It's impressive to think that elements of our hobby span back thousands of years. Toys soldiers, or “historic miniatures,” have existed since ancient times. Perhaps more interesting, the craft of sculpture-painting was a highly regarded profession in classical times. Ancient Greek and Roman statues are typically pictured as pristine white marble. Yet, historically these art objects were almost always painted in bright, even gaudy colors. Although smaller in scale, our own 54mm, 28mm, 20mm, and 15mm toys would easily be recognized as sculpture by any Greek or Roman. It pleases me to think that this ancient tradition of painted sculpture continues in the humble hobby of tabletop wargaming.
Dazzlers: Ancients reborn in bright array in Harvard Magazine.
True Colors in Smithsonian Magazine.
Sculpture show of a different color in The Boston Globe.
Gods in Color : Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity, by Vinzenz Brinkmann, et. al. 2007.
The Color of Life, by Roberta Pazanelli and Vinzenz Brinkmann.
For the study of painted classical sculpture see last year's exhibition at Harvard’s Sackler Museum: Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity.