Thursday 27 July 2023

Introducing ProjectSeleukid

When Andrew came to me and suggested a joint project building a 28mm Seleukid army, I admit I was seriously tempted. Then he went on to say that he'd like to do it properly. How could I say no to that!? Now I suspect that he might regret the proposition, because he's unleased the monster I like to keep inside me!

I have done Seleukid armies in the past - first in 15mm for DBA (sadly that army was among the fallen after the big move), and then to a massive extent in 6mm. This will be my first foray into 28mm for the period. In my other life, both my honour thesis and PhD focused on the Seleukids, and I have worked on Hellenistic sites in the Middle East and Central Asia. Oh my, oh my, but this will be a project to get my teeth into!

Thirteen years ago now I posted a few passages I was working on for my PhD on this blog looking at the ethnic break down of the Seleukid army. The gist of it still stands up to scrutiny and remains a useful resource. The summary strongly indicates that the phalanx element of Seleukid armies, always at their centre, was not a large part of the army. In reality a Seleukid army was diverse and polyglot. There are various other earlier posts - mostly from the 6mm army building process - that I will come back to as well for their exploration of different troops types.

The starting principles of ProjectSeleukid
  • 28mm armies, multibased on 60x60mm bases - this will enable use across different rule sets, specifically Hail Caesar, L'Art de la Guerre, and Fantastic Battles.
  • Working from a fixed point of reference - of the three orders of battle recorded for the Seleukids, Andrew chose Magnesia (190 BC) as the army to build.
  • Rationalising units - playing with a ration of between 1:200 and 1:250, we can break down the Seleukid army into gaming units with relative ease (and only a little fudging).
  • Research - where possible, lets go back to the ancient sources to find out how different units may have looked and functioned.
The army list

Having decided on Magnesia, we then set about working out the army and how to allocate units to both Andrew and I, hoping that neither of us would be landed with anything more onerous than the other.

By splitting the amy into a centre (shared) and two wings (taking one each), we end up with a fairly even distribution which allows us each to field all the minimum bases required for an ADLG. With Andrew taking the right (the most honourable flank, commanded by Antiochos the Great himself) and the better part of the centre, he ends up with c.38 mounted models, two elephants and 114 infantry, plus commanders. Taking the remainder of the centre and the left flank commanded by the future Seleukos IV, I will be assigned 36 mounted, 1 elephant, both scythed chariots and somewhere between 113 and 131 infantry - depending on how I end up running the Arab contingent.

Of course Magnesia is only the starting point and we hope to be able to develop this into a larger army still if the momentum continues - aiming at a fully fledged 2nd century BC Seleukid civil war.

So with that in mind, keep an eye out for sporadic future posts as Andrew and I get our toys painted!

Wednesday 26 July 2023

ProjectWürttemberg - 1st and 2nd Battalions Württemberg Jäger

With the completion of two small jäger battalions, and almost a year after starting, I have finally completed the Württemberg Light Infantry (3rd) Brigade, part of the 25th Division in Marshal Ney's III Corps from the 1812 campaign. The brigade has built as part of an ambitious group project themed around the battle of Borodino.

During the 1812 campaign the Württembergers were very active participants - that was enough to justify my decision to field the 1st and 2nd jäger battalions as small units according to the Black Powder rules.

I was torn as to whether I should break my heart doing the white piping around the collar, cuffs and tails etc as I have done with the light infantry battalions. The piping is shown on the Knötel plate above and generally paited on other minis I've seen online. However, on the photo below (showing an 1814 jäger uniform appropriated from, the piping is so very narrow that it shouldn't really be visible on a 28mm miniature. That's my excuse anyway!

The 1st "König" Battalion with their gold buttons in line formation (above) and light infantry mixed formation (below). 

The 2nd Battalion with their silver buttons in line formation (above) and skirmish formation (below). 

This now completes the brigade and gives me a more-than-viable little force for when the group games kick off. The brigade in their box are shown below, followed by the BP unit rosters.  

