Thursday, December 30, 2010

Swiss Resurrection...Perrys Assembled

I did receive my two boxes of Perry Medieval Mercenaries.  Although I'm a bit old school in my tastes, and not really a plastics kind of guy, these figures are never-the-less really very good.  There was almost no flash that needed to be cleaned up, and the figures were very easy to assemble (something that is important to me, since assembly is one of the things about plastics that turn me off most).  Another thing that I like about this box set is that the poses aren't so ridiculously animated that they are impossible to arrange on WRG sized bases.  No horizontal pike poses either, which is just great, because pikes in that position might look great in dioramas, but as far as I'm concerned, they are absolutely worthless as gaming pieces.  In this set, the pikemen are all in marching poses, which fits my needs and aesthetic sense perfectly.

Here is a photo of the 32 pikemen as they look assembled but still unprimed:

Each box has a total of 40 figures, but of these, only 18 can be built as either pikemen or halberdiers.  To get a total of 32 pikemen for a complete FoG unit is why I needed two boxes instead of just one.  The remainder of the figures are either handgunners (of which I do need some), crossbowmen, or command figures.  I was hoping to get more halberdiers out of this box set, but since they are made out of the pikemen (accomplished by cutting the pikes down and gluing on a polearm head), it looks like I will still need to order a box of the War of the Roses Infantry to get the rest of the heavy weapon types that I need to finish off the Swiss army.  This is actually another thing that makes plastics kind of unattractive to me, even though at first glance, it appears that one is getting a large number of figures for a price significantly less than what metal figures would cost.  If one was building a new army from scratch, I guess plastics look incredible because almost all the figures in a set are of use, but if one is only adding units to an existing army, then a significant number of the figures are excess ones, so that the cost per figure is much higher than if one simply divided the price by the total number of figures that can be possibly assembled from the box.  In my case, I was able to build 32 pikemen, 8 handgunners, and 8 halberdiers - meaning that only a total of 48 figures out of the possible 80 included are presently usable to me, while the rest are destined for the bit box.  Realistically, I'm still paying significantly more than $1.00 per figure - so still much more expensive than in comparison to the cost of 15mm figures.  And I still have to purchase another box to get the halberdiers I require, and out of that box, only half the figures will be immediately useful to me.

Still, all-in-all, the final price is not bad, and the quality of the models is nice enough that I certainly feel that I have more than gotten my money's worth.

Here is another photo showing how easily the pikemen will fit and rank up on a WRG standard sized, 60mm wide x 20mm deep base:

Also, another photo below, showing the eight handgunners that I assembled, and another showing how they size up in comparison to some Foundry handgunners that I already had painted up for this army:

And here is the same for the halberdiers:

As always, I'll post some more progress once I get these guys painted up.

Everyone have a Happy New Years!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Swiss Resurrection...Crusader Miniatures

I hope everyone is having a Happy Holiday Season.  Like everyone else, I'm sure, its been a busy time, but in between buying presents and entertaining family and in-laws, I did finish another unit of Swiss pikemen.  Although most of the figures in my last post were Old Glory ones, the ones in the photos below are by Crusader Miniatures, from their War of the Roses range.  The front rank figures are number MEW002, Armored Pikemen, and the other ranks are number MEW001, Unarmored Pikemen - all from that range.

For comparison purposes, I also show below, a stand of the unarmored Crusader pikemen adjacent to an Old Glory one.  They look like they will work fine together in the same army, and since I have them organized in different units, they don't jar my eye aesthetically.   The Crusader figures are on the left and the Old Glory ones are on the right.

For my next unit, I'm planning on doing my final pike block for this army.  I'll be using the new Perry Miniatures plastic mercenaries.  The tracking information I have from the Warstore (where I ordered the boxes from) says that they are supposed to be delivered today sometime, and if the blizzard we just had in New England doesn't interfere with the postal service, I hope to start assembling tonight.  I'll post some progress once I have something to show.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Swiss 25's

After colliding with that nasty Swiss army at the New England FoG tournament, it got me thinking that I occasionally once played a 25mm scale Swiss army under the Warrior rules.  The Swiss are okay using those rules, and the special list rules for them do a very good job of simulating the combination of pike and halberds in the mass Swiss formations of the period - but I found them too complex, too headache inducing, and too one-dimensional.  And actually a bit boring really.  But under Field of Glory, it seems like they might be a lot of fun, at least for the guy playing them if not for the guy facing them.

