Monday, 28 December 2015

2015 Recap

Figures completed
As a round-up to this project here's what I managed to do in 2015.
Having finished the conversion of the Playmobil arena and mounted it on a solid base-piece I managed to finish off some forty to fifty 54mm figures, gladiators, casualties, legionaries and some miscellaneous others.
I also sourced some cheap animal models that would fit in with the figures as very few were readily available in 1/32 scale (54mm).
Various Animals for the arena

Rules for the combats in the arena and for a campaign are an on-going process and seemingly never-ending as there is always some detail that can be added.
Similarly my figure collection, whilst more than adequate for simple gladiator fights, will continue to grow as I finish painting more of the figures I have a mind to use as alternative combatants along with some extra animals I have that are still to be utilised.
That's it then for this post. This project is about all but wrapped up and whilst I may not be posting on a regular basis in the future I will still be putting out the occasional post when I have something to post about !

To any that read this I hope you  have a good 2016.

Monday, 21 December 2015

"Io Saturnalia"

Saturn having a snack
"Io Saturnalia" was the common Roman greeting given to one another each day during the three day
festival of Saturnalia during December, commencing on the 17th.
Not unlike the festivities many of us will indulge in at this time of year (according to the Wiki site) there are many things we  have a lot of in common with the ancient festival . Notably there was feasting (suckling pig anyone?) on the 17th, roleplaying throughout the festivities and of course the exchanging of gifts, particularly Sigillaria (small figurines) on the 19th.

Whilst I'm unable to share any of the above I can still give you a couple of my memories, so for your amusement (possibly), so here's a couple of "Latin" poems, which I remember from my torturous schooldays when I had to learn Latin (and for which I now am thankful I did)

Civile si ergo
Fortebuses in ero
O Nobile Thebe trux
Vatis inem
Causan Dux

and the next....

Caeser as sun iam forte
Brutus ad erat
Caesar sic in omnibus
Brutus in isat

My finished four "Spaniards", (except for varnishing)
I can also show off the "Spaniards " I was hoping to get finished for last week's post as my contribution to giving of "sigillaria".
Even though I'm not that into ancient gaming , I do know that Spain and Spaniards didn't actually exist (in your face "Spaniard", Russel Crow in "Gladiator") and Iberian and Iberians did.

Another view

The two guys on the left will certainly see service in my arena and I've already started on the other three pairs of these that I have; not too sure about the obvious "Spaniards" with their distinctive headgear.

Next week I'm hoping to have a few friends around for a few matches in my arena and maybe start off a campaign. but in the meantime "Io Saturnalia" and that's it for this post.

Monday, 14 December 2015


Box front
I such a non-ancients player that I'd confused my boxes of Celtiberians and Spanish in previous posts,
but I believe that they're both one and the same anyway! (And both probably featured in Hannibal's army.)
Both boxes are from the HaT range of ancient figures and I'll use this post to show what I've managed to achieve with the figures although I'm still currently 'working' on them and haven't got any finished off yet - real life issues as always getting in the way of any real progress.

Back of HaT box (*snigger)

The reverse of the box, as is normal with HaT boxes (*smirk) shows line drawings of representations of the figures, which, as usual, are four poses to a sprue and four sprues to the box, giving sixteen figures.
There are two distinctive 'uniforms' to these figures one with a helmet and the other with a distinctive headgear that I'm sure ancients gamers will recognise. Two of the figures are armed with small shields and two are armed with larger shields, maybe not quite scutum size but fairly large nonetheless. (Didn't the Romans nick the idea of their larger shield anyway ?)
All the figure are also armed with a distinctive short sword (falcata ?).

The following two photographs show the fronts and backs of the figures on the sprue, but has been photoshopped so that they all have the same orientation.
Front view

Back of fiures
As is usual with these figures, the detailing is very good, well above the level of toys but probably well below that expected of collectors - still good enough though for my purposes.
The most annoying thing from my perspective though was the shields on the figures, as the 'spear throwers' each have a different type of shield to their purely sword armed counterparts!
As I did with my Velites I wanted to make four pairs of figures, four with spears and their sword-armed counterparts for using after they had thrown their spears. (I am aware that their "spears" are actually pila and there are rules for these). 
Whilst the distinctive 'Spanish' headgear isn't that useful for my purposes, the smaller Roman style helmeted is very usable in the arena.

Small helmeted spear-hrower with large shield

As I wanted pairs of figures with identical shields, the
solution was to cut shields from figures and attach them to an alternate figure, thus getting the pairs of figures I wanted. It was a pretty tricky jobe especially as the spear-throwers' shields were also attached to the figure, rather than just their arms. Much cursing and spilling of blood followed but eventually I managed the task.

