Wednesday, 12 August 2009

6mm Romans: Yet More Musings

Baccus Romans are beautiful. There is no getting around it, especially when compared to the output of the three other main manufacturers. The Command stands in particular, given their size, are little works of art; you can even see the medallions on the Centurion's armour!

I think the only thing that justifies my somewhat miserly initial approach to this project is the cost factor of Irregular Miniature's cast-in-one Legionary blocks, alongside the fact that I wanted to depict Mass in their formations; I think it would probably be a shame to go to the trouble of painting up 96 odd Baccus Legionaries only to cram them in so tight on the stand that you couldn't appreciate the paint jobs..... that is the sop to my conscience, anyway, and I'm quite happy with how the Centuries turned out.

The only fly in the ointment was of course the lack of Command figures on the base, so this is where I fell under the spell of Baccus, and opted to put the trio at the rear of each one. I had toyed with the idea of putting them out front, but felt that this would rather obscure the business end of the unit, so opted for a group in the rear. The Baccus command stand features a Legionary on the extreme right, but given that he is noticeably taller and heftier than the Irregular ones, I removed him, and just kept the 'officers'. They are slightly smaller than the Legionaries themselves, and so to my eye don't look too out of place up against the overall more dimunitive Irregular troops. Certainly the nice thick base to the Irregular blocks helps to even this out.

Whereas the Irregular blocks were more or less speed-painted (I've a total of 36 to do!), I decided to go to town, in as much as I am able, with the Baccus chaps, and I'm pleased with the way they turned out. There is some intimidating detail at first glance, but the features are so well defined that they are straightforward to paint, and reward a bit of patience, turning out absolutely spiffing, and I'm certainly no Da Vinci!

In terms of how things are going to be organised, I've decided to have each Legionary unit as three bases, which at a 'half' figure scale gives you half of the 6 Centuries that make up a typical Cohort, furthermore, visually, the two blocks obvious on each base give the impression of six distinguishable bodies of troops from above, so re-enforces the idea that this is a decent sized unit rather than just a patrol.
It is a bit unusual, having three bases each , but I'm a contrary sort of fellow!
The only exception so far is the Praetorians, who have just two bases at present, although I might do one more, in Hollywood style with black shields, to complete the unit.

As yet, the bases are incomplete, so forgive their appearance in these photos, but I hope to be finishing them off soon.

Moving on now, to some of the other necessary components, a quick look, 'in the flesh' so to speak.

First up, the Baccus Artillery base as it comes from the packet, with at lower left the offering from Irregular (ES9 Ballista in the scenics page of their catalogue). The former obviusly comes with a nice pair of crew figures, and is large and nicely defined, whilst the latter is cruder, smaller, and bereft of any crew. On the positive side, it is only £0.25 for two! I think it would make a decent smaller alternative, and if you're ambitious, with a bit of conversion, could be mounted on a suitable cart to put the 'Carro' in Carroballistae!

Leaving the Romans, now, and turning attention to their allies, here are some examples from Irregular that will see duty as either Batavian Irregulars or Suebi, who can support the various contenders for the Imperial throne in AD 69. Obviously Baccus again have some excellent sculpts available here, but I fell that more lightly armed or irregular troop types will benefit from being slighter in appearance next to the might of the Legions, so am quite positive about employing some of these, depending, of course, on how they paint up.

Not the best photo in the world, but above we have Irregular's E25 German/Gothic/Frankish Cavalry, which if you can see beyond the cast-together style, are actually pretty good, with a range of headgear and shields, and remember only £0.50 for 5 figures.

Next we have E23, Celtic Medium Cavalry, which look a bit blobby here, but in reality are quite nicely animated and are clutching a number of light spears, and therefore look suitably business like:

For the infantry, I've opted for E21 Celtic Infantry, which are again nicely animated, more so than the available German or Pictish Infantry, who come in close order, standing at ease, whereas this lot look like they are ready for trouble. Unfortunately the figure with the raised sword is prone to having this broken in casting or transit, so as often with Irregular, buy a few extra blocks just in case!

Now for some lighter types, namely E16, Barbarian Infantry Javelinmen:

E18 Barbarian Infantry Slingers:

and E17, Barbarian Archers, all of whom should serve well, depending on the paint job, as either supporters of the Legions, or as more down to earth types brought along as allies:

These are nicely spaced out on a longer than usual base, and again have good animation, given their small size.

So the project that was just a side show continues to take shape and grow, so hopefully next time on this subject I'll have more completed units to show, as well as devoting some space to discussing the historical background and battles from the era in question...

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