Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rebellion Begins

I've finally begun a completely new project, the first truly new one since I began the Napoleonics three or so years ago.  It is in fact a reboot, for the observant may recognise it as an army I've previously done in a different scale.  But to cut to the chase, I'm starting on a Judaean army for the Jewish Revolt of 66-70ad.

The inspiration behind this is twofold.  Firstly the mini-series (remember when these were all the rage?)  Masada; which I probably saw when I was about fourteen.

For some reason I sided with the Jews, I can well imagine, not having seen the series in over twenty years, that it was written so I'd have too.  As I recall the acting and setting was top notch, and clearly it stuck with me.

Secondly, as part of my reading of the classics, I plodded through Josephus a few years back:

One of the telling aspects of the book is just how quarrelsome the various Jewish sects were, it's a wonder they ever organised a rebellion as they seemed to be as ready to fight one another over whose version of the Torah, or command style, or hat was best.  Nevertheless Josephus (who was a one time commander for the Jews, who switched sides and then wrote a history of the war) highlights a number of Jewish victories and aside from the extensive politicking, does go in to considerable detail on the Jewish battle tactics, and campaigning.

So, the background is set, but I needed to get hold of models for the force.  Not wanting to spend an arm and a leg on models that anyway don't appear to exist in metal, I decided on converting the huge variety of 28mm plastics out there.  My previous army was a mix of mainly Hat, Italieri and Zvezda plastics in 20mm:

Now subsequently sold to a chap in New Zealand.

Knowing the variety of models available, I knew nothing was a perfect match, but decided that the ever useful Wargames Factory Numidians would be the base for most of the models.  I decided to blend these with an initial batch of Warlord Games Roman Auxilaries, as it appears from the account that captured equipment was a major part of the inventory of the Jews.  However the signatory feature of the Jewish troops appears to be the Mantle - cloak-like covering common to all levels of society.  Whether it was practical to wear in battle is an issue I've discarded (I suspect it may not be) in favour of modelling it, so as to make the rebels look suitable Jewish.

As is self evident, these were made from Greenstuff, procured at £6.50 a metre from eBay.  Actually my first time using the material, and much easier to work than Milliput it is too, though not as strong.  For this unit I tried out a variety of ways of doing the cloak before settling on a style I liked.  The last handful had clasps added too.

Satisfied with that I test fit the unit to it's bases:

Initially I'll be doing units of four stands with a 120mm effective frontage.  20 figures to a unit.  Dropping one figure per base from what would be typical allows me to both economise on numbers a little without losing too much impact, and to make the bases look more disordered; as the Jews should be something of a rabble.  Overall they take up all the space anyway, not being in particularly unified poses.  I think the net effect should be pretty good.

So now it's on to the painting...


  1. When I saw the top of the poster with Peter O'tooles face and the Arab head dress i thought Lawrence of Arabia. :o)

  2. Not sure if I've seen the Masada mini series?? I'll look forward to seeing the figures with a lick of paint on.

  3. Josephus was a great read, even if he was not a nice person (traitor/turncoat/Quisling/realist or something in between). Masada is an amazing place to trek up and makes me glad I was not a Legionaire. Good luck!

  4. I'm half way through watching Masada on DVD. It has worn very well and is a great transfer, although the Roman uniforms are a bit odd!

  5. When you were seeking advice on the project, for some reason I pictured a cowled cloak.

    Still, they are looking good.

  6. Nice kitbashing idea. The more of these plastics come out the more this sort of thing becomes a practical option for the wider community. Can't wait to see them done!

  7. I agree with Milsy. Great Blog. If you can get hold of Peter Connelly's The Holy Land for nice colorful pictures of jewish buildings, forts, warriors, and jewish warriors fighting Romans.

    What rules are you going to be using?

  8. I'll be using Hail Caesar. Thanks for the tip off on the Peter Connelly book; I'll look it up.