Sunday 23 July 2023

Fantastic Battles - Wood Elves vs Undead (2000 points)

This week saw another 2000-point battle of Fantastic Battles. This time, it was wood elves (Roger) against a joint host of undead (Neil) and Night Stalkers (me). Despite better lighting than I’ve had of late, I was too preoccupied (spoiler alert) to take enough photos for a detailed write-up!

Roger’s elvish array included a vast number of characters but only a couple of units of archers and rangers, relying mainly on pointy-stabby units like war dancers, spearmen and stag-knights. My Night Stalkers deployed with a narrow, advanced line and a fast-moving reserve of vampire knights, bats and succubi. To my right, Neil’s undead were likewise in two lines, but somewhat less fast. Given how small my force was, and how many expendable units he was running, our combined break point was only 14!

The undead had terrain to negotiate before engaging with the enemy. The unit of banshees and the dragon on the right of this picture had no problem getting through the woods, but would continually suffer from blink spells throughout the battle.

The impulsive ghouls started the game with disease (I guess that’s what happens when you live off decayed flesh…) and while waiting to be rallies were set upon by whooping loony war dancers. Although they held their ground for two turns, when they scattered, they sent a butterfly effect-like ripple of resolve loss through the Night Stalker lines.

Isolated in the front lines, the werewolves shied away from charging the elvish spear line, only to be shot to pieces in a maelstrom of elvish bow fire. Nine shooting  attack dice rolled, and nine resolve lost! With nothing left to lose, they hurled themselves to their deaths on the elvish spears. The Death Coach found that dragons are not too bothered by the terrifying trait, while in the background the undead ground away at their own foes – giant bears and stag knights and eagles and the like.

The fight on the left flank swirled back and forth. The vampire knights held their own, but first the succubi and then the Death Coach and giant bats were overwhelmed.

And with those losses, the Night Stalkers and undead army was overwhelmed. I think Neil’s undead only lost a single non-expendable company – the undead dragon – meaning it was very much my responsibility for the collapse of the allied army. Sorry Neil… Still, great to get the armies on the table and have a laugh!

Tuesday 18 July 2023

Famous Faces of Beerenburg, part 6

This wee chap brings us (again) to the end of Beerenburg's recruitment process (for now). A fourth captain for the army, he brings the Fantastic Battles halfling burgher army up to 1185 points, leaving 15 points to play around with different strategies and relics. The intrepid miniature is sold by Grimforge and scales perfectly with GW and TAG halflings.

And here is the full army on paper (above), and in their box (below), ready for their next outing!

Monday 17 July 2023

Project Beerenburg - More muscle for the trade wars

I've now completed two more bases to support the halflings of Beerenburg. They still need to be varnished, but the weather is humid for the forseeable and I'm not willing to risk spraying them at the moment, so please forgive their shine!

The first is this pustulent chap - a second mercenary giant to strong-arm the opposition.

He is a 3d sculpt from Dark Realms, sold as an ogre executioner. I have him printed oversize - as big as possible to fit in my army box.

Here he is with my existing giant for scale. I think they work fairly well together.

I've also prepared a second company of mounted burghers to stiffen the resolve and double the punch of the exisiting company.

These are, of course, from The Assault Group.

Here they are banding together with their fellow burghers.

Sunday 16 July 2023

The Uneasy League vs the Unholy Alliance - 2000 point game of Fantastic Battles

Andrew, Jim and I met up this week for a large game of Fantastic Battles pitting Andrew's Verminkin and Jim's human Byzernians against my Night Stalkers (vampires etc) and Goblins. Above you can see initial deployments on a table taped off to be 180x80cm. Both the ratmen and the vampires used the Night March strategy meaning their forward lines were started only 4bw apart! Rolling for objectives, both sides received the dragon-slayer mission meaning if we dispatched all opposing dragons and fantastic beasts, we'd get a Resolve boon across the table. That mean killing the goblin-king's wyvern mount for them, or killing a rat-god and an archangel for me...

