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For Inspection ICM's 1/16 Scale Roman Centurion

Smeggers

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Every now and then, as a modeller, you get the urge to try something different; I am certainly no exception. Normally I don't touch figures due to poor eyesight, but when I was this kit, I thought, "Why not, it fits in with my latest book reviews".

Roman Centurions were a cross between a Company Commander and a Company Sergeant Major. They had absolute rule over the men in their century, issuing duties, leave and punishments as and when necessary. The Centurion was usually a very experienced soldier, mainly promoted from the ranks after 10-15 years service after first serving as a Legionnaire and then an Optio (2 i/c). The Centurion was to lead by example. He was always at the front of a battle line, hence the reason why many did not fulfill their obligatory period of 25 years service before retirement. Centurion wore their Gladius (Sword) on the left side with a Puglio (dagger) worn on the right side. The Centurion also carried a vine staff of office. This was mainly used as a pointer on the battlefield and as an instrument of chastisement in the barracks or parade ground. Centurions often had to carry out feats of valour far exceeding what a modern soldier would do. For these acts of valour, a phalerae was awarded and attached to the leather harness. Awards could also include Gold Torques (open ended rings, used as decoration), Bracelets (usually in gold), gold pin broaches and various crowns.
The Centurion in our kit has been a bit handy, with five phalerae, two torques and two bracelets!
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Typically, ICM do not place their models in a two-part box, but in a one piece box with a printed cover. The same print appears inside the box minus the text. I actually find this a good way of keeping parts in order, using the first-time box lid for prepared parts and the box itself for retaining items that will be used later during the build.

What's in the box?

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As can be seen from the above illustration, two sprues of grey pieces, one sprue of black pieces, a page containing list of parts on one side and painting suggestions on the other. There is also the non-text version of the box art, which would be ideal as a framed picture if you're into that sort of thing. The larger grey sprue contains the main body pieces, tunic skirts and weapons straps. The smaller grey sprue contains the Scutum (shield), helmet crest and ornamentation plus gladius, puglio and scutum straps. The black sprue contains the three pieces necessary to build the model's base.
On inspection, there was very little flash or mould release pin marks and no distortion or sink holes in the plastic.

The build
All parts of the model were washed in a mild detergent solution an n then thoroughly dried. All body parts are sprayed with Tamiya flat white as an underdog and the head and legs were assembled. The exposed skin areas of the model were then given two coats of Vallejo dark flesh. The face was further enhanced with medium grey pupils and dark grey pupils. I dry brushed Vallejo Matt flesh onto the raised facial parts and then added Vallejo light flesh to the nose, cheek ridges and brow. To add some further realism, I decided that our man was to have something of a blue chin, so I dry-brushed some Vallejo medium grey on the chin and jaw area.

The tunic parts were initially sprayed with Vallejo Red and when dry, dry-brushed with Vallejo Crimson. I did the same with the helmet crest and then gave it a coat of Vallejo Dark Grey Wash. All leather parts were painted using Life-Colour Red Leather with a dry brushing of Life-Colour Dark Leather. The tunic strips were give two coats of the dark leather plus a coat of Vallejo Brass on the tips. Vallejo Silver was used for the scale armour with an over-wash of Dark Grey. All ornamentation, phalerae etc. were hand-painted using Vallejo Gold and then dry-brushed with Vallejo Brass.

I had decided my Centurion was going to be holding a vine staff, making one by heating a length of sprue and twisting it. It took several attempts, but I think I got it right. His caligulae (sandals) were painted using Life-colour Dark Leather, picking out foot parts in dark flesh and the dry-brushed using deck tan and then given a Dark Grey Wash.
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While cutting out the support straps for the dagger, one of them shot away from me and landed in that place where all small parts end up - nowhere! I made a pair up using brass sheet, underscored with Humbrol primer and then painted plus-colour red leather. Once I'd assembled everything, I realised I'd made a basic error; I'd glued the helmet crest on ninety degrees wrong. A quick spin turned the crest the right way round. The spare gladius was painted in Vallejo colours and glued to the base at the Centurion's feet as if some unfortunate recruit had dropped it there and was now awaiting his punishment.

