Oops! This has been in Draft status for around 3 years. Time to publish…
To take advantage of Museum Miniatures’ January sale, I placed a large order for Warring States Chinese figures to bring my triple army up to date. So far I have painted up a lot of Bow Levy, and rebased my DBA 4Sp figures as Light Foot for Early Warring States.
All of the figures are Museum. The red guys were painted by JM, the rest by me.
After I finished painting up all the Bow Levy bowmen, I read the Meshwesh army list more closely and realized I should’ve gotten crossbowmen instead. I opted not to restart from scratch. I have about 5 more bow figures that I will eventually base as Skirmishers or Archers depending on what the army needs when I’m finished.
After rebasing, I got 16 stands of Light Foot out of my 12 stands of 4Sp and assorted spare spearmen. This is not quite enough for a triple Early Warring States army; it looks like I may need to buy a few more packs of spears or just pretend my halberdiers are light foot.
JM’s basing didn’t match mine, and the paste he used ran off the sides of the metal bases, so I decided to rebase his 3Cb as proper Archers, and rebased a few Skirmishers for good measure.
Running tally of Triumph Conversions
- Newly Painted: 12 elements; 36 figures (plus 5 not shown)
- Rebased: 20 elements
- Newly Painted: 34 elements; 109 figures
- Painted/Rebased: 7 elements; 8 figures painted
- Rebased: 32 elements
I’ve started playing Triumph. After building a few armies out of my existing DBA figures, I decided to build up my armies to better work with Triumph. Depending on the army, this means either rebasing elements or painting new ones to increase the size of the force. I’ve had to do a little of both, to get my Classical armies up to date. Clearly I need to adjust my depth of field and get some better lighting before I take too many more pictures.
I started with figures I had on hand that extend the armies I already have painted. My first batch was enough Greeks and Thracians to at least be able to field single armies.
Now that Greek Hoplite armies are mostly Heavy foot but with some Elite Foot, I need both more elements in total and some different elements to distinguish between Heavy and Elite. I painted up some Essex Later Hoplite Greek figures wearing metal breast plates to represent Elite Foot, as well as a dedicated general and a few more linen armored units. Everything is hand painted including the shields, but my decreasing eyesight is becoming apparent. Along with my 12 Spartan Hoplites this is more than enough to field most Hoplite-heavy Greek armies or a Persian triple army mercenary Hoplite contigent.
The other major change in Greek armies was reclassification of light troops from Psiloi to Rabble. I had 2 elements of Greek Psiloi that I rebased as Rabble, and eventually I painted some more to bring it up to 4 rabble. The paint jobs were close enough that none of the figures stand out, once they’re based consistently. I also painted 3 elements of Thracian Light Foot to augment my Thracian army.
Along with the Greek Rabble, I also painted a bunch of Javelin Cavalry for my Alexandrian Macedonian army. Most of these represent Thessalian Cavalry, but there’s also an element that is more plausibly Thracian. This is a mix of Magister Militum (Chariot) figures and Essex 15mm. The size difference is apparent if you’re looking for it, but not so bad when they’re based consistently and with only two horses per element.
Thinking a bit harder, I don’t remember what order I painted all these in, so I might’ve gotten some of it wrong. In any case, I also needed way more Hypaspists for a triple Alexander the Great army, and my existing Hypaspist needed to be rebased as Raiders. I could’ve chosen Pike, but I don’t yet have a full set of Alexandrian pike yet, so I decided to make the Hypaspists Raiders for variety. These were Old Glory figures I got from JM unpainted. I declined to paint even more Alexandrians looking like clowns, and chose more straightforward colors for their armor. The shields and plumes are enough color for these elements. I also had a few elements that were previously “4Ax,” but the closest equivalent in Triumph is Greek Mercenary Peltasts (Light Foot); so, more rebasing…
Next are some mostly rebased Persians, augmented with newly painted Light Foot. I had 4 stands of Persian 3Ax with identical figures on each set of 2 stands, as well as 6 more identical unpainted peltasts. I painted the 6 remaining guys and rebased everything with different figures on each base for variety. You can find the newly painted figures if you look hard enough, but the paint jobs are close enough to match well. I also rebased a bunch of DBA 3Cv stands as Javelin Cavalry, including the general, who is no longer allowed to go into battle on a chariot. Good for morale, bad for King Darius’ hemorrhoids.
At this point I have a lot of options for an Alexandrian Macedonian triple army in Triumph, and limited choices for Later Achaemenid Persians. I may pick up some more Light Foot figures for the Persians, but I have enough mounted troops for now.
