Canaanites and Sea Peoples

Posted: August 22, 2014 in Ancients, Uncategorized

After putting together my Dark Age forces on Impetus-style bases, I realized that I really like the look of them, and so I decided to base the rest of my ancients the same way. I like the consistency of having them all based the same way, and I can use them for a variety of different rules. Right now, one of the rules I play is Hail Caesar, and this works just fine for that. I’m also thinking that I can adapt the Dux Bellorum rules for other periods, so this should work either way.

The first of the ancient units I based this way were my Canaanites and Sea Peoples. Eventually, I’ll get my Egyptians finished to join them. First up is the Canaanite king and retainers. This could also serve as an elite unit of household spearmen. All of the figures in this unit are Wargames Foundry.

Canaanite King's Guard

And here is a unit of ordinary spearmen. These guys are by Cutting Edge. I really like the Cutting Edge figures, but I found that they don’t all match up well with the Foundry Canaanites. They tend toward the small side in comparison.  The army looks just fine if I segregate them into their own units, however:

Canaanite Spearmen I


Next up are some Canaanite skirmishers, a unit of slingers and a unit of archers. These are all Cutting Edge. I’m putting the skirmish units on bases with half the depth of other units in order to distinguish them.

Canaanite Slingers

Canaanite Archers


If I want to use these to play Dux Bellorum, I have to have something to represent leadership points. Rather than using poker chips or dice to mark them (which I hate), my solution is to use command figures, as I pointed out in the Arthur Rex posts. I think it looks more “organic” on the table that way. I made up several for both armies, and they can double as command units when playing with another set of rules. Here are some of the Canaanite leadership points,all of which are Foundry figures. I put them on square bases to distinguish them from the casualty markers.

Bronze Age Leaders


And here are the casualty markers. Most of these are from the Old Glory Trojan Wars casualty pack but converted with head swaps.

Bronze Age Casualties

Now we come to the Sea Peoples invaders. The first unit is mostly Old Glory (One has a head swap and is waving his helmet). The rest are primarily Foundry, with a couple of figures from MDS scattered around.

Sea Peoples Infantry II

Sea Peoples Infantry I

Sea Peoples Infantry III


Last up are the Sea Peoples’ chariots. I had some chariots already in the lead pile just begging to be used for something, and I bought a bunch of crew members for them. I used Castaway Arts because they were the only figures I could find with a small enough stance to fit into those narrow cabs.

Sea Peoples Chariots

Here is the third post in the series (Following Part 1 and Part 2 ) as I slowly build my Romano-British army for Dux Bellorum. This time, I’ve got the infantry to show.

First up are the “ordinary shieldwall” units. I like using the 120mm x 80mm bases for this because I don’t need to worry about swords and spearpoints getting snapped off during a game because they don’t extend beyond the front edge of the stand. This also makes it easier to store them as well.

As you can see, the ordinary shieldwall as not particularly well armored, and I used a mix of troops in order to give an irregular look. These guys are definitely not regulars. They’re farmers and fishermen with whatever armor and weapons they can find, kept together by a few junior officers.

Shieldwall 2


Shieldwall 1


Shieldwall 3


Next up is a unit of “noble shieldwall”. These men have much better armor than the other men, but their role is the same. These men group together with the rest of the shieldwall to form an unbreakable defense line (or so it’s hoped). These are the anvil while the cavalry shown in the earlier posts are the hammer.


Noble Shieldwall


This basically completes the Romano-British army, at least enough to play a game. It’s a small army, with only three cavalry, including the commander’s unit, and 4 infantry. I have enough points to add another unit or some skirmishers, but these points can also be used to “buy” some of the special strategies in a game. Eventually, I plan to expand the armies I build so that I can use them with other rules such as Hail Caesar and Impetus.

In addition to the actual units, I’ve also created some markers for the game. Rather than using dice or poker chips, I like to use markers that look like they are organic to the action. So, the first shot here is of some Saxon casualties (To go with the upcoming Saxon army) used to mark hits on a unit. These are from a pack of Old Glory casualties from the “Somerled the Viking Slayer” range. They’re really supposed to represent a later period than what I’m working with, so I made some minor conversions to let them fit in a little more. I changed some of the helmet types as well as a couple of head swaps. You get 20 casualties in a bag for a low price, and they are not bad sculpts at all, so it’s a pretty good deal.

Saxon Casualties


Last up is what I’m using to represent Leadership Points (LPs). Basically, I’m using command figures, but I differentiate them from the casualties by putting them on square bases. So, for example, if you see an enemy unit with three figures standing next to it, that unit has 3 LPs.

This figure is from West Wind. I need 6-9 markers for each army, so I’m going to also use the Musketeer Miniatures Arthurian character figures for this. The bonus to this method is that I can simply use them as command figures if I play another set of rules. I’m all about flexibility!

British LP


The next army in this series will be the Saxons. I’ve already finished some of the Saxon army, so hopefully I’ll post those shots next month. See ya then!


At this point, I’m still hard at work building my Dark Age forces for Dux Bellorum. But, I wanted to play with the rules a bit, so I used some proxy armies to stand in until I finish, and played a game against my son, Danny. This was the first game for both of us.

