Monday, April 26, 2021

On The Painting Table: Early Republican Romans- Romans are Done, Onto more Romans!


2021 was the year of the Romans.  With Wars of the Republic coming out in November or so of this year, I needed an army!  This army has been being built over the course of the year, and now it is finished.  At the end of my last post, all that was left was the shields.

I left off with a question.  Sometime during the Second Samnite War the Romans adopted the new Triplex Acies formation to replace their older "Greek" style phalanx army.  The triplex Acies did not use a line of men, but instead a checkerboard like approach to the battlefield in three lines.  This allowed the Romans to feed in fresh troops at the point of contact in a way that other armies could not.  

In addition, the basic unit of the army changed into the maniple, which was a group of 100 to 80 men (on paper).  The maniple allowed greater flexibility and maneuver in the hilly and rocky terrain found in the Samnite homelands.  The phalanx formation could not match this flexibility in rough terrain and therefore the Samnite had managed to thwart the Roman armies.  The Maniple system was designed to help the Romans to come to grips with the Samnites hit-and-run style.  

At this time, the Roman army was still composed of freeman farmers who supplied their own equipment.  Often times, when you look at Roman armies, there is a shocking amount of uniformity in Republican Roman forces.  This makes sense in the days of Marius and after.  At this point the armies' ranks were opened and the state provided standardized equipment.  However, in the Second Samnite War, this was not true.  Therefore, it made sense to me that the Romans would have a more..... unique approach as they were all providing for themselves.  I decided that they would not have matching tunics or shields at all!  In addition, I decided to use no shield transfers at this time either.  

Here it is all based and with shields.....

In the fore is the Skirmish line of the poorest Romans.  The last to get the spoils of war, but with those spoils they can upgrade with the equipment to be Heavy Infantry and fight in the bulk of the Triplex Acies.  The Skirmishers would screen the Roman's as they formed into battle line, act as scouts, and harass the enemy upon approach.  

Skirmishers out! 

Next in line would the first line to fight in actual melee.  Young men and farmers who could afford the equipment to be infantry.  They were formed into the Hastati.  They were equipped with the large body protecting shields, pilum for throwing, the Gladius short sword, and various marks of helmet and armor.  

More Hastati....

Backing up the Hastati would be the more experienced soldiers.  The had won spoils of their own and survived their tenure as Hastati.  These men were more reliable in combat and acted as a second line reserve force.  If the Hastati were pushed back, they would naturally fill the gaps that appeared with experience and discipline.  These were the Principes.

The eagle eyed among you probably noticed that all my Hastati were using their Pilums, while the Principes were using their Gladius. 

Finally, the most experienced men were saved for the last line of defense.  The Triarri were armed with spears and shields similar to the older Hoplite style of the pre-Triplex Acies kin.  They could set their shields together and form a hoplite style wall of shields accentuated by spears.  They were the final and stiffest line in the Roman army.  They were expected to hold the line where the other layers had failed.  

I mixed in Greek Hoplite gear to give them a very early Triarri look, perhaps with their old Hoplite gear from the First and early Second Samnite War?  I also did some converting to make sure they all had double Greaves, as opposed to a single. 

With that, the army is done, and it is well before November!  Expect to see these guys on the battlefield soon taking on Greek and Successor rivals first, and who knows who else! 

I have all ready started working on a "later" Triplex Acies army for a more "professional" looking force of Republican Romans.  They will all be wearing Lorica Hamata (Chain Mail) and have a much more uniform appearance and style to them.  I could swap out the Triarri or Principes in Hamata with the Hastati in Pectoral Armor freely to create a more "mixed" look as well.  I could also sprinkle some of these Hamata clad soldiers into this army for flavor, or combine them into one larger army as Romans and Allies at a later date.  

Here is a preview of that force.  It will essentially be a duplicate in organization to this one.  Plus I have 1 unit of wolf-pelt clad Velites constructed to paint up as well.     

Finally, I used some kit bashing of Greek Hoplites, Spartans, Republican Romans, Greek Light Cavalry, Vikings, and other Victrix kits to make enough models to swap my Early Republican Roman Triarri into an Etruscan unit for Wars of the Republic or Men of Bronze.  

I added two "hoplites" with Javelins and two with axes.  When sprinkled in this gives them the unique "disruption" aspect that holds true to the early Etruscan methods of warfare.  Both Javelins and Axes were used to try and disrupt the enemy Phalanx formation before the inevitable clash.  During the push of the shields, a disrupted enemy unit was more likely to break.  These "additions" were phased out in later Etruscan armies.  

I might have enough left over Triarri, Hoplite, and other parts to build a few more early Etruscan units for a full force?  I am not sure, but that will have to wait until AFTER I get those Hamata clad Romans together.  They would fit well in a full Etruscan force, allied with Samnites, and even sprinkled in with Carthaginian forces.  We will have to see what happens. 

The Romans are complete!  Long live the Romans!  Onto the Hamata Romans now.....  

You can follow Blood and Spectacles Facebook page for more fun:

Or our website:

Or our Messageboard:

Or our Wargames Vault Page:

Blood and Spectacles Wargames Vault Page      



No comments:

Post a Comment