Monday, 30 June 2014

Our daughter delivered - Anna's there !

This week everything stepped back behind the birth of our new family member. On thursday 26th June our daughter came into this world.

Dear Mrs Monty and the little one are fit and well, older sister and dad are proud and happy. Although I didn't share the pregnancy of my wife as much as with Viktoria I'm simply overwhelmed by the wonder of birth. Most fascinating that Anna looks exactly as her sister did four years ago. Just slightly smaller and lighter...
Me and two of my enchanting three girls.
Finally on saturday afternoon we took the two home and since then free time became scarce. But anyway the fascination and love for this new human being balances that out completely. During the next weeks please don't expect to many posts here and please excuse me if I miss some of your blogs. I'll stay here, keep an eye on the bloggosphere and let you know the rare news from my workbench

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Levy bowmen for Saga

Another product of my latest efforts are 12 levy bowman for my Saga warband. Actually I've been working on them for some weeks but finally last week I managed to finish the bases.
Three kneeliong bowmen.
The figures are from Gripping Beast's excellent Saga range. As usual for GP metals they have open hands to have the bows glued in. A bit fiddly but it works.
Cloaked bowmen. Front...
The pack consists of 12 levies in 4 different poses so it's three pieces of each. Of course more variety would have been great but actually I don't know any producer who has twelve variation of the same type of soldier...
... and back.
All in all the figures are sculpted very well. Kind of old school style as usual at Gripping Beast but chracterful as well. Unfortunately there's a nasty flesh running over the face which I didn't recognize when cleaning or priming the figures. It didn't show until I started to highlight the faces so decided to let it be. Afterall they're only a couple of slaves but I'm a bit annoyed anyway. Silly me!
Standing bowmen, version 1, front...
For the first time I tried to emulate bowstrings. I used plastic bristles from cheap broom and the result is rather alright I think. But this work is so fiddly I wouldn't do it for larger units.
... and back.
As usual I painted the figures with Vallejo Model Colours and some Armypainter Quickshade for the darker parts. Since those levies are kind of slaves I decided not to paint any ornaments and used rather simple designs for the shields. As for the hearthguard and warriors I used the excellent decals from Little Big Men Studios.
For the bases I used my usual colours as well as some sand, static grass and clump foliage.

Next unit for my Saga Vikings will be another eight warriors. They're cleaned and primed already but I'm not sure when I'll paint them.

Now for something completely different:
Burkhard from the DHC wargaming blog is celebrating his blog's birthday and several milestones he reached recently. 
In the unlikely case that you don't know his excellent blog, then have a look there. Burkhards presents a lot of nicely painted miniatures there and from time to time some good pictures from wargaming or history related events.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Wattle Fences done

Last week I finished some wattle fences for my Dark Ages village but because of the longish post about the Roman festival I haven't presented them yet. So here we go...
Current status of the village...
At present the core of the village is the Dark Ages cottage. While I have some older terrain parts like walls and hedge the wattle fences are the second larger part. A kind friend of mine presented them to me when he got aware that I was looking for some. He found them years ago by chance on a show and bought them. Luckily for me he's been doubting now whether he'd ever use them...
Some of the longer pieces.
Anyway the pieces are very nice and clean resin casts. I washed them with warm water and washing-up liquid. Afterwards primed them with Vallejo Model Colour paints and some Armypainter Quickshade Dark Tone.
Some of the shorter pieces.
Unfortunately I don't know the maker of those nice pieces but I could use some more, especially gates. If anyone regonises those bits please let me know the manufacturer.

By the way on the picture above you see the Saga levies I finished last week as well. More on them in my next post...

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Painting Table Saturday - Green jackets and a thatched roof

Actually my wife and me should be delivery room today but our second daughter seems to be less on time than hear older sister was.

So it's time for another...
... Paint Table Saturday.
This weekend intend to work on two projects as long as there are no signs of labour for Mrs Monty:

Firstly there are a couple of KGL riflemen who need some paint. After I finished their trousers yesterday I may find the time for skin or muskets now.
Secondly I've been working on the second Dark Ages house. After I applied some base colours on the building itself the underside of the roof needs to be painted.

So some work to do to spend the time of waiting...

Enjoy your weekend !

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Monty on Tour: Roemertage 2014 in Xanten

Last weekend we took a trip to the past. At the archaeological open air museum in Xanten the Roman Days 2014 took place and a couple of friends and we - meaning dear Mrs Monty, our daughter Viktoria and me - went there to enjoy a wonderful and interesting spring day.

