Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mid Republican Romans-Impetus style

After my first game of Impetus, I decided to use my Xyston Mid Republican Romans (Christmas present!) to create my first Impetus army.  Despite the obvious hazards of embarking on a solo project like this, I had good reasons to do so.  First, I really wanted to try the modelling and diorama aspect of Impetus, with each unit set on a single large base with less figures.  Second, Impetus has intriguing rules for Mid Republican Romans.  Hastati and Principes get pilum prior to melee as long as they're not disordered and Hastati and Principes from the same legion can swap places (Line Relief) in some circumstances.  Also, the Roman versus Gaul match-up looks excellent with the Gauls having a chance to win.  I have a huge Gallic army that is sitting and gathering dust so Romans will give them a chance to get back on the tabletop. Did I mention that Impetus is fun?  Oh, yea, that too!

So, how did it turn out?  I'll let you be the judge with a spoiler pic of the finished product and then we'll work backwards...kind of like a movie where the end is played out in the first minutes of the film!

The first step of MRR project was to decide how many figures to put on a 80mm x 40mm base to represent the Hastati and Principes units.  The authors' suggest that Heavy Infantry should be depicted in close ranks.  Other than that, the number of figures is left up to the player.  I started with a minimalist option.
I posted this picture at The Miniatures Pages and asked Impetus players for their input. Could 6 figures represent a unit of Hastati?  Nope, it was unanimously voted down.  The consensus was that 9-10 figures looked about right for heavy infantry.  It was also suggested that I get away from putting every figure in a neat and perfect line to make the unit look more alive and vibrant.  Check.    
Having cracked the code on basing, I moved on to painting. Like many hobbyists, I sometimes get compulsive, even obsessive, about painting. Once I pitched in, I went after it with a vengeance.  In 8 days, I painted, based and flocked 5 units of Hastati and 5 of Principes.  For the folks keeping track at home, that's 100 figures total. I've never pulled so many hours of painting in such a short window of time.  The thing is, once I started, I just HAD to know how the finished product would look and the only way to satisfy my curiosity/obsession was to push to the finish as quickly as possible.  I'm very pleased with how these turned out!  

The front rank units are Hastati in red and white tunics.  The second line is Principes in chainmail.  I put commanders and standards on only two of the units, both Principes, because in Impetus, the commander can be with a unit and the visual representation tells your opponent where your commander is.

Before I wrap up, I want to make a few comments about Xyston Miniatures for anyone who is thinking of painting up an army of their figures.  Much of life is about managing expectations and fair or not, my expectations were sky high for these figures as I'd read Xyston has some of the best sculpts in 15mm. My enthusiasm was initially dampened when I had to use a pin drill to drill out the hands on 100 figures to glue a spear or pilum.  Then I glued on 100 shields.  There was a quite a bit of flash on the figures but after two nights of cleaning flash, drilling and gluing, the fun began.  These are excellent figures with great detail and that made painting them a joy. Prep work aside, I plan to buy more Xyston armies and  I highly recommend their 50mm wire spears.  They're a very nice upgrade over the wire spears I was using.  I also really love all of the extras they sell such as casualty figures, extra shields, swords and even dogs.  Up next, 5 units of Velites.

Last but not least, I had a package today all the way from Italy.  Mailing was 17 Euros and at that price, I suspect the Impetus rules and supplement came over on their own container ship!