Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Aventine Miniatures Unarmoured Byzantine Skutatoi

Just a quickie this morning! I have finished the brushwork and varnishing of the first eight miniatures, which amounts to one and a half ranks of four in the first Unarmoured Unit of Early Byzantine Skutatoi I have planned. Another unarmoured unit is slated in after this one.

I started these quite a while back but was quite seriously "distracted" by my Anglo Danes, an army of which roughly at about at the half way stage now. By applying my "Rule of Threes" (I know! Crazy!) the Anglo Danes have now been put to the back of the queue of my three ongoing projects remaining visible on the "To Do" shelf. I find that it very useful to have a visual reminder of what projects I have have been currently working on as this tends to stop me from straying into temptation when it comes to all things shiny on the 28mm wargames market! We have all been there!

That said, I have avoided repletion and can now present the first eight Unarmoured Unit Early Byzantine Skutatoi. On the painting table I have presently the next eight which includes the command. The command being among my favourites to paint as there are the rather juicy hand paint the banners and patches to paint which are always great fun. Talking of banners, I am beginning to run out of ideas for banners for this army and only have Theodora and Belisarius as images that are easily adopted for the Sixth Century CE. So, it anyone has any suggestions, preferably bases on 6CE Byzantine art, please let me know.

The army will be moving forward into the Heraclian era as I have plenty of infantry models that are suitable thanks to the substantive and beautiful Aventine Early Byzantine range, which has plenty of scope for later infantry types beyond the Justinian era.

So, here are the eight completed thus far..... all the images are, as usual, "clickable" if you want to take a closer look.

Monday, 11 January 2021

Anglo Danish Huscarls/Fryd Fourth Unit Finito

All the images in this article are "Clickable"

It has been slow progress of late on the painting table. A mixture of growing anxiety and isolation. I've been in self contained isolation now for nine months and I would be lying if I said it was not beginning to really get to me. Worry not, I wont dwell on this. I just needed to say it "out loud" for the sake of my own sanity. Back to the toys.

The fourth unit of Anglo Danes have now happily been completed. That is four out of the projected six and one unit of Norse as allies. I have another five Shieldwall Markers, four 40mm x 40mm Command and 12 bases of Skirmisher types to complete. I'm going be kind to myself and say that I'm just shy of being half way through the army. :>)

In order to keep things fresh on the painting table and with a view to hopefully putting on a game later this year at a show [fingers tightly crossed] I have decided to switch back over to my Early Byzantines for a while. Since returning to the hobby last November and having found a new "discipline" to my painting regime I feel confident that both projects will be completed by October this year, in so far as any wargames project is ever completed! I have been in communication with Keith from Aventine Miniatures who has provided me with clues as to what is planned for release with their spectacular Early Byzantine Range. If you are interested in the Eastern Romans/Early Byzantines you really must take a look at this very high quality range.

Back to the Anglo Danes.....

As mentioned earlier it has been slow going of late but the unit if finally varnished and based. This particular unit is my favourite out of all the Anglo Danish units I have painted thus far (all four lol). The mini taking the arrow in the chest along with the mini catching an arrow in his shield have set off the unit nicely without having what is arguably too dominant a feature such as some of my earlier casualties on the stands which took up most of the space on a base. 

One of the most fun and challenging aspects of putting together a unit in a tight Shieldwall formation is positioning the miniatures. To keep the appearance of mutual interaction during combat. This is not as easy as one might first think, especially on 40mm x 40mm bases! I think I have managed to make most of the miniature "talk" to one another. What do you think? I'm always open to suggestions so please leave a comment if you can think of a way of improving the over all impact of the composition.

First Huscarl Base- Command:

Second Huscarl Base:

Third Huscarl Base:

Forth Base- Fyrd:

Fifth Base- Fyrd:

Sixth Base- Fyrd:

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Anglo Danish Huscarls/Fyrd Back Rankers Unit Four!

I found myself two thirds if the way through a unit with the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge coming on. The date for starting to paint is late December but due to a multitude of other considerations I find myself in the unusual position where my first post for the AHPC will be the back ranks of a unit I was already working on. This would be a great  opportunity to combine my first entry with the  of present a brief article on the varnishing process and how I construct a unit which, I hope, will be full of dynamism.

I have a major project painting coming up this month, which for reasons that I cannot discuss here (the dark arts of painting wargames figures!) so I need to get my first post into the challenge ASAP! The kind folks at The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge agreed that, in order to get my first post in by the requisite date I could post up pics of the unit un-based then post a later image of them based in order to claim the points!

For anyone interested in how I go about my varnish there is a very comprehensive recent article on this very blog here; Varnishing Dark Age Period Miniatures- Gloss and Matt- My Way

Glossed Miniatures:

(You can see why I matt them down!)

Matted Down Miniatures:
(Done with two coats of varnish)

Front on and Overhead View of Based Back Ranks:

The Whole Unit Prior to Adding Filler then Sand/Grit and Painting the Base:

The secret, if I can call it that, to getting the miniatures to look representative of a closely packed group of Huscarls and Fyrd working on combination is to plan out what miniatures are to go where prior to even adding the primer. This can be sketched out with the bare metal miniatures by placing them on the bases after gluing their respective shields, shields, swords and axes in place and then taking a photo on my phone just so I have a concrete reference for how I want the composition to look. 

The next step is to paint up, gloss then matt down all the miniatures! This takes time as I always leave a week between the gloss coat and the matt coat to make sure the gloss ifs "fast" and will not chemically interact with the matt varnish. It can be a bit frustrating looking at a very glossy assemblage of miniatures on a shelf for a week but the end result is worth waiting for.