Monday, November 02, 2009

The Cohort

Above is one of three pictures I took of my first two Roman bases. You can see the other two if you click through to Flickr.

My goal here is to achieve a quality similar to that of pre-painted miniatures, and I think I've achieved it. There are a lot of things I could do to improve the miniatures. Doing the leather details on the armor, some hi-lighting on the faces, applying transfers to the shields, and detailing the open parts of the sandals would add a lot to the appearance of the models, but at the expense of a lot of extra time. With 80+ Romans alone to paint for this army, plus 60+ other models (many of which are cavalry), I really need to keep things simple if I ever hope to finish.

These are based using .8mm plywood bases from Litko Aerosystems. So far so good, although I'll withhold my final judgment until after I apply the basing materials. Getting them ranked up is the most difficult part of the entire project. The depth of the bases is the problem. You have to model the miniatures with their bodies at just the right angle to get them to rank up properly without hanging over the front or rear of the base.

Next up is to finish modeling and painting the remaining two stands in this first battlegroup. I've got six of the eight models primed and on my painting table now, including the signifer and the cornicen (standard bearer and musician). I just need to finish modeling the optio (second in command of a cohort) and one more legionnaire to round out the century.

I've sat down and figured out what this army is going to consist of if I finish it:
20 stands of Legionnaires
6 stands of slingers
6 stands of archers
8 stands of heavy cavalry
8 stands of light cavalry
3 command stands (probably 2 infantry and 1 cavalry)

That's a total of 645 points and around 155 models, give or take one or two depending on how I do the command stands. To do it I need a box of Numidians, 2 boxes of Celt Cavalry, and 2 boxes of German Cavalry, all from Wargames Factory; plus a set of Roman Tribunes from Foundry Miniatures. The total should be around $120. I suspect that if I get to play this army, the changes I'm most likely to make will be to cut some of the auxiliaries in order to add more Legionnaires, but as over half the models in the list are already Legionnaires, I'd rather start with this.

This list is based partly on ideas from online, but mostly just what I want to paint. The idea behind the list is that it represents a single cohort of five centurys (there'd normally be six if I'm reading my TO&E's for the period correctly), supported by auxiliaries. At this scale each model represents approximately 6 men. Alternatively, the army could represent an understrength legion of five cohorts (normally 10 to a legion), in which case each model would represent approximately 35 men.


Big Jim said...

Looking good so far. The only thing I'm not sure about is the yellow plume/crest, but it is a minor thing.


Fulminata said...

I'm going by the research done by Stephen Dando-Collins, author of Caesar's Legion and other books about the Legions and the era of transition between the Republic and the Empire. His research indicates that the legionnaires of the late Republic used yellow horsehair plumes, as opposed to the black horsehair they are normally portrayed with.

In any case, I think the color combination with the red works well, so I'm going with it.

My plain red shields are actually more questionable from a historical perspective, but I'd rather stick with them than go with some sort of design. Whether done freehand or with transfers, a design would take up far more time than I want to spend.

Big Jim said...

I always thought that they were black, so I learned something new!


Transfers for the shields could be done relatively quickly.

Fulminata said...

Most sources still show black plumes, but Dando-Collins' research is the most recent. It may be incorrect, but it gives me an excuse to do what I feel is a striking color combination, so I'm running with it.

All the extra little details could be done relatively quickly, but together x80 they add up. Transfers are also one thing that would be relatively easy for me to go back and apply later, after everything else is done. So, for now, I'm leaving them off. One day maybe I'll go back and use them.

Thanks for the comments!

rayipsa said...

Wargames Factory has Roman cavalry if you don't want to use Celt.

Fulminata said...

Yep, but Romans didn't actually have cavalry during the late Republic. They were added as part of the Augustan reforms. All the cavalry that Pompey and Ceasar used were auxilaries, mostly German and Gallic.

Well, except for the one time he mounted the 10th Legion on horseback for what amounted to a diplomatic function, but they never saw combat that way.

If I ever decide to run my force as an early Imperial force then I might get some, since there was some overlap between adoption of Roman cavalry and use of the oval shields.

I didn't know any of this either until I started reading up on it over the past few weeks.

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