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Monday, 20 June 2022

South Gaulish Cavalryman

This is the South Gaulish Cavalryman that first appears in the Miniature Figurines 72/73 catalogue as PBC 55s, and subsequently in the 75 catalogue as PBC 55. 

As with all the 'PB' range it is derived from Phil Barker's pair of books Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars and Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome. PBC standing for Phil Barker Cavalry. This figure corresponds with illustration 55 in AMPW.

He is riding the ubiquitous PBH 65-217 which is listed as two different horses in the 72/73 catalogue: PBH 65 Cavalry Horse and PBH 217 Roman Cavalry Horse 1st and 2nd Centuries AD. The code is stamped on the base in the usual way. 

The pose is typical of the range, the figure is nicely executed with a rather dashing cloak. He is also carrying a sensibly-sized shield... take note Spanish Cavalryman PBC 53! 

Spanish Light Cavalryman

This is the Spanish Light Cavalryman that first appears in the Miniature Figurines 72/73 catalogue as PBC 54s, and subsequently in the 75 catalogue as PBC 54. 

As with all the 'PB' range it is derived from Phil Barker's pair of books Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars and Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome. PBC standing for Phil Barker Cavalry. This figure corresponds with illustration 54 in AMPW.

He is riding the Spanish Cavalry Horse PBH 64, the code '64' being stamped on the upper surface of the base in the usual fashion .





Spanish Medium Cavalryman


This is the Spanish Medium Cavalryman that first appears in the Miniature Figurines 72/73 catalogue as PBC 53s, and subsequently in the 75 catalogue as PBC 53. 

As with all the 'PB' range it is derived from Phil Barker's pair of books Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars and Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome. PBC standing for Phil Barker Cavalry. This figure corresponds with illustration 53 in AMPW.

The mount shown here is the Spanish cavalry Horse listed PBH 64s  The code 64 is stamped on the top of the base in the usual way.




This is a surprisingly rare second-hand find, probably because the concept of 'medium' cavalry isn't the most exciting thing in the world. Nor is it very effective in terms of the WRG Ancient rules that governed the actions of these fellows in their prime. 

I managed to get hold of a small batch of these untouched and never painted or even cleaned up. You might notice I've removed some serious clag from around the helmet plume and mould lines from the shield. 

Speaking of the shield - gosh it's enormous! I'm not sure quite why it's so big and feel sorry for the rider, what with trying to ride a horse, carry a spear and balance that thing all at the same time. 




Thursday, 9 June 2022

More Carthaginians

It's been a while since I posted about my on-going efforts to recreate the 1970's wargames armies I once possessed, admired or coveted. This is not due to any sudden outbreak of common sense on my part, but merely reflects the fact I've been working away at 'more of the same' rather than anything new. More of the same isn't a bad thing though, and I've decided to take a few pics of some of my latest additions just to show I have not been entirely idle. 


Carthaginian Light Corps

The 'lights' are coming along nicely and as you can see are spearheaded by a batch of Spanish and backed up by a growing horde of Numidians.

All of these are over- painted rather than stripped - although I manually stripped the shields and spears to make the job easier. Some of the models needed old flash and clag removing, and some of the Spanish infantry needed facial details re-carving. Similarly the cavalry were all separated from their mounts and refixed, and the horses cleaned up and over-painted. I'm reasonably happy with the result, and I've stuck to my vow to 'paint more than I strip' this year, so overall a win.

Numidians advance over the ford - Heavy Cavalry approaching

I still have a few Numidians in bare metal but these three small units finishes the repaints. Six figures is a good size for a light cavalry unit. Of course it could be two larger units or one enormous horde, depending on the game system. I've based these individually to the old WRG standard (30mm frontage and 40mm depth) and this gives a decent footprint on the table. 

Spanish cross the ford as the Numidians prepare to join them

The Spanish have been doing service in their old paint jobs for some time, but since I bought them I've refined my thinking about what I wanted to do with these old armies, and so I decided to give them a make-over in the the same style as the rest of the army. The trickiest bit of this renovation was scraping all the glue and flock off the bases to get back to a reasonably clean finish. Not perfect... but it will pass muster. There's a few more cavalry still to do and another unit of infantry on the workbench, as well as a couple more units of Scutari waiting to join the two I've already finished.

What I'd really like for this army is a unit of Spanish 'medium' cavalry and at least one Gallic warband. I've never even seen the heavier Spanish cavalry figure. The light cavalryman is a fairly common find and I can only assume that his close-order cousin wasn't a great option in terms of the WRG rules. The Gauls don't appear for sale all that often either, although dribs and drabs have come my way, and I'm not above mixing in Gauls and Britons from the Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome range. Needs must. 

 


Monday, 2 May 2022

Numidian Cavalry Reworked

 

It's always a joy to find untouched, unpainted, pristine Minifigs castings from the early 70's. Sadly, it's a rare pleasure, and most of the time we are dealing with models that have been... as folks say these days... 'pre-loved'. 

I bought a batch of twenty or so Numidian cavalry from e-bay recently and thought I'd have a go at tickling a few of them into life, rather than stripping the models back to bare metal. I have quite a few of these figures in bare metal already. I'm determined to paint more this year than I 'unpaint' as it were, so these presented themselves as likely candidates for some restorative work. 

The rider is PBC 46 and the models came with a mix of the PB series and later 'A' series Numidian ponies. The chap here is riding the later pony. Neigh I say! Every one a whinny! That's enough horse jokes for now - Ed.





