Friday, September 24, 2021

You Always Remember Your First - Romans That Is


Scipio Africanus, surrounded by a centurion, cornicer, and signifier, plus a Triarius holding the large red shield.
These are John Jenkins Designs figures. The two figures on each end are HaT Roman Hastati that I painted.

The other day I painted two samples of the HaT Roman Triarii figures. These are what you and I would likely call "Legionaries" because they wear chain mail protection and carry large shields, etc. They were the third line of the Republican Roman battle formation. The first line was comprised of skirmish infantry called Velites; the second line was manned by Hastati; and the third line was anchored by the armored Principes and Triarii soldiers.

A pair of HaT Industrie Roman Republic Triarii, painted by me.

The reverse side of the figures.

These two samples were really fun, fun, fun to paint and I expect to have 16 painted by early next week. The shield designs were copied from the box art that comes with the figures. I suspect that the design is for the early Imperial Rome period but I wanted to give it a try. No one makes shield transfers for these figures in 54mm so the shield designs have to be painted freehand.

Shamelessly Begging For Figures

Sadly, the HaT Roman Triarii figures (set 9017) are no longer in production so the one box of 16 figures in my possession will likely be my only unit of these types of soldiers. Sigh (as Stokes would write). There must be thousands of them "out there" in either painted or unpainted form, but I have had no luck in sourcing any more of the figures. I have been scouring the world looking for these figures from distributors in places such as the UK, France, Germany and Australia, with no luck. If you happen to have any painted or unpainted HaT Triarii, then get in touch with me and I will gladly withdraw vast amounts of Dinarii from the Roman treasury to send to your barracks.

Visit to the Old Toy Soldier Show

Yesterday I visited the Old Toy Soldier Newsletter (OTSN) soldier show in Schaumburg, Illinois. Once a year, collectors of, well, old toy soldiers, convene with their wares to sell and buy and trade figures. I hoped that with all of the plastic figures for sale that I would find a box or two of HaT figures. I had no such luck but I did make a few, ahem, purchases while I was there. These included a display of 30mm Elastolin Vikings/Saxons attacking a castle wall defended by some Normans. The set include the Elastolin siege tower, which is hard to find and I had wanted one of these back in my youth. It also include a trebuchet, catapult and several mantles. I was very happy with this purchase. I didn't take any pictures, but will do so after I unpack the figures and set up the diorama.

I also purchased a 54mm section of the Alamo barracks that looks like it could used in my Sudan and Khartoum games; some 54mm knights of Agincourt, and some John Jenkins Designs Republican Romans (including Scipio Africanus himself). The latter is expensive but how could I pass on a Scipio figure - a gift to myself. The company also makes a Hannibal figure that I will likely purchase in the near future. I also bought a pair of 40mm war elephants (with Howdah and two spearmen, plus a mahout), painted, that fit in nicely with the HaT elephants that I already have.

Scipio Africanus (mounted).
John Jenkins Designs

Afterwords I visited the Games Plus store in nearby  Mount Prospect, IL to pick up some primer and paint supplies for my Punic Wars Project. I am fortunate to have a really excellent Old School type of hobby and game store within a thirty minute drive from my house. The four cans of Vallejo grey primer and a can of spray gloss coating should last me through most of the project. I foresee a visit to Pet People to look for some aquarium Greek or Roman ruins to use for 54mm game terrain.

And finally, a preview of the next unit of Carthaginian Lybians that are currently on the painting table.




  1. Like the Scipio and other JJ figures.

    1. Me too. I could really get into a lot of trouble with JJD figures.

  2. These look,excellent Jim, coming along very nicely indeed.

  3. Lovely Romans, shields, and scenery!

  4. Really the “tripla acies” Roman formation was one line each of hastati, principes and triarii. The Roman had lots of light troops but they probably didn’t count the velites in the battle lines. They were skirmishers after all.
    The triarii were an anchor point and last resort more than a reserve. When “res ad triarios rediit” became a saying for a really desperate situation. At times they weren’t even deployed at left at the camp. That was apparently the case at Cannae.
    There were approximately half triarii than hastati and principes.
    Principes were better equipped than hastati, being wealthier but I don’t think that there was so much a difference in appearance than what we think. From a wargaming point of view you can probably represent a principes unit by just throwing together hastati figures and a few mailed legionaries here and there.
    But no one would say something if you put an “hastati “ unit in the second line and say they are principes, it is more about the role they play. It’s also ok if there only a few triari (or none at all).
    I hope that these few ideas could help to get organized the few better armor figures you could source and see this project completed 😃👍🏻

    1. My thought is to paint princeps troops in red tunics and Hastati in white tunics, using the same Hastati figures.