Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On the Table: Later Carthaginians

About four months ago I started playing around with a Later Carthaginian army list. The army is incredibly flexible, which can be a bit intimidated, but allows it to be very powerful. I have done quite well with it, going 4-2-1 in two local tournaments.

When I first started, the army was a hodge-podge of figures, some proxy, some correct. And like the Carthaginians, I had bought a good deal of them! Of course, eBay didn't exist during the Punic Wars. Over the summer, I slowly started replacing proxies with correct figures that I painted. I also touched up some of the figures that I bought to better match the army.

The first batch of figures that I painted was a group of Spanish Celtiberian infantry. The Celtiberians were a Celtic tribe from central Spain that fought in Hannibal's army. They looked a lot like other contemporary Celtic warriors except that they wore distinctive black cloaks. For shield patterns, I went with a combination of the Spanish "S" pattern and more "classic" Gallic patterns. I'm pretty happy with the result.

The next group of figures were the Numidians. Here, I painted a mix of light horse and auxiliaries (medium foot). The sources all agree that they wore plain linen clothes, but, as always, shield designs were a bit speculative. I chose to go with plain hide, since it looks more natural. I'm not super happy with the infantry, mostly because all of the models have the same pose and even though I used different colors for their clothes, the mix of earth tones tends to blend together. I am much happier with the horses, though.

This was the the first time that I used the Army Painter primers. For the infantry I used the Barbarian Flesh color and for the cavalry I used Fur Brown. I am generally pleased, although I'm not 100% sold. It is a very high quality primer, which is a big plus. It did save a lot of time with the infantry, since they had a lot of exposed skin. It saved a bit less time with the cavalry, since the color was quite reddish, so I had to wash multiple times to get it to be more brown. The only real issue that I had was that you don't get any natural shading with the lighter primers. I normally prime black, which allows you to get some nice shading effects and solid color boundaries by not painting those areas. You cannot do that with the light primers, so you have to spend a bit more time fussing with details. For some applications, such as infantry without much clothing, I do think its an overall win.

I painted a bunch of Spanish units as well. I've really just started with them, since I would like to paint a Spanish ally and then possibly a full Spanish list some day in the future. There were two main types of figures that I painted: light horse and scutarii. The light horse are pretty straightforward, consisting of guys with white tunics, leather hats, and plain shields on horseback. The scutarii were a bit more interesting. They had the same white tunics, but I got to paint some interesting patterns on their shields. There are only a couple of known shield patterns, so you have a lot of leeway, and I chose to give them a variety of Celtic patterns. Also note that I bought some of the units already painted, but re-painted their shields to match the others. Those are the figures in the first picture that have oval shields and are all in the same kneeling pose.

Finally, I touched up four stands of Liby-Phonecian cavalry. These guys, along with the spearmen (not pictured), are the only native Carthaginians in the list (for a loose definition of "native"). I stared with some Greek cavalry that I bought already painted and added patterns to the shields. They are all highly speculative, since we don't have much evidence for Carthaginian shield patterns. I got my inspiration from pictures in the Hannibal and the Punic Wars WAB supplement. I'm very happy with the way the shields turned out. I'm tempted to paint the shields on my spearmen (which I also bought already painted), but that is lower priority than painting all of my Spanish!

I'm still working on the army. By now, about half is actually painted by me. I plan on expanding the Spanish contingents as well as painting more Peoni cavalry and spearmen. I might create some shields for the Numidian infantry as well, just to make them a bit more interesting. The army is a lot of fun to play, and I still have a few different builds that I would like to try. I plan on using it again this fall at the Eastern conventions.

1. Curtis, Allen E. Hannibal and the Punic Wars. Warhammer Historical, 2005.
2. Head, Duncan. Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars. Wargames Research Group, 1982.