Saturday 16 September 2017

Mycenaean/Minoan Camp for ADG

"Far apart from the battle were their ships drawn up on the shore of the grey sea; for these had they drawn up to land in the foremost row, but had built the wall close to the hindmost."

Thus spake Homer (Iliad 14.30 ff.) of the Achaean camp at Troy. You might never have guessed it from my last post, but I have come to the realisation that my next project will be to build a 6mm Mycenaean army for L'Art de la Guerre. I once owned the same army in 15mm for DBA (v.1 or 2), but it was sold off in the dark teenage days when I turned my back on gaming. Back then I ran my army as Bronze Age Cretans or Minoans. I am looking to do the same this time, with a potent mix of heavy chariots, heavy spear and light archers (all to be bought, ultimately, from Rapier).

However, I've been pondering the problem of my camp. What makes a Minoan camp? Obviously, we just don't know, but Homer can perhaps add some inspiration. The Minoans were a mercantile culture with far-reaching trade links in all directions. They clearly had significant cultural influence over the Cyclades which may also have been (probably was?) political in nature. They certainly had a fleet of vessels which could transport them across the Aegean/Mediterranean.

The so-called House of the Admiral at Akrotiri, Thera, was decorated with some splendid frescos which, among other contemporary representations, give us a fair idea of what Bronze Age Aegean vessels looked like. So what about having a beached galley as part of my camp? It makes sense - on the assumption that the sea is somewhere nearby, off table of course.

Unfortunately, no one actually makes a 1/300 scale (6mm) Aegean galley. After a fairly extensive search and considering all sorts of different scale possibilities, I've decided to try and make one myself ... and so started my fourth and most testing Milliput experiment so far. I can't say I was 100% successful, but I think it will do the job.

Starting with a 6mm Grumpy Chinese junk (a spare from my Galleys & Galleons VOC fleet, lower right HERE), I attacked it with my new and very sharp stanley knife. The junk has a square bow and stern, so these both had to be carved away to better reflect the graceful curves on Aegean ships. as my G&G fleets are 1/450 scale, I have always removed the Grumpy crew figure. Now that I am using it as a 6mm vessel, I was happy to leave him in.

Stiff card was cut to form the skeletal bow and stern projections.

Which were then fleshed out with Milliput. Some of the vessels depicted in the House of the Admiral have animal figures projecting from behind the covered cabin/tent. I didn't have any appropriate animals, but I did have a spare 6mm harpy from Rapier Miniatures. As this will be a beached vessel in the process of being unloaded, I also put a couple of piles of sacks from Perfect Six Miniatures. There will be more of these on the base itself, around the foot of the gangplank. 

While I had the Milliput out, I also converted a Baccus civilian to give her the flounced skirt of an Aegean lady. I also trimmed back her veil and added a ponytail, and accentuated her breasts. It doesn't look much now - especially not zoomed in this much! - but I think she will work once painted.

 After the Milliput dried, I went over it with a blade, smoothing out the hull and trying to capture all those graceful lines. 

Again, I'm not sure that I have nailed it, but I think the model now approximates the idea and I am happy that she is close enough to suit my needs.

I have also tried to Bronze-Age-up a spare medieval tent from Levan miniatures. My army is going to have a blue and yellow theme, so I've replicated that on the tent, and tried to also keep to the maritime theme with a swirly sea motif. Again, not perfect, but then, neither am I.­čśĆ

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