Saturday, December 23, 2017
I decided that I needed a Christmas project to get me back into painting again and the Victrix war elephant, which came out last month, seemed to be just the thing. I already have a small force of Republican Romans for the period painted and even a unit of Carthaginian infantry. I ordered it on Monday and it arrived today so I spent an hour or so this afternoon starting work on it. Although Victrix products all used to come in (big) boxes, latterly, they have been using bags more and more but this was a sturdy bag made from thick plastic so the components were well protected and it arrived in a strong packing box.
There are four sprues; two each of an elephant and crew sprue. The elephant sprue includes two alternate left hand sides to add variety although, apart from one having its front left leg raised, they are identical, even down to the position of the tail. The crew sprue contains figures for three different nationalities: Carthaginian, Numidian and Roman. A Ptolemaic crew can be built by using the Carthaginian bodies with separate Ptolemaic heads (there are four sets of heads but only three sets of crew bodies). The mahout bodies can be given appropriate heads as there are plenty of heads to chose from. I'll look at these more when I get around to building the figures.
The first thing I did was stick the two halves of the elephants together. These fit really well with good, deep lips to ensure correct placement. A very small amount of sanding and filling was needed and given enough glue and paint you could probably get away without filling the two halves of the body. There are no bases supplied but I trimmed sown some Renedra bases into 5 x 5 cm squares, which is twice the size of the base I use for mounted troops which seems about right. I decided not to glue them to the elephants yet as I will want access to paint their undersides before doing so.
While these were drying I built the howdahs (yes, I know that Carthaginian elephants probably didn't have them but they just look better). This has four pieces (plus spear quivers). Two L-shaped side units go around the wooden plank effect floor piece very snugly and I attached the floor piece to one of these before attaching the other part. There is no need for any filling here, the fit is perfect. There is a separate 'howdah cushion' to go underneath it which has slots to fit the elephant body. I think I am going to take my old model kit approach to this and paint some of the assemblies before sticking them together so the howdah cushion (I am sure there is at technical term for this) will be painted before it is attached. I also bought the Little Big Men howdah and blanket transfers for this (£10 extra - they do these for the other nations' forces too) and think it will be much easier to paint and do the transfers of the elephant and howdah separately, rather than sticking everything together first.
Next it was time to attach the ears and armour-tipped tusks (they look like something you would get in Ann Summers", opined the Old Bat) and the elephants' trunks. There are two alternate trunks. These did have some, tricky to remove, light mould lines and will need a bit of filling where they connect to the head, as will the ears.
This is far as I got before the light went and they really were very easy to put together. Tomorrow I will do the last little bits of filling on the trunk and ears and hopefully undercoat them and the howdah. First painting, I think, will be the howdah cushions and the base coats for the howdahs. Enjoying this so far.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Friday, October 03, 2014
Now, although I don't post on many of my blogs very often that doesn't mean I forget about them completely. The arrival of the new Victrix plastics for the Punic War period has got me interested again so I ordered a box of their new Republican Romans. In fact, these are not the ones I ordered. I ordered the ones with pectoral armour but would have bought these anyway so didn't bother to send them back.
I first saw the three-ups for these at Salute 2013 and I think they look even better as a finished product.
Now, as I have mentioned before I did build a small army for this period using Crusader figures. Two small legions of 42 infantry figures each. I am going to organise my basic units the same way as 12 each of velites, hastati and principes and 6 triari. How many blocks of 42 will make a legion I am not sure yet.
Now, you always get a big box with Victrix and this is no exception with no less than 60 figures included. You get 36 legionaries, 18 light infantry (velites in my case as they will have shields) and 6 command. However, if you want to make 3 musicians (for which the parts are included) you will have to sacrifice 3 of your legionaries. I'm not sure yet how I am going to handle the command for my small units.
You get six of the main sprue which holds six legionary bodies and two light infantry. There are eight scuta and two round shields; so you get a couple of spare shields to use as markers or some such. There are 12 legionary heads and four light infantry heads, one of which is bare-headed. There are 10 arms with pila, four with javelin but only enough spears for three triari. This won't matter for me though as I will be able to use the ones from the other set with the pectorals when I get that. There is one arm holding a sword and a number of swords and daggers in scabbards (although each legionary has them moulded on - the light infantry do not).
