Archive for Romans

Gladiators: Round 3

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , on March 16, 2018 by Sean


The final group of the Gladiators project are done. Always good when a big group gets finished.

First up is a Dimachaerus, a heavier type of fighter with a air of swords. With him is a Velite, a light skirmishing gladiator. They would often carried javelins or sword. This one is dressed like a Gaul (or Briton?), including the wild bleached hair and Celtic-design shield. He might actually be a Gaul…

Next are the Eques gladiators, shown in a previous post. This time they’re mounted on the horses that give them their name. I matched the colors of the riders’ clothes and shields to the foot versions. Their right hands are empty for now; they will get javelins eventually.

Next, another Hoplomachus, armed with spear and shield and Grecian-style helmet and armor. The other fighter is a Scissor, a heavy armored gladiator with an enclosing helmet and odd armored blade harness over one hand. He must have been quite interesting to watch in action.

The next pic is a Retiarius, with the typical net and trident. A variant type, the Laquearius, instead wields a spear ans whip, but otherwise wears the same armor.

Finally, there are some of the officials of the sand- Referees! You never see those in the gladiator movies. Their job was to watch the fighters, using their staff to enforce the rules, separate fighters, and end the fight when either combatant called mercy or was taken out of action. The last official is known as Charon. Named after the ferryman of the dead, his job was to use his hammer on fallen gladiators to give them merciful deaths. The god mask is a nice touch, giving some theatricality to essentially the mop-up man.

All done!



Gladiators: Round 2

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , on February 22, 2018 by Sean


Another group of Gladiators…

First are another perfect matchup of a secutor (with helmet, sword, and shield) and a retiarius (trident and net). The secutor here looks pretty beefy, standing resolute. The retiarius is much smaller looking, and seems to have already used his net for the fight. I did like that the model is designed to be a Numidian, including the bowl cut hair.

Next are a pair of thraeces. A thraex was armed and armored to resemble a Thracian, with a heavy helmet, small shield, and a hooked dagger resembling the Thracian rhomphaia or Dacian falx. These gladiators would often get pitted against a murmillo, recreating the fight of Thracians or Dacians versus the Roman Legions.

Next is a dimachaerus, armed with a pair of short swords or daggers. He’d also wear heavy armor, since he was seemingly all offense. This one has a nice ‘sports’ helmet with a cast face plate and hair design. Alongside him is a prisoner, armed with a simple sword. He’s still got his shackles on. He really wouldn’t have a chance though…

Next, a provocator, a classic heavy armored and well-armed champion for good fights against other provocatores or weaker foes. This one’s helmet is pretty cumbersome, and wears a metal chest plate. The other gladiator in the pic is an eques, a lightly armored horse rider type. Here he’s on foot, where hopefully his heavy helmet and shield will keep him alive.

The last pic is another murmillo, wearing the usual kit. The other fellow isn’t actually a gladiator at all. He’s a Hermes Psychopompus, one of the officials of the arena whose job was to remove the dead from the field. The getup to make him look like Hermes, who was said to guide the dead to the afterlife, might have been ironic, or in poor taste, since dead gladiators were rather unceremoniously dragged along the ground out of the gate.

There’s plenty more Gladiators to go with this commission.


Posted in Miniatures with tags , , on February 15, 2018 by Sean


I’ve picked up a random commission, this time a large grouping of Gladiators. These are from Crusader Miniatures, and have a wide selection of poses and designs. It’s been a while since I’ve done metal miniatures; I’ve forgotten the little annoyances of cleaning them. The Gladiators seem to be pretty accurate, reflecting the variety of the combatants seen in the ancient Roman arenas. These pics represent just the first grouping I’ve finished.

I allowed myself a large variety of skin tones, considering the wide area of the empire that the Romans had to get prisoners and slaves from. Most could be considered Roman, Greek, or Celts, but there are a few Nubians and Numidians scattered around. The shields of the warriors have been left blank for now; either transfers or painted designs may follow later.

Starting off we have a retiarius, armed with a net and trident. His usual match-up is with him, a secutor, armed with a sword, shield, limb armor, and heavy helmet. These two were a popular pairing, with the lighter retiarius trying to entangle the secutor (“pursuer”) who chased after him trying to overpower him before the retiarius got in a lucky stab with the trident or exhausted the heavier gladiator.

Next is a murmillo, armed like the secutor, with a sword, shield and heavy helmet. Alongside is an eques, this time on foot rather than the horse he would ride into battle.