The armies I chose were already based on Impetus-style stands, and were Ancient Canaanites and Sea People. The composition of the two proxy armies were close enough to those of the Dux Bellorum army lists that I could use them with very little adaption. So, the Sea People became my virtual Irish (My son’s command) and the Canaanites became Romano-British (My troops).  For this game, we did not use any of the built-in strategies and tactics except for giving the Sea People the Chariot option (Because that’s what they had). Also, I fudged the list a bit by giving the Canaanites an extra skirmish unit. The Sea People army, thus was composed of 3 chariot units (including the general), 5 ordinary warriors, 1 skirmish unit with bows, and another with javelins. The Canaanite army had a foot companion, 3 noble shieldwall units, 3 ordinary shieldwall, and 3 skirmishers. The Canaanites were the repellers, so I set them up in two main groups, with the general plus 2 shieldwall occupying a hill on the right and the three remaining shieldwall set up on some open ground on the left, facing a small patch of forest. The skirmishers were spread out more or less evenly across the front. The Sea People set up in three groups: One large group of of 3 warrior units on their left facing the hill, and two warrior units plus both skirmishers in the patch of woods to their right. The chariots hung back menacingly in a group near the center behind the main line of warriors.

On turn 1, the Sea People began to move forward. The large group of warriors on the Agressors’ left made good progress, and the skirmishers emerged from the woods. However, one of the units of warriors in the woods failed their bravery test and wouldn’t budge. In response, the Canaanite skirmishers ran forward to shoot missiles at the enemy while the two shieldwall groups held steady.

Turn 1ATurn1B


By Turn 2, the skirmishers of both sides were within missile range of their enemy and a very spirited exchange ensued. Danny’s main group of warriors moved forward toward the shieldwall occupying the hill, but he kept the chariots back, out of range. However, the unit in the woods failed another bravery test and he decided to move its partner unit to the edge of the woods and no farther until he could get the reluctant warriors moving to join them. Casualties began to mount among the skirmishers of both sides.

Turn 2


By turn three, the main group of Sea People warriors were now within charge range of the hill. A unit of their skirmishers were driven off, however, and now Canaanite missiles were beginning to fall among the formed troops. Danny now spent extra leadership points to boot his reluctant warriors on the right forward, trying to get them lined up with their sister unit holding the edge of the woods. The Canaanite shieldwall continued to hold their position. I wasn’t about to give up the advantage of the hill.

Turn 3


On turn 4, the Sea People infantry charged up the hill and crashed into the shieldwall. There was a vicious battle here, with both sides taking casualties, although the Canaanite defenders were obviously coming out ahead in the struggle. The warriors in the woods were now lined up and ready to move forward. The chariots still did not enter the fight, but shifted position slightly to face the shieldwall down on the open ground and move within charge range. Most of the skirmishers on both sides were now gone, leaving the fight to the bigger formed units.


Turn 4


On turn 5, the chariots, including the Sea People general, rolled forward and crashed into the shieldwall roughly in the center of the Canaanite line. On the hill to the chariots’ left, the battle raged and a few units on both sides were now within one cohesion point of breaking.

Turn 5

Finally, on Turn 6, two Canaanite units broke and ran, opening two big holes in the line. Danny quickly took advantage of this to push his troops into the gaps and to wrap around the men still remaining. The shieldwall down on the plain held firm, but the line on the hilltop was in tatters.


Turn 6


By turn 8, the Canaanite general lay dead with his men on the hill, and army took a morale check. The men on the plain continued to hold, although the hill was now swarming with enemy warriors and they were now outflanked. It was at this point that they still-unbloodied Sea People warriors found the bravery to finally advance out of the woods toward them. It was at this point that we decided to call the game a Sea People win.

Turn 8

Both of us enjoyed the game. The rules were simple enough that we eventually both stopped looking at the charts because we could tell what the combat modifiers would be at a glance. Armies are small, as well as the table itself, and this ensured that the game moved forward rather quickly. It’s worth noting here that this game was helpful in getting us acquainted with DB’s Leadership Point rule, and we were both able to clearly see that there is a certain amount of nuance involved with their use. During the early turns, we distributed the points to the skirmishers, mostly, to reduce casualties from missile fire as well as to try to maximize our own fire. Danny discovered that the LPs are essential to getting your line moving together, so he diverted a significant number toward boosting the bravery checks of the warriors stuck in the woods. Finally, during the big melees when the lines came together, LPs were now mainly used to add to the attacks (For the warriors trying to break the line) or to reduce hits received (For the shieldwall trying to hold the line). It became evident to both of us that using LPs required some care and that a mistake in how and where you spent them could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

This is a continuation of the Early Dark Age project I started here. To recap, I am building several armies for playing the Dux Bellorum rules. I’m starting with the Romano-British, then the Saxons, followed by Picts and then Late Romans. Normally, building 4 wargame armies is a HUGE endeavor (for me, anyway), but Dux Bellorum uses small armies, which makes it much more feasible. I’ve decided to base each of my units on single stands, Impetus-style. I like the look of the bases and I figure that I can use them equally well for Impetus or Hail Caesar rules if the mood strikes, and probably other rule sets as well.