There are two command sprues. Each has one standard bearer body a centurion body in bronze armour and two more light infantry bodies (which are different from the two on the other sprues; so in total you end up with six of two bodies and three of two others). There are five more light infantry heads and two officers heads (the standard bearer does not have a separate head). There are also two wolf skin Velite heads and capes so you can only have four out of your 18 velites in wolf skins. There are also four different standard bearer totems. There are more arms with swords, spear and pila too.
Compared to many Victrix figures these are easy to assemble because each figure basically has four parts: legs and body excluding right arm, right arm with weapon, head and shield. Simples! You have to be a bit careful when holding them as both the spears and helmet feathers stick up and are quite delicate (but not really delicate). Feathers on these figures were always a nightmare on metal models for this period; either too chunky or two delicate and liable to breaking of. Plastic really handles these well and they look just right. I like my Romans standing to attention rather than the more action packed figures produced by the likes of Warlord Games but you can have your legionaries holding their pila overarm if you want, by the look of it.
One thing I have noticed, which may be a slight problem, is that they hold their shield arms out to one side quite a long way. Once you stick a shield on there may be some issues in getting them to rank up if you get the angle of the shields wrong. If they hold their shields to the side that will work but they won't be able to hold them facing the front without them clashing with the figure to their left.
The velites are a bit more animated and should look very good too. So, all in all these really are the early Republican figures I have been waiting for and have no hesitation in recommending them; especially at 60 figures for £30. The allied legions are already out with the first Carthaginians not far behind. I can't wait for some plastic elephants!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I managed to get them finished today, slightly ahead of schedule. I will start work on the next unit (which is made up of A&A figures) but need to order some command for them. Once these are done I will probably mix the figures from the two units up a bit.
I painted most of the shields (very quickly) on the basis that your eyes are drawn to the LBM shield transfers so it doesn't matter what mine are like!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
The unit so far
This unit was going so well. I had finished the twenty figures except for the shields and I was just waiting for my LBM shield transfers to arrive. When they did I realised that they don't fit most of the shields in the Crusader packs. This is not LBM's fault, though. The problem is that they arrived with a mixture of three different shields, which is fine for veterans who have looted much of their gear. There were a number of hoplite type shields and this was OK as I had already got some Carthaginian transfers in stock.
Then there were the curved shields (above), which the LBM transfers were designed for, but the problem is that there were only three shields of this design included in the twenty that arrived; most were a flat design (below) for which LBM do not make a transfer.
Having just let them sit for weeks because I was so fed up with this I did glue all the shields on yesterday evening with the realisation that I am going to have to paint eleven shields by hand. This shows how lazy LBM has made me as, of course, this is what I always did before! I painted all my Spartan shields by hand and so shoouldn't be too put off by this!
The good thing is that now I know, with a bit of luck, that I should be able to get them finished this weekend! Next I have a unit of A&A Miniatures Carthaginian Veterans to start but at least I have all the right transfers for the shields for them!
I don't think that we are now doing Zama at the club; there doesn't seem to be that much interest and I don't even know if we have been entered for the SOA battle day or not as I haven't been there for months. Nevertheless, I always wanted a Carthaginian army so will carry on with these anyway.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Well I have started work on a 20 man unit of Crusader Miniatures Carthaginian Veterans. One thing I find curious is that they are all modelled with a sandalled left foot but a bare right foot!
I have also ordered some of A&A's Carthaginian veterans as they are sculpted by Mark Sims as well and they will lend some varity to what will have to be a reasonably large number of figures. I also ordered some of Little Big Men's shield transfers for the A&A figures and must get some for the Crusader figures.
As the Veterans were a collection of different nationalities largely equipped with looted Roman gear I have decided that they will have a somewhat non-uniform appearance; so different shields and different coloured tunics.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Well it went a bit quiet on the "will we or won't we do Zama?" front but now it looks as though we may be on to do a game at the Society of Ancients day after all. I'm struggling with envisioning the forces and so I have a dropped a note to Big Red Bat whose Zama project is truly awe inspiring.
Two things we have agreed we need are elephants and Numidian cavalry so maybe I could put in an order for some of those; probably from Crusader.