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Enyalios!

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Psiloi

Tutoring 11
Skill 11
Idea 11
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DBx Bases: 27/177 + 0/18
15mm Spears: 75/451
DBA Corps: 0/16
Saga Points: 4

In Ancient Greece, Psiloi were light infantry, who usually ranged ahead of the main battle line in a skirmish sceen. The name Psiloi came from the word psilos, which literally means “bare” or “stripped”, which, in some of the artwork of the time, seems to be literal for the skirmishers – some were only equipped with a shield, javelin, and possibly even a knife belt, and only that. And that was assuming they had weapons at all – the gymnetes (meaning “naked”) were men who skirmish ahead of the main line in little more than their birthday suit, picking up and throwing rocks at the enemy.

In DBA, Psiloi are the skirmishers of your army. Mounted two to base, they are one of the weakest troop types, but are still very valuable, since they are somewhat more able to move through terrain than other troop types – and thus can be used to pin or tempt enemies into terrain when they normally would not want to be – but also a direct threat to Elephants. They represent a large array of troops – not just the ancient and classical jalvelinmen, but also skirmishing archers, slingers, and even hand-gunners in the late 15th century. In the larger DBMM, Psiloi are divided into Inferior, Ordinary and Superior grades, with Ordinary being usually equipped with bows and slings, and Inferior and Superior elements both having similar descriptions – although I’ve always thought of the Superior elements being either more highly trained and heavily armoured than their Inferior counterparts.

In Saga, Psiloi are a troop type in the Age of Hannibal book – there they are rated as low-quality troops equipped with Javelins and really work on automatic – if they are in range, they throw their javelins, and if they aren’t, they move. They also don’t cause any disruption to your own force if they die, so I see them as a screen to soak up missile shots from the enemy.

But why all the exposition – mainly because the Athenians don’t have that many Psiloi to paint up for use. At best, they get two Psiloi elements per corps, and they are little more than javelinmen. The Xyston miniatures are fairly interesting for use with these elements – there are 24 base Psiloi model variants available, with a mix of tunics, hats, cloaks and sword belts. And some of the mixes are…interesting. There’s one guy who has a cloak, sword belt and a Petasos hat, and nothing else – I mean, at least he understands how to protect one important part of himself…I guess.

Psiloi

I only had 8 models to paint (4 elements total), so I divided them into a mix of guys wearing tunics and those who weren’t, and none wearing hats or cloaks. And although I was able to include some of the Athenian tunic colours, ultimately, their link to the army as a whole came from their shields, painted in the standard Anthenian blue.

Since I didn’t have that many to paint, I also took the opporunity to do a few more elements – the rowers. In DBA, as part of the camp (coming up next), you also get an element of camp followers. This usually represents cooks, washer women, servants etc. that form a last line of defense before the camp gets sacked. But I’ve had an idea of using grounded ship as my Athenian camp, so it made sense that the camp followers in that instance would be the ship’s rowers (Greek Triremes had about 170 rowers each to support ~15 deck crew and the same number of marines). Additionally, Rowers are available to Athenians in DBMM as Ps(I) elements, subject to how many boats you have in your force. So, bonus! Not only would I get my camp followers painted, but a few extra Ps units completed.

Psiloi

Heck, given the size of the oars these guys use, I can almost see them running forward and doing a Dwarf sweep with it…that’d be one way to disrupt a phalanx…

As for the 28mm scale…well…I only did 3 new models in Athenian colours (enough to do a group in Mortal Gods) because I had already painted a unit of Psiloi months ago, for some reason. Yes its a bit of a cheat, but I want to get somthing else done by the end of the month.

Anyway, a few new elements, and that’s most of the first corps done, apart from the last thing – the camp.

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