DBA Army III/40a: Vikings

Baueda Vikings: DBA III/40a

Here’s the army I’ll be playing in the Two Davids “Viking Fury” campaign game at Fall-In 2011: III/40a, Vikings.  JM and I bought identical Baueda figure packs for our armies, and I look forward to contrasting JM’s paint job with mine.

3x4Bd(gen).  “You’re not doing anything, you must be in charge.”

The Baueda figures are good: not the best I’ve ever painted, but also not the worst.  They have an extreme variation of poses, which is good for this kind of army, but they are also reasonably static poses that don’t get in the way of fitting the figures on the bases.

3x3Bd.

The army pack usually comes with a viking tent, but I already have one, so I ordered it without the tent directly from Baueda.  Unlike most DBA army packs, which provide only exactly as many figures as you need for the army, Baueda provides enough figures to build either III/40a or III/40b with all options, and you’ll end up with spare figures on top of that.  We also received additional free samples from Baueda, with even more Viking scouts.  Between our two army packs and the samples, we’re only short a few handfuls of figures to build a third army (not that we want to right now).

2x3Bd, 1x3Wb.

There are a variety of different shields, weapons, armors, and poses, resulting in a wider variety of combinations of those features.  I like the level of detail the figures include: they have belts and a few pouches, but the figures aren’t cluttered with a bunch of “what is that, anyway?”

3x3Bd.

The only problems I have with the figures are that they required a bit more cleanup than I’d prefer, and some of the individual figures have poorer sculpting than others.  The quality of faces varies widely across the figures, and some of them have rougher cloth sculpting and a few missing details.

1x3Bd, 1x2Ps.

I had some goals when painting this army.  I wanted a variety of colors and patterns across the army, but I also wanted a coherent look that didn’t end up as gaudy and garish as I think my Leidang turned out.  I also wanted to try some new color combinations, since I’ve been getting stuck on a few standards lately.  Overall, I think I achieved my goals, but only some of the experiments were successful.

I also used a new sand for the bases.  It has a higher contrast between darker and lighter grains mixed in the sand, which is more apparent at this small scale.  Overall it reads a bit lighter than I’d prefer, but it will probably work just fine.

Overall, once again I’m happy with the way this army turned out.  I look forward to trying it out with the special Raider rules that will be in effect during the campaign.

DBA Army III/35b: Feudal Spanish

Feudal Spanish Knights; Old Glory 15mm

I finished the Feudal Spanish army I bought from Tony Aguilar via Fanaticus.  I’m quite happy with the way the army turned out, and I particularly enjoyed the painting process I used for this army.

These are all 15mm Old Glory figures.  I’m happy with the figure selection: Thanks, Tony!

Feudal Spanish Cavalry; Old Glory 15mm

We went on vacation for the first week of August, and I decided to take a painting project.  These Spanish were cleaned and primed but I hadn’t started painting them yet.  I knew the basic color scheme I wanted to use, so I put together a limited set of paints and used only those colors to paint the figures.  It was an interesting change to work from a more limited color palette. 

I also didn’t bring any research materials with me, and I was mostly without Internet for the week.  The only reference I looked up while I was on vacation was getting an idea of Andalusian shield patterns.  This is why some of the shields and smaller flags have yellow stripes on a red field instead of red stripes on a yellow field.

It felt liberating working under these self-imposed restrictions… some might even call it a “plan.” I finished the painting with a few days left over, and lamented the fact that I didn’t bring a second army to start painting.

Allied light horse; Old Glory 15mm

The General’s stand is flying the colors of Aragon and/or Catalonia.  As far as I know, these figures slightly predate the age of heraldry, so shield patterns were primarily decorative and not hereditary insignia.

Feudal Spanish spearmen; Old Glory 15mm

I have a lot of red, white, and yellow armies, and plans for more.  I didn’t want the Spanish to have the same general look as my other armies, so I emphasized the yellow more than I’ve seen on other Feudal Spanish armies.  I also colored most of the cloth in various shades of excrement and detritus, instead of using cleanly dyed colors.  Overall I like the greater contrast here between the colorful shields and flags and the bland natural colors.

I hadn’t painted any Old Glory 15mm figures before I did this army.  I like the variety of poses available without overly dramatic, active posing.  The sculpting isn’t bad, but it’s not the best I’ve seen, either.  The figures are a bit smaller than Essex, which is fine with me:  the horses actually fit on the bases.

Feudal Spanish Psiloi; Old Glory 15mm

The spears are basically square, which is a bit weird.  They require a bit more cleaning than other manufacturers’ figures, but not dramatically so.  The main drawback I see is that Old Glory 15s come in packs of 24, so it’s often not cost effective to buy armies that have more than a few different element types, unless you’re building a triple army.

I haven’t played this army yet, so I don’t know how it’ll do.  That’s a lot of psiloi, but I like psiloi.

