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".


  1. Jim, what a great combination of figures, buildings and now ships. It was a great moment of serendipity when Alan recognised your figures on the Virtual Wargame Club. I think it brought joy to everyone though especially yourself and Alan. Just another case of what a great community wargaming can be.
    Don't buy too many ships or you'll have to build one of those circular harbour buildings to house them all!

  2. Wonderful display of ancient wargaming at its best.


  3. The armies so far are now looking superb (nice to see my gallic cavalry are in another new home).

    The roman town building setup are excellent - you could easily do 'Gangs of Rome' style skirmish games.

    The fleet actions will be impressive ! I have one roman galley left with crew - I kept it for display after I sold my romans and gauls.

  4. I have 6 ships now, three for each side. Should be more than enough.

  5. Amazing! I'm sorry I missed VWC last week, it really is an example of community in action! Will see you Saturday.

    RE the Playmobil ships, what a find! Just the right size, they'll make a great game. I have always itched to combine the Featherstone/Tony Bath simple rules into a battle or two, the ones in Featherstone's Naval Wargaming might just work?