31 Oct 2013

Just a small update

Hey guys,

not much to talk about and nothing to show...I have finally started painting again this week, working on Ramshackle games' minis that Johnny sent my way (I said those will be first miniatures I paint!). I've decided to go really slow as I'm working my best to make them fit a WWWII scheme where possible (I found a role for 2 of 3 :P).

Sculpting is also sloooowly restarting, so I'm still working on the weapons I talked about months ago, if you perhaps remember. They are killing me (I done at least 3-4 stocks for minimi light machine gun, AT launcher has fallen apart, as did parts of rifles etc etc), but I've decided I'll get my revenge once the suckers are done. I am not even sure I should call it "sculpting" as I  got a feeling I cut more putty off them than I put on them!
I did got most of the heads finished. I have a "special ops" WIP, one is completed and two need minor fixes, so that's something I suppose.

Oh and I'll try to find someone who'd want to play Strange Aeons with me at the tomorrow's games day, but it doesn't look too good :D

I figured I can't really promise any progress photos any time soon, but I'm working my best to finally show some of my actual work again!


22 Oct 2013

Frigidus on a gaming table?

Now, I've decided to ditch the paragraph on pros and cons of different scales (it is a personal decision after all). Lately, I'm checking up 10 and 6mm miniatures for possibilities of gaming in this scale. Well, mainly 6mm as the idea is related to previous posts, so gaming late Roman battles. And Baccus does a great range for that period :P. Either imaginary battle of valiant Roman legions, defending the way to Italy on walls of Claustra or the "glorious" battle of Frigidus itself. The latter would be an ace choice as I'm sure chaps at my club would be interested to present where club presents - it is something that has happened here so people might feel a bit more connected to it. Now, ancients are played here in 28mm, which I don't like too much. I love 28mm for skirmish, but if we assume ancient battles were fought with 20,000+ warriors on each side (as a side note: the armies of antiquity were supposed to be huge, but the calculations make us doubt it, so perhaps there wasn't any decline in size of medieval armies, but the accounts got more correct), the 100+ (and thats huge already) 28mm miniatures really don't give you the feel. You end up with historically (in)correct Warhammer. And that's not what I fancy.  While even 6mm wouldn't let you match the numbers (well it wouldn't be practical, that's for sure), having literally thousand of miniatures ough to look impressive.

Now, this could work for moderns, but I can't imagine it look anything less than spectacular when done to represent any army from the times of close order battle formations. The painting is probably made differently from the 28mm, but that's not necessarily the bad thing.

So, if I share some ideas (I promise I will try to actually paint something for my next post) about how I'd do that. Also, keep in mind I currently own a line of 6mm miniatures (as in 4-5 on a sprue, got them at Salute for taking a pic! :P), so I have idea what I'm talking about! :P

I've since returned the book, but I did took some notes.

If we start with the battlefied. I've shown you the photo of the valley and obviously there is no sense modeling a huge bowl to play in. What I'd do is just add some hills or triangular slopes (the 90 degree angle being at board's edge) to one of the edges - where Eastern army would come from...perhaps not even that, as they rushed the ad-hoc palisades of Western army on the valley "bottom". Prominent feature would be the little Zemono hill in the valley, river and Castra, stone fort near-by.  If anyone here took a good look of the photo, the river is located BEHIND the Western army. Now, this makes absolutely no tactical sense, but one. If, for some sick reason, Arbogast, western commander would want to let his army know there is no retreat. Given the "fact" the river ran red, and that you'd use it as a natural barrier, every sane commander would put his army right behind the river. Now, in authors reconstrution, attackers passing the river are not mentioned.  The first position would also only make sense if it would be "leaning" on Castra...why on earth wouldn't he use at least that fortified fortification, if he didn't use the claustra walls? 

So, what I'd do is put river on one flank (having no real tactical value for game as game area is blocked by board edges anyways...except perhaps the marshy area around the river, limiting Eastern's army movement) and a little stone fort on the other - this one having an impact of the game as obviously stone walls are harder to breach then wooden palisades.  Author of the book mentions that Zemono hill could be the command post location, as it was a bit risen, but he also mentions that Eastern archers were on higher ground, perhaps they were situated on that hill?
So, by now, we got a board, flanked with stone fort and marshy river on each side. In between, Western army, entrenched behind the palisades. In front, little zemono hill, great place for Eastern horse archers to spray some arrows. 