Small Helmeted sword-armed figure with small shield

The two photographs show the conversions, that will eventually yield two of the small (roman style) helmeted figures with small shield and throwing spears and two other spear-thrower with the larger shields, giving me four figures each with a counterpart.
So, four pairs of figures in total, which although not entirely historical (maybe) very usable as generic 'light' gladiators for my games.but they do give me a bit more variety to my lighter-armed gladiators.  There is reference to the "eques" too, fighting in tunics and no armour other than a helmet, so I do have a kind of historical precedence (Note though that the helmet is different and had feathers ) .
Mosaic of two "eques" fighting
Four spear-throwers (top row) with their sword-wielding counterparts
Here's a photograph of eight of the figures that I've "converted"; the figures with the distinctive Spanish head-wear may well not see any action in my arena!
TIn the photograph, the figure are paired with a spear thrower on the top row and his sword-armed counterpart beneath him on the lower row.
I've got four others 'converted' currently being painted up and a final sprue of another four to 'convert' (swap shield about)

That's it for this week I hope that there's been something of interest here, hopefully I'll be posting up pics of the painted figures next week, health and time allowing.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Celts (2)

Not much progress this last week, but I did manage to cough, sneeze and drool my way into painting up and basing a couple of my Celts prisoners of war that I'll be using in the arena as 'victims'.
OK I know, they certainly won't win any painting competitions, but they're good enough from my perspective as 'counters' and at least I think that there's no confusion as to what they're meant to be.
Here's a few photographs of the two of them individually.

Side view
First off, naked man, probably meant to be the archetypal  naked fanatic so beloved of wargamers, but would probably never be allowed in the arena naked - the Romans were quite prudish it turns out when it came to public nudity - who'd have thought it ?
(As an aside, there are a lot of bare-chested female Gladiator models out there too that would fall into the same category, but they're still popular !)
Armed with a long-sword (Spatha ?) and large shield (both ideas nicked by the Romans I believe), I'm thinking he'll have a hard time of it against a trained Gladiator

Bum view
Hidden head  view
Obvious front view
Front (ish) view
The second figure probably stands a little more chance being armed with a spear and longsword.
I'm unhappy with the shield colouring, it looks too much like a 'modern' colour rather than the faded 'period' one I was aiming for.
 Once more he's unarmed, but at least he's wearing 'trousers' and 'shoes' - protecting his pride, if nothing else.

Side(ish) view

Rear view
Proper side view

That's it for this week, I'm sure you can detect that I'm getting a bit desperate for things to post about, so I'll revert to showing what I've done to another HaT box of figures next week - "Celteberians", that has some very useful figures imo for the arena.

Monday, 30 November 2015


Box art
I'm continuing with posts about my other HaT purchases, this week showing "The Celts" (which is probably pretty obvious from the title and the blatant box picture of a Celt).
The box title is actually "Gallic Warband" and the figures can easily be used for any of the numerous Celtic peoples, including the Ancient Brits.
My intention was to use these as prisoners of war, fighting with their native weapons either against gladiators or even my legionaries. There are quite a few records of such 're-enactments' of famous battles played out in the arena, with gladiators, prisoners, criminals etc being used for both sides.

Reverse box art
 As is usual with all the HaT boxes that I've bought, (always makes me smile seeing that phrase) there is a line drawing on the reverse of the box showing (fairly accurately) a depiction of a typical sprue of figures within the box.
As can be seen there are two spear armed and two sword armed figures, with one of the latter being the (almost) obigatory naked charging fanatic; the other has wings attached to his helmet, maybe to depict some form of leader-figure.
Two of the figures, front and back
Here's two  photographs of two sprues, showing the front and back of a pair of the figures.
They are still on their sprues and have uncut flash etc. on them and note that the spear-man's spear is attached to his helmet.

The other two figures on the sprue, again showing front and back

The other half of the two sprues has the naked fanatic swordsman and the second spearman, who also has his spear attached to his head.

Fronts of the eight "conversions"
I've cut the figures off two of the sprues, giving me four spear-armed and four sword-armed fgures, but note that the spearmen are also modeled with swords.
The photographs show the fronts and backs of the eight figures I've decided I may use in my arena combats.
I have done a few bits and bobs in the way of minor conversions on these figures, some of which will be easily spotted.
Rear view of the eight "conversions"
The spearmen have had their spears detached from the heads.
One version of the "fanatic" has had pants added and both have had  their feet firmly grounded.
Two helmets have had minor alterations to them (wings cut from one, plumage from the other). All the figures have had their arms bent into different poses and a few have also had their shields or shield arm pose altered. 

That's it for this week, I hope you've found something here of interest.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Velites (2)

Front box art from the Hat box "Roman Velites"
I finally managed to do all the bits and pieces that I was unable to finish for last week's post, and managed to keep phlegm and the contents of my nose from contaminating them!
I'd thought I'd show the box art form the set "Roman Republic Velites" from which I selected the eight figures I'd be using.
The reason behind this is to illustrate that "What you see is not what you get".
In the box-cover picture there are a mere tow "velites" accompanied by six "Hastatii" (? - If I'm  wrong, don't pick me up on it as I'm not that all familiar with "ancients", other than having a sprinkling of general knowledge.
The rear of each of the 'HAT' boxes give a more accurate picture of the actual contents, even if they are just line drawings,
They also shows what is on each sprue - generally four figures in four different poses (for the ancients range at least) and four identical sprues to give the sixteen figures in each of the infantry boxes.

