Following my rediscovery of Punic Wars gaming last month, I pulled the ‘Ancients in progress’ box off the shelf in the painting cupboard, where it had sat unopened for four years. Inside were some half-painted Roman cavalry which demanded finishing off!
Once that was done, I decided to get a few photos of the new cavalry alongside my mini-legion that I’d completed a few years back, so here they are.#
Left: Principes. 28mm plastics by Victrix with an Agema metal character model on the right with green shield.
Obviously, it’s debatable whether you can call these small groups a ‘legion’ at all, but if you’re happy to accept that it’s seriously scaled-down, then it does the job. Scrivs, Martin and I collected one of these each a few years back, basing the Hastati, Principes and Triarii on smaller 80 x 60mm unit bases. The initial plan was to play Hail Caesar with these as ‘small units’ but since then we’ve used them for To The Strongest and Midgard. I’m slightly kicking myself for not using sabot bases now that Saga: Age of Hannibal is available, but hey, I’ll just paint some more for skirmishing!
When I painted this force, I was experimenting with coloured undercoats. This has all been done with Army Painter Fur Brown, which has been left/ washed/ highlighted for the skin, spear shafts and shield backs. If I was doing another legion (never say never) I’d be going with the GW Contrast paints all the way.
Seeing as the cavalry have just been finished, let’s review these first. I confess that these are not actual ‘Roman cavalry’ figures. When Victrix released the Iberian Cavalry set, I snapped one up, despite already owning…errr….substantial numbers of Spanish cavalry in metal. There weren’t yet any Roman cavalry available at that point, so I converted 8 of the Spanish to try to look like allied Romans who had been locally equipped. Martin provided me with some allied Roman heads and I added round shields from the Velites – then painted them red. I think they just about work!
The horses were sprayed with Army Painter coloured undercoats (Desert Yellow and Leather Brown) before being painted with oil paints and then wiped off. This can take a few days to dry but gets horses done quick! In this case, I left the horses for (checks notes) 4 years before doing the rest of the painting. The oils were nicely dry at this point.
Coming back to the riders (who had not seen any paint in their previous life), I quickly sprayed them with Halford’s white primer and blocked them in with GW Contrast paints. These received a bit of highlighting and drybrushing before I called it done.
Seeing as we’re working from the rear of the army, let’s have a look at the Triarii next. These fine fellows are (like the rest of the legion) Victrix plastics apart from a couple of Warlord Games Caesarian Romans that I snuck in for a bit of movement. While not as animated as some of the more recent sets (e.g. Vikings), these fellows DO have chunky spears that won’t snap easily. Bonus..
Now we move on to the main fighting line composed of Principes and Hastati. The red/ white / green of the shields is mostly influenced by the artwork of Peter Connolly, although perhaps there is a subconscious nod to the Italian tricolore there as well?
And now it’s the turn of those lucky teenagers in the front line, the Velites…
I did something sensible with these and created sabot movement trays so I could use them for skirmishing. The figures are based on 2p coins and magnetised into the tray so they stay in pretty well during play. There’s also a nice dynamic about a plastic model based on a metal coin or washer, in that it’s very hard to knock them over during gaming!
Will this be the last legion for the moment? Do I need an allied legion from Victrix as well? Ooh, shiny! (as my friend Guy would say)…https://www.victrixlimited.com/products/romes-italian-allied-legions-legionaries-in-mixed-armour-plus-velites-and-command