Thursday, July 27, 2017

An Early Church - 2

A little more progress on the Romano-British church. First off, I cut a batch of component pieces for the walls using cereal box card...

A couple of minutes' work with the hot glue gun and the carcass is encased.

The rounded apse is fixed using Aleens' glue, with a couple of spots of hot glue to hold it until it dries.

I'm basing this model's floor plan on the excavated foundations of the Silchester church.

Artist's interpretation.

Surviving churches of this period are extremely rare and unaltered/non-updated buildings non-existent, but it appears they had few windows. Some were small and at head height; other, larger ones were located high up the walls. It would've been for security reasons, churches having valuables inside that were too tempting for a thief or Saxon raider. I opted for a row of four large windows each side (Because of their position I keep wanting to call them clerestory windows but it wouldn't be accurate). I may represent the smaller windows by painting them in.

The next step will be the roofs, and a porch on the side door like the one at Silchester. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

An early church - 1

Having painted up a priest for the Romano-British, it's only fair to make him a church to lurk in when he's not exorting his countrymen to resist the Saxon invaders. It also gives those Saxon invaders a nice target for a lucrative looting spree...

I made a carcass out of half-inch foamcore offcuts and stuck them together with the hot glue gun. This makes a really rigid form on which to build. Two aisles will go either side, and the end will have a rounded apse - the signature features of early Christian churches in Britain. In this case I took the used stiff card tube from a roll of clingfilm and stiffened it further with a layer of thinner card. Once the glue had set I cut it into a half-round, as shown. It's a little over the height of a man in this scale, and will eventually have a conical roof.  

The walls will be made of stiff card cut to shape. At the moment I'm thinking in terms of Romanesque pantile roofs instead of thatch to make it more distinctive. Thatch is far easier to make, so I'm not really looking forward to it! The whole structure will be taller than the domestic buildings I made earlier so it'll dominate the settlement, although the tabletop footprint will be about the same.

~ Our house has sold at last, and as things stand this will be the last model I'll build here. I've many happy memories of building and gaming in my hobby room, and I hope the next place we live in will bring the same pleasure. ~

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hae ye seen ma hairy coo?*

One of the scenarios in Dux Britanniarum is for the cattle raid, where those naughty Saxons try to make off with the British peasant farmers' livestock/portable cash. The rules call for three bases of two cattle each. It's generally thought that the cattle found in Early Middle Ages Britain resembled the Highland cattle of today. Archeological excavations seem to bear this out. 

Not having any cattle I looked for suitable models online. The only matches I could find were those intended for model railways and they are expensive, so I decided to make my own.

A truculent looking fellow - has he heard the rustle of Saxon raiders in the bushes?
bit of Sculpey and some work later and I had six bovine beasties...  

The lowing herd wanders slowly o'er the lea - and Crapulus Maximus is right there to collect their offerings for his vegetable patch.
I gave them a lick of ordinary acrylic craft paint and a dip in varnish/ink mix. This was followed by mounting them in pairs on the metal caps found on Pilsbury dough cannisters. Liquid Nails sprinkled with sand made the ground effect, with coffee grounds for strategically-placed piles of manure, the whole being finished off with more craft paint.

On the whole I'm pleased with the result. The photo was taken under fluorescent light and it made them look far more orange than they are in real life. Now all I need do for the Dux B Project is make the church and buy some Saxons.

*Have you seen my hairy cow? as rendered in the Scottish Highland dialect.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Cook, the Priest, his Wife* and her Mother

In other words I've finished the civilians, the rustica populus - those good folks that expensive army led by the Dux Britanniarum is paid to protect.

The small village of Oprobrium goes about its daily round.
These are Splintered Light Miniatures, and the nicest 15mm figures I've had the pleasure of painting. There is a round dozen in the set. They have clear features and some lovely detailed touches.

Father Superfluous points out the site of the future village church to his admiring family. 
In the Dux Britanniarum rules Lords who have gained sufficient wealth and status may add religious leaders to their retinue. These confer moral benefits according to rank. The priest figure will fulfil this role when needed. The next item on this project will be to make a proper village church for him. 

So, there's the end of the Romano-British side - for now. Other units may be added later, time and funds permitting. Hopefully I'll get the Saxon invaders sometime before the end of the year.

For now I'm taking a short break from gaming to make a wedding cake topper for two friends. Something a little different!

* Yes. The Catholic church of this time allowed married men to be ordained provided they oberved the rule of celibacy afterwards (no fun for their wives, I feel). It wasn't until much later that the general ban on married priests was enforced - and even then it proved sporadic. Here endeth the lesson.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Lords, Leaders and Champions

The Lords, leaders and champions have been on the painting block for several weeks now, but I finally finished and based them up.

