Sunday, January 16, 2022

Roman Legions On Parade


A unit of Republican Roman Triarii figures from John Jenkins Designs. 
Scipio Africanus can be seen in the back row, on horseback.

Last week I cleared the Carthaginian army off of my game table because I decided that it was time to give the Romans some equal time on my blog. So this post is an update on the progress that I have been making with the painting of my 54mm Republican Roman army.

My Roman army will be divided into several legions (legio), each comprised of 12 Velite skirmishers, 32 Hastati, 32 Princeps, and 24 to 32 Triarii. The quality of the troops improves from the front (Hastati) to the back (Triarii). The Hastati are lightly armored with just a pectoral plate on their chest and one greave on the left shin. The Princeps generally wore chain mail and were considered to be veterans with more experience than the younger Velites and Hastati. Finally, the Triarii formed the third line of the legion in battle formation. The Triarii were the older and most experienced soldiers in the legio.

Two Roman Legiones or Legionibus in battle formation.
Velites at the front, followed by Hastati in white tunics, then in the second row are the Princeps in red tunics,
and Triarii in the  third row.

The above picture depicts two Roman legiones: red shield on the left and yellow shield on the right. The John Jenkins Designs Roman Triarii are stand-ins for the yet-to-be-painted yellow shield Triarii. Each Roman player in my game will command one legion.

My initial plan was to have two legiones so as to have sufficient room on the flanks for cavalry and general movement. However, I now plan on adding a third legio with green shields. As long as the legiones are deployed in three row there will be sufficient room on my 12-feet long game table to deploy the infantry and cavalry without having "edge of the world" secured flanks.

Isn't this how it usually goes? You plan on a moderate sized army, but once you start collecting the figures and painting them, you feel a need to make the army bigger. Three Roman legiones is enough. No, I really mean that.

I find that setting up the painted/completed units on my game table keeps my painting mojo going. Over the course of several weeks and months I can see the growth in the army. I can also see what still needs to be painted in order to finish the army.

Here is a picture of the various Roman units deployed in the checkerboard formation, representing maniples or cohorts.

I generally paint the cavalry in my armies last. I don't know why, I just do it that way. I think that I like to see how the main component of the army (the infantry) is growing, while cavalry can be a pain in the neck to paint.

Some HaT Italian Allies cavalry serving with the Roman army.
I found these on eBay and plan to touch them up with paint and
give them a first class, fully terrained base.

Here is a picture of the Roman cavalry contingent on the left flank.
Italian allies on the left and Romans on the right.

Overhead view of the Roman army as of today.

Here is a picture of the red shield Triarii that I finished last week. The two movement trays in the front row were  painted awhile ago. Then I discovered that the Triarii figures are out of stock and additional figures are as hard as hen's teeth to find. I hit the jackpot on eBay when I found the 16 additional figures that I needed to bring the legio up to 32 figures. I also acquired enough Triarii figures from another collector to add a 32-figure yellow shield Triarii unit. I am working on this unit right now and hope to have it completed next week.

Roman legiones of the red shield legio. These are HaT figures.

Next in the painting queue are another dozen Velites skirmishers for the yellow shield legio. And then maybe I will be in the right frame of mind to tackle the Roman cavalry.



  1. VERY impressive ! , should intimidate those pesky Carthaginians !

  2. These look fantastic - quite unusual to be creating armies of this size in such a large scale - they will obviously take up quite a bit of table space, but they will certainly be an impressive site when engaged in combat!

  3. My word, you seem to have produced that army so quickly. They look wonderful!
    Regards, James

  4. p.s. I don't know if an 'instant army' is of interest, but there is a collection for sale, as parts, here:

  5. Very nice figures perfectly painted.