Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bohemond and body guard with scenery and backdrop

Loved this photo, had to post! Bohemond (red horse) and body guard (grey horse) with scenery, photo terrain, and photo backdrop.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

photographic battle mat

I made my own glossy print-out battle mat using textures from middle-eastern satellite photography, and some other ground/grass textures, blending together to form a mat that almost covers my 3' x 5' table.

Again, I wish the camera I'm using could capture the colours exactly as I'm seeing them, but I've tried to adjust some of the photos slightly to get them closer to the actual thing. The odd thing is, when I took the shot showing the whole table, and when I take zoomed in photos, it has different colours/tones in the photos, even though in real life they are the same colours/tones!

The upside of the glossy paper is that the quality of the printing is amazing, and the colours and light/dark in the printing is strong and clear. When printing on plain paper or cardstock, its very faded and muted.

The downside is that there are shadowy reflections of any scenery object or miniature that is placed on the map, because of the coating on the paper. However, this only becomes very visible when taking photos from down low, and most of the time, it's just not all that noticeable or jarring while moving around and playing on it.

Anyway, here's some photos with my two 15mm miniatures (yes, I have to do more of my army!!! Still waiting for plastic bases to arrive so I can actually base them)

this shot has two scales of minis in it


End of table view of the battle mat.






And a pic showing some minis on the mat. Still trying to work out exactly what colour to paint my bases when they arrive, tried it on a square of paper. I'll also be adding a gravelly flocked surface to the miniature bases, so they aren't just a flat painted square.

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOTR / Historical scale comparison

I just posted this photo on my Lord of the Rings blog, and since I'll be using LOTR Strategy Battle Game rules as the basis for my historical battles, I thought I'd post the comparison on here as well. It really shows just how small 15mm miniatures are!

For those who haven't visited my Lord of the Rings miniatures blog, it's at: http://paulslotrminis.blogspot.com/

Bohemond and his Body Guard

I completed his body guard today, riding a grey horse. Now all I need is the Taranto Banner Bearer and I have all three figures to put on a base.

Bohemond by castle walls

Finally have a 15mm miniature to see the scale of the castle walls! (Paper crossbowmen aren't quite the same thing)

painting Bohemond of Taranto part 2

And here he is, a 15mm scale knight miniature, as Bohemond of Taranto, one of the leaders of the First Crusade, and one of the three Early Crusader Commanders in my LOTR SBG historical rules supplement. This is my first attempt at painting a 15mm miniature. I may add some more gaudy details at a later date, as I become more confident painting things this small.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Painting Bohemond of Taranto pt1

I'm working on the Early Crusader heroes first, in order of my Historical LOTR SBG, First Crusade, Army Stats Book listing. So first up is Lord Bohemond of Taranto, one of the main Commanders of the First Crusade.

His main coloured are red, white and blue. He has a quartered shield, with the top left and bottom right squares being red, and the top right and bottom left squares being blue. He is wearing metal armour, and a white tabard, which will have a red cross on it. His horse is barded, and I decided that would be red too, with its hair being a pale, yellowish white.

Here's the horse after painting it and applying a brownish wash over it.



And here's Bohemond, blutacked by his lance to a citedal paint bottle, so that his body juts out into the air, and can be painted. I'll do most of his body in this position, then glue him onto the horse, and clean up his top half, and lance.

Miniatures Masses

I got my hundreds of 15mm miniatures in the mail today! I haven't used 15mm miniatures before, and I've got to say that, seeing them in person, I am astounded at the level of detail in them. People on the net are right in saying that Essex miniatures are the miniatures by which to compare others.

I'm in the busy process of sorting all the miniatures into groups according to how they will be glued onto bases. While the cost of the miniatures was phenomanally cheaper than 28mm, the packaging was very simple - each army in a paper gift bag, containing unlabelled snap-lock bags for each group of miniature types. However, since no two unit types look identical (ie, spearmen don't look like crossbowmen) sorting them has been easy.

Instead of using DBA/DBM, Field of Glory, or some other historical miniatures rules set, I've decided that I am making some house rules to supplement the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game (which I love and already know how to play) and have made a First Crusade army book giving stats and equipment to all the unit types in the Early Crusader, Fatimid Caliphate and Seljuq Turk factions, including creating historical heroes for each faction.