Painted for Historicon 2011

Say hello to my little friend!  Museum miniatures.

 I am only just getting around to photographing the random elements I painted up to bring to Historicon in July.

First are two bases I painted to use my Rajput Indian army in DBA-RRR. 

The cannon is huge, and sticks off the front of the base.  I didn’t expect this to be a problem, since it’s basically doomed if anything contacts it anyway.  As with my other artillery crew figures from Museum Miniatures, these crew are way taller than the other figures in the same line.

Essex miniatures Rajput general for DBA-RRR

DBA-RRR allows the use of a separate general base if you want, so I painted one up.  I like the way the shield turned out, and the more intricate design makes the individual figure stand out.  He also almost always detached from his unit, since elephants are so fragile in DBA-RRR with cannons shooting 8″.

Baueda Viking tent

I finished this Baueda Viking tent as a camp for my Leidang army, and I expect to be painting a Viking army to use it with as well.

GW giant eagles, 28mm

At Cold Wars I picked up some more figures for my Hordes of the Things Elf army at the flea market.  Here are two units of fliers: giant eagles from one of the Games Workshop Elf lines.  I was happy to learn how to use fliers at Historicon.  These figures originally had Elf riders, but they were too big for the eagles and didn’t match the rest of my Elves, so I decided to remove them and build some more general-purpose flier elements.

DBA Army IV/13ab: Medieval Germans

The army arrayed: DBA IV/13ab, Medieval German (Braunschweig)

One of the beautiful things about DBA is that all of the armies are the same size.  Once you paint 12 elements, you have a complete army and you never have to paint anything for that army again.

Except, it’s a lie!  A dirty, dirty lie! 

In order to field all of the available options for some armies, you have to paint far more than the 12 minimum required elements.  The winner of this dubious award is Medieval French, requiring 29 elements to field all possible options.  Apparently I got off easy painting these Medieval Germans, which only require 20 elements for the (a) list.  I painted all options except the 2x4Pk, but I included an extra Knight so I could field it as a DBA 2.2 (b) list as well by using deep sabot bases for the 6Kn elements.

The elements are 6x3Kn, 4x4Sp, 4x4Bd, 2x3Ax, 2x2Ps, 1x4Cb.  This will build the dismounting knights for IV/13a or the double-based knights from IV/13b.  In the proposed DBA 3 lists, this builds the IV/13b list with mandatory blades but no dismounting.

The Knights: 6x3Kn, or 2x6Kn, 2x3Kn.

Even though the army lists are under revision and will likely change before DBA 3.0 is released, I’m confident that I’ll be able to field a legal Medieval German army with these elements.

All of the shields are hand painted.  The foot figures use painted highlights on their red coats, but I used a Devlan Mud wash on the horses for expedience. I skipped painting lions on the horse cloths, but I bet you didn’t notice, did you?

4x4Sp.

I decided that one of the main reasons I don’t like most of the Medieval DBA armies I’ve seen is that they are too gaudy.  Typically, people either paint a wide variety of generic coats of arms that may or may not be accurate, so they can morph the army for use as any medieval army; or they accurately research 30 different coats of arms and it still ends up looking to me like a bazooka festival at a paint factory.

The best looking German army I’ve seen was painted by Scott Ludwig, and his work is directly responsible for convincing me to paint a Medieval army.  He chose a single set of heraldic devices and painted a unified color scheme across the whole army.  I decided that whether or not it was accurate, I’d do the same thing.

2x3Ax.  

Since I was looking for an ally for King Valdemar II the Victorious of Denmark, I chose the coat of arms of Braunschweig.  Otto I “the child”, duke of Braunschweig-Lüneburg, was Valdemar II’s nephew, and allied with Denmark against all enemies in the first half of the 13th century.  Things started to go wrong at the Battle of Bornhöved, where they both lost, and Otto was captured and imprisoned.

The coat of arms I chose, two gold lions on a red field, is that of Braunschweig (Brunswick).  It may be anachronistic for Braunschweig or Otto I at the time of the Battle of Bornhöved, but I found at least one source on the Internet that associates these arms with Braunschweig.  Who trusts the Internet anyway?  As a result, there are now two sources on the Internet, and the lies turn into truth by repetition…

1x4Cb, 2x2Ps.

The figures themselves are from Black Hat miniatures, part of the old Gladiator line.  These are very nice figures, I have absolutely no regrets regarding my figure choice.  They are well sculpted and highly detailed.  The faces are very distinctive, and I could see how someone might not like them, but I definitely do.  This is the same manufacturer that made the Auxilia I used in my Leidang army, and they definitely go well together.

4x4Bd, dismounted knights for IV/13a.

