Thursday, June 25, 2009

100 Years War Mounted Knights

When I was doing them I wasn't sure about the color scheme, but they turned out okay.  They should look great amongst a large medieval army, all with different color combos.  

Want to finish(?) my longbow men this weekend then make a fresh start on an early period Ottoman Turkish army in July.  Probably about 250 figures in that (50 horsemen and the rest on foot) which should take me close to 10,000 figures in total. 

Also looking to start a campaign in July which you can follow on this site.     

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Arab General

The new commanding general for my Arab Conquest army, both alone and with some of his friends.  (I just "finished" him over the weekend.)

The camera picked up a couple of minor painting errors that I couldn't see with my naked eye, so it seems I still have a little touching up to do, but finally my Arabs have a general of their own.  (I had been using a spare Mongol figure previously, and I'm sure he will be happy to go home to his own people.)    

This was a little bit of a distraction, as I'm supposed to be working on my medieval knights at the moment.  Just felt like painting a horse or two over the weekend though, so I got him done, and also most of the work on some more mounted knights.  (Hopefully they will be finished mid-week and the photo will be ready for posting towards the end of the week.) 

Lots of longbow men still to do, and of course, the castle (plus catapults, and a battering ram that needs finishing!)

I want to get started on my Ottoman Turks in July - something will have to give!

Carthaginian Elephants

Some Carthaginian elephants trudge along the route looking for a guy named Hannibal and some Alps to cross.
These elephants were a different and smaller (and also now extinct) breed to the modern day African elephant.  They were driven by Numidian (black tribesmen) while the lighter-skinned Carthaginians (who were originally descended from the Phoenicians) provided the soldiers who rode in the tower on the elephant's back. 

Hannibal of Carthage took a bunch of these animals across the Alps into Italy when he started the Second Punic War, but they didn't survive long, and weren't replaced. (Carthage was located in Northern Africa, across the bay from modern day Tunis.)

Note the differences between these and the Indian elephants of a previous post.      

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Early Medieval Gun - still under construction!

No, I haven't been lazy - just overworked! Too much crazy hours at my day job at the moment.

This model isn't finished yet. It should have only taken one day to build but due to all the crazy hours we are working (even when I'm not at work, I'm tired!), I'm into my second week working with it. There are still a couple of men to be attached, and also extras such as spare cannonballs, buckets etc. I'll probably put one or maybe even two of my spare wagons with it too.

The idea is that this will be the centre-piece of my attacking army for the castle siege I am planning for the Collector's Show in August (if I can get the whole thing finished in time!) It is an early medieval heavy gun, shown from:

1: the front ground view, just showing the barrel of the gun between the wooden shield (designed to protect the crew from enemy fire) and the ground.

2: the front view, slightly higher up, so you can see some of the men working with it.

3: the side view which shows what is behind the shields. The two guys down in the pits are controlling a rope, use to lower the front-center shield when the gun isn't firing, and raise it when it is ready to fire. The rope pieces didn't come with the model so I had to unweave a piece of string and use two of the strands for the ropes. If you get up real close to the model you can see they are only glued onto the back, rather than hooked through a hole in the top of the shield.

I also had a lot of trouble getting the two guys carrying the bag on a stick hooked up right, and again if you get up real close, you can see their stick is bent, and one of them doesn't really have it cleanly in his hands. I was a little annoyed with that, as a very similar grouping that was part of my Japanese Civil War collection fit together perfectly.

Those are just minor niggles though. Overall I'm pretty happy with the way it is turning out. Just have to find time to finish the thing!

What I'm really hoping to be able to do is start a medieval campaign in the first week of July, with the commentary on this site, so you can get an idea of what goes in to the battles behind the scenes. All going well, and IF the timing works out right, the campaign should lead up to a siege just in time for the Collector's Show, and it will all fit into a nice little story line that comes to life here in Bluffton on the night!

(Collector's Show now only just over two months away, and I haven't even started building my castle, much less the other houses I want as part of the display! Then, of course, there is the czmpaign to start up, and all the paperwork that will entail. Aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Teutonic Knights - Grand Master and Bretheren Knights

The Teutonic Knights were one of the religious orders formed during the crusades, by a group of Germans serving in the Holy Land.

After the defeat of the western nations during the crusades, they eventually set up base in the region which eventually grew into the Kingdom of Prussia. Although they seem to have started off with reasonably good intentions, as time went by they followed the path of most of the other religious fighting orders of the day and became more a band of armed thugs throwing their weight around and trying to build their own little empire, than the "upholders of Christianity" they were supposed to be.

The knights were pretty much dealt to on July 10, 1410 at Tannenburg by an Eastern European alliance, and although the order continued, they had lost their power. The knights themselves were never great in number, with only about 350 kinghts at their peak. But they owned vast lands, and hired those out to tennant knights, who then fought for their cause.
Their "black cross on a white background" was the forerunner of the German "Iron Cross" during World War II, and indeed, when the Germans fought the Russians at Tannenburg in WWII, many Germans looked on the battle as "revenge for 1410!".

In the photos above, the Teutonic Grand Master leads some of his Bretheren Knights onto the attack. When I first painted up my Grand Master I was really pleased with the way he turned out, although now, comparing him against my Russian and Mongol generals, he looks very ordinary.

A funny story about this lot. When I first had them ready for battle, I had a system of "chance events" in my wargames rules, which called for "unusual" things (out of left field, that COULD happen, but you wouldn't expect it). Basically on each turn I rolled two dice, and if a "double" came up, one unit (decided by another dice throw) then performed one of a number of actions (again decided by another dice throw).

In each of their first three battles, my Teutonic Knights managed to find a cellar full of alcohol in a nearby town/farm house and stopped fighting to go on a drinking binge! They didn't just do it ONCE - they did it THREE times, which really pushed the laws of probability.

Needless to say I was not impressed! They have improved, but not yet to the point that they are my star performers. We'll see if they can do any better next time out!