Monday, March 15, 2021

On The Painting Desk- Friends, Romans, Countrymen! Led me your paint!


The goal was to build a Roman army by November.  That is when Osprey's Wars of the Republic is due to come out.  I had been busy playtesting with Paper Templates but for the release and general play going forward I wanted to migrate to actual models!  

When we last left off, I had assembled the basic army using Victrix Republican Romans in Pectoral Armor.  This allowed me to put together enough models for the baseline army list I wanted.  This included the following units: 

  • Skirmishers
  • 2 Hastati
  • 1 Principes
  • 1 Triarri
However, I also had more than enough models for additional units further down the line.  However, these units were my initial goals by November. 

I had assembled all the units and undercoated them white.  I then painted their flesh.  Here is what it looked like...

One of the big questions I had for myself was how soon to switch to painting individual units versus painting them all together in a batch.  During the early Republic, Roman troops were levied and they had to supply their own equipment.  That meant each troop would have some level of uniqueness to them, even though they tended to get similar equipment.  How to paint efficiently while capturing some of this uniqueness was going to be critical.  

I looked across the troops, and looked for some things they all had in common.  They were all wearing sandals, they all had tunics, and they all had similar armor.  Therefore, if all their armor was bronze, I could paint all the Bronze at once.... in theory.  I also like to paint from the lowest level of a model i.e. skin; and then layer upwards to clothes, then armor, and finally weapons.  So I started by looking for batch painting opportunities first.  

I started with their Roman sandals....

I used three different colors to paint the Romans sandals.  I divided them into small groups, so the first two rows across the units got color 1, the second two rows got color 2, and the remainders got the final color.  I was using army painter paints.  I have to admit, after painting 100 sandals..... I was starting to question my life choices.  

You may have noticed that none of these Romans have any shields yet.  I always paint the shields separately and last.  Therefore, I tackle painting all the troopers and then switch over to their shields.  That being said, the easiest unit to "complete" was going to be the Skirmishers since they did not have shields at all!  After batch painting all those sandals I decided it was time to break into the individual units for a bit. 

 The eagle eyed amongst you may notice that these guys do not have the traditional Wolf pelts associated with Roman Velites.  The reason is simple.  These guys are not Velites.  Prior to Velites the Romans used standard Skirmishers.  The main difference is that Velites had javelins, long daggers, and small shields.  Skirmishers skip the shields and wolf pelts.  They are even lighter troops.  In the rules, Velites are treated like Light Infantry such as Peltasts and other Javelin and Shield armed soldiers.  

From there, I was going into a weekend where I did not think I had much time to paint, so I decided to paint just the 4 banner bearers.  Signifiers I think they are called.  

Then, after finishing those guys, I dug into the "leader" models.  In Wars of the Republic the leader model acts as the focal point of the unit.  The unit forms up around the leader, uses the leader for measuring distances, and uses them for Line-of-Sight purposes.  Therefore, you want to be able to see who the leader of the unit is at a glance.  I wanted to paint them individually.  

The guy on the left kind of looks like a thin, small Roman Thanos.  LOL.  

After completing these guys, I decided to go back to do some batch painting on tunics.  Like before, I just put paint pots next to lines of troopers and went from there.  I used two colors of blue, red, yellow, green, and white as my tunic colors.  The bulk of my troops I wanted in white robes as once I washed them they tended to look very impressive. 

 At this point, each unit only had 8 men to paint at a go.  That left me in a very manageable position to finish individual units 1 weekend at a time.  Then, once all the troops were done I could finish the shields in 1 weekend as well.  That meant I had about 5 weekends of work left to finish off the initial batch of Romans.  

While I was painting these guys, I did have some helpers along the way.  

My cat Oreo helped me decide on colors to use for sandals and tunics.  

My other cat Blink was less than impressed with my progress.  He felt we should have wrapped up and put everything away much sooner.  He wanted to lay in the sun but my table was in the way.  Hummphf. 

 As I finished up the tunics, Oreo wanted to remind me NOT to drink the paint water.  She wanted it and considered it a special treat.  Especially before bedtime! 

Maybe next time my dog and third cat will give me a hand.... errr..... paw too?  


  1. Interesting project with the focus on the Early Republic. Does it mean your Principes will be spear armed like the Triari?

    1. Great question, as that time line gets very muddled when they transition from the Hoplite Army to the Triplex Acies/Manipular army and what that transition looked like. I plan on using this for the Second Samnite War, but I do think I will be using swords for the Principes mostly to help me differentiate the units. However, I did keep my Triarii with Hoplon style shields rather than a Scutum as they transitioned.

      Hmmm, now that you mention it. I do have enough bodies to make another 10 man unit of spear armed warriors to swap in for even earlier battles. I will have to think long and hard about that. After all, Wars of the Republic does have rules for the Roman Hoplite army or I could also use them in various other army Lines-of-Battle too.

      Decisions, decisions!