Sunday, April 23, 2006

Cold and footsore legionary

Here is a tired looking legionary from the III Gallica, He has got used to the hot sun of the Syrian desert and isn't enjoying Europe very much at all!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Making cloaks 5

Here i am putting the final touches on the cloak and giving it a slight ripple effect, to make it look like it's blowing in the wind as the rider tears along.
And finally, here they all are undercoated and ready for painting. Some of the cloaks turned out better than others but as a whole i was rather pleased with them.

Making cloaks 4

Once the cloak has been cut to length, reshape it with your fingers and get it back to something resembling a cloak shape. With this done, you can get to work and start to put in all the tricky folds in the material.

Making cloaks 3

Here you can see the cloak has got too long and i had to trim off the end of it. You will find that as you work down from the neck, the 'Green stuff' gets pushed down and the cloak grows longer .

This picture here shows the cloak before it was trimmed.

Making cloaks 2

Make the blob of 'Green stuff' into a rough cloak shape and press it around the figure's neck.

Using a sculpting tool, start at the neck area and work down.

I found it was a good idea to keep the cloak quite wet, to help keep it smooth and looking like material.

Making cloaks 1

Sunday, April 16, 2006

More Praetorians

The figures are a mixture of Gripping Beast (command pack) and Foundry for the foot soldiers. The white head crests make them a very distinctive unit on the battle field, as I'm sure they were designed to do in real life.

Praetorian Guard

Here are some shots of my Praetorians, this shield colour and design is often used to depict the guard and I have seen it on a number of sources, so I thought I would use it for my Cohorts aswell.

This commander ouzes arrogance as he looks down his nose at the enemy.He must feel very safe behind his wall of Centurions.

VII Gemina ready for action

The third cohort of the VII Gemina has been finished and is ready to take the field against the armies of the East.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Lone Wolf

Here a Dumnoni tribesman from the Frontier Wolves, tracks a raiding party of Votadini through the Caledonian Forest. In the book, young warriors had to first track down and then kill their own wolf, before they were accepted and could become true 'wolves' themselves. The wolf that makes up this cloak is still getting used to the idea.

Centenarius Hilarion

The tough looking veteren riding in the centre is Centenarius Hilarion, from the book. He was the main tutor for Alexios when he first joined the 'wolves' and they became good friends by the end of the book.
This picture also shows the wolf hood off the head look, which saved me buying more Roman standard bearers to chop up. Also, the trailing hood in the wind adds abit more movement and makes the figure more dynamic.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Charge of the Wolf heads

The Frontier Wolves are not just fiction any more as they ride here, across the scottish moorland. They are made up mostly from the Foundry Dacian range with a few Old Glory and Essex figures thrown in to add to the mix. In the book, the 3rd Ordo Frontier Wolves are made up of two Romanised tribes which live in the hinter land between the Antonine and Hadrian's wall. They wear the wolf skin to help break up their siluette on the horizon line and allow them to slip undetected through the broken country side.
The largest contingent that made up the wolves, were the Arcani but the eyes and ears of the Ordo fell to the Dumnoni, who were masters of the bow. To reflect this I added a couple of horse archers to create the feel of the motley bunch. Another thing i did when I ran out of Roman wolf clad heads to convert, was to use normal helmeted ones and sculpt the wolf hood so it looked like it had blown back in the wind.....with this little trick i was amble to increase the size of the unit on the cheap, although saying that, all the Roman wolf heads were left overs anyway and would never have been used otherwise, so the whole unit was made up of left overs really......much like the real Frontier Wolves in the book.