Anyway, since I already owned a bunch of Swiss lead, mainly all painted, I figured I would dig them out of the basement and see if I could come close to the list that I would like to use for the Swiss with FoG.  Turns out, I'm in luck!  I have everything except for two pike blocks, 7 stands of halberdiers, and four stands of handgunners.  Although I have been a 15mm advocate for the last few years, mainly because of the expense of the larger figures and the hassle of storing and transporting them, it seemed that if I could easily and cheaply finish this army up for FoG, it might be worthwhile to give them a shot.  Of course, most of the local guys either have only 15mm lead, or if they have 25mm, it has been based for Warhammer Ancient Battles.  Then there is another group of guys more local to me who claim they would like to play in 25mm, but they are the type of gamers who talk a good game, but never actually get a full army painted and ready for battle.  Finally, the regional guys who do have 25mm armies based WRG style, have objected to the Swiss as an opposing army that they would prefer not to take on for a fun afternoon.  So it looks like I may have to wait for Cold Wars or Historicon to get a chance for a Swiss 25mm game.

Below are a couple of shots of what a pike block of my old Swiss look like:

The Swiss were one of the first Ancient or Medieval armies that I completed, back about a decade or so ago, so these are not quite up to the standard of what I like to now achieve.  But surprisingly, I think they actually don't look too bad at all.  I had to rebase them, since for Warrior, the Swiss are based on 30mm deep bases (LMI, comparable to medium infantry), while for FoG they are based heavy foot style on 20mm deep bases.  I figure that if they are on the swallower bases, I could still put them on deeper sabots if I ever want to go back to also using them for Warrior.  So they are now multi-use medieval pikemen - always a good thing to be able to morph units, as far as I'm concerned.  The figures are mainly Old Glory, from the Swiss line, one of their better ones, with a few Foundry figures mixed into the front command stand.

To finish this army up, it looks like I can take advantage of some of the new Perry plastics.  One box of the War of the Roses Infantry, and two of the newly released Mercenaries: European Infantry 1450-1500 - and that should give me all that I need.  For a very economical price too.  Almost as cheap as 15mm figures, it seems.

I also have an unpainted unit of Crusader Miniature pikemen from their War of the Roses range.  I'll probably paint these up next, and then post what they look like in comparison to these older paint jobs.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Not much to say this week.  The Holiday rush has been just mad.  But I do have some pictures of several units that I plan to incorporate someday soon into a Macedonian Successor army.

Above is an unit of Thorakitai.  I love these guys, and consider them a must take in any Successor type army.  They are classified as armored medium foot with offensive spears.  Great fighters in terrain, and not too shabby in the open against most things.  They can also be used to protect the flanks of phalanxes, and being drilled, they are also good at maneuvering onto your opponents flanks.  Figures are by Xyston, and they are definitely on the large size - I don't think they could fit four to a heavy foot base - but as with most of Xyston's range, they are among the best figures on the market.

Here's an unit of Spartan hoplites, also by Xyston.  Not quite as large as the thorakitai, but still fairly large.  These are based as heavy foot though.  I love the later period helmets, and the hair and beards are very well sculpted.  The shields have what I think are Veni Vidi Vici water transfers.

Finally, here is an unit of Old Glory 15 hoplites.  I got these to see what an unit of more conventionally sized hoplites look like, and although the sculpts are not as exquisite as the Xyston ones, I think these came out more than acceptably.  Shield transfers are by Little Big Men Studios.