The Knights and Blades are technically a bit late for the Battle of Bornhöved.  They are closer to 1275 than 1227.  If I believed Denmark should be using primarily kite shields at this time, why didn’t I think the same for Germany?  It’s not like they’re very far away from each other.

Instead, I bought a few more blades to augment my Leidang in case we ever decide to field a triple army.

I am very pleased with the way this army turned out, but slightly paranoid about the accuracy.  I like to get things correct, but I’m not willing to spend money or an inordinate amount of time to ensure that they’re correct.  In the mean time, I can sustain myself with the dubious honor that comes with painting 82 microscopic yellow lions.

Rebasing miniatures? This is madness!

Madness?  This is Sparta!

To be more specific: this is my newly renovated DBA army II/5a, Later Hoplite Greeks: Spartans.  I didn’t actually rebase them, I only redecorated the bases they were already mounted on.  Not very dramatic, I know; but I don’t have a bottomless pit handy, so it was the next best thing.

The army arrayed: DBA II/5a, Spartans. Essex DBA v1 army pack.
The left half of the line: 6x4Sp.
5x4Sp(Gen), 1x2Ps.  General is on the far left.

This was the first army I finished painting for DBA, and the first 15mm figures I ever painted.  It was around 2003, and I found a few DBA v1 army packs on discount.  For the most part, the Spartan army didn’t change at all for DBA 2.0 (at the time); though more options were available in the 2.0 list.  These 12 elements were the only options provided in the original Essex army pack: 11x4Sp, 1x2Ps.  I later augmented the list with the other options available in 2.0, with slightly better basing: 1x4Ax, 1x3Cv (not shown here).

By the time I came back to DBA years later, my basing standards had improved.  These guys were painted well enough, but they looked like they were standing in a pool of toxic waste.  I repainted the ground brown, and added flock and static grass.  It’s as close as I can come to my current basing technique without fully rebasing the figures.

I also took the opportunity to reattach spears and do some touchups.  They won’t be winning any painting contests, but I’ll feel better using them… and at least I don’t have to paint another 11 elements of hoplites any time soon.

Now that I know a bit more, I don’t like these figures (or any Essex hoplites) for a few reasons.  Essex hoplite shields are too small, aren’t as round as they could be, and have no rim.  The single pose doesn’t bother me, because I prefer a “toy soldier” look for heavy foot.  However, I absolutely cannot stand forward-facing spears: they’re unusable in practice on such shallow bases, even if they more or less accurately depict fighting hoplites.  In the future if I build any more hoplites, they’ll all be holding their spears upright.

DBA Army IV/65: Wallachians

I love counting people! Let’s begin.  One impaled merchant, Wa ha ha ha!

I’m sorry, that was Count von Count, not Vlad the Impaler.  I always get those two mixed up.

Vlad the Impaler, not to be confused with Santa Claus.

Here is my new DBA Wallachian army, IV/65: 1x3Cv (gen), 3x2LH, 5xPs, 2x3Bw, 1x5Wb.

I decided to paint Wallachians mainly because the new Essex figures looked so good.  The army list is “not competitive in an Open tournament” and doesn’t fare well in DBA against most of its contemporaries.  5 psiloi in 1330-1504?  AD?  Besides, who the heck were the Wallachians anyway?

That last part is easy: Vlad the Impaler!  Vlad III Tepes, aka “Dracula” (son of Dracul, his familial name meaning “dragon”) is considered the prototype for Bram Stoker’s vampire.  Sometimes I think he’d be a good Darth Vader, given Vader’s penchant for killing people off.  Wallachia was a part of what is now Romania.

Wallachian Light Horse.

This army is from an Essex DBA 2.2 army pack.  Most of the figures are from the new Wallachian/Moldovian line, but the cavalry General consists of older figures from other lines.

Wallachian and generic Psiloi.

The Light Horse figures are very interesting.  Unlike any other Essex mounted figure I’ve ever painted, these are cast in a single piece except for the spears.  They have very nice details and sculpting, and are well proportioned.  However, the poses are quite flat.  There is enough of a variety of poses to be interesting, but they vary mostly only in their heads and armament.

Wallachian bows and generic Warband.

There are 5 Psiloi elements.  The army pack provided three elements of Wallachian spears and two elements of generic light medieval crossbowmen.  For the shield designs on the light horse and psiloi elements, I referred to Wallachian heraldry online as well as WRG’s Armies of the Middle Ages 2.  There are only a few true heraldic devices, with the rest being merhant marks. Besides being the only source I could find, this felt somewhat appropriate, since Vlad made a hobby of killing off all the nobility as painfully as possible.

The two units of bows were from the Wallachian line, but the warband was a generic horde.

Overall I’m very happy with the figures and my paint job.  I would’ve preferred to see a few more of the Wallachian-specific psiloi, but I expect that they chose alternate figures for a reason. The other non-Wallachian figures were well chosen and fill their role well.

