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Romano-British for Dux Britanniarum

Romano-British for Dux Britanniarum

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Project Blog by Cuirass Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

This was a project started during lockdown to build a Romano-British war band for Dux Britanniarum by Too Fat Lardies. It's stalled of late, so my hope is that by documenting progress on this project I'll be incentivised to finish it.

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Watchtower Stuffed!

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 4
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Hopefully painting will be quickerHopefully painting will be quicker

So the green stuffing of my watchtower is finally complete. The last cornerstones and lines of brick were smoothed into place on the top platform and it still fits snugly. You can see the line where the two levels meet, but I think that once the model is under coated in black and painted, this should be less obvious.

I also found that my fears about the green stuff hardening in lumps and spoiling the fit of the platform were unfounded. I remembered watching a Gerry Can where it was pointed out that you can cut green stuff very easily with a modelling knife and lo and behold this is true (I should not have doubted the great man). It trims very easily and so I was able to slice it off bits where they were interfering with the fit. I also went around and trimmed off areas where I thought the stonework looked a bit off to give it a more angular look.

In the foreground you can see three rocks which are a good use of leftover green stuff and can incorporated into terrainIn the foreground you can see three rocks which are a good use of leftover green stuff and can incorporated into terrain

I’ve glued to tower onto a 15cm x 15cm terrain base from Warbases so it occupies a similar footprint to my other buildings. A lot of people tend to elevate this sort of building, but it is taller than the other buildings I have and I think keeping it this way gives flexibility. If I want it on a hill I shall just have to make sure it is a large one so the model can sit comfortably.

Vallejo ground texture has been added to obscure the step down between the base and the terrain base. I should note that I’ve not glued the wooden stairs in place yet. This has enabled me to build up the green stuff around where they will be placed (note where I have left bare MDF showing around the contact points) and will also allow me to get in to paint this area.

The Watchtower build continues

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 6
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Hmmm, what exciting paint schemes will I try out over the long weekend? Oh, hang on, I can’t do any painting because I still have to keep green stuffing this wretched Watchtower!

Still, we are finally getting close to the finish Still, we are finally getting close to the finish
Window arches have been addedWindow arches have been added

I left the row of bricks and corner stones where the top platform meets the body of the tower till last. This is because I want to ensure a smooth join between the two pieces. I want to avoid any bits of green stuff hardening into lumps that then lift off the top platform and prevent it fitting properly, whilst at the same time I don’t want to have too obvious a gap between the connecting rows of bricks and stones.

Interior of the rampartsInterior of the ramparts

I also made sure to add green stuff to the interior walls of the ramparts so that all external stone surfaces were covered.

Once I’ve done the last rows of bricks and corner stones, this should be ready for basing and painting.

How not to enhance a watchtower

Tutoring 8
Skill 8
Idea 8
5 Comments
I don’t recommend thisI don’t recommend this

My brother kindly gave me this Roman watchtower from Sarissa Precision for Christmas. It was easy to build, but I felt it was too Mediterranean in style with its clean lines. I felt that a watchtower in Britain would be more obviously made of stone, rather than have a plastered facade.

So I added some green stuff to the bottom layer, without stopping to wonder why I’d never seen this done before.

I soon had my answer. Once you start, there is no obvious place to stop. I realised I would have to green stuff the entire thing!

The whole process has taken ages but I am now three quarters of the way through. Think of this post as a warning rather than a recommendation!

If you choose to do this, I suggest keeping the brick layers level and flat to distinguish them from the stone layers.  Also, you’ll need a lot of green stuff. This is a 90cm roll!

Saxons!

Tutoring 9
Skill 9
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Saxons!

