Monday, 30 November 2015


Box art
I'm continuing with posts about my other HaT purchases, this week showing "The Celts" (which is probably pretty obvious from the title and the blatant box picture of a Celt).
The box title is actually "Gallic Warband" and the figures can easily be used for any of the numerous Celtic peoples, including the Ancient Brits.
My intention was to use these as prisoners of war, fighting with their native weapons either against gladiators or even my legionaries. There are quite a few records of such 're-enactments' of famous battles played out in the arena, with gladiators, prisoners, criminals etc being used for both sides.

Reverse box art
 As is usual with all the HaT boxes that I've bought, (always makes me smile seeing that phrase) there is a line drawing on the reverse of the box showing (fairly accurately) a depiction of a typical sprue of figures within the box.
As can be seen there are two spear armed and two sword armed figures, with one of the latter being the (almost) obigatory naked charging fanatic; the other has wings attached to his helmet, maybe to depict some form of leader-figure.
Two of the figures, front and back
Here's two  photographs of two sprues, showing the front and back of a pair of the figures.
They are still on their sprues and have uncut flash etc. on them and note that the spear-man's spear is attached to his helmet.

The other two figures on the sprue, again showing front and back

The other half of the two sprues has the naked fanatic swordsman and the second spearman, who also has his spear attached to his head.

Fronts of the eight "conversions"
I've cut the figures off two of the sprues, giving me four spear-armed and four sword-armed fgures, but note that the spearmen are also modeled with swords.
The photographs show the fronts and backs of the eight figures I've decided I may use in my arena combats.
I have done a few bits and bobs in the way of minor conversions on these figures, some of which will be easily spotted.
Rear view of the eight "conversions"
The spearmen have had their spears detached from the heads.
One version of the "fanatic" has had pants added and both have had  their feet firmly grounded.
Two helmets have had minor alterations to them (wings cut from one, plumage from the other). All the figures have had their arms bent into different poses and a few have also had their shields or shield arm pose altered. 

That's it for this week, I hope you've found something here of interest.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Velites (2)

Front box art from the Hat box "Roman Velites"
I finally managed to do all the bits and pieces that I was unable to finish for last week's post, and managed to keep phlegm and the contents of my nose from contaminating them!
I'd thought I'd show the box art form the set "Roman Republic Velites" from which I selected the eight figures I'd be using.
The reason behind this is to illustrate that "What you see is not what you get".
In the box-cover picture there are a mere tow "velites" accompanied by six "Hastatii" (? - If I'm  wrong, don't pick me up on it as I'm not that all familiar with "ancients", other than having a sprinkling of general knowledge.
The rear of each of the 'HAT' boxes give a more accurate picture of the actual contents, even if they are just line drawings,
They also shows what is on each sprue - generally four figures in four different poses (for the ancients range at least) and four identical sprues to give the sixteen figures in each of the infantry boxes.

 The photograph on the right shows two of the sprues, minus the sword wielding velite
As I've said on previous occasions there is sufficient detailing on the figures to make them slightly above 'toys', but probably not enough for those more dedicated to, or knowledgeable of the period.
There is enough however for me to contend with though.

For completeness the photograph on the left shows the reverse of the Hastati (?), with his pila, one to hand and one held behind his spear.
You can just about make out his back-plate and greaves.

Here's my four finished javelin-wielding versions of  the figures.
I've used two of each pose and I've bend their throwing arms into slightly different positions to give a bit of variety. Hopefully, you can easily spot the two variants  I've used.

Their gladius wielding counterparts
 are meant to be mirror images of the javelin figures and once more I've bent their arms to give more varied poses as there's only a single pose of this figure. It's fairly obvious that they're all colour coordinated.
I chose some fairly bland colours for their shields and the stripe along the bottom of their tunics,
Finally here's a group shot of all eight figures, with the front row's counterparts behind them in the rear.

That's all for this week, I'll be showing some of the other "HAT" sets that I've purchase this last year in the weeks to come as my #1 son and I continue to try and sort out the beast fighting rules, so we can use these figures !

Monday, 16 November 2015

Velites (a wip)

Front (ish) view
I got the idea for these gladiators from a 28mm range (sorry I've forgotten which) , but they are basically Roman Velites (Light skirmish infantry) and are eminently suitable imo as, light gladiators either for fighting other gladiators or against animals.

Fairly boring view
The figures are from "HAT" and purchased off Evil-bay though I can't recollect the price I paid for them. I've bought a lot (read too many) of these 54mm HAT sets and they've ranged in price from 99p to about £8 for sixteen figures , which isn't all that bad.

Side view (debatable whether or not it's interesting)
As per the velites in the Roman army (which is, after all, what they're intended for) they're equipped with a shield, javelins and a gladius.
The wolf-skin headgear seem to be covering a helmet which is only just visible on the figures.
Unusually for these sets there are only three variations on the four sprues, two variations of the javelin armed figure and a single pose for the solely sword-armed figure.