The only thing that makes me doubt alternative location of the Western army is the way the wind blows (it blows in the exact way the arrow that represents Eastern army's approach is pointing).

So, the other idea for a board is swampy area, with river dividing board by halves and Western army located right beyond it. Tactically this makes the most sense to me (let's assume Castra is abandoned or however unfit for defence)...but it has to seriously kill the ability to make a game fair. That can, however, be negated by the use of win (smaller range for one side and larger for the other). Thus, in a way, that could actually be even better!

None of those supports the idea that Western army would hold control of the Zemono hill, which is also bugging me. Plus, by holding the hill, they held more of the valley, giving Eastern army even less space to fully develop their battle line. I don't really feel like drawing anymore, but perhaps we'd give Western army the hill and still put river just on the edge of the board, for the feel of it. Those decisions! It might also be, that Eastern army took detour and didn't drop down where we think they did, but they came from the Castra side (we don't know where Roman road led and they certainly didn't walk through those hills with all their carts. Road dropping down in valley from their expected direction is full of turns and really annoying to drive on, so it is possible they just walked on the local hills ridges and then dropped down into the valley a bit further away. This would  allow for Western army to have control of the Zemono hill, be flanked by river and steep hills and the Castra would be straight ahead of them, perhaps too far to be of any use to the attackers?

Well, we will probably never know and I really hate that. I'd need to find somebody who could predict where the river ran at that time. Completely unrelated, but I better write an article about that, career in something like that would be ace! :P

Enough with the blabber that doesn't really matter at this point, on to the armies. I think I've mentioned already that I don't have the book with me any more, but I took some notes.

Roman army in that time was vastly supported by foreign mercenaries. For that particular battle, both armies probably had more than 100,000 warriors each (so, more like 10-20,000 by my rough estimate). Considering the proximity of Ad Pirum to Frigidus, a small part of Eastern army would be there to fight, while vast majority would be waiting for their turn to leave the camp! Eastern roman army might have had a bit of numerical advantage.

Eastern army was supported by Alans, Huns and Goths (at least). According to the book it had: Gothic cavalry and infantry (remember, the first day Goths started the attack and many fell, which was beneficial to Rome as a whole), Roman light cavalry with spears and bows, Clibanarii (heavy cavalry), Palatini (ceasar's guard), line infantry of spearmen, slingers, archers etc, war hounds, balistae and onagers. It also mentions allies cavalry, spearmen, archers, slingers and even camel riders.
So, in effect, Eastern Roman army would be a magnificent conglomerate of "a little bit of everything". It means, the rules used to play the battle should allow for easy control of multiple units - personally, I think all gothic infantry and cavalry could be presented by 1 unit each. Then 1 unit of legionares and one, small unit of elite palatini. Thats 3 infantry units, so perhaps rather 2 legionares, making it 4 melee units. 1 archers unit to complement them. I suppose I could add slingers to last ranks of melee units, just to give it a feel - troops in behind wouldn't want to stand idle and I saw a documentary stating every roman soldier carried a sling. For cavalry, at least one units of heavy clibanarii, a unit of roman light cavalry (so, with gothic making it 2 of them) an one unit of horse archers. I got no idea what weapons I'd give the camel raiders, but probably bows...it makes more sense to me for some reason.  Lastly, a unit of onagers or balistae, if nothing else, just to sit there and look nice.

Western army was supported by Franks. The book doesn't give much idea of how that army might have looked like, it had some cavalry, Franks probably had their axes with them and it was mostly infantry force, as it didn't really had much to do with the nomad peoples coming in from the east, or Persia and similar peoples from the other east.