Having completed the Romano-British force I decided that I would continue this project and build the opposing Saxons. The Saxon starting force in Dux Britanniarum consists of:

A Warlord
A Champion
Two Nobles
Two groups of six elite Hearthguard
Three groups of six Warriors
One group of four Archers
You can therefore see that it is numerically smaller than the Romano-British force, but it is made up mainly of Warriors or Elites. There are no Levy or Numeri equivalents.
The first question was which figures to get. I knew that I wanted to base the army around Footsore’s Early Saxons range, but this immediately created an issue. When selecting my Romano-British I had decided to choose mail-armoured figures for the standard Milites. I know this is the equivalent of everyone turning up for work driving a Ferrari, but it is so much better than some guys in tunics who look like they didn’t want to be there (leave that to the Numeri).  However, this meant that when choosing figures to represent the Saxon Warriors they would need to be similarly attired to avoid disparity.  This immediately narrowed down the number of eligible figures from the Footsore range as only a few of their Early Saxons are wearing mail. Whilst I was willing to tolerate a few repeat poses, too many would spoil the charging warband look I was going for as they would look too disciplined. I therefore needed to look for another range that would inject variety.
After much internet research, I decided that Gripping Beast’s range would probably scale well against Footsore and I placed an order. I considered some of the figures available from Warlord, but I couldn’t find any pictures of them scaled against a Footsore figure so was reluctant to risk it. When the figures arrived I prepared and based them and you can see a comparison of two similarly posed figures from the two ranges side by side below.
Overall, the Footsore figures are better quality sculpts and more correctly proportioned. However, they are a bit static. The Gripping Beast sculpts seem to be older and the detail is less sharp. Also, the proportions of their fists are rather large, approaching the size of the head in some cases. The chainmail is also more chunky than that on the Footsore figures and sometimes gives an impression of being a woolly jumper rather than armour. However, the Gripping Beast figures are much more animated than the ones from Footsore so I’m confident that they will give the wild charging impression I’m after.  I’ve seen some pictures of Footsore figures set alongside Gripping Beast and once painted it is hard to tell the difference.
One gripe I have with the figures from both manufacturers is that they come with open hands.  On the one hand this gives you more discretion about how to arm them.  I took advantage of this to equip some of the hearthguard with swords and axes that came with the Gripping Beast order.  On the other hand, it does make it harder to affix my preferred wire spears as they are a lot thinner than the vast metal spears that I expect these open hands were designed for. In the end, I used green stuff to embed the spears into the hands and made an attempt to sculpt fingers and thumbs where necessary.  This is not perfect as the green stuff can become dislodged, but at least that then gives you more of a surface with which to glue the spear back in place.  However, on the whole I prefer drilling out closed fists and inserting the spear as is the case with the Romano-British figures.  The drilling out is a pain, but gives a more solid result in the long run.
The two nobles. If you look at the figure on the right you can see an attempt at sculpting a thumb.The two nobles. If you look at the figure on the right you can see an attempt at sculpting a thumb.
The other slight annoyance was that Footsore sent me a pack Late Saxon Archers rather than the Early Saxon Archers I ordered. However, it clearly wasn’t that important as I had prepared and based them before I realised, so I will make do with them for the time being.
These minor gripes aside I am pleased overall with how these figures look when set alongside each other. However, judge for yourself by taking a look at the photo at the top of this post.  I’m particularly looking forward to painting the Footsore Warlord and his Gripping Beast Champion as together I think they make a fine pairing!
The Warlord and his Champion. On closer inspection I saw that the Champion is resting his foot on a severed head. Not sure whether to keep that or cover it up in the name of good taste...The Warlord and his Champion. On closer inspection I saw that the Champion is resting his foot on a severed head. Not sure whether to keep that or cover it up in the name of good taste...

Farmhouse completed

Tutoring 8
Skill 9
Idea 9
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Farmhouse completed

I’ve finally got round to completing my farmhouse. The actual building was painted some time ago, but I couldn’t work out how to do a convincing vegetable garden. Eventually I decided that it was more important to get the thing done than agonise over the theory of it. I therefore rolled out some flat leaves of green stuff and then curved them back in on themselves to make an approximation of cabbages. These were then painted blue and  a deep purple, because I wanted at least one row of red cabbages as they are one of my favourite vegetables.  I also pushed some trimmed down tufts into blobs of green stuff to make turnips and laid out a MiniNatur purple blossom strip to make a bed of lavender. With that, I called it done.

For those wondering (which may well be no one) I checked and cabbages, turnips and lavender were well known in Ancient times. I also seem to recall the Emperor Diocletian saying after he retired that he got more pleasure from tending his cabbages than he did from ruling the empire, so that seems pretty good authority to me. This may seem a little obsessive, but somehow I always notice when someone slips something like a pumpkin into a piece of terrain from the Ancient and Medieval world, which at that time should only be seen in North America. This is perhaps button counting and rivet counting at its worst!

