight for Roman Civilization, or ah, at least what's left of it.'
He's the first figure for the DBA Sub-Roman British I need to complete for the game.
I don't have a clever name yet for the FallCon game, but will need to keep up the tradition 'Samurai Night Fever' and (of course) 'I Was a Teenage Visigoth'. Maybe something like 'Three Cheers for Vortigern' or 'Coming of the Saxons'. But maybe not, nobody really likes ol' Vortigern and the latter sounds a little I'll class it up with Latin. Adventus Saxonum. Yeah, that's closer...

But alas, I digress...

I've also got a Pictish army in the buff, truly, but unpainted as well. Early Saxons, check, Scots-Irish, check, but will need another of each for a good balance. Might even be able to write in Later Visigoths as well. There is precedent...

Here's more pix. The scenery in some wonderful ruins and villas built by my friend Pattus Magnus, Architect of Kings. Yes, I've altered the colours on iPhoto, but the rest is the result of a little handheld and a couple bright lights.

Get them Saxons!

Camelot was a lot nicer last time we visited.

Production Still from 'I Was A Teenage Visigoth'.1955

 Ok, enough self indulgence. I really should cook. Tonight the Hippy-Goth and I finish watching the 'Mists of Avalon' mini-series. Which wasn't as bad as I remember it.  But in the meantime I'm making cauliflower and roast squash soup. Yeah.

On to Avalon, baby!

Friday 25 March 2011

Hero Gun of the People

Keeping the green theme going, I've returned/sold-out/apostatized to World War 2. You sort of can't escape the damn thing. It's truly the 500lb gorilla of the historical miniatures cosmos.

And while I prefer my baddies wearing togas rather than jackboots, it's a break from the usual sandals and swords of my universe.

So I present to you:
76mm Regimental Gun 1927

So bragging time. I did this in less than 25 minutes after the primer dried. Dry brush for the gun, wet brush for crew.

I also did this model exclusively in Games Workshop Colours. That decision was to prove a simple point to a nice person. 'Exact Historical' colours produced by any manufacturer are really a luxury, not a requirement to get things on the table. OK, that stupid German Panzer Grey is hard to fake, but pretty much everything else is not. Paint your damn miniatures. No excuses*.

The model is a Soviet 1927 76mm Regimental Gun. Produced by Battlefront Miniatures for their overwhelmingly popular Flames of War game. It's a sweet little gun.

Why this model? Allow me short digression. It has to do with the classic computer game Steel Panthers. Now I consider computer gaming in my life the same as daily meth use. I stopped smoking, that was hard. Stopping playing Civilization and scrubbing it from my hard drive, that was VERY HARD. So needless to say, I don't really do too much these days.

But...Steel Panthers...I sneak that once in a while.
[Rimmer] I was playing Soviet defenders in a Barbarossa scenario. The Panzers had cut my valiant BT-7s and T-28's to bits and had overwhelmed my centre.  Two Panzer III's had over-ran my guns and the crews had fled or were dead. Except one. These heroic dudes rallied, spun their guns around and shot both tanks in the rear point blank. One brewed up and the other bailed. The Soviet centre was saved! I built this model in honour of the wee pixels and electrons that stopped the cyber-Fascists cold.

Since I don't play FoW, I'll probably keep them kicking around for another occasion. Unless anyone wants to buy them...

*OK, time, family, food, earthquakes..these are important obstacles and acceptable excuses.

Monday 21 March 2011

Blatant Cross Promotion.

There's a new link on the sidebar.

My beautiful partner/girlfriend/ significant Margo has finally started getting her music on line.

I hope her brand of improvised neo-roots folk gets the attention  it deserves. As well since I'm the guy doing the sorts of makes it a little mercenary on my end.

Drop by the Reverbnation site and have a listen. We only have one song so far, but there are more to come.


Thursday 17 March 2011

Site additions.

Well, happy St. Patrick's Day for those who care. What better way to celebrate this by having red-headed, green clad magic dude on the page?  

I've finally started getting my site organized for galleries. Aside from the obligatory DBA galleries listed by Book, I've also added a fantasy add on for the many and odd one-off fantasy figures.

Drop in and say hello to the
Tenth Level Wizards.
(click up there..)

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Toltec Test and Talk

First attempt at a Toltec grunt.

I have the mind to do an interpretation of the Toltec list.

It's been on my mind for at least 6 years now. Back awhile the ever enthusiastic and genial Paul from Seattle visited Magna Calgaria for a weekend of DBA (well, mountains and hockey too I suppose) and we had possibly the best match I ever played. (Thanks Paul, keep running!)

We matched the Toltec III/56 against the Dog Peoples/Chichimec  III/41 lists. Both are potentially the oddest monotypes going. The Toltec list can be interpreted as 12 Blade elements (variant swaps a psiloi for one of those heavy infantry stands) The Dog People have the option of being almost all psiloi (the exception being a compulsory warband stand.