After rolling for mishaps, the Night Stalkers were completely unscathed (but for an overly enthusiastic Death Coach), while the goblins were ravaged by disease, desertion and general slovenly lateness. The opposition had a couple of late units, but was otherwise not too bothered.  

The opening phase of the battle saw the vampires flying brigade crash into the verminkin jezails and screaming bell on the left side of the river, quickly scattering light artillery pieces. 

However successful the Night Stalkers felt though, it soon became apparent that a lot of the small vampiric army was being used to overwhelm a very small part of the rodent host.

Further along the battle lines, the vampires' dire wolves charged the verminkin ninjas, the verminkin giant rat wheel managed to charge the terrifying  Death Coach, and the ghouls impulsively leapt into the elite Vermin Guard unit.

The werewolves had managed to catch the verminkin flame-throwers in the flank, but were soon counter-charged by the giant rat-god Verminkin warlord.

While the savagery of the ghoul attack was initially successful against the Vermin Guard, they disgusting cannibals were soon counter-charged by some gas grenadiers and a formed unit of Byzerinan foot in the flank.

On the hill of the far flank, the goblins had spent their time reforming their lines and trying work out which characters were supposed to be doing what in their grand mess of a battle plan.

Without sufficient support in place, the direwolves and the ghouls were scattered, leaving holes in the centre of the table and a very lonely looking Death Coach holding its own. Saying that, it was terryiying, driven by a rogue, supported by the Night Stalker warlord, and its opponent was repeatedly cursed by the Night Stalker warlock, so it's actually more of a surprise that the giant rat wheel survived for so long!

The vermin ninjas emerged from the woods to charge the vampire knights in the flank which was inconvenient, but at least it took them out of the woods that they had been sheltering in. The werewolves were holding out against the rat-got and his flame throwing lackies, while the winged brigade finally started their return the main battle.

At the same time, the goblin masses met with the iron of the Byzernian forces on the right. The elite heavy cavalry had taken quite a shower of arrows from the horde unit of goblin warriors and now as they charged in it was time to return the pain. Sweeping in to their rear, the goblin shaman and his unit of bat-riders attempted to even the odds somewhat. The goblin king and his wyvern decided it was time to go toe-to-toe with that pesky archangel.

Goblin madcap warriors hurled themselves at the spears of more Byzernian heavy infantry, while the wolf-riders closed on the Byzernian light cavalry (who were still more heavily armoured that the green-skins).

Across the battlefield, holes were now appearing in army lines. The goblin horde had weathered the charge of the heavy horse bt were only one Resolve point away from breaking themselves. The goblin spider-riders repeatedly tried to scuttle across the rough terrain to engage the Byzernian spearmen, but the Byzernian magic-user made good use of their blink spell to repeatedly mess up the goblin plans.

And then the Verminkin flank collapsed! Caught between the werewolves and vampiric bats in their rear, first the ratman flamers and then the rat-god himself broke and fled. The vampire knights managed to reform and broke the ninjas and the ripple of resolve loss finally forced the giant wheel to flee as well - and not before time as there was now a unit of Vermin Guard attacking the death coach in the flank.

The battle was more mixed on the far side as, while the goblin king had sent the archangel fleeing from the battlefield, the goblin madcaps and half the wolf-riders had scattered at the same time, losing a goblin captain in the process.

The Night stalkers were reforming their lines to roll up the Verminkin flank, and the goblin spider-riders and their giant chum had finally managed to make contact with something - skirmishing ratmen grenadiers (so you know how that ended!).

However, the battle was in the balance as both sides neared their breaking point. The goblins had one melee phase to break some more units, as the following turn there was a statistically overwhelming likelihood that the shooting phase would break two units equalling eight companies.

And in the end, the melee phase was enough. The giant and spider-riders broke the verminkin grenadiers, and the bat-riders scattered some skirmishing light infantry. The fight went out of the rat-man coalition and their armies collapsed 22/22 against my breakpoint of 13/21. 

