Monday, February 28, 2022

More Gallic/Celtic Infantry Arrives!


Two 32-figure units of Gauls/Celts infantry.
HaT Industrie 1/32 scale (54mm) plastic figures.

I decided that my Carthaginian army needed another unit of Gallic infantry. This gives me one brigade of two Gauls and one brigade of two Iberian foot. A wargame command in my set up will consist of two allies/mercenaries and one African-Carthaginian unit or a unit of Veterans. With that in mind, I needed a second Gallic war band in the army.

Close up view of the new Gallic war band.



Saturday, February 26, 2022

Rolling Thunder: Numidian Light Cavalry Arrives


HaT Numidian Light Cavalry
Fighting for Hannibal

I have been focused on building my contingent of Carthaginian cavalry for the 54mm Punic Wars Project over the past several weeks. During that period, I have managed to paint and finish 34 Numidian light cavalry to serve Hannibal's army. All told, I am closing in on 100 Carthaginian cavalry. My plan is to have the Carthaginian infantry outnumbered by the Roman infantry and for the Carthaginian cavalry to outnumber the Roman cavalry. There will be a couple of elephants as well, but these generally weren't featured in any of Hannibal's  battles against the Romans, except for the final battle at Zama.

I really like the sense of action and energetic movement that the HaT figures have.

Numidian cavalry. The 16 figures in the front group were acquired from another collector
 while the 32 in the second row were painted by me.

The Numidian light cavalry was the best in Hannibal's army. They were brilliantly led by Massinissa, the Numidian leader, and they were instrumental in Hannibal's victories at Trebbia, Trasimene, and Cannae.

But wait, there is more!

Carthaginian Heavy Cavalry

I added another dozen Carthaginian heavy cavalry, already painted, courtesy of a gentlemen in the UK who has been selling off his similar Punic War armies in 54mm plastic. I don't plan on doing any major painting touch up on these figures, save for any areas where the paint might have completely chipped off. They just need to have the bases terrained and then they will be ready to go. These will be joined by the 8 Carthaginians that I previously acquired via eBay as well as the 8 unpainted figures that I scrounged online. I will use 4 of the latter to bring the Carthaginian unit up to 24 figures and use the remaining 4 figures for Carthaginian commander stands.

Here is the full Carthaginian cavalry contingent as of today. There are a dozen Celtic cavalrymen not shown on the table. If I recall correctly, I have 100 Carthaginian cavalry, of which approximately half are Numidian light cavalry.

I have added another unit of Celtic infantry, which I will show in a separate post, and I have started work on some Italian allies for the Roman army. These will also be posted in the near future.

Monday, February 14, 2022

The Hobby Shortens My Winter Season


The local pond in Hesse Seewald during the Winter

Winter. It is like death and taxes, something that we simply have to live with. There is no avoiding Winter for most of us, unless we are lucky enough to live in a warm climate. We are faced with two choices: be cold and miserable, or embrace the Winter and treat it just like any other time of the year. The temperature over the past three days in Hesse Seewald has seen highs in the mid to upper Teens (~15 Fahrenheit today) and this clearly does not make this the best of times.

The key to surviving Winter is coming up with something that will make the time speed up and get us to Spring and Summer. Now this all supposes that you are not a Winter sports enthusiast (You know who you are. Stokes) and thus you do not look forward to the Winter season. You are looking for a way to get through Winter in the shortest/fastest amount of time.

Here are a few options that you might take to help you get through the Winter season.

Option 1

Travel to somewhere warm.

Not an option for me: Palm trees, warm Gulf breezes and swimming pools.

Option 2

Just deal with it. 

Start by wearing a dead animal on top of your head

Option 3

Exercise, Get a dog. Heck, get two dogs. Walk them. Frequently.

Take the hounds on frequent walks. They will love you for, it will make you feel better
and it helps to chase away the Winter Blues.

Option 4

Alcohol. Nuff said.

Serve yourself one of these and you won't care what season you are in.
However, being fat, drunk and stupid is no way to make it through life.

Option 5

Start a new wargame project and paint lots and lots of figures.

Start a new war game project to see you through the Winter months.

OK, so I have presented you with five options for ways to make it through the Winter. Your options are not limited to these five, but they tend to cover the bases of possibilities for most of us. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that Options 1 and 4 would be the winners were I to run a poll on this blog. Actually, the two go together like a hand in a glove.

How Fritz Makes It Through The Winter

My go to method for making short work of Winter is to start a new wargame project and then paint my brains out until the warm weather returns to Hesse Seewald. I could easily spend hours every day hunkering down at my painting table in the cellar Man Cave. Good figures, good tunes, some Diet Coke and maybe a little bit of Option 4 when the sun goes down and I'm good to go for the Winter. Unlike the Ground Hog, I make no attempt to emerge from the Man Cave to see if I can see my shadow. For one thing, it's still too cold to go outside and search for my shadow; and for another think, I'm wasting time away from the painting table if I go outside. Nevertheless, Options 2 and 3 have a way of elbowing their way into my day so I do have to spend some time away from my subterranean comfort.

