Sunday, February 24, 2013

Charge (photo booth version)!

First shots using the photo booth Santa brought me for Christmas.  Here is my first group of cavalry attached to the 2nd Cohort, 8th Legion.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cavalry (part 2)

As I finish up 4 more cavalry, I have some pictures of the process.  Once the minis are painted, I spray with a gloss varnish to seal them.  I allow the varnish to dry for 3-4 hours.  Then I apply the Army Painter Dip.  I apply with a brush and then wash repeatedly with solvent to achieve the desired outcome.  This also ensures the dip flows into the creases.  The Dip takes a long while to dry and the tone of the dip fades a little as it does, which I like.  Then I glue to the Litko base and apply the ground plaster.  I use a mix of white PVA glue and matt medium and spread it with an old brush.  I apply super fine grit and then re-do any areas where the glue was too thin to hold the grit firmly after I tap the bottom.  After the grit I "paint" on glue and tweezer on static grass, tuffs and stones. 

Once all the glue dries I will apply a good coat of matt varnish or Testor's Dull Cote to remove all the "shine" and seal the static grass some (this prevents more from shaking loose later when the minis are being handled).  The base ground cover products are from Gale Force 9, Silfor and Army Painter; they are what I use exclusively.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Works in Progress!

I travel a lot for work, so I have several unfinished minis in progress at the moment.  I plan on finishing them up in the next day or two and then basing them.  In progress, I have a cavalry Bucinator (bugler) and rider; a Signum standard bearer for the 2nd Cohort; three Batavian Auxilia soldiers w/Pilum (one in chain mail and two in scale mail); a VIII Legion Vexillum bearer; a Cohort-level Cornicen; and  two Praetorian Guard soldiers.  
As you can see in the photos, my painting style tends to favor the main colors being painted on in 'blocks' first, then I go back and work my way through with the details.  Somewhere around this point I attach the shields (I have large batches of primed and wood painted shields ready, as you can see behind the horse soldiers) and paint/add transfer decals on them attached to the figure.  Then I go back through and do all the small touch ups and then they are ready for gloss poly sealing.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Here are the leadership teams done.  Bases complete and matte varnished.  I am happy with the overall finished appearances.

Tribune Optimus Buccina and his Signum standard bearer.  General Apollo and his two Lictors.
Legion commander Legate Felix and the Legion Eagle Aquilifer and Cornicen and Augusta Legion Vexillum standard bearer.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday = Basing day?

Today I'm focusing on basing and finishing up my various 8th Legion leadership teams.  On the far left is my Tribune and his Signum Signifer standard bearer.  In the center is my Legate and his team; Aquilifer, Cornicen, the Legate Lucius Felix, and the Augusta Legion Signum Signifer.  On the far right is my General, General Castro Apollo, and his two Lictors holding their axes, called Fasces.  In the photos, is the spackle product I use called "Smart Wall Fix"; sold at most home improvement stores.  I like it primarily because it dries fast, hardens well and has no odor.  For the General's base I used a 30mmx60mm Likto rectangle base.  I've applied his "eyes", but need to also paint eyes on to the Lictors (as well as the rest of the minis on the leadership teams).
For Legate Lucius Felix's base I used a large 60mmx80mm base as I wanted this to be a "mini-diorama" scene.  The Legate is shouting out his orders and the Cornicen is relaying them to the Cohort.  The Legion's Eagle is held by the Aquilifer stoutly providing a boost of confidence to the army.  And the Legion's standard is held high for all to see the honors of the Augusta Legion.
The figures here are not Army Painter Dip "dipped" yet (minus the Aquilifer).  I've finished up the paint and gloss poly varnished them so far.  I wanted to get the bases started and then I'll dip them all in one application and do some little highlight paint touches.  This is my first go at this using this method, so I'll see if I like it better than doing each mini individually.
For my Tribune base, I've placed Tribune Optimus Buccina, and his Signum standard bearer together.  For my 2nd Cohort 8th Legion battlefield, Tribune Buccina is the currently rotated leader of the Cohort from the Legate's staff.  He is armed with a Pilum as he smartly understands the Celt's they face today outnumber the Romans greatly and he'll join in the fighting and is not afraid.  These minis are also not "dipped" yet.  I will do that once the spackle dries.  Then finish them all with ground cover and then apply the final matte varnish spray coat.

Next Projects underway

 A few of my newest projects started.  On the left is my next pair of Praetorians and on the right is my next Century started.  These will be the front-liners with their Pilums in the advance position; the intent is to replicate the screen shot I've posted from the movie Gladiator.

Two New Books arrive!

First one is the brand new encyclopedia of "The Uniforms of the Roman World".  The book is a hands-down "best of" book for the Roman army and was just published this month.  I highly recommend it as the illustrations are top-notch and the book covers the vast time span of the Roman Empire.
The second book is from the famed author Stephen Dando-Collins, titled "Legions of Rome: The Definitive History of Every Imperial Roman Legion".  In the past, I've read several of his excellent books, like "Nero's Killing Machine: The True Story of Rome's Remarkable Fourteenth Legion" and "Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome", and this one does not disappoint either.  The book is mostly filled with great accounts of the key periods of the Roman Empire and the Legions, but does not contain as many illustrations as I'd hoped.  There is a gloss-colored section in the middle that has some good pictures; including the highly controversial section on Scutum shield-art broken down by each of the Legions; many disagree with this unit-by-unit approach by him, but I enjoyed it.