Wednesday, 28 July 2021

ProjectBACCHAE goes east - Yakshi Maiden Guard

The next unit in the service of Dionysos are a company of Yakshis, recruited during his Indian campaign and formed into a company of probably-less-than-maidenly Maiden Guard. Stories of Dionysos' Indian war developed in the Hellenistic and Roman periods and elephants, as well as the odd Indian, feature occasionally in Dionysiac scenes. Dionysos and his train also feature prominently in Gandharan art. It was not much of a stretch then for me to want to press an Indian unit into service. 

Yakshis, or yakshinis, were Indian nature spirits, akin to Greco-Roman nymphs. These ones are 28mm Indian Maiden Guard, previously sold by Sgt Major Miniatures, now owned by Thistle and Rose Miniatures. I was able to pick these ones up second-hand from Simon Millar (Big Red Bat). 

They are gorgeous figures, but sadly there are only two sculpts. The make the unit more interesting I replaced their long shields with 'Maiden Guard shields' from 1stCorp Miniatures and scratch-built a completely hypothetical standard.

My current thinking is to field these as an Elite company, with the doughty, fast and proud traits. Although they are equipped with spears, I don't really think their irregular formation lends itself to giving them the long spears trait. Sure, we'll see how the army comes together.

Sunday, 18 July 2021

A thundering a hooves and the lamentation of women... 28mm L'Art de la Guerre - Trojans vs Hittites

As Northern Ireland baked under the hottest weather on record this weekend, Andrew and I managed to get together for some more l'Art de la Guerre (4th ed.), this time fielding our 2021 project armies, 28mm Hittites and Trojans. 

This battle was the the first time that we've played ADLG in 28mm - and boy the table is big! 

Andrew's Hittites deployed with a mixed command of heavy chariots, highlanders and archers -LMI and LI - on his right (top left), more heavy chariots in the centre, and light chariot archers, medium spear and javelineers on the left.  

The Trojans deployed a command of heavy spears and LMI bowmen on the left (lower right), medium swordsmen, javelin-armed skirmishers and more heavy spear in the centre, and elite light chariots with javelins, LMI javelinmen and slingers on the right.

The Hitties played aggressively, thundering across the plain with their eleven units of chariots (8 heavy, three light) and highlanders, being held back on only their left where the commander had too few pips to drive the spearmen forward for a second advance in turn one.

The Trojans advanced more cautiously, trying to hedge in the Hittite heavy chariots with their heavy spearmen, and meet the enemy light chariots with their own.

Before the two battle lines met, the Trojan superior archery started to weaken the Hittite forces, causing both their archers and two of the heavy chariots to lose cohesion. 

But then, with a sickening crunch, the two lines met.

The heavy chariots of Hattusa met the spearmen of Troy and their Amazonian allies, while the flower of Trojan chariotry plowed into the Hittite's chariot-archer subjects up from the Levant.
Almost everywhere across the field of battle, the fight went the way of the Hittites. Within a couple of rounds of melee, the Trojan line was starting to crumble.

Only on the Trojan left were the spearmen and archers of Troy able to hold their own, destroying the Hittite's highland auxiliaries and starting to turn the flank. 

However, a seeming Trojan inability to roll higher than a 2 for the melees elsewhere meant that both the centre and right flank were crumbling fast.

... and in a moment, it was all over. The Trojan and Amazonian heavy spears in the centre, and the Trojan chariotry, fell where they fought.

As the sun set, and the dust settled, the Trojan army broke and fled with 31/26 breakpoints; the victorious Hittites held proud at 17/24. Woe to the vanquished, and yet deeper woe upon their cities, towns and villages.

In a strange and most unusual twist of fate, while all six commanders were committed to melees, not one of them fell!

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Now that's a herd! More satyrs for ProjectBACCAHE


Hot on the hooves of last week's satyr-heavy post comes a second unit of horny hirsute folk for my Bacchic thiasos/triumph. This brings the tally up to six companies (all the same profile) to form the drunken core of a Fantastic Battles army.

Including the three characters, dryads and leopards, this already brings the army up to 500 points. Next on the list - maenads and some appropriate chariots (all of which are somewhere in the postal system)!