At this point, I’ve finished the Romano-British general’s stand (King Arthur himself) and have moved on to another unit of noble cavalry. If you take a peak at the previous post in the link above, you’ll see that I’ve changed the placement of some of the men. I’ve also changed my mind on the shield patterns and decided to paint them out. I wanted to give the noble riders the look of “icy-hued shields”, and this is just my personal interpretation of what that might look like. The lower ranks will have all the pretty shield designs. King Arthur 1

King Arthur 2

King Arthur 5 King Arthur 3

All of the figures are by Gripping Beast and Musketeer Miniatures. I have a second noble cavalry unit that I’m currently working on, so that will make three cavalry units in total, including general.

In addition, I’ve made up some casualty markers to mark hits on units. The ones featuring Saxons doing deplorable things to helpless Britons are by Gripping Beast. The one showing a nobleman supporting his wounded buddy is by West Wind, from their Death of Arthur vignette. The horse was once standing normally, but I hacked off the rear legs and sculpted new ones along with the saddle, which represents the absolute pinnacle of my limited sculpting abilities.



Next article in this series, I’ll present the Romano-British shieldwall.


Arthur Rex

Posted: January 27, 2014 in Dark Ages, Uncategorized

I recently bought the rule book Dux Bellorum, and it has fired up my interest in getting into gaming the early Dark Ages. I’ve never actually played that period, but I’ve always liked it better than the later Dark Ages (You know, Vikings, Normans and Saxons. And more Vikings!). One of the things I like about the rules is that the armies aren’t huge – Averaging about 10 units per side, with each unit occupying a single stand. This means you can get into it without a financially crippling initial investment. I could feasibly build all of the armies listed in the book before I’m old and grey.

I decided to go with 120mm Impetus-style stands, even though the game can be played with smaller stands. I just like the look of it, and it will give me a chance to really purty ’em up. Here is my first unit, my Romano-British warlord and companions, King Arthur. As you can see, the groundwork is unfinished. These are all Gripping beast figures. I’ll post some more pictures as I go.

King Arthur Front

King Arthur Rear

The Punic War at Sea

Posted: December 4, 2013 in Ancients, Uncategorized

These are some 1/600 scale galleys I painted a few years ago. All of them (I think) are from Xyston, and my goal was to create two fleets – One Roman and one Carthaginian. I apologize for the shots being somewhat blurry:




I decided to leave off the sails and main masts, as these would have been removed before going into battle. I wanted the ships to look as they would during the middle of a fight. To differentiate the two sides, I went with different color schemes, although I’m not aware that the actual combatants really ever did this. The Roman ships include a lot of red, and the Carthaginians have white on their bows. To identify the individual ships, I made name tags. The Roman names came from a list of actual Roman ship names I found on the internet. The Carthaginian names are simply the names of gods and goddesses in their pantheon.




As you can tell, there are several sizes of ships, ranging from the tiny Roman liburnae up to a huge heptereme. There are also a couple of merchant sailing vessels, which can represent any side.



In recent months, I began a project to expand my two Mexican-American War armies to be able to field at least a corps per side. I hadn’t really settled on a set of rules to use with them exclusively, so I based all the infantry on 40mm x 40mm squares, which seems to be a fairly universal basing scheme for this period. Now, as the two sides have grown bigger than a division each, I’ve begun to add terrain features for the period and I’m considering putting on a convention game with them later in the year, but we’ll see how that goes.

First up are some Mexican line infantry. These are all Old Glory except for the officer in the broad-brimmed hat, which is by Cannon Fodder. Notice I still haven’t added flags yet.

Mexican Infantry I

The next regiment is made entirely of Cannon Fodder Miniatures. These are actually from the Texas Revolution period, about 10 years previous, so they are wearing the old style shakos. My rationale for allowing this is: A) the Mexican army suffered from severe equipment shortages and not everyone got what they needed, so it seemed plausible that a regiment might hang on to their old equipment for a while. B) The figures are great, from a company that is sadly no longer active. They had to go in.

Mexican Infantry II

Next up are some Mexican leva (levies). In addition to the regular army, which consisted of permanente (permanent or regular) and activa (reserve), there was also the option to levy local troops for short-term emergencies. These were not well-equipped at all. I have represented them by putting most of them in civilian clothes with only a few in pieces of uniform. The ones pictured are nearly all Old Glory, although my leva units include a few 1st Corps and Dixon figuresas well. The priest holding the cross is actually a Eureka figure, which I thought would be the perfect addiction to exhort the campesinos to resist the invaders. Sorry about the fuzzy photos. I will try to get some better shots included in the future.

Mexican Leva III

Mexican Leva I

Next are some US regular infantry. All of these are Old Glory figures:

US Infantry II

US Infantry I

Here are some US artillery teams, also Old Glory.

US Artillery

Finally, here are some Texas Rangers, but these could also stand for volunteer cavalry from other states, or possibly filibusters in a pre-war scenario. These are all Old Glory:

US Cav I




US Cav V