Thursday, 16 February 2017

Rosemary & Co Brushes

About a year ago I followed a recommendation from Henry Hyde which appeared in Miniature Wargames magazine. The recommendation concerned the brushes produced by a company called Rosemary & Co.

On the basis of Henry's glowing report I ordered a set of 5 brushes. Now, after a year of light-medium use (using both acrylic and enamel paints), I am re-ordering as the brushes are just beginning to lose their points.

In short, I have found these the best brushes I have ever used. The 'Series 99' which I use will suit most wargamers, being reasonably priced and IMHO about twice the quality of similarly priced items. More expensive ranges are available if you want even higher quality.

Ordering direct from the website is easy - the only possible problem is that you need to make an order of at least £10, which with Series 99 will mean 4 to 5 brushes in one order. The website is very professionally presented and has an enormous range of brushes to choose from. Service is good, postage reasonable and delivery is prompt.

You will not be disappointed.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Ancients Progress

Buy! Buy! Buy!
Yes, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, so the next stage in building my ancient armies meant ruthlessly indulging my urge to consume. This time, I turned from those lovely boys at Victrix Ltd. to their competitors Warlord Games.

I had decided that the Victrix hoplites would be opposed by a phalanx of phalangites (that is, a Macedonian-style phalanx of quality troops with very long pikes). Warlord do a nice 40 figure box of plastic phalangites so I went for those. Unfortunately, unlike Victrix, you can only produce ordinary infantry from the Warlord box of plastics, so I had to purchase the required officers and standard bearers in expensive metal (around £2 a figure). Ho-hum. 

I also decided to treat myself to some heavy cavalry. Again, no manufacturer has heavy-style cavalry in plastic so I chose the Warlord 'Companion Cavalry' box, which had to be supplemented by an extra 3 figure pack to make an 8 figure unit plus 2 officers and a standard bearer. So this lot eventually came to £65 including P&P.

Aah! Shiny! Shiny colours!

In a more serious tone, note that my new Warlord plastics (unpainted on left)
are a good match for the size of the Victrix hoplites.

Hold The Line!
Some decisions on the naming of my 2 imaginary ancient nations have been taken. In the end, I decided to turn away from Tony Bath's world of Hyboria and make the project more personal by making my own choice of names. By chance, I came across the name 'Latium', which the ancient experts among you will know refers to the area of Italy containing the original set of villages which grew into the city of Rome. So this would be one country, which might be allowed a bit of a Roman flavour. The other country, I decided, would have a modest Greek tendency, and after browsing some maps of the ancient world I found myself drawn to the name Paphlagonia, which is a region of Anatolia on the Black Sea coast. I had never heard of this area before, but the name rolled off the tongue very nicely, I thought.

So then I felt it was time to select a couple of generals to command my armies. This quickly became a no-brainer, as whilst browsing the Warlord Games site I came across 2 very obvious choices. Firstly, they did a figure called 'Hold The Line!', clearly based on the Russell Crowe character from Gladiator, charging into battle with his dog. I love that film, and the prospect opened up of attaching this figure to any cavalry charge I might make, whilst haranguing my opponent with cries of 'Hold the line! Stay with me!'. Now that should be really irritating. As for naming, I decided in the end to go with the film name of the character - General Maximus Decimus Meridius. Obviously, he would command the forces of Latium.

My other general was also found on the Warlord site - their mounted figure of Alexander the Great, which is paired with Phillip of Macedon on foot. A suitably grand figure for my other general, I thought. For the name of this general, I happened on a figure from history called Aristodemus, the only Spartan survivor of the Battle of Thermopylae. Filled with survivor guilt and the subject of contempt from fellow Spartans, he was killed showing reckless courage at the Battle of Plataea. The character of Dilios in the film 300 is based on Aristodemus. To make the name a bit grander, I added the patronym Zephyros, which again I chose because I liked the sound of it (Zephyros was the Greek god of the west wind). So, a warm welcome to General Aristodemus Zephyros, the Paphlagonian commander.

On the left is General Maximus with hound and accompanying foot officer, on the right
General Aristodemus with the Phillip of Macedon figure, also masquerading as a senior officer on foot.

Rather obviously, then, both nations now have an official favourite film.

To Work!
Now commences a period of painting and basing. These recent purchases are the first metal ancients figures I have had. Straight away I found that cleaning them up and undercoating is much more time-consuming than with plastics (in fact, I didn't even bother to undercoat some of the simpler plastic figures). I expect to find painting a bit more tiresome as well. But I console myself with the fact that they should look great when completed, and I will continue to keep things as simple as possible.

Chariots, elephants and some horse archers are the main missing units now. These will wait until the present tranche of figures are painted, or at least mostly so. In particular, I await the forthcoming Victrix plastic elephants with ill-concealed avarice. Ah, the pleasures of consumerism!