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Putting the Frighteners on the Romans

I was inspired at an early age by the story of Caesar’s first landing in Britain. The blue-painted Britons so terrified the Romans that they refused to leave their ships until the Aquilifer of the Xth Legion jumped into the sea. Rather than risk the capture of the Eagle, the legionaries followed and  waded through the surf to reach the beach.


I have decided to stage a game to recreate this event using my 6 mil figures. I have plenty of Romans but need to build on the Celtic units that recently saw action as Carthaginian and Seleucid allies.


First up are some ferocious, naked, blue-painted warriors, more than capable of putting the frighteners on the Romans.


Now there is no evidence what so ever that the ancient Britons fought naked like the Gaesatae, but I had the figures available in my lead pile. Perhaps stripping naked in the British climate would have accounted for Caesar writing that they were painted blue!


Incidentally Caesar never said the Ancient Brits used woad to paint themselves. He wrote “Omnes vero se Britanni vitro inficiunt, quod caeruleum efficit colorem”. This roughly translates as  “All the Britons, indeed, dye themselves with glass, which produces a bluish colour.” Somehow ‘vitro (vitrum)’ meaning glass (which would have been bluish-green back then), was interpreted by 19th century translators as woad. And it has stuck.


Whatever the truth is, I think that the idea of jumping into the sea to face these men would indeed make me hesitate for a moment or two. The unit on the left of photo (white shields) is slightly more modestly dressed, although they still look pretty fierce as they surge forward over the bodies of slain Romans.


The figures are mostly Baccus Celtic Fanatics with some Rapier Gauls added in for variety. Several figures have lime washed hair. Now I need to paint up some Roman ships and British chariots.

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Very nice job with the wee lads. I always wondered about those wedge formations, I certainly would not want to be the guy at the point of the formation. You're gonna die.

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I think they look bl**dy terrifying! Great stuff, Simon, as always. Naked in a British climate? Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! Silly beggars!

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Even only standing 6mm tall, they look pretty scary to me!

I love the wedge shape they create - looks ideal for a fanatical charge.

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I don't know if they scare the enemy but by God they scare me!

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