Painting Wargaming Figures: Early Imperial Romans is the latest in a series of books written by Andy Singleton and published by Pen and Sword. As the name suggests, this is a detailed painting guide to getting the best from painting both metal and plastic figures of Roman troops. The book itself is a 120-page softcover, with ample photographs and plenty of supporting text.
The book begins with a general guide to tools to use, figure types and a general overview of the typical armour and equipment worn by the Romans. The author is at pains to point out that he aims to discuss general techniques for painting all types of Romans rather than splitting them into types. Quick methods for painting armour, equipment and uniforms are the aim.
It has to be said, although aimed at generic techniques, this is a fantastic guide to getting the best from your figures. It is also a guide to how to use different painting techniques but also the sheer variety of armour types used by the Roman forces. Blackened, ‘tinned’, muscled, lorica segmentum and the ageing process upon armour are all covered with a step by step approach, including not only the colours used but also the best size of brush to use.
Moving forwards, a similar method is employed for painting shields, including the use of paint alone and decals of various types. These are useful for those with some experience but also extremely helpful for the beginner.
The next section deals with the tunics and cloaks worn, including a helpful insight into the variety of types worn, and the effect of dyes, weathering and other issues. Again, the stage by stage process of textual description, images, paints and brushes to be used is prevalent, but without the clutter of some guides. The simple approach used here is very refreshing to see.
Having read a few painting guides for Roman troops, I’d not come across a discussion of the different skin tones of the Imperial army before. We often forget that the Romans recruited from a huge Empire, not just the Italian peninsula, and I’ve been given pause for thought the next time I paint up some legionaries. The section on painting horses was more familiar, yet no less welcome.
The latter part of the book contains a section on the difference basing options, plus a useful guide to the various manufacturers of plastic and metal miniatures for the period and, unusually, a page by page guide to the figures which feature in the photographs on each page.
This is a pleasingly simple but extremely useful guide to the techniques needed to create some well painted miniatures. The writing style is excellent, friendly but informative, and the photography is very well done. More importantly, the blend of historical research and wargaming practicality is very nicely done, plus the topics covered are, at times, quite thought-provoking for those of us whom enjoy painting and gaming with Imperial Legionaries. A great guide, and one that should be in every Roman tabletop commander’s collection.