Next is a provocator, another heavy armored warrior. His typical opponent would have been another provocator, giving the crowds a good fight. The other warrior is a hoplomachus, armed to resemble a Greek hoplite, with bronze helmet, spear, round bucker-type shield, and heavy padding on his legs and arm. He would usually fight a murmillo or thraex.

The next pic is another secutor, this time with a big round helmet rather than the flanged one the murmillo wears.

Finally are a pair of condemned prisoners, still wearing their chains. One carries a shield and the other has a knife. Often the prisoners would be chained together, having to work together to survive the arena, or at least be a challenge for their executioners. With them is a sagittarius, an archer type of figher. While they would usually be mounted on a steed for the fight, this one is on foot.

Many more to come!



Saga: Thundering Hooves

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by Sean

I’ve finally finished the 8-man mounted Hearthguard unit for my Briton warband for Saga: Aetius & Arthur. I posted the first half of the unit earlier. They’ll also serve as Roman mounted troops as well.

The newest members include a leader type, a musician, a draco standard and a Roman signum, reflecting the mixed culture of the Romano-British models I used for the unit. I chose the standard of Legio vigesima Valeria Victrix (Twentieth Victorious Valeria Legion) which saw action in Briton in the later years of the Empire. While the unit has a roundel shield design, I added a few odd shields for individuality. The signum bearer has a small target shield with a serpent, the horn blower has a wolf, and the unit’s ‘leader’ (the second in command of the warband after the Warlord) has a unique dragon shield.

I gave the signum bearer dark skin to reflect some of the recent archeology on Rome in Britannia. I figured he was either a Berber or North African recruit, or even a recruit all the way over from the Middle East. I have also read of the grave of a Syrian who was in the Roman army found at Hadrian’s Wall, so decided to reflect that.

My group and I have been playing lots of games with the new factions. I’ve played as the Saxons, Romans, Britons, and Huns, and played against Saxons, Romans, Picts, and Britons. I haven’t tried the Goths yet, since their battle board seems so weird (emphasis on balancing Fatigue, but encouraging accumulating it).

Recently we played a Romans versus Huns, using the Champions of God scenario from Saga: The Crescent and the Cross book. My friend fielded his Romans (Warlord, 8 Hearthguard, 16 Warriors with spear, 8 bow Warriors, 6 Levy with spear, and a Manubalista) versus my Huns (mounted Warlord, 12 mounted Hearthguard, 16 mounted Warriors, and 12 bow Levy). For this game I once again broke out my grisly Goblin Wolf Riders. I’d love to some day build up an actual human mounted force, but until then only my Gobbos have enough cavalry to substitute. I also use my Goblins for the Spanish faction, another potentially all-mounted army.

The game got off to a quick start, with the Huns using their board’s ability to move the whole army (with bonus distance for cavalry) right up into the Romans’ faces. I knew the Manubalista could potentially wreck my mounted troops, so I concentrated bow fire, wiping it out after its one shot (that my guys miraculously saved against). The left Roman flank collapsed within 2 turns, the Roman commander fleeing as fast as he could to the rest of his army. The Roman right flank had been held up by my Levy archers and some careful use of Fatigue from a small skirmishing cav unit.

I could have simply retreated then and there, since the scenario was based on VP’s for kills, and I had crushed half his army for a only a little damage to my own forces. Instead I decide to make it a fun game, so the Huns swung around and chased after the Warlord and got into a scrum with the remaining Roman infantry. I wore his forces down until the scenario ended. having lost a bunch of my army needlessly. However, he couldn’t make up the gap in VP’s so win for the Huns!

Saga: Equites

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , on July 3, 2017 by Sean

I’ve been adding to my Romano-British force for Saga: Aetius & Arthur. I like both of the Roman and Briton factions’ battle boards, so I am designing some of my minies to be usable for either. These will be Romano-British, representing Britons and/or Romans in Britannia near the end of the occupation. In a pinch, they could even represent Goths (since at the time the Goths often were under the employ of the Romans anyway).

With that in mind, I picked up 2 blisters of mounted troops from Gripping Beast; one set of Roman armored cavalry and one of Briton cavalry. They will act as Commanipulares for the Britons or Knights for the Romans. These are the first 4 members of what will be an 8-man Hearthguard unit. I’ll also be able to attach 2 of them as the Companions for the Briton Warlord, the rest forming a 6-man unit.

