Through with Thrace (for now)

I have finished up the last of the second batch of Thracians. This group was mostly skirmishers with some warrior types and a few cavalry. New to the mix is a unit of Warriors with Rhomphaia and a goodly number of slingers and archers.

Final count comes to:

2 bases Noble Cav (3 figs per base)
8 bases Cav (3 figs per base)
8 bases Warriors with Rhomphaia (3 figs per base)
10 bases Warriors (3 figs per base)
17 bases Tribal Spearmen (3 figs per base)
16 bases Javelinmen (2 figs per base)
8 bases Archers (2 figs per base)
10 bases Slingers (2 figs per base)

Total 203 figures on bases plus 2 each loose Noble Cav, Cav, Warriors, for a total of 209 painted figures.

Still to be painted: 4 Noble Cav and 4 Horse Archers.

To add a little variety and provide some needed light cavalry I have some Forged In Battle figures on order from Noble Knight Games.

Now it is on to lining up the next project. This one has been gathering dust for quite a while.

Need a clue?


Once, Twice, Thrace

So back in November I attended Millennium Con down in Austin. While perusing the dealers room on the last day I ran across someone selling bags of mostly 15mm Essex ancients at 75% off. 75%! Of course I had to take advantage of such an opportunity. Two bags caught my eye, a small one of Thracians and a huge one of Samurai. The 5 pound bag of Samurai will wait for another day (separate swords and back banners, madness!) This is the story of the Thracians.

As reported previously I am putting the mancave in order over my Christmas break in order to get back into more painting. So having moved from this:


To this:


On Thursday I began to mount, prime, and paint my hardy band of Thracians. The mighty horde consisted of:
4 Noble Cav
16 Light Cav
16 Warriors with spear
48 Peltests with javelin
Being Essex they went together pretty quickly.

White primed and mounted
The whole tribe
Cavalary with Bodyguard Cavalry in front
Noble Warriors
Tribal warriors

My basic painting method allows for quick results and figures that look good at arm’s length. The steps:
Prime White
Block in Colors, usually starting with flesh and progressing outwards
Go back over details and fix any oops
Give them a coat of clear Future floor wax
Once dried, give them a coat of Future with blank ink and water
Base using dilute white glue and flock
Spray with matte clear

Of course no project ever goes this smoothly. While sorting through some other storage areas I came across a Plano box of minis. 15mm minis. 15mm Essex Successors minis. And of course there are more Thracians!

Thracians part deux!

So I go from a small band to a nice allied contingent in a Thraco-Macedonian Successor army. Out of curiosity I look up what it would take to make it a complete army in its own right. I am currently playing around with Mortem et Gloriam so looking up Thracian Hill or Lowland tribe I can field up to 120 bases of tribal infantry! Maybe To the Strongest might be more manageable to start with. That is a lot of Javelins. I need an Oprah figure in 15mm to be the general. “You get a javelin, you get a javelin, EVERYONE gets a javelin”

I’m baaaaack!

So nearly two years since the last post.  Quite a few things have changed.  I have added three new grand kids, bringing the total to 5!  I have also added two 3d printers and the mancave project which was just getting started at the time of the last post is finished.  As sort of a New Year’s resolution I have determined to paint more, play more, and in general enjoy life more

In order to get me motivated I am taking my Christmas break to get the mancave organized, projects lined up and horrors, get my inventory of miniatures updated.  And to add a bit more incentive I have decided to post it all on my website.  The gallery, blog and inventory will bare my shame to all who pass by.  So if you are interested here is the home page,  and the inventory  Hopefully you already have the blog space since you are reading this.

So to kick it off here are few pics of the mancave back in pristine condition.  Sad to say it looks no way as clean today. 

A mat for “To the Strongest”

I recently purchased the rules “To the Strongest” from BigRedBat for fighting ancients battles.  It looks to be a fun quick system using playing cards instead of dice.  Units succeed in a task by turning over a card high enough to beat the required number.  Units can perform a second or third, etc., task by beating the number previously played.  Movement is done using a grid system with units moving either one or two grids a move.  The size of the grid depends on the scale of the miniatures you use.  The units just need to fit within the grid.