Before - Numidians looking a little battle-worn but still up for a fight! 



I've photographed six of the models as they arrived - not exactly the six I completed because I'd already started a couple by the time I got round to putting them under the camera, but typical of the general appearance and condition. And here they are suitably enlivened with a bit of paint, new bases and straightened spears. 



After - Numidians now ready to hunt down a few Romans for tea.


It's always a tussle with 70s paint jobs and a lot depends on how well the figures have been cleaned up to start with  and how generously they've been  favoured with Humbrol enamel and gloss varnish. A layer of matte Humbrol can make a good base to work from if it's not too flaky or grubby. Varnish, though, is a bit of a challenge. Do you preserve a basically alright paint job by over-painting the varnish, or just give up and strip the castings back to bare metal? Over-painting the vanish is always a compromise. What detail there is will start to disappear under the multiple layers of paint, varnish, more paint, and... yes more varnish. In this case the models started off fairly heavily varnished - ho hum. 

After giving everything a good dust with a stiff paint brush, I removed the old bases and the glue with which they'd been stuck on - basic knife and file stuff. I then checked the riders to make sure they were sat on the horses properly. A few were - but all those riding the PB ponies were sat way too far back, and one of the others was positively oozing with whatever had been used to fix the riders to their mounts. It looked like Araldite epoxy or some such stuff. I removed the riders and cleaned up the glue - needle nose pliers useful for this. I then discovered why the original owner had put the riders where they had: the ponies are so barrel-chested the riders simply didn't fit anywhere else. So, all had to be filed to fit. At the same time I filed off a few mould lines from the horses' rumps and cleaned up some typical casting clag from the inside of the legs.

All of which played havoc with the paint of course. I spot primed where necessary and then painted to match the original colour as best I could. Similarly, with the riders, where the legs and tunic had lost paint, all spot primed and painted fairly close to the original colour - it would all get over-painted anyway so no need for an exact match. The spears were all straightened out - flat noses plies are invaluable for this - and then scraped and filed clean and spot primed. The original paint and varnish had already flaked off where the spears had bent over the years. I know from past experience, there's no point in trying to work with it - easier to just remove the paint mechanically and start again. I did the same for one of the shields because it was a different and rather unattractive colour. Otherwise, I left the paint as it was to serve as a base. 

The riders previously removed from their mounts were reunited using superglue or greenstuff epoxy putty. I often use greenstuff where the rider doesn't fit very snuggly because it fills in the gaps a little, and you can adjust the sit of the model more easily than you can with superglue. Where the greenstuff was visible I went in with a bit of black paint to cover it over. 

Ready for paint - and I started off the horses with a bit of highlighting in a suitable colour, a few touches of white, and painting the hooves. The riders got a new skin colour - a mix of flesh and a red-brown over the original very dark skin colour. Numidians were Berbers - the same people as native Libyans and Moors - and I usually paint them a deep flesh colour. Mine arrived with very dark skin, which I used as a base to work over, leaving the original colour as the darkest layer. I then gave it all a coat of flesh wash. The tunics were treated the same way, over-painted in a lighter shade leaving the original colour in the recesses. In the 70s all spears were dark brown - it's a fact - I don't know why. I painted them a lighter colour as I usually do. The shields were highlighted at the edges. I then black-lined the whole thing - dotting in the horses' eyes while I was about it. Black lining is a bit fiddly but it very much defines the old-school 'look' and is well worth the effort. 

New bases - all cut from mounting board - and bases painted green. The green looks a little more garish in photos than in real life - only a bit though! Just as all 70s spears were dark brown all bases were that ghastly dark green colour that just sucks the life out of even the best paint job. And that's it - six figures - a small unit for my Carthaginians. 










Tuesday, 12 April 2022

British Infantryman (161)

 

This is the British Infantryman that first appeared in the Miniature Figurines 72/73 catalogue as PB 161. The same title is given to a second figure PB 162, hence I've added the number to the title to avoid confusion.

Both PB ranges were based on Phil Barker's books Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars and The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome. This figure is taken from illustration 61 in the first edition of AEIR.

The code numbers for the AEIR range correspond to the illustrations in the book plus '100', i.e. illustration 1 is figure 101. 

The base is stamped PB 161 on the upper surface in the usual manner.

Strictly speaking this warrior is a Briton although the model would serve perfectly well as a Gaul or German and will probably sneak his way into my Carthaginian army in the guise of a Celtiberean. 



Legionarius, Early 1st century AD

 

This is the Roman Legionarius of the early 1st century AD that first appeared in the Miniature Figurines 72/73 catalogue as PB 105.

Both PB ranges were based on Phil Barker's books Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars and Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome. This figure is taken from illustration 5 in AEIR and, like all of this range, the Minifigs code corresponds to the illustration number plus 100.

The base is stamped PB 105 on the upper surface in the usual manner.

The illustration is based on the tombstone of Caius Valerius Crispus and the description follows a rather dated assumption that the armour is made of leather. Hence the model's armour consists of a featureless breast plate and shoulder pieces.

H Russell Robinson shows the relief in The Armour of Imperial Rome, points out that is is badly worn, and goes on to identify the armour as mail - hamata. My own way round this is to paint on the mail as best as can be managed. 

Aside from that he's a neat little figure that makes an impressive cohort from the time of Tiberius and Germanicus.