 The photograph on the right shows two of the sprues, minus the sword wielding velite
As I've said on previous occasions there is sufficient detailing on the figures to make them slightly above 'toys', but probably not enough for those more dedicated to, or knowledgeable of the period.
There is enough however for me to contend with though.

For completeness the photograph on the left shows the reverse of the Hastati (?), with his pila, one to hand and one held behind his spear.
You can just about make out his back-plate and greaves.

Here's my four finished javelin-wielding versions of  the figures.
I've used two of each pose and I've bend their throwing arms into slightly different positions to give a bit of variety. Hopefully, you can easily spot the two variants  I've used.

Their gladius wielding counterparts
 are meant to be mirror images of the javelin figures and once more I've bent their arms to give more varied poses as there's only a single pose of this figure. It's fairly obvious that they're all colour coordinated.
I chose some fairly bland colours for their shields and the stripe along the bottom of their tunics,
Finally here's a group shot of all eight figures, with the front row's counterparts behind them in the rear.

That's all for this week, I'll be showing some of the other "HAT" sets that I've purchase this last year in the weeks to come as my #1 son and I continue to try and sort out the beast fighting rules, so we can use these figures !

Monday, 16 November 2015

Velites (a wip)

Front (ish) view
I got the idea for these gladiators from a 28mm range (sorry I've forgotten which) , but they are basically Roman Velites (Light skirmish infantry) and are eminently suitable imo as, light gladiators either for fighting other gladiators or against animals.

Fairly boring view
The figures are from "HAT" and purchased off Evil-bay though I can't recollect the price I paid for them. I've bought a lot (read too many) of these 54mm HAT sets and they've ranged in price from 99p to about £8 for sixteen figures , which isn't all that bad.

Side view (debatable whether or not it's interesting)
As per the velites in the Roman army (which is, after all, what they're intended for) they're equipped with a shield, javelins and a gladius.
The wolf-skin headgear seem to be covering a helmet which is only just visible on the figures.
Unusually for these sets there are only three variations on the four sprues, two variations of the javelin armed figure and a single pose for the solely sword-armed figure.

The other side. view (*yawn)
The wolf-skins were a pain to paint, but I'm fairly happy with the way they're coming along.
I've still some high;lighting to do and a bit of overall "tidying up" on all the figures-  and of course the bases to finish off in line with all the others.

Really boring rear view
I've started four pairs of figures, each with a uniquely coloured shield, basically red *shown( yellow, green and blue, with the tunics each having a corresponding stripe along their bottom edge.
You'll notice that this javelin armed figure has a single javelin behind his shield even if he did start off with two (an accident whilst cutting off the little flash that was present) 
Final view (*phew)

The idea of having the figures in pairs is to represent a single gladiator, one while he still has javelins and the second when he's used or disposed of his javelins and has drawn his sword  - a very quick visually pleasing representation.

That's it for this week, next week I'll have hopefully recovered from the lurgy I caught whilst "down South" and be able to finish off the four pairs of these figures to show next week. Sometime in the future I'll be showing all the other various boxes of "HAT" figures that I've bought and sharing the ideas I have for their use.

Monday, 9 November 2015


Four figures in the same pose
I had a fanciful idea that I'd stage mini 'battles' as reported in many historical accounts and of course as featured in the film 'Gladiator', but on a much lesser scale.
Whilst looking for the best buy on my actual gladiators  I came across "A Call to Arms" Romans on ebay and as they were fairly cheap (about £4.50 for 16 figures) i thought why not.
The set consists of sixteen figures in four poses, with one of each pose per sprue.
Boring rear view.
As you probably would expect, some of the poses are more appealing than others. The first pose shown above probably loans itself more to 'converting' than the other three poses and I've bent the arms slightly on each figure to give more individualism to each figure,

Second most satisfactory
The second pose has little that can be done with the figure as the sword arm and weapon is firmly attached to the figure and my sculpting skills are far beyond coping with what would be major surgery. I settled instead for a slight change in head angles and their positioning on the base,

Ans the obligatory boring rear shot.

More or less acceptable after a head twist.

I wanted a dozen figures for the 'unit, which would leave me four figures spare
Here's a couple of the less-than satisfactory types on which I've have to turn their heads to the right, rather than leaving them  face-on with shield and weapon  outstretched.

Same figures, different view.
The picture on the left gives a more representative view , if the figures had their heads facing the camera.
Their sword-arms were also bent into a more acceptable figure too,

Last two, not too bad

The last pair of figures, again showing yet another strange position, though I have once more bent their weapon-arms.

With four figures 'left-over' i decided to make two of them casualties, other than being cut from their bases, these have had nothing else done to them.
You'll notice that I haven't painted nay of the lighting bolts or eagle wings onto the shields, my reasoning being two-fold.
1) I'm a crap painter
2) They're only fancy tokens after all.

Finally here's a group shot of them:

That's it for this week, next week I'll be trying to finish the figures I started last week. These legionaries have only had their bases painted up and they were actually painted months ago!