Friday, 3 February 2012

Catching up on things completed in 2011: Arthurian British

These are a couple of units that I got finished around June/July time, They have been kicking around for a some time and are Gripping Beast Romano-British figures. I've always loved the Arthurian age and it seemed a period I could only do justice to with 28mm figures.

The unit at the top are 'helmeted' auxiliaries to uses as 'milites', of which more later. The first units to show off, though are bare-headed types.

This is a unit of 'Pedyts', the term given in the Warhammer Ancient Battles 'Age of Arthur' supplement to the 'levy' type infantry that it is assumed that the British had to fall back on after the Legions departed. Warhammer is copying DBA in this useage, and both sets of rules like many wargamers like to identify 'troop types' when in fact, 'pedyts' is fairly obviously just a corruption of 'pedites', which just means foot soldiers, but there you go...

I need to give the standard bearer a standard but otherwise this unit is completed.

I had thought I might have to buy shield transfers, but instead had a crack at hand-painting them following the transfer designs. They might look a little crude in extreme close-ups like this, but on the table, they look pretty decent to me.

Next up are some more shots of the unit of 'milities' shown at the top of this post. 'Milites' is the Roman word for 'soldiers', and in WAB 'Age of Arthur' supplement is for term for better trained troops found mainly in the 'Civitas' (ie. highly Romanised states self-governing areas around important Roman cities in lowland England shortly after Imperial central authority was lost) armies. Again any differentiation of troop types in this era is short on any real evidence and long on conjecture.

Again, I've hand painted shields and I'm generally pretty happy with them. I don't have a command element painted up yet. I will probably buy some late Roman figures for this.

Another close-up. I am actually not sure that Gripping Beast figures actually look the best on the table, but they sure do photograph well!

Next are some Saxons, in fact, 'Gripping Beasts' 'Germanic warriors'. They have subsequently produced some more figures with smaller 'buckler' shields for this earlier period. Although I'm not familiar with the archeological evidence as such, wargamers are often keen to 'over-interprete' what is often scanty evidence, and determining the size of a shield from what will be the faintest trace of the long decayed wood and leather - only metal shield bosses generally survive-can often be misleading, so I'm not inclined to get too worked up about this.
Saxons were initially mercenary auxiliaries, but then revolted so you can have these within the Romano-British army or as an enemy. I have some armoured figures I can use as command figures or as a separate unit.

Another close-up, again shields are hand-painted, as unfortunately a few make obvious!...

I had planned to use this army for my 'new' club's 'Winter King' tournament, but I actually bought this little force before the Warhammer rules, much less the army lists had been published. Initially I just bought enough for some DBA armies, but decided they looked too small and having 3/4 figure elements didn't look right - in fact I've since seen people who use 28mm for DBA generally use bigger element bases with more figures on.

In any case, I think WAB is probably a better rule set for this period, as its 'characters', essentially 'heroes', fit in better with the smaller scale of Dark Age warfare and its semi-mythic quality.

I subsequently bought some more figures, but not having an army list or much idea the sort of point values of armies people generally used, I did not really buy enough. Left to paint I still have a (small) Armoured Comitatus force on foot, an understrength 16 man 'shieldwall' of Late Roman figures, and quite a few cavalry of different types (Arthurian, Late Roman and Pictish). Unfortunately, you can't really field the armoured 'Comitatus' on foot and mounted in the same army, 16 figs is too small for a viable WAB heavy infantry unit, and I could make the points value for the tournament, but only making at least half my army cavalry, which is probably not a winning combination under WAB rules.

Realistically, I concluded I'd need to buy at least another £150 worth of figures to get this army into shape, and this was at a time when funds were tight, and I happened to unearth in a box a stash of Anglo-Saxon figures I already had which turned out to be the exact number for a full WAB 2000 point plus army, so.....

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