Regular followers of this blog will know that my current Winter Season Wargame Project ("WSWP") is centered on the painting and building of a armies for the Second Punic War. I am using 54mm (1/32 scale) plastic toy soldier figures manufactured by HaT Industrie. I commenced this project in early September of 2021 and have made considerable progress up to this point on the calendar. I have painted a total of 248 Carthaginians and 216 Romans for a total of 464 figures. This averages out to about 90 figures per month. (remember, I am retired).

Because most of my infantry units have 32 figures, I reckon that I can finish painting one unit per week and this would seem to result in 128 figures per month painting production. However, the numbers say otherwise, more like 90 figures per month or 22 figures per week. Undoubtedly the need for sleep, meals and life's intrusions such as Option 3 cut into my painting production time. Nevertheless, I go on and build armies.

The beauty of a WSWP is that as the figures begin to roll off of the painting desk you begin to see the progress of your project. I like to set up the painted figures on my game table and organize them into their respective armies, either Hannibal's Carthaginians or Scipio Africanus' Republican Romans.

Hannibal & Carthage - The Good Guys

Scipio & Rome - The Bad Guys

Now I begin to view the coming month not as cold and miserable February, but rather as Adding Three New Units to My Armies February. Each week of the month presents a challenge to finish a unit of 32 figures. My week is focused on my painting and production goal and when I finish the unit, another week has been knocked off of the calendar. I find myself looking forward to the next week as an opportunity to add another unit of infantry or cavalry to one of my armies. I no longer view the Winter weather with dread because I am too busy painting Carthaginians and Romans to care about the temperature outside of Schloss Seewald.

Before I know it I have made it to the end of March/beginning of April when the annual Seven Years War Association Convention is held in South Bend, Indiana. Often my painting project, the WSWP if you will, is geared towards running a convention game with my newly painted armies. Last year I was working on the British and American armies at Saratoga for my convention game. Obviously I will not be hosting a Second Punic War game at this year's SYW convention. I would be drummed out of the Association if I tried to pull off such a dastardly deed.

And Then Le Printemps Arrives

Come the Spring, so cometh the seasonal pond in the back yard.

While meteorological Spring begins on April Fools Day, April in Hesse Seewald can be a very messy, rainy and miserable affair. Tons of rain turn the back royal gardens into a muddy mire of muck and guess which two members of the household revel and delight in running through the mud. They gain even more joy from sprinting into the house and making a beeline for the nearest carpeted floor in the Family Room. Never mind the Kitchen, which has wood floors that are more forgiving to muddy paws. The opportunity for chaos and muddy paw prints on the Family Room carpet is one that any hound would be remiss in not taking.

Hounds will be hounds. Dogs are gonna be dogs.

Then the Little Wars HMGS Midwest convention rolls around mid April. I get to play in some games and maybe try out some new rules or spend some money in the dealer area. The weather is hit or miss on this convention day. It can be cold and rainy, sunny and ice cold, or warm and sunny - rarely.

Base Ball season gets underway and now I feel as if Winter has truly passed. I survived Winter and I have some new war game armies to play with. That's a win-win in my book.

Congratulations - you made it through the other side of Winter.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Picture of the Week: At the Savage Swan Inn


King Frederick II of Prussia and his army are passing through the Duchy of Altefritzenberg on their way to an important meeting with the Austrian army. Fredrick and his staff have stopped at the Savage Swan Inn to check out their maps and get their bearings.

The figures are from Minden Miniatures, of course. The inn is an old heavy resin building from Gallia, representing the inn of La Belle Alliance at Waterloo. . The sign might be from Hovels.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Work In Progress - Punic Wars Project Update


Roman Velites for the Yellow Shield Legion

Click on the Images of All Pictures to Enlarge

Two weeks ago I finished this group of a dozen Roman Velites for my Yellow Shield Legion in my Republican Roman 54mm Punic Wars army. I have one legion with red shields and another with yellow shields. Were I to paint a third legion, it would probably have green shields. The shield colors obviously allow the player to tell the different legions apart.

I haven't finished the bases yet and I normally don't like to post pictures of my figures until they are based and ready to go in a game. On the other hand, I've decided that in 2022 I will make more blog posts by keeping a running update of Work In Progress ("WIP") units and finished units so that I can keep personal track of the progress and evolution of my projects.

Here are front and rear views of the Yellow Shield Velites. I have a dozen velites in each legion, but I have decided to increase their number to 16 per legion.

This past ten days I have been working on a second Gallic war band for Hannibal's Carthaginian army in Italy. The Gauls were more or less Hannibal's "cannon fodder" troops: they were always in the front line of Hannibal's troop deployment and their job was to do as much damage as they could on the first line (the Hastati) of the Roman army so that the Carthaginian (Punic and Libyan troops, collectively called "Africans") troops could join the battle as fresh troops fighting against a weakened foe.