The other side. view (*yawn)
The wolf-skins were a pain to paint, but I'm fairly happy with the way they're coming along.
I've still some high;lighting to do and a bit of overall "tidying up" on all the figures-  and of course the bases to finish off in line with all the others.

Really boring rear view
I've started four pairs of figures, each with a uniquely coloured shield, basically red *shown( yellow, green and blue, with the tunics each having a corresponding stripe along their bottom edge.
You'll notice that this javelin armed figure has a single javelin behind his shield even if he did start off with two (an accident whilst cutting off the little flash that was present) 
Final view (*phew)

The idea of having the figures in pairs is to represent a single gladiator, one while he still has javelins and the second when he's used or disposed of his javelins and has drawn his sword  - a very quick visually pleasing representation.

That's it for this week, next week I'll have hopefully recovered from the lurgy I caught whilst "down South" and be able to finish off the four pairs of these figures to show next week. Sometime in the future I'll be showing all the other various boxes of "HAT" figures that I've bought and sharing the ideas I have for their use.

Monday, 9 November 2015


Four figures in the same pose
I had a fanciful idea that I'd stage mini 'battles' as reported in many historical accounts and of course as featured in the film 'Gladiator', but on a much lesser scale.
Whilst looking for the best buy on my actual gladiators  I came across "A Call to Arms" Romans on ebay and as they were fairly cheap (about £4.50 for 16 figures) i thought why not.
The set consists of sixteen figures in four poses, with one of each pose per sprue.
Boring rear view.
As you probably would expect, some of the poses are more appealing than others. The first pose shown above probably loans itself more to 'converting' than the other three poses and I've bent the arms slightly on each figure to give more individualism to each figure,

Second most satisfactory
The second pose has little that can be done with the figure as the sword arm and weapon is firmly attached to the figure and my sculpting skills are far beyond coping with what would be major surgery. I settled instead for a slight change in head angles and their positioning on the base,

Ans the obligatory boring rear shot.

More or less acceptable after a head twist.

I wanted a dozen figures for the 'unit, which would leave me four figures spare
Here's a couple of the less-than satisfactory types on which I've have to turn their heads to the right, rather than leaving them  face-on with shield and weapon  outstretched.

Same figures, different view.
The picture on the left gives a more representative view , if the figures had their heads facing the camera.
Their sword-arms were also bent into a more acceptable figure too,

Last two, not too bad

The last pair of figures, again showing yet another strange position, though I have once more bent their weapon-arms.

With four figures 'left-over' i decided to make two of them casualties, other than being cut from their bases, these have had nothing else done to them.
You'll notice that I haven't painted nay of the lighting bolts or eagle wings onto the shields, my reasoning being two-fold.
1) I'm a crap painter
2) They're only fancy tokens after all.

Finally here's a group shot of them:

That's it for this week, next week I'll be trying to finish the figures I started last week. These legionaries have only had their bases painted up and they were actually painted months ago!

Monday, 2 November 2015

"Hail Ceasar, we who are about to die,,,,"

The bare model
""Hail Caesar, we who are about to die salute you" was never said in the arena (any arena) to the best of my m limited knowledge but I believe was accredited to slaves fighting a sea battle (for the amusement of the mob) outside of Rome and directed at Nero.
The quote does however make a suitable title for this post as I finally decided what t do with my "Caesar-statue" figure. Our impressions of ancient statues was that they were the marble blocks we see in museums but in all likelihood they were pained in garish colours as was the fashion at the time with the Greeks, Egyptians and probably the Romans too,
I therefore thought I had two choices as to how to finish this figure, until that is I saw a documentary on the Colosseum that reminded me that all the niches around the Colosseum  had statues in them and more importantly from my pov they were gold (probably gold leaf rather than solid gold).
My statue then would be gold"
Primed, undercoated and washed.

I started by spraying the model black, using matt black car primer from Poundlardworldbargainbuys and then gave it an undercoat of burnt sienna, The black on its own is a tad harsh whilst the brown does enhance the gold.
The next layer was a very thinned down antique gold dry-brushed on  to give a bit of depth of colour to the final layers of gold   .
The final gold dry-brushing was repeated three time and built the highlights up rather nicely I though.
To cap it off I did give the model a thinned gloss varnish to protect it a little for the rigours of gaming.
Finished model

Boring side view

Equally boring rear view 

Final side view - still boring

View showing Statue of Caesar in situ
 On the gaming front, my #1son and I continue to experiment and develop the rules we'll be using for our games. This week we've been playing about with three different versions of the Avalon Hill's "Gladiator" beasts rules. After three different games we did come (eventually) to play a satisfactory game, with player taking control of the beast's limited movement and attack options, rather than the sterile automated movement suggested by the rules (trying to give the animals an AI and failing miserably).

That's it for this week, next week I'm hoping to have some all new figures for my arena painted up ready to have another attempt at animal bouts.