Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

… to my thirty followers and any other occasional readers of this mini-saga. I hope you all have a peaceful and relaxing time over the festive period.

Not the Three Wise Men …

Finally … the ox cart …

… or plaustrum, is finished! Two years in the making, completion spurred by a Christmas painting competition over on the Warlord Games’ forum (actually a Bolt Action thread).

In purist modelling terms it’s not perfect, for example I would have liked to make a better job of some of the smaller buckles on the harness. Nevertheless, overall I am pleased with it as a gaming piece – it’s quite impressive.

Wargames Foundry’s ox cart forms the basis of the model, enhanced with a brace of muscular North Star oxen, a load furnished by Baueda and Gripping Beast, and a pair of marching legionaries courtesy Warlord Games.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Baggage train, another centuria, and Baleares

As the ox cart nears completion I started work on the pack mules. Meanwhile, the Baleares are primed and the latest centuria begins to take shape.

The baggage train will eventually comprise the ox cart, three pack mules and two pack camels. Bauede seem to be working on a Centurion’s tent and ’Roman supplies’ to complement their Legionary tent … I feel a camp coming on too.

Work in progress: It is important to knot the scale rope twice in order to prevent it unravelling … at a fair rate of knots … did you see what I did there?

Work in progress: Scale rope applied to the beam and shaft. Just needs shading and varnishing. I will varnish the rope first to prevent it absorbing the Strong Tone ink … the results of that might be a bit unpredictable.

Work in progress: The pack mules harnessed to one-another with scale rope. I made a nose band first, and decided to base before painting in order to fix the rope – I just thought it might be too difficult to do after painting. The tricky bit will be painting the based figures – I haven’t tried this before.

Work in progress: Titus Antonius Secundus’ centuria begins to take shape. Behind it are Decimus Livius Saturninus’ Baleares.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Seasonal modelling and painting plans …

I will have a bit of time for this project over Christmas and New Year and I am hoping to complete two new units.

I have started another centuria, the one with the kneeling front rank armed with pila. I think this unit is going to look pretty good when finished. I also want to paint a unit of Baleares, as the slingers from the Balearic Islands were known. I just have to work out what sort of figure to use as an optio to complement the centurio I have already converted.

I plan to finish the ox cart this weekend – it only needs the addition of the scale rope.

Work in progress: Quintus Flavius Cerialis’centuria with the first application of Sandy Paste. I really love this stuff, even though it can be a bit tricky to apply sometimes. I always keep a wet brush handy to clean off the paste that strays onto the figures here and there.

Let’s hear it for Vallejo Sandy Paste … the finish is kinda sandy …

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Pleasantly surprised

I am always surprised at how the shading and varnishing improves the quality of the finish beyond my expectations.

I tend to be permanently disappointed by my painting – which I imagine to be an average gaming standard – so it can be a bit of a trial. Take my latest centuria: for ages these figures languished and every time I looked at them I didn’t feel like doing anything further … but here they are, shaded with The Army Painter’s Strong Tone ink and varnished with the amazing Testors Dullcote … suddenly they begin to look the part. And it is always so …

Work in progress: Quintus Flavius Cerialis’centuria based and ready for finishing. These fellows are the first to be clad in red tunicae. I armed them entirely with pila. The centurio and optio are Wargames Foundry figures. I have a small stock of these (no two the same) which gives each centuria a slightly different character.

Let’s hear it for Testors Dullcote … the finish is flatter than a very flat flat thing …

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Three pieces near completion

Firstly, I have to say how much I like The Army Painter’s Strong Tone ink. With the demise of Citadel’s Devlan Mud I was worrying about a substitute which would give an effortless match to the shading I had done so far.

One of the things I loved about Devlan Mud was the way it ‘bronzed’ my gunmetal with aluminium dry brush armour. I had read that the Strong Tone dip worked well with bright colours – toning them down. I have to report that I found the application of Strong Tone ink to be easier than Devlan Mud – I just brushed it on quite liberally, and it seemed to pool perfectly. I am delighted with the finish: dark enough, tones down the colours nicely, and bronzes the armour just how I like it.

