Assyrian army

Assyrian army

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Wargaming Atlantis Part 4 - Aftermath (Memories of Atlantis)

Quiet and peaceful, just having a cold drink while sitting on the balcony of a hotel overlooking the Caldera. A bit different from the last time I was here.

Back then, it was one island and it wasn’t called Santorini. Then, Atlantis was a bustling seaport. Wooden ships rowed by half naked slaves came and went to far off places such as Egypt and Thule. We existed for trade. That’s what the place was about. Beef and grain from Egypt – a breed of white cows with black spots were a favourite. Bulls though came from Crete. They were great Northern breeds originally imported to Crete for the Games. Then there was… well, you get the idea.

Trade and Science.

Seems funny to think of science being ‘advanced’ nearly four thousand years ago. Atlantis was pretty good at genetics and some of the earth sciences – we didn’t drill for oil, our drills were about geothermal energy. We were very good at harnessing geothermal energy.  Lots of heat near the surface on a volcano – they didn’t need to go down far.

And immortality. Did that once. Science then was about individuals. No sharing of knowledge. So when Chronos developed his immortality serum and started passing it round his ‘friends’, well, someone thought they didn’t want too many people in on the act.  Couple of days before Chronos took the treatment himself he was found with a knife between his ribs, secret lost. Later, Greeks would call the surviving immortals ‘gods’.

For a while.

Back then women were looked on a bit differently. Fact is, not all our scientists were men. Artemis went down in history as the Huntress, but she dabbled in selective breeding and genetics.  She was fond of monkeys. Bred some that were blue. Look them up, they appear on quite a few friezes, jumping about all over place. Now of course people don’t believe that they really existed. All gone. There were never more than thirty of them and they were all on Atlantis when it happened.

It happened?

Suppose we’ll never know what. The surviving Immortals were all in Greece when it happened. Big bang, Tsunami, Atlantis gone.

Until today I’ve never been back. Wandered everywhere but. Even had stories told about me. They got it wrong of course. Thought I came from Palestine . Today, sitting on a hotel veranda on Santorini, drinking Mythos and just thinking about it.

Perhaps we were just stupid.

At least, that’s what I think.

Geothermal energy.

Was it really a good idea to keep drilling as many holes around an active volcano?

Friday, 29 July 2016

Wargaming Atlantis Part 3 - the Terrain

Only been to Santorini in the summer, and then it’s brown. 
Atlantis is described having distinctive black, red and white stones – I can confirm the presence of lots of walls made out of these three colours. 

Vegetation is also quite distinctive, especially vineyards… most vines are sort of long creepers – on Santorini they are bushes!

Buildings are standard whitewashed flat roofed Mediterranean buildings. Domes, lots of doors, windows and decorations are often a bright blue.

 Streets in the towns are narrow – actually, the width is designed so that two donkeys can pass each other! Donkeys are still a major form of transport today. Excavations from the time of the eruption suggest a similar setup then.

Although everything described above is Santorini today, back in the days of Atlantis things were probably not much different. However, some aspects of the terrain are more recent. Modern day Santorini (and lots of other Mediterranean islands) are covered in prickly pears. These were introduced from the Americas a few hundred years ago and are especially useful for making one of my son’s favourite liqueurs. The island also has lots of oranges, lemons and pomegranates. These have been gradually spreading through the Med over the last few hundred years but I’ve no idea when any of these became established.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Wargaming Atlantis Part 2 - the Navy

The idea is to have a few basic ships to place on beaches. The general idea uses the the tealight ironclad hull with new sides.

My 'original' planns are in Publisher so I can easily alter the paint scheme. A mast can be easily added if neede - paper sails with pictures downloaded from the internet work well. If I ever want to do sea battles then the templates could be easily downsized - possibly by the simple expedient of printing 2 per page?

These are images of my templates. Haven't tried to see if these images would let someone build the ship, don't see why not and anyone is welcome to try - they're scaled to A4 paper. Use 160gm card and print the hull template on the other side of the card to the decking. Two bottoms because one fits neatly over the other. I don't like fiddly little tabs! This model uses the 'sharp' version of the stern.

 The sides line up so that the start of the forecastle corresponds to end of the parallel portion of the deck/hull.
At some stage I'll do a rewrite of the original Tealight Ironclad article with few extra templates.

