Three down.

Got the first 3 units finished. All looking a little samey, so I’m going to try a base of boar boyz and some light units next to break things up. Just got to wait for the glue to set on the boars and somehow  come up with a way to do archers.

Not a huge fan of the rocky outcrops, so that’s the last you’ll see of them. For anyone interested in ancients, I’m pretty sure that if you paint them with flesh tones instead of green you’ll end up with any barbarian horde you care to mention from history.

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First test base.

I decided to go with making up an orc base first simply because it will give me a bit more time to figure out proper ancient formations. 

A bit more tweaking with the colours and some work on the base is still needed. The others have rocky outcrops on them, which helps a bit. The idea will be they’re attacking a dwarf stronghold up in the moutains. I can do a base of trollslayers as part of the opposing army that way.

I have been trying to think of a good/easy way to do squigs. It’s going to take a fair bit of sculpting, so my laziness may well insure they never see the light of day. They seem like a better way to go than boar boyz – the tests for them haven’t been impressive. 

Anyway, the first 10,000 orcs are almost done.

2mm Ancient Madness

I’ve really enjoyed following Mark Backhouse’s fantastic 2mm ancients sculpting project recently, which you can see a little bit of here if you haven’t done already:

Now, I love what Mark has done and had funnily enough been looking at the available 2mm figures around the same time that I saw his posts on Twitter. The only issue is that I can’t sculpt, so could I come up with something that looks similar without having to crack out the green stuff?

I thought if I could find something with small enough grains and more irregularity than sand, there may be a chance I could bypass all the hard work and knock out something that looks like thousands of people standing in a field relatively easily.

And the answer turned out to be this:

As crazy as it sounds, drying out used tea leaves and sticking them to a base results in a pretty realistic looking horde of hairy barbarians or mob of whatever ancient army you care to play with.

This is the test piece I produced to try out various formations. In the interest of total disclosure, I have next to no knowledge of how ancient armies fought and have only ever played Command and Colours for this period, so the number of ranks and pretty much everything else won’t be correct. But then that’s where you can do your thing and line them up exactly as you see historical fit.

The method is idiot proof in a way that can only be devised by an idiot.

First, either cut a piece of 2mm cardboard to the required shape or glue small aquarium stones in a blob for hordes.

Next, carefully paint on PVA and sprinkle on the dried tea leaves.

Seal it with some watered down PVA and prime it black.

Once you’ve done that you can paint the units up however you like and differentiate between troup types by making elite troups look more uniform and your average Iceni less so.

The one issue is going to be cavalry and chariots. I’ve got idea on how I might be able to trick the eye with them, but need to test it out first.

Skirmishers are also going to be a big problem, but there should be a way to approximate them.

Hopefully.

The other thing is could it work for Napoleonics? It would give a fantastic sense of the size of the armies involved which the other scales just don’t do for me. Here my shameful lack of knowledge on the subject lets me down again. I think the British fought in two ranks, which would be a very thin red line at this scale.  Still, squares might look great, as could units marching in column.

I’m going to keep on experimenting to see if it’s possible to make it work. I did try using Vallejo Plastic Putty instead of the tea, but I found the results weren’t anything like as good. The unit at the very bottom of the test piece was done this way and the level of texture to paint on is much poorer.

I also need to work on my colour choices, but, otherwise, I think there could be some fun to be had messing around with this. It’s not like I’m short of used tea bags and nappy boxes to chop up and there is something strangely statisfying about creating tens of thousands of bodies in a matter of minutes.

It could also work for Dragon Rampant and give you huge waves of orcs to play with. And with big bases you could fill a 6′ x 4′ with no problems at all. There’s a lot of possibilities, especially when you add scenery to the mix. Going to order some MDF bases next and see what I can come up with.

Dragon Rampant Heavy Foot.

I’ve finally managed to rebase the Mantic Revenants onto round bases. Going to use these as heavy foot and have two units in my first 24 point army.

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I bought a tub of summer grass so they match just a little bit better with the gaming mat I have. You’d never guess from the photo, but it definitely is a closer fit than the original spring grass I was using.

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Still undecided about tarnishing the metalwork further. It looks ok as is, just feel it should be a lot less shiny given the state of the bloke wearing it. Will have to do a test model and see what a bit of rust does to them.

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Dragon Rampant Undead.

I’ve started putting together a warband for Dragon Rampant from some Mantic Undead figures that haven’t seen the light of day for five years.

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This motley lot are going to be a unit of Light Foot. I was considering experimenting with pigments or GW technical paints to rust them up a bit, so any advice on the best way to go would be appreciated.

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Next up is the necromancer, an old Gamezone choas wizard. I used him as a Heavy Missle unit in my one and only test game so far, so it will be interesting to see how that changes as things go along.

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Last is a Gamezone vampire, who I’m running as an Elite Foot unit. The rest of warband it will be made up of my Heavy Foot Grave Guard, which may well be the next post.

It’s a start.

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