Legio Wargames

The Legio Blog

By smacdowall, Mar 23 2021 05:07PM


Having thoroughly scratched my medieval itch I have been inspired to return to my first historical

love — the later Roman Empire.


My 25/28mm late Romans and various Germanics have been languishing in boxes for a very long

time and I feel it is time that they saw the light of day again. Amassed over a period of more than

40 years, the collection is quite large but I am not satisfied with their look. While some (as in the

photo above) are pretty good, many units lack visual cohesion and some of the older miniatures

don’t stand up to modern castings or my current painting style.


I am most dissatisfied with my Germanics which were built up over the decades without much

thought to whether they were Goths, Franks, Saxons or others. Large units of hairy, half naked,

barbarians might satisfy Roman stereotypes but they no longer satisfy me. So I have embarked on

a project to renovate and rejuvenate them to create an Alamannic army circa AD 350 which can

proudly stand on the wargames table against Caesar Julian’s Romans.


Salvaging those figures that I think still look the part, I am discarding those that are either too

hairy looking or whose castings are too crude to stand up alongside more modern miniatures —

such as the ones in the above photo.


Then I look for suitable new castings that will blend with my older figures (mostly Essex). I am

using a mix of Wargames Foundry and Gripping Beast plastics with some head swaps and

salvaged shields from my discarded miniatures. Many of the Wargames Foundry range have top

knots which are generally associated with the Franks. The Alamanni absorbed parts of the Suebi,

who wore their hair in a what has become known as the ‘Swabian knot’. So I feel men with this

hair style are perfectly appropriate for the Alamanni circa 350..



In order to give each unit a coherent visual appearance I am giving them a predominant shield

colour with individual designs. Some will have captured Roman shields.


Others would have had Roman clothing and equipment so many of my Alamanni (both old and

new) come from late Roman ranges.



This is the completed unit of blue shields — mostly new Wargames Foundry with some older

figures intermixed.


The red shields have more older miniatures flushed out with newer ones.


My fairly large number of 25mil Minifigs are more difficult to blend with modern larger figures but

some of them are still reasonable good and I do not want to discard them all.


Therefore I have selected the best of them, brought them together with other small miniatures,

spruced them up a bit and mounted them on thicker bases to give them a little more stature. They

may be cruder castings and lack the visual coherence of the other units but I think they can hold

their own on the wargames table. The bases are covered with wood filler still awaiting a raw

umber wash and flocking.


I have also painted up a new unit of light infantry incorporating a couple of older miniatures.

I will run a remote game next month when my renovated Alamanni will again see the table top.


By smacdowall, Jan 25 2021 11:17PM

For some time I have been working on Hundred Years War amendments to Andy Callan’s brilliant Never Mind the Billhooks rules — adapting them also to my element-based armies.




Through the magic of Zoom I was able to bring 6 players together despite the virus lockdown.The scenario was a chevauchée led by the Black Prince to raid a French village while the Constable of France tried to intercept him. An added complication was the intervention of a Free Company under Sir Robert Knollys looking for a share of the plunder.






The Earl of Northampton leads the English vanguard of Welsh and Cornish knifemen, mounted longbowmen and mounted spearmen. With no French in sight it looks like easy pickings.




Then the French begin to arrive, the Comte de Blois leading his knights forward while the supporting Genoese crossbowmen hang back. For several turns in a row the Genoese leader card was not drawn.




The Black Prince, supported by the Earl of Arundel deployed on a hill to block the French advance, driving in stakes to protect their archers.


The English centre was held by a herce of veteran Welsh spearmen supported by archers.The French, having learned their lesson at Crécy, advanced cautiously, staying out of range of the deadly English archers.



Fortunately for the French the local overlord led a body of spearmen to clear the village of the

plundering English but not before the Welsh and Cornish managed to get some plunder loaded up

onto the wagons.




Sir Robert Knollys’ Free Company struck a deal with the Black Prince in return for a share of the plunder. But when the Prince showed reluctance to immediately share out the loot, Knollys took matters into his own hands. He loaded his share into his wagons and began to withdraw.




At this moment the Comte de Blois launched one of his squadrons of knights against Northumberland’s dismounted spearmen holding the Black Prince’s right flank. It was a magnificent charge. Despite taking casualties from archery the French charge pressed home in great style — inflicting horrendous casualties on the English who, although reduced to half strength, somehow managed to hold their ground.




A stalemate ensued. The French were unwilling to advance further against the well positioned English. The French managed to prevent the full plundering of the village and preserve a vital granary. Although they did not dislodge the English they could count the engagement as a victory.

By smacdowall, Dec 13 2020 05:03PM

Ever since I first saw it, I have been inspired by this atmospheric painting by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau showing the last defiant stand of a Spanish Tercio at Rocroi (1643).




Fortunately for me the talented people at 1898 Miniaturas seem to have had the same inspiration. Their extensive range of 30 Years War Spanish infantry provides enough figures to field a large Tercio with no two figures the same. They also have included some of the characterful poses with some men in torn clothing and wearing bandages along with Spanish field signs (red arm bands and Burgundian crosses). And also the dog!


I have taken my time with this unit, trying to do justice to both the original painting and the miniatures.


My TYW infantry bases are usually 4cm square but I made the front pike base double width to allow for a more characterful arrangement. I also made it slightly deeper to make room for the officers, dog and wounded in front.


The miniatures are almost all from 1898 Miniaturas with a few additions (one each) from Tercio Miniatures, Bohemian Miniatures, Warlord Games and Avanpost.


The flag that which was carried by the Tercio de Albuquerque which at Rocroi.



The shot include 2 bases of musketeers and 1 base of arqubusiers on each flank of the pike block. I arraged the arquebusiers with 2 figures on ½ depth bases to allow them to also be deployed as skirmishers either with the Tercio or detatched elsewhere.




By smacdowall, Nov 29 2020 05:10PM

The 77 year old veteran Paul-Bernard the Count of de Fontaine, commanded the Spanish Tercios against the French at Rocroi (1643). Due to his age and infirmities he had to be carried in a sedan chair but this did not prevent him from conducting a valiant defence which cost him his life.


Fresh off the painting table is my representation of the Count of Fontaine. The man himself and the sedan bearers are Warlord Games’ models of the Swedish general Lennart Torstensson who led Swedish armies in the 1640s while crippled by gout.


The bugler is from Wargames Foundry and the halberdier from 1898 Miniaturas.



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