Translations of World Literature

In Parenthesis is a site that offers free ebooks with Enlgish translations of literature from around the world. Much of it should be of interest to wargamers. There’s Old Norse, Arthurian, Chinese Drama, Medieval Canadian, Medieval Castilian, Medieval Catalan, Middle Dutch, Middle English, Old English, Ethiopian, Middle French, Old French, Medieval German, Gothic, Greek, Medieval Irish, Medieval Italian, Medieval latin, Japanese, Malayan, Peruvian, Medieval Russian and so on.

Painting Early Imperial Romans Book Review

Painting Early Imperial Romans Book Review

Painting Wargames Figures: Early Imperial Romans
By Andy Singleton
Publisher’s Website: Pen and Sword
On Amazon (affiliate link)

One of a series of painting guides from publisher Pen and Sword, Andy Singleton’s Early Imperial Romans volume is one I wished I had years ago when I was working on my own Roman project.

Full disclosure: I received the Kindle Version of this book from the publisher for review.

The physical version of Early Imperial Romans has 160 pages in a 6.8 x 0.5 x 9.5 inch format. As you would expect for a painting guide, it is well illustrated, with 187 color photos.

In Early Imperial Romans, Singleton has taken an interesting tack for a painting guide. Because of the large number of legion variants in the Early Imperial era, Singleton focuses instead on common elements: armor, shields, flesh, tunics, and so on. When working on figures, painters can identify the different types of gear and reference the appropriate section of the book.

Each section identifies the brush types and paint used, as well showing photos of each step. The instructions are clearly written, and even the most rank of beginners should have no problem following them.

Singleton offers a good variety of “looks” in each section. The armor section, for example, offers techniques for painting clean iron mail, tarnished iron mail, clean segmentata, aged segmentata, weathered setmentata, bright bronze/copper alloy, weathered bronze/copper alloy, blackened armor and tinned

Each section also has a bit of historical discussion, noting the development and use of the armor, shields, weapons and so on.

Interestingly, the book lacks discussion of how to paint the weapons, other than a section on the wood of a pilum. I suppose that the painting of swords is fairly straightforward, though.

Note also that the book is absent any discussion of various auxilia troops: slingers, archers, etc. Perhaps those will be the topic of another volume.

The beginning of the book is clearly intended for folk new to the hobby, with a discussion of figure types (metal, plastic, resin) as well as necessary tools, glues and primers. That chapter also discusses paint brush types and their cleaning. Finally, there is an explanation of various painting techniques, such as dry brushing, layering and washing.

The back of the book discusses basing techniques, and offers a list of manufacturers in various scales.

Painting Imperial Romans is a good book for those relatively new to the historical miniature wargaming hobby (and hopefully there are a steady stream of those). As someone with more than 40 years in the hobby, however, I found it less useful. Still, I found the paint color suggestions useful, and enjoyed the historical discussions of the equipment.

Free Ebooks From Osprey

Osprey — a longtime publisher of military related powers, and more recent publisher of games — is offering free ebooks for the Corona Virus lockdowns.

The History Behind The Game of Thrones: The North Remembers Book Review

The History Behind The Game of Thrones: The North Remembers Book Review
The History Behind The Game of Thrones: The North Remembers

History Behind The Game of Thrones: The North Remembers
by David C Weinczok 
Pen and Sword Publishers 
Publisher’s Website
Buy On Amazon (affiliate link)

When I first read A Game of Thrones from George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series more than 20 years ago, my initial reaction was “Oh. This is a fantasy version of the Wars of the Roses.” Even with only my basic wargamer’s knowledge of the WotR, I was able to see the parallels (anyone interested in a game of Kingmaker?) 

It turns out that I wasn’t the only one who had this thought. In The History Behind The Game of Thrones: The North Remembers, David C. Weizczok lays out parallels not only in the Wars of The Roses, but other political and military struggles in Scotland and England, as well as some striking geographical similarities. 

The historical Stirling Castle, for example, controls the vital crossing of the River Forth, a strategic situation that closely parallels Westeros’ Moat Cailin and The Twins. The iconic Wall, which separates Westeros from the Wildings of the North, was inspired by Hadrian’s and The Antonine Walls, which separated Roman Britain from the Caledonians.  The Iron Islands parallel many locations off the coasts of Britain, notably the Hebrides. Historical Caerlaverock is a nice stand in for Riverrun. 

Actual events spanning from Roman times to the Wars of the Roses also are echoed in the Game of Thrones. The futile Wilding assault on the wall, led by their chariots, echoed the equally futile assault of the Caledonians on the Roman Legions anchored on the slopes of Mons Graupius in 83 CE. The Battle of the Bastards looks an awful lot like a merging of Bannockburn and Falkirk. Robert the Bruce’s efforts  are reflected in those of Robert Baratheon.  Tywin Lannister exhibits many of the characteristics of Edward I. 

And then there’s the infamous – and gut wrenching – Red Wedding, which has not one, but THREE parallels in Scottish history: The Black Dinner, James II’s murder of William Douglas and the Massacre of Glencoe. All of these were shocking to contemporaries because of the clear violation of guest-right. 

Dragons even have their analog in the castle shattering and fire breathing cannon of the late medieval period. 

Weizczok’s book is densely packed with information. Fortunately, it is clearly written and not in the least bit dry for this fan of Game of Thrones and history.  

If I have one criticism of the book, it is that the book needs more photos and maps for those of us unfamiliar with English geography. As an American, I can immediately envision maps for the American Revolution and American Civil War. It’s a lot harder for me to envision the geography of the Hebrides , Dumfries and Galloway. There are some maps and photos in the center of the book, but I could have used more. I had to keep my phone handy to keep looking up the locations of places mentioned. 

Other than that, I highly recommend this book for anyone who has enjoyed Game of Thrones – either as a book, or in the television format. 

Well Told Tales Pulp Podcast

Well Told Tales offers audiobooks of pulp fiction stories. From the website:

Every Monday, the Well Told Tales podcast brings you an original short story — either sci-fi, horror or hardboiled. Think of them as audiobooks, only shorter — 15 to 35 minutes, the perfect length for your commute, workout, whatever. And did we mention they’re FREE?