Saturday, November 27, 2021

Black Friday 20% Discount-3 Days Left

 Three days left!

Just a quick reminder that the Fife and Drum Black November/Friday sale is offering a 20% discount on most of our products. Enter the coupon code:


When you check out with your shopping cart to get your discount.

The sale ends November 30, 2021

Thursday, November 25, 2021

I want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving, a day in which we give thanks for our blessings and, this year, thanks for being able to gather with family and friends, which we were not able to do last year due to Covid-19. We will be having dinner at my wife’s niece’s new home, which they recently purchased. I’m looking forward to seeing the family again.

There is a fringe element of people that would apply wokeness to this national holiday for reasons that I’m not even going to give credence to by any further discussion. I’m attaching a paragraph from an article that I read this morning that I believe summarizes the holiday nicely:

 For better or worse, human history is written by the winners. But that’s still not what Thanksgiving is really supposed to be about. It’s a time to give thanks for whatever blessings you have received, no matter how meager those blessings may be at times. While you still have breath in your lungs there is always hope. And if you find yourself on this day simply having a roof over your head, food of any sort on your table, and some family or friends to share it with, you have much to give thanks for. There will always be those with more or less than yourself. So rather than spending your day shouting at the ocean about what a horrible place America is, perhaps you might help your blood pressure levels and your community by simply engaging in some quiet reflection and taking a moment to give thanks. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Getting Around To Basing My Figures


HaT 54mm Iberians in the foreground, and HaT Roman Princeps in the background.


I tend to work on elements of my game projects in large batches of similar work. For example, I might do figure painting over the course of several weeks. Then I might work on new terrain bits and pieces for a week, or clean and prime figures for several days so as to build up a stock of ready-to-paint figures. And finally, the worst of them all: basing figures. I don't particularly like to spend time on basing figures. So when I do work on basing, I will often do large batches of figures to base in one or two sittings. Maybe this is why I don't like basing - I do too many figures at one time.

In any event, I thought that now was the time to get started on the terraining of bases and movement trays before I accumulated too many unbiased figures. I also needed a break from painting figures. So I brought all of my basing materials (brown paint to undercoat the bases, wall board paste or "Spackel Compound" mixed with brown paint to terrain the ground, railroad ballast to texture the ground, and some tufts and static grass).

Hannibal Barca Himself.
John Jenkins Design figure and staff.

Hannibal's Veterans from his Italian Campaign. They carry Roman shields captured at Cannae.

Another view of the Carthaginian Veterans.

Balaeric Slingers, light infantry

Overhead view of the Iberians in the front row, Roman Princeps in the second row left,
and Carthaginian Veterans in the second row right.

HaT 54mm Celts.
I really like painting these figures and plan to add another war band.

Overhead view of the Celts.

Celtic Cavalry.
There is quite a story behind this unit of figures (see below).

This morning I was showing all of these pictures on the Virtual War Games Club meeting, via Zoom. I had purchased the Celtic cavalry from a UK-based company called Drum and Flag. The owner was selling off his collection of 54mm Romans and Carthaginians and I fancied adding these figures to my army. Well, it turns out that the figures were painted by Alan "Tidders" Tidmarsh who happened to be sitting in on the VWC meeting. Alan had painted the Celts and later sold them to Rupert at Drum and Flag. Rupert then sold the figures to me. Talk about this being a small world. What are the odds of finding that one of my wargaming friends had painted this unit. This was a pleasant surprise and I feel honored to have some of Alan's figures in my Carthaginian army.

Update on my Roman Town

I added a couple more buildings to my 28mm Roman town, all buildings were made by Herb Gundt, the El Supremo of miniature architecture for war-game scenery. The forum building shown below, first picture, had been residing at General Pettygree's home for maybe four to five years. We used some of my Roman buildings for our 28mm Peninsula War Napoleonic games and I just left the buildings at Pettygree's house so that I wouldn't have to keep bringing them back and forth for our various war game. So I repatriated the forum and added it to the diorama that I have set up on my game table.

The local Roman forum in the foreground.

Late Roman Foundry legions on parade in the town square.

Another view looking towards the forum.

And what else are we adding to the Punic Wars Project?

54mm Roman and Greek warships from Playmobile.

I saw some of these magnificent Playmobile ancient warships on eBay and knew that I had to have them for my Punic Wars games. I haven't decided how to use them yet, but I will figure out something that incorporates the naval aspect with the land wars. I could even have some of the land troops filling the role of the crew on the ships.

I plan on tricking out the ships by painting them, maybe replacing the decking with balsa wood, adding some towers on the aft-side and a corvus (boarding bridge) on the Roman ships. The picture shown on the table depicts the appearance of the corvus. 

I am imagining a huge 54mm game at a convention such as Historical or Little Wars that will find the ships fighting off shore while the infantry and cavalry fight over a harbor town. I haven't got it all figured out yet, but the wheels are in motion inside my head. Of course, I could also do separate land and sea battles, which would be easier to handle at a convention. But you know me, I don't do "nice and easy".

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Play Testing Some New Ancients Rules

The Good Guys (Romans) on the right, and the Seriously Misinformed on the left.

Last weekend four of us (keeping proper social distance of course) convened at General Pettygree's estate to play test a version of his BAR rules, modified for Ancients battles. Rob and Bob played the Baddies, Germanics and Macedonians, respectively, while the good General fielded his Republican Roman and I pulled my Late Romans out of retirement to save civilization from the Barbarian threat.