For the Early Crusaders, there are three types of heroes, being Commanders, Companions and Captains. So far I have all the Commanders and Captains, and one of the Companions, but I'll have to order the other two companions seperately because their type of miniature (monks/priests) are not a part of the FOG Early Crusader starter army collection.

Here's a photo to show the Early Crusader heroes, which I plan to assemble and paint first.

From top left to Top right, we have:
Bohemond of Taranto, his Banner Bearer, and his Man
Godfrey of Bouillon, his Banner Bearer, and his Man
Count Raymond of Toulouse, his Banner Bearer, and his Man
Legate Adhemar (Bishop of Le Puy) and his Standard Bearer

From Bottom left to Bottom right, we have:
Lord Walter Sans-Avoir, his Standard Bearer
Robert II, Count of Flanders, and his Standard Bearer
Duke Robert Shortstockings of Normandy, and his Standard Bearer
Count Stephen of Blois, and his Standard Bearer

All of these people were real people who actually fought in the Crusades. I've researched their biographies, and have images of their banners, shields, etc, so I can hopefully paint them up historically accurately.

The difference between a Standard Bearer and a Banner Bearer, is that any unit can have numerous Standards flying, which are flags, banners, coats of arms, ribbons, but the Banner Bearers are only 1 each for the three Commanders. They travel with their Banner Bearer, and can attach to groups of soldiers, giving a big combat bonus to those troops as long as the Commander and his Banner are with them.

The four captain (along the bottom) and the Bishop are able to attach to units to, but they do not give bonuses to the unit, they are simply heroes that can fight alongside them, or move independantly around the board.

Here's the photo of the Early Crusader Heroes, unpainted and unassembled:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

working on crusade era castle

A couple towers and walls. I haven't got my 15mm miniatures armies in the mail yet, so I printed out some scale images of archers to put atop the walls :)

Testing two different parts of the terrain poster map that I am going to get printed. I sat a small square printed at the base of the castle walls and cropped so the table doesn't show, to get a better idea of how the tones of the walls might look with the tones of the battle mat.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

photographic terrain mat

Testing my photographic terrain mat idea. I created a 3'x4' (or 3'x5', can't remember) terrain image from satellite photography of a semi-arid wastland landscape. The idea is that I've found a company that lets me upload a jpeg, and it prints the poster out and mails it to me. So, I'll have to wait and see what the quality of the poster is like. Anyway, this was a glossy print from home, and I've glued some static grass flocking in patches on it, and sat it with a 28mm sci-fi miniature, and a 15mm medieval castle round-tower.

The idea is that if I want different terrain types to battle over, I can print out a poster of that terrain type, then flock it in patches with grass or rocks or whatever is appropriate to that terrain type, and then place scenery objects on top of it, to make my miniatures battlefields.

Again, I'm a little annoyed with the camera's auto adjustments, because to the naked eye, the paint colour on the miniature's base is very similar to the tones in the photographic terrain image, but after taking the photo, the photo shows quite a difference between the two colours.



And here is the whole map, shrunk down so you can see on the blog what the terrain landscape should look like when it becomes a poster. It should be big enough to cover most of my gaming table :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

matching citedal paints to printer ink

I've been making a 'palette' in my graphics package (corel photopaint X3) to try and be able to make detailed banners, shields, etc, that are printed out and glued to the miniatures. My main goal is to have them print in colours that are very similar to the coloured paints (Citedal) that I am using when painting miniatures. That way, shields, banners, etc, will visually match with the figures themselves!

This photo doesn't really do justice to how it actually looks to the naked eye, as my camera tends to make lighting/contrast/saturation adjustments automatically when it takes photos. Basically, on the left is colours printed out on glossy paper, and on the right is paint on paper, with a black undercoat. In real life, they are so close to each other, that there is not a lot of difference, close enough that the printed objects blend really well with the painted objects. I might make some very minor tweaking, but for now, it's looking good.

It will still be a week or two before I have the medieval miniatures I am wanting to paint up, so no photo examples yet of miniatures with printed banners/shields, but the moment I've got something done up, I'll post it on here!

The paints showing here are: scorched brown, codex grey, goblin green, bestial brown, shadow grey, enchanted blue, catechan green, golden yellow, desert yellow, scab red, blood red, liche purple.