Who were they? The Toltec culture held sway over much over much of Central America from around 800CE to 1000CE. Much of the technological and cultural aspects of what we know of in Aztec society originated with the Toltec, things like suited warrior societies, those macuahuitl sword clubs, blood sacrifices and much, much more. What most we know of the Toltec (outside of archaeology) comes from Aztec legend, which is problematic. And no, there are no popular histories of the Toltecs waiting for you on the bookshelf. Aside from the cool and wacky stuff from Carlos Castenada...but that's for a different topic.

The Dog Peoples or Chichimecs were the Mesoamerican Post Classical barbarians par excellence and regular invaders of Toltec turf from their dusty HQ's in Northen Mexico. Indeed the names of the two cultures are functionally synonymous with culture (Toltec) and primitive (Chichimec) in the Nahuatl language. So you've got a pairing on metaphorical combative par with Republican Rome and Gaul. But in this case, the Chichimecs 'won' over-running their cultural superiors, who were no doubt deciding where to have lunch.

For those sensible people of you who don't speak DBA-ese as a second language it's like this; the Toltecs are the heaviest and deadliest of infantry armed with those wonderful and scary macuahuitl, but slow and iffy in the hills and forests. The Dog Peoples are a fast moving cloud of archers, running about sniping and seeking a flank. As a match it's a challenging one. The Dog People cannot overpower the Toltec battle-line in a fair fight. The Toltecs cannot catch the Dog People without breaking formation.
Sounds great right? Why doesn't everyone have a matched pair? Well I'll tell you, but first about the was scary. I took the Toltecs, mostly I was enamored by this force of jaguar and eagle suit wearing badasses. Naked guys with bows would stand no chance...ha ha! Well, not so easy. It was a tense and edgy match, particularly when Paul's psiloi infiltrated my battleline. There where double and triple overlaps and one die roll could end the match. Great stuff. That's the kind of match I play this game for.

Toltec grunt from behind.

So after that I've had Toltec's on the mind. But stymied, no one really does a Toltec line, mostly as there is little consensus as to what a Toltec force would appear like. The murals at Teotihuacan show warriors armed like later Aztecs, with exciting Mayan style head-dresses. Not surprising as the Toltec and Maya warred for some time. Few figures (if any) out there exist like that. The Toltec army Paul brought with him from Seattle was loaned kindly from another gamer. This he assembled from bits of Aztec and other Mesoamerican cast-offs. Well, why couldn't I do the same? But my inner pedant was constantly harping demanding some sort of thoughtful research. 'Hmmmph,' he says, 'why don't you just use Egyptians you attention deficit fool'.

So after research and consultation with the shaman, I came up with the following points I'd use to base my Toltec army around.

1. Only fairly important people get their pictures in public buildings. This is my way of not falling into Positivist Fallacy.
So the fancy head-dress and such finery would be reserved for the command elements. And I won't go bonkers trying to find rank and file troops like such.

2. The Toltecs introduced the macuahuitl, padded armor, and suit wearing warrior societies (specifically the Coyote and the Jaguar) to mesoamerica. They used the atlatl. There is reasonable conjecture and assumption they used the sling (i.e. everyone else used it).

So take a look at my test shots. They're Minifig 308X 'Maquahuitl Warriors'.  I had a bunch kicking around. So they're what's going to comprise the bulk of the troops. I do have to upwards of 40 foot to do after all.

In classic Minifigs style, they're all single pose. I don't mind. I don't get wrapped up in pose variation agony as much as others do and maybe I should. But I like the impression of coordinated badassedness. But you do need to use your brush to break up what could be monotonous. 

So the cotton armour is going to range from flowery tunic (as above) to the more common white padded vest (AC8 for us old school AD&D nerds) and I'll vary the shield patterns to keep it mixed.
Or I might do regiments, reader feedback on that? I've got a pair of shielded slingers for the lone Ps stand. They have a lot of dignity for guys in loin cloths.

So I've ordered more from Minifigs via Caliver Books.
The command I have so far a mix of Aztec and Tlaxcalans

I'll keep up on this project and update you as I get more involved with brushwork.

So, I've just laid bear depth of the scholarship I've put into this. I have no hidden text or sagely Prof. whom I consult. So if anyone has information to the contrary or in support of my wild assumptions, let me know.

It's important in this hobby we do not succumb to the inertia of knowledge and pedantry and  NOT attempt anything.

All praise Queztalcoatl,

Sunday 6 March 2011

Tunes for the Republic

A quick tunes plug.

I've pretty much glued my ears to Spain in My Heart: Songs of the Spanish Civil War.

Well obviously they're all songs from the Republican and International Brigades, since fascists can't write songs worth crap. :) The standout track is Lila Down's version of El Quinto Regimento, but that's just me. I think she's pretty incredible.

Now I just need to get cracking on those Miliciano's.