Thursday, November 17, 2005

..and stops.

No work on my figures over the last few days as I have been busy at work and, worse than that, I got an iPod for the first time. So I have been spending my time working out how it works and trying to put some tunes on it before a business trip next week.
I have been reading the 3 Ospreys on ancient Greek armies however:
Spartan Army, Greek Hoplite and The Ancient Greeks. A few things are becoming clear. The nature of Greek warriors' equipment changed somewhat between the Persian Wars at the time of Marathon and Thermopylae (beginning of 5th Century) and the Peloponnesian Wars (late 5th century). While not being a complete accuracy fanatic (this all was 2,500 years ago and so what we know is fragmentary anyway) I have ascertained that change related to three key areas which effect the look of the troops enough to make a difference to the appearance of a Spartan wargames unit.
Helmets Spartan troops at the time of Thermopylae wore helmets that were largely indistinguishable from those worn by other Greek city states except, perhaps for the transverse crests on some (officers?) helmets. At some point, certainly by the Peloponnesian War, the so called Pylos helmet became the standard helmet in Sparta. The transverse crests seemed to remain.
Armour Early period troops seemed to have a mixture of bronze and linen armour but, again, by the later period armour was becoming less common due, it is though, to the more mobile tactics of opponents.
Shield Blazons The familiar Spartan Lambda device was not in use at the time of Thermopylae but again seems to have been introduced later, although earlier than some other city states devices. I remember the illustations in the book The War Game I received in the early 70s had the Spartan troops with the lambda device and I think that the film The 300 Spartans did the same. However, it now looks as if this was unlikly.
Looking at the Foundry Figures they are a mixture of armoured and unarmoured but all wear the Pylos helmet except for a few figures with transverse crests on their helmets who wear normal Greek helmets (modelled on a couple of surviving Greek sculptures from the earlier Persian Wars period). Given the distinctive long hair of the Spartans there are no Foundry figures with regular helmets and long hair.
So I have, therefore, made the decision to model an early Peloponnesian war Spartan Army, as this suiots the available figures: Pylos helmets, some armoured and some unarmoured hoplites. I need to decide whether to mix these in units or have separate ones. I am starting with the armoured hoplites.
Spartan troops wore crimson for most of the period but given that I use Humbrol Enamels their crimson looks a bit dark for ancient dyes and I think I will go for Humbrol 153, a sort of dark red closer to the illustrations in the Osprey book.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Work begins..

Sitting through the "X Factor" on Saturday with the family gave me the chance to clean up and base my first group of Spartans. I have chosen 8 armoured hoplites to start with and a number of officers. I haven't been able to start earlier as I was finishing a unit of Foundry Early Imperial Romans for a game at Warfare in Reading next weekend. These are the large Foundry Romans sculpted by Steve Saleh who also did the Greeks. Its a shame he never got to finish the Foundry Range.
The problem so far is that I picked up the new Warhammer Historical Hannibal supplement this week with some of the new Renegade Republican Romans. This means that I am getting distracted already. I am just going to try to paint both Spartans and Romans at the same time as they have a lot in common painting wise.
Anyway here they are, optimistically on the front rank! Behind are the Rengade Punic Romans, then some 3rd Century Romans and a jumble of Sudan British, Somalis, Lord of the Rings Dwarves and Trojans. I do find it difficult to concentrate on one period! Also visible is the first of my Spartans to actually have some paint on him-I think he is going to be my general.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Flash! AH-AH! It's annoying!

Most of the figures for the new army came from one of Foundry's "3 deals for £100" offers. This is the second time I have ordered one of these and found that at least one deal has suffered from excess flash (unusual for Foundry normally). I can only think that they are flogging off their second rate stock cheap in these deals. It would be nice if they admitted this up front. The price works out at about 50% of normal but is the saving worth all the extra filing? Although it's something to do when watching The X Factor with the family on Saturdays, I suppose.

Here are three typical examples

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

My first entry.

This is my first attempt to put together a blog. I have just taken delivery of some Foundry Spartans and in order to ensure that I get on and paint them I have decided to record my progress here.