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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Shield, Dacian edition

Painting shields for ancient armies can be a challenge, with the first question being "what should the shields look like?"  For some armies, the painting trail is well established. There's a wealth of material on Roman shields for color and style. Iberian shields? There's a baseline for colors and geometric styles. There's lots of reference material for Greek and Celtic shields as well. Dacian shields are a different story.  I looked at the Little Big Man Studios website for ideas, and also Trajan's column.  What I found was unpaintable in 15mm.

Then I stumbled across an old post on the Iron Mitten blog. Secundus drew highly stylized animal figures for his Celtic shields, much like the Uffington White Horse. Animals were worked around the shield boss with an elongated neck,  or legs, or antlers. Following the trail Secundus blazed, I painted one animal figure, then another and another.  BINGO!  It's simple but looks quite nice in 15mm.

Javelinmen: Medium foot javelinmen make up the backbone of my Dacian army.  They're undrilled average impact foot.  Like most "barbarian" foot in Field of Glory, they must disrupt the enemy at impact or else struggle in melee. Dacian foot is portrayed as javelinmen because archaeological evidence reveals many spearheads & javelins but not many swords.  Then again, Emperor Trajan may have had his legionaries collect all the Dacian swords after subjugating them.

Skin tones for the shirtless lads was done with 2 highlights. The Dacians are one of Old Glory's best  lines. Great sculpts, very little cleanup required and a huge variety of poses.
Skirmishing Javelinmen: These skirmishers have a crucial role in my Dacian army.  Falxmen are vulnerable to missile fire as they carry a 2 handed falx and no shield.  I'll need the skirmishers to protect the falxmen from missile fire until they're ready to go in.

Archers: Medium foot archers have a roll to play in my army as well.  I'm going to run my javelinmen warriors in large 12 base units.  6 bases of archers can provide rear support to 2 large units of javelinmen. My javelinmen need rear support and a general leading from the front to have a prayer against legionaries.

During Trajan's campaign, it was reported that the Dacians placed well-camouflaged archers in trees to snipe Roman officers.  I figured green was a good color for tree-sniping archers.