Collecting: Rapier 6mm Imperial Romans
There are few things more impressive then a fully painted miniature army or rank and file infantry in tabletop wargaming. Hundreds of miniatures standing in perfect formation ready to do battle in a way that hasn’t been fought for real in hundreds of years. I am also of the opinion that the Imperial Roman infantry were the most bad-ass looking army in history.
Historical gaming isn’t really my thing, especially to the level most historical enthusiasts like to take it. Having every element of my miniatures uniform historically accurate is not all that important to me, as is evident in my Flames of War collection, ill make an effort but I wont be caught down the library looking through historical documents or anything (plus we have the internet for that now). I am also not really that fussed about historical accuracy of which units were or were not in the same location to fight each other, I leave that sort of enthusiasm for people who enjoy that sort of thing. So I apologise to any historical enthusiasts who might discover this website hoping for painting tips on the patterns of a Roman shield between 1st century bc and 1st century ad.
I do love Romans though and as a kid they were my favourite historical period to study. Rome Total War (1 & 2, yes even 2, its vastly improved since release, shut up hater) has helped rekindle that, and for a while now its been my ambition to paint up an Imperial Roman army to keep on display. I’ve gone so far as to buy a number of different scales and paint them up to help me decide how I want to proceed.
I initially started with Corvus Belli 15mm Imperial Romans, because of my experience with Battlefront Miniatures 15mm Flames of War range. I think the level of detail at 15mm suites reasonably sized formations of men and still allow tactical movement, I also have terrain to match that I built for Flames of War. I then tried the larger 28mm scale Hail Caesar range by Warlord Games, and finally I tried the Rapier miniatures 6mm Imperial Romans range.
level of detail at 15mm suites reasonably sized formations
15mm Corvus Belli Imperial Romans
Having played 15mm Flames of War I knew roughly what to expect when I ordered my 15mm Imperial Romans from Corvus Belli, their quality was on par with earlier Battlefront Miniatures sculpts, with emphasized details, quite bulky body parts but reasonably dynamic poses. While few companies can hold a torch to battlefront minatures new plastic sculpts for their ww2 flames of war range, Corvus Belis 15mm Imperial Romans were decent enough. Their sculpts were clean and comes with a decent variation of poses. They paint up well, and having painted flames of war, suited my style rather well, especialy with a decent black wash over the metalic colours and a bit of highlighting the armour really began to stand out. They look impressive enough in formation and I imagine an entire army could look stunning.
28mm Hail Caesar Imperial Romans
It had been some time since I had painted any miniatures larger then 15mm, and it was an enjoyable experience returning to 28mm, the amount of detail at that scale makes for some really beautiful miniatures. The problem I found almost immediately is that painting up an army of men at this scale is a very slow process, each model really demands an amount of attention that rank and file formations do not suite, a single unit of 20 men (Hail Caesar uses smaller units to represent large formations) would take me months to finish and I feel, achieving the quality I would want to reach, would wear down my spirit long before I got to beginning a second unit. I also feel that the low miniature count does not really capture the massive formations the ancient world used to wage war. This is not knocking the quality of the miniatures of the people who have the patience to paint them.
painting up an army of men at this scale (28mm) is a very slow process
6mm Imperial Romans – Rapier Miniatures
6mm is an interesting scale for me, I held off trying it because I thought 15mm was already on the small scale, I even went into it ready to hate it, I have never attempted to paint anything this small before, I’m not even sure I have ever seen a model this scale before other then Epic 40k. The models are tiny, at this scale painting faces is not really something you do. A single blob of paint is pretty much the only requirement, there isn’t much in the way of eyes or even a nose to paint. They a but a suggestion imprinted by the sculptor with the head of a pin or something equally tiny.
Even Belts and armour are vague impressions, you can still identify the minis as Early Imperial Romans. The basic features are there, a large curved shield, the plate armour and thehelmet with the iconic cheek and neck guards. There will be no arguing about whether the satchel the minis are carrying are accurate to that specific period in time because they simply dont exsist, it would be near impossible to sculpt and cast that level of detail on a miniautre this small, even a slightly too thick layer of paint can arease some of the finer details. The poses too are static, although the pack I ordered came with two poses, standing in formation and throwing their pilum. However this hardly becomes an issue at this level.
That all said, I rather enjoyed painting up 6mm Imperial Romans, they don’t take allot of work, highlighting isn’t really necessary (atleast for my skill level), just block colours and a light wash to pick out some of the details and your done. While im sure there are some people out there taking 6mm miniatures to whole never levels of insanity, I’m not even remotely tempted to paint to the level of detail I might attempt at larger scales. Its a nice change. Being able to pump out a unit of 80 men in a couple of nights after work is satisfying, and allows me to build up an army at a pace I have only reached once before (I painted 100 15mm para troopers in a single sitting before, but it was tedious and I never really felt any satisfaction from the quality I achieved).
At the 6mm Scale I could create an army of almost inconceivable numbers. Suddenly fielding a Cohort of 480 men plus supporting auxiliary units isn’t just a far fetched dream, its a very real possibility. At the 15mm level attempting that would drive me insane and bankrupt me, even with Corvus Bellis reasonable prices. Money is another reason 6mm makes achieving large formations a real possibility, at just £12.35 a bag for a small army (283 minis) and 29.50 for a large army, which is basically a single cohort with some decent auxiliary units, even fielding an entire 6mm Imperial Roman Legion isn’t impossible from a financial standpoint, though storage and painting still remain an issue.
So while an entire legion might be beyond my ambitions, I could still paint up a decent sized army. I may still revisit the 15mm scale at some point in the distant future, think the models themselves are lovely and a nice compromise between quantity and detail. For now though its 6mm all the way and come pay-day I will be ordering the large bag of Rapier 6mm Imperial Romans and perhaps an opposing army, though which one I am unsure.
even fielding an entire 6mm Imperial Roman Legion isn’t impossible
I will be ordering the large bag of Rapier 6mm Imperial Romans