DBA Ancient British

Panorama of the Ancient British battle line.

This article shows a miniature army in 15mm scale painted and based for the miniatures game De Bellis Antiquitatis. Each army consists of 12 stands (known in the game as elements) of 2 to 4 figures per stand.

The II/53 Ancient British Army represents warriors of 55 B.C. to 75 A.D. who lived and fought on the British main island. The time frame represents the battles from Caesar’s first explorations of Great Britain to the conquering battles of Emperor Claudius. There is more fascinating reading at Roman-Britain.organd at the Red Rampant Roman history site.

The Ancient British army has one variant with a many options. They are a docile army in DBA with an aggression rating of 0. In DBA the attacker is decided by a high die roll modified by your army’s aggression.

1xLCh or 3/4Wb (Gen), 2x2LH, 3xLCh or 2Ps or 3Wb. 5x3Wb, 1x3Wb or 2Ps

This list shows that the General can be in a Light Chariot (LCh) or Warband (Wb with 3 or 4 figures). Then 2 Light Horse (2LH) are mandatory as are 5 Warbands of 3 figures (5x3Wb). Options include having 3 Light chariots (LCh), psilois (Ps), or warbands (Wb), and one final warband or psiloi. In all one must have exactly 12 stands.

Bellow we see a photo of 4 light chariots.The driver stands forward on the chariot cross bar. The warrior or king stands behind and hurls spears. One chariot has a woman with long hair, most likely Queen Boudicca who led a major revolt against the Romans before being killed. The figures here are Corvus Belli figures. This is the DBA box set that provides enough figures for any option Ancient British army listed above.

DBA Ancient British

Boudicca and light chariots.

I painted the figures in my usual manner with Vallejo Acrylic paints. The bases are thin plywood from Litko Aerosystems with flexible magnetic sheeting below to adhere them to their metal-lined carrying case. Grass consists of flock and static grass from Woodland Scenics.

Bellow are 9 stands of 3 warband figures. In the front center is 1 stand of 3/4 warband figure with banners and carnyx horn. The Corvus Belli figure detail is excellent. You can see eyelids, hair, and weapon detail very clearly, thus making them easy to paint. Also, the figures are very varied and each warband stand is different. Some of the figures have the punk rock type hair that the Celts made by combing white lime dust into the hair.

Since the Ancient British are mostly warband, you probably will stack them two stands deep to get the +1 combat roll against foot soldiers (not cavalry, light horse, bows, or psilois). The most common enemy will be the Romans, especially blades and spears. This is good because warbands will kill spears and blades if they outroll them. Unfortunately Blades roll +5 and Spears roll +4 versus a Warband +3. So stack the warbands up and go for the quick kill.

DBA Ancient British

King and the warbands.

As usual, to get shading of the deep recesses, I dipped my completed models in Minwax Polyshades Jacobean polyurethane. This is dark colored, inky wood stain in a plasticized clear varnish. Swap off excess dark stain with a cotton swap and let dry overnight. The poly is somewhat shiny, so I complete the base, and then I spray the figures, base, and flocking with matte varnish. Krylon has a new formula matte varnish that is nearly as matte and invisible as Testor’s DullCote (the acknowledged best product for this purpose.) Krylon is about half as expensive as Testor’s.

Bellow is a photo of the Ancient British light horse. Each one is different. I painted the wicker shields with a tribal design. I don’t think any examples of painted shields survive from the dates of the Ancient British, but we can tell from coins and other artifacts that they revered horses and animals, the sun and the moon, and other early Pagan symbols.

These Brits took a long time to paint because I painted striped and checkered clothing on many of them. No tartans, but a lot of small cross hatches on the cloths. Also, I painted lots of designs on the shields. No two figures have the same paint scheme.

DBA Ancient British

Light Horse warriors.

Next are 4 stands of psilois (skirmishers). Again, Corvus Belli has done a great job, and all are different. What’s great is that 4 of the psiloi figures are juvenile boys! Excellent, I love the idea of a tribe sending young ones into war to see what it is all about.

The tall sprigs of grass are from Woodland Scenics. It looks like some sort of acrylic or polyester fiber, about the thickness of human hair. It comes in various grass colors. To make a sprig, grab a bundle of the fibers, use a scissors to clip an end, dip the bundle in dilute white glue, and press to the base. Then trim the height to whatever your like.

DBA Ancient British

Psilois and juveniles.

Run forward everyone! With great shrieks, taunts, and blowing of the carnyx horns, run forward. Attack the invaders!

DBA Ancient British

The Ancient British attack.

Original content by mister Dan Becker. Content reproduced here with his permission. Replication is forbidden without express permission from him.
Original article.

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