Rebasing figures that were originally based on metal bases, attached with either super glue or epoxy, is basically not a problem at all. The figures can be removed easily with an X-acto chisel blade, and it gives me an opportunity to update my basing. I’m not sure how difficult it will be to remove figures from wooden bases.
Running tally of Triumph Conversions
- Newly Painted: 22 elements; 73 figures
- Painted/Rebased: 7 elements; 8 figures painted
- Rebased Elements: 12 elements
In preparation for posting images of newly painted figures, I’m catching up on some older pictures I never posted.
These figures were painted in 2013-2014, but I don’t think I ever posted pictures of them.
First is a Later Pre-Islamic Arab army I built for BBDBA. Most of the figures are Essex, I believe; but frankly I don’t completely remember.
Next are two stands of Companion Cavalry for Alexander the Great’s army.
The availability of a large selection of models for wargaming and RPG terrain was a huge factor in deciding to purchase a 3d printer. Here are some examples of OpenForge dungeon tiles I’ve printed and painted.
Because OpenForge 2.0 “low wall” pieces weren’t available when I settled on what I was going to print, I decided to drop the wall height by 15mm everywhere. This makes things more visible in tight spaces while keeping it visually interesting, but unfortunately the doorways don’t line up perfectly.
I settled on using magnetized bases: each base has a spherical magnet at the edge of each 1″ square, which allows the pieces to align and stay aligned during use. It’s not a strong connection, but it works fine for single floor dungeons.
The first image is an encounter I set up for a D&D game I’m running with Ezra and some of his friends. This is the tower in Thundertree (from the Mines of Phandelver introductory adventure) some time after another group of adventurers came through and killed the dragon. Carrion crawlers and insects now inhabit the area, preventing local loggers from using and restoring the tower.
Here is my recently completed Georgian army for DBA 2.2+.
|DBA Army III/70b: Georgians. Essex miniatures.|
|Georgian 3Kn General and 3x3Kn. Essex Miniatures.|
I painted this army for the God Wills It! First Crusade Campaign Theme, which will be run on Saturday night at Fall-In 2013.
The primary factor for me choosing this army was that the slot was still available in the campaign. However, I also had a number of the figures on hand, as leftovers from other projects. I chose the rest of the figures based on what Jack Sheriff used in his Georgian army.
Unlike Jack’s figures, most of mine are stock, unmodified Essex miniatures. The exceptions are four Light Horse models, which were Bulgar archers. They had large toggles on the front of their coats, which I removed to make them look almost identical to the Essex Kipchak/Cuman figures.
|III/70b: 4x2LH. Essex Miniatures.|
|III/70b: 2x4Sp. Essex Miniatures.|
The Knights are a mix of Essex Georgian knights and other similar knights. The general and his supporting figures are a generic Eastern European command set.
I had a hard time finding any definitive information on colors and shield patterns for this army. I would not use this army as an example of what Georgians are supposed to look like. I was inspired by a few other painted Georgian armies online, and pictures of
As usual, these are painted primarily with Vallejo acrylics. I use a combination of painted highlights and several colors of ink washes for shading. Shields are hand painted.
|III/70b: 2x3Bw. Essex Miniatures.|
|III/70b: 2x2Ps. Essex Miniatures.|
|DBA army III/62b: Early Polish; 25mm figures.|
“Since when do you play 25’s?”
“Why are you playing 25mm?”
I’ve gotten a lot of heckling from my friends, but the explanation is simple: at Fall-In 2013, there is nothing else going on during the 25mm tournament, and I’m not going to use up my whole Saturday without playing anything before the campaign event. If I did that, I’d only go buy things.
So, I built a 25mm army from figures I had on hand. I didn’t paint this army, I bought the figures already painted. I only touched them up, applied some ink, and based them. They’re brighter than they’d be if I painted them, but I didn’t have to put the effort in, which is fine with me. I’ll save my limited 25mm painting for HotT armies.
In preparation for the Assyrian campaign event at Fall-In 2012, JM and I ordered Neo-Assyrian Later Sargonid armies from Magister Militum. JM planned to paint his for the campaign event, and I’d paint mine so we could build a BBDBA army out of them. Yeah, that was a year ago.
|DBA army I/51: Neo-Assyrian Later Sargonid; Magister Militum figures|
|Assyrian Chariots; Magister Militum miniatures.|
As with many plans, this one failed to survive contact with the enemy. JM didn’t go to Fall-In, and I didn’t have an occasion to paint the Assyrians for BBDBA until this year. I planned to go to Fall-In 2013 with Mike Kaizar (there’s that “plan” thing again), and wanted to play Assyrians in Big Battles. I got as far as painting this army in September before Mike cancelled, and I found another Big Battle partner who already has Assyrians painted.
|Assyrian Spearmen; Magister Militum miniatures.|
I didn’t do much research for color selections with this army. Essentially, I had a vague memory of seeing Assyrians in light blue-grey and red, and did that. The army painted up fairly quickly due to the few number of colors used, and I’m happy with the way they turned out.
