Saturday, 26 November 2011

Roman baggage train ...

While I'm waiting for my primed figures to cure I thought I would start construction of the Roman wagon.

The huge North Star Oxen really look the part … but now I'm worried that the load looks somewhat insubstantial to be troubling such strong animals with. I will give this more thought.

I’m also thinking about how to harness the oxen to the cart. I can modify the supplied yoke or make a harness like the one on the The Time Machines Miniatures model. Something else to think about …

Work in progress: The North Star Oxen needed quite a bit of filler to make a good join between the head and body. One of the wheels of the Foundry cart had a poorly cast spoke, so I filled this too.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Legio VI signifer, imagnifer and vexillarius

I have finished converting the Warlord Games’ aquilifier to hold aloft a bull, and added imagnifer and vexillarius figures. These will comprise part of my Legio VI vexillatio command vignette.

An observation made over at TMP prompted me to remove the cloth standard from below the bull, which I rather of knew is how it should be.

Work in progress: Primed and ready, Legio VI’s standard bearers are a mix of Warlord Games and Wargames Foundry figures.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Legio VI signum ... work in progress

I had a bit of free time this evening so I thought to begin work on the signum. I have literally ‘beefed-up’ the Faller cow to give it more of a bull-like appearance.

The size of the bull may be a bit exaggerated (the calves were just too small), but I think I can live with this.

Work in progress: After removing the cow’s udder and the paint from the cow’s head and shoulders I added Milliput to sculpt the heavier profile. The figure is Warlord Games’ aquilifer.

The plinth will need some detail adding, probably using very thin plasticard, and I plan to add horns to give the bull a bit more aggression … but first I’ll see how gentle sanding of the Milliput works out.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Today’s haul

I went along to Warfare 2011 in Caversham this morning and came back with some items I set out to buy and a surprise.

I bought more raw material from my Roman baggage train, as illustrated below. I also bought a couple of Warlord Games’ marching legionaries.

Baueda jars, sacks, boxes and amphorae will comprise the Roman cart’s load.
By chance I found a pair of North Star oxen. These are really muscular sculpts and will look much more like the Time Machines Miniatures’ original.
Foundry ox on the left and North Star ox on the right … much more like it!

Legio VI signum

Like most Roman Army collectors I have plenty of aquilae, imagines and various signa, but what I really need is a She-wolf with Romulus and Remus or a bull so that I can complete my Legio VI vexillatio command group.

I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but following a suggestion on the Warlord Games’ forum I ordered some Z-gauge cattle to see if they might provide a starting point … and I think they may.

Careful selection from a box of really tiny Faller cattle might just furnish a bull-topped signum.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Christmas comes early ...

My annual Wargames Foundry order arrived this week. I only order from them when they are discounting, and ensure the discount covers the high postage charge.

I’ve been thinking about my Roman baggage train for a while, and had my eye on the Foundry ancient cart and pack mules. The inspiration for this vignette came from a 54mm diorama on Time Machine Miniatures web site:


The stunning and inspirational Time Machine Miniatures’ diorama.
Some of the components for the baggage train vignette, mules on the left, oxen, cart and drovers in the middle. On the right are signifier, vexellarius and imagnifer figures to add variety to my centuries ... one has been recruited to the sagittarii already.

Equine hues

I've been working on my first auxiliary cavalry turma, but I'm not happy with the colour of the horses.

I’ve been working up the colour with ink and paint washes, but the colours don’t look enough like the colours of real horses to me.

I read a few forum posts on the subject (on The Miniatures Page) but no-one was actually giving away which colour paints they used for specific types (eg bay, chestnut). By chance I stumbled on a reference to Howard Hues’ range of basic horse colours.

So I bought some.

The turma begins to come to life ... but the colours aren’t quite right. Hopefully Howard Hues will rescue the situation.

The Archers ...

The saga continues ... the bows are now strung and the figures are finally primed ready for painting.

A slightly converted Warlord Games’ auxiliary centurion leads the century of sagittarii. I added a vexillarius from this year’s Foundry delivery ... now I’m really looking forward to painting these chaps.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Roman Medicus

I’ve almost finished the medicus vignette – just the tufts to finish off (removing the strays) and fine sand to add to the edge of the base. I'm quite pleased with this.

Of course I realise that the medicus is unlikely to have operated so close to the fighting that he needed protecting, but I wanted to add a little more drama to this vignette. I really hope Warlord Games will release a sprue of kneeling legionaries since I would like to model a rank or two in this pose for a couple of my forthcoming centuries.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The story so far ...

I’ve been a bit distracted for the last month with life, but a thread on the Warlord Games’ forum prompted this, a picture of everything I have finished so far:

My Legio VI Ferrata vexillatio so far, roughly from left to right: auxiliary infantry; two centuries of legionaries with scorpiones, ballista, and onagar; engineers; then the turma of dromedarii.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Work in progress ...

I've been on another roll, making quite a bit of progress with a number of elements of my burgeoning Roman cohort, though nothing is actually finished yet.

Work in progress: The two new dromedarii are ready for decals and shading.

