Saturday, 23 December 2017

Pressing on with the auxilia

I think I have fallen out of love with my Warlord Games’ Early Imperial Romanslooking longingly at the Victrix offerings, while really enjoying the experience of painting the latter’s Numidian infantry.

While I sort myself out over this I have decided to finish all the auxilia figures that I have. These comprise a centuria of Warlord Games auxiliary infantry, a centuria of Victrix auxiliary Numidian infantry, and a turma of 1st Corps auxiliary cavalry.

The standard of Victrix’s sculpting is excellent, with fabric folds cut in well and reasonably well undercut. The crisp mouldings make the figures pretty easy to paint.

I want to have the infantry finished and the cavalry started by New Year.

Work in progress: Auxiliary infantry and auxiliary Numidian infantry about half way to being finished.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Cohors I Numidarum: composition

I have been making slow progress with the auxilia, while being distracted by recent Victrix EIR releases and seduced by their forthcoming African war elephant.

I am considering making my Numidian cohors an historically quirky combination of dromedarri, equestrians, skirmishers on foot, and … well … an elephant.

I think I need to have a look at the Victrix EIR legionaries. If the size of the Numidian’s is anything to go by the forthcoming cavalry should be a reasonable match. So I imagine ordering these, a box of legionaries, and the elephant when they are all available.

Work in progress: This is how I plan to base the Numidian infantry.

Work in progress: Primed and spoiling for a fight …

Work in progress: In an effort to address my low productivity, I bought some more nails …

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Auxilia infantry and minor surgery

Spurred on by my uncharacteristically rapid progress with the Numidian cavalry, I decided to make the most of my mood and move on straight away to the second centuria of auxiliary infantry.

I want these to be a bit different to the earlier centuria, with the front rank armed with the gladius and the rear rank armed with javelins.

I substituted Gripping Beast’s metal gladius for the javalin as required, and removed the hilt and pommel where moulded to the figures.

Work in progress: Gripping Beast gladius replaces Warlord Games’ javelin.

Work in progress: The metal Centurio had his rather thin looking javelin (by comparison) replaced with a plastic one.

Cohors I Numidarum

I have decided! My latest auxilia are Numidian.

A very quick internet search revealed discussion of a fragment of a third century Roman document from Egypt (Cohors I Numidarum and a Roman military document from Egypt). It is suggested that around 88AD Cohort I Numidarum Equitata was stationed in Syria. The third century unit discussed in the document included dromedarii. I don’t think it’s implausible that dromedarii were attached to the unit at the earlier date.

It seems likely (due to the low number of centurions) that the unit was a cohors quingenaria. Therefore I might organise these spirited equestrians with my dromedarii, and add a couple of centuries of Numidian infantry.

Equites Numidarum.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Numidians or Moors?

A couple of coats of Testors Dullcote and the figures were ready to fix to their bases.

I’m quite pleased with the way these fellows have turned out and I am looking forward to finishing the bases.

I thought to photograph them properly alongside a 1st Corps turma of Roman auxiliary cavalry. I like the difference in poses, and overall I think they look fine.

Now I have to decide whether these chaps are actually Numidians or Moors … Equites Numidarum or Equites Maurorum. There’s a fascinating article discussing their ethnicity here.

I’m thinking Moors …
Work in progress: auxilia turma

Work in progress: Numidians or Moors?

Work in progress: auxilia turmae … Victrix and 1st Corps for comparison.

Monday, 29 May 2017

A pleasant surprise …

I spent a bit of time on my new auxiliary cavalry over the bank holiday weekend.

I have applied the Little Big Men transfers to the shields and shaded the assembled figures and horses. I thought to have another look at the size of the figures, and was pleasantly surprised (and relieved, if I’m honest) to discover that the Victrix figures are visually compatible with my 1st Corps figures.

The shields caught me out: I completely failed to notice that they are three different sizes … must be my age. Anyhow, the results are quite acceptable, but I will bear this in mind when it comes to preparing the infantry.
Work in progress: a couple of figures from my 1st Corps Roman auxilia turma and a Victrix Numidian.

