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Friday, November 23, 2012

Mitanni are ready for action!

Now that I've finally got all the diverse elements of a Mitanni army - six light chariots, two auxilia (with options for being either heavy Maryannu or light Amorite) a horde of Amorites, and three psiloi, the army can now be arrayed:

More Amorites

With the Amorite Auxilia done it is easy to stay motivated. (I recently read an article that says the best way to get a project done is to start it, even just a little. Then a kind of hard-coded "got to get on with that" impulse overtakes our equally hard-coded "must get around to that" procrastination impulse.) So, a certain amount of greystuff-modelling later, I have a bunch of convincingly hairy spear and club-axe men, all converted from the Atlantic Egyptians. I add my last two Atlantic Plains Indians club-men (the ones with bow slung, and armed with a throw-club and knife.) With kilt and beards added they are pretty convincing. I've already used a few of them for my Assyrian Horde as it happens. I also add short javelins where I can. Atlantic Egyptians have very slender limbs and tiny hands but so long as I drill into the shield as much as I drill into the hand, I can slide a thin wire in to represent a javelin. But only one! The shields are a mixture. The club-axe wielders shields aren't positioned right but a full tear-down and rebuild doesn't seem worth it. I trim the shields to have concave ends and leave it at that. A couple of the spearmen get greystuff shields but they don't look great so the rest get card shields. I use the same dimension as last time but leave the sides straight - according to AANE this was a natural development of the original x-frame - but this makes the shields look surprisingly wide. Oh well, it's not a biggie. Here's the Horde, and you can make your own judgment on the shields.
I try a few combinations before I settle on that grouping, because between the conversions I have 12 figures. So I go for a 7Hd stand, a 2Ps and that leaves 3Ax for an eventual expansion into Amorite times. Here's the Psiloi:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Amorite Auxiliaries

In pursuit of two 3Ax elements for my slowly-emerging Mitanni army, I turn back to a bag of Atlantic Egyptian spares. These were figures I mutilated decades ago trying to create a "barbarian" army, mainly by chopping the shields about.

I sort out a half-dozen that look promising. Most of them wield a blade, one a spear and one a weighted axe. Using a very sharp craft knife, I cut most of the shield of each away, leaving a kind of X configuration. These will be the support struts, or at least the nub of support struts, for the Amorite shields.

The Amorites I have in mind are pretty early, with very simple kilt, shoulder strap or straps, and a shield fashioned by fastening an animal skin over an X-frame. Because there was no frame, the shield took on a concave-edge once the skin dried. One example shows the tail of the animal left on for decoration and I decide to use this for all six.

I decide that based on the Atlantic figures, which are very slim, the shield body will be 8mm x 11mm, not counting the tail. I draw these out on an old business card with a ruler, then draw the inward curves at each end. I cut them out with scissors, and use a very fine pair of scissors to cut the tail, concave ends and sides.

Using grey stuff (equivalent to green stuff) is risky with plastic minis as it tends not to stick, but it does leave a very solid result unlike plasticine, the other alternative. These minis take the grey stuff quite well. I add a baldric or cross-belt, a broad waist-band, extra material to make the shield struts look more convincing, and of course a beard.

Painting is on the easy end of the scale. After sealing each mini with flexible tough wood stain, and a base coat of white, I add flesh, white for the kilt, brown for leather and wood, deep brown for hair, and bronze for weapon blades. With all basic colours blocked in I then re-coat the kilts, add a lighter flesh tone on the prominent flesh areas, tidy up any over-paint then add eyes and eyebrows. I use variations on red and green-blue to add a border trim to each kilt. Turning to the shields, I mix a buff shade and use that for the inner side, then a feathered tan for the outer spine and tail, then a pale buff feathered back into that for the shield panels, and finally deep brown feathered onto the tail tip. Lastly I line-in most of the edges.

With another well-diluted coat of stain to provide durable protection, they are ready to be based.

There's nothing fancy about the basing which is a thin scatter of grit and medium flock over ochre once the figures are firmly embedded in grouting. I add a few wisps of field grass from Woodland Scenics.