Sunday, 10 May 2009

Roman Progress

First up is the completed barbarian cavalry/knight element. I am quite pleased with these, just a fairly average paintjob overall, but I spent some time and effort on the shields which I think has lifted the element. I will get a few more of these done - maybe even enough to provide a barbarian enemy for the Romans. For the time being, these guys will be a Foederati 3Kn contingent for the Patricians. The figures are by Magister Militum - DARK003.

Next up is another Auxilia element. Less well equipped than the Auxilia Palatina I have already done. Their equipment is more suited to the 3rd and 4th centuries, so my argument is that these guys are a unit of Pseudocomitatensis, hastily recruited and equipped. I have painted them as a rough approximation to the Transtigriani, which according to my (albeit limited) research were a unit of Persian exiles, forming part of the forces of the Eastern Empire. Having said that, the hair and skin colour I have used don't really fit with the Persian Exiles theme ... I have to admit I hadn't thought of that till I finished them!! The figures are Magister Militum SPQR26.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Barbarian Horse

This is a Magister Militum "Buscelarii" figure from their Goth Range. The original figure had a big plume sticking out of thr top of his hat, and was holding a javelin. I decided to takethe plume off, and add a longer spear/lance. I also added an Essex Miniatures shield (because I lost the original ones that came with the figure!!) The reason for changing the weapon was that in the Patrician lists, I believe the 3Kn reference relates to indiginous barbarians working for the Romans. It just doesn't work for me, the thought of a javelin armed knight!! The addition of the lance is in keeping, I think, with the Knight designation. I am very pleased with the endr result, and when his two mates are added, will provide a generic dark age horse element, suitable for everything from Goth through Lombard to Gepid.

Latest additions

I have been busy again, and two more elements completed. The first pic shows the second element of blades, same legion as the first lot. Now I have 2 x 4Bd completed, that brings me closer to being able to morph to an Eastern Patrician (although I know the legion I have depicted actually belongs to the Western Empire!)

... and here is an artillery element, for when I want to use the figs as a Late Imperial rather than a Patrician. I have some more figures on order, which should arrive any time, mainly more auxilia, some legionaries in mail, and some barbarian horse. I have a feeling this project may begin to grow uncontrollably!! I may even end up with a matched pair of both Eastern and Western Armies.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Patricians Finished

So, here we are ... 12 elements of Patrician Romans complete, painted and based in what must be a record time for me - just over a month!

The make up is as follows:
1 x 3Cv (Gen)
2 x 3Kn (although one is actually a 4Kn!)
1 x 4Bd
2 x 4Ax
4 x 4Wb
1 x 2Ps
1 x 2LH

The army arrayed in all its glory

The 4 elements of Roman horse

The regular foot - one element of Legoinaries and two of Auxilia

The Foederati, four warband and one Psiloi

Same Army, different angle - cummin atchya
I will paint up a couple more elements of warband, four more auxilia, another light horse two cavalry and some Psiloi I think. That should give me enough to be able to field all options East and West Patrician, but that will be for a later date.
I might knock out some Donnington Dacians next, or shall I finish my half-done Hittite Empire .... then again there is always that bunch of Seleucids in the box ...... not forgetting the Etruscan League ......... mumble mumble .........................

Bases - one down, 11 to go

I always do the basing of an army in one go once I have finished painting it. A good base can make an extraordianry difference to the way a figure or element looks. I really do believe that even with a very mediocre paint job, spending a bit of effort on the shields and bases can improve the look significantly. Conversely, a superb paint job can be spoiled by sloppy basing.

I tend to use Basetex, produced by Standard paints for most of my basing. I don't know who retails it I am afraid, I usually pick up a jar when I go to Wargames shows, and never take note of which stand I bought it from! It is esentially a water based paint with grit in it - I guess I could probably make my own, but at £2 a jar, it's just not worth the effort.

I use 2mm thick plasicard for my bases. I have never had a problem with warping or splitting, and it is easy to cut.
Before the figures get stuck onto the base I score the surface, this is to make sure that whatever I am going to stick on there - Basetex or whatever - has something to grip to. I have never tried it without scoring first, but I suspect the surface would be too smooth. I also paint in the edges of the base at this stage, it makes the whole thing look so much tidier when its finished.
Once that is done, I slap big dollops of basetex around the figures using an old tatty brush to work it up to, and onto the figure bases. I use enough to fill the gaps, and even out the overall surface, using a stippling motion to retain the grainy texture. Once that's done, leave it to dry out completely. This will ruin a decent brush, so make sure you use one you don't care about. Stiffer bristles are better.

When it is dry, as in the top left picture, I then dry brush the whole lot with a colour a couple of tones lighter than the Basetex, as shown top right. I then follow up with another dryer dry brushing using a lighter tone. This really accentuates the texture of the base (bottom left). The last stage is the static grass. I put irregular patches of slightly diluted PVA glue on the base - usually including the area around the figure's feet, then scatter the whole lot with static grass. Give the glue long enough to dry - about 10 minutes or so - then tap the excess grass off. A final blow to get the last of the loose stuff off, and there you have it one element totally finished.

Static grass is magic stuff, as I understand it, the synthetic material it is made from builds up a static charge (especially if you shake it before you use it!). When it is sprinkled onto your chosen area, the static causes the strands to repel each other, causing them to stand up. Thus the very realistic grassy look - clever aint it? I get my static grass from model railway shops, it's not too expensive. Games Workshop also sell it, but with an apparrent squillion percent mark-up, my advice is to stick to the model railway shops.

12th Element

Here is the last element needed for a full Western Patrician Roman army. Clibanarii based as a 3Kn, with the option to use as a Kn general should the mood take me. The standard bearer is a Magister Militum figure (SPQR64), with the original flag pole removed, and a wire one added for resilience. The general, his horse and the other rider are Essex Miniatures figures, left over from an earlier project. I have replaced the lance with a wire spear, and bent the arm a bit so it can rest on the rider's shoulder.
The army is not all-options yet, but at least I now have a DBA legal 12 element army I can field. I will continue adding to it to cover all options for East and West.
All I need do now is complete the basing - more on that soon.