Oh!! All these distractions!  I must get back soon to my Spanish Thirty Years War army.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dom Roms at Bob's

We recently had one of our semi-regular Ancients get together in Bob's Gaming Basement, and we had at least 8 people show up, mainly for Field of Glory games.  I was fortunate to be able to get in two games of my own - one being a training game for a friend who is considering playing in the Field of Glory Team Tournament down in Texas, the other being a first time test game of the Impetus rules.  As far as I could tell, lots of fun was had by all.

The Dom Rom Swarm Deploys
For my first game, I used a complete Morally Bankrupt version of the Dominate Roman Swarm in anticipation that this would be an army that my opponent would have a more than fair possibility of facing in the Lone Star state.  The Dom Rom Swarm has become infamous among Field of Glory players, for a variety of reasons, including the large number of battlegroups it can field (making it very difficult to break), and the swarm of 4 stand, armored auxilia that can be a challenge for opposing players to keep off of their flanks.  The version of this list that I ran included 9 battlegroups of armored auxilia, minimum legionaries, superior bow armed medium foot and light horse, and a few other supporting units, totaling 19 units.  My opponent, Chris, ran a Sarmatian list composed of a mass of undrilled, armored lancers, complimented by quite a few bow and sword armed light horse skirmishers.  I thought that the lancers would have been able to completely run through my medium foot auxilia in the open (since the table held very little terrain), but the game played out very differently than I initially expected.

Dom Rom Center Advance
My opponent decided to use a flank march on my right wing, but since it succeeded in arriving on the first roll it tested for, it came on too early to catch me out of position and I was able to redeploy my drilled units to face it off.  In addition, Chris also failed a straggle roll for one unit, which resulted in the flank march being weaker than what had been planned for.  The Sarmatians also surprised me when they decided not to concentrate their lancers on a mass charge into my exposed auxilia, but instead, turned and redeployed in order to maneuver onto my right flank.  In reaction to the Sarmatians' moves, I decided to advance more aggressively in the center then I had originally planned for, and then to turn several other units out of the center of my line, including the legionaries, to head off for the right flank as reinforcements against the flank attack and lancers.

Eventually, I was able to trap some of the Sarmatian light horse with my own light horse and auxilia, taking out pretty much everything my opponent left to delay on that side of the battlefield.

Sarmatians Redeploying
Things were not going quite as well on the other side of the battlefield, where the lancers had begun to arrive.  The flank march had been neutralized, but was still annoyingly hanging around, and I had gotten my auxilia too far forward where I would not be able to avoid the lancers.  I still had the ability of using the tactic of getting auxilia on a lancer flank in a position to force a charge that could then be intercepted.    This did work on at least one location, but after several poor rounds of rolling for me, my opponent turned to face me, bolstered, and I did not have enough troops in the immediate area to support my original flank charge.

Light Horse Hunting
Although the game did go on for several more moves, that was pretty much it before what would have been an ordinary time out.  I was almost on top of the Sarmatian camp and probably would have chased a couple of light foot skirmishers off the table soon.  My right flank was falling apart, but even if I had lost all my battlegroups there, there were still so many left in the swarm that I could have redeployed 90 degrees on the table to take on the lancers who now would have had much less room to maneuver.  When all was done, it probably would have been a winning draw for the Dom Roms with neither army breaking.

The Dominate Roman Swarm is quite a nasty army, I would have to agree, even if it takes a lot of practice to learn how to use correctly.  In the hands of a player more skilled than myself, I'm sure it would be fearful to face.  And it is fun to play.  Now that I'm getting more familiar with it, I've been digging through my pile of 28mm figures to see if I can put together the same army at the larger scale.  With the relatively smaller tables used for 28mm games, the Dom Roms would probably be even tougher.

Killing Sarmatian Light Horse

Auxilia Facing Lancers

Flank Charging Lancers

Ready for Camp Sacking

For the next post, I'm going to try and write something about the Impetus test game I played next, but after stepping through the game and subsequently rereading the rules, we obviously got so many particulars wrong, I'm not sure it was a fair test game.  At best, I can give a basic overview of how I thought the rules played.