The miniatures mix nicely together; the Late Roman legions were much more hodge-podge in their uniforms and unit designations. I also figured the Hearthguard, being of the equites social class, would have even more leeway and mixed equipment. The majority of the unit will have the roundel legion shield design, with a few unique designs mixed in. Along with the roundel, the chi-ro symbol shows up in a few places. Their clothing was procured locally, so they’re wearing British versions of the Roman tunics common at that period.

I painted the striping on their cavalry spears, since they apparently did paint them for both decoration and to protect the wooden shafts from rot. Technically, the spears might be a bit too long for this period (resembling full lances) but I’m ok with that to make them look more striking on the table.

The Warlord has been posted here before. However, after some thought and research, I decided he needed a little ‘oomph’. His original shield was a bit boring, and his javelin wasn’t really impressive. With that in mind, a weapon swap (to a proper Roman spatha) and a highly decorated shield. The Virgin will safeguard him through all future battles! The icon and the unit’s shields were all based on historical images I found.

The rest of the unit will come along eventually.

Saga: Aetius & Arthur

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , on June 10, 2017 by Sean

I’ve gotten in some games of Saga, with the Aetius & Arthur expansion. We’ve been playing the decline of the Western Roman Empire in Britannia. My regular opponents and I have been using our Dark Ages models, since they are generic enough to pass as ca. 400 AD, though it does make a stickler like myself twitch that my Saxons have the wrong shields. Oh well!

The first model I’ve done for the new expansion is a mounted Warlord. This is a Gripping Beast Late Roman General model, mounted on a 60mm base. I wanted him to stand out from his mounted soldiers. This model can stand in as both a Roman general as well as a Briton hero, and in a pinch could stand in as a Gothic Warlord (by this point in history the forces are almost nearly wearing the same gear anyway). I modeled him riding his horse down a dilapidated Roman path, next to a Roman road marker. I based the writing on a photo of a real marker from Britain.

We played 2 battles today. The first was Saxons versus Britons with the Frozen River scenario. My Saxons were using the frozen river surface to invade the lands of the Britons. We played 6-point forces. Saxons were Warlord, 40 Warriors, and 12 bow Levy. The Britons were Warlord and 2 Companions, 10 mounted Hearthguard, 16 Warriors, and 12 bow Levy.

My Saxons slowly crossed the river and fords, while the Britons turtled up waiting. The Briton battle board really encourages defense over offense. The Saxons have no choice but to advance!

The fights were very bloody, but the Saxons forced the defenders back at great cost. Eventually, the Warlord met in combat, pushing back and forth before the Briton’s lord was cast down (at a cost of a dozen Saxons). There wasn’t much left of either army by the end. The end result was 9-6 VP’s left, a Saxon victory!

The second battle was the Campfire scenario. This time I was using the Romans, while my friend stuck with the Britons. Maybe the Romans were chastising the Britons for letting the Saxons overrun the frontier earlier, or the Britons were negotiating military support from the typically arrogant Romans. Either way, things got out of hand, and swords were drawn…

The Romans had a mounted Warlord, 4 mounted Hearthguard, 24 spear Warriors, 8 bow Warriors, and 12 spear Levy. Except for the new mounted Roman Warlord, I used the Anglo-Saxons/Saxons models, with some donated mounted Hearthguard. The Roman frontier forces of the era were mostly Germans by this point anyway, right? The Britons had a mounted Warlord, 8 mounted Hearthguard, 24 Warriors, and 12 bow Levy.

The scenario requires the armies being split up among each other, which means the units are threatened from all sides. I scattered the Roman Forces in a rough circle, while the Britons had a few tight bulwarks of units. The fight began with the Roman Warlord drawing his sword and leading his nearest unit of soldiers against the British lord, cutting him down. After that the Romans had the upper hand, especially in Saga dice.

The movements of both armies was chaotic, but the Romans quickly redressed their ranks and tried to hold back the Britons. The Levy struck down several British Hearthguard with their plumbatae (heavy darts) and some lucky combats. The Roman defensive abilities served them well. On the other side the Britons were wearing the Romans down, both holding their own lines and performing repeated charges and volleys of bow shots. The Hearthguard performed a disastrous charge, the Briton shieldwall holding and wiping them out. Oops. Eventually though the Roman Warlord rallied his forces and crushed the flank, beating back the encirclement and winning the battle. Final VP’s were 19-14, victory for the Romans!