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Second Breakfast with Fantastic Battles

Had an enjoyable wee Goblins vs Halfling game for Fantastic Battles with Lee up in Derry this week - a bit of grudge match between my first two FB armies.

Not many photos, but suffice to say, a second breakfast was had - and it tasted an awful lot like halfling ...

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

ProjectBACCHAE - a flock o' satyrs

The next unit for my 28mm Bacchic army for Fantastic Battles is a three-company flock* of satyrs from Eureka Miniatures. Three of these figures were painted over ten years ago and I'm not sure whether to be delighted or a bit disappointed that my painting abilities have not changed noticeably!

I intend on using these as a unit of Irregular Companies with the forester and shooting (mixed) traits, and stimulants as a racial trope.  I have a second identical unit on the painting table at the moment.

I call these satyrs for ease, but technically satyrs - at least for the Classical Greeks - were nothing like what they have become to modern eyes. Rather, they were drunken ugly looking blokes with snub noses and the ears and tail of a horse (see the red figure examples below). Furthermore, they are always ithyphallic. Apart from the pretty erect standard, these figures are a lot more suitable for public consumption!


These, and I would suggest all so-called satyr miniatures are closer to panes - goat-legged - sometimes goat-headed - mountain spirits who might be seen as multiplications of, or children of Pan, the rustic god of flocks (again, see the red figure depictions of panes below). However, in popular imagination these are satyrs and so, on the tabletop, satyrs they shall be!

Update: It has been pointed out the the collective noun for satyrs should probably be herd rather than flock...

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Clash of the ailing titans - L'Art de la Guerre c.120 BC

Ptandrew and I met up again this week for our second bout of the newish 4th edition of L'Art de la Guerre. This battle saw Ptandrew fielding a Hellenistic army for the first time in the shape of a late Ptolemaic force. I dressed to match with a late Seleukid army, c.120 BC. By the late 2nd century, both 'empires' still had a couple of generations of juice in the tank, but both were also very much approaching (if not already mired in) their autumn years.

The armies were rather asymmetrical, with the Seleukids composed of massed pikes and cataphracts with a little bit of support from two units of imitation legionaries, some levy bowmen, two units each of skirmishing Cretan archers and slingers, and a unit of Bedouin medium camelry. Nothing too fancy.

The Ptolemies had a much more diverse army mixing elite Galatian cavalry, pikemen, imitation legionaries, thorakitai, and a tumble of mediocre spearmen and mediocre elephants.

Out-foxed during deployment, The Seleukid cataphracts on the right found themselves facing the Ptolemaic pikemen. Making use of a relative abundance of command points in the opening turn, the Seleukid c-in-c (almost certainly an Antiochos of one sort or another) turned the cataphracts into column and headed to the centre of the table, away from the Egyptian pikes. Meanwhile, the Seleukid pikemen advanced and slid to the right to try to meet the Ptolemaic pike head on. The Seleukid legionaries remained in post protecting the extreme right of the line.

Advancing at pace, Ptandrew soon discovered that the presumed ambush in the settlement was very much real (and packed with slingers!). As the Egyptian light horse went wide, the Seleukid's tame Bedouin shadowed them on the far side of the village. 

In the centre, the pike blocks met, with the Seleukid's not quite getting far enough to the right to prevent an overlap at both ends of the line. In his haste to meet, the very ordinary Seleukid commander of the centre left behind the unit of bowmen to pepper away at the Ptolemaic legions from afar. The Ptolemaic cavalry on their left swung around to face the Seleukid legionaries while a second ambush of Cretan archers materialised to their rear.

Over in the village, the Egyptian light horse swung in and attached the slingers in the flank. I chose not to evade, as they were at a disadvantage in the difficult terrain. However, the slingers were so distracted that they failed to see the frontal charge of mediocre Ptolemaic spearmen which took them by embarrassing surprise.

At about this moment the drachm dropped and I realised a flaw in the Seleukid plan. Although the flanks being refused/stalled, and the centre match ups not too bad, Antiochos couldn't declare a sweeping charge with six units of shiny cataphracts against four juicy legions and two squishy thorakitai, because some lazy bastard had left his bowmen sitting in the way!