Actually the museum is always worth a visit for itself. During the last decades they set up a rebuilt Roman village with a lot of facilities of daily life. Combined with a well-assorted exhibition of excavation finds it's a good place to go for anyone who is interested in Roman history for all age groups. Althrough the year there are small weekend activities with craftsmen showing their arts but once a year a large gathering of Roman reenactors from whole Europe takes place: The Römertage (Roman Days).

We arrived at the APX rather early and entered the show optimistically. The first demonstration didn't disappoint us at all. In the amphitheatre the gladiator group Amor Mortis presented their arts. They had different gladiators enter the arena and revealed their skills in more or less real fights with blunt weapons:
Entry of the gladiators
Two Essedarii fighting with javelins, shields and daggers.
Two Provocatores with scuta (shields) and gladii (Roman short swords).

Thraex thrusting with his sica (bent sword) against Murmillo

The nimble Retiaruis fighting with his trident against the heavier Secutor.

Hoplomachus against the heavy Murmillo called Hector.
It was an excellent demonstration of about half an hour. Very entertaining for the kids and very interesting for the older spectators. And besides all it was great fun to get a feeling for this ancient kind of sports. I think there was no one who could refuse cheering the fighters in the arena. During all this cheering and taking photos I lost the threat for all the different galdiators. I hope to have reproduced their types correctly.

Afterwards we took a walk around and had a look at the different tents and stalls. Excellent goods were presented there and we had some very tasty Roman bread. Fortunately we arrived at another demonstration site just in time to see some legionairs of the I. Roemercohorte Opladen demonstration Roman artillery. They fired only with reduced force for security reasons but it was very impressive to see what those ancient weapons performed anyway.
A Roman Scorpio and the smaller Manuballista

Their showpiece: Reproduction of a Roman Ballista.

The Ballista firing a stone ball.
Then we yielded to our children and spent an hour on the excellent playground within the museum. It resembles a Roman Castellum and is an awesome place for children of every age.

Now it was time to change military branches. On another field the group Timetrotter gave a demonstration of Roman cavalry tactics:

Please be aware, that they do reserve the rights for commercial use of any photos showing them. Just contact them in case that you have any plan to use their pictures.

On our way to the next demonstration we wanted to visit we crossed the way of the triumphal march returning from the theatre. They looked so gorgeous:
The Legio XI from Switzerland and southern Germany.

The Ermine Street Guard from the UK
The last topic for us was the demontration of the Ermine Street Guard, a large reenactment group based in the UK. On the field they gathered with two smaller groups from Belgium and Italy and formed a Roman Centuria nearly at full strength. Then they explained the equipment of Roman Legionairs and demonstrated their fighting tactics and different battle formations. With so many splendedly dressed men it was a magnificent look:
The Centuria marching in.

The famous Testudo.

The Centuria in line formation.
Charge in wedge formation.
After this excellent day we were all rather tired. After another visit at the playground we set sail towards home. As last waypoint we stopped at the Roman Taverna within the museum park and had dinner. They offer different dishes after contemporary and Roman recipes. Of course we crowned the day with Roman appetisers and pork rost.

All in all the day was simply perfect. Some great time with good friends, entertained children and bloody interesting history stuff. Xanten is worth a visit for anyone interested in Roman history anyway but those Roemertage should be a thrilling experience for less interested people as well. The only thing I missed in Xanten is a nice group shot of our party.

If you're interested in more pictures of this great event then have a look at the pages of the groups, simply search the internet or visit Burkhard's great blog DHC-Wargames.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Saga AAR - Caroligians vs. Vikings

Recently a friend and me met at Monty's for a little Saga game. Just a small 4 points game but a good opportunity for me to present my slowly growing stock of terrain and for my friend Auld Nick to give his Carolingians their baptism of fire.
The battlefield with my Vikings in front of us and the Carolingians approaching from the other side.
We played with two rather simple warbands. Besides my Warlord Gudmund the Dauntless I fielded a unit of 4 hearthguard, 4 berserkers and two units of 8 warriors. Niclas brought his mounted Warlord accompanied by two units of 4 mounted hearthguard and two units of 8 warriors on foot. Nick's miniatures weren't completely finished since he hadn't painted the bases and the shields so far but that didn't bother us too much.

