De Bellis Antiquitatis how I do love thee

Not only to you have a cool Latin name, you’re also a wonderfully quick and easy to play wargame. In order to get back into the game, I’ve recently picked up a set of Persian Infantry 1/72 scale figures. They’re about 24mm in size, a shade under the D&D norm but not noticeably so when they’re all based up and ready to go. The pack containes 42 figures, all for just £4.25. Here’s a pic and review of the complete set.

That’s 6 times the number of figures you get from a D&D Minis booster pack, for half the price. Or, so put it another way, each Persian cost around 10p, compared to £1.25 per D&D Mini – less that 1/10th the price! Granted, they’re unpainted, but that’s a large chunk of the fun too – when complete, each figure will be uniquely mine, and (hopefully) have a paint job that’s at least as good as a D&D Mini :)

After checking the Army List options for Persians, I’ve decided to go with this listing from DBAOnline. Partly that’s because I have most of the figures needed Right Now – no cavalry though! – and as it’s available online, I’ve no qualms about reproducing it here and breaking it down so you can see how a DBA Army List is constructed. In my copy of DBA there’s a few more choices, but this one is good to go.

Here’s the list, in full:

28a Early Achaemenid Persian 550BC-420BC
3x3Cv, 2x2LH or 2Ps, 3x4Bw, 4x4Bw or 1x4Sp+3x3Aux

Suggested Enemy Armies Midianite Arab (5), Sea Peoples’ (14b), New Babylonian (18a),  Mede (18c),  Lydian (18d), Lydian (21a), Early Hoplite Greek (24a), Early Spartan (24b), Early North Greek (24c), Kimmerian or Skythian (25), Thracian (27),  Saitic Egyptian (29)

Persians back in 550BC weren’t exactly Mr Popular, as you can see from that Enemies list; this also means there shouldn’t be much difficulty finding an opponent either, with the ever popular choices of Greeks, Spartans and Egyptians being on their hit list.

28a is these guys’ official Army Number. Say I’m playing using Army 28a from DBA Online, and fellow wargamers can look it up and will know what to expect.

The shorthand line tells us the standard composition for a typical Persian army from the Early Achaemenid dynasty. 3x3Cv means three elements with 3 Cavalry on the base, and so on. LH are Light Horse, Ps are Psiloi (skirmishers), Bw are Bows, Sp are Spears and Aux are Auxilia (close combat auxiliary). This list gives me a choice between Light Horse or Psiloi, and more Bows or an element of Spear and 3 of Auxilia. Based on the figures I’ve got (and the fact that Spears are cool!), I go with this:

3 x 3 Cavalry, 2 x Psiloi, 3 x 4 Bows, 1 x 4 Spears & 3 x 3 Auxilia

Figures Bases Total Dimensions Soldiers
3Cv 3 3 9 60 x 40 2,250
2Ps 2 2 4 60 x 30 1,000
4Bw 4 3 12 60 x 30 3,000
4Sp 4 1 4 60 x 20 1,000
3Aux 3 3 9 60 x 30 2,250

That little lot represents around 9,500 troops in DBA scale – a lot of bodies!

I’ve settled on using a standard 60mm base width for 25mm figures. I have washed the figures, dried ’em and glued them to 1p coins. This improves their stability, and also makes them a lot easier to handle while painting.

The next stage is base-coating them with a solution of PVA glue and water. This helps the paint hold and keep from flaking – definitely a Good Thing :)

But that, as they say, is a blogpost for another time. This time with pictures!

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