Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm not dead yet

It seems like forever since I last updated this. Life has a way of getting in the way.

However I have finished the cavalry, knocked out a unit of Late Roman foot, and begun work on some chariots.

Pictures comming soon.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

They shoot horses, don't they?

I really hate painting horses. I am currently working my way through a cavalry unit. Even with photos of real horses to guide me, I just find them tedious.

On the upside, I got the Osprey on Pictish warriors. Lots of nice pictures including Pictish iconography.

I have also begun modelling a temple for my Picts. It is based on a Bronze Age temple found in a peat bog. It was part of the Bog People travelling exhibition. It should provide an interesting piece of scenery on the table.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon

I have completed the next unit in the warband. 12 savage hounds ready to bay forth on the track of their enemies.

The actual use of warhounds in battle is debatable at best. The primary source seems to be Bernard Cornwell. Be that as it may they look ferocious and are fun on the wargames table. Certainly the Picts are known to have employed large hounds for hunting, and it is quite possible that these hounds participated in skirmishes if not full scale battles.

After a search for suitable dogs I settled on the Vendel Miniatures mastifs, for those who prefer the look of Irish wolfhounds those are available from Gripping Beast. Vendel offer a total of 12 varients. Five leaping, running and attacking with collars, the same five without collars, and a two pack of one lying and one sitting, both with collars. These dogs are quite large.

When it came to painting them I had no hesitation at all. I had previously painted a quartet of GW mastif like wardogs for Mordheim in brown and black, but for these I went for an image out of Welsh mythology. No less source than the Mabinogion. My hounds are painted as the Cwn Annwn. They are creamy white with red ears and green eyes. These are the fearsome hounds that accompany Arawn Lord of the Underworld on the Wild Hunt.

The unusual colouring makes the dogs stand out while still looking realistic.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The First Fifteen

In a spurt of inspiration I have finished the first 15 warriors. In WAB terms they are a unit with Leader, Standard Bearer and Musician armed with Mixed Weapons (count as Javelins and Weapons) and Bucklers. The nice thing about Pictish warriors is they are classed as Light Troops so they can fight either in formed ranks or as skirmishers.

Here are some of the shield designs I have used. You can see how simple they actually are.

Here the boys are all ranked up. The movement tray is from Litko Aerosystems. I flocked the edges to match the bases on the figures.
The village is a cast rubber piece from Miniature World Maker. The first time I saw their stuff I had to squeeze it to be sure it was actually rubber.
Iused the same scenic piece throughout all the photos. The piece is designed with a lift off hut in the corner, pop in and out doors, and lift off roofs for the other two huts. This converts it quickly from repaired to ruins.

Painting Picts

The picts are often known as the "painted people". Wen it comes to wargames armies this is an atrocious pun indeed.

The prospect of painting an entire army filled with tattoos, warpaint, checked, striped and plaid clothing, and that wonderfully complex iconograpy including all sorts of complex birds, beasts, knots and spirals.

Fear not. There are several shortcuts and visulal cheats you can employ to ease the burden of painting Picts.

The first is fake plaid. Instead of trying to paint te full mix of colours and patterns in plaid simplify. Often a simple grid in a contratsing colour over a base colour will suffice. For a more complex pattern add a dot of a third colour at each intersection. You can also use one colour for the verticals and a different one for the horizontals.

Second, stripes are your friend. Stripes are muc easier to paint than plaids.

Third, keep the palatte simple. Earth tones, pale tans and creams, muddy greens, the occasional accent of yellow red or blue.

Fourth, trim is good. Adding a stripe of trim to a tunic hem, collar and cuffs can do as much for the look of the figure as a full on plaid tunic, and is much easier to paint.

Fifth, remember you are painting a warband. Using a uniform colour palette across most of the figures will tie them together. In a warband some figures can be quite plain, while others are exuberantly detailed, the viewer's eye will tend to average them out.

Sixth, shields help. Shields hide a fair bit of the body behind them. Also a shield presents a good surface to add a contrasting colour or pattern. Simple field divisions, spirals, and dots can give an impression of more complex heraldry.

Seventh, to dip or not to dip? Some like the "magic dip" of Minwax Polyshades Satin Tudor, or Johnson's Clear floor polish with black or brown ink added. Both of tese will provide instant sading and grunge to your figures. Some like the look, others do not. Try it on a spare figure and see what you think.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


This blog will serve as a chronicle for my Picts of the Hooded Crow wargames army. The army draws inspiration from Robert E. Howard, British history, and Roman propoganda. As such it should not be taken as a commentary on the real Picts (about whom we know very little in any case) this is Fantasy.

The army is composed of 28mm figures, mostly Old Glory with a few Foundry mixed in. I will likely be adding some Gripping Beast and others to the mix as time goes on.

Current plans are for a mini-campaign in Arthurian Britain using Warhammer Ancient Battles: Age of Arthur supplement.

Battle reports may well feature other rules and other eras as well.

Look for updates and pictures on painting, modeling etc.