Biblical armies are my “dump stat,” so I don’t usually spend much time on them despite tending to enjoy the fast pace of Biblical battles. Luckily it’s often fairly easy to get a good look for them since they typically have simple clothing.
|Assyrian Spearmen; Magister Militum miniatures.|
I like the Magister Militum figures. I believe these were originally Chariot miniatures before Magister Militum purchased the line. They’re sculpted well, and have a “toy soldier” feel, with very limited and static poses. The overall effect is good, though it has a bit of a “retro” feel compared to more modern figures.
The figures they provided for the Horde elements are interesting. They sent an even mix of archers and lightly armed spearmen. I decided to base them up similarly to Pavisers, since it doesn’t make much sense to put the spearmen behind the bows.
|Assyrian Auxilia; Magister Militum miniatures.|
|Assyrian Cavalry; Magister Militum miniatures.|
|Assyrian Psiloi and Horde; Magister Militum miniature.|
Here is my latest Hordes of the Things army: Professor Hans’ Metal Minions. I just made that up. I finished this army before Cold Wars, but didn’t get a chance to post about it yet.
|Professor Hans’ Metal Minions|
|Professor Hans and his Avatar: Magician General.|
Professor Hans was afflicted with Polio at a young age. For years he studied Science, Technology, and the dark arts of Alchemy to try to find a solution to his frustrated confinement. After receiving a small mechanical assistant robot from his uncle, he began experimenting with building ever more complex mechanical bodies.
Eventually he invented a mind-machine interface that allowed him to give his creations the autonomy they deserved. This army is the result of years of experimentation with transplanting insect and animal brains into mechanical bodies.
His work must continue until he feels he can successfully transplant his own brain into a suitable host body. In the mean time, his army gives him the tools he needs to find human subjects for further experimentation.
|Professor Hans’ Brass Spiders: 4x Beast|
This army is built primarily out of Mage Knight figures, but there are a few from other prepainted sets: Dungeons and Dragons and Dreamblade. I repainted, touched up, and/or converted all of the figures in one way or another.
Professor Hans is a figure called “Gent” from the Dreamblade series of prepainted miniatures. I repainted him with a brass colored integrated wheelchair. In his hand he holds the Aetheric Impulse Controller for his Avatar, who can shoot its Aetheric Wave Gun at enemies that Hans has a particularly strong interest in. Hans’ Avatar is a repainted Mage Knight figure.
|Professor Hans’ Camel Backs: 2x Shooter|
His brass spiders are early creations that use a spider’s brain to control their steam powered bodies. They are Mage Knight figures that originally had riders. I removed the riders, filled in the seats, added smoke stacks, and repainted them all. These are Beast elements.
The Camel Backs are an early success with Hans’ use of the mammalian brain. They carry steam boilers on their back and shoot cannons instead of spitting. These are Mage Knight figures repainted silver with brass highlights. They are Shooter elements.
|Professor Hans’ Turtle Men: 4x Blades|
The Turtle Men use brass bodies controlled with the brain of a snapping turtle. They are mixed Mage Knight figures, also repainted in a better brass color with matching color highlights. They’re Blade elements.
Papa Bear is a giant steel mech controlled with the brain of a bear. It’s a Dungeons and Dragons prepainted figure. Most of the paint is original, but I changed the highlights from copper colored to brass so they’d match the rest of the army. This is a Behemoth element.
The Dragonfly combines Hans’ insect brain interface with a flying mech that uses his newer, smaller power sources. It’s a flyer. This is also a Mage Knight figure that had a seat and a rider. I filled it in and repainted portions of the figure.
Now all I need is a stronghold!
|Professor Hans’ Papa Bear: 1x Behemoth|
|Professor Hans’ Dragonfly: 1x Flyer|
JM decided not to go to Cold Wars this year, but luckily Mike Kaizar did. It’s always more fun to go to a convention with a friend, even when there are more friends waiting for you when you get there. He drove from Columbus to Pittsburgh, and we left late enough that we got to Lancaster at 8 or 9pm.