Work in progress: ready for touching-up (once the chap on the left has had some missing shading added).

Work in progress: the shields look the part.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Progress worthy of the subject

I have to observe that I haven’t enjoyed painting horses this much before. A combination of lovely, spirited mouldings, and varied coats for the animals, has proven involving.

I did a bit of research about pinto markings, including a fruitful enquiry over at The Miniatures Page (here).The tricky part was finding references for both sides of the animal.

As I mentioned below, I base coated the riders’ skin with matt ochre, hoping that it would give the right tone when washed with flesh. I’m pleased with the appearance so far; shading with The Army Painter strong tone ink, followed by a couple of coats of Duillcote laquer should finish them off nicely.
Work in progress: Victrix Numidian cavalry mounts.

Work in progress: Victrix Numidian cavalry riders.

Work in progress: Liquitex gesso primed shields.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Size comparison

I have been thinking about preparing some size comparisons for a while, especially since I have often found them useful.

Here’s the first, a quickie in respnse to a comment on one of my earlier posts: a comparison of 1st Corps Early Imperial Roman auxiliary cavalry with Victrix Numidian cavalry. The 1st Corps figure is actually quite small.

Sizing up, left-to-right: 1st Corps and Victrix horses; 1st Corps and Victrix riders.

Just what I needed!

The Numidian cavalry really do seem to have galvanised me – I haven’t felt this enthusiastic for my project for quite some time.

Here’s the progress so far for this ten miniature turma. I have given the figures a matt ochre base in an attemt to give them a Mediterranean skin tone. The white horses will be finished as black, grey and bay pintos.

Work in progress: pintos next …

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Victrix Numidians … and a conundrum

I thought to finish a couple of my new Victrix Numidian cavalry figures, but once I had primed them and blocked-in the main colours I had an urge to keep going.

So I assembled the remaining eight figures for the turma.

These are lovely sculpts: excellent detail and athletic poses; the additional left hands carrying individual and pairs of javalins require minor surgery to add but are worth the effort. I ran out of these, but a quick survey of the Numidian infantry sprue confirmed that some of the parts are common; these also yielded an unbearded head with a helmet for the decurio.

I am looking forward to working on these spirited figures.

I have been looking longingly at Victrix’s recent releases of Early Imperial Romans … they are lovely sculpts too, with lots of detail and imaginitive but realistic poses. The command figures look great. These figures appear to be taller than Warlord Games’ Roman legionary figures, but about the same height as the latter’s auxiliaries; the Numidian infantry I have scale in much the same way. I am considering buying the advancing legionaries and finishing them as Praetorians … then I can make an assessment of size.

At this stage I am considering replacing my Warlord Romans with Victrix figures … that’s four centuriae, just under a hundred figures, so I have decided to shelve the veterans for the moment and finish everything else I have. On the bench or in boxes and bags I have Victrix Numidian cavalry (10 figures) and infantry (24 figures), Warlord Games auxiliary infantry (24 figures), and a turma of 1st Corps cavalry (10 figures). The Roman travelling coach (carpentum) will become a camp vignette, parked with a Praetorian guarding it. Then I shall have another think about the Victrix offering.

Victrix’s first vexillum transfer set looks promising too … if the next one includes Legio VI Ferrata that would solve my various vexilum and signum needs.

Work in progress: Victrix’s rather lovely Numidian cavalry.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Impetus …

It’s been a long time since I made any progress with this project, but the release of the Victrix Numidian infantry and cavalry have given me reasons to get back into the groove.

The sculpts are very fine – finer than my Warlord Games’ figures. These chaps are very athletic though, so the contrast in physique is acceptable.

The Roman travelling coach is now primed and the veteran Roman century that I began late in 2014 is half done.

I hope to have my Roman army finished by the end of this year.

Work in progress: Victrix Numidian infantry.

Work in progress: Victrix Numidian cavalry.

Work in progress: enough shield transfers for the infantry and cavalry.