Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Roman Legionaries - JJ's Dacian Wars


Back in February I announced that JJ's Wargames would be branching out into a new period and new scale of figures.


Regular readers of the blog will have noticed the occasional post in between the Peninsular War project posts of references to adding figures to my Dacian War collection using the Warlord Games and Wargames Foundry ranges. Over the recent months I have been doing a lot of reading around the subject together with looking at rule systems, basing norms and looking at related blogs to educate myself in the unfamiliar world of Ancient Wargaming.

In addition I have been practising painting techniques for using on my new 28mm collection and working out how I want my new forces to look, also thinking about extending the forces to include other enemies in time.

Early Imperial Roman cavalry

I did promise this new collection would get going in the second half of this year and so started putting the first of the plastic ranges of Roman infantry together whilst on holiday this summer.

So it gives me great pleasure to introduce the first Legionary cohort, the first of many, to kick off the new collection.



At the moment, this is a Hail Caesar Roman unit straight out of the box. I am thinking of increasing the unit to 6 x 4 thus modelling the cohort at 1:20 with the six sub sections or centuries replicated per base. The first cohort (veterans) will then have ten bases to up-strength it to 800 men.


I have learnt quite a bit, with putting this unit together, not just the how too's but the "oh I'm not doing it that way again!" stuff as well. As a "newbie" to painting 28mm Ancients, I am planning to put together a how to, or how not too set of notes, more anon.



I am learning a lot about flesh painting and shading and that will only increase as I move on to the Dacian's. All great fun, and my collection of YouTube references is growing. There are some very talented painters out there who are only too willing to share their techniques



I aim to put in the odd "Dacian Wars" unit in between the Napoleonics over the next few months and so the plan is to turn to the artillery units of the German Division as I wait for my Baden Fusiliers to arrive from Spain (there in the post to Warmodelling before they get to me) and I will do a unit of Auxiliaries next. Once I have several units of Romans done I will get stuck into the Dacian's.


As part of my reading up on the Dacian Wars, I thought I would also highlight an excellent book on the subject that I picked up direct from the author Radu Oltean. The artwork that heads up this post is from Radu's book and shows the quality of the illustrations throughout the text. At the time of writing the book is not available from the usual channels and I dropped Radu an email and arranged for a signed copy to be delivered. Radu's email can be found on his web site below.


I have only speed read my way through and have started to read it through in more detail, so will post a more considered review later, but there are other very positive comments elsewhere and the book was referenced in Ancient Warfare which is where I got the "heads up" originally. I am also thoroughly enjoying the exploits of Macro and Cato in the first of Simon Scarrow's series of Eagle books, "Under the Eagle", egged on by Tom and Will to get reading them.

Radu Oltean - Dacia, The Roman Wars Vol 1

So the Dacian Wars are up and running at JJ's Wargames and as part of the launch I thought I would put together a new banner that will accompany any updates to the collection and eventually some battle reports and rule reviews


Next up, Kingdom of Holland Horse Artillery.

27 comments:

  1. Beautiful job! Your painting skills and technique easily pass on to the larger scale. I look forward to following your project.

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    1. Cheers Brent, I'm pleased you like them. I really looking forward to building this collection.

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  2. Oh, these are nice, and a good sized unit as well certain to leave a visual impression on the gaming table. Talking about painting flesh, I really like that you've opted to paint on a beard shade on some of the faces, really adds to the look of a unit ion campaign.

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    1. Hi BP, thank you. Yes I reckon three ranks of these will look quite intimidating to any barbarian commander.
      Good spot on the beard shade, I wanted to capture the "Latin on campaign" look.

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  3. Very nice JJ. I look forward to seeing the Bar-bars. Flesh tones are never easy on these half naked types. I find mixing in some red to tanned flesh works well, especially for Mediterranean dudes.
    As I found out when I painted "Captain Black", there are whole articles on painting stubble on the web, be it on the face or head.

    Vince

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    1. Cheers Vince. I think I am going to have to get into mixing shades. Up to now I have tried to keep to a triad of colours to avoid mixing but when you have a major part of the figure in one colour ie flesh I think you need more subtle shifts in shade than you can get with a simple three colour option. That means taking a bit more time over the job.

      I think more than enough has been said about Captain Black, although I can see he sets the standard when it comes to an all day five o'clock shadow.

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  4. Diversifying from 18mm Napoleonics to 28mm Romans is an excellent choice. I like what you have done with these Romans very much.

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    1. Thanks Jon, I'm really enjoying working out how to do these and I'm looking forward to getting them out on the table.

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  5. Macro and Cato...read them all. Great novels for the wargamer.
    Your Romans look really good.
    cheers

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    1. Hi Kiwi, thank you. Scarrow is easy reading and certainly gets the "creative juices" going when the mind starts to wonder about potential scenarios.

