Monday, 28 September 2015


Of the two sets of figures (three boxes) from Italeri and Pegasus, only one of the two Pegasus sets has a single casualty figure (shown in the photograph to the right).
Unless you are playing with a single pair of gladiators (in which case a casualty figure is unnecessary)  then there is a  need for more casualty figures.
I envisage having a maximum of four one on one combats in my arena with probably four players having a pair of gladiators each, so more casualty figures were desirable.

Of the other figures in the Pegasus sets, there is a pairing of a gladiator giving the coup de grâce to another gladiator (really a two model vignette) and the opponent of a retiarius complete with net over his upper body as can be seen on the to the left.

The two effectively 'uselss' figures I utilised to make more casualties. The first (the victim of the coup de grâce.) can be seen on the right here. very little in the way of modelling was necessary on him. 
I think that he makes for quite a decent casualty and although he does 'sit' awkwardly  on the ground I can live with it.

Composite casualty.

The Retiarius' opponent however needed a little more work as all that was salvageable from the figure was from his waist down - he needed an entire upper body!

The day was saved however by World Wrestling Entertainment, or at least a set of figures purchased from Poundlandworld!

The Wrestlers
Five figures and a few useful bits for other things (no chairs etc. being thrown in my arena) seemed to fit the bill nicely.
There are two variants of extras in the packs and two variants of the figures themselves, those with an arm in the air and those with their arms by their sides (the preferable pose). I looked for the packs that had at least three with their arms in the preferred position,
There is a a bit of work to be done in removing the heavy wrestling boots from the figure, but they are made from a very soft plastic so even with my limited modelling skills I think I make a passable corpse!
The loincloth abomination was made from kitchen roll and could have been much better with some modelling putty (which sadly I have none off and no skills with in any event).

It does have to be said though that the actual height of the figures is slightly less than 54mm (around 50mm) but it;s hardly noticeable.
 All of these, save for the new base colour, were completed
earlier this year.

I've also used these figures to supplement my gladiators victims, in so much as several of their number have been 'converted' to act as poorly armed criminals, which I'll post about next week.
I do know it's probably unlikely that criminals were given any chance in the arena other than as victims of execution, but where's the fun in that?  - More next week !

Monday, 21 September 2015


Italeri Retiarius
I've at last finished painting the last highlight colour on the bases of all my gladiators (not just the retiarii); it was being held in abeyance until I'd settled on the final colour of the arena floor.
The choices of Retiarius between the two sets (Italeri and Pegasus) are very limited to one in each set.
Both sets suffer in my opinion from 'problems' though.
Firstly the trident is very flimsy in each set and in my Pegasus set I managed to snap the damn thing (But see below)
Italeri Retiarius still on sprue
The sparcity of Retiarii figures for variety, if nothing else, was a bit disheartening too, especially as the Italerii figure was stood like a pudding with his trident pointed at the ground as in the photograph.
For each of my two specific Retiarii from the Italeri box I did cut the trident free from the base of the figure and tried (with only a modicum of success) to bend the arm into a more appealing stance.
(In the photograph above-right, the head has also been adjusted slightly)
Second Italeri Retiarius
Looking only marginally less static than the original is the second Italeri retiarius painted as an African which for some reason has almost become a cliche for this genre - and of course I've gone along with it too.
 The tridents on both these figures hardly looked very threatening (from my point of view) and were a bit thin and spindly, so I looked to making my own to replace the feeble.
The inspiration for these came from some Renedra fences  which as I had one of a mere three that came with one of their buildings I utilised mainly because the three tines (the prongs) of the trident would all be inherent in the piece. Any breakages etc. that occurred would be turned into broken weapons and other weapons I will need to litter the arena with. In the rules I've opted for tridents can be broken, resulting in either a useful end and a useless bit or vice versa. Tridents can also be thrown (as can all weapons), so some separate weapons will also be needed.
From the photograph above and top the left, you can see I only managed to make a couple more broken trident ends (the useful bits) and a couple of spears. from the photographs above and to the left, you can see I only managed to make a couple more broken trident ends (the useful bits) and a couple of spears.From a single fence piece I can get two full-length tridents and be left with pieces, long enough  to make spears from.

Here's a photograph that shows, firstly an 'ad hoc' retiarius, again from the Italeri pack. Originally he was stood passively with his left hand resting on an axe - hardly a dynamic pose!  He's obviously had one of my trident conversions added, though the fore-shortening of the photograph does make the tines look huge!
He does have some armour on his left arm, which passes fairly well for the arm-guard (manica) but he's missing the signature galerus the shoulder armour), even so I think he makes for a passable retiarius  and I really wanted to have four !
 Being quite pleased with the results of my trident program, I gave the Pegasus retiarius one of the fence conversions too, to replace the broken one.
This figure is by far the pick of the bunch and actually looks as if he's moving; it's a bit sad that his victim is almost an unusable figure, in that he covered in the retiarius' net !
He has the galerus shouldert armour that instantly points him out as a retiarius but the armour on his right shoulder is  a bit suspect
It does begs the question though, where are their nets ?
I have made the nets (honest guv) but haven't glued them to the figures, especially as the bases hadn't been painted, but also because of time.
I reckon the nets should have a 'square' design, unfortunately I've tried and been unsuccessful in obtaining anything close, in a size that looks right. I eventually settled for a hexagon patterned net from something I found in the bathroom.

That's it for this week then, next week I'll show just how the WWW has helped me in this project !