I used the metal cap from a tube of Pilsbury dough for the command base, featuring the trio of Lord, standard bearer and horn blower. Liquid Nails formed the groundwork, smeared around the figures' bases and painted once dry.For the paint stage I began with a dark green, infused some earth brown into it while still wet, followed it with more earth brown once the green had dried, then finished off with two successive goings-over with lighter shades of green. A few pieces of pea-gravel added to the scenery and broke up the regularity. Sturdy card discs with more Liquid Nails made up the bases for the subordinate leaders/champions.

And then there are these chaps...

I'd forgotten the light infantry component of the Romano-British army. The figure on the right is another Comanipulares who got mixed up with the civilians (the perils of packing stuff away in a hurry prior to a house move which didn't come off). I think the Romano-British skirmishers are supposed to be javelinmen under the Dux B rules, but it doesn't really matter. I take these chaps to be woodsmen, hunters, and/or blokes who just happen to be tasty with a bow, out to persuade the Saxons to go elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Completed Comanipulares

And so it goes. After several weeks I finally finished the Comanipulares (apart from their shields, which will come later). Here they are, based and ready to take their place in the line of battle.

I have half a dozen Lords and champions to finish off, then it'll be on to the civilians.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Still b*ggering on...

It doesn't look like our house will sell any time soon, so I'm pottering away with occasional painting sessions. The Comanipulares are about done. I used a little black ink to bring out the chain mail and then dipped the figures in clear varnish. I did this rather than use my usual ink & varnish dip, which is a bit too thick and would obscure details. One coat of matte varnish to go then I can base them up.

I'm currently reading Correlli Barnett's The First Churchill: Marlborough, Soldier and Statesman...

It's not a period I'm familiar with, and my interest was piqued when some of the members of my club in the UK played a WSS game recently. The book is a good read and shows what a remarkable man John Churchill was. As a consequence I found myself looking over Pendraken Miniatures' rather nice 10mm range. Yes, I'm suffering a bout of "Wargamer's wants..."

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Lords, Comanipulares & Champions

We're still in a state of hurry-up-and-wait with the house sale. A flurry of interest in the past two weeks came to nothing, so...

In the meantime I decided to get on with painting the Comanipulares, the elite troops of the Romano-British army, along with the Lord they fight for and his champions.

It's a bit blurry, but it shows I'm making progress.

The majority of pigment is on. I just need to put a few more touches here and there. Because they're wearing chainmail I'm going to forgo using the dip on these as it'll cover too much detail. Instead I'll apply a black ink wash over the armour then clear varnish.

Because the paints I use have settled over time I'm getting a sprained wrist shaking the pots for long enough to mix the pigments. Thinking I could use a mechanical means of shaking up the paint pots I looked online and found a few useful devices -including this one!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Milites on the march

An outdoor event we went to yesterday afternoon ended much earlier than expected due to thunderstorms, so with a clear conscience I decided to finish off the Milites for Dux Britanniarum.

Trying for size.

The dip has turned a bit syrupy over its time in storage, but seems to have worked just fine. A coat of matte varnish over all finished the job, although I noticed the (supposedly dry) red ink used for the decorative trim on the tunics bled into the varnish a little. It's barely noticeable and I put it down to the vegetable dyes used during the period being less than colour-fast. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it...

The figures are lacking shields at the moment. I intend to get some decals when I can and will wait until then to fit the shields.

Once dry, they were ready for basing. I used discs of cardboard, with Liquid Nails sprinkled with sand for the basing material. It doesn't shrink or warp, allowing me to use the cheap/free card. I'm on a tap-water budget here.

Almost ready to go off to war against the Saxon dogs.
The spacing is perhaps a little bit too wide. I think it'll be less noticeable once the figures have their shields attached. In any case, all my figures for both Romano-British and Saxons will be based the same so there's no major gripe against it.

Next up on the painting block will be the elite warriors of the Roman-British, the Comanipulares, and the Lord and nobles to command the army.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Milites on the painting block

The edits on my next book are in the final stages, and another book has been accepted for publication - always a good thing for an author! More hurry-up-and-wait as far as the house sale goes, however. To get away from things for a while my wife and I attended the Marcon 52 weekend in Columbus, OH, which was... okay. Numbers seemed way down from last year, which may be due to the event falling on Mothers' Day here in the US. By contrast the gaming section had been moved to the main floor and seemed packed. Go figure.

Back home, I resumed painting the Milites, the twelve-figure mainstay of the Romano-British Dux Britanniarum forces.

These are 15mm Splintered Light Miniatures, and rather nice they are too. I haven't much left to paint now - just the hair, leggings, shoes and bases and decorative trim - before highlighting and dunking them in the varnish and ink dip. Once these are done I'll move on to the Comanipulares, the elite troops of the Romano-British army, along with the nobles and champions. After those it'll be on to the civilians, the long-suffering taxpayers all these armed and armoured fellows are paid to protect from the Saxons.


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