First of the New Hoplites

To cut a long story short, I am increasing the size of my 15mm Vis Bellica armies in order to play To The Strongest using two VB elements per TTS element.

My Vis Bellica Hoplite Greek army is very powerful: four bases (elements) of Hoplites, four bases of Spartan Hoplites, and loads of light infantry in support.

Unfortunately, however, To The Strongest classifies Hoplite units as “deep”, meaning that I need to field four VB bases to represent one TTS unit…and as most Hoplite armies have a minimum of five Hoplite units, that means I need a minimum of another twelve VB bases of Hoplite infantry, which at 12 figures per base is another 144 figures to paint and base!

It’s also been some time since I’ve bought any ancients, so I thought I’d try a “new” manufacturer: Xyston Miniatures.

They have a wide selection of Hoplite figures, so I chose to get my first unit as Later Hoplites in Linen Cuirass:

These are lovely figures: crisp and largely flash free. The only pain is that the shields and spears come separately: which means sticking 48 shields onto 48 arms, and then remembering to buy a pack of wire spears, cutting them down to size (from a pike-sized 5cm to a Hoplite-spear sized 3.5cm), and then sticking them in place as well. Just adds another session to the process.

The Xyston figures are easy to paint. First undercoat in black, base coat the flesh and tunics, and then carefully paint the cuirass white using the black undercoat to get the detail. Then paint the shield strap in leather; and. the spear and back of the shield in a wood brown. Tip the spears in dull silver, and leave to dry. Then highlight the tunic, and brass the helmet. Front of the shields in white all over (for the moment), highlight the flesh, paint the crest. Done!

Why paint the shields white? To take the decals of course. I used the Little Big Man Studios transfers designed specifically for Xyston shields. They are easy to use, have a wide variety of designs and, as you will hopefully agree, look really good. Again another fiddly bit: after you put the transfers onto the (white) shields, you’ll need to paint the shield rim to get a nice finish. If you don’t get the transfer dead centre, then you’ll have to paint around the design by hand.

So all in all highly recommended. Only another two units to go!