Monday, 14 September 2015


Two Lynx before the bases were done.
These Lynx or Lynxes, if you prefer, were my first animals that I'd painted up for my Gladiators. Originally I think they were lionesses or some other big cat, but in a much smaller scale.
I converted them to represent lynx by docking their tails and nipping their ears into the characteristic tufted, pointed ears of many of the different lynx species.
I gave them extra height on their bases was originally done to match up with my gladiators, which in hindsight looks awful now imo., but I won't be altering them.
Their bark is...., no , wait....

All four, blurry, thanks to the rubbish cameraman
I based the colouring on the European Lynx  (not quite extinct yet) though the colouring seems to vary greatly; overall they look quite scruffy compared to the 'big cats'.

"these don't look that bad"
I doubt very much that these animals hunt in packs, but for my purposes they'll stand in for the wolves and wild dogs that I wanted and have yet to find a more suitable substitute for.
As these were made way back in January or February this year, this week's contribution to the project has been to finish painting the bases on all my menagerie (and the base of the single luckless gladiator shown)
I don't fancy his chances
Over the brown of the bases there a brighter yellow sand colour over a much lighter colour matching the arena.
Here's a couple gratuitous photo graphs pf the whole lot, just sixteen in all but they do seem to fill the arena.

Arena spectator's point of view (ish)
To finish off with, here some more of the animals that I got in the bags; some of them are suitable candidates for the arena, whilst other are a bit 'meh'.
First off, this elephant, which as you can see, I did start to do some work on. I'm a bit hesitant to use it, it has a peculiar physiognomy, with its short legs and general size, but anything larger and It probably wouldn't fit on just two hexes, so it's on the back burner for the moment.
"Two to one, hmm"
These two zebra are really good models (with just a little flash) but obviously they do need a better paint-job (which even I think I can manage).
There is scant evidence of Zebra appearing in the arena (along with many other 'exotic' animals) and I have no hesitation considering including these.
Whilst they're not generally associated with being a naturally aggressive creature they can
"If I can catch it, I can kill it...probably"
probably put up a bit of fight with their hooves and teeth.
Unlike this poor creature, the giraffe, which I reckon would turn to flight immediately on entry having no other apparent defence, though maybe it could give you an "evil glare".
I won't be condemning this animal; the model itself is a bit on the small side when compared to the other 'larger than life' animals I'm currently taken too appearing more like a baby alongside the gladiator.

Another animal I've considered using is a mountain gorilla that came in the bags (I like to get my monies' worth), though there are a couple of things holding me back. Firstly the there is no upright figure for the creature and my modelling skills are way lower than those needed to convert one of these to such a stance.
Secondly I can't find any evidence of them in the arena, which is hardly surprising, considering that they come from the mountains of the Congo)
If they had appeared I'm guessing the Romans would have though them some form of wild Barbarian! - (just me fantasising)    
"They're vegetarians ....right?"
Next up are a pair of hippos, though these appear on the small side (hippos are BIG), they could represent adult bay hippos though (if that makes sense) .
Unlike the larger version below,
which I'd love to use  in a combat, when I work out how to flood my arena.

"Look at the size of his gaping maw"

"Aww, just the one then?"
I almost one hundred percent sure that I've seen a mosaic featuring a rhinoceros, but the chap on the left looks a bit small  compared to the one I encountered in Edinburgh zoo. I suppose he could be used as a pygmy hippo though.
The rather daunting model below is the large version of the same model and is a far more imposing opponent and one of the few that you could give a decent armour value to for the thickness and toughness of its skin.
The legendary Mokele-mbembe maybe ?
That's it then for this week, I'll be turning to more human matters next week (and painting up the rest of my gladiator bases), thanks for taking the time to visit here, hope you found something interesting.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Spot the Cheater

Before (top) and after (bottom).
I'm sure no-one likes cheaters in their games especially if the cheaters in question are cheatahs and they're actually out to eat you!
And with that, here's the last of my big cats, a cheetah and two leopards, with a before and after photograph to start with. Just in case you can't tell which I've painted, they're the ones on the bottom, with the two leopards on the left and the cheetah on the right.
They're not in the same positions as they are in the top picture either, just to add to the confusion.
These cats are so alike in shape and size that I could just as easily painted each model as the other species.
The two Leopards.

From interweb googling cheetahs are taller in height, but shorter in length than leopards ((though it may be the other way around !) and have very different markings. The two leopards, (shown left) were a pain to paint (if truth be told they all were) and getting their unique spotted pattern of a central dark spot surrounded by black spots I found to be almost impossible at the size they're meant to be. Consequently the patterns on my ones are quite large, much more so than they're meant to be.
Man versus Leopard
I'm quite surprised that the black spots haven't shown up as on the photographs as much as they do in reality (they appear very dark in natural light), though given the expertise of the photographer I guess I shouldn't be that surprised.

The Cheater, erm Cheatah
I was much happier with my painting of the Cheater Cheetah, shown on the photograph to the left.
Basically spots everywhere, except its tail where they combine to make rings (four to six it seems is de-rigour) with none on the lighter parts of its body, legs etc.
Man versus Cheater, erm Cheetah

The cheater cheater is also the only one of the big cats that I have that has its mouth closed, making it far easier to slap paint on, but it still looks the part.
It may be that this model was not one of those bought from a Bargainpoundlandworld as I did buy a single animal from a table-top sale (for 50p if I recall), hence the difference.
Poor frontal view...
and another bum shot
Another couple of photographs (above and to the left) of the three together, with the two leopards, trying to look ferocious instead of comical, with their open, growling mouths.
Finally a gratuitous photograph of all three against a hopeful gladiator in my arena - I know who I'll be placing wagering sesterces are on in that combat!

Finishing these marks the last of my big cats for the arena, but next week I'll show some smaller cats (lynx) that I did earlier this year (before succumbing to illness), which will give me more time to finish the bases on all of them !