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
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 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.