Friday, May 30, 2014

Ludus reinforcements, the good...and the ugly.

So I've added a handful of new gladiators to my ludus from the hit-or-miss range from Brigade Games.  Pardon some of the hand-held cell phone pics but I disassembled my photo booth for gaming the other day.

A Brigade Games Retiarius (or "net pansy").  A decent sculpt though it's a shame he mirrors his fellow Retiarius almost identically.  Would have been nice to see a different fellow (only their shoulder guards are different).

A Secutor (again Brigade Games).  He looks better in person than this poor photo - and I actually touched him up a bit after this.  The miniature is mediocre with a rather absurdly bent sword (the angle of his wrist, sword pommel and sword blade don't match - and the sword is attached to the helmet).  You'll notice the weird angle in the photo.  Overall I still love my Secutores.
A Brigade Games Myrmillo - nice mini, but nothing to write home about.  As usual my plastic Roman scutums from Warlord games replace the metal ones from Brigade Games (absolutely hate metal-on-metal figures - and the plastic scutums are more accurate and easy to paint/glue).
Brigade Games Provocator - a nice figure, easy to paint.  He is quite slight compared to the others.  Again, a plastic Scutum from Warlord Games.
And the final surprise of the bunch - a Thraex which turned out to be a quite lovely figure.  One of the best ones of the last two sets I ordered - easy to paint, nice detail, reasonable pose...and I absolutely love the way the paintjob turned out.  He's up there as one of my favourite gladiators now.  (read: He'll die immediately in his first fight).

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ludus Reinforcements...

I painted up a couple additional gladiators the night before.  Here they are, a Brigade Games (Paul Hicks) Retiarius and a Crupellarius.

The Crupellarius.  Not overly enthused with the miniature (detail is iffy and a bit soft in places).  I also really wish he had come with a separate shield instead of the implanted small round unadorned parma.  I'm not chuffed with the paint on him either, but having finished him I'll keep him employed.  Never run a Crupellarius in B.O.T.S. before - should be fun!

The Retiarius.  I like this figure pretty well.  Nothing to complain about with this fella.  I continue to find the Brigade Games stuff is not as clean or pronounced with detail as I'd like - makes painting them a bit of a pain/bore.  Overall the Retiarii from sets 2 and 3 are very reasonable.  This guy may end up cutting his teeth on the newly erected pontus.
A picture taken of the House of Oscarus for the State of the Ludus address, before Negrix and Apottus got too deep in the wine...a small batch of new recruits is rumored to be on way from Londinium by caravan.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Of Giants and Men...

So, after running to the local crappy game store and paying too much for an additional can of Army Painter dip I finished up my Giant (again a pre-paint from D&D or something).  I believe the figure is actually a mountain or stone troll of some sort, but since it's quite large it'll be playing the role of "Giant, mean stompy guy who squishes things."

The guy came out a lot darker than I had planned, but he works well enough for a big baddy so I'll leave him be.
Scale shot along with a Reaper elf (who's actually a rather large 28mm figure...)
I received sets two and three of Brigade Games (Paul Hicks) gladiators as a birthday gift.  I have to say I'm a little less impressed with them.  The sculpts are nothing special, but they are nicely historically accurate.  However...
Here is an Arbelas (Scissor)...looks okay, the sculpt is okay and he'll work...however...
 On the left is a (admittedly) rather large Foundry Secutor.  In the middle is a Brigade Games Secutor from Set 1...and the comparatively tiny Arbelas from Set 2 or 3. He's a friggin' midget compared to the other Brigade Games guy.
As much as I like the historical nature of the Brigade Games figures and the reasonable price (and if you buy all three sets your ludus is almost set for any game)...the mediocre sculpting and the apparent inverted scale creep is a problem.  I'll have the other painted soon and see how they compare.  I'm not stoked about a range containing what appear to be 25mm and 28mm, and I'm not normally bugged by scale - but in a game when you only have 2-4 models on the board it's pretty damn noticeable.
Here is a plastic kit-bashed Dimachaerus (gladiator who fought with two swords - unknown armour or equipment).  I don't like many of the Dimachaerus figures I've seen, nor much of the art work.  There was one piece I thought looked fairly legitimate so I went for a version of it...let me see if I can google it...
This is the image I found most suitable.  Using the plastic bits I had laying around (Viking body, roman legionnaire legs, greek swords and a 100-years-war helmet...and greek plume?) I wanted to get something similar.  I may eventually invest in making a proper one using some other gladiator bits, but he'll stand in for now.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A silly little thing...

While I'm not exactly in love with this figure, nor chuffed with the is a troll/ogre/thing that I received in a ebay listing I purchased.  I wasn't going to use him, but then I figured he looked like an easy paint, so why not.

Also, a fellow on a forum asked for a size comparison of the spiders from the previous post, so I've included that photo.

Showing the standard and large spiders - note neither of them are as large as the big Otherworld spiders.  All of my spiders so far are Bones miniatures.  25mm base on the left, 40mm base on the right.

Some kind of weird executioner troll?  His previous meat clever was chopped off and replaced with an axe.  40mm base.

