Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays! from Primus Pilus Posterior Titus Pullus

One of the Christmas presents from Santa, was a professional photo booth for quality minis picture taking.  Here are some pictures of my shots of my first painted Centurion of the 2nd Cohort.  Although, I still plan on re-basing him once the package arrives from Litko, I like these pics.  The amazing thing about these types of photos is you see all the little "mistakes" you made.  And a perfectionist like myself has to immediately correct (e.g. like the tip of his leather sword belt wasn't painted and the spot on the back of his harness)!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Cavalry has Arrived!

The Equites (Cavalry) arrived from the UK today (it took almost 17 days for them to arrive from across the ocean, I'm guessing due to the holidays).  Immediately upon inspection, I notice that once again Aventine makes remarkable minis!  There are no flaws, very little to no "flash" and the horses look truly amazing!  I cannot wait to begin painting and assembling them.

I have 18 riders total for now.  A command team of 3 and 15 regular riders.  These will serve as my scouts and dispatch riders from 8th Legion HQ to the 2nd Cohort.  

Additionally my package from Foundry arrived from the UK.  It was the Roman Scorpio Crew with 3 weapons.  Sadly, the minis are no where close to being the quality I've come to enjoy from Aventine.  The arms on the weapons are sheered off or bent to the point of non-use.  The crew minis are so full of flash some of the heads are literally attached to their arms.  I am contacting Foundry to discuss options.
Update (7 Jan 2013): Alex at Foundry is shipping freshly molded weapons.  I will post a new pic once they arrive.

Re-Basing - Grrrrr!

Here is 1st Century of 2nd Cohort starting to come together. But I am not happy with my decision to use individual plastic 30mm round bases.  The reason is simple... the Shield Wall.  The bases don't allow the minis to be grouped-close properly.  As you can see in the bottom right, even placing 2 minis on a 40mm round base doesn't solve my issue.  So I've ordered 100x 30mmx60mm rectangular bases from, made of 3mm micro-plywood.  Also, I ordered 50x 30mm squares and some larger 60mmx80mm rectangular ones.

It will be a while before they I arrive I guess.  More to follow...

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Signifer

About to add the earth material to the base for the Signifier (the Century's Standard Bearer).  The spackling has dried and Woodland Scenic's Glue as been applied about 50-50 with water mix.  I just "paint" glue on with an old brush.  Then I place the mini into the container and just ensure an even spread of the fine grit.  Then I turn the mini over and just tap the bottom of the base a few times.

Once I brush off the extra static grass, it will be ready to be matte varnished and its finished!  I really like this figure a lot.  The bear skin pelt I base painted with P3's Battlefield Brown. Then darker washed it with P3's Umbral Umber (with a water and P3 Paint Medium mix) and then highlight the raised areas with P3's Bloodtracker Brown.  I ensured the ears got a good highlighting and the nose stayed black from the primer coat.

Of Note:  The Signifer mini is holding the Roman Signum Standard.  This type of standard is just as widely recognized as an icon of Ancient Rome as the Legion's Aquila (Eagle).  Each Signum was unique to its Century and was composed of a number of Philarae (disks), along with a number of other elements mounted on a pole, topped with a "Manus" (human hand) image (this reminded Legion soldiers of their oaths).  The Manus standard designated the "Prior" (first) Century of a two-century Maniple formation; while the spear top indicated the "Posterior" or second century of the Maniple.  When the Cohort system replaced Maniples during the Roman Empire, the Manus standard continued to be displayed within Imperial Legions.  It is unclear what the phalerea disks actually represented, but it is thought to represent the Century units within the Cohort.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Centurion

The Centurion underway.  These views show him almost completed.  I still need to paint the eyes (with a toothpick dipped in P3 Menoth White Highlight) and pupil with a fine gel pen.  The shield is dented and chopped up (using a Dremel tool) to show battle scars.  He still needs to be matte varnished with Testor's Dull Cote and weather dusting his shield (awaiting shipment of the  weathering powder from Forge World UK).

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Optio

The Optio in beginning paint stage, I used P3's Menoth White Highlight for his crest.  For all my Roman minis, I am using P3's Skorne Red for their tunics and red parts.  P3's Bootstrap Leather is used for all leather footwear, straps and breeches.  Wooden parts are painted with P3's Beast Hide. For flesh I use several different colors by P3; Ryn Flesh, Khardic Flesh and Midlund Flesh.  The Optio is painted with Ryn - the lightest of the flesh colors.  I like the Khardic shade for legionaries from the Spanish region of the empire (Caesar's preferred racial stock of soldiers).  Sword scabbard highlights are done with P3's Molten Bronze. Gladius (sword) handles are painted with Menoth White Highlight. Scutum (shield) rims are painted with P3's Brass Balls and the boss is painted like the armor - Pig Iron and Cold Steel/Quick Silver highlights.

The Optio is about to be dipped into Army Painter's Strong Tone Dip. The gloss polyurethane varnish has dried and acts to seal and protect the model.  This is important as the dip will get under the shield decal transfer if not applied.  At first I was actually dipping the mini into the dip and shaking off the excess, but now I use a large old brush and "paint" the dip onto the figure.  (Note: I found this today on a nice website named 1000 Foot General, "...Army Painter Strong Tone worked very well.  Be careful not to let it pool too much.  I prefer the result from a brush as the results from a dip is rather dark.  Dipping is also very messy.")  That is exactly my what my experience taught me!  And to be fair, it is also on the instructions on the back of the AP Dip can.

The Optio closeup prior to dipping. Once dipped I use a brush and apply Better Way's Brush Cleaning Fluid and Oil Paint Solvent (a petroleum-based product) and lessen the overall amount of the dip that is on the model (especially skin areas).  This is like a wash process -- the dip is maintained in the creases and low lying areas, but raised areas return to the painted color.  I like this process a lot.  It adds a depth to the model that would otherwise take much longer to achieve using  paints alone.


Once this dries, I will then base it and spray the model and base with a matte varnish to remove the glossy areas and further product the mini and its base for handling.

Basing the first batch of Pilum men

I am using a product called Smart Non-shrink Wall Fix, it is a very low-order, low mess interior wall spackling. I love this product. It goes on easily and dries fast.  I attached the figures to the bases using a Loctite product called GO2.  It is far superior to the 2-part epoxy I was using.  The epoxy was messy and the mix was never right - so some would dry pretty fast while other bases would dry much slower.

The bases are P3's Warmachine Brand, 30mm circular bases (slotted).  I really think they are top-of-the-line bases.  I tried a few others and I really liked these.  They are lipped - which is nice to have that clean line of separation for the spackling.  The slots help because the minis have some modeling flash left on the bottom that "groves" nicely into the slots.

The next batch of Pilum men starting with the armor dry-brushing. P3 Pig Iron, Cold Steel and Quick Silver paints are used in a layered method.  Once dry, I apply the flesh tones - using the 3x P3 paints I've selected for flesh. Once most of the painting is completed - I paint the "business end" of the Pilums with Vallejo's Model Air Metallic - Steel.  These are very nice metallic paints - I recommend them.