Monday, May 29, 2006

The V Macedonica

This Legion was stationed on the Danube to defend the frontier from Sarmation and Dacian raiders. As with most of my Legions I have tried to give them all individual identities. I wanted to give the V Macedonica the feel of being a newly raised and well equipped Legion and so the armour I painted very bright and shiney to make it look new, also unlike my other Legions I have kept all the Helmets iron with only two being of the bronze helmet game. Likewise all the shields are clean and new looking and the entire Legion is equipped with the later Lorica Segmentata body armour. There is also a cohort of heavily armoured Legionaries, to face and fight any Dacian raiders armed with the dreaded Falx weapon, very handy when you're guarding a border against them. The end result is a very fresh, modern looking Legion, to contrast against the dirt of the German Legion and the sand of the Syrrian Legion.

The III Gallica

This is a photo I took a while back now but I like the scale of it, the sand coloured shields represent the deserts of the east where the Legion was stationed.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

South Britannia joins the war effort (campaign 4)

Smithys in the south of Britannia have now joined the war effort and are now up to full speed, producing hundreds of helmets a week. The Celtic peoples were fantastic metal workers and their talents here are being used to the full. The order has been given to re-enforce the helmets with strips of iron, something that will take more time but should help make all the difference in battle.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Legionary of the II Augusta

This soldier from the forces of Britannia, shows the arrogance that the Romans would become famous for. This legionary is over seeing the construction of a store house by locals.......very beneath him.

Bang bang bang (campaign 3)

In the smithys of north Britannia work starts and men toil day and night to equip the new levies with arms and armour. It is lucky for Secundus that Britannia is rich in such metals needed for this operation.

Britannia gets ready to march (Campaign 2)

The Pro-Consul of Britannia, Secundus Tofieldicus Toeus has decided to go on a whistle stop tour of the province. He leaves the northern borders and marches south with the XX Legion and six cohorts of Auxiliaries, there is nothing out of the ordinary about this and no one suspects anything untoward.......he is just a Consul Governor doing his rounds once a year. However, with the news of the Emperors illness, Secundus has been motivated into doing a stock take of men and resources for the area and checking the loyalty of commanders and tribes in the province. This is a bold move for Secundus, treasonous even, but Secundus has never been one for waiting around and has decided to make the first steps to becoming the new Emperor. It will take time to build new units and supplies for his conquest, but being in the north of Britannia, on the edge of the known world, time is the one thing he has got plenty of. As long as he keeps it quite.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

War is on the wind (campaign 1)

Rumour has it that the Emperor has fallen sick.........very sick. He has been ill before but this time, it is said he will not recover. Throughout the Empire people wait and hold their breath....'who will be the new Emperior?' is the question on everyone's lips. Troops on the frontiers talk about electing someone who will see to their needs instead of some high paying aristocrat chosen by the Preatorian Guard in Rome. There are a lot more troops on the frontiers however, than there are in Rome and their moans do not fall on deaf ears. Their generals wait also.....not wanting to be the first to declare themselves Emperor by force, but knowing if they wait too long, someone else will rise to fill the sacred red boots. He who commands an army could command the civilised world....if the weather is good and the gods are favourable.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Roman marines

When Rome was strapped for field units one quick way to raise armies was to strip the navy of its marines. Rome invented Marines to help it fight Carthage, taking its hard fighting land forces and putting them into ships to engage the enemy at sea using land tatics and fighting skills. It was through its use of Marines that Rome took control of the Mediterranean sea from the Carthaginians, boarding them ship to ship with its Marines to whom the carthaginians had no answer.

To give these troops a maritime feel I have given them sea blue shields with the a Roman war ship (a Trireme) painted on the front.

The VIII cohort of Britains

Here a tribe of Britains have been forced under the yoke of Roman rule and now wear the trappings of a foriegn power. Although their style in clothing and armour has changed, they still sport their proud moustaches as a sign of their Celtic identity.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

German Auxiliaries

Here is the IV Tungrian cohort, part of the Army of the Rhine. These tough Auxiliaries were stationed along the great river frontier to protect against angry German raiding parties. The Rhine legions were constantly at war and as a result became some of the best troops in the Empire. Living next to and amongst the German peoples, they took to the habit of dressing like them and adopting their weapons, troops along the Rhine frontier are known to have discarded their Roman Pilums for the longer German style spears, to aid them in combat against their foes. They were looked upon as a motley, barbarius lot by the rest of the troops else where in the Empire. For this reason, I have given this unit longer spears than my other Auxiliary units to show the influences of being stationed so close to the German border.

Here is another shot of my Gladiators. This one shows the command base with a standard of two fighting men, echoing the origin of the unit.

Here is a base I made to represent a broken unit on the board, when a unit breaks or is destroyed and taken away, I made these bases to put in its place. They were good fun to make and great for using in the you can probably tell, I use them alot to add a little something extra in the piccies.

Sir!.... the Iceni are revolting!

" Tell me something I don't know Quintus."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Gladiators in Roman service

To make the Gladiators I used heavy armoured legionaries from the Foundry collection. I used a range of poses to make the unit look alittle less organised than its Roman brothers. The odd gladiator conversion and Celtic figure added to the mix also helped to give it a motley look. This look was also achieved by painting their tunics in a multitude of colours.

