Thursday, October 9, 2008

DBA II/49 Marian Roman army

I'm very fond of 1/72 scale plastic toy soldiers. 15mm miniatures are the standard for playing De Bellis Antiqitatus. I do have a 15mm Dacian DBA army in the works, but I much prefer painting the larger 20mm tall 1/72 guys. 

So far I have two armies in this scale. Featured in this post is my II/49 Marian army. It's intended to be the army of Caesar. I painted it in the year 2000. I'm afraid the painting isn't to my current standards, so I touched it up a bit. This army is half Hat and half Italeri. The units: 4Bd General, one x 3CV (with the option of a 2LH), eight x 4Bd, one 4Ax, and one 2Ps. The bases are sized for 25mm models.

Here's my general element. The aquilifer on the left is from Hat's #8051 Roman Command. This is a Punic War era model. To bring him up to the 50s BC I shaved off the model's greaves. I sculpted a bear pelt with green stuff and glued the shield to his back. Next to him is a Italeri centurion. Oddly enough, this model comes in the #6028 Roman Cavalry box. His scabard is on the wrong side for a centurion, but I liked the dramatic sword pose. He wasn't sculpted with greaves appropriate to a centurion, so I just painted silver over his shins. His helmet is painted the same way to represent the tin-plated or silvered bronze helmet common with the upper ranks. The cornicen and vexilifer also come from Hat's #8035 Roman Catapults set. I think the practice of knotting the lower paws of the bear pelt was specific to the early Republic, but that doesn't bother me at all.


The eight blade elements are a mix of Italeri #6021 Roman Infantry with Hat #8017 Republican Romans Princeps and Triari. The Hat models arrive with feather crests on their helmets. I trimmed these off and sculpted horse hair crests. The Itlaeri shields have a wing design sculpted on. I painted wings on the blank Hat shields to match. Four of the blade units are painted with white tunics and red shields. The other four are painted with red tunics and blue shields.

My one auxiliary element is a group of Caesar's Numidians. The three on the right come from Hat's #8020 Carthaginian African Infantry. For variety I added the javelin man on the left. He comes from Hat's #8044 Alexander's Light Infantry.

Pictured in the full army photo at the top: My 2LH element is made up of Hat's Numidian Cavalry. The 3Cv are Hat Celtic cavalry. The 2Ps are Balearic slingers from Hat's Carthaginian Spanish Infantry.

A note on painting plastic:
When I painted these 8 years ago I was still in my dad's tradition of using enamels. After washing the plastic I gave them a base-coat of matt black, then painted with Humbrol enamels. To prevent the paint from chipping I brushed white glue on the outside as if it were varnish. This has done the job quite well, but it gives the models a glossy finish. 

My new technique does away with oil paints. I know some use white glue as the base-coat. I have tried this, but have found coating the model in black acrylic works just as well. Acrylic paint naturally has a bit of flexibility to it, preventing chipping. My plastic models are painted in acrylics, and varnished with Windsor & Newton Acrylic Mediums Matt Varnish. These models are so small I usually forgo painting shadows and highlights.

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