Friday, November 27, 2020

Sassanid & Roman casualty markers

Sassanid & Roman markers

More few pieces from my project drawers, these chaps have been sitting half finished for some time, two maybe three years, in some cases it was only the flocking and shields to be done! The figures are a mix of Old Glory dark age figures, hand painted shields and the Sassanids are from the lovely Aventine range with LBM transfers

Working through the drawer has been good for me, the cleaning out really is refreshing, I can see the back of one now an clear space in two of them so making good progress! 30 odd more figures and two space ships, a steam engine and one drawer will be empty. I may complete one whole drawer by Christmas I hope on the side along with the main projects.

More markers for Impetus or Hail Caesar 

Late Romans 28mm old glory miniatures 

28mm Aventine Sassanids, LBM transfers

Aventine Sassanids with LBM transfers
Aventine Sassanids with LBM transfers

Aventine Sassanids with LBM transfers

Aventine Sassanids with LBM transfers



Sarmation Auxillia command

Sarmations are coming....

 Completed these two as the same time as the main unit but I needed to cut out some 50mm command stands from mdf and then base them.

Both 28mm warlord figures the standard bearers hose had to be filled a little with green stuff. The warlords mace is quite flimsy and I did consider replacing it, on the next set that will get painted next year I will do I have some variation for the command. 



Thursday, November 26, 2020

Coloured WW2 and Modern smoke markers tutorial


 Making WW2 Smoke markers

Terrain Tuesday

Since lock down began here in France I have been concentrating predominantly on my medieval and ancients collection painting over 600 28mm miniatures. This coming week I am shifting my focus back to ww2.

I was recently on John Bonds blog looking at his lovely ww2 terrain. So I have also decided to make from now on "Tuesdays Terrain day", making terrain or tabletop scatter a priority each week to get through the tonnes of small projects I have in my head for ww2 and modern bits, predominantly though for ww2. Most of these pieces will take several days and possibly weeks, but spending a dedicated day on them will help me get through the list.  

For year and years of ww2 and modern gaming I have just used cotton wool or lounge stuffing that is white for smoke markers, and while watching Band of Brothers...again, I watched the scene at the ferry crossing and thought....I do not use coloured smoke in my games...I have just used white smoke markers, but as we know they were mostly coloured for  ww2 and moderns warfare.

Anyone who served in the military will know they are not particularly good for your health, but neither is getting shot!  The smoke delivery could be via a grenade, mortar or artillery round, or a smoke generator either vehicle or a pump (normally white/grey though) the main colours available were, Red, Blue, Green, Purple, yellow, white, plus pink and  Orange (both post ww2)

So I have put together a simple tutorial.

Step 1 :Lounge stuffing is my choice of product, easy to find and cheap.

Step 2: I selected my colours and made up a wash, with a drop of detergent to break the surface tension of the stuffing and allow colour to penetrate. A few drops of paint 10% to 90% water. Dropped in the pieces that were teased out to shape. 

Step three. Rinse with water, to get rid of any settled pigment otherwise they will shed bits. allow to dry. 

Step 4. I based mine on clear plastic with a hot glue gun. 

Step 5. Put them on the table ! 


Quite happy with the result, but  I think it would be faster to use a spray paint tin in the desired colour or a airbrush, plus the colour will be more vibrant,  I will try again soon on another Tuesday! 



Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Guerre Folle-Mad War Breton Arrie Ban Longbow archers

Contrary to the belief of many, the bretons also conducted practice for archery, quite often gathering at the local parish church, after 1425, 1 in every ten hearths raised a longbowman, at Saint Aubin du Cormier only about 1700 of the army was armed with them and a further 500 wit the crossbow.  This Archer unit will join my Rennes contingent. I do like painting livery, it is very quick, I have another couple of units not far behind.  



Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Aulerci Cenomani II

Aulerci Cenomani II

 More Skirmishers for my second Gallic tribe, I can see them now with another 50 mounted on bottle tops and prepared for painting. I think I may finish those and take a break whole I crack on with more medievals, then to focus on my ww2 collection before Christmas.  

Again miniatures from the 28mm Victrix plastics, and LBm transfers.



13th century painted helms

A discussion on the 13th Century Heraldry wargamers forum on Facebook about painted helms in the 13th century. As the 13th is one of my favourite periods I thought I should share my reference pictures I have put together from early thirteenth to the later half.

The first place to look for references are in bibles, possibly the most famous is the Morgan Bible of Louis IX (1226-1270) or the crusader bible to portray the 7th crusade (1248-50 to Egypt), later becoming known as the Maciejowski bible after it was gifted in the 16th century to the Shah of Iran, Abbas I. 