Work in progress: The scorpiones are based but detailing isn't finished.

Work in progress: The medicus vignette is coming along. I really hope Warlord release a sprue of kneeling legionaries ...

Work in progress: My first turma of cavalry: 1st Corps figures with the addition of a Warlord attic helmeted head for the decurion.

Work in progress: Actually no progress to speak of, just four more standing archers ready to have their bows strung ...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Roman medicus

I got excited about the idea of a Roman surgeon (medicus to you) vignette long before Warlord Games released theirs last week.

I have a little group in mind, with a kneeling legionary watching over the surgeon while he's working (though I do realise that these chaps probably didn't work so close to the fighting). These figures are now primed and ready for painting.

The extra dromedarii arrived too, and these are underway. I am doing these very carefully since they have to match the eight I already have.

Work in progress: The pose of the kneeling legionary has changed slightly since I took this picture, since I felt holding the pilum behind the shield like that didn't look quite right.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Some things I’ve learned ... some things I’ve done ...

I've learned a couple of things this week: one due to the amount of time it takes me to get preparation work done, and the other is Sandy Paste.

I've had lots of interruptions (life, work) which have slowed down my preparation work. The result is that I have a number of figures that have been primed with gesso waiting on painting – and they've been waiting on painting for a few weeks. But ... I have noticed that the gesso seems to go really hard, and looks and feels as if it it may be better for the extra drying time.

I really like gesso. It does take longer to prime figures (then again a decent application of spray primer always took a while), but I can use it inside, any time of day, any weather. Also it seems to fill small gaps quite well ... it certainly improves the fit of my 1st Corps riders and their mounts.

Sandy paste
After reading quite a bit on the internet forums about Vallejo's Sandy Paste I took the plunge and bought 200ml. I've only done one base with it so far (that little command vignette below) but I love it. The really good feature is that I can apply it with a brush – even a small brush – which makes getting around Roman caligae much easier ...

New recruits
My 1st Corps auxiliary cavalry new recruits arrived this morning ... and a sword blade and a horse’s tail came adrift immediately. A little time spent drilling and pinning and gluing has done the trick. I've primed the last two figures bringing my first turma of calvary up to full strength (ten figures) ... now they are beginning to look the part – it's funny how much better ten figures look than eight.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Figure scale

I've been struggling with figure scale for a while ... you know, how many actual men a single miniature represents.

So far my centuries are 24 figures, representing 80 real legionaries. That's three point three recurring real legionaries per miniature. Which is a bit untidy ... so rounding down to three-to-one gives a slightly under-strength century of 72 legionaries.

Moving on to mounted units, a turma of cavalry may have been 30 men led by a decurio. So the men:figure ratio works well here giving a table-top unit of 10 figures.

Therefore I need to add two figures to each of my cavalry turmae (I’ve just ordered EIR22a from 1st Corps) and I’ll need two more dromedarii from Warlord, which I'll order when their medicus becomes available.

That’s better!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Work in progress ...

I didn't get quite as much done last night as I had hoped, but the work I did looks promising.

Here are some so-so images of some of the things I have on the go at the moment ...

Work in progress: The growing artillery park needs a commander, and here he is. The specialist centurion – who doesn't have a name yet (suggestions anyone?) – is a Wargames Foundry figure. The kneeling fellow is from the Warlord Games’ Scorpion battery boxed set. When I saw this set I had this little vignette in my head almost immediately.

Work in progress: Some of the figures being prepared at the moment, clockwise: scorpiones; western archers with the first standing archer (I failed to do another last night); 1st Corps auxiliary cavalry – the centre figure is one that I prepared last night (the reason for no more archers) ... a decurio, I swapped his head for a Warlord Games’ attic helmeted one and I'm enlarging the focale (scarf) with milliput.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Slow ... steady ...

Just finished working so now I can turn my attention to recruiting and equipping my Roman cohort, a vexillatio of Legio VI Ferrata.

I'm thinking about how to paint the tunics on the archers when I've finished assembling them ... actually I really like the simple off-white look that I've used for my engineers and war machine crews ... but I fancy doing something with a stripe ...then again I'm planning white tunics and dark blue stripes for my Praetorian century ... decisions, decisions ...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Slow but steady progress ...

This evening I finished varnishing the scorpion crews, started painting the scorpions, assembled another auxiliary cavalryman, and strung another archer’s bow. I'm working on the standing figures now, and it seems the bows will be a lot easier to string.

I’m planning on assembling one cavalry figure and one archer each evening ... like I said, slow but steady.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

First auxiliary cavalryman

I decided to start work on my first cavalry turma. These will comprise eight figures (at a figure ratio of 3:1) giving a slightly under-strength unit.

I have 16 1st Corps figures waiting to be assembled and painted. These come as a mix of spear- and sword-armed figures, with a preponderance of the former. I decided to have each turma armed differently, one with spears and one with swords.

I’m making the extra swords from arms left over from the Warlord Games’ dromedarii.

Carefully removing the hand, shaping the hilt, guard and pommel produces a passable result.