Let’s hear it for The Army Painter’s Strong Tone ink.

Work in progress: Another centuria nears completion … the first to be shaded with Strong Tone ink … all I had to do was touch up the flesh here and there (I tend not to do highlighting).

Work in progress: Auxilia command and ox cart. The ox cart is now laden. The base needs a little more attention (around the rear wheels), dry brushing (okay, so I do highlight my bases) and application of a few tufts. Then I will wrap the scale rope and varnish the cart.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Plodding along …

Progress can seem quite rapid when there are a number of units approaching completion at the same time.

Last night I fixed the scuta to the legionaries and did a bit of retouching. I hope to shade these fellows today, varnish them tomorrow and base them on Sunday. But the priority has to be the ox cart since it is part of an informal painting challenge over on Warlord Games’ forum.

Work in progress: Quintus Flavius Cerialis’ centuria ready for shading, varnishing and basing.

Work in progress: The command vignette for my auxilia and the ox cart. The load for the latter is painted and shaded and ready to load, but I will add this and the scale rope once the base is finished.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Wonders will never cease …

… the scale rope arrived. I only ordered it just over a year ago. Anyhow, it’s here, so now I have no excuse for not finishing the vignette.

I had to look at my references again to work out how the shaft should connect with the beam, and settled on a curved profile for the oak since there is clearly no articulated joint with the bogie (which would seem to be the alternative).

Scale rope … I am pinching myself, but it is real.

Work in progress: Oxen, beam, shaft and bogie in position …

Work in progress: The cart loaded with a mix of Baueda and Wargames Foundry items.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Scuta and a vignette

I have a number of items on the workbench at the moment: a centuia awaiting shading, final assembly, varnishing, and basing; another centuria at colour blocking-in stage; the ox cart (of course) and a command vignette.

I really need to finish that centuria in order to make room for the Balearic slingers.

Work in progress: I always dread applying the waterside transfers to the scuta … always fiddly, but never as lengthy a task as I always imagine. I now have 24 scuta ready for final assembly …

Work in progress: The command vignette for my auxilia. A mix of Ebob (the camel), Gripping Beast, Wargames Foundry, and Warlord Games.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Twenty eight followers

Thank you for your interest. I have exchanged comments with some of you, and, although I know I miss some comments because I do not check-in often enough, I do value your views.

I seem to have quite an audience: Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom, United States, with 13,272 page views since my first post in June 2011 – bonkers! And thank you!

While my oxen are bonding I spent a little bit of time making a visual upgrade to the blog: basically increasing the size of the images, but this entailed a bit of a struggle with the code here and there. I hope everything is now looking as I intended.

Friday, 6 December 2013


Still no scale rope but I am pressing on.

I have based the figures and applied Vallejo Sandy Paste around the bases. I need to paint and finish the area around the oxen and drover before fixing the beam to the yoke, otherwise I will never get a brush in.

By the way, I meant this to be a new post, but ended up editing and re-publishing Friday’s … hey-ho.

Work in progress: I just love Sandy Paste …

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

I needed a centurio …

… for my forthcoming balearic slingers, so I made this quick conversion of a Warlord Games’ centurio.

I have just received my new recruits from the Balearic Islands: 24 slingers, Warlord Games figures. I am really looking forward to getting cracking with these. But I had a conundrum: command figures. A bit of advice via Warlord’s forum gave rise to the idea for the conversion. I wanted to give the centurio a bit of character and make him fit visually with the slingers, so I decided he should be bare-headed, directing their aim. He’s beginning to look quite heroic!

Work in progress: Warlord Games’ plastic centurio, with a metal head swap, enlarged focale, and a parma, directing the aim of the slingers having thrust his gladius into the ground at his feet.