War Hammer Ancient Battles in 20mm Plastic
By Craig Barkle
Many years ago when just a pimply youth I discovered my first wargames club (Wellington Wargames Society – now disbanded) and have been hooked ever since. At that time (around 1976) the rage was ACW using Airfix plastics! Range of artillery was guessed before the damage determined and the mention of fantasy as a wargames period would have raised several eyebrows!
I duly raced home and painted two units of confederate infantry with home-made Rebel flag and next meeting fronted up with my chocolate box of figures…….only to find that the newest thing since sliced bread, flared trousers, and disco, were 15mm lead. Well beyond the reach of a schoolboy’s wages.
Well…several years later and after many, many lead armies, I found myself with three kids and a mortgage staring through a Games Workshop window at the lollies inside. Gone were the days of recklessly buying that extra unit or two…splashing out a couple of hundred for complete armies…and collecting rules sets by the dozen! But I did have enough to buy a set of Warhammer Ancient Battles. Having been a big fan of Games Workshop and knowing the high quality of their products I hoped that this venture into the realm of historical wargaming would not be disappointing. Lo and behold, the rules were above the high expectations I had. The same mechanics as Fantasy Battles but styled for ancients. The ability to have characters both minor and major, formation and weapon variations, training and the ability to improve units to veteran status and more……so much in fact that it is virtually impossible to go into detail…..my only suggestion is go out and buy a copy!
The only problem was that there was no way I could afford to buy lead figures, even though the Wargames Foundry range makes my mouth water. It was a bit like watching Baywatch without pictures…..you could hear them running down the beach but…….!
I sat down to my computer that night (Baywatch wasn’t on!), and started surfing and all of a sudden I came across Nick Grant’s web site! Eureka! Hallelujah! By jove I think he’s got it! [Awww, shucks! Ed.] Inspiration came rushing in. I duly raced into my son’s bedroom and confiscated all those nasty plastic figures that he might swallow and set about painting. What follows are my first efforts and I am still madly painting. I don’t think I’ve even spent any money yet, but even the most expensive packs (here in New Zealand) offer bonus’s as follows:
Hat Plastics Ancient Britons – over $13.00! = 2 great chariots. Not that many figures compared to other packs, but easily the most useful. The chariot warrior and several others can be converted into cavalry. Unlike others I am hopeless at cutting figures in half to make cavalry. For me, the easiest way is to use infantry with their legs apart (excuse me!), and completely remove them from their base. Then buy a pack of Italieri cavalry (any period) and slice off the saddles and paraphernalia, and glue them together!
There are even two wounded figures lying on the ground with arrows in them. Not much use for wargaming I thought, until I scratch built a couple of chariots and used them as the drivers! (Pictures to follow once the painting is finished)
Revell Romans – about $11 = nearly 40 legionaries! That’s enough for two decent size units under WAB, and if you used lead figures it would cost over $100! That’s one-tenth the price!
Esci Barbarians and Revel Gauls also add great variety to your Briton army.
The old Atlantic figures also add some variety to my army with a bit of sculpting.
The picture of all units (at the top of the page) represents the entire 1000pt WAB Roman army described in the rule book, with a 20 man unit of Ancient British allies added (+200pts). It is probably the smallest force you would start playing with and includes a mounted General, two 16 man units of legionaries (representing a century each), a 10 man unit of auxilia, and 5 cavalry. The opposing 1000pt Ancient British force comprises a 40 man warband, a 20 man warband of fanatics (commonly known as nutters! Or probably the early football supporters!), a mounted standard bearer, 10 cavalry, 5 chariots and a sixth chariot with the Chieftain on board. All currently being painted and photo’s to follow.
The other pictures are Roman Legionaries (Esci), Roman cavalry (converted Atlantic with plumes cut off), and Hat/Airfix Ancient Britons with Revel Gauls and Esci Barbarians.
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Click here to see another WAHB game in plastic, this time with 54mm - 1/32nd scale figures, by Ross Macfarlane of Nova Scotia, Canada, from HaT Industries' site.