Legio Wargames

The Legio Blog

By smacdowall, Aug 14 2021 11:27AM

In preparation for the Society of Ancients Bosworth Battle Day I have been working on a 28mm scale windmill. Because of their dominant size, windmills tended to be adopted as command posts right through to early modern times. Edward III set up his command post by a windmill at Crécy. So did the French at Oudenarde, the allies at Malplaquet and the Prussians at Ligny. So a windmill is a great wargames battlefield addition. At Bosworth Richard III’s camp was set up near the Daddington windmill.

My model is an MDF cut kit from Warlord Games. The basic model is very well detailed but when assembled it looks like what it is — MDF.

I decided, therefore, that I needed to make it look more like weathered wood.

My first step was to spay paint the finished model with a mix of Humbrol matt spray paints — various shades of grey, tan and green. This took down the sheen of the MDF aa can be seen in the above with the contrast to the unsparyed windmill floor. But it still did not look very realistic as there was no real texture.

I therefore thinned down some acrylic wood filler with water and incompletely mixed in some dabs of Payne's grey, raw sienna and olive green.

Using a paint brush I applied the mix along the theoretical grain of the wood to give some texture. As I had deliberately not mixed the colours completely together I got colour variations along the wood ‘planks’ which gave a pleasingly irregular weathered look.

The final step was to give washes of thinned down raw umber and Payne’s grey.

To finish it off I textured and flocked the base and added a few flour sacks for interest.

The windmill is now ready to grace Bosworth Field, and many more battlefields after that.

By smacdowall, Jun 7 2021 02:40PM

The latest troops to emerge from my painting table is this unit of 5th century Roman limitanei ready to defend the Gallic frontier (limes). Their shield pattern is based on the Honoriani Gallicani.

This unit could equally serve as Gallo-Romans or Romano-Britons. I suspect that at some time in the future they will find the occasion to be fielded together with my Visigoths against the Franks.

I have attempted to balance the uniform look of the shields, yellow-brown cloaks, and undyed linen or wool tunics, with a certain degree of individuality appropriate for the farmer-soldiers of the limitanei. This is helped by a mix of figures from Wargames Foundry, First Corps and Footsore with a variety of headgear yet in similar poses. Trousers and lower leg bindings are also different and I have varied the clavi (tunic decorations) both in colour and design.

And here they are alongside a similar unit (all Wargames Foundry) that I painted many years ago. I have always liked the look of that blue shield unit in resting poses. It is about time they were joined by others.

By smacdowall, Jun 3 2021 06:42PM

These Minifig 25mm late Roman cavalry are amongst my favourite ‘vintage’ miniatures but they were beginning to look a little tired. So I am giving them a new lease of life. The figures on the left of photo and behind have already been re-issued new clothing and armour. Those on the right are waiting for their turn. Bases also are being brought up to better standards.

A black wash followed by a bright metal dry brush on the armour and picking our highlights, seems to really bring them back to life. A similar treatment is applied to faces, clothing and horses (but with a raw umber rather than wash).

So here are the three rejuvenated units after being re-equipped. Shield patterns (right of photo to left) are: Brachiati, Cornuti and Prima Gallia.

These miniatures are still available from Caliver Books in the UK. The catalogue number is IRC 35 in the Minifig Imperial Roman range.

By smacdowall, May 13 2021 07:04PM

Despite my recent incursion into 15mm (see previous blog post), I continue to upgrade my collection of 25/28mm late Romans and Germans.

The most recent troops on the painting table are all new figures from First Corps and Footsore Miniatures. Inspired by the bare-headed, long-haired figure in Roman dress on the right of photo (marketed as Aetius by Footsore). I decided that this unit will represent Alaric the Goth with his Comitatus. Having spent many years in Roman service and briefly appointed Magister Militum per Illyricum. I have no doubt that he and his companions would have worn the best Roman kit available. The long hair and clean-shaven face would have been typical of early 5th C Goths.

Yet again I have chosen to use a limited colour palate to give the unit a coherent look while still allowing for individually. In this case red and golden-yellow predominate.

Inspired by sagas describing ‘golden shields’ I decided on a deep yellow-ochre base with individual designs. We have no idea what designs the Goths painted on their shields, or if they painted them at all. Rank and file in the early days would probably have picked up Roman shields from the battlefield or occupied armouries but I imagine that Alaric’s close companions would have had the time and means to decorate their shields to their taste. The designs I have painted are all based on early Arian Christian symbols. If a long-hair style was one thing that characterised the Goths, their adherence to the Arian form of Christianity was another.

The standard is also taken from Arian Christian imagery. This design is taken from the Arian baptistry at Ravenna (albeit some time after Alaric).

It shows Christ (always without a beard in Arian depictions) receiving the holy spirit from the dove-like bird. I added the I(n) H(oc) S(igno) V(incas) initials to make it a little more war-like. The figure carrying it comes from the same Footsore pack as the Aetius miniature I am using to represent Alaric. You also get a rather unlikely hound and handler. Do with that as you wish!

I gave all the men red-cloaks in various shades, again attempting to create a balance between uniformity and individuality.

This is the finished unit, with the addition of a singly based ‘champion’ ready to challenge a Roman opponent to single combat.

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