Building a storehouse

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
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Building a storehouse

I recently added a storehouse to the collection of buildings making up my Romano-British farm. The image above shows the completed build. I spread PVA over the walls and then sprinkled sand on them before sealing it with a mix of PVA and water. The building was from Warbases as was the mounted MDF terrain base in which it is mounted.

Building a storehouse

This shows the painted building. The roof tiles were painted VMC Hull Red and washed with Army Painter Strong Tone ink. I then picked out individual tiles with VMC Cavalry Brown to show areas of recent repair. I then drybrushed the lot with Cavalry Brown.

The walls were painted Light Grey, then Light Grey mixed with Off White, then finally highlighted with Off White.

The stone window was painted in the same way as the drystone walls described in the entry below, whilst the door was painted Khaki Grey, washed with AP Strong Tone and drybrushed with Iraqi Sand. I then picked out the details in AP Dark Tone ink.

The storehouse is actually intended to be part of a larger Roman villa set and be glued in place alongside an adjoining building. As such, one end of the roof is flush with the wall while the other extends out to form eaves. As I wanted this to be a free standing building I needed to extend the end of the roof that was flush with the wall in order to make it look even.

the sequence above shows how I did that. When laying down the tile strips on the roof  I took care to extend each row out to the distance I needed. Because the tile pattern alternates with each row, every other row needs to extend out a little further than the distance required. I then glued strips of card under the tiles and adjoining the roof. This extended it out sufficiently to balance the building and ensure that it wouldn’t be lopsided. PVA glue ensures this a rock hard. Once the glue holding the card strips in place was dry I trimmed off any excess tiles that were protruding beyond the now extended roof.  The final step was to extend the piece of dowling that forms the apex of the roof. This was done by rolling a small piece of green stuff to the approximate shape and pushing it into place. If you look at the image at the top of this entry you can see it at the left end of the roof.

Drystone Walls

Tutoring 8
Skill 7
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I’ve not had much opportunity to update this Project lately, but progress is being made.  Over Christmas I decided that I would keep the Project live whilst I embarked on a starter force for the Saxon invaders.  I’ll detail the planning process and a short miniature review in a later post, but in the meantime I got on with the far more prosaic task of painting some drystone walls.

This might be the most tedious set of images ever posted on the OTT Project System, however, you never know when you might need some ideas about how to paint a rock, so here goes.

The walls were resin casts from Red Dragon Scenics.  They arrived in good time after ordering and are pure white when taken out of the bag.  After a wash in soapy lukewarm water, they were given time to dry and then primed black.  However, there are a lot of deep crevices as you might expect with scenery of this nature and the spray primer didn’t reach every nook and cranny.  To remedy this I applied Vallejo Black Polyurethane Surface Primer.  This is meant to be applied with an airbrush, but works just as well with a normal brush.

Once the primer was on, I applied a Basecoat of London Grey (VMC 70.836).  Next was a dry brushed highlight of Neutral Grey (VMC 70.992). In hindsight, the Neutral Grey didn’t really add very much and I think in future I will skip that step and go straight to the next two.  These were a dry brush of Sky Grey (VMC 70.989) and a final light dry brushed highlight of Silver Grey (VMC70.883).

I then painted the base with  my usual combination of earth colours which I’ve listed several times in earlier posts before adding some flowers and a bit of flock.

I have enough pieces to put together two inter-linked fields or to delineate the boundary of a farmhouse yard and its surrounding buildings.

Father Christmas was also rather generous on the terrain front this year, so there is rather a lot of updates to post on.  In order, they will hopefully be:

Completing the painting of my farmhouse
Acquisition and painting of a Saxon force
Building and painting a storage barn
Building and painting a watchtower
Building and painting a church

Finding the time will be a challenge but I won’t be bored in this latest lockdown.

