Introduction and my KOW Eastern Roman Army

Hi everyone,

This post is going to be a bit long but is an introduction and, more importantly, is to show my unit of Eastern Roman spearman (counting them as footguard) for my KOM army.

I had started on the army some time ago but stopped mainly because I think I burnt out from the activity (having to do a different colour of clothes and shield for every individual in the unit is tiring work!) and to be honest I was a bit apprehensive about starting a KOM army. I have a feeling that Mantic will eventually drop KOM as an army as their popularity grows, and might start being more strenuous about having their products used as a requirement (which they’re in their right to do and I can’t blame them for doing so). From my experience this hasn’t happened though and Mantic’s reputation has been great! But anyway, onwards!

I’m thinking of getting back into it, mainly because I really enjoyed when I did do it and I’m fortunate enough to find that there’s a community for Kings of War in London, so if I wanted to play with an army it’s an option I can pursue (also multibasing is really cool and I wish more wargames did it as a requirement; it made me get creative, and think outside the box, and try to put effort into the unit itself).

So here’s my unit of Eastern Roman tagmata (probably between 800-1000). Before I show them, this post is going to get very analytical but if people would like to read it, then please read on!

The one issue I’ve always had with units and formations when it comes to wargaming is its static nature, and that’s not coincidental right? It’s a balance between the manufacturer being able to produce plastic/metal soldiers that can easily be glued and painted, and having a good-looking army at the end of the day on the table. However, this often means that units tend to look very identical and static: what that means is units tend to adopt the same movements with little impetus for dynamics, which even in a fantasy setting doesn’t make any sense. Battles between units are not immobile affairs, even when engaging each other. At any one time, soldiers are going to be advancing, pushing forwards, keeping coherency/formation, pulling back, striking, shield bashing, feeling out the opposing side for a reaction etc. As in life, people are dynamic, even when they’re seemingly doing nothing.

What I find fascinating, when trying to portray miniatures, is that the most fascinating parts are the seemingly mundane ones whether it be: guards idling about, the calm between the storm where people are conversing with each other, the subtle things going on in the background while the scene takes place etc. All of these things aren’t coincidental and usually fall into art and cinematography as well: the best films I find tend to be the ones which not only take in the ordinary but also make it interesting in the way it does so.

I tried to portray this dynamic with this unit of footguard. I didn’t just want them standing at the ready because it’s not very interesting and even at ease, humans don’t likely act this way (unless we get into gunpowder warfare and line infantry where being static and following orders to the T is emphasised). Especially in this depiction, which is an attack in a river (I didn’t manage to do the river with e-poxy resin but it’s a possibility in the future), there would be a thousand things happening at once. If you notice what’s going on, there’s a list of things that are happening which include:

  • The unit’s advancing and is doing so aggressively. One of the soldiers has gone into the base of the river already and is trying to advance with the rim of his shield out forwards as if striking or range finding/proding.
  • Two spearmen to his right are rushing in behind him, their shield raised to cover themselves.
  • Everyone around him is raising their shields in the front, advancing or rushing forwards.
  • Some are punching their shields out to shield bash (likely against some opponent).
  • The soldiers at the back, who have less of risk of being in combat, are more at ease.
  • The unit’s advancing at the centre which is thinning out the back and compromising the formation.

I ideally wanted to give every soldier it’s own individual unique flavour (and I hope I did so) by contrasting it with a diorama scene, basically saying that something is happening at the spur of the moment, coinciding with the fact there’s not only differing colours per person but there’s different shields as well. I like it because it’s ultimately something different but very mundane at the same time.

We’re very spoilt with the choice of miniatures we have in today’s day and age, all of them in heroic poses, but I find it’s the very human things which make miniatures so much more interesting, and I hope at least it raises some interest if I do an army of these in the end.

Anyway, here’s the unit:

For people who are interested, the unit is fireforge Byzantine spearmen mixed with fireforge medieval Russian infantry. The kit is very similar and the Russian infantry comes with sprues for bowmen which, if you take the bow off of the sprue arm and put a shield on instead, has a very good look of shield bashing with the rim. Both kits together make very dynamic and posable miniatures.