Possibly illuminated from 1244 to 1250,  although much discussion surrounds this, two copies survive in the National Library of France in Paris.

Collection of troubadours poems

Recuil des poésies de troubadours, contenant leurs vies..1201-1300 Bibiotheque Nataionale de France

Quite interesting pieces of knights, a total of 60 in the collection, each knights coat of arms is also on the helm, predominantly great lords are pictured, I digital copy is available here

hopefully we shall see some more painted helms o the wargames table


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Aulerci Cénomani I

 Aulerci Cénomani (Auerques Cénomans)

The next Gallic tribe I am beginning is the Aulerci Cénomani, the largest of the Aulerque tribal confederation, the Oppidum and the capital of the Aulerci federation was known as Vindinon, or Vindunum as mentioned by Ptolemy, today we know it today Le Mans. 

Vindunum is a Gallic word 'Vindo" white and dunum citadel fortified mount, or the White Citadel, it is thought from the latest archeology that the site may of been in the location of the current cathedral and Plantagenet city, south of the current city is Allones which had a sanctuary sites to the Gallic god March Mullo.

I plan to paint 80 miniatures for the tribe and will make them a little different. Miniatures as usual are from the Victrix plastics range


Thursday, November 12, 2020

Guerre Folle -The Mad War II

 English Longbowmen

Completed one of my English Mercenary longbowmen bases to add to the Breton army. 28mm Miniatures are from the Perry Miniatures Range.

Edward Woodville, known as Lord Scales, fought in the war of the roses supporting Edward IV,  after Edwards death he fled when the Duke of Gloucester seized power and declared himself Richard IIIrd,  his brother Anthony was executed being an ally and uncle of the two princes who later die in the tower. 

Edward Woodville flees to Brittany and along with the future King Henry VIII, he later returns to England and fights at Bosworth, leading the valiant vanguard. After Henry VIII becomes king he  inherits his brothers estates which was confirmed in 1485 including the captaincy of the Isle of Wight and his castles at Portchester and Carisbrooke. 

Edward uncle of the Queen Elizabeth, approached Henry VIIth to raise an army to support the Bretons who had a long alliance with England, However Henry had been also been supported by the French and the Bretons for his return to England, so he was undecided upon what action to take. 

On April 23rd 1488 two ambassadors of Francois II of Brittany arrive in England to plead with Henry VII, also partaking in the investiture of Sir Edward into the order of the garter due to his prowess at the battle of Bosworth. Henry VII is unconvinced by the Ambassadors and he explicitly orders on the pain of death that no one from England was to get involved in the war in Brittany.

Edward departs for the Isle of wight with the two Breton Ambassadors and offers his services as a mercenary Captain as he had done previously for the Bretons in 1472 and the Spanish in 1475. The exact size of the company is unknown, some contemporary Breton accounts say 300 others as large as 800. I am leaning toward a mid range numbers due to the claim in the Breton financial accounts of 660 men. It is thought 400 archers, 40 knights and squires depart the Isle of Wight. Armed with pikes bows and arrows and dressed in white tunics with a red cross.

On May 20th 1488 Edward departed the Isle of wight with his company and arrived in Saint Malo a few days later(although accounts have him landing at Honfleur also, but that could be more english mercenaries ?). Edward and his company fight a small skirmish at Dinan against the comte de D'Aunay, losing 20 odd men (French accounts inflate this to 240). A further 200 odd english mercenaries arrive from Portsmouth on a Breton salt ship and a French ship captured in Portsmouth harbour along with an Ambassador of the Scots and his son, all of the 200 english men were veterans and had previously fought with Edward in Spain in 1487.

Edward arrives in Rennes on the 5 of June, they are welcomed by a reception committee, in their honour two red Bordeaux wine barrels are opened in rue Haute, and two barrels of white in place Bout du Cohue (next to medieval grand hall). A group of musicians and play and a young boy is doing tumbling tricks. A banquet is held for the officers in the ducal palace, a menu still exists and it consisted of one and a half vealers, two and a half sheep, three kids (goats), two hares, twenty eight rabbits, eight goslings, thirty six chickens, twenty-eight pigeons, one barrel of Bordeaux wine, one barrel of white wine, and seven estamaux (cauldrons) of hypocras (mulled spicy wine). The company and was the only available force in arms to protect the Breton Capital as a ceasefire was in effect and the remainder of the Breton Army was in Nantes and the Rennes muster had returned to their homes for the summer harvest. 