Rob's Germanic hoard and my Late Romans faced off against each other and we basically did an excellent job of whittling each other's army down to nothing over the span of several hours. General Pettygree's Republican Romans stared down Bob's Successor Macedonians (these were gorgeous figures) on the other end of the table. Rob got the best of my Late Romans on the left side of the table, while Pettygree defeated the Macedonian porcupine better known as a phalanx.

The purpose of the day's match's was to give the rules a play test so the outcome of the two games did not really matter.

For what it's worth, I had two 60-figure Late Roman legions and 24 archers on foot (and another 12 on horseback) plus 12 Cataphracts and 24 heavy cavalry. By game's end, a few legio figures were wandering around the field and all of my cavalry had been turned into Alpo. Rob lost most of his German war bands, but he still had a strong cavalry contingent and a fair number of archers (also known as machine guns, I dare say). Match goes to the Germanic Barbarians.

Late Roman Equites (right) charge into a mess of Messersmitts (left).
I forgot that my lads were Guard class troops.
Might have helped, probably would not  have any impact on the result.

My Late Roman Cataphracts pile into a mob of Germans.

Some of My Guys ( on the left) pile into a bunch of Baddies (on the right).
I won't lie, numbers make all the difference. The Romans did not come out on top in this melee.

One of the few highlights of my day as a Late Roman legio nearly wipes out a German war band.

I don't know what happened on the other side the woods/table, but it appears that the Republican Romans got the better of the Successors' Macedonians. So it was a tied score: Bad Guys 1 and Good Guys 1.

The Batailles dans L'Ancien Regime ("BAR") rules mechanics seemed to work well with Ancients armies, but I imagine that there will be quite a bit of tweaking of the rules before our next table top clash between the Good Guys and The Bad Guys. My feeling was that the archery was way too powerful relative to their numbers in the game and I would imagine that most of the rules tweaks will come from that area of the rules. There was one instance where I had my last 8 archers fire off a hail of arrows at a Germanic war band, cutting down 6 of the Bad Guys. 

The melee and morale mechanics worked just fine so I don't imagine that there will be too much tinkering with those parts of the BAR rules.

We shall all reconvene at General Pettygree's country estate the first weekend of December and cross spears and swords once again with some revisions to the rules.

Oh, by the way, I found 20 unpainted Roman Cataphracts in my Pile O' Lead back at the home base in Hesse Seewald. What should I do with these figures? Hmmm.


Thursday, November 11, 2021

It's All Starting To Come Together


 I have been terraining the bases of my Carthaginian army over the past couple of days. Now that the units are organized and based, I can start to see what the armies of my Punic Wars Project will look like when they are all finished and on the table. Terraining bases is not the most fun thing to do with regard to painting an army, but it is something that has to be done. If done right, it can look spectacular.

Here is a panorama view of my Carthaginian army, so far:

The two units in the front row of the lower right corner are Iberian allies. Behind them, with the red shields, are African veterans. Below is a picture of Hannibal Barca and his retinue. These figures are from John Jenkins Designs.

Hannibal Barc Himself
John Jenkins Designs figures

Here are the Celtic/Gauls contingent. These are probably my favorite figures so far. I like them so much that I plan on adding a second Celt unit. Previously I'd only planned for one such unit.

One of the Iberian units, backed up by Hannibal's veterans.

The Carthaginian army, to date, has one unit of 8 cavalry that I found on eBay. I have another 24 Gaulish cavalry, painted, on the way from the UK. My Carthaginian cavalry will consist mostly of Numidian light cavalry and Gaulic medium cavalry.

I currently have some Romans on the painting table and they should bring me up to 32 Princeps to go alone with the 32 Hastati and 16 Triarii that I have already painted.

Friday, November 5, 2021

It's the Princeps of the Matter


Roman Princeps - HaT Industrie 1/32 scale plastic figures.

I am currently working on a unit of Roman Princeps troops, having completed the first 16 of 32 figures so far. The Princeps units formed the second line of formed troops in the Roman battle line. The Hastati formed the first line and when they were tired or played out, they would fall back through the second line of the Princeps maniples. The Princeps were better armed than the Hastati, having chain mail protection instead of just a chest plate that the Hastati wore.

Close up view of the Princeps

Because the HaT Roman Triarii figures are out of production, my idea is to have Hastati units in white tunics and Princeps units wearing red tunics. The Princeps will also have designs on their shields and the Hastati will have single color shields. Thus my first legio will have red shields, with the Hastati having plain red shields and the Princeps having red shields with a design. The second legio will have yellow shields.

In case you were wondering (and I'm sure that you were) I will use the Hastati figures for my Triarii. The Triarii will have chain mail painted onto the torso of the Hastati figure. This is done simply by painting every part of the tunic, save for the sleeves, with black paint. The black paint is then dotted with a metallic color to imitate the look of chain mail.

My general idea for the Roman army organization is to have a player command one legio, consisting of the following elements:

16   Velites (light infantry)

32   Hastati

32   Princeps

16   Triarii

96 total figures in a legio or 192 foot figures for the whole army.

I plan on having two legios in my Republican Roman army and a group of 24 cavalry on each flank of the army.

Thus my Roman army will have 192 foot and 48 cavalry for a total of 240 figures.

Roman army work in progress