Tuesday, June 22, 2010

romans on the march...

 So I've been back into historical gaming for a few years now but never really picked up any of my old projects. I've been leaning more towards doing games in 54mm due to the exorbitant price of metal figures and aging eyesight. Then I noticed that Wargames Factory had their plastic 'Caesar's Legions' figures on sale for $9.99 per box. Since I had a couple hundred Old Glory Gauls sitting around I figured it would be a good match. I've got the first of six boxes of Romans completed.

In general, I'm impressed with the plastic Romans. I find it easier to assemble the plastic figures than to clean poorly cast metal ones. I like the variability of the poses. Assembling the plastic figures appeals to my modeling instincts as well as my inner gamer. But, I must admit, even though there are some pretty decent 1/72 scale plastic figures currently in production--at a very enticing price--I don't think I would have taken the plunge into plastics if they weren't being produced in hard plastic. I do not enjoy working with the softer plastics. Even at 54mm size, it's tricky to clean soft plastic figures without leaving ugly telltaile signs. The hard plastics are much easier to alter and glue.

Even so, I was concerned about the rather soft details on the Roman figures. Especially since I've abandoned using aerosol primers on figures and now use a brush on flat varnish to prime figures. I was afraid that the varnish and several layers of paint would obscure the details even more. Overall, though, the details--even on the admittedly sub-optimal Romans--are still better than my current painting skills. Looking at these close up pictures really hammers home that point! I no longer have concerns over the details of the 28mm plastic figures, especially with the increasingly detailed figures being produced.

Even the early imperial cavalry look decent. I've not yet completed all 12 of these figures but they are well on their way. I hope the plastic ranges continue to expand and that they continue to be produced at a reasonable price point. I've often thought that one of the reasons for DBA/DBM becoming so popular was simply a matter of timing. The De Bellis rules came out in the mid 1990s--just about the same time that the cost of metal figures practically doubled. I know that for me the cost increase in figures put large armies out of reach. Thus, I gravitated towards DBA even though I've always been rather non-enthusiastic about the rules.  

I like individual command figures in my games. Consequently, I drafted one of my old gladiator figures to command my army. Spartacus? We'll never know until he takes off that mask. I'm pretty sure the figure is not really appropriate as a late Republic commander but it will have to do for a while. This is a Steve Barber figure.

In a previous gaming incarnation I had a Republican Roman DBA army. No doubt they will be forced into games as Roman allies. My Roman subcommander is an old Navigator figure, Scipio if I remember correctly.

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