Monday, June 30, 2008

Blog Hit Parade: June

This is where people are looking at Cavegirls in Fur Bikinis from. Scary!

Well, a massive, massive score for Cavegirls this month: over 23,000 views and it is back up into the number one spot. Pulp Warriors plunges to third and there are a few more ups and downs too. I really need to put more content onto all of them this month!

1 (2) Cavegirls in Fur Bikinis 23,543 (65,028)
2 (3) 19th Century Sudan Wargames Armies 1,747 (17,914)
3 (1) Pulp Warriors 1,738 (42,455)
4 (4) Legatus' Wargames Armies 1,496 (13,333)
5 (5) Spartan WAB 630 (6,771)
6 (6) Return to Darkest Africa 462 (3,162)
7 (7) Punic War WAB 227 ( 2,685)
8 (9) Wargaming the Great Northern War 246 (1,986)
9 (8) 3rd and 4th Century Roman WAB 207 (1,353)
10 (11) Dark Ages WAB 173 (1,872)
11 (12) Lord of the Rings: Armies of Middle Earth 165 (528)
12 (10) Byzantine WAB 113 (1,946)
13 (13) The Great War 104 ( 147)
14 (14) Swashbucklers 25 (202)

Painted Figures for June

Oh dear! The total for this month was five gladiators.

Weekends have been busy, with one away in Jordan, but I have just sort of gone off painting for a bit. I lose another weekend this month as I will be in Washington DC. I have a lot of figures in progress but none really close to finishing. Oh well, maybe I will be inspired this weekend.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


It's hot up here!

I was in Jordan last week and managed to escape for half a day and visit the very well preserved Roman city of Jerash, which is about 30 miles north of Amman.

Unlike Sabratha, which I visited earlier in the year, Jerash is an earlier city: in wargaming terms it is an Early Imperial Roman city rather than a Late Roman city. Some of the columns are first century and much of the buildings are first half of the second century.

Jerash (or Gerasa as the Romans called it) has been occupied since the Bronze Age. Later it was a Greek city, until the Romans conquered the region in 63BC. It became part of the Decapolis, an unofficial grouping of ten Roman cities in the area which also included Amman (known as Philadelphia) and Damascus.

Hadrian's Arch

I visited it on a very hot Saturday afternoon when there were only a few dozen people there. You enter the city through Hadrian's Arch, built to commemorate the visit by the Emperor in 129 AD. The intention was for this to become the new southern gate of the city but the expansion plans were never completed.

The Hippodrome: the starting gates can be seen at the far end.

Next you come to the Hippodrome, where they do Roman Army, gladiatoral and chariot racing re-enactments. These are, apparently, quite well done but I arrived too late to see them. Nevertheless, the hippodrome was very impressive, even if it was considered a small one and, unlike the Circus Maximus, the starting gates survive.

The South Gate

You enter the city proper through the main South Gate set in fourth century walls, built in the time of Diocletian although most of the surviving walls are Byzantine.

The Oval Plaza

The most striking feature of Jerash is its 90m diameter oval plaza. I've never seen one like this before; the Romans were usually so rectangular!

Inside the Oval Plaza

There are two extant theatres on the site.

The South Theatre

The South Theatre seats more than 3000 people and is now the prime site for the Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts. it was built around .90 AD. The North theatre is later (165AD) and smaller (1600 seats but is more complete.

The North Theatre

You can still walk around the inside corridor which was a relief, having reached half way around the site, as it was over 35 degrees when I was there and there is not a lot of shade!

Inside the North Theatre

Although there are many impressive ruins at the site the most impressive for me was The Cardo, the collonaded street which runs for half a mile down the centre of the town.

This is still paved with the original stones and the height of the buildings next to the columns give you a real idea of what the city must have felt like. Most Impressive!

From the Cardo a long flight of steps leads up to an esplanade and then on to the Temple of Artemis.

The Temple of Artemis

So, for anyone interested in Roman Architecture, I would say thet Jerash is one of the best sites I have visited. Next time I go to Jordan I really must try and get to Petra.

Morituri Te Salutant

I got to Guildford the other week and played a gladiator game using the Morituri Te Salutant rules by Bill Lucas and now published by Black Hat Miniatures.