First thing on Friday Morning, as usual, was BBDBA Doubles. This was the first time Mike and I have partnered for BBDBA, and it went quite well overall. I hope Mike keeps coming out to more conventions in the future; I’d happily partner with him again.
This was the first BBDBA event I’ve played in that had a historical theme: Medieval Europe. We took my recently finished Early Hungarian army. I filled out the third army by building a morph army out of my Germans, Early Russians, and other random figures. Many of the figures were identical except for the paint job, so they matched well.
I’ve wanted this army for a long time, and was very interested to try it in BBDBA. For the Ax/Bw option, I would ordinarily have chosen all Auxilia. However, since this was BBDBA with a Medieval Europe theme, I expected to see relatively little bad going (except when playing against The Davids), and a substantial number of bows in our enemies’ armies. I decided to take 3x3Ax, 3x3Bw. In retrospect, I’m not sure if that was the best choice or not. 3 bows wasn’t as many as bow-heavy armies had, so it may have been better to take all bows or all auxilia.
|Early Hungarians vs. Two Davids playing Feudal English with Welsh ally.|
In the first round, we faced Two Davids: David Kuijt and David Schlanger. They were playing Feudal English with a Welsh ally. We ended up as the attackers, and as I expected, we saw a good amount of terrain.
In this game, our command structure used three combined arms commands, with elements shifted around to get good break points and PIP management.
- High PIP, 13 el, BP 5: 2xKn(Gen), 2xCv, 5xLH, 3xSp, 1xPs.
- Mid PIP, 13 el, BP 5: 2xKn(CinC), 1xCv, 3xLH, 3xSp, 3xAx, 1xPs.
- Low PIP, 10 el, BP 4: 2xKn(Gen), 1xLH, 3xSp, 3xBw, 1xPs.
The Davids had one large English command and one tiny one: their C-in-C had 3xKn, 1xCv, and 4xHd, which they taped in place around their camp. This meant that they could attack with their C-in-C command’s mounted, and they’d have to lose 3/4 of its elements in order to break. It made it easy for them to combine two or 3 commands against one of ours, and its small size made it hard to reach and even harder to gang up on.
Our commands worked quite well, but unfortunately our attack didn’t succeed quickly enough to win. It ended up fairly close: we lost 25-75. It was a good matchup and a fun game; a great way to start the convention.
|Early Hungarians vs. Comedy and Tragedy playing Low Countries.|
In the second game, we faced Comedy and Tragedy: Spencer and Christina Ginder. They were playing Low Countries: a pike army (with knights). Their forces were less mobile than ours, so they had terrain on the board again. That was satisfying, but also made me question whether this army composition for Hungarians actually wants very much terrain.
In deciding what command structure to use here, I considered how Spencer might use his pikes. Many players combine their pikes into a single huge block, give it the low PIP die, and sit it on defense. Some build a single large pike block but spread it across two commands so they can attack with it. Others maintain several separate combined arms commands.
Large blocks of pike are hard to break but easy to avoid, and they’re easier to use effectively. Combined arms is more flexible, but more difficult to use and easier to break by killing things other than the pike. We decided to build a very mobile force that would be able to quickly and easily outflank a large block of pike, if they brought one to the field. Our main force would follow up to pin their line in place, preventing them from effectively turning to face our flank attack. Our approximate command breakdown:
- High PIP, 10 el, BP 4: 3xCv (Gen), 7xLH.
- Medium PIP, 16 el, BP 6: 4xKn (CinC), 1xLH, 6xSp, 2xPs, 3xAx.
- Low PIP, 10 el, BP 4: 3xSp (Gen), 3xBw, 1xPs, 2xKn, 1xLH.
It turned out the Ginders decided to use multiple combined arms commands, but we maintained our plan: a fast flank attack where we intended to win, and a slower frontal press where we hoped not to lose. They deployed with a gap in their line for flexibility, but unfortunately couldn’t use their third command to both fill the gap and protect their flank effectively. This stretched their command radius to its maximum. Their combined arms commands had pike and knights interleaved, making it difficult to get optimal local matchups.
Our left flank attack arrived quickly, but took a long time to become effective. We tied up a larger number of the enemy’s troops with my smaller mobile command, but unfortunately our high PIP die was committed to that use alone. In the mean time, we started winning more quickly elsewhere. In the end, the battle didn’t go as we had planned, but we did win 92-8, so I have no complaints.
