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!


  1. They came up very well Monty well worth the hassle I think!

  2. Awesome!! I'm just getting into 28 MM Romans, but I have a abiding fondness for 15 MM. I've been calling it the "terrain" scale for several years now because of the satisfying size of 4 x 6 board battles vs. 28 MM. To me at 15 MM you begin to have a more true battlefield spectacle vs. 28 MM to me is a much better skirmish scale. Yet thanks to companies that continue to churn out full army engagement games in that scale most people seem kind of stuck on it for everything. Eventually I'd like to convert to mostly skirmish at 28 MM and the bigger battles at 15 MM. Easier said than done though ... :) Anyway great blog ... looking forward to more on your 15 MM roman experience! Thanks!!

  3. One of us! One of us! One of us! ;)

    They look great, especially all massed together. Suitable fierce and chock full of Republican virtue.

  4. Thanks Willie and Lord! Once I got into a groove, I realized that I could alter the figures when drilling out the hands and also where & how I mounted the shields. It makes the units more dynamic.

    Scale thing is a reoccurring theme in our hobby. 28mm looks spectacular but with a significantly greater cost in $ and time to paint. I'm dabbling in 28mm gladiators and before 2012 is over, I plan to do an army in 28mm. Excess, maybe we'll pass each other on our ways up and down the scale!

  5. They look very nice indeed.

    But i should add: Death to the Romans!

    A carthaginian player ;)

  6. They look wonderful! I'd love to have a go with the Gauls ;^)

  7. I do like the look of a roman army set up...lovely!!!! great set of colours.

  8. Really nice!

    I'm having Carthaginian and Republican Roman armies in 28mm painted up right now and I love the detail that it allows, but there really is something about seeing more figures on the base to give it the real look of an authentic unit.

  9. Thanks guys!

    And Brent, I will be taking you up on that offer!

  10. This article makes me want to give Impetus a go at some point in the future.

    I know what you mean about Xyston, great figures, but not without work. I have two huge boxes of Spartans and Later Macedonians waiting for the needed inspiration to be drilled and glued.

  11. If you try it and like it, the upside to Impetus is you'll need half the figures to make an army, or in the alternate, you can make twice as many armies with the figures you have! I'm painting a unit of Roman cavalry and I'm able to lavish attention on the figures, seeing as how 5-6 figures represent the whole unit!

  12. Hi, I just love your Republican Romans-Impetus Style. fantastic painting job, well done sir! ;)