A few months ago my painting plans were put on hold by the arrival of several boxes of old Minifigs 25 mm Ancients, mostly Polybian Romans plus a smattering of Carthaginian and Spanish opposition. They had belonged to Marius, an old sparring partner of my friend Keith. Marius died last year and his widow asked Keith to find homes for his Wargames collection. The Ancients came my way, as I have owned Minifigs 25mm Greeks and Macedonians from the early 1980s. In fact, my figures are from the last Minifigs range, which is still available through Caliver Books
The figures Keith gave me are from the Minifigs PB range which preceded this one.
The PB figures are smaller even than 'standard' 25s and some of the spears are on the trunky side. They reflect the accepted picture in the late 70s of how troops dressed. Thus, Carthaginian citizens have pointed shield bosses and all Spanish scutarii have cloaks and are bare headed. Animation is a bit staid and all rank and file in a unit are identical. However the proportions are good, some of the poses are very nicely done and, well, I just love them.
I decided to paint up the Republican army to face my Successors. Several units of Hastati/ Princeps had been painted but most of the figures were bare metal. Marius' collection included a great many Romans with spears, far more than would be needed for Triarii. I converted one 16-man unit of Spearmen to pilum-armed troops, by pruning back the spears and sinking sections of wire in the tops to represent the long metal shafts. The conversion worked quite well as it changed their silhouette, although it was a bit rough and ready.
I decided to stick close to the colour scheme used by Marius and to keep to a simple painting standard. I used Army Painter soft and hard tone washes but otherwise used very little highlighting.
I have now completed enough units to field a small army for Sword and Spear, amounting to:
4 units of Hastati/Principes
3 units of Velites
2 units of Triarii
1 unit of Latin allied foot
2 units of Roman cavalry
1 unit of Allied cavalry
1 unit of medium Spanish horse
1 unit of Scutarii
I am very pleased with the look of the final army and hope Marius would have approved.