Wargaming Atlantis Part 1 - Armies

Just off the coast of Greece in the Cyclades group there is an island called Santorini. Actually, it’s part of a group of islands.  Used to be one island until the whole lot blew up one day.

Strangely, people on Santorini don’t say it’s Atlantis. It was an island, it was a very much a Naval/trading Power, bull motifs abound, red/black/white stone, etc, - sounds like Atlantis to me, so although quite happy to look on it as such in this case  – other contenders can stand in line!

So, Atlantis makes a good potential setting for a campaign that allows the use of a few armies that would otherwise never meet.  My own main armies are Greek, Persian, Macedonian, Assyrian and Egyptian...
The Atlantis story was told in Classical Greek times. On that basis, Classical Greek armies (or a version of) sorts them. The volcano went off when Egypt and Assyria were around, so I can use them. Finally, Minoan and Mycenaean troops used pike, hence Macedonians…

The Armies

Long ago I moved most of my armies over to DBX and since then most of my (solo) battles have used variously modified versions of DBA or HoTT – actually I find HoTT often works quite well for historical battles and has the added advantage of allowing the use of fantasy features.


 Atlantis was an aggressive nation with a large and powerful fleet. As the Greek states were able to raise and send a large army to besiege Troy, it is assumed that Atlantis has the capacity to project its power across the Eastern Med, basically as implied by Plato.  As it was a central hub with contacts over the known world it would be able to hire mercenaries and employ exotic units.

The core of my version of the army is a cross between Classical Greek and Minoan. As an Empire it would have access to subject races. I’ve gone for using my Macedonians. There are four parts to my version. Firstly, noble cavalry as a bodyguard. The rich citizens are hoplites on the Greek pattern. Next, the citizen levies form a pike phalanx. Finally mercenaries include Cretan archers, Western barbarian warband (they look like Gauls) and exotic elephants from Africa. Incidentally, if I wanted to be really silly then the last few remaining mammoths didn’t die out until about 1700BC so...

This gives an army consisting of 2 x 3Cv (including general), 2 x 4Sp, 4x4Pi, 1x Ele, 1x 2Ps, 2x 3Wb.

 In terms of shield blazons for a dedicated army there are two obvious candidates. The classical Minoan symbol would be the bull, so a bull’s head would work for Crete (if treated as a separate entity) or dolphin – a frequent motif in art of the era. I have an army of old figures I bought off the Internet that is being designated for Atlantis alone, so I’ve used a bull’s head for the noble cavalry, guard infantry and elephant, with the dolphin/fish on the levy pikes. The elephant itself is by Garrison.


The Greeks

The main protagonist of Atlantis was Athens. Greece being a hotch-potch of city states it’s obvious that at least a couple of other states need to be represented. In my case, the choice is Corinth and Sparta, Corinth being one of the earlier major states and Sparta being – well, can’t imagine a Greek setup without them, especially in a more or less fantasy setting. I suppose one of my states should really be Mycenae but I’m sticking to the Classical rather than Archaic route.  Using a Classical basis, the three states need to be distinguished in some way.

I’ll start with the Corinthians. For these I simply use 10 x 4Sp and 2 x 2Ps. Standard hoplite army.

For Sparta, two things I wanted. Firstly, a king. Secondly, to use the Hippeis as actual cavalry. So the General is a 3Cv element. Not wanting the rest to be all hoplites, I’ve again gone for 2 x 2Ps, leaving 9 x 4Sp for the rest.

This leaves Athens. Classical Athens used Scythians as a police force and at least once hired Thracian mercenaries. So, again fitting in my own version of an army I use one each 2LH, 2Ps and 3Wb (prefer Wb to Ax for Thracians) to represent these. That leaves 9 4Sp elements.

These would make a good basic campaign; Troy could be included – I look on these as early Persians or Medes in this scenario. Others could be Lydia or Phrygia. Assyria could exist inland but an Assyrian excursion to the coast could meet an Atlantean expeditionary force to Asia Minor or Palestine. Egypt offers the chance of both Atlantis and Egypt fighting over Cyprus. Options are only limited by imagination and available armies.