I decided to create a game mat with the grid printed on it.  The game’s designer recommends only marking the intersections of grids rather than the entire square.  I decided to go with a 15cm square grid since this seems to accommodate both 15mm and 28mm figures.  The mat was to be printed by Banners on the Cheap on a 4’x8′ sheet of vinyl.  I used GIMP2, a free graphics program to create the jpg to be uploaded to the banner company.  I created a canvas that was actually 4’x8′ and then used the various texture, color and blending tools to create a mottled green background.  I then added the grid using an add-on tool for inserting grids.  This tool can also add hexes for those types of games.  I will be honest my brain does not grasp graphics easily, so it was hit and miss to finally get the grid to be just small crosses where the squares intersect.  It had to do with setting line width to 0, intersection widths to 2 and something with offsets.  I finally got it to the point where it worked is all I can say.

The mat, including shipping ran me $45.  In the past I have also done double sided mats but this one I decided to just go with one and save the money.


1: Extreme close up of the intersection, Iphone picture 3 inches from surface.

2: From about a foot above the mat.

Continue reading “A mat for “To the Strongest””

Off with their heads!

I worked a bit on making up some specialized units out of my Armies in Plastic AWI figures and All The King’s Men heads.  Just a snip of the cutters, drill a small hole for the head and a combination of superglue and hotglue to hold everything in place.  Two line units, one grenadiers, one highlanders, and a light infantry skirmish group.  I will need to do a bit of trimming around the neck once I have my exactos out of storage.

IMG_1890 IMG_1888 IMG_1887

Mancave week one summary

Week one is over and most of the demo work is done.  The cost went up a bit when, after removing the ceiling the workers found sagging beams and some termite damage from long ago.  Better to fix it now than have a disaster later.  Everything is still well within budget though.  The drywall and insulation is one site so hopefully next week we see more progress.  The wall where the garage door was has not been framed in yet.  What you see in the picture with the light pouring in is a temp plywood covering.


Operation Mancave begins. Phase 1

Over the last year or so, my space inside the house has been “re-purposed”.  The birth of two granddaughters, one from each son and attached spousal units, meant I needed to give up my hobby room and turn it back into a bedroom for visitors.  Most of my hobby stuff went into storage.  A little I worked into the garage so I could work in there when temperatures permitted.  However we were packing a mess o stuff in the garage.  In addition I had installed some steel garage cabinets to house by glass painting supplies.  To say the least it was a bit crowded.

IMG_1854 (1) IMG_1855 (1)

A single fluorescent shop light and several incandescent lights made up my lighting.  No heat or cooling except for a small space heater and a fan.  My glass painting was curtailed because if the humidity gets about 60% the paint does unpredictable, but usually bad, things.

So at Christmas break I secured the necessary permission from the household overlord for a true conversion of the garage into a mancave.  Operation Mancave began with getting quotes from various contractors. These ranged from $7500 to $13,000.  The low quote actually came from one of the more established area contractors so I signed on the dotted line.  I arranged for a POD to be delivered for on site storage. It showed up on January 21. IMG_1861

A couple of good hard weekends with the sons and the mess above has now become this:


Contractors show up on Monday February 1 and Operation Mancave begins step 2.  The final vision has the steel cabinets installed again, the large 4’x8′ table is getting a fresh coat of paint and wheels.  Bookshelves from IKEA will line the wall opposite the cabinets and house my miniatures and books.  A fridge, tv and AC/Heat unit completes the picture.  The concrete floor will get a coat of epoxy paint, the walls get insulation (yay!) and several ceiling LED light fixtures will make it more usable.  I still have to share space with the toolbox and some household cleaning supplies but those should not intrude too much.

Hopefully I am moved in by Mid March.  More pictures as the project progresses.

My first head swap

The vast majority of my 54mm AWI figures will be plastic.  While this approach allows me to build units cheaply, it does not provide much variety in the way of units or specialty troops.  That is where All The King’s Men comes in.  They sell a wide range of AWI troop heads in different headdress. I placed my order and within a couple of days a small box of heads showed up on my doorstop.  Today I tried out my first head swap.  An exacto knife performed a quick decapitation of an Armies In Plastic AWI officer  and within a couple of minutes the boring tricorn hat head was replaced with a Highlander bonnet.  The ATKM heads are a bit larger than the original but once painted and put into a unit I don’t think it will stand out too badly.  I need to work on the neck area a bit in future  swaps.  When held at arm’s length the issue is not as bad.  The little stick coming out of the neck area is the head’s ponytail which is in line with the body’s lapels.  I will need to work on bending it into a more natural position in the future.
head swap 01 head swap 02 head swap 03