Friday, 4 October 2013
Hannibal Ad Portas
So what's actually happening is that I'm pondering the plastic Romans and Carthaginians I unearthed the other day. I bought these figures years ago, probably with a vague idea of putting together a couple of DBA armies out of them. Of course I never did. Now, of course, I have started wondering if I can't get a couple of HOTT armies out of them instead.
The problem is that my collection is incomplete. What I bought was what was available at the time. I got one box each of:
Roman Infantry - Triarii and Principes
Roman Infantry - Hastatii and Velites
Carthaginian - African Infantry
Carthaginian - Spanish Infantry
Carthaginian - Gallic Cavalry
Carthaginian - Elephants
Carthaginian - Numidian Cavalry
Each infantry box has 48 figures, each cavalry 12 and there are 6 elephants.
Looking at the DBA lists I am missing two key features and one lesser - I have no Carthaginian cavalry/command or Gallic infantry, and no Latin allies. The Latin allies I could live without. The other two I think I will have to live without, as I'm not really that keen on buying more figures for a project that I may, let's face it, drop in five minutes.
There are a couple of useful lists on Steven's Balagan (now at a new home*):
Carthaginian - This is the straight DBA v2.0 list, but with useful notes as to the origins of each type.
Romans - The list from DBA. Pretty boring.
Revised Romans - A modified list with allies and alternatives.
With a bit of fudging, and by taking some historical liberties, I think I can massage the figures I have into something which fits HOTT versions of those lists.
So what would my HOTT variants be? I have posted elsewhere my design criteria for ancient HOTT armies - in summary, I lose Psiloi and assume they're included in the heavy foot they support, Auxilia mostly become Warband and Light Horse and Cavalry are run as Riders. This would give the following lists, based on the above:
1 x Rider General (Carthaginian cavalry)
4 x Warband (Gallic or Celtiberian infantry)
3 x Spears (African infantry)
1 x Behemoth (Elephants)
1 x Rider (Spanish or Numidian cavalry)
1 x Rider (Gallic cavalry)
1 x Rider General (Roman cavalry)
10 x Blades (Hastatii, Principes and supporting Velites)
1 x Spear (Triarii)
An alternative for the Romans, as covered by the links above would be:
Drop 4 x Blades.
Add: 3 x Warband (Latin or Spanish allies), 1 x Rider (Latin or Spanish cavalry)
So how do I do these armies with the figures I have?
Well, the Roman cavalry box gives me twelve figures. Three become Roman Riders and I think, with an appropriate paint-job and maybe a small conversion or two, three more could pass as Carthaginian commanders to give me their Rider general. That leaves me six figures which could be done up as Latin ally cavalry for the Romans.
The twelve Gallic cavalry give me three figures for the Carthaginian Gallic allies, plus nine others which could pass as Spanish allies for either the Romans or Carthaginians..
I may have to pass on Carthage's Gallic infantry altogether, but there are more than enough figures in the Spanish infantry box to do the Warband I need. Some of the African infantry could make up one of the elements (African Ax in the DBA list), and that would stretch the Spanish a little further.
I have plenty of Hastatii, Principes and Triarii - the distinction between the latter two in the Hat set is not great anyway. They can be stretched further by mixing the odd Velite onto the elements, just to show their presence, but I'd have to see how that looked in practice. Be that as it may, those figures should happily cover not only a full contingent of Roman Blades/Spears but also a few elements of Latin allies as well.
The Numidians, elephants and African spearmen are no problem at all. There's more than enough figures for those. The elephant crews come with some nice standard bearer figures, actually, one of which could work its way onto the Carthaginian command element.
Whether, of course, as a pair the armies are balanced remains to be seen. The Carthaginians have the edge in mounted troops, but their heavy foot are out-classed by the Romans (Blades vs Spears). Indeed the Carthaginian Spears have little to do, with a 'pure' Roman army only having one mounted element for them to be good against, and even a Roman army with allies being weak on mounted.
Oh well - even if I do no more on this project for a while, it's the furthest I've got in thinking about it. I think I need to start taking figures off sprues and making up some test elements to get a feel for the look of things.
*Steven's Balagan is a great resource for wargamers, with articles covering a whole range of goodies. Needless to say my favourite bits are those relating to the South American Wars of Liberation.