Farmhouse WIP

Tutoring 9
Skill 10
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Farmhouse WIP

This will be the farmhouse for my Romano-British farm.  I didn’t want to go for something as grand as a villa at this stage as it would probably dominate the tabletop and go beyond the small collection of buildings that the rules call for.  Moreover, I’ve read recently about the Orton Hall archaeological site near Peterborough which has revealed just this sort of arrangement for a Romano-British farm, namely a farmhouse surrounded by barns and storage buildings.  This is exactly the sort of look I want to achieve.  I therefore used the Vicus House by Warbases. A Vicus is the name for the settlements that sprang up in the vicinity of permanent legionary camps, so this isn’t a specifically agricultural building.  However, I think it will be ideal for a small scale farm similar to that at Orton Hall, where the owners ploughed the profits of their enterprise back into the business rather than spending it on flashy villas and mosaics.

In the three images above, you can see the application of roof tile strips.  These come from Warbases in laser cut A4 sheets.  You can get them in a variety of different tile patterns, but for this building you need the pantile pattern.

Starting at the bottom, you pull off a strip and then line it up with the pantile pattern etched into the roof.  You then glue it down with PVA.  The next strip will be offset against the previous one resulting in a half-tile overhang at one end.  This is intentional and the overhang can be sliced off with a scalpel once the process is complete. Make sure that this second strip is layered partially over the one below, just as tiles are in real life.  Repeat this process until the roof is covered.  This produces a textured surface on the roof that can be painted later and which hides the lug holes that you would have with the bare MDF roof.

The next three images show the application of further additional features to give body and texture to the MDF.

Coffee stirrers were cut to size with a sprue cutter and glued over the etched wooden beams with PVA. You need to take extra care where beams join at an angle to make sure they sit flat to one another.  I got a slight overhang with one join, so trimmed it with a modelling scalpel so it lay more or less flush.

The walls in between the beams were coated in PVA and then covered in fine sand.  The excess sand was poured away and once the glue was dried, the walls were given another coat of PVA to seal the sand in place.  This gives an impression of a finer plastering job than the polyfilla daub added to my earlier pig sty for example.

The plaster walls sit on a stone foundation layer.  These stones are etched into the MDF, but I used small pieces of Green Stuff to make it more three-dimensional.  I pushed them into place with wet fingers .  In doing so it isn’t necessary to be completely precise in following the etched pattern, but it is useful to do so approximately as it will keep you right when placing the interlocking stones at the corners of the building.  You also need to make sure that the Green Studd for those corner stones is bent around the corner as that makes it look like it is a single stone viewed from two angles rather than a blob of flat epoxy pushed  onto an MDF board.  Every so often, once I had done a few stones, I would scratch in some sharp chiselled edges in order to avoid uniformity.  This will also be useful later in providing texture for drybrushing.

The front door was covered in strips of card to simulate planking.  I cut up a box that had been holding some herb tea, but any cardboard packaging will do.

Farmhouse WIP

Finally, the model was fixed to a 15cm x 15cm terrain base and the ground covered in Vallejo base texture.  I heaped up some of the base texture into six raised beds that will become a vegetable garden.  Admittedly, at this stage it looks like six freshly dug graves, but hopefully the addition of some cabbages will correct this unfortunate impression!

Orchard

Tutoring 8
Skill 9
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Orchard

This is a small enclosed orchard. Nothing very fancy here. The wattle fencing was painted in exactly the same way as that used in the pig sty in the preceding entry. The trees are from Woodland Scenics and can be detached to make room for figures within the enclosure. They were originally purchased for a 15mm scale project, but serve equally well as 28mm fruit trees.

Terrain

Tutoring 8
Skill 8
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I’ve been working on some terrain recently. In the terrain generation rules for Dux Britanniarum you frequently need some farm buildings, so building those has been my first objective. I decided to go for a collection consisting of a farmhouse, storage barn, orchard and pig sty.

Terrain

The pig sty was tackled first. I’ve posted this image before and there are more details in that earlier entry, but briefly, this is the Warbases Dark Age barn enhanced with polyfilla covered walls, coffee stirrer wooden planking and thatch made from green stuff.

Terrain

The daub walls were painted with a base coat of VMC Light Grey, followed by a second coat of 50% Light Grey mixed with  50% Off White. Finally, I did a dry brushed highlight of pure Off White.

The thatch was give a base coat of 80% Beige Brown with 20% Cavalry Brown. It was then given a dry brushed highlight of 70% Tan Yellow mixed with 30% of the base coat mix. This was then washed all over with Army Painter Strong Tone ink.

