Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Frontier Wolves

A good friend of mine, Tom, lent me his favourite book as a kid, Frontier Wolf by Mary Sutcliff. It tells the story of Alexios Flavius Aquila, a spoilt son of a high ranking commander, who because of his father's title, has landed a Centurions job at a very early age (23). While in Germany (343AD) he goes againist the advice of his officers and makes a decision that costs the lives of most of his men. For punishment, he is sent to the backwater fort of Castellumi on the Antonine wall. The Frontier Wolves are a cavalry force of tough auxillary scouts, who patrol the moorlands about the wall and keep the local Celts in check. It is an uneasy peace, kept through agreement rather than brute force, but when a new commander arrives from Rome with his arrogant ways, this fragile peace is shattered.
Alexios, who is still shadowed by his mistake in the past, has to first win over the respect and then the trust of the motley bunch of scouts.With the local tribes in open revolt and his fort under attack by at least two angry tribes, Alexios has to face the past and make the same decesion that cost him his old position in Germany. This time, however he listerns very carefully to his officers and trusts their knowledge of the surrounding terrain and leads the wolves out of the fort and down towards Hadrian's wall and safety. It is a beautifully written book, with lovely moments and amazing detail, that really makes you beleive you are there in Roman Brittannia in 343AD. When I was first started planning this campaign, I thought it would be great for Tom to field some of favourite Romans..... and so i made some for him! These are my first attempts at sculpting, and they were done in the same way as the other British Celtic force featured below. The only difference being, that rather than smooth the cloak shape down to represent cloth, I roughed it up with the Sharper of the two tools to make it look like wolf skin. Painting helps a great deal and the heads are of Roman standard bearers, so the really tricky bit of the face and helmet was done for me. Here, Alexios rides out with his Vexillium to patrol the area.


Anonymous said...

Good old Tom. I hope you gave the book back. Long live Sun Horse, Moon Horse.

Scutatus said...

Roemary Sutcliff is a fantatic author. All her works are gripping literature. It's a shame the illustrations in many of her books are such bilge though. When are we going to see Rosemary's characters correctly portrayed as Late Romans in the drawings (as they should be) instead of the "hollywood Romans" rubbish.

Scutatus said...

These figures are fantastic though! You out do yourself. :)