The base itself was done with cork surrounded with basing (stones, grain etc), all primed black and dry-brushed coats of brown (lighter with every layer). Grass is then glued on.

I had trouble keeping the grass on with PVA glue so I based the top with superglue. What I found is if you do this, you get a very good effect for wet (marshy) grass, showing the grass being near a river-bed. The incline to the river was done with milliput epoxy putty.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed!


first of all, welcome back and enjoy the game.

I don’t think Mantic will drop Kingdoms of Men anytime soon, as it’s firmly rooted in Panithor (the world) and one of the more popular armies as it’s easy to convert models from other systems into Kings of War. That makes Kingdoms of Men a great stepping stone into the hobby.

As someone who took Kingdoms of Men to the Clash of Kings last year, I can vouch that the army can be used very effectively. The fact that I didn’t do so, not withstanding. ';-). It’s no-way a 2nd rate army.

That said, if you want to explore another army, these models (nice build - by the way) can easily be conscriped into the Basilean army as men-at-arm spearmen. So whatever your army, this models can find their way into the gamy anyhow.

Enjoy the game and thanks for sharing.


That’s wonderful.
It’s always nice to see another history enthusiast and to see Medieval Romans get some attention.
Looking forward to seeing the rest.

The trick I use is a layer of watered down PVA (the consistency of milk) to seal flock or other basing material.
Goes hard when it dries.
NOT for tufts of foliage though, tufts stay on and hairspray is good for model trees.

If I want a wet effect, I use a brush on gloss varnish.

On KoM staying in the game:
Mantic has been encouraging people to buy and paint Mantic models and armies.
They seem to realize that trying to force people will lose them players and that more people playing grows the game (and therefore their customer base) even if not all of the models are Mantic though.
The approach seems to be getting people into KoW with whatever models they have and then presenting them with cool Mantic models to buy.

So no need to worry, but you might be tempted to get a Mantic army in the future.

Another point to consider is that KoM isn’t your only option.
Basilea, as you might guess from the name, is very much inspired by the “Byzantine Empire”, in the same way that Warhammer’s “Empire” faction was inspired by the Holy Roman Empire.
Basilea is what remains of a once greater empire and has a capitol where two seas meet. The City of the Golden Horn is quite clearly a fantasy version of Constantinople.

The rising empire to the Southeast (Dwarfs) is even skilled with gunpowder weapons. :sweat_smile:

The difference is that Basilea has deities that are involed and divinity magic, so the religious institutions are more prominent and has a military arm of paladins (the D&D kind) and there are suitable magical creatures available.
The state is rigidly structured, but not exactly as Romans’ were.


Nice looking unit - and great choice of model range as they are really customisable and the cavalry is excellent

While KoM won’t have a dedicated model range the generic army will always be there - or as mentioned above easy to port lots into Basilea, Brothermark or Rhordia (your unit would work nicelyvas one of the Dogs of War options).

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Thanks, this is very reassuring to know that the army I’m using will fall out of use, which is a good incentive for me to finish this army!


Great, I’m going to take this advice on board when applying flock!

The mentality to wargaming is what I really like about the community and some mantic miniatures have been catching my eye as of lately… especially with those Southeast Dwarfs who might have very large cannons to threaten seemingly impossible to breach walls!

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Very true, the Basilea list looks very appropriate for this theme so I ay try it out in the future.

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More Roman footguard units ready to cross the Danube!

The first unit consisted on miniatures I had before I did the dynamic one, so I had to make due with what I was able to do when multi-basing them.

The second unit is a mixture between Gripping Beast’s Late Roman Infantry, and Arab Spearman and Archers. The archers are Gripping Beast Late Roman archers with fireforge Byzantine heads. This one is a lot more posable so I could be a bit more creative with how I expressed the unit.


Spectacular work!

Really nice shield wall. I’m familiar with these models because I’m using them to convert up some LotR Gondorians with some 3D printed helmets and shields. The project got derailed because it’s surprisingly hard to find helmets to make swan knights. Well that and hobby ADHD.

Kingdom’s of Men is flexible and I’m sure it wouldn’t be worth the effort but I wish the Historical armies could be at least somewhat balanced with the Panithor armies. I do kind of like the idea of Romans vs Zombies.