Finally we decided to play the simple "Clash of Warlords" scenario from the core rulebook.So my Vikings started their advance towards the cottage. During this early stage of the game it was my idea to get into a position where the Carolingians couldn't take too much advantage from their speedy mounted troops.
Gudmund and his men approaching...
As I feared the horsemen attacked quickly and four mounted hearthguard chased one of my warrior units.
First blood...But my warriors survived...
But they underrated the sturdiness of the norsemen. Although I lost four warrior afterwards three Carolingian hearthguards lay dead.
The Viking warriors sneering at the fleeing Carolingian knight
Fearing for one of his Saga dice Nick withdrew the last had the survivor turn tail. Visibly impressed he even stopped the charge of his second hearthguard unit and lead them back to the center of the battlefield.
Meanwhile I occupied the cottage with eight of my warriors.
Carolingians regrouping and my Vikings taking the center.
Now the game seemed to falter slightly. I tried to reposition my left flank while Nick gathered his troops for an attack on the cottage.
The Carolingian milites turning to the cottage.
But after having refused the first attack on the cottage my warriors made a sally and snatched Nick's warlord who was the actual target of the game.
The Carolingian leader cutting down my warriors.
But against all odds he won the melee which brought me into severe trouble.
The Carolingians taking the initiative.
While I lost my units man by man Nick sounded the charge onto my warlord. He outflanked my few survivors and involved Gudmund the Dauntless in a bloody melee.
Gudmund surrounded by enemies.
But like his antagonist before he fought bravely and turned down the attackers. Afterwards the field was rather empty. With my very last turn I managed to sicced my berserkers on Nick's warlord. The second time during this game he was bound in melee and finally met his fate.
The Carolingian warlord meeting his fate.
After all it was an excellent game. Although I won by taking out Nick's warlord the game was extremely close on points. Anyway we both enjoyed it and crowned the time with a very special drink:
It's a punch based on Altbier (a top-fermented dark beer from the Rhine area) which is mixed with fruity ingredients. In our case we added strawberries, peaches and a good dash of raspberry syrup. Well chilled it's a delicious, refreshing drink for warm spring or summer days.
Altbierbowle and Vikings. What could one wish more?
With a little barbecue in the evening it was just a perfect day.

Not to forget the cheering fans at the sideline:

Friday, 13 June 2014

Painting Table Saturday - Basing Time

Actually I'll spent most of the day on a festival for Roman re-encators. There a yearly gathering in Xanten, one of the best and largest German museums for Roman history, and this year our family and some friends will visit the event. Hopefully we'll have good weather and will have a good time between legionaries, gladiators and Roman civilians of all kind.
But nevertheless there's some work to do on my painting table. Maybe this evening is basing time. All in all I have four trees, twelve Saga Viking levies and a couple of wattle fence pieces to finish the bases. Probably I'll watch some football this evening and have some static grass and clump foliage spread over them.

Enjoy your weekend !

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Undergoing Pentecost thunder-storm...

The weekend started with sweltering heat. Although my wife and me were groaning under 30 °C our daughter had fun. She spent two days with two friends of hers having fun in the paddle pool and yesterday we spent the day on the playground an in the ice cream parlour.

But in the evening the sky darkenend and some thick clouds gathered above the Ruhr area. Quite fitting I though because on TV Richard III. and Anne Neville were weaving the plot to put Richard's nephews out of the way. But what followed was beyond imagination.
Fortunately our area isn't treated by severe whether too often. The Ruhr doesn't leave its riverbed and luckily we never experience more than a filled up basement now an then. But yesterday evening a tempest racked over the Ruhr and Rhine area. I've never experienced such a thunderstorm, heavy rain and demonstration of natural power. The stuff on our balcony was thrown over and small branches were snapped off the trees. The tempest lastet for about an hour and today our housing estate was covered with leaves and small branches over and over.

But a pictures of real devastation awaited me when I left for work this morning:
Universitätsstraße - One of the major exit roads of Bochum...
Another impression of Universitätsstraße
A shattered tree near...
And another one which my wife photographed on her way to the doctors...
Similar pictures all around Bochum and the affected cities. All major streets in Bochum are blocked and most tramlines are interrupted. This morning our main station Bochum Hauptbahnhof was completely decommissioned. Fortunately I've only heard of five fataleties so far. Undoubtlesly every casualty is too much but seeing this destruction a lot more harm could have occured when the tempest had taken place earlier during the day.

So my weekend had a rather thrilling end...