After the ink had dried, l repeated the drybrushed first highlight. I then drybrushed a second highlight made up of 70% Tan Yellow mixed with 30% of the first highlight. The third highlight was 100% Tan Yellow, but this wasn’t quite light enough, so I gave a fourth highlight of 100% Buff.  The overall effect is one of fairly recently laid thatch. If you wanted older thatch that’s been on for some years, then you would need to go for a much greyer look.

The wattle fence was painted Light Grey and then washed with Army Painter Strong Tone Ink. It was then give a first highlight of drybrushed Tan Yellow followed by a second highlight of drybrushed Buff.

The wooden planking was base coated in Neutral Grey and then washed with Army Painter Strong Tone ink before being drybrushed with Tan Yellow.

Terrain

As this is a pig sty, I wanted the ground inside the enclosure to look muddier than my usual base colouring. I painted the base with a mix of 80% Chocolate Brown and 20% Black. I the. Added pure Chocolate Brown in selected areas to add some interest. The whole interior was then washed with a mix of 90% Chocolate Brown and 10% Black. I then added a drybrushed highlight of Beige Brown.

Finally, any pig sty needs pigs. I purchased some Iron Age pigs from Warbases. A bit of internet research revealed that the Iron Age pig has been recreated by breeding a Wild Boar with a Tamworth sow. This produces piglets with their mother’s ginger-orange colouring that goes much darker as the mature.

So the piglets were base coated with Orange Brown before getting a wash of Army Painter Soft Tone ink. They were then drybrushed with Light Brown before getting a final drybrushed highlight of 50%Light Brown and 50% Tan Yellow.

The adults were base coated in German Grey. This was drybrushed in London Grey for a first highlight, followed by a second highlight of Neutral Grey. This made them look a little bit blue, which wasn’t what I wanted, so a final drybrush of Beige Brown toned them down to where they needed to be and also gave a hint of their piglet colouring which you can often see in reference pictures.

The Completed Warband

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The Completed Warband

So this is the completed starter force for a Romano-British warband in Dux Britanniarum.

In the second rank you have three groups of Numeri, being led forward by one of the Nobles, Urien Cadwalladr. In the first rank to the right as you look at them are two groups of Milites and to the left are the elite Comanipulares. The Noble, Peredur Constantine stands in front of them. To the far left of the picture is the group of four Archers.

The Lord, Garcianus the Victorious stands at the front with his Champion, Gwallawc.

Urien Cadwalladr leads the Numeri forwardUrien Cadwalladr leads the Numeri forward
Peredur Constantine advances with the Milites and ArchersPeredur Constantine advances with the Milites and Archers
Garcianus with his Champion and Comanipulares Garcianus with his Champion and Comanipulares
The Warband advancesThe Warband advances

I now need to consider what I do next. I’ve achieved my initial goal of producing a Romano-British warband. I should say that using the project system to update on progress has been very useful in keeping me on track and not getting distracted. It was also extremely inspiring to be given a golden button back in August which encouraged me to keep going. Thinking back to that particular XLBS show I remember Been and Gerry saying that they wouldn’t mind seeing reinforcements and maybe a battle report or two. Well to do that you need a campaign and that means that Garcianus and his men need some opposition and that means the Saxons…!

The Lord

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The Lord

So we come to the final figure in this starter warband for Dux Britanniarum, the Lord, Garcianus.

Although he is only 24, he has already gained a name for himself and a roll on the relevant table shows that he is known as Garcianus the Victorious. This has no immediate effect, other than to make me hope that his performance on the tabletop will live up to his reputation!

He has a physique of average build and the Dutiful characteristic. This means he has the welfare of the people at heart and must follow the King career path in the game rather than pursue the life of a Warlord. The king he serves is 61 years old. This is relevant to the campaign, as the death of a king gives an opportunity for your Lord to take his place if he has gained enough support.

Garcianus is an exile, the son of a high-ranking father in a kingdom no longer in existence. This reduces his starting level of wealth and indeed, he only has a Beggar’s Bowl in funds.

