Painted: The army of Spartacus with figures from various manufacturers
A few years ago (2019 to be exact) I won an unpainted army in a raffle at the L'Art de la Guerre Worlds in Rome. The figures were from Italian manufacturer Strategia Nova, and the prize was actually an Arab army, however as I have Arab figures in abundance I asked the guy who'd provided them if I could swap for a different army. And, of the ones he had, the Slave Revolt army of Spartacus looked like the best bet
After all, it's not an army that was really even feasible to collect in previous rulesets (with much larger figure counts), it's never going to win any competitions but it is still as cool as hell, so really you do need to own one at some point in your life, and so the chance to get most of the figures for free seemed too good to pass up on
The figures languished in the painting pile for a few years, not even reaching the top of the heap during Lockdown - but, with a choice of them or starting a 28mm all-options Successor plastic force as my two options at the end of 2022 the army of Spartacus made it finally (after being topped up with a few Forged in Battle and other spares-box remnants) onto the painting table.
As I often do, I started by basing the chaps up on lolly sticks and undercoating them. The idea was to try a black undercoat with an Azimuth spray of white from above to try and give a dark/light pre-highlighted base for using a lot of Contrast paints
The azimuth technique didn't really work as planned and I ended up with a kinda grey/white/dark grey semi-highlighted result. (I now suspect it needs an airbrush, not a spray can, to generate the speed of paint spray to miss the undercuts
To get a bit more contrast in the base layer I then "wet-drybrushed" the figures with white to pick out the highlights again to make the Contrast paints work better
The initial stage was to do a test stick, finishing a handful of figures before starting the full process. For this army I also resolved to paint faces - something I'd always left to the ink wash to do on my behalf. This involved covering all of the flash areas with aDarkoath Flesh Contrast paint and then putting on noses, cheeks, a chin and sometimes (where the figure allowed it) a forehead and even occasionally a top lip.
This proved - once I got the hang of it - far easier and more effective than I had ever expected, and soon there were lots of little faces staring back at me from the paint table
Around 1/3 of the figures were actual Gladiators, and I had not asimuth sprayed them, instead leaving them in pure black undercoat as they had a lot of armour which I always do with a drybrush over black.
Doing the painting on lolly sticks does mean you can mass produce them with a stick all done in the same colour tunics - they then get mixed up when they are based
The basing was using pre-cut MDF bases from Pendraken (the best value in bulk I've been able to find)
I then added sand as the first step in my "new standard" sand, woodstain, drybrush finish. The rest of my Classical era armies are based using pale sand-coloured wood filler, but as this is a stand alone army with no real opportunity to morph the figures into any other Classical era force I decided that these would be based like all of my newer Dark age and Medieval figures, as I now prefer this look and feel anyway.
The use of a woodstain darkens the sand, but also evens out the tone a lot. Once its dry you can then add a couple of levels of drybrushing to pick out the texture and lighten the look and feel. I use Bleached Bone and a very pale grey as the two drybrush levels
And, with some static grass, tufts and a few flowers here and there, here is the full army!
I picked up a pack of Foundry Gladiators to use as Heroic-sized larger than life generals to round off the complete force.
And now, some lightbox photos - first up some Unarmed Slaves, with the odd Gladiator figure sneaking in to stiffen their resolve
Unarmed Slaves, these are nearly all Strategia Nova, but there is a Xyston dude on one of the bases as well, somewhat towering over his shorter and chubbier felly liberated individuals too
These are medium foot Armed Slaves, using a pack of Forged in Battle infantry and Escaped Gladiators, and a fair few Strategia Nova gladiators too
Some of the faces on these got a bit lost as the FiB figures don't have such clear features as the S&T ones
There are a handful of pseudo-Roman shield designs here, done by painting black stripes with thin white lines over the top of them. To get the yellow colour I then painted over the whole shield with Iyanden Yellow contrast paint - painting any normal yellow onto black I find just doesn't work
The chequered pattern looks better at 3 feet!
The Roman-style patterns can be seen pretty clearly here
The laurel wreath pattern is just a part-circle of black dots, with white dots on top of them and then a wash of Warp Lighting green
Not a bad effect really for a super simple design - especially on 15mm
Gladiators with black undercoat. I can see now I've missed a face on a guy at the back - the advantage of taking lots of photos!
The net guys I'm not totally convinced about, but if you don't do a black undercoat the "net" wont be so obvious.
From the back.
Spartacus himself, on a horse leading his Gladiators into combat
Clearly in an actual ADLG game having an included Strategist General would be insane, so I suspect this chap will end up being one of the minor characters not the actual start of the film!
A different view of the chin
Not totally sure how happy Kirk would be about this representation, but it does look better at tabletop distances!
Here's two of the 28mm Commanders.
And from the back as well
This paint style isn't quite a suitable for 28mm figures IMO, but I wanted to keep it consistent across the army
Everyone needs a commander in a Gimp Mask
The Main man himself - slightly squinty, and having stolen Sid James' outfit from Carry on Cleo apparently too
And from the back
There's a possibility I may decide to go back and try and add some eyes to him at a later stage, but it often ends up not helping
At least his face has a lot of personality - if perhaps not the personalit yof a great and inspirational leader of men!
Slingers - some S&T ones, supplemented by a few Essex and Museum Gallic ones that I liberated from the bits box as they were surplus to requirements in my ADLG armies
Some very obvious musculature on show here
More revolting peasants
The Contrast paints on a black/white background have worked really well on these guys IMO
Aggaros Dunes is the mucky brown one, which is especially good for these figures.
More peasants. I do really like the ex member of Saxon at the front - he should have a long necked bass guitar instead of a pitchfork really
There are all sorts of figures in here - a Spartacus army is a great way to soak up some junk lead.
As well as Gladiators and Peasants I can spot some LKM Velites, and Xyston Greek hammiopoi too
Another closeup showing shield designs on the Heavy Foot warriors
And, that's your lot.. unless you want to watch it all again on YouTube ?
That's the end - so why not go back to the Links Page and find some more stuff?