So, in game, you'd essentially have really mobile, Eastern army, fighting on a board with some marshes (slows movement or whatever), fighting against less mobile army with limited cavalry, but defended with some sort of palisades (and palisades are a bit if...perhaps they didn't have enough time to fully prepare defensive positions?) To make things a bit more realistic, Eastern army would have to wait for reinforcements, but once whole army would be on board (to represent 2nd day), the wind would give them that extra edge. Also meaning, Western army has to be played by someone accustomed to losing...you think you'll be visiting mainland Europe in next september Clint? :P

Well, that's a bit of a long post with no real conclusion, but feel free to post your ideas if that kind of things interest you or if you perhaps know any suitable rules set. Personally, I was thinking about Hail Caesar, but I think I'd way prefer the simple mechanics to anything too complicated as I'd really want to make the armies as diverse as possible.

Thanks for taking time to read another of my long posts,

17 Oct 2013

Battle of Frigidus 394 AD

It is 394 AD and a new world order is slowly creeping in on ancesters of proud roman citizens and subjects. People living in regions of Venetia et Histria, Noricum, Dalmatia and Pannonia still vividly remember the battles of last civil war, where Eastern emperor Theodosius has defeated army of a western usurper Magnus Maximus in battles of Siscia and Poetovio in 388 AD.  After the battle Maximus was executed, but his army was largely spared, as Rome was lacking soldiers even without the constant civil wars. Arbogast, Theodosius military commander has personally hunted Maximus' son and had slained him.
Few years later, players have changed. Arbogast himself was probably involved in alleged "suicide" of western emperor Valentian II, who was found hanging in his villa in 392. Arbogast, by role a protector of said emperor, was said to have been in conflict with Valentian for quite some time now, as he has been showing the appetite for power himself! After Valentian's death, Arbogast has named a former teacher of grammar and rhetoric, Eugenius. While Eugenius was himself christian, he was to be the last roman emperor fighting for the old, pagan gods that roman senate supported.

Theodosius still hasn't forgot about the close ties he had with Valentian's dynasty and has decided to march to war if necessary in order to return the throne to the "righteous" rulers...at that point that would be one of his underage sons. In Constantinople, he has gathered 100,000 headed (which means "a lot" and was probably much smaller) army of battle hardened roman legions and cavalry, supported by goth foederati, three-etnic (hunic, alanic, gothic) cavalry with fearsome mounted archers and even heavy cavalry from the east! As he went to march up Balkan peninsula towards Italy,  Arbogast was on the move with his western army, supported by frankish mercenaries, to meet him on a field chosen by himself.

Arbogast, a military commander with years of experience has decided to leave the great walls of Claustra undefended (look at previous post if you don't get the reference:P), but he has left small detachment of troops in great fort of Ad Pirum, to delay the eastern attackers long enough to buy him time to sneak a detachment of his own troops behind their backs and surround the eastern army!

He has set up his line on river, cold enough to be called Frigidus ("cold river"),  close to Castra (marked with red on the map). He has hoped the limited space the valley provided and narrow roads, leading to the valley from Ad Pirum would both stretch eastern army and then prevent it from deploying to full potential. Lack of manouvering space should also prove beneficial against eastern mounted archers, the best troops world had to offer at that time!
Eastern army had no real difficulties assaulting lightly defended Ad Pirum, but once they finally broken into the fort, the defenders were all gone! Theodosius' cavalry had to cease the pursuit as rushing in narrow wooded area in dusk could prove fatal if ambushed! Instead, Theodosius has reorganised his troops and continued the push towards west. His army was prepared, expecting an ambush at any time!

After couple of hours of walk, they've came down the steep hills into valley, dominated by fluvium frigidum, the cold river.