The Lord

Garcianus is Footsore’s Romano-British Warlord figure and was great fun to paint. The fur collar on his cloak was probably something on which I went a bit too far. I followed a tutorial in the Dark Ages edition of the Painting War series of occasional magazines.  The end result was an eleven step process and although I think it looks good, I do wonder if that was excessive. Nevertheless, I shall list out each step so you can have a go yourself should you be so inclined. These aren’t the precise colours used in Painting War, but the ones I had available that most closely matched their instructions.  The colours I used were:

German Camo Black Brown (VMC 70.882)

Orange Brown (VMC 70.981)

Light Brown (VMC 79.929)

Dark Flesh (VMC 70.927)

Pale Grey Blue (VMC 70.907)

Army Painter Soft Tone ink

Note that all highlights are applied by drybrushing.  The steps were as follows:

Base: German Camo Black Brown

1st highlight: German Camo Black Brown 50% plus Orange Brown 50%

2nd highlight: German Camo Black Brown 25% plus Orange Brown 75%

3rd highlight: German Camo Black Brown 10% plus Orange Brown 90%

1st Wash: Army Painter Soft Tone Ink

2nd Wash: German Camo Black Brown 10% plus Orange Brown 90%

4th highlight: Orange Brown 100%

5th highlight: Light Brown 20% plus Orange Brown 80%

6th highlight: Light Brown 40% plus 40% Orange Brown plus 20% Dark Flesh (note that this mix looks suspiciously similar to Tan Yellow, so that might make a suitable single colour alternative)

7th highlight: Light Brown 20% plus Orange Brown 20% plus Dark Flesh 10% plus Pale Grey Blue 50%

3rd Wash: Light Brown 50% plus Orange Brown 50%

The Lord

The other prominent feature on Garcianus was the large jewel on his cloak clasp. I’ve always avoided jewels before now, but felt that I couldn’t do that with the model. I watched a YouTube video where a chap in Singapore was painting Eldar spirit stones and adapted the techniques he described.  Essentially it was a base coat of VMC Dark Vermilion over Black. I then painted a line of Orange around the lower left quarter rim, followed by an even thinner line of Flat Yellow over the Orange. Finally I did a small stroke of White over the Flat Yellow as the light exit point. This was complemented with a dot of White in the upper left corner to simulate the light entry point. Lastly, a coat of gloss varnish gave the jewel a general sheen.

The Lord

This completes my Romano-British starter force for Dux Britanniarum. I’ll try and post some pictures of the complete force over the weekend.

The Champion

Tutoring 7
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This is Gwallawc Gwerthefyr, my Warlord’s champion. Champions add some period flavour to the game, doing such things as taking part in single combat in the pre-battle phase as a way of boosting Force Morale, and protecting your Lord in combat by taking hits that would otherwise go on him.

Unlike Nobles, champions don’t have characteristics as they aren’t in the running to take over should your Lord fall in battle.

Gwallawc is the Gawain miniature from Footsore, coming in a pack with Galahad. I chose him as the champion as he looked more of a professional fighter with his leather cuirass over his mail.  I kept the colours quite muted as a result, with only the white tunic to tie him into the rest of the army. One thing I did find was that I needed to make his belt, purse and baldric stand out from the leather cuirass, whilst still looking like leather of a different colour.  I therefore gave them a buff colour as follows:

Base: Beige Brown (VMC 70.872)

1st highlight: Beige Brown 50% plus Iraqi Sand 50% (VMC 70.875)

2nd highlight: 1st highlight 50% plus Iraqi Sand 50%)

As he was looking quite dark at this stage, I deliberately chose a brightly coloured red and yellow shield transfer to offset that. The design is tilted 90 degrees as the position of his hand makes clear that he is twisting his shield and punching it forward towards his opponent.

 

Second Noble

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This is the second of my two nobles. A quick roll on the name generator dubs him Peredur Constantine, so clearly someone whose parents wanted to show that they were both Romano and British!

Peredur is 33, of average build, but has the constitution of an ox. This does make a difference in the game, allowing him a once per game re-roll if the prior roll would have resulted in a wound or death.  Like his fellow noble, Urien, he is also the son of an honestiore.

He is from Footsore Miniatures Late Roman Infantry Command Pack. The sculpt is a bit messy on the interior of the sword hand, but a bit of filing and a half-decent paint job makes it unnoticeable. I’m not sure who would be pedantic enough to inspect the model on an area you can’t normally see anyway.