The lesson we learned here is that you really don’t need a very large flanking force to be effective, if you can truly get around the enemy’s flank; but you do need a lot of time if you’re using resilient weak forces (LH) versus a stronger enemy who can’t kill you (Pk). The terrain made it difficult to support our flank attack effectively, since we didn’t have any bad going troops in the attacking command.
|Early Hungarians vs. Doug Austin’s Condotta with Swiss ally.|
The third game was the first time we rolled low enough to defend and place terrain. Early Hungarians are Steppe, not arable, so we placed a bunch of small bits of rough and a few hills.
Our command split was the same as in the first game. We placed our Mid and Low PIP commands first, with a gap between them so we could wheel them both to the right or left depending on our needs. Unfortunately, our terrain was offset to the left a bit farther than we’d prefer, leaving little space to deploy our third command on that side. This made our third deployment possibly a bit too obvious.
Doug deployed to overlap our line on both ends, as expected; and we deployed our third command on our right flank, also as expected. This left us with a lot of room to outflank him on our right, but he overlapped us on our left.
Doug quickly second-guessed his deployment, and decided he needed more troops on his left (our right) flank. He started spending PIPs to redeploy knights from his right to his left behind his line, as he advanced slowly and we tried to press on as quickly as possible.
We had the early game advantage due to the PIPs he was spending on redeployment and having his troops out of command. I broke his command on our right flank, but unfortunately I was too aggressive with my CinC command, and ended up suffering losses where I should have just been holding the line and waiting for my right flank to keep winning. We started losing elements on our left flank, and eventually lost enough elements in our CinC for it to break. It was a good game, but we lost 16-84.
My first goal for BBDBA was to win a game, and I accomplished that with JM several conventions ago. After that game, my second goal was to finish with at least 100 points. We achieved that in this tournament, after a strong win and two losses that actually gave us points. BBDBA Doubles is one of the highlights of every convention, now that I’m competent enough to feel like I have a chance of succeeding in most of the games.
Alexander the Great Theme
Unification War: Rise of the Son of Heaven
|Warring States Pyramid, final round of 4-on-4.|
We had two new, young DBA players: Otto, Dave Schlanger’s son, and his friend BJ. They had a lot of fun, and I expect to see them playing DBA at more events in the future.
The Commanders in Chief in the final round were Otto leading his Chu empire against David Kuijt’s Qin empire.
These 4-on-4 games usually end up being more like several 1-on-1 games next to each other, rather than having as much interaction between commands as you have in BBDBA, but they are still quite fun; and that’s the real point in the end anyway. Everyone seemed to enjoy the Pyramid format, and the limited attrition rules worked very well, as they did at last year’s Cold Wars. I think I prefer running Pyramid events rather than Matched Pairs. I like having fixed signups and a tighter historical theme, and it’s easier to handle the matchups when the pyramid is constructed before the event starts.
Two Davids Campaign: Recovering Byzantium
Hordes of the Things Open
|Hordes of the Things: Fire vs. Ice played by BJ.|
In the first round, I faced BJ’s Ice elemental army. Unfortunately we didn’t get to use the pretty elemental terrain board. I lost 8-12g.
Next I faced Otto’s Slaad demon army: basically giant lizard demons. I beat him 6g-2.
|Hordes of the Things: Fire vs. Rick Wynn’s Wild Hunt of Faerie.|
In the final round, my fire elementals faced Rick Wynn’s Wild Hunt of Faerie (Oberon, Titania Elves) army. Rick’s army was beautiful, built mostly out of Games Workshop plastics. He did a wonderful job of building an exactly 24 point army with a very specific theme.
After a bit of posturing, our magicians made it into range of each other. I decided to try to ensorcel his general with mine on the first turn I had a chance, because he had two magicians and could get a better shot against me if I waited. This turned out to be a tied roll, the only result that didn’t end up with one of us losing instantly.
In the next round Oberon returned the favor, with Titania’s help, instead of ensorcelling with Titania and having Oberon help. Despite his better combat factors, I rolled high enough to beat him and pull the instant win: 4g-0.
This was the first time I had used a Dragon in HOTT. I have mixed opinions about it at this point; it’s powerful and looks cool, but it’s also easy to lose and you don’t get any overlap support from friendly elements. I think the key might be to use it with fliers who can provide flank and rear support more easily.
It turns out that after my two wins and favorable loss, I ended up tied for first place with BJ. Since he beat me, he won the event overall. Congratulations, and I hope to see you back for more games!
It was another great convention, and I’m glad I went. I won’t be making it to Historicon, but I look forward to more great conventions in the future.