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"Yarmuk 636 " Topic

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Yesthatphil17 Jun 2015 7:49 a.m. PST

Earlier in the month we ran a 'nearly finished' wink version of the battle of Yarmuk at Partizan.

The game represents the decisive cavalry action on the north flank of this sprawling battle that signalled the triumph of Islam in the Middle East.


The game featured a couple of hundred veteran flats originally from the collections of Phil Barker, Tony Bath and Deryck Guyler and kindly donated to my collection so they could make a return to combat.


I have tidied them up and based them for DBA … so one of the older styles of figure returning to the tabletop in one of the newer styles of wargame.

I will do a more traditional style of game with another part of the collection at Warfare later in the year as part of the 50th anniversary of the Society, but, for now, look out for an upcoming compilation of historical scenarios for DBA (looks like there will be some great stuff in it)..

More pics: Ancients on the Move/Partizan

SoA Shows North

Allen57 Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2015 10:13 a.m. PST

Love the old flats. I have always been afraid that if I based my flats in the manner you have that they will get bent at the base from handling/moving and eventually break off.

What has been your experience? IIRC Tony's old games used the individual figures rather than base them.


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2015 12:14 p.m. PST

They certainly have their own charm.

Yesthatphil17 Jun 2015 2:39 p.m. PST

Thanks, both … Al, I based these Egyptians and Nubians up for my Lords of the Nile game a couple of years back now …


… and have done about 20 or so games at shows with all comers. I have had only one casualty (inevitably a break at the ankles). And I had a spare I could use to replace.

The killer is the side-to-side pinch grip beloved of WWII players (it's how they pick up tanks, especially unbased ones). The best way to pick them up (if you can't pick up by the base) is to hold one of the middle figures firmly by the legs.

Tony bath used temporary bases made of a sandwich of card with a slit cut in the top. You slid the soldiers in before the game (and slipped them back out for flat storage boards afterwards)… the time wasted in setting them all up for battle seems to have been one of the reasons why they fell from popularity.

Phil Barker had his permanently based on corrugated card (five-to-a-base with split downs to remove casualties – very much to the system that would become the norm in the early years of WRG: I have kept a whole load based that way for the Warfare retro game).

As far as I'm aware nobody seriously used them unbased (as they were set up for the photographers) I tried using them that way in my early experiments but with close order units, you tip one over and the whole unit goes down like dominoes. I have concluded that these were just for the photographs – say in Featherstone's War Games to give that classic toy soldier look.

Anyway, so far so good – and I think modern scenic basing shows the figures off very well (helps the 3D illusion).

I'll keep you posted but even for quite high usage there hasn't really been a problem.


lkmjbc318 Jun 2015 7:00 a.m. PST

Absolutely lovely Phil…

One can easily forget good the old flats looked on the table.

Though the breaking at the ankles problem is still with us today for non-flats!

Joe Collins

Yesthatphil18 Jun 2015 4:17 p.m. PST

Thanks, Joe … indeed, few figures are immune to ankle risk …

Re basing … I've shown these before, but this is how Phil's collection had been kept – just as used in the 1960s …


… based on green-painted corrugated card (with 1 base per unit split into smaller and singles for casualty removal) – and of course everything on the same (1 per around 10mm) frontage: no differentiation between lights and heavies or horse and foot (all that came later with the switch to round figures and the creation of WRG. FWIW Phil told me recently that it was Ed smith who 'invented' the original WRG frontages)


Cesar Paz05 Jan 2016 4:06 p.m. PST

The figures and terrain look wonderful Phil!
Could you please tell me how did you make the terrain?


Yesthatphil21 Mar 2016 11:52 a.m. PST

Hi Cesar … sorry I didn't see your post earlier (I was just checking back on my recent post and notice your question.


The terrain is expanded polysterene (insulation board) built inside what we call in the UK a pasting table (a lightweight frame type table built for putting the paste on wall paper*). They are cheap and, with the legs removed, it is essentially a shallow folding box.


Essentially I switch the hinges around to it opens out 4x3 rather than 2x6, and fill the interior with landscape made of polystyrene sheet.

It's a battlefield in a box (many people have taken the idea up subsequently) …

I first developed the idea for a travelling Naseby battlefield display.

Here is the Naseby terrain being painted with earthy matchpots


There is a little teddybear fur and some flock but mostly the surface is just the polystyrene mottled and brushed with household paint (matchpots) – I think 'prairie gold', 'chocolate' and a 'parchment' dry-brush.

I just painted and stippled and mottled til it looked OK – the stopped (it looked surprisingly good) …


I doubt the materials including the table cost over £20.00 GBP, so I think it a good investment.

I have half a dozen or so of these representing different historical battles.

This one is fairly generic, of course – so with some extra pieces added on will do a number of Middle-Eastern open battles**

Thanks for the positive comments, Cesar

Ancients on the Move
*the UK is a nation of DIY enthusiasts.
**I may well use it for the battle of Pharsalus to come.

Cesar Paz21 Apr 2016 10:41 a.m. PST

Better late than never Phil! :-)
Thank you very much for your answer. I hope to see this armies and terrain in service again!

Yesthatphil19 May 2016 5:05 p.m. PST

Pleased just belatedly to add to this thread that Yarmuk now appears in the Great Battles of History volume just published by the DBA development team – see TMP link


Ancients on the Move

Cesar Paz23 May 2016 6:19 a.m. PST

That's A great news Phil!


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