Again, it’s well worth pointing out that most of the armies/countries here didn’t exist before about 800BC – my ‘Atlantis’ was long gone by then. One of the things that I find amusing is when I see people arguing over things like correct uniform or army compositions for mythical or completely made up armies, troops or races…

Fantasy elements

If you use HoTT rather than DBA you have the option of using elements of Greek and other mythologies.  Some of these are quite easy – a Minoan or Atlantean army could, for example, use Minotaurs as beast elements. A Phrygian option could be looked on as Colchian – Hydras would make good Behemoths. There are plenty of possible ‘monsters’ available, just pick the ones that suit.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

If you go down to the woods tonight...

It's a good idea to have some woods. As well as some general purpose dotted around the town trees.

So I've bought a load cheap Chinese trees.

Several different sizes up to 6" -  about 30 scale feet or so.  They cost £10.22 in total.

For this lot - 45 unbased trees. I'm basing them on 2p pieces.

Of course, a few monsters make the woods a bit scarier, so some Garrison S&S Tree Demons. Some of the flock has come off the trees in transit so I've glued some of it on the demons as added foliage.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Secret of Innsmouth

Some time I subscribed to a Kickstarter called 'The Secret of Innsmouth'. These were supposed to be available in September but.... got them last week.

Nice figures, fully compatible with my RAFM and Old Glory figures. Not sure when I'll be able to paint them - got a lot of other things to do first.

So, first Kickstarter was a definite success.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Turkish coup

Personal interest in that - my son is currently in Turkey on business. He says nothing happening where he is, so hope that situation continues. He was in Turkey when the bomb went off in the airport as well - flew home from there a couple of days later. As he says, dramatic things happen when he's in Turkey.

Remember 9/11. He was flying back from Indonesia then... and saw it happen on the screens in Singapore airport. They didn't have sound on so he didn't really know what was happening until he got home.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Brewery and Park completed

The A3 board system seems to be working but does need a few compromises. The brewery, for instance, was originally meant to be linear. All pieces on the brewery apart from the lorry are glued down; the park I've glued the fence but items like the clock and chairs are loose - I can forsee lots of variation in the future.

I've been buying various road and pavement sets for the table. However, many of these simply have the features'drawn' on in a dark sepia colour. So I bought a dark sepia marker and drew 1cm squares on the courtyard to represent 2' flags.

At the back, the paving is marked to represent cobbles.

That seemed to work, so when it came to the park I rather overdid it really... for this, I should probably have glued the grass in first, but I thought... 

So, cobbles for the front and back entrances, crazy paving inside. It looks quite effective.

The side view really does show off the park to it's best advantage.
 And finally a back view.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Miskatonic U preview

Knowing exactly what the problem was with the Manor House I've put it together to give an idea what the actual finished University will look like.

No problems with the gatehouse of course - fits well, looks good. The single coat of thinned paint works well, I'm quite pleased with the effect on the gate. Just the right amount of brown from the mdf shows through.

The gatehouse with the manor house main building behind.

This view gives an impression of the courtyard. The fence is by Blotz -  They're the only decent UK supplier for this kind of fence I've found so far. It would be good to have been able to make the grounds bigger but it has to fit on an A3 board. Even so, the manor house does overlap a bit where the side chimney is. I have plans in mind for that far corner attic floor by the chimney... Still considering the courtyard. I've bought a dark sepia artist's pen and will probably draw cobbles on by hand. Likewise, not sure whether to have the gate there or just use the gate in the gatehouse.

The bad parts... The first picture shows the joints - I've had to carve all the stubs down to make them fit. Looks ugly on close up, plus I didn't know where to cut down at first - so had to do all round. The difference between ground floor (before Sarissa email) and the slightly neater ground floor (only need to shave top and bottom surfaces) is quite clear...

But this is where it really went wrong and I called for help! Tried to force a joint too much and the entire ground floor basically collapsed. Damage to the outer wall doesn't show it all - there was an internal arch that collapsed as well - that actually threw out a few things on another outside wall. Result is that the ground floor is a disaster area - I didn't even attempt any internal detailing on this, plus glued the upper floor floor down to hold things in place  better - couldn't get it to fit properly without springing apart, so used main force until the glue set.

This gives a better picture of the damage. I had tried to shave things down, obviously just not enough...