I haven’t played this army yet, and don’t know when I will.  Besides not having many opportunities to play recently while I’m so busy with work, there aren’t many opponents I’d bother irritating with this band of light troops.  Hopefully there will be a good Eastern European themed event for me to bring them to before Murphy’s Law totally revamps the list for DBA 3.0.

Rant: apparently Shimano 105 hub bearings suck

This year has been horrible for flat tires.  While repairing my latest rear flat today, an explosive pinch flat on a massive pothole (“spring” in Pittsburgh is measured by the potholes and not the weather), I noticed my rear hub bearings were loose, so I investigated.

I examined the drive side cone and it had a pit in the surface. Maybe that’s why it was so noisy.  I found a spare cone and started replacing it… but then I looked at the other cone and it was way worse: it had pitting all the way around.  The hub was still packed with grease (no dirt), and had only 7-10k miles on it.  (I didn’t pull out the balls and examine them.)

Maybe the damage was caused by the fact that the hub bearings were loose, but I’d expect them to be loose after so much pitting and wear on the bearing surfaces. In any case, I’ve never heard of bearings loosening while installed on the bike.

This isn’t my first problem with this wheel set (it even matches!), either.  Within a year after buying these wheels, I had a horrible noise in the front wheel, and investigation revealed that the balls themselves were severely pitted.  That wheel hasn’t had any problems since I repacked it with new balls.

These are Shimano 105 road hubs bought new only 3 or so years ago.  I thought these were supposed to be better than off-brand hubs.  Maybe 7-10k miles is “better,” in these days when department store bikes are ridden an average of 20 miles total, and “real” bikes have their components upgraded every year to keep up with changing fashion.

Speed painting: Elf Blades

Just before Cold Wars (like, a day or two before), I wanted to augment my Hordes of the Things Elf army with some blades, so I picked up some figures in the Legions bits bin.

GW Elf blades based for Hordes of the Things.

Since I didn’t have much time, I did a rush job on these to match the paint job of the rest of the army. I completed everything from assembly through letting the paint dry in one night.  They suffered a bit in the rush: they were rained on after the dip dried and before I sprayed them with dullcote.  I dried them out, but unfortunately I missed a few spots, which created some craters under the varnish in the low spots.    I’m over it.

Greek Shields

I won an auction for a painted 25mm DBA Hoplite Greek army at Fall-In.  Hey, it was for the kids!  I’m not sure if I’ll play 25mm DBA, but I can use it for HOTT as well.

I rebased the army and painted shield designs.  The rest of the paint job is nothing to write home about, but here are the shield patterns I painted.  Two shields have decals, as labelled below; I painted the rest.

The leftmost two are decals, the rest I painted.

More Indians

In order to morph my Hindu Indian III/10c: Other army into Hindu Indian III/10b: Rajput, I needed at least one knight and an extra blade.  We also needed a LH general for the Mountain Indians at Cold Wars.  So, I painted some more Indians.

Essex Rajput Knights

Here is the Rajput knight.  These are Essex figures from their Moghul Indian range.  They match some of the cavalry figures from my existing Hindu Indian army, except they have armored horses.  I used a bit more interesting colors than on the rest of the Hindu Indians, which is probably a bit more accurate.

Indian Blades: Outpost and Museum miniatures

Since I needed one more element of blade, I decided to paint all of them.  This allows me to morph my Hindu Indians into Tamil Indians II/42b, and gives me a head start on a double Hindu/Tamil army.  Most of these figures are from the Outpost Tamil/Hindu Indian line.  The sculpting is detailed, but not very deep.  There are 3-4 different poses, all with a sword and a small buckler.

The club-wielding half giants with bad hair are from Museum Miniatures.  I like most of Museum’s Indian figures, but these guys are just ugly.  The sculpting is adequate with deepset features, but the single pose is pretty bad.  They’re taller than the Outpost figures, as well as some of the other Museum Indians.

Museum Indian Light Horse general

The Light Horse general is also from Museum Miniatures, and was a part of their Mountain Indian army pack.  These light cavalry figures have only a single pose, and like all Museum cavalry I’ve seen, they’re cast in a single piece.  These aren’t my favorite figures from the Indian line; I much prefer their bow and spear infantry.

The army pack didn’t come with any way to distinguish the General stand, so I painted the horses white.  I’ve started painting white horses by starting with grey and bringing the highlights up towards “almost white.”  It gives a bit of a greyish look, but I like it better than the results I get by washing a white horse.

To finish a second Hindu/Tamil Indian army, I now need to paint a bunch of bowmen, some elephants, and some cavalry.  I should probably paint some more knights for the Rajput as well, eventually.  I find that Indian infantry goes really quickly, so I’ve already prepared the bowmen for painting.  I don’t have any deadline or goals in mind for the Indians, so I’ll just fit them in when I have time and motivation.