[time for the facts now :D] Here is a photo of the valley I've found on the net (so it is not mine). I have added the coloured lines and boxes.
Now, there is no archeological site that would prove the battle took place here, but it is the most widely accepted place. Alternative is river Soča (Isonzo), further west, where Isonzo front was fought in WW1.
The only way from Ad Pirum to Vipava valley, as valley is called today, is by forest road that comes in valley roughly where that big purple arrow is. This is the expected direction from where eastern army would have came.
The bigger green rectangle, just next to the arrow is city of Vipava, there are no accounts of it being there in 394. In the box is Vipava's barracks, where I lived during my boot camp, so I know the area :D. If we imagine this place 1500 years back, forest from east would probably be extended in the valley. And river Vipava, which is probably Frigidus (blue rectangle) would be wider (but probably quiet shallow) and area around it would be marshy.  From Vipava to Ajdovščina (other green rectangle), where Castra (fort) was, is about 10-11 kilometers.
Yellow rectangle shows location of lovely zemono villa, sitting on a little hill covered by vines. It is a dominating spot in the valley itself.  Orange line is thus a most widely accepted location of western army's palisades. Given the army could be as large as 50,000 men or so, the line could be perhaps extended from river's marshes all the way to castra, which would make sense. Pink line is alternative battle location. There, line is shorter, would be flanked by marshes and castra and to me, it makes even more sense.

Another thing I'd like you to take a note of is the fact that this area is already a nice example of Carst terrain. The forests between Ad Pirum and Frigidus are filled with carst valleys (its a hole in various sizes), caves, very rocky, with limited surface water. In the book, author suggests that Ad Pirum's wall was clogged, so eastern army might just as well be thirsty by the time they got to the place of the battle!
 Arbogast was trying to win the favor of the old gods and has placed statue of Jupiter at the edge of the battlefield. On their banners, his army carried images of Hercules. Before he started marching east, Arbogast has boasted how he will turn christian churches into stables and conscript the priests!

Once he reached the positions of the western army, on september 5th, Theodosius did not wait. He has sent his gothic infantry in the attack, supported by any mounted archers that have reached the battlefield by that time! Again and again the valiant goths charged the entrenched franks of Arbogast and over and over again they were repelled. Their lines were thinned by archers, mighty onagers were raining stone on them and multiple attackers were taken down by single, well aimed shots of the dreaded scorpions.  Just when goths thought they might get an upper hand, secret door in palisade opened and western cavalry has charged straight into the gothic flank and back! They had to withdraw!

Arbogast was satisfied, he was sure the eastern army has lost the will to fight. Now, Arbitio, leading the detachment sent to close the escape of eastern army has probably blocked Theodosius in place. He will wait until next morning and he will send his negotiators to Theodosius' camp. Meanwhile, Theodosius was furious. Even more so, when his military commanders have suggested to give up and return in a year or two. In the mean time, Arbitio has betrayed Arbogast and has joined Theodosius! This was a huge morale booster for Theodosius. He has decided the army attacks again next day. Arbogast's troops might be tired from the celebrations of their "victory".  He was praying to christian god, asking for help to win this battle over the infidels. Two of the saints have appeared in his vision, assuring him they would fight for him the next day. How could an army, supported by divine saints lose?

In the next morning, Goths are thirsty for revenge. Eastern troops charge in battle once more. Shortly after the horns have sounded the attacks, divine help is already showing. The wind came rushing down the mountains through the valley! Blowing in eastern troops' backs, it gave their arrows and their javelins extra range, while it threw every missile of western troops right back at their faces! Arbogast' troops were horrified, have the gods indeed abandon them? The events gave Theodosisus an upper hand, he has managed to break through the western palisades and now his own heavily armoured cavalry is rushing through it, striking enemy in their flanks and back! All is lost for those, who were abandoned by the gods and western army broke. Soldiers were running for their lives, all caught and slaughtered. The casualty count was extremely high and has left great impact on western part of the empire! Usurper Eugenius was caught and executed, while Arbogast has fled to the mountains. He was latter found dead at the place where he has commit a suicide, seeing all is lost.

On the other hand, Theodosius has ruled the united Roman empire for the last time. Battle was fought on 5 and 6th september, he had died in January of the next year. After his death, the Roman empire was divided on West and East - first ruled by his 10 year old son Honorious (who has accompanied him in battle at Frigidus) and latter was ruled by his other son, Arcadius. Brave gothic leader, Alaric, who was partly responsible for Theodosius victory, has sacked the Rome himself just 16 years later! This battle was senate and pagan roman world's last try to stop the advance of Christianity, which has since then became what it is today.

