My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Working on Paper Sumerian and Akkadian Armies

I was feeling a little creative last weekend. I spent a lot of it writing for some new solo rules for DBA being developed, so I needed a break. I want a pike army, so I can practice both with and against them, but I have so many unpainted miniatures that I was reluctant to buy more.

I did work on a list of all the pike armies in DBA (must be able to select 4 or more pike elements to qualify as a "pike army") so I could see what my choices were. On a recent trip to Albuquerque, NM I was able to pick up an old copy of the WAB Supplement Chariots Wars and it had a section on the Sumerians, who in DBA are a pike army. So, as I am focusing on Biblicals/Chariot Wars of late (finished painting and basing my Philistine army and finished basing my New Kingdom Egyptians that I had painted for me), getting a Biblicals pike army seemed more interesting than the typical Macedonian/Successor or Swiss armies.

As this army, at least for now, I was going to use for solo play, and as I say I have a pile of lead, I decided to take a page from my old playbook and create a set of paper armies for this project. One of the reasons for that is because I am getting interested in trying my hand at Warhammer Ancient Battles, and those armies can get large (and thus expensive to build). I've always advocated for paper armies to experiment with, so here goes.

First up is the classic Sumerian pikeman with cape armor (to the right). I started with Patrick Crusiau's Swiss Pikeman and just started chopping bits here and there. The legs are from Patrick's Romans and the chest from Patrick's Gauls. I use Fireworks, so grafting it all together and filling in the blank spots is easy.

From there I was able to build a second pikeman (to the left), for the enemy army (they will probably Akkadians to start with). I took off the cape and thus had to draw more of the chest in, plus add the straps and large bronze boss on the chest.

One of the things that makes this easy with Fireworks is that I can work with both vectors and bitmaps. So the capes, shields, bosses, etc. are all separate objects, each on a different layer. So making variations of the same figure is much easier.

Next up is the two-handed axemen (to the right), the Blades element in DBA and the Guardsman in WAB. Basically I took the Pikeman, chopped off most of the pike, rotated it over the figure's shoulder, rotated the hand, then added an axe head to the end of it.

As you can see, you simply start building up a catalog of pieces to add and subtract as necessary and you can get a whole, well, army of variations in a short time. And you don't have to paint each figure! You only make the model once. (There I go again, advocating for paper armies...)

Last up is the first of the light infantry (to the right). It represents the Auxilia element in DBA and the non-skirmishing light infantry in WAB. It is an unarmored infantry with a hand axe and some javelins. (They really should be throwing sticks, but they did not look right without the spear points.) I used a throwing spear from Patrick's Gauls, chopped it down, resized them (so they were thinner), then made the heads even smaller. Also, I changed the colors from iron to bronze.

So, as you can see, the start of an army with not a whole lot of effort (less than 1/2 of a day). Of course they still need to be printed, glued, and based before they are an army.

Next to make are the archers. Also, I may go back and make variations of the above, adding beards, to distinguish the Sumerians from the Akkadians. The final piece will be the four-ass battlecarts (Heavy Chariots in DBA and WAB - although the latter has "ornery" rules for the asses).

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").