There wasn’t anything particularly special about the painting. It’s the same combinations of reds and browns that I’ve reported on earlier in this project.  I did try to tie him into the red and white colour scheme for the Comanipulares. I imagined him as having a particular role as their commander. I used a Little Big Men Studios shield transfer that would complement that colour scheme as well.

 

 

My first Noble

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This is the first of my two Nobles, who are the subsidiary leaders of my Warband.  In Dux Britanniarum you have to roll for various background characteristics for you Warlord and Nobles, most of which make little difference on the tabletop, but which can influence the course of the campaign.

So, after rolling on the tables in the rule book and the Romano-British name generator on the Too Fat Lardies blog, we can meet Urien Cadwalladr, who is 24 years of age, with a tall and strong physique. He has the Thrifty characteristic, which means that were he to be the leader of my Warband, he would always have to keep a certain amount of cash in hand and not go splashing it about.  This doesn’t seem to be the best recipe for success in the gift-giving warrior culture of late antiquity, so perhaps it’s fortunate that he isn’t my Warlord. However, that could change if my Warlord were to meet an untimely end on the battlefield and Urien were to rise to take his place…

Urien is also the son of an Honestiore, a local leader of some influence, which might have been more useful had he been the Warlord, as he would have brought some extra cash to the party!

The miniature is the Lancelot figure from Footsore, which comes in a pack with Merlin.  One point to be aware of is that the right hand and sword are cast on a separate piece of metal protruding from the edge of the base near the right foot.  This needs to be carefully removed and cleaned up before being attached to the socket in the right wrist.

I also found that the join between the hilt of the sword and the hand was very weak and it seemed inevitable that it would snap off at some point.  This was addressed by inserting a small piece of green stuff around the join as shown in the picture below.

Don’t worry, I re-primed him afterwards!Don’t worry, I re-primed him afterwards!

In terms of painting, I wanted to tie all my characters into the general scheme of my Milites and Comanipulares, but allow them some individuality as well.

This meant that Urien received a white tunic and mail painted in exactly the same way as I described for the Milites in the earlier posts on this Project.  The same applies for the Goldwork, Leather and scabbard.  However, I gave him slightly fancier trousers, which seem to make quite a difference. These are a base coat of 80% Prussian Blue (VMC 90.965) and 20% Black (VMC 90.950), which was then highlighted with pure Prussian Blue, followed by a second highlight of 80% Prussian Blue and 20% White (VMC 70.951). Although the trousers are a very small part of the model, it seems this splash of colour is enough to provide interest to a model that would otherwise be a potentially rather boring mix of metal and brown, so much so, that a friend of mine viewing him over Zoom automatically referred to him as “the blue one”.

I selected another shield transfer from Little Big Man Studios, going for a design that was distinctive, but still in keeping with the Chi-Rho theme that appears on the shields of the Numeri and Comanipulares. Flowers on the base are from MiniNatur.

 

Comanipulares - complete

Tutoring 7
Skill 8
Idea 8
3 Comments
The elite companions of the Warlord The elite companions of the Warlord

I completed the Comanipulares this week, the single Group of elite grade troops allowed to a Romano-British warband at the start of a Dux Britanniarum campaign (in contrast Saxons get two Groups of elite Hearthguard but fewer troops overall).

I originally thought of doing an all red colour scheme for this Group, but on reflection decided that would be out of keeping with the look of the rest of my professional warriors. I therefore kept the white tunic colour scheme I used for my Milites and just used red on the plumes and cloaks. This also then pushed me down the route of choosing a red and white set of shield transfers from Little Big Men Studios. These come with a fetching Chi symbol and added battle damage!

The completed Group on their sabot baseThe completed Group on their sabot base
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Keeping the white tunics ties the unit in nicely with the Milites, whilst the red makes them distinctive. I also like the idea that when you are inducted into this elite unit from the ranks the Warlord gifts you with a plumed helmet, red cloak and new shield, but the rest of your equipment you have to find on your own.

The colour combinations were very much the same as for the Milites, with the exception of the red.  This was as follows:

Base coat – Cavalry Brown (VMC 70.982)

First highlight – Cavalry Brown 50% + Dark Vermilion 50% (VMC 70.947)

Second highlight – Dark Vermilion

The flowers and tufts were from the MiniNatur range available from Warbases.