Or, as Claudius Claudianus has put it:
Thanks to thee the Alps lay open to our armies [Eastern army], nor did it avail the careful foe [Western army] to cling to fortified posts [Claustra Alpium Iuliarum]. Their ramparts, and the trust they put therein, fell; the rocks were torn away and their hiding-places exposed. Thanks to thine influence the wind of the frozen North overwhelmed the enemy's line with his mountain storms, hurled back their weapons upon the throwers and with the violence of his tempest drove back their spears. Verily God is with thee, when at thy behest Aeolus frees the armèd tempests from his cave, when the very elements fight for thee and the allied winds come at the call of thy trumpets. The Alpine snows grew red with slaughter, the cold Frigidus, its waters turned to blood, ran hot and steaming, and would have been choked with the heaps of corpses had not their own fast-flowing gore helped on its course.
Read more: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Claudian/De_III_Consulatu_Honorii*.html

In the end, I'd like to mention that this overly exposed battle between paganism and christianity was documented by christian writers, so I think we should take it with a pinch of salt (as everything else that has been told), but it adds to the mythology driven world of antiquity feel! Given Eugenious was a christian, there is a possibility this wasn't a religious battle after all and this was only added for the "feel" of it.

Also, the interesting fact about the "divine" wind - it actually does happen. We call it "burja" (bora in english, apparently). It chills you to the bones and it can reach 150 km/h...so thats roughly 90 miles per hour! When we were sleeping in the tents for the first time in military, it was so windy we had to sleep in a truck and stone built dining hall (as we were "camping" next to the shooting range :P). So, my point is...the impact of weather on this battle could really help the way it was said it did. Especially if it was accompanied by a hail!

Here is a nice lecture of British historican on the battle and related stuff. Don't mind the slovene subtitles, they all speak english. If you start watching at around last quarter, you can only listen about the battle itself. 

While this post lacks any nice pictures, I hope it wasn't too dull to read. I've decided to make a hobby post about it (perhaps a scenario idea) some other time.

In other news, I can brag a bit, I've successfully defended my master's thesis (well, it was a 90 minutes chat about things nobody wants to hear me speak about, but them!) so now I should have more time for the hobby while I'm searching for that mandatory devil a first job represents. I really hope this will get me back to sculpting as progress is almost shut down and by now, even I am getting itchy for some painting!

Thanks for looking,

11 Oct 2013

Claustra Alpium Iuliarum


with continuation of "dry period" regarding my hobby output, I've decided to make a couple of posts regarding local military history heritage. As usual, I'll try to keep it mixed with hobby thoughts to keep myself convinced it deserves a place on my blog (even though it is not about "horror" wargaming!)

I think my lack of hobby output lies in approaching thesis defence...while I'm not really working on it as much as I should, the idea of something that has to be done is logged in my subconsciousness and I can't get anything productive done I suppose. I am reading a book called Sword and thunder at the moment, that speaks about (mostly) late roman period in my area (meaning Slovenia in general, but this is honestly kinda close to me). General goal of the book is to present Battle of Frigidus, 394 AD (will cover it in the next post) but as the book represents it all very broadly, it gives out a lot of information regarding roman warfare. I think I know a lot about early roman warfare and tactics, but late roman period was never too appealing to me, so this book is a great way to get interested.

Claustra Alpium Iuliarum, the Barrier of the Julian Alps (a name for a group of mountains here in the Alps, we still call them by that name today!) is a name given to the set of barriers (walls) built in valleys about 50 kilometers west from Emona, nowadays Ljubljana in Slovenia. Barriers were similar to limes of Germany or, say, Hadrian wall. The difference was that here, walls were only set up in sections. They were incorporated in local area in a way to only block the valleys and roads. There were no stone walls built on hill slopes but nobody really knows if the area was empty (as it's not really an easy going for possible invaders) or it was lightly defended by wooden palisades.
The purpose of the barriers was protection of inner Italy from barbarian invasions (so, it was not a frontline frontier defence as Hadrian's wall in England). It was, however, mostly used in civil wars that raged in fourth century.
The broader area was occupied by three Alpine legions, one of comitatenses (mobile defensive legion) and two pseudocomitatenses legions who were a mix of local populations and used as "regional mobile defensive force". My explanation of their roles might be a bit vague, but the point is, there were no "limitanei" legions (border legions manning limes walls) present.