In reality, the battle was so much closer than the final score suggests, and one more shooting phase really would have broken me. The boon for killing both the rat-god and the archangel staved off disaster a couple of turns earlier, and the feast racial trop for the Night Stalkers meant that each success rejuvenated the units ready for the next melee. All in all, and evening well spent. Around four hours start to finish for 2,000 points a side, including a lot of chat, a bit of dice rolling, and great craic.

Sunday 9 July 2023

28mm Fantastic Battles - Beerenburgers bring bows to a pike-fight

Following their recent defeat by an army of landsknechts, and the subisquent unchecked inflation in the pike-staff market, the halfling burgers of Beerenburg took to the field of battle again to try to moderate the market more in their favour.

The Landsknecht army (top) was unchanged; from left to right: two two-company units of handgunners, two company unit of ogres, three-company unit of knights, three three-company units of drilled pikemen, giant, and steamtank.  The burgers (bottom) altered their order of battle slightly, running from left to right: four-company unit of archers, single company of mounted burgers, three-company unit of dismounted burghers, three-company unit of archers, two-company battery of hackbuts, two-company unit of slingers, giant, and a two-company unit of fast swordsmen.

Thanks to their quartermaster, the burghers suffered no mishaps ahead of the fight. Among the landsknechts, both units of handgunners were enthusiastic and one unit of pikemen were late. Otherwise there was a light smattering of disease in the ranks, but nothing to worry about. If the early phase of the battle, the Beerenburg left advanced slowly, echeloned to protect the flank, trying to meet enemy knights, ogres and handgunners.

On the right flank, the burgers kept the guild archers back to allow maximum field of fire from the small artillery pieces. The urchin slingers and giant made their way forward in a grand sweeping manoeuvre that mired in the water feature. The halfling drill master-captain moved his swordsmen into a reserve position, ready to dash forwards should the hackbuts be threatened. Dodging artillery fire, the landsknecht's giant started a long march behind the line of pikemen to the far flank.

The giant emerged from behind the pikemen just as the knights closed on the halfling burghers-at-arms. The knights had their mounts and their furious charge, but the burghers had can-openers and a barmaid refreshing them with pints, so it looked to be a more even melee than the landsknechts may have hoped.

Meanwhile, finally emerging from the lake, the halfling's own mercenary giant went toe-to-snow plough with the steam tank, crushing it with the empowering words of the bard to his rear.   

However, being then out of command range and belligerent, the giant turned around to charge the halfling's own slingers. Luckily they could evade and the giant once more became stuck in the muck. While the burgher-knight fight continued in the centre-left, ogres and giant approached the halfling archers on their flank, and landsknecht pikemen lowered their pikes to engage the archers in the centre.

Under withering bow fire, the ogres broke and fled, beginning to spread their panic around the landsknecht ranks.

The pikemen were also fighting in the proverbial shade, taking volley after volley of halfling bow fire as they slowly advanced. The mounted burghers had been moving into position to secure the flank of their dismounted brethren, but the pikemen in the very centre of the battlefield changed into column formation to fit into the gap between units and hold them back.

Having previously dispatched the ogres, the archers on the left now turned their bows against the landsknecht handgunners who returned fire.

The line of pikemen finally clashed with the halfling bowmen. They were mighty warriors, but badly bloodied by the earlier archery. At this point I remembered that I had a rat swarm to bring on. It emerged, but nowhere near where it would have been useful!

The burghers and the knights held on in the centre, while the pike column charged forward into the mounted burghers. The archers on the left continued to have a shoot-out with their handgunner rivals. The battle was fierce, but the landsknechts' resolve was crumbling faster than the Beerenburgers. 

The handgunners scattered and fled, and the halfling archers on the right managed to break their pike-armed foes, to launch forward into the flank of the pike column.

And then the fight for the centre came to a brutal conclusion as both the knights and the halfling burghers (foot and mounted) finally broke. This took the landsknechts to their breakpoint of 11/11, and the Beerenburgers to 4/10, deciding the battle comfortably in favour of Beerenburg.