Basing of Roman legions

Roman legion basing2I have thought for some time that the tight, closed ranks that I have used so far represent a bit too much of the parade ground arrangement and lack the inevitable distortion that is bound to happen during actual field – especially when advancing towards enemy. It is all well for hoplites or phalangites to be represented shields nearly interlocking, and in good order, but then I looked at the legions and they were a bit too orderly in my opinion.

Roman legion basing1So I thought that perhaps little more disorderly arrangement could better show the legion marching to confront the enemy lines. I tried to highlight the point or the relative disorder by adding some unusually rough ground to justify the more flexible layout of the units.  Not sure at this point if the layout should be reserved only for gladius armed  Principes that are advancing, or for everyone.

Not entirely sure that the painting is satisfactory for the Principes though – the shields really did not turn out as I intended, and I still need to redo the helmets with bronze – because of some odd reason I went on to have them in steel instead. I recall somewhere that legionnaire had much more room around him than phalangites or hoplites (even in loose order), partly to increase flexibility of arms, but also to enable short sword to be used efficiently. I tried to translate the additional room by adding a good pace between the troopers.

So, I guess the question is, which one would look better, or failing that, more realistic. Hastati on the left with regular three rank Baccus way, or advancing Principes on the right?

Roman legion basing3

I know that moving to larger bases would enable more options, but not really feeling like redoing everything just for the sake of few legionnaires…

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4 Responses to Basing of Roman legions

  1. Jon Freitag says:

    Since Baccus figures are based in strips, I opted for the close order deployment as the stand on your the left. Both look good to my eye, however.

    • Tichy says:

      Thanks. Yes, separating some of the Baccus close order units is somewhat taxing, but then again perhaps for the variety.

  2. Excellent units. I would say use both to depict different stages of the battle. I also have some ‘advancing’ spearmen and ‘ready’ spearmen in my army. I think it adds some variety and will catch your opponents eye. You could even have some units fighting the enemy to the front, that is you would put some casualties on the base and get some stabbing poses.

    I do ike the idea with the rough ground and its effects on the soldiers, but you could well use the loose formation for open ground, too.

    • Tichy says:

      You are right of course and I will take heed on the advice and mix the layouts. Now that it came up, I think I’ll try something new with Classical indians once I get that far. Idea about casualties sounds also nice, have to check wether I have suitable damaged troopers for the purpose (I bet there are, just a matter of digging through the lead).

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