Monday, October 05, 2009

Roman Holiday

Well, it's a holiday from 40K. I picked up some boxes of Late Republican Romans from Wargames Factory during a one day sale they had on them a little while back. My intention is to do up an army for Field of Glory, even though I don't actually have anyone to play the game with. For now I'm just clipping the sprues and thinking about how I'm going to assemble and paint them.

The plan is to keep the paint job as simple as possible, and I've even considered trying out the Army Painter system on them, but I think I'm going to go with using an airbrush to basecoat them instead.

I thought I'd go ahead and do a first impressions review of the models. They are good but not great. The detail is a bit soft, but I think it will look good once it's painted up. If you're used to the crisp detail of a Games Workshop plastic miniature you're going to be a bit disappointed. These are the first models that Wargames Factory did, and they admit that they didn't quite get what they were aiming for. In fact, they included a couple of free sprues of their latest models, Ancient Germans, and they are up to Games Workshop's level of quality in terms of detail. I don't want to exaggerate the problems with the Romans though, as they are still nice minis.

Since these models are "official" Field of Glory models, I think it's fair to evaluate them based on how well they work with that game. The box comes with 48 miniatures, enough to make twelve stands, or three minimum size battle groups. This is the minimum amount of stands you can take in a Late Republican Roman force, so that's good, but you'll probably want more than the minimum if you're going for an army of around 650 points (recommended tournament size for 28mm scale tournament games of FoG).

More important is how they rank up on the 60mm x 20mm bases that the game calls for. It is a bit tricky, but not impossible, to get them to rank up four to a base. The key appears to be properly assembling the shield arms. When I was trying to figure out how to put these models together a google search for images turned up another blog that criticized the models for not ranking up. The problem was that the models had been assembled incorrectly.

Most people assume that a shield is strapped to the arm by one or two straps and held with the arm parallel to the ground. This is true of some shields, but the Roman Legionary shield had a handle placed in the middle of the shield that was held like you would a bucket. So, if you model the miniatures with the arm held parallel to the body instead of the ground, then you should be able to rank up the miniatures as long as you're careful. If you instead model the minis with the forearm parallel to the ground, then the shields will stick too far out to get the models to rank up properly.

The fact that I had to do a google search for images in the first place does turn up one weakness of the product: lack of instructions. There are no assembly instructions for the miniatures, not even a picture of a completed miniature. The front features a nice painting of a line of legionnaires throwing their javelins, the back has a painting of a legionary marine taken from an Osprey book, while the sides feature a cutout tent for use as part of a camp marker in the game, and several tokens for marking status in the game. Overall, an attractive package, but of little use for figuring out how to assemble the models.

Fortunately, their website features some pictures of assembled and painted models, and there are a few more elsewhere on the web, but there's room for improvement here.

If I get the Romans finished, then next up would be to get some boxes of Wargames Factory Numidians. Creative use of these sprues should allow for most of the remaining core troop choices in the Late Republican list to be made. The upcoming Ancient German Cavalry box should allow for most of the remaining core choices to be taken.

If I somehow manage to get the army completed, then I'd probably look at putting together either an Early German or Ancient British force to fight against it, since both these forces would be appropriate opponents, and can be put together with models from Wargames Factory.


Anonymous said...

Thank you! Nice review!


Tony Reidy
Wargames Factory

Fulminata said...


If I manage to get these painted up I'll do an update with pictures.

rayipsa said...

I see that you took advantage of the same sale. I picked up 2 boxes but have yet to get started on them.

Fulminata said...

I'm waiting on some bases from Litko before doing much more. I want to be able to tack them down to the base before final placement of the heads and shields. Then I can do up a test model.

rayipsa said...

Were are you ordering bases from? I noticed they don't come with any and I wasn't sure what to use for bases.

Fulminata said...

Depends on what you're planning to use them for. I'm going to use mine for Field of Glory, so I got some bases from Litko:

I'll let you know how they are. I think they should be here in the next day or so.

rayipsa said...

I also got the Romans for FoG. I bought the rulebook when it came out but haven't done much else until I saw the Romans for sale cheap. I have always liked ancients battle and the C&C Ancients is my favorite C&C game.

Fulminata said...

Same here on all counts. I'm a newbie to ancients gaming in miniatures, so it's taken me a while to realize just what all the other miniatures in Wargames Factory's line could be used for.

From what I can tell you can use their miniatures to do the core troops for the following armies:

Late Republican Roman
Principate Roman
Ancient British
Early German

The only bad thing is that the web consensus seems to be that barbarian armies can't beat Roman armies at equal points when both players know the game.

Of course, I have to get my Romans finished before I can start thinking about an OpFor :-P

rayipsa said...

So if the Romans beat an equal force, isn't that pretty historical? From memory, the Romans usually lost against far larger forces or in battles where they couldn't properly deploy such as some of the fights in the Germanic forests.

Fulminata said...

Well, an equal point force of barbarians is going to outnumber the Romans about 2 to 1 in terms of stands, but apparently that's not enough to actually have an even chance of pulling off a win in the game.

I don't know how accurate the complaints are though since I haven't played a game pitting Romans vs. barbarians.

Fulminata said...

BTW, this is a current topic of conversation on the FoG Yahoo group, which is why I'm aware of it. At least one of the playtesters has chimed in that this was a matter of concern during development, and admits that it can be tough going for the barbarian player, but that it is possible for them to win.

Another poster echoed this, saying that careful use of terrain and cavalry was key in the games they played in their group with barbarian vs. Roman.

The most popular fix for a more balanced game is to simply let the barbarians have more points. Another popular solution is to not allow the Roman player to take skilled swordsmen as an option, although some argue that this latter option still leaves the Romans at an advantage.

I should also point out that this issue came up as only two notable issues in a topic titled "Is FoG perfect?" with the other being that Heavy Armor doesn't provide enough distinction between early and late medieval armor, leading to missile weapons being too effective against late medieval knights. This latter issue was not universally acknowledged as being a problem.

Post a Comment