Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Dark Age Project - part 1

The latest project on the work table is my Dark Age armies. Over the years these have grown to a quantity of unpainted figures to reinforce a number of armies; the time has come to paint them.

The armies are all organised for Warhammer Ancient Battles which is a very suitable set of rules for the period, although I also intend trying out the Basic Impetus rules. Initially I had complete armies for Danish Vikings, Northumbrian Saxons, Patrician Romans and Thematic Byzantines. Inspired by the WAB Arthurian supplement I decided to build up enough figures for Twilight of Britannia (Romano-British) and early Saxon Sea Raiders forces. Alongside this I intended to complete my Late Roman/Patrician Roman collection so that I could field a sizeable army and a balanced Gothic/Hunnic to oppose them. (Yes, I know I never keep things simple, do I?) As some of my later Saxons will be used as both early Saxons and Goths and the Late Romans as Romano-British the project does not seem as unwieldy as it might appear at first.

I have always harboured a desire for enough Late Roman units to build up my ideal, large field army. So filling in the gaps to achieve this was my first step. What I wanted was; 4 Legions, 8 Auxilia, 8 Cavalry units. The legions would be 24 figures, the auxilia 12 and the cavalry 6 to 10. I already had complete and painted units I could use. These were;

2 Roman Legions

4 Auxilia

1 Sagitarri Auxilia

I could also use units I had from my early Byzantine army;

2 Light Cavalry units

1 Heavy Cavalry unit

1 Armoured Cavalry unit

& various archers (the rest of this army I had discarded years ago)

I then looked at the figures I already had ready to paint

1 Byzantine Legion

1 Late Roman Cataphract Unit

I intended to paint up the following as part of my Arthurian army using LBMS transfers but also include them in the Late Roman army;

1 Late Roman Legion

1 Auxilia

1 Heavy Cavalry

1 Light Cavalry

This left me two Auxilia and one or two heavy cavalry unit to purchase. For the Auxilia I decided to use Gripping Beast’s Late Roman & Romano-British shieldwalls with command figures to make them up to 12 strength. For the cavalry I had a choice of several manufacturers but narrowed the choice down to Blacktree Design and A & A Miniatures. The first had a sale on and the figures were therefore cheaper than most other ranges, the second was a manufacturer I hadn’t used before and also had figures that would fill in gaps in some of the other units and could supply some Generals and command figures.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Over the last few months I've acquired some new buildings from ebay and have scratch-built some others.

The Roman Temple came from ebay and was due to see its first outing in my recent Britannia campaign but I never had the opportunity to put it on table.
It's a handy little piece, very dramatic whilst not dominating the table. I am hoping to add a scratch-built villa in a similar style.

The Roman Watch-Tower also failed to make the table-top in the campaign but I'm sure it will soon. It is a Grand Manner model along with the palisade surround. Another ebay acquisition bought painted and ready to play for less than the price of the unpainted tower alone.

The Turf Fort. My final Dark Age terrain addition was my turf fort. This has been an on-going project for many years. I was never sure how I wanted the towers and gatehouse to look. I didn't want it too strongly defended as it would make assaulting it too daunting. Equally I didn't want it too easily over-run. I finally decided to bite the bullet and finish it off. I think it worked and looked rather impressive. This one did make the campaign table-top with the Saxons choosing to assault it and proving successful in their endeavours. (And yes, I know I could have bought one in resin from a number of manufacturers and saved myself the hard work - but it wouldn't have been the same)