Late Imperial Romans – Initium

I’m researching and constructing a 28mm Late Imperial Roman army. It’s mainly for the thrill of watching a painted collection amass in the display cabinets, though also to serve as an anchor for researching and understanding the period.

The army will be constructed with the classic Foundry range as the basis. These miniatures are Perry classics. Here’s one of the best packs from the range.

Wargames Foundry Late Imperial Roman

I want to use the Foundry’s house style of painting for my army, but not necessarily the garish colour schemes shown above. That commander second in from the left! Red and blue and purple clothes? All at once?! Blerk! No thanks, sensible muted colours please. This is a historical army after all. I’ve dug up Late Imperial Roman forts, every archaeological find is brown,

So I dipped into my reference library to find out what shades of brown would have been in vogue circa 400AD, and this colour plate jumps out. Blerk, it’s that guy from the Foundry range, resplendent in red tunic with and orbiculi!

Wargames Foundry Late Imperial Roman

This is Graham Sumner’s reconstruction of a soldier as depicted in a Syracusian catacomb painting. The colours are taking from the original painting, so they’re authentic. I thought it really surprising. And cool, as the miniature has transformed from generic Roman into a real-life soldier with a name and dress sense.

Wargames Foundry Late Imperial Roman

This is Maximianus (hurr hurr, “-anus”), and he’s my first test model.

Ancient Roman Stonework

It’s Vindolanda season – the opportunity to swap the cold glow of the Mac screens for the warm glow of the Northumbrian sun. Buried in the isolated British countryside are the remains of the Ancient Roman fort of Vindolanda, waiting to be revealed one trowel-scoop at a time.

My trench brought forth this section of beautiful stone relief. This fine masonry is probably rubble from the commander’s house (praetorium) rather than a piece of the barrack block I was assigned to unearth the walls of. There’s a pound coin there for scale.


Despite the endless barrows of earthy rubble, the rest of this stone eluded me. Luckily, I’ve been able to illustrate the rest of it using my extensive archaeological knowledge and a small amount of conjecture.