On May 27th Henry VII letter of apology  arrives in Paris informing Charles VIII of the rouge Edward Woodville, and that he had also seized other ships and men who were to join him.  (One knight and more men at arms were seized in Portsmouth)

The French were in a strong position and capture of the key Breton marcher fortresses of Ancenis, Chateaubriant, La Guerche and Redon in May of 1487 and Vitré, Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier and Dol-de-Bretagne in September left Brittany split into north and South and the French on and in the interior lines of the Breton Duchy.

On June 12th Francois calls the muster, but many men do not return to arms as the harvest is not complete, finally a army musters in early July and marches north to Rennes.

On the 6th of July the ceasefire ended and the French immediately advanced from Mayenne and sieged the largest castle in France on the border marches, arriving at the key northern Breton fortress of Fougeres on the 12th of July. 

The Breton Army departed Nantes on the 9th moving North and arrived in Rennes on the 25th of July. A council is called in Rennes on the 25th of July between the leaders of the Breton army and the mercenary contingents. On the 27th the Bretons then march to Andouillé-Neuville to gather the muster and join with the men coming from south western Brittany via Dinan, they are then inspected by Francois II and and Princess Anne. The army now numbering 7000 bretons 4500 mercenaries marches towards Saint Aubin du Cormier on the 28th of July. The Bretons felt they needed a phycological edge over the French and clothed two Breton mixed archer divisions with white tunics with the red cross badge of the English some 1700 men in total, giving the French impression that a large contingent of English were now with the army.

Fougeres, the greatest castle of Brittany had fallen after a six day siege on the 17th of July, the great French artillery train had breached the walls in three places and the garrison had surrendered with full honours so the city was saved from a pillage. 

The French army departed Fougeres on the route towards Rennes, the Breton capital, clashing with the Bretons on route in a field south of Ville Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier. 

I will complete an article about the forces and the battle next week.



Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Sarmation Cataphracts

Sarmation Cataphractarii

One of my goals during lockdown is to complete my project drawers are part started figures in between painting my main projects, this last few weeks I have really put a dent in it emptying a drawer almost completely in preparation for my workspace rebuild and also start preparing to refill for next years upcoming projects.

I do plan to add at some stage some more Sarmations and build some German tribes to fight my middle imperial Romans, but for now these figures will join my Imperial Roman army.

The figures are from the warlord range, a bit of a pain as they are two part figures, but after pinning and adding green stuff I am quite happy with the results.



Sunday, November 8, 2020

Gaulois Aulerci Diablintes XIV

200 Aulerci Diablintes painted

This weekend I passed the 200 figures mark of my Victrix Aulerci Diablintes tribe painted, I will continue to post the completed bases over the remainder of the week to catch up with the painted figures awaiting photographs and blog posts. 

I will as continue to paint more tribesmen but start my next allied tribe the the Aulerci Cenomani, the Cenomani capital was modern Le Mans. 

The Aulerci confederation of the Cenomani, Éburovices Diablintes, and the Parisii fought under the Aulerci chieftain Camulogene against Caesars lieutenant Labienus at the battle of Lutetia. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Gergovie Oppidum Caesars defeat 52BC

Gergovie Gallic Oppidum

 On our holidays this year we had the opportunity to visit the site of Gergovie the 46 hectare Gallic Oppidum and capital of the Averni tribe. It is a very impressive site, set in the mountains of the Masif Central overlooking the Puys valley. The museum is excellent and has quite a good collection of artifacts and models of the city based on some archeological evidence of the battle. The site is huge and uneven so bring good walking shoes. Thought to be the first defeat of Caesar by the Gauls, in Caesars accounts 46 centurions died in the battle on the assault of the hilltop fortification of Gergovie. 

Map of the site of Gergovie with the gates maked with arrows, the southern gate has the square on the left for the entry, a lane still exists today so you can walk it back to the base of the mountain, a warning it is quite treacherous....

Caesars main fortified encampment occupied this hill controlling the entry to Gergovie, it was also the supply route for the city controlling the water supply, to the left was the river. Originally occupied by Gauls it was seized in a night raid by two legions.  after seizing the hill a Roman fortification was built. To the right they built a wall some 6klm long with forts along it and 2 legions  were stationed at both ends

This is the centre of the view, the Roman wall was built across the valley to the centre to join with the gallic settlement in the middle which became the main Roman encampment then to the right hill on which a third fortification was built. This is also the spur that the Roman and allied troops advanced up (photo from the lower Gallic stone and wooden wall) as you can see it is quite steep.

