Wednesday 24 April 2019

Victrix - Legionaries & Velites

The availability of hard plastic models from Warlord Games and especially Victrix has made creating my modest ancient armies so much easier - and cheaper. 

An excellent case in point is the box of Republican legionaries and velites from Victrix. Sixty models for just under £30 - that's 50p each, in other words. Victrix win out over Warlord Games in that you invariably get command models as well, which is not always the case with the Warlord sets. However, in fairness Warlord do commonly include shield transfers in their price.

However, when it comes to legionaries the phrase 'shield transfers' tends to send a shiver up my spine. Fiddly, fiddly, fiddly. The transfers for my Macedonian Pikemen were bad enough. This is one of the many areas where creating an imaginary army is advantageous. The Victrix figures are being used to form units from what I have called 'The Black Legion'. These fearsome characters fight for the army of Latium, and Roman Imperial red is replaced by black. The unadorned, menacing black shields are a particular aspect of their appearance on the battlefield, and purely by coincidence this avoids me having to test my patience with shield transfers or fancy painting.

These characters are based for Kings of War Historical, so they are 8 to a base in my slightly slimmed-down units (the rules go for basing in tens). For the Velites I experimented with just 7 to a base to get a more skirmisher-like effect, which I think worked out. Plus I saved on painting 2 extra figures - well worth it.

For the record, I used Vallejo acrylics with no undercoating - another advantage of plastic figures. So there's just a single layer of paint and a coat of varnish. Bases are made from a double layer of 1.5mm cardboard.

It's All A Fantasy
I normally count myself as very much an historical wargamer. However, creating imaginary nations for my ancient wargaming has reminded me how important it is to remember that really we are just playing with toy soldiers. In a recent edition of Miniature Wargames (no.432), editor John Treadaway summed it up thus: "It's all non-historical gaming. It's just a question of degree". A few years back I might have challenged that statement, but now I think it is fundamentally correct. Once you step into the world of miniature wargaming with model soldiers, you are in a hobby world and have left the arena of 'simulation'. The late Paddy Griffith came to this conclusion decades ago (see this post).

This doesn't lessen our hobby, it just shows it in its true light. I believe myself to be very much at the 'historical' end of wargaming, but in the end it is indeed just a game of toy soldiers. I think that anything else would be rather too warlike for my personal taste.

'Til next time.