Saturday, 17 June 2017

Victrix Ancient Iberians.

Before Christmas I had a bit of a weak moment and gave in to Victrix temptation! The outcome of said weakness was five packs of Ancient Iberians sitting on a shelf in my painting shed.

I sort of had a plan to build another army for Sword and Spear, but an unusual dose of reality set in and I realised that starting yet another large army would more than likely result in the poor figures remaining in their bags for all eternity.
Half a dozen Caetrati with their small round shields and no body armour.

A more realistic project was to build the figures into small skirmish sized units, although, as I've eluded to in other posts on this blog, finding a set of ancient skirmish rules to play with proved to be difficult to say the least!

As things stand, I'm still undecided about which rules to use, but was very impressed with an article written by Nathan Ward in Issue 80 of Wargames Soldiers & Strategy, in which he adapts Lion Rampant for the Punic Wars. Nathan's article includes army lists for Romans and Carthaginians, a set of special rules for things like testudo and the Pila and a handful of scenarios so you can weave a story around your table top skirmishes. I really like the way Lion Rampant plays and using a single set of rules for Medieval and Ancient games makes a lot of sense.
Victrix Scutari with assorted body armour and big shields.
The Victrix figures are absolutely delightful. Removing some of the fidlier bits, such as spears, from the sprues can be a little difficult to do without breaking the weapon or leaving a tricky to remove lump, but the casting of the warriors themselves is crisp and full of intricate detail. 

I was a tad surprised that the Iberians don't come in boxes like some of the other Victrix sets I've bought, which means you don't get all the useful information that you do with the Ancient Greeks for example. There are no pointers as to which bit goes with which other bit and, consequently, I've had one or two doubtful moments, trying to decide if a particular arm looks right when attached to a particular body! The Carthaginian warriors set, on the other hand, is boxed and includes a detailed list of which heads and arms should be used with each of the torsos. I'm much more confident building the Carthaginians than I am the Iberians.

The other thing I hadn't really considered carefully enough when I splashed out on the Iberians, was that, what seems like a hundred years ago now, I once started painting a 15mm Austrian Napoleonic army and was eventually forced to give up because trying to paint the white uniforms was driving me slowly round the twist! White just seems to be one of those colours (red is another one) which takes forever to get a good covering on the figure. Just about every picture I found of Iberian warriors shows them wearing white! So far, the white tunics have proved to be the most tedious part of the painting process, however, purchasing two of Game Color's white paints, 72.101 Off White and 72.001 Dead White, has made tunic painting somewhat easier than previous attempts. I now slap on some of my old Revell Aqua Colour white as a base coat and then apply one of the two Game Color whites, which pretty much covers in one pass. As a further helpful strategy, I also decided that not every Iberian in Antiquity would have worn a white tunic, so a select few have had some other hew applied, just to add a little variety! 

Victrix have two sets of Iberian infantry available, one contains figures with various shapes of armoured disc, which I have been painting up as Scutari with large shields, and the other contains the same basic figures but they don't have the armoured discs. I believe that all the components from both sets are completely interchangeable, so your warriors can be armed with a range of swords or spears, regardless of whether you field them as Scutari or Caetrati. I like the way the Caetrati are armed, as they were not just mere light infantry skirmishers, but much more inclined to engage hand to hand with those lethal falcata than light troops of other nations. With forty figures to a set, currently priced at £26.95, you are paying approximately 60p per figure, although you do have to add postage and packing on top of that.
Figures from both packs... they appear to be identical apart from the body armour on the Scutari figure.
I am thinking of using some of the Iberian infantry to field a unit of the famed Celtiberian warriors. I can't help thinking that Victrix have missed a trick here and could have included a few extra bits on the sprues to give you the option of fielding Celtiberians. However, I always love a converting challenge and I have some embryonic plans brewing away which will hopefully lead to something that will equate to a reasonable representation of a Celtiberian warrior (or twelve!).
A couple of prototype Celtiberians... more to follow.

At the moment, it's just a case of keeping up with the brush work, but I have it on good authority that the Victrix skirmish rules, Warriors of Antiquity, are going to be published this Summer. I have absolutely no idea how they play or what the mechanics are, but I'm going to wait and snap up a copy when they do finally appear. Hopefully, what I've painted so far will be useable with the rule set!