I have been busy over the last few days immersing myself in the minutiae and excitement of starting a new wargame army, I have settled on a period, the second half of the Second Century AD. I had wanted to base my Romans on the Crises of the Third Century and although there are figures available I just could not resist the earlier legionaries of Aventine Miniatures. Having decided this I do not have very many emperors to choose from, so I am pretty much stuck with Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus or the general Avidius Cassius as my main characters, all of whom were pretty decent warriors.
The range I went for offers a large variety in their legionaries, you can have lorica segmentata, mail or lamellar armour, some have extra armour on their right arm, others have greaves and there are several different helmet styles. You can also choose from two different shield types, the normal rectangular shield or an oval one, by the end of this period I believe the oval was becoming more popular. I had an idea to mix in the occasional oval for a more campaign look but when I realised I would have to buy another transfer sheet of twelve designs and only use maybe three or four I took a leap back. If I had all my cohorts with the same design it would have been fine but I want them all to have different shields patterns. I may yet weaken for one of the cohorts.
Before I ordered I had to know what my army was going to look like, so to this end I have come up with the forces below.
Roman Army 150 - 200AD
24 Praetorians x 1
24 Veteran Legionaries x 1
24 Regular Legionaries x 2
24 Auxiliary Infantry x 1
16 Auxiliary Light Infantry x 1
20 Auxiliary Archers x 1
12 Balearic Slingers x 1
12 Auxiliary Cavalry x 1
12 Auxiliary Horse Archers x 1
12 Contarii x 1
12 Cataphracts x 1
2 or 3 Ballistae
This amounts to about 3000+ points if I take all the upgrades and officers, it has a nice core of solid infantry, with what I think is some excellent supports. The Auxiliary light infantry, archers and cavalry can skirmish or fight in close order, excellent units to take out enemy skirmishers, add in the horse archers and my skirmishers will be a force to reckon with on their own. Then the cavalry, small in number but dangerous, especially the cataphracts. So all in I think it is a well balanced force which has the capability to take on any enemy.
So that I don’t get bored painting I am getting away from my usual way of doing things and mixing them up, my first order is for Praetorians, Legionaries, Auxiliaries, archers and cataphracts along with some officers, almost half the army.
Having the army is only one part of War & Conquest, everyone I know tarts their forces up with small ingenious vignettes for their rally points and the same level of commitment is given to their push and shove and strategic initiative markers, I have seen slave girls, sacrifices, looters, senators, druids and dogs to name just some. I will have to come up with something better than the legionary tents I have at the moment, although I do have Roman civilians for SIP’s.
I have completed my last Romano-British foot unit today, so will get the Saxon cavalry started over the weekend, I just wonder if I can hold off on the Romans until after my hols.