Constructing Nicaea

I have begun constructing some 15mm scenery objects for my first scenario, of the First Crusade: The Siege of Nicaea. The scenario is written in detail in the blog post prior to this one.

Here's a photo showing one of Nicaea's towers, beside a 28mm scale Lord of the Rings: Haradrim tower that I constructed for my fantasy skirmish games. (more on my Lord of the Rings hobbying at my other blog. (http://paulslotrminis.blogspot.com/)

The 15mm scale medieval round-tower is textured using stone work that I cut out of a photo of the walls of Jerusalem's Old City region, for added authenticity to the regions I will be Crusading in.

I made it in a graphics program, printed it out using a colour printer, and sticky taped it together.

First Crusade: (1) The Siege of Nicaea

(Main historical research source while designing scenario: Osprey: The First Crusade 1096 - 99: Conquest of the Holy Land. By David Nicolle.)
(Also, Google Earth for the layout of the southern part of the city walls, for the scenario map.)

The first scenario I have designed is about the first battle during the First Crusade, over the Byzantine city of Nicaea. The region north of the Holy Land had been conquered by the Seljuk Turk arabs, who were taking more and more land from the Byzantines. In Constantinople, Emperor Alexios sent forth a call to the west for mercenaries to help the Byzantines turn back the muslim forces.

In response, religious groups in Europe set the First Crusade in motion, to not simply help defend the Byzantine empire, but to push onwards to Jerusalem, to 'liberate' the Holy Land from muslims and take hold of Jerusalem.

To get to Jerusalem, the Crusaders had to first pass through the northern lands that lay under the control of the Seljuk Turks. Their first stop was to retake the Byzantine city of Nicaea from the Turks in May 6th 1097.

The Crusader contingents of Bohemond of Taranto, Raymond of Toulouse, Robert of Normandy, and Stephen of Blois, arrived over the next few days. They were supported by a Byzantine contingent of around 2,000 troops under the command of Tatikios.

A second Byzantine force supplied boats necessary to complete their siege of this city by the lakeside.

Eventually the Crusader forces numbered between 4,200 - 4,500 cavalry, 30,000 infantry, excluding non-combatants. Emperor Alexios remained at Pelekanon to supervise supplies.

HOW IT HAPPENED:
On 16 May, a Turkish relief force coming to aid the arabs who occupied the besieged city was soundly defeated by the Crusaders. They arrived from Melitene, under the command of Kilij Arslan, with Danishmandid allies.

Most of the force were mounted Seljuks, which enabled them to travel fast in the hope of relieveing the Turkish garrison inside the city, before the Crusader could establish proper siege lines.

Apparantly the Turks attacked Raymond of Toulouse's Provencals outside of the southern gate and wall, because this french contingent had just arrived and had yet to set up any defences. They would have hoped to break through the french forces, and into the city, to bolster its defences.

However, the Provencals held their ground, until Godfrey of Bouillon and Robert of Flanders rushed down from the eastern side of the city, striking the Turks in their flank.

The fighting took place in confined areas between the city walls and heavily wooded and hilled areas south of the city, giving the Turks little room to manoeuvre. As a result, Kilij Arslan withdrew after heavy losses.

AFTERMATH
Agents sent by the Byzantine Emperor Alexios convinced the Turkish garrison within the city to surrender.

Nicaea was handed over to the Byzantine negotiators (who did not want the city to be sacked and looted by the Crusader armies), while the Crusaders, ignorant of the Byzantine-Turk negotiations, were still assaulting a different section of wall, on 19 June. The wall was breached, and to the Crusaders, the city seemed doomed to fall – but with the secret surrender, Byzantine troops had already moved in to garrison the city, and the Crusaders were surprised to see Emperor Alexius’ banner fly over the city walls.

The battle was over.

The Crusaders were further galled when they learned of the safe conduct granted to the Turkish Garrison. It was the beginning of a growing enmity between the Crusaders and their ‘employer’, the Byzantines, which would become increasingly overt as the Crusades continued.

THE SCENARIO



Crusader Starting Positions:
Raymond of Toulouse's french Provencals are situated outside the southern wall, before the south gate, having just arrived, and yet to make any defences as their thoughts turn to laying siege to the city.