Below is a map of current day Slovenia with relevant (but not nearly all) roman cities mapped.

Emona is the nowadays capital city, Ljubljana. The legend has it it was founded by Jason and the argonauts. This story was not mentioned in Salute 2013 book, though :P. 
Nauportus (comes from either Naval Port or Naval portare (to carry) as Argonauts brought their ship ashore here after coming from Emona by river Ljubljanica (Lyoo-blah-neetsa) and carried it all the way to the sea). Nowadays Vrhnika, my hometown, Nauportus was first (or last, depending on which way you go to) naval port. From here they could put cargo on a river and sail east or south-east by bigger rives. Nauportus' port was protected by a pentagonal shaped fortress.While older than Emona, Nauportus was Emona's subject, with Emona being a crossroads between north-south and east-west roads. Area few kilometers further east from Emona is considered to be a border between Italy proper and provinces.
About 10+ kilometers west from Nauportus was Longaticum (nowadays Logatec (Logatets, not Log-attack :P), smaller town. It lies on a higher ground than Nauportus so it was a welcomed resting place after peeps conquered the slopped hills. This hasn't changed until new road was made in Austrian empire some 1,000 years later!
Ad Pirum (probably comes from word meaning "fire" but has a resemblance to word meaning "pear". Hrušica, as we call it today (Hrusheetsa) derivates from a slovene word for a pear, as an interesting fact) was a huge fort, probably command post for the fortifications.
Castra ad fluvium frigidum (Fortress on river Frigidus) is nowadays Ajdovščina (Aydouscheena), which is where the battle of Frigidus took place in 394 AD.
Across the border was Aquileia a huge roman town. From there, you could go to Mediolanum (Milan), capital of West Roman empire and from there to Rome!

Red lines are the important communications and black lines are the  locations of barriers. I live in a village between Longaticum and Nauportus, and part of the wall you can see just behind the Nauportus is just across the road from where my high school bus stop was. It is hidden in forest and it was reduced to about a 3 feet or less high lump of rocks.

 Here is a picture of Claustra as shown in Notitia Dignitatum, a book about late roman empire, if we simplify its meaning a bit.

Ad Pirum, as said, was quite a large fort. It was located on a hill pass, deep in the forests. It's role was to protect the travelers on the road through this area. It was a new road, established to shorten travel time from Aquilea to Emona for two days.

The fort is believed to be large enough to house 500 soldiers but could accommodate up to 100,000 - don't even ask me how they got a number this large. I struggle to find it possible - 100,000 is a whole army and then some extra of that time!

Anyways, here is a nice drawing of the are to give you a feel. Javorjev grič and Bršljanovec are two hills, the walls leading out of the fort are part of the Claustra. Armies and travelers that went from Emona to Aquileia or vice versa had to pass through the fort that was overlooking the road. As you can clearly see, nearby valley was blocked by two walls.

The fort itself was separated with a wall. Lower part was the actual fort while upper part had place for tents or goats or whatever they grew there at that time. In case of danger (and it is believed it was that case in 394 AD), fortress crew could make a run for it from lower part along the eastern wall up hill (where tents are drawn) and they could run away through little gate you can just spot next to northern tower. Their escape was protected by wall running on eastern slope of Javorjev grič (meaning Maple hill btw)

 This is a computer modeled reconstruction of the fort. IIRC the towers at the gate were believed to be as high as 10 meters, walls up to 8.
There's more! A nice little video of computer reconstructed fortress below. For some reason, it is believed that fortress was stone grey, while Claustra walls were probably painted white by using lime. It must have been an intimidating sight - a great white wall, overlooking the cut down areas to prevent any *guests* to approach unexpected!

