Thursday, November 3, 2016

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears

Well actually your eyes, as you can't hear a blog . . .

I'm not quite sure what it is with me and deadlines.  Maybe I just like the sound as they go whooshing by.  At least they seem to get me motivated to do something other than rot my brain out in front of the boob tube with the new season of tv.  (Honestly, has there EVER been a better time to be a fan of geeky tv than now?  Netflix is kicking butt with Marvel, but even that isn't enough and they come up with Stranger Things (and yes, if you grew up a geek during the eighties you need to watch it.  NOW.  I'll wait.)  The CW has DC superheroes on four nights a week.  The marvel movies are ruling the box office.  Even SyFy has actually gotten back to showing science fiction (*shock*) instead of wrestling!  And BBC America now is doing a new series based on Douglas Adams Dirk Gently books.  I don't know what I would do without my DVR!)

A benefit to running escalation leagues is it obligates me to build at least one army to participate in them.  The historical league we are currently running (ok, it got pushed back a month due to when the Kings of War: Historical book arrived and people could get their armies in) is no exception, and I figured I'd do a couple of historical armies that I could run demos with.

I already talked about the Celt army (i.e. Barbarians) that I decided to do (ok, I farmed it out to my son to build and paint (he didn't really have an interest in making a historical army for himself (the only person I've talked to that didn't) so he can play in the league and help me out a bit at the same time).  They of course need someone to fight - so bring on the Romans.

When I decided to make these armies, I wanted them to be compatible - so I decided that I would get both from the same manufacturer.  Warlord games ended up being a natural fit as their "Hail Ceasar" game and line of miniatures actually has Romans vs. Celts in the starter box.
I figured, just as I like to show pictures of the actual models from Mantic, I'll do the same with the romans I'll be making.

To me, the iconic unit for Romans are Legionaries.  Well trained, regiments of heavy warriors that represent the might of Rome.

High quality hard plastic sprues, again manufactured by Renedra.   The only drawback I have are there are not enough pilums or gladius to equip the entire unit the same - and I see these as a tight, identical unit, as opposed to the barbarian infantry, that is much more of an untrained rabble.
Legionaries front
Legionaries back
The box comes with one sprue of troops, and a second command sprue.  The only real difference is the two sections on the left - basically the command options including standards and musicians.
Legionaries Command front
Legionaries Command back
One of the things that the legions of Rome were famous for is the Testudo, or turtle formation.  When pelted with slings, arrows  or thrown spears, the legionaries would lock their scutum shields tight together on the front, sides and overhead, creating a strong 'turtle' shell that was nearly impenetrable to ranged attacks.

Warlord just came out with a resin Testudo unit, so I had to have one for my second regiment of Legionaries.

The resin, like most resin kits, is a bit brittle.  I have had several legs break off the bottom piece just trying to determine how it fits to the middle.  I also wasn't sure what the size would be - however it easily fits in the space of a regiment.  (Counting the heads/legs/shields - the unit is actually 6x6 - or 36 soldiers.  I didn't want to take hordes for a demo army, but it does amuse me to play this as a horde - they would be spread out 9 wide by 4 deep - then form up to be half the size.  So mainly an empty base, but containing 90% of the specified models.
Testudo - front
Yes, the back and front are nearly identical.  I was confused at first by the missing shield - until I realized that the metal shield actually has a head underneath it - it is one of the legionaries looking out from the middle of the pack!

I have converted the unit leader here to be my eagle bearer - a living legend army standard that also has rallying(2).
Testudo - back
While the Legionaries are powerful as infantry, the Roman army has an even better unit.  The living legend Praetorian Guard unit has all the options available to other units in the list, they have a higher nerve, more attacks and elite.

The Praetorian Guard use the same bodies as the Legionaries, but have different helmets and shields. The box from Warlord is supposed to come with Marcus Arelius on horseback - but the amazon seller that my wife got it from had opened the box and this metal model was missing.  (She has attempted to contact both the seller and amazon, but has not had any luck at this point).
Praetorian Guard Troop Front

Praetorian Guard Troop Back
Praetorian Guard Command Front

Praetorian Guard Command Back

Praetorian Guard shield transfers
The last plastic sprue (that I'm using, Warlord has a few more in their range) is for the Roman Scorpion bolt thrower. Each unit of Legionaries would come with a scorpion for ranged support, so of course I'm putting two in the list.

I'll be honest here - looking at this sprue I'm not quite sure how it all goes together.  I'll get it figured out before I need to field them however.
Scorpion front
Scorpion back
Praetorian Cavalry is another exclusive option to the Romans, so I figured I'd round out my list with a regiment.  These are all metal models.  I ended up with three blisters of them and a command blister (for a total of 12 models).  There are three sculpts of horses, though they were not evenly distributed (there is only a single model of one of the sculpts)
Cavalry horses
There are also three sculpts for the rider troops.  They all have spears - which are bits of brass rod sharpened at the end.  I can't help but think that while I've poked my hands on other miniatures before - I am expecting these to literally require a bit of blood (in addition to the traditional sweat and tears).
Troop sculpts
In addition, there are metal shields for all of the models.  Unfortunately since these came as blisters and not a box set, they did not come with transfers that the infantry models did.  However the transfers should be simple enough to order.
cavalry shields
There are two more command poses -a musician and a leader.  The standard would simply be a normal troop holding his spear up, with a banner attached to it.
Musician and leader
Since I have twelve models and only need 10, I am thinking of taking the leader and promoting him to be the mounted general in my list.  Warlord does have some pretty cool character sculpts, including one that is basically Russel Crowe from Gladiator (though I want a mounted general :-( ).
Unleash Hell!
One thing more.  I found the cavalry interesting models, as you have to actually drill through the closed hands and then insert the spears.  Maybe it is because I've always lived in a fantasy world (or two), but I had never seen this before.  Not a huge deal for anyone with experience, but I can see where it might be a bit of an issue for a first time gamer.
hand drilled to hold the spear
I am actually looking forward to getting these all assembled (currently the Testudo and Legionaries are assembled and ready to start painting).  I'll have to see if my previous dislike of painting human models continues or if I will enjoy these.

Of course that is if I can tear my fat lazy butt away from the recliner and the next episode of the Flash.

Because it is all fun and games . . .

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