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  6. Great looking Early Imperial Romans, very nice job!

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    1. Cheers Phil, thanks for your comment

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  7. Hi there,

    I have been looking at your blog for some weeks now, since I want to get into Napoleonics and your blog is a an excellent source :-)

    Then I suddenly see that you also have an ancients project. I have a large collection of Hail Caesar Warlord Games Romans and Dacians that I looking to sell.
    If you're interested have a look at this thread: http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?topic=70245.0

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    1. Hi Kaspar, welcome to the blog and thank you. Thanks for the offer, but I have the core of my Roman/Dacian collection. You may well have had a deal six months ago. Still your offer is here on the blog and hopefully might "flag" it up to other potential buyers.

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    2. Thanks, I hope someone will see the good deal that I'm offering.

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  8. Fabulous start to a fascinating era and project! I have a huge soft spot for the Dacians after reading about them and painting them up in 15mm this spring. http://twincitiesfieldofglory.blogspot.com/search/label/Dacian

    I'll be following this and your blog with great interest. I don't know anyone who plays ancients in 28mm locally, or else I'd buy Kasper's sets and join you in the fun. Dang it!

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    1. Hi Monty, love your blog. I was very close to doing this project in 15mm but my eyesight is only going to get worse, so hence the decision to go for 28mm. I'm with you, the Dacians are a great barbarian army with Warbands, fancy falxmen, light cavalry, Roman artillery and Sarmatian allies for good measure. Thanks for your comment and welcome to the blog.

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    2. 28mm was a brilliant decision. I really want to follow in your steps on this, and with plastics, it would not be outrageous.

      I really like how the Roman armor turned out. If you would not mind sharing, I'd love to know how you got those results. It might be overly long for a comment so if you don't mind sharing, I'm at m_luhmann@yahoo.com

      No worries either way!

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    3. One of the best tutorials I've found and one I used as a reference was the Artmaster video
      http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/12459978
      A picture is worth a thousand words. I use Vajello silver to highlight the bolt gun base, likewise VJ gold to highlight the brass.
      Hope that helps.
      My eldest son us looking to get back into his painting and wants to add to the collection, and I pointed him to the same tutorial.

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  9. White tunics, thank god! I always want to cry anytime I see a Roman army painted in red.

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    1. Well it seems that current thinking seems to suggest this a likely colour for the rank and file at the moment. It seems the further back we go in history the less certain we can be of most things and today's accepted norm is tomorrow's incorrect assumption. Still, I like the look and have decided to make it my preferred colour scheme

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    2. I don't know if you were aware that I used to be very involved in Roman re-enactment?
      The Group I belonged to was the 2nd Augusta Legion and we were the only group wearing white for the grunts at that time. The thinking was based on historical evidence that red dye was extremely expensive and it would have been ruinously expensive to equip an entire legion with red tunics. My feet still ache when I think about all that standing around in Roman sandles :) My one and only claim to fame was my appearance in Simon Schamas A history of Britain, blink and you'll miss me.

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    3. Hey Andy, I'm going to need some pictures. This means you might have met Macro & Cato. I think the cost of producing red or any coloured tunic would have been an issue and a simple standard issue plain option seems very plausible. I think you mentioned that most Roman infantry ended up with collapsed arches after marching around in their footwear. It makes their achievements even more remarkable.

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    4. Yep, the thinking is that the Roman foot was very different to our feet today, it had to have been, I can testify that wearing authentic Roman footwear having the improved human foot Mk? is bloody agony after 10 mins or so. 30 miles a day? Yeah right :)

      I once took part in a promotional event where the whole group marched through London (not sure where it was exactly but it was an area with a large Jewish community who were not impressed) and it was a 3 mile route, nearly crippled me.

      No photo's unfortunately, all this was pre-digital camera but as I said I can watch a History of Britain and if I'm quick enough with the pause button........ :)

      Never could be doing with Macro & Cato, Instant Optio? Yeah right, would have been dead by sunset.

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    5. Your comments and Matthias who gave his experiences in Napoleonic reinactments back in July add another level of understanding to the history. Never a truer comment than having to walk in another man's shoes to understand him, especially if that man was a Roman Legionary.

      I too think Cato was unlikely to have survived his rapid promotion, you just have to suspend your disbelief and go with it sometimes.

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  10. In a plot twist we ordered a new bed a couple of weeks ago and it's now due, so her in doors has been sorting out the draws on the old bed. In amongst the photo albums was a set of photo's taken with a good old fashioned 35mm camera of the weekend we spent filming A History of Britain, forgot I had them, I'll bring them in next month.

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    1. It's amazing what you can find when rummaging through old photos. I found some stuff from when I went up to Hadrian's Wall, years ago. I look forward to seeing them.

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