Godfrey of Bouillon and Robert of Flanders have their forces to the north-east. They will enter the map from that corner during the first turn.

Crusader Starting Forces:
(Based on the Early Crusader Starter Army: Field of Glory: Swords and Scimitars page 7)

Each Crusader Force:
1 battle group (4 bases) of Knights each
1 battle group (8 bases) of Spearmen each

Bohemond and Godfrey have 1 battle group (6 bases) of Crossbows each, Bohemond is a Field Commander (C-in-C) and Godfrey is a Troop Commander.
Raymond has 1 battle group (6 bases) of armed Pilgrims, and he is a Troop Commander.

The commanders may only join with their own group forces in combat, though any Crusader over-all army commanding rolls come from Bohemond, as C-in-C in this battle.

Muslim Starting Positions
(Seljuk Turk Starter Army: Field of Glory: Swords and Scimitars)
Kilij Arslan and his Danishmandid support are coming from the south and southeast, hoping to break through the french forces and through the city gate to join the garrison.

Muslim Starting Forces:
Kilij Arslan has:
1 Field Commander (C-in-C)
1 Troop Commander
1 battle group (4 bases) Seljuk Nobles (cavalry)
2 battle groups (4 bases each) Ghilmans
2 battle groups (4 bases each) Turcomans
1 battle group (6 bases) Foot Archers

Danishmandid Support has:
1 Troop Commander
1 battle group (4 bases) Ghilmans
1 battle group (4 bases) Turcomans
1 battle group (6 bases) Foot Archers

Any turn that a muslim unit is able to move through the gate into the city, the gate will be open for them to enter - as long as no Crusaders would be able to move through the gate in that same turn. Simply work out the furthest any nearby Crusaders could move, and if they could move through the gate, it will remain shut.

The Crusaders win if they defeat the Seljuk forces. The Seljuk forces win if they are able to get a large amount of forces into the city. The game is a tie if only a small amount of forces get into the city, and the rest are defeated. The game can be made easier or more difficult by simply changing how many Seljuk units need to enter the city to win.

Seljuk archer forces are also able to begin the game atop the city walls! These represent forces already defending the city, and commander/morale effects do not apply to them. They are automatically defeated if the rest of the Seljuk forces that are not on the wall are defeated, or if they are slain through battle.

Alternate History
As I have yet to collect any Seljuk Turks, and am currently focusing on collecting Fatimid Caliphate (Field of Glory: Fatimid Egyptian Arabs Starter Army Set) who were the faction controlling Jerusalem at this time, I am including alternate history rules with my scenarios, as a guide to playing the same scenario with different forces.

Fatimid Caliphate Forces:
Main Force:
C-in-C Field Commander, and 1 Troop Commander
2 battle groups (4 bases each) Arab Lancers
2 battle groups (4 bases each) Mamluks
1 battle group (6 bases) Abid al-shira Javelins
1 battle group (3 bases) Abid al-shira Archers

Support Force:
1 Troop Commander
2 battle groups (4 bases each) Bedouin Light Cavalry
1 battle group (6 bases) Abid al-shira Javelins
1 battle group (3 bases) Abid al-shira Archers
1 battle group (6 bases) Armenian Archers

Paul's 15mm Miniatures Blog

Hi, and welcome to my 15mm miniatures blog. I'm only just entering into the realm of 15mm miniatures, having long been a player of standard 25-30mm skirmish games. My main interest in historical miniatures is the medieval Crusades era, and as such I have recently purchased an Early Crusader army and a Fatimid Caliphate army.

Hopefully they'll arrive in the mail this coming week, or the next, and I'll get down to painting and basing them, etc, and show pictures and talk about what I'm doing.

I've also been doing a lot of research on the Crusades, and am making a series of historical scenarios for battles, based on the Starter Army Sets listed in the Field of Glory army book: Swords and Scimitars. I'm not actually playing Field of Glory, but I've been using their army books to learn more about factions, and what sorts of units they field. I've actually been assembling my own miniatures rules based on a mix of games, such as Field of Glory, and a siege system that I stumbled across on the internet, using some of their ideas, but generating my own d20 large-scale wargaming system.

So I'll be talking more about my home rules system in this blog, and the armies that I collect over time.