Their shields I based from my memory of that classic scene in The Fall of the Roman Empire, when a cohort of ex-gladiators is sent into the forest to lure out the waiting Germans. With this scene in mind I painted my shields a dark leather brown. To give the Cohort a strong feel of being made from individual characters, I personalized each of their shields by painting on different designs and motifs. These ranged from tridents (for those who had been Retiarius), to spears and swords for other sorts of gladiators. The unit also had a strong Celtic feel to it and so I gave it a Celtic standard to really mix things up. One of the final touches was the idea of giving them loads of different styles of shield, which made the unit look like it had drained the local storage depot to equip its self.

Gladiators in Roman service

When I was putting together units to fight in a Roman civil war, I tried to think of units with great character and a look all of their own that would stand out against the lines of legionaries. In the civil wars of 69AD, Otho armed and organised a unit of 2000 gladiators to help him fight for the throne. These hard fighting warriors though were matched and beaten by a Batavian cohort who I have mentioned earlier on the blog. This huge killer is Phobeos Fatalus from Germany, he is struggling in his tiny mind with the thought of leaving the arena and adoring crowds to a life of orders and marching. Centurion Vitus however is less impressed with his size, he knowns it is training and discipline that wins Roman battles, not individual strength and prowess.

The blurred photo is owed to the taker being struck with fear at the sight of Phobeus (hence his name), but as you can see he finally joined up with the promise of his freedom tied into the bargain.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Heavy horse

With my army of Britannia almost finished it was time to add the cherry on the cake, with the introduction of the heavy Sarmations. Once the Romans had had a taste of these Tiger tanks of the ancient world, they decided they had to have some of their own. By the time of Hadrian, Sarmation cavalry could be found on the wall and in the north of Britannia. These mounted warriors fought in slow moving tightly packed ranks and literally pushed the enemy down and rode over them, although in open battle their slow speed could lead to them being out flanked where their advantage would quickly be lost. Here, a well armoured but slow moving Sarmation horsemen finds himself in the worst possible the open and on his own.

The arrival of the mighty Sarmations

With the completion of my light cavalry I thought I'd better get started on the heavies. These figures are from Foundry and sculpted by the Perry brothers. I was supprised with the amount of work they needed to get to this stage, being cast in two pieces, they left huge gaps when placed together and they took alot of filling with 'green-stuff'. As I had to make up a large batch of 'green-stuff' I thought I'd make some cloaks while I was there........I've gone completely cloak mad!

Fine hammering

After a fair bit of hammering I fine tuned the technique to this arrangment. This steadied both the steel pin and the hammer with one hand, the position shown in the picture of the steel pin on the 'anvil' hammer, was the best place to get the perfect flat spear head when struck. Doing it this way I could bash through spears in just a few beats for each one saving loads of time, something to think about when you've got 200 of them to do.

hamming spears

When I first started, I held the 'anvil' hammer steady with my forearm because it tended to move away as I struck the steel pins. Also, after about 20 spears, I found the best place for getting the perfect flat spear piont and started getting better results. This "target area" became silver in colour which made it easy to find each time.

When I nod my hit it!

Making spears

Flattening spear pionts is easy when using this techique, I saw it in a book by renowned painter Kevin Dillimore. Although I have to say, by the time I had hammered my way through 200 spear pionts, I had fine tuned it alittle.

British Celtic cavalry

British Celtic cavalry

Here they are at last, finally finished and out for trouble! Although I painted them to fight in my Roman army of Britannia, I still kept them looking very Celtic in their clothes and shield designs etc, so I could still field them as Celts in their true right and use them in my Celtic army. The cloaks I kept quite simple and stuck to browns and greens for the shield colours.....nothing too bright and flashy for this lot. The horses too I made painted a Dun colour to make them look british and keep the unit together visually.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Third Cohort of Gauls

These were painted quite early on in my Roman forces but still stand up well from a distance. The shield design and colour just seemed to say Gaulish to they became Gauls. Over the years this unit has always found itself fighting the same unit of German Auxiliaries on the board and so I like to think there's a little bit of history there between them, which is great for game play and character.

Taking these photos in real sunlight just seems to bring them to life. The shadows caused seem to change the scale of the tiny figures in the photo, so they appear to be life sized....great stuff!

Life on the wall

Here Polus takes the opportunity in-between snow showers to take his brother Lucullus a cup of beef broth. It's a gift that is very welcome indeed for although the two brothers are used to snow in their southern Gaul......nothing could have prepared them for a life on Hadrian's wall in north Britannia. The thought that is keeping Lucullus going at the moment is the idea of the hot bath in the military bathhouse in three hours time, unfortunately for Polus, this is the time his shift starts but I'm sure Lucullus will return the favour.

This picture came about from idea to draw up legionaries in cold wheather clothing, there aren't many illustrations on this topic and I wondered what they would've looked like. I have given them thick local (Celtic) clothing under their armour and fingerless gloves to keep out the scottish winds, they have also got long trousers on as opposed to the breeches always depicted in books. I think people haven't really changed much reguarding comfort over the years and i think alot of this stuff would have been common sense, only a few years ago, the famous Vindolanda writing tablets revealed a man writting home asking for more underpants and socks to keep him warm. Also, when I get round to starting my campaign idea, I would like to follow the events of it through the eyes of these two and see how they get on, for abit of added imagination and story telling. My lasting memory of visiting Hadrian's wall was the noise and force of the air when I was standing on the wall, it was literally deafening, but it was a magical moment to be looking out through Roman eyes into the wastes of Pictland and the ends of the Roman empire.