Looking from the south gate to the right you will see one of the hills captured then fortified by the Romans during the siege at the extreme end of the flank, this is the location that the 10th Legion advanced from to halt the fleeing Roman legions and the departure of the cavalry feint to the left of the Roman lines up the Rizolles ridgeline.

The Roman assault on the fortifications was carried out by four legions and all of the allied Gallic auxillia including the mounted allied Haedui (Aedui) cavalry (who had dubious loyalty after recently rebelling and were on the Roman right flank) meanwhile on the Roman left, a feint was made with more Gallic cavalry, mule riders dressed as roman cavalry and a legion of infantry toward the Rizolles ridge and the northern gate of the Oppidum. The Roman feint was meant to draw off Vercingetorix's cavalry who were on the Rizolles ridgeline defending the only supply route left open to the city. 

When the romans assaulted the fortifications they broke through the outer wall of stone and wood with ease, pillaging the gallic campsites and forcing the defenders back to the main walls. During the fighting Lucius Fabius centurion of the legio VIII is said to of mounted the walls near the South gate before being slain (by a women French legend has it). Marcus Petronius Centurion of the VIII sacrificed himself in front of the South gate to save other members of his maniple when they were surrounded. Gallic reserves arrived in time to save the gate from being taken.

 It is then thought that Vercingetorix lead the gallic cavalry from the western gate against the roman left flank of Caesars assaulting legions. Vercingetorix riding between the outer and inner wall pinning the romans against the walls. At this point the Roman Allied cavalry of the Haedui (Aedui) arrived on the Roman right flank, the Roman legionaries mistaking them as more Gallic cavalry broke and fled back down the mountain

Caesar he may of lost the entire four legions had not the reserve centuries of XIII lead by Titus Sextius the commander of the siege line walls in the centre and the 10th Legion lead by Caesar arriving on the left flank stopped the pursuing Gallic cavalry as the romans routed back down the mountain towards their own lines. 

In Caesars accounts he only lost 700 men and 46 centurions (1/3 of the centurions in the army), but modern scholars think including allies as many as 6000 perished.  After the defeat he withdrew his army and Vercingetorix followed him north trying to prevent his link up with Labineius legions fighting south east of Paris against the Parisi, Carnutes and the Aulerci tribe confederation. 

Caesar's army consisted of 6 legions during the siege 

  1. Legio V (recruited in Cisalpine Gaul, possibly commanded by Quintus Tullius Cicero) 
  2. Legio VI (recruited in Cisalpine Gaul, possibly commanded by Mark Anthony)
  3. Legio VIII (highest casualties at the battle)
  4. Legio X commanded by Caesar personally
  5. Legio XI
  6. Legio XIII (commanded Quaestor Lucius Roscius)
  7. Gallic Auxiliary Infantry, Slingers and javelins
  8. Cretan archers
  9. Numidian cavalry ?
  10. Balearic slingers
  11. Germanic Auxillia and cavalry
  12. Gallic cavalry (Aedui) plus other allied tribal cavalry
Scholars think the tribe may of had as many as ten thousand within the walls and several thousand cavalry and infantry outside the walls (4000 is quoted)

Gergovie Oppidum Walls

The Gallic walls were a mix of stone and timber with an out and inner set of fortifications plus the use of the incline and cliffs made it almost impregnable, and not some simple wooden fort we often think of when we think of gallic fortifications.

The walls of Gergovie with the outer and the inner walls

Cross section of a gallic wall
Cross section of a inner gallic wall

the rear of a reinforced gallic wall

artist impression of the walls, interesting they think that the timber palisade leans inward

typical gallic construction of a Gallic Oppidum walls

Artist Impression of the South Gate that was assaulted by the Romans

Archaeological dig of the south gate 

Artist impression of the south gate, a typical pincer gate built by the Gauls

a model based on the archeological dig of the site in the 1980s

profile of the outer wall

Onager balls

Torsion Balista found in the walls

Art and weapons

I also was astonished at the beauty of some of the vases found on the site with typic Gaulois type artwork, they certainly were gifted artisans in metal, put the pottery was something new to me.

Astonishing piece of work this is 

Deer representations

great inspiration for painting shields 

common design in simple household pottery, I have seen these in Paris and Rennes

buckles and cloak pins

Helmet band in bronze

shield boss

Buildings and structures

I also was shocked by the round theatre found on a nearby oppidum, archaeologists date it to before Roman occupation, they are not sure if it was used as a parliament or as entertainment or both, perhaps not the Barbarians that the Roman propaganda machine places in front of us!
The Averni Theatre, Parliament entertainment or both?

Market square

village houses


I think it was well worth the trip, there is so much more to be discovered in the region and we hope to return soon