And a photo of the fortress today. It was taken from the separating wall, where eastern most tower of that wall would stand, overlooking the eastern gate area. As you can see walls are all but gone. As this fortress lies in what used to be Italy 1918-1943, Italians protected it by sealing it with concrete...which is not a good thing by today's conservation standards :P.  The two buildings you can see are now a private home I think and the one with grey roof is a museum/tavern. It used to be a post office but this road has completely lost its importance with arrival of motor way. I did use this road to get to my boot camp in Vipava (just next to where battle of frigidus is believed to have taken place). As you can clearly see, there are no majestic gates left for us to admire.

Let this be it for today, I think you should be proud of yourself if you have made it that way! In next (or one of the next) post, I'll talk about Battle of Frigidus and if I won't overstretch it, about 6-10mm wargaming. 28mm ancient battles (including fantasy) never really appealed to me, because it looks downright silly. Ever since I'm reading that book, I'm thinking about huge armies of west and east roman empires, accompanied by barbarian mercenaries, set up in 3 lines smacking each other. I really miss the depth in wargaming. Just think about it, has anyone who actually games ancient/medieval battles ever set up in 2-3 lines (not counting putting ranged troops behind melee!), and fought the battles out of that "arcade" set up, where "tactics" are shown by using fast troops to hit the artillery?

Thanks for looking,

5 Oct 2013

The update at last!


a bit of a hobby silence here in Necroleadicon studio :D. I've been and still am sick since last saturday. Apparently it is nothing to worry about, but I feel different every day. It's always a combination of robot voice, runny nose, cough, a bit of a generally feeling weak, some sweating and a mouthful of pus. Never all together and never the same for two days straight, for some reason. I was in about same state last week of septembre last year, so I suppose it is just that time of the year.

I've decided I should give myself a kick and write a post about at least something, so I'm offering you my modern WIPs.

First, RGW 90. Or at least it was. I had it nearly done, but greenstuff started peeling of the rod. I've eventually scrapped it all off, it wasn't really good enough anyways. Will restart working on it ASAP.

 Minimi light machine gun. Since last post, I've scrapped the ammo pouch (I'm doing lots of cutting and ruining what has been done today) and cut of  the stock. I made at least 3-4 new stocks, that all eventually broke. At last I've invested money in overpriced 0.5 drills. I could only drill one hole, so that's what I did. Put the stock in and it came out today. Looks like I really need to invest in an actual superglue, because poundland one just doesn't work for things so important. You can see WIP stock next to it. It has a pin inside, so can be put on gun as easily as it comes off now.

 Heads. Working on 4. At least I was, then I destroyed one and am working on it again now.

Here is "old" pattern cover. It has two elastic cammo stripes behind which you'd tuck your grass or whatever.
 With sniper eyes, you can see there is a part of it missing on the back of the helmet. GS keeps peeling of my heads and it's driving me insane, really. On one of the heads, I've done it all three times, honestly.
 Second head, with glasses. It looks better in real, alas it's not nearly finished. Working on those is no fun, trying to match the standard, argh!
 And the "new" pattern. Almost done!

 You can see the fourth head here. It was going to be same as last one, but with glasses on face. Now I'll make it a special forces helm for a pack of spec ops  everyone loves.
 Lastly, the guns. As you can see I've made considerable progress (and if it's not visible, I really did!). They need some tidying up done, but I'm saving that for later. I'm not too satisfied with front ends, the cocking canal (where the cocking handle rides :P) looks horrible here, but once cast I think it should be better looking. I'm not too satisfied with grips either (last one with grenade launcher doesn't have it done yet) but I will probably leave fixing to the last if ever.
 Other side. I've done the upper half once but it came out all crooked and weird so I've cut it out.
The guns now need carry handle and scopes (I find scopes a murder to start somehow!), shorter barrel and cut off mag...then it will hopefully look good enough . I've found out that If I'd want to make it more accurate, I'd have to scrap those, take new AUGs and completely file or sand them...but I doubt it would improve the end result considerably.

Apart from that, I'm reading a book about Battle of Frigidus 394 AD and I'll certianly make a post about that, connected to my vision of gaming in "small" scales - 6 or 10mm

Thanks for looking, this blogging really helps with motivation!