Monday, 25 July 2011

I've got some figures to sell

I'm finally getting around to clearing a few abandoned projects: MiniFigs 15mm and 25mm Naploeonics, and Foundry 25mm Wars of the Roses figures. So I’ve made a new page 'For sale'.

Have a look and let me know if you would like to take any of these off my hands.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Scorpion: the legionaries’ sting!

I've managed to steal some time to make quite a bit of progress with the scorpions: I've assembled and painted the crew figures and assembled two scorpions (I'm not sure of the latin here, but I'll correct it when I've found out).

I admit I've been a bit distracted by my Roman artillery project, but these have been fun pieces to do and make a nice change from painting another century of legionaries. I'm looking forward to cracking on with my western archers for the same reason ...

Two scorpiones. These are nicely detailed but require careful removal of mould lines, which is tricky, especially around the tops of the twisted skeins.

I have used the metal figures from Warlord Games’ war machines set with the plastic figures from the Scorpion Battery set. The detailing of the latter’s plastic figures has much in common with the metal sculpts, so they mix well.

Not Maximus, but Tiberius Claudius Maximus

Once Warlord Games announced the mounted version of Maximus Decimus Meridius I knew I would have to have one – even though I had no real need of the figure.

Well I have found a role: he’s to command my cavalry, a couple of turmae of cavalry and one of dromedarri. And he has a name: Tiberius Claudius Maximus.

The real Tiberius Claudius Maximus was a cavalry officer too. He is represented on Trajan’s column narrowly failing to capture the Dacian king Decebalus, who died by his own hand rather than be taken prisoner.

Tiberius Claudius Maximus ...

... and his warhound, Max

Roman field fortifications

I got rather excited at the inclusion of sudes spikes in the Warlord Games’ Roman Scorpion Battery set. Once I had made some progress with the figures and catapults I set about working out what to do with these useful obstacles.

I have also been making some stone walls, the sort that Roman legionaries may have constructed in the field: stone with rubble infill.

Work in progress: sudes spikes from the Warlord Games’ Roman Scorpion battery set. I could do with lots of these!

Stone walls made from a length of balsa wood, covered with cork chippings cut to look as if an attempt has been made to dress the stones. The top is then filled with small stones of various sizes to represent the rubble infill.

Roman auxiliary archers

I haven’t done anything more with these for a while, but thought I should share my work in progress.

I've finished stringing the bows of the kneeling figures (which takes ages), so I'll be getting around to the standing figures next.

At the moment I'm planning one century of sagittarii (archers to you). I haven't decided on the colour of their tunics yet ... decisions, decisions!

Warlord Games’ western archers
I've made some simple conversions from Warlord Games’ metal auxiliary centurio and the optio from the war machines set. I've added a vine staff from the plastic legionaries box to the centurio and some very stylish trousers to the optio.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

New pages

I'm getting around to thinking about the structure of this blog, and today I have added a page about mounted auxiliaries and another about Roman legionaries.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Broken signum!

So annoying! While taking some photographs I managed to snap one of my signums.

I had nothing to lose so I decided to drill each part, pin and superglue. So far, so good ...

The signum was not lost ...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Something exciting came in the post today

I've been looking forward to these ever since they were announced: Warlord Games’ scorpion battery.

I was curious to see what other components were included, since the rumour was that the contents would offer lots of conversion possibilities.

I'm looking forward to assembling these to complete my Roman artillery park.

There are three identical spures. In addition to the catapult these comprise two crew figures, eight arm and four head options, a pair of feathers, and sudes spikes. The sculpting of the figures is particularly good (hands are a big improvement), and the poses are great. The extra arms will give me some welcome options for some of the small vignettes I have in mind.

Roman artillery

I've been getting quite excited about Roman artillery recently. I've just finished a ballista and an onagar, both Warlord Games miniatures.

At the moment I'm working on a command vignette which includes a specialist centurion.

Ballista and onagar behind wicker palisades.
Warlord Games’ ballista with Foundry centurion.
Warlord Games’ onagar The figure with the hammer is converted from the metal scorpion crew member holding a bolt.

Monday, 20 June 2011

I've been on a bit of a roll ...

I've managed to put in a bit of time on the miniatures front and have now finished 2 centuries of legionaries and one of auxiliary infantry. I have also finished some vignettes: engineers, a ballista and the mounted Hold the Line figure (destined to command my auxiliary cavalry).
I've just finished priming another century of legionaries (all pila armed for a change), and I'm stringing bows for a century of auxiliary sagittarii – western archers to you.

Some of these are on the web site in various stages of preparation or finish. I'll sort out some photographs of the remainder as soon as I have a moment.

A Wargames Foundry figure overseeing the strenuous efforts of Warlord Games’ ballista crew.

Warlord Games’ Maximus Decimus Meridius destined to become the commander of my auxiliary cavalry: Tiberius Claudius Maximus … with his war hound, Max.

The signifer is a 1st Corps figure with a Warlord Games’ bare head.
Engineers are a mix of 1st Corps and Warlord Games