This is the fourth set of gladiator rules I have picked up in the last six months and I haven't played the others yet (I did play the Paragon Wargames Group Rules for Gladiatoral Combat back in the seventies!) but they would be hard pushed to provide as fun a game as MTS.
The rules use a hex base which makes moving very easy. Combat (and everything else) is done by placing action cards face down and then turning them up in a sort of sophisticated rock, paper, scissors game. This really did get you thinking about what your opponents next move might be and the rules cleverly reflect the real characteristics of the different types of gladiators, for whome there are individual ability sheets. You need a couple of D6 and a couple of D20. There are also rules for campaigns, animals and mounted gladiators but I haven't tried them yet.

The only fault I can find with them is that the gladiator type profiles are a bit limited. For example, the Hoplomachus must be armed with a spear, as they were in the early period. Later the Hoplomachus lost his spear and became a heavy swordsman but I'm sure that is tweakable.

We played three separate combats, including a four player game which added a lot to the interest of the game. These three games took about 2 1/2 hours to play giving a nice length combat. Needless to say I lost every game, mainly because I'm just not very good at games (I was always a hopeless card player, could never understand Cluedo etc) but as I just really like painting I don't mind!

In fact, it's not often that a set of rules actually makes me want to play a game (rather than painting figures) but this set does just that. I have just bought a few more Foundry figures off eBay, including some nice Thracians and a very scary looking female retiarus! Mike used his Black Hat figures (inevitably) and whilst some looked a bit old fashioned some were really quite good and they match up with The Foundry figures (which are still the best) surprisingly well.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Painted figures for May

Quite a good and varied month (if varied is good, of course).

Total for the month was 39

Darkest Africa Ruga Ruga 5
Swashbuckler 1
Back of Beyond characters 2
Darkest Africa character 2
Darkets Africa Ngoni 5
Spartans 5
Sudan Beja 11
Gladiators 4
WW1 German Jaegers 4

I also got a couple of dozen German WW1 figures tidied up and based properly. Unfortunately, I am not happy with the colour of their jackets, following a visit to the Royal Army Museum in Brussels last month, so will have to re-do their jackets and trousers aagin.

So in 22 weeks I have painted 129 figures which brings my average back up to 5.9 figures a week, very close to my target of 6. I am now only three figures adrift of my target. However although I painted five gladiators this week I got nothing done last week as I was in the process of changing jobs. I am now no longer working in the City, for the first time, but am in the West End, which is a bit weird. Never mind I am only a few hundred yards from Forbidden Planet, Orc's Nest, Games Workshop and Foyles!

I am off to Jordan again on Friday so don't expect to finish anything this week although I am progressing quite well on another unit of WW1 Prussian Guards. I will also get some more Beja prepared as they are quite quick to paint. I have some more female Tuta archers to do to finish my bodyguard unit for my Mirambo force. I'd like to get on with some more Great Northern War Swedes as well.

Ludus Hedlius

I have a gladiatorial game at Guildford tomorrow and managed to finish another five Foundry Gladiators today to add to the two I did the other week.

Here is the whole ludus ready for their first games! I have now painted all the figures I have got and want to get some more. I think I am going to order some of the Crusader ones to see what they are like. Sometimes the Crusader figures are a bit small but the recent Rank and File Romans have been fine so I will see. I want to get some of the Equites which sensibly come with a foot and mounted figure for each.

I am reading a novel about gladiators at the moment, Sand of the Arena, by James Duffy. He has certainly done his research and although some of the writing is a bit ropey and too colloquially American it has some energy and narrative drive and I will definitely read the next one.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Blog Hit parade: June 2008

Not many changes in the blog hit parade this month. I have added my new Great War blog. 3rd and 4th Century Roman and GNW have swapped places. This blog, Legatus' Armies, has gained nearly 1,000 hits this month. Cavegirls in Fur Bikinis has gained about 800.

1 (1) Pulp Warriors 11,409 (40,717)
2 (2) Cavegirls in Fur Bikinis 6,493 (41,485)
3 (3) 19th Century Sudan Wargames Armies 2,222 (16,167)
4 (4) Legatus' Wargames Armies 2,896 (11,837)
5 (5) Spartan WAB 798 (6,141)
6 (6) Return to Darkest Africa 529 (2,700)
7 (7) Punic War WAB 449 (2,458)
8 (9) 3rd and 4th Century Roman WAB 288 (1,146)
9 (8) Wargaming the Great Northern War 269 (1,740)
10 (11) Byzantine WAB 190 (1,833)
11 (10) Dark Ages WAB 122 (1,699)
12 (12) Lord of the Rings: Armies of Middle Earth 68 (363)
13 (-) The Great War 43 (43)
14 (13) Swashbucklers 30 (177)