Friday, 29 July 2011

Plans for August

At the moment I'm waiting for some glue to dry before I finish off the models I'm listing as my "accomplishment" for July, so I'm going to approach this in a slightly backwards fashion and reveal what I'm planning to do for August.

Of course, if you're an avid reader of this blog (I know there must be one out there, somewhere. Oh, really, there's no one? Well, never mind) then you'll have seen the teaser image I posted last time and you may very well have guessed what I'm doing, but I'll spell it out.

In August, I'm planning to paint a baggage marker for my Romans. Since I use the Romans to play Impetus, and in Impetus you're required to have a camp or baggage train, it's a little bit embarrassing that up until now I've just used a blank base. I mean, it's the one unit I have to use each time. I should be ashamed.

So I've decided to make up for my past transgression with a (hopefully) really nice diorama-style baggage piece. A lot of players seem to go for tents or forts for their camps, which I can see the appeal of, but I wanted to do something with a bit more character.

When I went to Triples one of my goals was to find something I could use to build this scene. I had an idea in mind for what I wanted to do but I was going to be dictated to by what models were available. I wasn't disappointed, as the Donnington stand had some really nice non-combatant pieces that I stocked up on.

Here's all the bits that will go into my baggage train, on my shamefully untidy desk.
The idea is to have this piece represent all the baggage train and hangers-on moving along a road behind the lines. There will be merchants and baggage at the sides of the road as well. I want to give the impression that not everything is military related.

Before I started putting things together, I cut an index card to the same size as the baggage base, and drew around the bottom of each model so I could mark where they'd go and see that they all fit. This showed me that I needed a curve in the road - I had planned to have the road just go diagonally corner to corner, but the ox-cart is so big that this would mean the other models on the road being really squashed.

So here's the diagram again:
So this is supposed to be a senator walking at the front, in conversation with an officer (a Greek general model from Xyston) who is on a horse. This works quite nicely as the two models have their heads turned in opposite directions. I have lictors from the Roman officer Xyston packs that can flank the senator as his bodyguard (which is what lictors are for, so that's nice). The idea of the Greek model is that he's either a prisoner who's been treated honorably, or he's a diplomat of some sort, depending on who my enemy is in each game!

Following this group is an ox cart, which is filled with baggage. This is being guarded by two triarii, which I painted in July. I could spin some story about triarii guarding the cart as they're experienced enough to know it's an easy job, but really they're the only models that aren't in a fighting pose so they don't look out of place.

There is a handler model that came with the cart, but he's meant to be medieval. I've filed off the obviously medieval bits, but I'm still not sure whether to use him or where he'll go - if he does get used he'll either be leading the cart or he'll be with the camel at the side of the road.

Speaking of the camel, this is meant to represent a merchant trying to drum up some business from the passing soldiers and camp followers. It will have two slave girls with it, and maybe the handler as the merchant. We'll see how that works out.

Finally, there'll be a heap of baggage on the other side of the road just to fill the space. I considered having a palm tree as well, but thought better of it - I don't want too many bits that might just snap off. I'm also not at all sure whether there should be palm trees in North Africa, which is where the army is meant to be. And anyway, a palm tree would make it really obviously out of place when I'm playing against Gauls or whatever (not that the camel doesn't do that, but never mind).

To make the road obvious, I'm going to raise up the sides so the road goes through a shallow valley.

This time I'm planning to do work in progress pictures - we'll see if this actually happens...

The ox cart and the camel, both of which I've added baggage onto.

The slave girls, senator and lictors, stuck on some card for easier painting

The Greek general - in the front you can see one of the already painted triarii, but it's out of focus because, again, I suck at photography.

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