............. well, the first tranche of my Gripping Beast Romans are finished. There are plenty more left to work on, but these will be the core of my Late Roman Saga warband. They will also work for a post-Roman British warband too, and I am going to continue to add to the force over time to give me a Late Roman army for Sword & Spear, as I've already mentioned.
Anyway, when I was thinking about a colour scheme for these, I knew that the last thing I wanted was a boring bunch of figures all wearing exactly the same colours. However, I did want to have something that tied them together so that they didn't end up looking like a random bunch of models. People often seem to have funny ideas about how the Roman Army looked, generally based upon what they have seen on the cinema screen or on TV. One of the big misunderstandings is the idea that there was a standardised "Roman uniform", because there wasn't, and that particularly applies to the period of these figures. Another misconception is that "the Romans always wore red tunics", because that is also an invention of the film industry.
So, on to the pictures, with some comments about the colours I've chosen. First, here is a group of eight archers, representing a bow-armed Pedites (Warrior) group for Saga. These are all wearing tunics, but I've chosen to paint those tunics in a variety of "natural" shades, representing unbleached or undyed wool or linen. To create a degree of unity, I've painted the trim on the tunics in a range of shades based upon Vallejo Blue Violet. You'll note also that they aren't all wearing the same colour breeches.
Next, here are a dozen armoured infantry. These were given reddish tunics, based upon Vallejo Burnt Red, but in a variety of blended tones. Their tunic trims are also based around tones derived from Blue Violet and Oxford Blue. The shields all feature LBMS Late Roman transfers. These figures are going to represent the Hearthguard (Equites in Arthur and Aetius) elements in my warband.
Here are some characters; a commander, who will be my band's Warlord, accompanied by a buccinator with the distinctive Roman horn, the cornu or buccina, a signifer (standard bearer) with a draco standard and a second command figure, who will serve as a Hero if required.
Next, a group of eight more Pedites. These are unarmoured, with the same idea behind their tunic colours as for the archers. Note that these troops' tunics have red trims, to link to their red shields.
Now, let's look at those Hearthguards again. I decided to make three distinct groups of four, one with swords, one with couched spears and the third with their spears held overarm. I think that this was important, because the one issue with plastic figures is the basic similarity in the poses. I wanted to create as much variation as possible, which is why they aren't all wearing the same helmets. I also wanted to give these chaps a variety of shield designs, so that when they are being used as post-Roman "Arthurians" they look more like individuals rather than just recruits to a standing army.
Of course, I could also use these troops for Dux Britanniarum, which is something that I am still keeping in mind for later.
So, that is the core of the warband finished. My final piece of the jigsaw is a group of 12 Tirones, or Levies armed with javelins. More on them in a later post. I also want to make up a dozen Levies with slings for when I am using these as post-Roman British.
Then, of course, there must be some mounted troops, and I have lots of ideas about how they are going to look. I just need to narrow that down a bit.