On the Seleukid right, the Ptolemaic cavalry and one of the units of Galatians charged the Seleukid legions, while the other unit of Galatians hit the exposed right flank of the Seleukid pike block. Luckily, these were the elite agyraspides and, with the support of their attached commander, they managed to hold on despite the savagery of the new outflanking rules.

Elsewhere along the line, the Seleukid pikes performed marvellously, inflicting brutal defeats in all the other melees.

The Seleukid legionaries routed their Galatian opponents, and the Cretan archers swept in from behind to envelop the remaining Ptolemaic horsemen.

In the centre, the majority of the Seleukid cataphracts advanced...

Although one was waylaid by some mediocre elephants. Meanwhile, the Bedouin camelry had managed to disperse the Ptolemaic light horse with shooting ad now turned and charged the column of Ptolemaic spearmen in the flank.

On the right, the brave agyraspides finally broke and Ptandrew started to roll up the Seleukid pike line. Desperate to stop the disaster, one unit of Seleukid legionaries detached from the fight against the Ptolemaic heavy cavalry and joined the main battle, attacking the remaining unit of Galatians.

Back on the left, the Bedouin routed the mediocre spearmen and moved on to the next unit. The unfortunate cataphracts lost their battle with the elephants and routed, as the second unit of elephants trundled on towards the Seleukid camp.

Despite the best efforts of the Seleukid legionaries to stop the destruction of the Seleukid pikemen, the route continued as Ptolemaic pikemen turned to their right and pushed down the line.

The fight between the Ptolemaic heavy cavalry and the encircling Seleukid infantry had rather stalled as well by this point with both the legion and the cavalry teetering on the brink.

The Seleukids lost the roll off and the legionaries fled. The cavalry then conformed to the skirmishers on their flank who were immediately dispersed.

In the centre, the fight between the cataphracts and the Ptolemaic legionaries was pretty evenly matched until one of the Ptolemaic elephant units came hurtling un from the flank. The other elephant unit marched into the Seleukid camp and turned what had been a hard fought, knife edge Ptolemaic victory into the sort of thing you'd carve on the side of temple...

The final score saw the Seleukids break with 26/19, while the Ptolemies just hung on at 23/24. The Ptolemaic man of the match was undoubtably the Ptolemaic heavy cavalry who survived the entire game despite being attacked on three sides, while for the Seleukids, the Bedouin camelry managed to disperse two units single-handedly, and bought a third to within one cohesion point of breaking. The key takeaway from the battle? If events transpire to allow pikemen of elephants to start rolling up your flanks, it is pretty much all over.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

ProjectBACCHAE - adding some character(s)

Following on from his leopards comes Dionysos himself, accompanied by his wee mate Eros. These two will serve as the army mage-lord and rogue respectively. 

Dionysos is, far and away, the single most expensive model I have ever bought. Lets not talk about actual real-world moneys (after all, my wife might read this one day...), but suffice to say he is a custom designed miniature from Heroforge. 

There are only two off-the-shelf Dionysioi that I know of, from Foundry and from Wargods of Olympus. Both (in my opinion) overplay the drunkenness - one is more-or-less naked with bunch of grapes and a patera, and the other is ... very robust - a modern take on the god - holding a goblet. I wanted a much more understated, youthful and lithe figure holding a thyrsos. A god of exstasis (ecstasy, or being out of mind) and fertility.

After several visits to Heroforge, I umm'd and ahhh'd for a couple of weeks before placing the order, but here is the result. The stubby horns serve a couple of purposes - they are a clear divinising attribute, they tie in with Dionysos' bullish nature as a god of fertility, and reflect the stubby bull horns adorning the heads of several Hellenistic kings who may be referencing Dionysos on their coin portraits. As the army mage-lord, he will certainly be casting the confusion spell with gay abandon!

Another god of exstasis, Eros frequently appears in the company of Dionysos in ancient art - sometimes as an individual, and sometimes in plural, as erotes. I figure that Eros is more a rogue than a captain, and will be used to strike down enemy characters. If I have the points, I'll give him the 'winged boots of alacrity' to let him zoom around the battlefield. The figure is from a pack of 6 cherubs from Warmonger Miniatures - the other cherubs will be erotes charioteers if all goes according to plan. The wee amphora is from Castaway Arts.