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"Late Roman Auxilia Palatina in 15mm - The Tubantes." Topic

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532 hits since 2 Apr 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Midlander6502 Apr 2021 9:26 a.m. PST

I've finished the first of two units using modern Legio Heroica figures and the excellent but ubiquitous Little Big Men shield transfers. I have one more similar unit and another sub-general on the painting table now have a usable 1000pt army. After that, I just have three ballista and a few extra figures to increase the heavy cavalry and cataphracts to 6 bases and the Minifigs infantry units to 8 bases then my lead pile will be Roman free for the first time in almost 40 years.

As might be expected these modern Legio Heroica figures are bigger than the old Minifigs that make up the majority of this army but the really big difference is their huge shields. As well as being large in area, the shields scale to the equivalent of about 4" thick so these are good strong lads who must all have eaten their three Weatabix, just to lift them off the ground!

Although these are much better models than the vintage Minifigs and Asgard that make up most of this army, I'm not sure that mixing in modern figures was a good idea. The size and style is very different and and they just don't have the nostalgic appeal of the old figures I started collecting almost 40 years ago.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine02 Apr 2021 9:58 a.m. PST

Those are some very impressively painted 15mms well done. Those new ones are huge though look more like 18mm than 15mm.

Midlander6502 Apr 2021 10:15 a.m. PST

Yes, the Legio Heroica figures are about 18mm tall (estimating to where the top of the head would be) v about 16mm for the Minifigs.

If I had been starting from scratch it would have been Legio Heroica and/or Khurasan all the way – much better models and matching current thinking on what 4th-5th C Romans looked like. However I started this army was back in the early 1980s, then it stalled and I had a load of figures sitting there doing nothing so it was partly an urge to make constructive use of those and partly an exercise in nostalgia. The lead mountain of old figures ran out with me short of two infantry units – this one and another that I'm part way through painting.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2021 10:34 a.m. PST

Those are great.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2021 10:40 a.m. PST

Great work – thanks for sharing!

KevinV02 Apr 2021 11:32 a.m. PST

Thank you for the inspiration. Nice painting.
I'm a sentimentalist for the 80's as well, and just finishing off some armies I started back in '83.

Retirement beckons…and a pile of lead (and plastic).

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP03 Apr 2021 4:18 a.m. PST

They aren't out of scale they are Germanic or Norse recruited into the army. Well it's a plausible background story.

Colonel Chabert03 Apr 2021 6:51 a.m. PST

First of all, those are lovely figures, very well painted. I like the style of painting and the bases are very good also, especially the grass effect you've put on the sides.
Concerning the attribution of this particular shield pattern to the Tubantes, Luke Ueda-Sarson has done a lot of analysis of the shield patterns in the Notitia Dignitatum and his conclusion is that there are blocks of shields where the labels (i.e. the unit names) are now out of sync with the patterns. Considering that the copies of the ND we have today are at least 4th generation (Original – Carolingian copy – Codex Spirensis – Current copies) it is entirely possible that such errors may have crept in. One of the blocks concerned is the section of the western infantry units where the Tubantes are found. If L U-S is right, and I think he is, then this shield pattern belongs not to the Tubantes but to the Leones Iuniores. The actual shield pattern of the Tubantes would then be the one ascribed to the following unit, the Salii. These two units were brigaded together as was the common practice for all Palatine regiments. They are both named after tribes of the Frankish confederation. There is also a Tubantes-Salii pair in the Eastern army listing. Interestingly, neither pair has the Seniores/iuniores suffix which was used to differentiate regiments with the same name where, probably, the elder one had given up a cadre to form a second new regiment.
As far as the Leones Iuniores are concerned, they are listed immediately after the Leones Seniores, suggesting that they were both formed at the same time and brigaded together (an unusual but not unique occurrence for Seniores/Iuniores pairs). However Hoffmann proposed that the original Leones (the Seniores) had been brigaded with the Excultatores so where that leaves the Leones Iuniores is anyone's guess.
L U-S's full analysis can be found here:
Warning: his site has so much fascinating stuff that once you enter you may never leave again so beware!


Le Colonel

Legionarius03 Apr 2021 8:11 a.m. PST

I love your painting and basing. Your painting style is the same for both old and new figures which makes them compatible on the table at wargaming distances. I too have older Minifigs and, as you demonstrate, they can be painted to the highest standard. Three cheers for the old veteran legions!
One word of caution though; your lead mountain is only "temporarily" free of Romans. You know there are reinforcements on the way!

Midlander6503 Apr 2021 8:58 a.m. PST

Thanks for the kind comments.

Legionarius: no, I have to be strong. I have a WW2 lead mountain and several 16th C hills to deal with first :-)

Colonel Chabert: Thank you so much for picking up on that. I had already found Luke's site a brilliant resource and you are absolutely right that there is so much in there that it can eat a lot of time. I'd used it as the source for my hand-painted shield patterns and there was the same issue of unit names possibly/likely being offset from the designs for one of those, the Sagittarii Venatores so I can't believe I missed that there was a question mark over this one. Could I add your comment above to my blog post please, properly attributed of course, as an addendum?

Colonel Chabert03 Apr 2021 11:29 a.m. PST

Hello Midlander65,

Feel free to add my comment. It's an excellent blog and I'd be happy to make a contribution!

Le Colonel

Midlander6503 Apr 2021 12:20 p.m. PST

Thanks L Colonel, I've updated the post accordingly.


Maxshadow04 Apr 2021 9:43 p.m. PST

They look fantastic

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