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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Favorite Figures - The Imperial Guard, Part 1

No, not Napoleon's Imperial Guard but the Imperial Guard of Humanity's Future! Their battle cry is, "If we don't take 85% casualties, we aren't trying hard enough!" These are the Imperial Guard from Games Workshops' Warhammer 40K set of science fiction skirmish rules.

I don't particularly care for the story background of the Warhammer 40K "universe" but they sell some pretty good figures that are fun to paint. In fact, their Space Marines are the neatest (did I just use that word?) types of armored infantry out there - even with some of the silliness they add to the figures. Nothing like having robes and medallions hanging from your battle armor to get in the way and trip you up during a close quarters boarding action in vacuum . . . but I digress.

The Imperial Guard Infantry are the mass conscript, cannon fodder of the Imperium - not as cool or well paid as the Space Marines. But then again, the Space Marines have to have more skulls and silliness on their uniforms than the Imperial Guard.

First up, the boss. As Napoleon said, "There are no bad regiments, only bad colonels." Here's my colonel:

According to GW, this is Lord Castellan Ursarkar Creed and Sergeant Jerran Kell . . . yeah, whatever. I just call him The Colonel and the guy with the flag.

For The Colonel's jacket, I thought a good ole' fashioned brown jacket with U. S. Army Infantry blue would do the trick.

Why a flag on a futuristic battlefield? Well . . . I like flags.

To me this is another figure that screams "character". The lit cigar is a nice touch.

Now what mass conscript army on a planet who knows where wouldn't want a political officer along for the ride? This is GW's Commissar Yarrick, an old commissar brought out of retirement to help fight the Space Ork menace. In fact, he got the claw from a space ork (don't ask).

With his claw, Yarrick is also in charge of maintenance.

"I will move this rock with my claw!"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Even Mother Nature wants me to Paint

Started to go out the back door and was stopped by this obstacle:

Oh well; I guess I'll paint instead.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Favorite Figures: Fall of the West 300 - 500 AD Part 3

Late Roman period favorites - only Infantry this time!

A Saxon/Frankish/Gothic/Whatever Barbarian Lord with his comitatus. The helmet of the leader is based on a Saxon helmet found in England.

The armored comitatus are from Foundry's Frank or Saxon Noble Warriors blister pack. The musician and leader are from the Frank or Saxon Command and Characters pack. The standard bearer is from the Dark Age Arthurian or Romano British King Arthur and Champions pack (Whew! That's a mouthful.)

Senior Officer and Standard bearer from the Late Roman Infantry command pack.

Here is another Roman officer from the same pack.

What would the Late Roman period without lots of barbarians? Foundry's range allows a good mix and match to give the impression of a war band. Doing the barbarian figures takes a little longer as I wanted all of the shields and clothing to be different.

The standard bearer with the Draco is a conversion. I drilled a hole through the hand for the shield and inserted the Draco. The hand looks ugly, but it was covered up when I added the shield.

Roman Infantry. Not sure if that tunic color was ever worn in battle but there is a mosaic showing German "guard" infantry wearing a similar color.

You now what I say,"You can never have enough barbarians."

Well that's all for now. Time to watch the Empire fade into the sunset . . .

Monday, August 22, 2011

Favorite Figures: The Fall of the West 300 - 500 AD, Part 2

Here are some more of my favorite figures from the Late Roman Period:

Old Glory's King Arthur from their Arthur and his Knights pack. Something about the figure reminds me of a youthful, competent noble officer for the legions.

I forgot to mention in my earlier post that the Roman shield are all designs, including the above from the
Notitia Dignitatum (List of Offices), a valuable, historical source for how the Late Empire was organized.

From the same pack as Arthur is one of his "knights". This figure, to me, screams old wily veteran.

The shield pattern above is found on both Roman and Gothic shields. I took my time painting that shield.

Speaking of Arthur, all of the following figures (I think) are from Wargames Foundry's Age of Arthur Range:

Mounted Arthur. Lately this guy has been leading Western Barbarian Armies.

Saxon leaders. Both of them I use for leading my barbarian hordes.

I like how the figure is leaning on his shield.

Dismounted Arthur, Priest and Civilian.

Armored Musician from Foundry's Late Roman range.

This is a Frankish or Gothic mounted leader.

The figure above and below is from Foundry's Arthur range. Shield design from the Notitia Dignitatum.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Favorite Figures: The Fall of the West 300 - 500 AD, Part 1

I was looking at some of my figures the other day . . . well okay, I was setting them up and making fighting noises . . . when I started thinking to myself, "Hey, this was a fun figure to paint, that one was fun too . . . that one was a pain in the . . . " Well, you get the idea!

One of my all time favorite periods to game and paint is the Late Roman period in the West. I got interested in this period while doing research for a paper when I was attending the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS. If you are interested in the period, I recommend two very good books that have similar titles. The first is The Fall of The Roman Empire: The Military Explanation, by Arther Ferrill,
Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Washington and a regular contributor to The Quarterly Journal of Military History. The second is The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians by Peter Heather currently Professor of Medieval History at King's College London.

For historical fiction I recommend Eagle in the Snow, by Wallace Breem and The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff (she of
The Eagle of the Ninth fame!)

My armies for the period are about 99.5% Wargames Foundry's Late Roman Range of figures that also include their Franks and Saxons, Germans, Huns and Age of Arthur ranges sculpted by the Perry Twins Michael and Allan. The other .5% are Old Glory Miniatures. One of the advantages of gaming and collecting this period is that every unit can be on any side - talk about a blessing for a gamer!

When I personally take the field of battle, here is the figure I usually use to represent me:

This is a Late Roman mounted commander from the Mounted Commanders blister pack.

Also from the Mounted Commanders blister pack is one of my all time favorites:

Every commander needs a good musician. The animation and bearing of the figure is second to none. Plus, it was fun to paint. He is the musician for my commander's mounted body guard.

Speaking of bodyguards, I based my commander on Flavius Aetius, the "Last of the Romans." Aetius is famous for defeating Attila the Hun at the Battle of Chalons in 451 AD. Interestingly, Aetius had spent many of his formative years as an official "hostage" with the Huns and his body guard (
Bucellarii) was almost exclusively Huns:

Aetius' Bucellarii

Since this unit is serving with the "Roman" army, I painted them as much as possible to resemble Huns with Roman equipment and tunics. Note the chip paint on the spear. Nothing like dropping a figure and knocking the spear off right before you take a picture!

I like the Horse tail standard.

Speaking of Huns, I'm slowly adding other Huns to my collection. The below is one of the nicest animated figures I have run across; you can just feel the breeze in your hair (if you take your helmet off!):

The infantry need good commanders and this is from Foundry's "Age of Arthur" range. I forget which character he is supposed to represent, but he makes a great officer for Late Roman or Romano-British armies.