Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spotlight on the Gauls

The Gauls were a Celtic people living in Gaul, a region roughly covering what is now France, Belgium, Switzerland and Northern Italy.  The Gauls had the great misfortune of sharing a border with the Romans and the two were often at war.  The Gauls managed to sack Rome in 387 BC and as a consequence, the Romans had a deep fear and hatred for them that lasted until they were conquered by Caesar in 50 BC. When Hannibal invaded Italy during the second Punic war, a number of Gallic tribes joined him and contributed to his many victories over the Romans.  That didn't help the Roman "fear and loathing" either, I bet.  

This was a project that I fell into rather than planned thanks to a bargain on Bartertown for an unpainted Old Glory Gallic Starter Army with Litko bases.  I snapped it up and then began to wonder what I'd been thinking.  The rumors are true...painting a Gallic Army is a test of endurance. Of the 184 figures of Heavy Foot in this army, every one has a unique color scheme and that's why painting Gauls is so tough. I'd suggest  a simple cheat to speed things up.  Select 4 to 8 color combinations/patterns that you really like.  Mount the like-posed figures together on Popsicle sticks. Paint each stick with the same scheme and when you're finished, make sure that you don't put the same pose/colors next to each other.  I believe a smaller set of color combinations would make this army more pleasing to the eye than the "every man in unique" technique I employed.  When I was halfway through this project, my son walked in, looked the figures over and said, "It looks like a clown army!"

Heavy Foot:  The first set of pictures is all 46 bases of Heavy Foot.  One of the challenges in running Gauls is that you have to decide early on whether you want to run them as Heavy or Medium Foot.  Given all the Roman armies in our club, this was an easy decision for me. I chose to build them as Heavy Foot.  To run them as Medium would give me more speed and the ability to go into terrain but at the cost of being extra brittle when losing to heavy foot and cavalry.

Soldurii:  In Field of Glory, the Soldurii represent a well armored, elite bodyguard.  As armored elite heavy foot, they're the single killer unit the Gauls get to field. You can only take 6 bases of Soldurii so use them wisely!

Cavalry:  If you're going to run Gauls in FoG, this is where you need to figure out a way to win.  Running an army of protected, average, undrilled Foot is a challenge in the ancient world.  I put together a lot of cavalry and chariots in hopes that I could win on the wings in battle.

 Chariots:  Chariots are quite expensive and also, labor-intensive to build. Make sure you have a pin drill handy for assembling these.  Still, it's a nice visual effect when you put them all out on the table in a single file!
Slingers: The Gallic list is a light on skirmishers so I consider these fellows a must-have.  This was the first time I utilized "black lining" and I was pleased with the results.

Javelinmen:  One of the great things about having teenage children is that my very existence can be an embarrassment to them. When my daughter saw that these Javelinmen were going to be  fielded with no clothes, she asked if I was going to take them out in public. I explained  that the Gallic proclivity to fight sans pants is well known amongst history geeks and thus, I wouldn't be embarrassing myself by fielding nude figures. Well, at least not these figures.  I was quite careful in applying highlights and washes  to these figures as I didn't want to draw too much attention for reasons of, um, modesty!

A quick note about the tattoos.  I started with dark blue but kept working my way up for something that popped. The sky-blue looks great to the naked eye (get it?) but I couldn't get a shot that captured that effect with my camera.  In these shots, it just looks washed out.  

Commanders:  I put my Commander in Chief in a Chariot.  All the better to run away when things go south, I suppose.

Camp:  This camp is nearly scratch made. The tent is made out of paper towel and toothpicks. The large rocks are actually driftwood from the North Shore.  Okay, so I didn't scratch make the 2 figures or the tree but for me, this is pretty good!

I enjoy my Gauls for their color and vibrancy.  I also enjoy their "lost cause" history.  They dared to stand up to Rome and were crushed under her heel.  If you are thinking of painting up a Gallic army, one of the big pluses is how easily they morph into the other "barbarian" armies of the period such as:

1.  Galatians
2.  Picts
3.  Early Germans
4.  Early British
5. Teuton and Cimbri

While Roman versus Gauls is a tough matchup for Gauls in FoG, they have a fighting chance in Impetus.  This weekend, I'm going to take these boys out of the box and run them against my newly painted Mid Republican Romans.  Large Unit and the Impetus bonus should give the Gauls a fighting chance to win.  While this army is based for FoG, I can field it in Impetus as long as I make sure that the units are no more than two bases wide.    Brent put dibs on the Gauls and I suspect he's going to hit me with the dreaded "Boar's Head" formation to cave in my thin red Roman line!  


  1. They look fantastic! Lovely, wild colours, and a real sense massed, smelly barbarian rage :)

  2. A clown army . . . very true. Every time I paint Gauls, I think, "the circus has come to town!" Yours look great. Having just plowed through 70 28mm Gauls, I feel like I will never paint another one!

  3. Awwww cummon Scott, Gauls aren't nearly as hard as some of your other stuff -- admit it -- you put way more detail into your stuff than the average bear.

    Gauls are a lot of fun in WAB and WAB2 (played, and lost, last night but the struggle was epic and I had a couple chances to win. The dice weren't all that kind).

  4. I agree with the trial that is painting Gauls but yours is a good idea.

    I would certainly go with javelinmen for the Gauls - all the better for fighting off the opposition skirmishers. The cavalry are also tougher than most so worth investing in.

  5. They look simply magnificient, and colourful. This might seem strange, but many people have a soft spot for them because of their history of war against Rome

  6. Very nice army! I like the clean, bright appearance you achieve. The ol' barbarian tactics excite me, "oh, what a rush!"

  7. Thanks guys! I 'm really looking forward to seeing them on the tabletop again this weekend!

    And Scott, wow, you set the bar for painting Gauls with your recent 28s! All I can do is look and admire!

  8. Monty.....I have a compelling desire to play your gauls in you have Romans to send against them?