Base Sizes
For my dungeon crawl project I'm using Dwarven Forge mastermaze and gametiles, so I'm using the 1" square system.  The bases I've used so far are all 25mm (1") Renedras, and 40mm Renedras for the monsters.  I will use a handful of larger Renedra bases for dragons and other "Huge" monsters.  I originally started with 50mm square bases to properly cover four spaces but then realized that many of my 2-space wide corridors were just a shade under 2" and it made putting monsters in/out a huge pain in the rump - hence the reduction to 40mm (still will take up 2x2 squares for movement/fighting purposes.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Creepy crawlies and heebie jeebies!

I went into some speed painting the other night and knocked out a ghost thing, and some spiders (medium and large spiders).  These are all from the Bones line and painted up fine - used Army Painter black primer - didn't have any issues with application or final product.

A simple ghostly thing...
Perhaps another weapon is in order...
A nice family of cave spiders...
Led by big momma!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thar be dragons...

Well, after a near disaster with the anti-shine, this is the finished cheapo ($8 shipped!) Hero Scape dragon that was simply rebased and repainted.  I'm happy with the result.  The anti-shine did it's random "we're going to discolour everything to a flat grey..." nonsense that occurs very rarely.  Of course it simply had to happen when I was flattening a large dragon model.  Some scale shots included.

The paint scheme...while a bit drab was inspired by an idea I had a long long long time ago for my fantasy world setting.  The idea of cave/cliff dragons which resided on the cliffs overlooking the sea.  They'd perch there pouncing on whales, large fish and other poor ocean-going vessels.  Hence the stone-grey colour scheme, a kind of camouflage as they clung to the cliff face waiting for a meal.

The House of Oscarus

I've been playtesting a wonderful game called "Blood on the Sands" (BOTS for short) for a buddy of mine.  In doing so, I've gathered and built a reasonable ludus-worth of gladiators.  Here is the current ludus (with another 10 or so figures on the way and I'll likely call it quits).

A Wargames Foundry Retiarius (plastic spear from Mantic w/ trident head)  The Retiarius was a lightly armored gladiator outfitted with a trident, net, and a large shoulder guard which served as his only protection.

A poorly painted Wargames Foundry Laquerius with plastic Mantic spear.  The Laquerius was a rare cousin to the Retiarius - using a rope/lasso instead of the more common net, and a spear in place of the trident.

A Brigade Games (Paul Hicks) Provocator model with a plastic shield from Warlord Romans.  The Paul Hicks sculpts are historically accurate but not as nice as the Wargames Foundry sculpts.

A Brigade Games Secutor.  The Secutor was the evolution of the Myrmillo who frequently fought against the Retiarius.  The name, Secutor means "Chaser".  The Secutor differs only in a heavier more rounded helmet (designed to decrease the tangle of the Retiarius' net - a weakness suffered by the Myrmillo with their large crested helmets).

A Brigade Games Myrmillo.  The standard "Heavy" gladiator class, equipped with a common gladius and scutum.  This figure has a plastic Warlord Games shield.

 A Brigade Games Thraex.  I'm not stoked with the paint job on this fella...but he works.  The Thraex was a "Light" class of gladiator commonly paired with the Myrmillo.  When possible, light gladiators would fight heavy gladiators - pairs carefully picked/refined to provide excellent entertainment.  The Thraex has a small shield, and a curved blade called a Sica.
A Wargames Foundry gladiator who was turned into a Provocator by adding the simple chest-plater.  A reasonable figure though I don't favour "non-fighting" miniatures for something like this small gladiator skirmish.

A Wargames Foundry gladiator used as a Myrmillo.  While he lacks some authentic leg protection, fights were often modified by the Editor, the person responsible for the matches.  His short straight sword and scutum shield and his early Myrmillo helmet are easily recognizable.

A Wargames Foundry Thraex who has been converted into a Hoplomachus - my favorite gladiator class.  The Hoplomachus was a light gladiator class which used a spear, small circular shield, and often carried a knife or small sword (lest his spear be broken...).  One of my favorite models.  The Wargames Foundry models are an absolute joy to paint.

Another victorious Provocator by Wargames Foundry.  The Provocator was a rare gladiator type which apparently fought with heavy armor including an additional chest plate/mail.  It is most similar to a Myrmillo in armament.

A marvelous yet imposing Wargames Foundry Secutor.  This figure is a good few millimeters taller than the others, a big brute.

A Wargames Foundry rare Myrmillo - a scaeva - a term used to describe a left-handed gladiator.  While gladiators trained to fight many classes including their own, a rare left-handed opponent would create a challenge outside of normal training.  Plastic scutum as usual.

A Brigade Games Hoplomachus - again with a plastic Mantic spear, small circular shield and an added short sword/dagger.
The assembled Ludus of House Oscarus - vividly coloured and prepared to entertain.  The red markings on the base simply denote the "forward" facing of the miniature when used on a hex map.

The above is a "pontus" that I made - or a bridge.  Seen in various graffiti pieces from the Roman era, a pontus was used to pit a single Retiarius against a pair of Secutors.  While I've zero idea of how precisely a pontus looked, this was created to allow a similar scenario to unfold.  The pontus consists of 7 spaces which match up on a simple hex map - meaning that no changes are made to game play.  Historically it is suggested that the Retiarius may have even had a pile of stones to throw and may not have used his net.  I'll be creating some rules for BOTS and Pontus fights to simulate these events.  More later!