Frontier Wolves

A good friend of mine, Tom, lent me his favourite book as a kid, Frontier Wolf by Mary Sutcliff. It tells the story of Alexios Flavius Aquila, a spoilt son of a high ranking commander, who because of his father's title, has landed a Centurions job at a very early age (23). While in Germany (343AD) he goes againist the advice of his officers and makes a decision that costs the lives of most of his men. For punishment, he is sent to the backwater fort of Castellumi on the Antonine wall. The Frontier Wolves are a cavalry force of tough auxillary scouts, who patrol the moorlands about the wall and keep the local Celts in check. It is an uneasy peace, kept through agreement rather than brute force, but when a new commander arrives from Rome with his arrogant ways, this fragile peace is shattered.
Alexios, who is still shadowed by his mistake in the past, has to first win over the respect and then the trust of the motley bunch of scouts.With the local tribes in open revolt and his fort under attack by at least two angry tribes, Alexios has to face the past and make the same decesion that cost him his old position in Germany. This time, however he listerns very carefully to his officers and trusts their knowledge of the surrounding terrain and leads the wolves out of the fort and down towards Hadrian's wall and safety. It is a beautifully written book, with lovely moments and amazing detail, that really makes you beleive you are there in Roman Brittannia in 343AD. When I was first started planning this campaign, I thought it would be great for Tom to field some of favourite Romans..... and so i made some for him! These are my first attempts at sculpting, and they were done in the same way as the other British Celtic force featured below. The only difference being, that rather than smooth the cloak shape down to represent cloth, I roughed it up with the Sharper of the two tools to make it look like wolf skin. Painting helps a great deal and the heads are of Roman standard bearers, so the really tricky bit of the face and helmet was done for me. Here, Alexios rides out with his Vexillium to patrol the area.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sculpting cloaks

Here is my latest attempt at doing a bit of sculpting. This is a Celtic cavalry unit of 10 figures that I wanted to Romanize slightly and put it into my army of Britannia. I have another unit of Celtic cavalry and thought it would be nice to make them different from one another. I liked the idea of the one in Roman service having a loose uniform of sorts and so I gave them cloaks.
The cloaks will be painted a drab brown colour, nothing to flashy for I want these guys to reflect the harsh British climate. For some of them, I have choosen armoured figures to add a little variety but most are light cavalry and will be only carrying a shield. I think I will make the shields a uniformed colour as well, to help bring the troop together visually.
These old dentist tools that I acquired, make wonderful sculpting devices. Although I have six tools, I find I only use these two (pictured above).
I love the idea of Celts in Roman service being given some kind of uniform as I'm sure they would of done. In the swirl of battle it would be important to tell friend from foe. The mighty Caesar got into trouble in Gaul when his men mistook friendly Gauls as enemies and retreated; the friendly Gauls had forgotten to wear their cloaks off the shoulder to show their allegiance as pre-arranged. Still, there will be none of that now with my guys. I will put pictures up as soon as they're painted.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Batavian rebellion

I've been reading about the Batavian rebellion today and have decided to make up a couple of units of them. Batavians were a small tribe that came from where the Netherlands are today. They must have been excellent warriors, for Rome swore by them and used them in many of her campaigns. They helped the Romans conquer the British at the battle of Medway by swimming across the river up stream and attacking the bewildered British in the flank, throwing them into disorder. In 69AD - 70AD while Rome was tearing herself to pieces in civil war, the Batavians saw their chance and rebelled. It was a good time to stage a rebellion; with all her armies tied up killing each other, Rome didn't have much in the way of spare troops to send to stop the uprising. Indeed, just as Vitellius damned it, Vaspasian aplauded it for keeping the armies of the Rhine busy and off his back while he fought in Italy. By the time it was finally quashed, the Batavarian cohorts had beaten 4 legions and another army of Auxiliaries that had been sent to destroy them. They were forced to renew their alliance with Rome and supply her with more hard fighting men as before. However, Rome's trust in the Batavians had been shaken and Batavia had to stand the humiliation of having a legion stationed nearby, to keep a watchful eye over things.
The idea to form up some Batavian cohorts came while I was looking at the Foundry web site. In their latest Imperial Rome range, there are some huge, tough looking Auxilliaries. They seem to fit with my idea of what the Batavian soldiers would have looked I ordered some. I think when I play these, I will play them as veterans, well it seems rude not to really.