I particularly enjoyed painting these. They are from Footsore Miniatures Late Roman / Romano-British range. They don’t require much in the way of cleaning, but I would recommend paying attention to a particularly prominent mould line running up the left arm and head. A little patience is needed to make sure this has completely gone.

This completes the Groups of warriors. Just the four characters to go before the warband is ready.

Numeri Group three - complete

Tutoring 8
Skill 10
Idea 10
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The completed groupThe completed group

Here is the completed third Group of Numeri, based and varnished with shields attached.  Little Big Men Studios shield transfers with MiniNatur tufts and foliage on the bases.

Mounted on a sabot baseMounted on a sabot base
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However, I wanted to mix these townsfolk in with the farmers from Groups one and two so as to break up any uniformity and emphasise that these are not professional fighters.  The images below show all three Groups of Numeri mixed in together, ready to defend their homes and livelihoods against the Saxon invader!

The Numeri stand ready!The Numeri stand ready!
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Next up is the final Group. The elite Comanipulares, the companion bodyguard troops of the Warlord, before finishing with the four character figures.

Numeri Group Three - clothing decorations

Tutoring 10
Skill 11
Idea 11
No Comments

The third Group of Numeri is close to completion, just awaiting its shields. I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to try out some decorative elements on the clothing for these miniatures, to make it look like thy might be more well-to-do townsfolk or traders. A lot of the sources I’ve looked at depict embroidered rondels on the lower halves of tunics, combined with coloured strips running across the shoulders and down the front and back, so I thought I would give that a go. They are easier to see before the shields are attached, hence discussing them before they are finished.

Numeri Group three awaiting their shieldsNumeri Group three awaiting their shields

The first mini has light blue decorations against a white background. They tend to fade away on him, probably because the blue isn’t strong enough to compete against the yellow ochre cloak and the light blue Pannonian cap.

Interestingly, the same colour seems to stand out more when applied to his companion in a blue cloak, possible because they complement each other.

With both these figures I built up the colour in three layers, which in hindsight was completely unnecessary and didn’t improve the effect. As you’ll see later in this post, I think I got a better effect by applying a colour straight over a black outline.

At first, I wasn’t sure about the figure in blue with white decorations. I originally thought I would do the decorations in Grey and leave it, but the effect was too subtle. The addition of White with a tiny hint of Grey brought it out a bit more.

The figure in the Yellow Ochre tunic is quite pleasing, but I think the decorations would look better with a more obvious black undercoat to define them.

The final two figures are, I think, the most successful. I think it’s no coincidence that aside from the White tunic, the only other colours on these models are browns or reds, which either complement the decorations or at least do not actively compete with them for the eye’s attention.

In terms of technique, in the case of every figure, I outlined the pattern in Black very crudely. However, for these last two figures I only added either one or two layers of colour over the top, taking care not to completely obscure the black. This gives an impression of depth to the pattern.

I’m being hyper critical in this post and the reality is that I’m very happy with how they’ve turned out and will happily be fielding them as they are. However, one of the great benefits of the OTT project system is that you can record your thoughts immediately and revisit them to remind yourself of what worked well and what not so well.

A Scenic Interlude

Tutoring 8
Skill 8
Idea 8
No Comments

Whilst working on the third Group of Numeri, I found time to build a pig sty.

Ready for priming and paintingReady for priming and painting

This is made from a 15cm x 15cm terrain base and a Dark Ages timber barn from Warbases.  I coated the walls with polyfilla and built up the timbers with coffee stirrers.

The wattle fencing is from Renedra’s Generics range. Curiously, it’s not available on their website but can still be picked up at Perry Miniatures. The ground texture is Vallejo Rough White Pumice.

The thatch was made using a rather large amount of green stuff. It was rolled out in strips and then tapped with the blade of a modelling scalpel to simulate the straw.

Milites Group Two - completed

Tutoring 10
Skill 11
Idea 11
2 Comments

The addition of some static grass and some MiniNatur tufts and flowers completes this Group.  Here are some pictures of the finished article.  Next up for this project is the third Group of Numeri.

Completed Milites Group TwoCompleted Milites Group Two
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In company with their companions from Milites Group OneIn company with their companions from Milites Group One
Lloyd shot of the two Groups togetherLloyd shot of the two Groups together

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