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"Late Imperial Roman Comitatenses Contubernium" Topic


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1,250 hits since 7 Feb 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Ninjabread07 Feb 2018 6:37 a.m. PST

With Britannia on the telly, I'm fired up for Roman Britain. The Emperor's finest stabbing druids has given me the focus to paint these eight Late Imperial Roman spearmen.

"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy," they sang.

Late Imperial Romans? Late for what? They'd better hurry up and carpe those diems. The Late Imperial period, for me, covers everything from Septimius Severus as Emperor (AD 1938), the Crisis of the Third Century (AD 235-84), the Barbarian Conspiracy (AD 3767), the Roman Exit from Britain (AD 410), Flavius Aetius versus Atilla (AD 452), the Fall of the Western Roman Empire (AD 476), and beyond into the time of King Arthur. The army gives me a lot of history to play with and a lot of excuses to visit knee-high ruined walls in the rainy English countryside.


"Roly poly, roly poly, holy poly poly," they sang.

I invented a mythical beast to paint freehand onto the unit's shields the ophiosus. It's a creature with the head of a pig and the body of a snake. The component animals might, based on the altar below, be symbolic of Veteris thought to be the god of Hadrian's Wall. If you like you can call the creature a "boar constrictor".


An altar found at the Roman fort of Magnae Carvetiorum, with a pig and a snake carved into opposite sides. RIB1805.

The first shield took several hours to do from idea through to pencil sketch then freehand painting. The next shields I batch-painted and they took about 45 minutes on average. I experimented with a couple of variations from shield to shield, refining it as I went. The minor variations in design I rationalise along with the different armour styles I've mixed together.


"Derpy merpy, derpy merpy, slurpy merpy merpy," they sang.

The miniatures are from Crusader Miniatures, and are satisfying for army building as they're one piece castings (with separate shields). I worked on them as a batch of eight, imagining them as a contubernium the smallest organisational unit of the Roman army who all shared a tent or barrack room together. Conveniently it's also an instantly game legal unit for Saga's Aetius & Arthur. Eight is enough figures to make me feel like I'm making progress on a significant chunk of infantry, while not causing burn out.


"Sminky pinky, sminky pinky, sminky pinky pinky," they sang.

Congratulations for getting to the end of this post. As a special reward, let me tell you about a marvellously named woman. She discovered another altar dedicated to Veteris, and her name was

More of my miniatures here.

More of my specifically historical miniatures here.

GurKhan07 Feb 2018 7:28 a.m. PST

"and her name was "??

I know I am easily confused, but your link takes me to a page about the previously-pictured RIB1805 (which was discovered by Alexander Gordon, who was, as one might expect from the name, a bloke). Are we missing something here?

basileus66 Inactive Member07 Feb 2018 8:55 a.m. PST

Amazing paint job! Really brilliant!

ArkieGamer Inactive Member07 Feb 2018 10:41 a.m. PST

Beautiful work. The red highlights are especially great.

Ninjabread07 Feb 2018 10:48 a.m. PST

Sorry Gurkhan. I got my link code all mixed up. Her name was "Miss Fanny Bacon" and the link was meant to be: RIB1798

Huscarle07 Feb 2018 11:05 a.m. PST

Lovely paintjobs, most impressed especially with the freehand painted shields. I have a few of those same Crusader units that I picked up in North Star's January sale thumbs up

GurKhan07 Feb 2018 12:21 p.m. PST

Thanks, Ninjabread. Good to learn of Miss Fanny.

And yes, marvellously painted figures.

Caliban Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member07 Feb 2018 12:57 p.m. PST

Lovely work, and the puns are suitably delicious or something.

dragon607 Feb 2018 3:16 p.m. PST

I had never seen such a cool figure on a Late Roman shield. Then you revealed it was yours. Excellent. Beautiful execution. Exquisitely painted figures also.

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2018 9:58 p.m. PST

very nice brush work.

goragrad07 Feb 2018 11:49 p.m. PST

Very nice!

Snowcat14 Feb 2018 4:44 p.m. PST

Who needs shield transfers when you can paint like that!

Very impressive.

catavar18 Apr 2018 11:26 a.m. PST

Excellent work.

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