Thus Hannibal's army will have four infantry units in the first line, two each of Iberian and Gallic soldier. They will be backed by a second line of Africans and Veterans. Light cavalry, Numidians, will be posted on one flank and the heavy cavalry, consisting of Gauls, Iberians and Carthaginian units, will be posted on the other flank.

Hannibal's Army Year to Date:

The Infantry:

2 x 32 Iberians (Spanish)

2 x 32 Gauls or Celts

1 x 32 African

1 x 32 Punic Veterans

1 x24 light troops

1 x 24 Balearic Slingers

The Cavalry:

1 x 16 Numidian light cavalry

2 x 12 Gallic heavy cavalry

1 x 8 Punic heavy cavalry

1 x Iberian heavy cavalry

I also have a couple of war elephants that need some painting touch up. These (and the Numidians) were purchased on line from other collections. I don't particularly care how these "Mercenaries" look as my plan is to do some minor touch up and repair. Yea right Jim. As is my wont, I will likely give these figures a totally new paint job before the end of the project. The basing appearance is what brings all of the figures together regardless of the quality of the painting. Buying mercenaries allows me to get figures onto the table top that much sooner.

The Iberian cavalry will likely be finished today and then I will start on a new unit of 12 Numidian light cavalry. After that, I'll either paint another dozen Gallic cavalry or a box of 8 Carthaginian heavy cavalry.

Republican Roman Army Year to Date:

The Infantry:

First Legion (red shields):

1 x 12 Velite skirmishers

1 x 32 Hastati

1 x 32 Princips

1 x 32 Triarii

Second Legion (yellow shields):

1 x 12 Velite skirmishers

1 x 32 Hastati

1 x 32 Princips

1 x 32 Triarii

The Cavalry:

20 x Italian Allies heavy cavalry

4 x Roman cavalry

All of the Roman cavalry have been purchased on eBay so you can see an example of how I can build up a part of the army without painting them myself. The Italian Allies will need a lot of touch up work. The Romans are passible and need little touch up.

I have another 20 unpainted Roman cavalry that I plan on painting myself. Eventually the Roman army will have two 24 to 32 figure cavalry units. During Hannibal's battles in Italy he normally had more cavalry than the Romans, whereas the Roman infantry usually outnumbered that of the Carthaginian army.

I am painting approximately 24 to 32 figures per week and going forward, most of the painting will be cavalry to bring these units up to enough to finally stage a battle on the table top.

And then there will be a few war elephants. Hannibal's war elephants did not survive the crossing of the Alps so they will not be needed for any battles in Italy. Hasdrubal/Gisgo's armies in Iberia fielded war elephants in their battles, and of course, Hannibal is said to have had 80 elephants at the Battle of Zama in Africa.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Sometimes You Just Get Lucky


HaT Spanish Cavalry (left) - set number 9055; and
HaT Carthaginian Cavalry - set number 9056.

I've been looking for the HaT sets of Spanish Cavalry (#9055) and Carthaginian Cavalry (#9056) for quite some time now. Both sets are out of production right now and so they are as hard to find as hens' teeth. I have seen the occasional set of 9056 Carthaginians, but the Spanish were the virtual unicorn of HaT figure sets. I almost did not believe that the Spanish cavalry even existed.

The other night I was reading in bed and on a whim I picked up my iPad and did a random search for the Carthaginians, and what to my surprise but I was able to purchase both sets! It gets even better though - I was able to pick up a second set of the Spanish cavalry and now I await its arrival in the post.

Here is a picture, below, of the four poses of Spanish cavalry in the box. You get two of each pose for a total of 8 figures in the box. With two sets, I can create a 16-figure unit of Spanish cavalry and brigade them with 16 Carthaginian heavy cavalry. These 32 figures plus 32 Gallic cavalry will make up one of the Carthaginian cavalry wings. The other wing will consists entirely of Numidian light horse, possibly as many as 48 figures.

The HaT Spanish cavalry set has four different poses as shown above.
You get two of each pose for a total of 8 figures in the box.

Here is a picture, below, of the full contents of the Spanish box (set #9505).

Here are the complete contents of the Spanish box.

On the Painting Table

I am almost finished with another 32 Celtic infantry figures. This will give me two x 32 figures or 64 figures of Celts. Hannibal considered them to be fodder against the Roman soldiers, hoping that the Celts would wear down the Romans and then he would unleash his African (Libyan-Phoenician) veterans on the worn down Romans.

With the arrival of these new boxes of figures, I will likely start work on the Spanish cavalry after the Celtic infantry are finished. Here is what I have in the pipeline:

16 x Spanish Cavalry

20 x Gallic Cavalry

32 to 48 Numidian Light Horse

32  x Roman cavalry

6 x Roman Velites

3 x Carthaginian War Elephants

If and when I get through the above lot, then I might consider adding a third Roman legion (112 figures).

I want my Roman infantry to outnumber my Carthaginian infantry and have more Carthaginian/Allies cavalry than I do for the Romans.