Knowing the problem and shaving down every stub and internal fitting there were no more problems and it fitted together easily. The replacement should be much better than this effort!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

TT Combat Police Station

A while back one of Armand's posts on TMP led me to TT Combat and I said that was going to try them. My first attempt was the Police Station.

No instructions were given with the kit, but there is a UTube tutorial was put out by a previous purchaser. That video also mentioned that the motto and shield are actually Cornish in origin.

 Firstly, this one really was crying out to be painted. That Art Deco facade is so over the top the paint scheme had to be likewise... happily, the town has a colour scheme already, so  red, green and old gold as previously.

I did use one extra colour - the kick plate and hinges on the door are Vallejo Model Colour 70865 Oily Steel.A couple of areas still need touching up a bit.

How does it compare to Sarissa? They seem to match quite well. Here it is compared to one of the Sarissa City block buildings. Very similar in many ways, though construction has one major difference. Whereas on the Sarissa buildings each wall sits on top of the floor, TT Combat have walls slotting in the side. This means the wall can be 'flat', but does mean that if, like me, you prefer to build up floor by floor to ensure they fit and aren't misaligned, then there is a risk of sticking two floors together.

So, how was the kit? Parts fit together well. Generally they separated from the backing well, though some were not cut through enough - care needed in this operation. Overall, a good kit and, at £11.95 very good value for money. Having said that, you can find it even cheaper.

Friday, 8 July 2016

It's how you deal with it... Sarissa update

Re the Manor House, told them about the problem:

Sorry to be voicing dissatisfaction for one of your products - made a dozen or so and said nice things about them - starting with - but I'm afraid one of my latest ones, the Manor House, doesn't come up to scratch. Basically, the parts don't fit - slots are too small for the stubs to go in, and trying trying to force parts into place has just resulted in the thing getting smashed up. Again, I've made buildings from you Old Europe, Gaslamp Alley, City Block and South of the Border ranges and not encountered this.

Their answer:

Hi Rob,
Thanks for the message and sorry to hear of your problem and let’s see if we can sort it for you.

MDF as a sheeted product has a manufacturing tolerance that we are aware of and allow for in our building designs. We also check our batches when received and grade them so that any which are on the thicker side don’t get used for building kits etc. We are only talking about perhaps 0.2mm but it all adds up.

I would suspect in this instance we’ve managed to mix a thicker sheet in with them and thus your having some problem with the kit. As I say we’re talking fractions of mm’s and nothing your eye would see but due to the precision nature of the kits it will have an effect on some components.

We’ve missed todays post but I will get a replacement kit out to you on Monday and if you have any issues or questions then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

I hope this is satisfactory and many thanks for your patience,


Which is how you deal with things, well done Sarissa.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Sarissa Manor House - first disappointment

Currently trying to make this as part of Miskatonic U. Gatehouse done, great, right up to the standard I've started to expect. Manor House? Every joint is so tight, and in some cases just don't fit. Result? I think this one is going to be an expensive wreckage.

Quite simply, I've made up a dozen or kits so far, generally nothing but good things to say, but if this lemon had been the first one I'd bought there wouldn't have been a second.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

It's just too big...

Today, spent quite a bit of time making up some Blotz railings to go round the park.  Still some touching up of paintwork to do, but basically got it together and loosely set the park up.

I think it's pretty obvious from these two pictures that the band stand just totally overpowers the scene. With it there, there's not really much room for anything else!

Happily, there are always other possibilities. In this case, putting a town clock into the park rather than in a more central, well, town, position seems to be a bit more balanced. There would be other options - perhaps a fountain? Blotz do one that is still a bit big but could be made to fit. There are lots of resin/metal fountains out there, just a matter of how compatible...

The clock tower, by the way, is the one in Downham Market. There was a Caithness Crystal store in King's Lynn and they used to commission Liliput Lane limited editions. My wife Sandra collected these - very useful as they came out around her birthday - and when I saw this one I bought a 'spare'.  They brought out two different clock towers - I've got a spare for the other one as well, so one will go in the town anyway.

Still waiting for the University to arrive - that's  going goiung to need fences as well, so next order will be to Blotz.

Meanwhile, memo to self - must go through and update some of the labels for these posts...