The Rise of the Legion

Rome.

A name that resounds with a weight and prestige that is hard to grasp in our modern time.  How many men bled and died for that name, that concept, that identity. The scope of its history is hard to grasp, let alone the many intricacies of its emergence out of the mists of history, the rise of its Republic, its transition to Empire, and its eventual and lingering fall.  

I have always had a passing interest in this powerful and domineering Mediterranin power.  I spent many a night in college drinking with my history major friends; accented by toasts to Rome, its memory, Ceasar, etc…  And as we drank we shared our knowledge of this long dead country. Until recently,this summed up my loose collection of knowledge concerning this mighty nation, that is, until I stumbled across a certain podcast.

About a year ago I started on a journey to learn more about this fallen Empire, and did so with the help of Mike Duncan and his wonderful podcast simply titled, The History of Rome.  It was through his wonderful production that I learned the overall narrative of Republic and Empire, the rise of Romulus’s city, the conflicts between Patricians and Plebeians, the rise of Caesar and Mark Antony, the slow turn to Empire, the Rise of the Nervan/Antonine Dynasty, the rise of the Severans, followed by the crisis of the third century, and so on.  One fascinating episode followed another as I painted away my evenings working on one of my many projects.  

There were many things that stuck with me as I learned about this most regal and ancient of nations, but none more so than the legions.  How iconic is that image of red tower shields and shining mail or plate in the sunlight. The three lines of the maniple system made up of Cohortes being led by their Legats, with commands being shouted in Latin as they continue to push the borders of their Empire or defend the lands of the Republic from the many enemies the Romans made within and without. 

I don’t remember precisely when I decided that I would do a Roman hobby project, but it was around the same time that I discovered Little Wars TV on Youtube and with that discovery I was introduced to 6mm wargaming.  So I decided that I wanted a 6mm Roman Legion. Once that was decided it was only a matter of time before I stumbled across Bacuss 6mm and had a few Roman units on the way to try out hobbying with 6mm.


Fast forward a few months and I am now finally getting around to painting up these miniatures and I must say I am enjoying it immensely.  Between the rapid speed at which they are completed, about an hour (from start to finish) per stick, and the awesome look that they give when all arrayed on the tabletop, I think I may be painting 6mm miniatures for many years to come.  Also, one cannot speak about 6mm wargaming without bringing up the cost, for it is far far less expensive than any other miniature wargames out there and with the likes of Bacuss and others there are plenty of high quality manufacturers to choose from.  But I will save my general thoughts on 6mm wargaming for a different article. Rhis is an article about the start of my legion! So without further ado I present you some in progress shots of my first bunch or Roman Legionaries.

Some things to note about these miniatures, first these are Republican Roman soldiers of the era of Julius Caesar.  For this first batch I only procured a single unit of each soldier type since, at the time, I didn’t know if I would like painting them or not.  So the single unit of infantry I purchased had 96 individual men. These are provided in the strips of 4 you see in the pictures. I also have a unit of skirmishers (my Velites), some Roman bolt throwers, some Roman cavalry, and some Roman officers (also mounted).  I hope to post some progress on these units soon.    

To the left is your average 28mm figure and to the right is a stand of 6mm.
Here are a number of infantry stands mounted, base coated, and with the first major color applied; the silver of their chain mail.
Next we apply the classic Crimson color to their shield and hit some parts where cloth would poke out, like at the bottom of their chain mail and at their shoulders.  As you may be noticing by now, this is not a terribly precise bit of work. Between the small scale and the final wash precision is not the name of the game here, but worry not they will still look good when finished!
Next we apply the bronze of the helmet and the shield bosses (called Umbo).
Now we apply the skin tone.  The minis are finally starting to look like little men!  In this step I also take the time to hit up a few minor details on the command section.
Next I apply a little light brown paint to account for their Caligae (the Roman sandal-boot.) And apply a second coat of red on the shields.  With the shields being the most pronounced part of the model I wanted to make sure it is a rich color that people see when they look at them, hence the second coat.
Finally I apply a quick wash of Black or Brown and let it dry!  The stick I was working on is in front with some other recently finished ones behind it.  

And so begins my Legion. As I rapidly move through the few miniatures I had procured earlier I’ve begun to think about what other Roman units I should pick up.  Additionally I need to decide who my Romans will be fighting!?! Persians? Selecludes? Gauls? Other Romans?!? Plenty of interesting choices to pick from. Also, you may have noticed that the models are not quite done yet, as I still need to base them. This has been a bit of a sticking point for me, but I’ll save that for another article.  

Until we meet again, happy hobbying and Carthago delenda est. 

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