An Unexpected Roman Legion

so due to an issue of a wargaming magazine and a brother who is rather generous with his spares, it looks like i’m going to be building a small Roman Legion army. since the figures i’m being loaned are mostly Praetorian, i’m thinking i might build them as a Praetorian cohort in a field army for one of the emperors that did a lot of campaigning (marcus aurelius or perhaps septimus severus? the figures are early imperials from warlord games), which would let me use the praetorian figures for more than just the Praetorian regiment from the roman list… the rest would be using the standard heavy infantry statblocks. perhaps a First Cohort [1] with the remaining praetorian figures, and standard legionaries for the rest, as my quick research suggests that the fancy crests were not something most wore in the field. so the ‘premier’ units keeping their fancy armor, while the more rank and file Praetorians switch to standard legion gear might make sense.)

any suggestions for tunic colors? i’d like to separate the first cohort/Praetorian units from the standard gear troops visually and use some less stereotypical colors, as all i ever find are red and white.

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As far as I am aware, white was the standard for the paetorians so that is not surprising. You could always go with purple to represent that they are the emperor’s guard.

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so my brother’s contribution arrived yesterday, and the results of an ebay seller arrived today.

so i now have 58 Praetorians and 48 Legionaries. (both my brother and the ebay seller having used a few figures themselves)

using 12 figures per regiment base (just a hair over MMC) that should easily let me built 2 Hordes of Heavy Infantry (legionaries), 1 regiment of Praetorians, and 1 First Cohort Legion (using Praetorians).
with some extra Praetorians i will probably use those extras to make the standard legion unit leaders a little fancier.

i have considered buying a few extra of each so i can use 16 figures to the regiment base (two Contubernium per) in fitting with roman organization, but my budget is limited and i still have vikings to buy too.

the list i’m planning. 1500pts to start, can expand it later.

in fantasy play the praetorians and first cohort’s bases can be combined (will be using two regiment and 2 troop sized bases) to create a pair of FootGuard hordes, giving me 4 Hordes of foot guard for my Kingdoms of Men army.

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some friends looked over my color scheme mock ups, suggested this one looks best:

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well, in terms of ideas the Roman army has generated a lot more, both for historical and fantasy use.

A little research determined that Cavalry equipment didn’t change a lot between the 1st and 4th century AD, and that a lot of what did happen was basically the regular army units (what there were) adopting equipment from the Auxiliaries. which means if i avoid certain exclusively late roman helmets in the kits, i can make some Auxiliary Cavalry Ala’s using the Gripping Beast Late Roman Heavy and Light Cavalry sets.
which given they supply a dozen riders, would allow the creation of 3-4 troops of cav per box. the light Cav kit making horse archers, the heavy cav making standard lance and shield units. (mounted scouts and sergeants in fantasy)

i’ve been musing on some fantasy specific units… like converting some Victrix War Elephants for use as Chariots in a Kingdom’s of men list. Romans used War Elephants even in the imperial period (Emperor Claudius brought a unit of them with him during the conquest of Britain in 44 AD. Carrying archers, they won him several small battles against the native britons, who tended to panic when the creatures advanced against them.) elephants in the historical lists use the same base size as the KoM chariots, so they seem like a reasonable substitution.

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i was thinking of making a roman army and ordered a book with illustrations of different roman uniforms and you couldn’t go wrong with white or red which are by far the most common colors.

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the troops in the Legions generally had to buy their own clothing, so aside from a general requirement in terms of type of clothing (tunic, belt, baldric, trousers in colder climes, scarf, cloak, etc) the soldiers basically bought what they could get. White and various shades of red* were common because red dye could be obtained fairly cheap by fabric makers, and most of the wool cloth would have been off-white to begin with. but other colors are recorded. blue seems to have been popular with troops assigned as Marines aboard naval vessels, and green, yellow, even black** appear in descriptions. Purple (Tyrian purple) was expensive because it required rare ingredients to make the dye, one reason it became a symbol of wealth and political power. though less rich imitations existed using blends of red and blue dyes, and later Indigo imported from India, which while still pricier than the red+blue double dyed imitators, still wasn’t quite as rich a color as the Tyrian Purple.

but since i’m not aiming for perfect accuracy but rather interesting visuals, i’m giving them a uniform color scheme anyway.

*including such things as Salmon and Pink… though darker colors probably appealed to the soldiers.
**not true black, but usually a blue dyed so dark it might as well be black.

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