For those of you who make figures, please accept my apologies - I don't normally do figures be cause I cannot get the faces right. If you have any feedback, I would welcome it - so over to you.
My apologies for the quality of the photographs, my Kindle isn't brilliant!


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Smeggers
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
It's a bit hard to tell from the pics mate, looks good, regarding the face can you take a close up? It looks like you've made the eye whites a little big and I suspect used pure white, hence that stare effect, try a tiny drop of blue or grey in the white to tone it down some. One minor point and it's the kit's fault not yours Centurions didn't carry a shield.
 

Smeggers

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Thanks for the critique. I often wondered about the staring eyes. I can't get in too close as the picture distorts, but I'll see what I can do!

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4(T)

LE
I was wondering about the helmet cheek-pieces. Presumably in battle these would be laced up at the chin, but what about out of action or during training? Would he be permanently buttoned up tight like a modern RSM, or did they have "officers dress standards" (i.e. whatever goes)?

Its a pity we know so little about their dress, bearing, daily routines and habits.
 

Smeggers

ADC
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Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I was wondering about the helmet cheek-pieces. Presumably in battle these would be laced up at the chin, but what about out of action or during training? Would he be permanently buttoned up tight like a modern RSM, or did they have "officers dress standards" (i.e. whatever goes)?

Its a pity we know so little about their dress, bearing, daily routines and habits.
May I refer the honourable Gentleman to this particular area of the site...
 

4(T)

LE


A fine review; I had previously read and absorbed.

The book itself is rather negatively critiqued by academics elsewhere though. I gather the issue is that its mainly a rehash of decades of other people's images that are largely "artists impressions" rather than irrefutable archaeological evidence.

IIRC Metatron has an informative video that summarises just how little information the Romans actually left (ie almost zero written detail, a few relics, some paintings, and a large amount of monumental impressions that are without context - ie is the chap in combat kit or stylised parade dress?, etc).
 

Smeggers

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I'm in the middle of doing a second figure and will try to incorporate those methods into it. This second figure is the MiniArt Roman Legionary (kit number 16007). He shall be made straight from the box.
 

Smeggers

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A fine review; I had previously read and absorbed.

The book itself is rather negatively critiqued by academics elsewhere though. I gather the issue is that its mainly a rehash of decades of other people's images that are largely "artists impressions" rather than irrefutable archaeological evidence.

IIRC Metatron has an informative video that summarises just how little information the Romans actually left (ie almost zero written detail, a few relics, some paintings, and a large amount of monumental impressions that are without context - ie is the chap in combat kit or stylised parade dress?, etc).
Thank you for your comments in regards to the review. Regarding the negative comments from academia, it's quite hard to write a "new" book on ancient Rome without using other people's work. However, since so many authors seem to take the same artist's impression, surely the benefit of doubt should be applied. I have many books on the Roman Empire from Osprey to Pen and Sword. They all say basically the same thing, so they can't all be wrong!
 
I'm in the middle of doing a second figure and will try to incorporate those methods into it. This second figure is the MiniArt Roman Legionary (kit number 16007). He shall be made straight from the box.

If you are crap at doing the face (I include myself in that) may I suggest Vallejo Colour Wash 73.204, Fleshtone shade.
Straight out of the bottle onto the fleshy bits.
 

Helm

MIA
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If you are crap at doing the face (I include myself in that) may I suggest Vallejo Colour Wash 73.204, Fleshtone shade.
Straight out of the bottle onto the fleshy bits.
I'm an oil man myself, I like the slight sheen it gives for flesh and that you can work it for a long time
 

Smeggers

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I'm an oil man myself, I like the slight sheen it gives for flesh and that you can work it for a long time
Never really got on with oils, much prefer acrylics for their drying time. I find a final satin coat to the flesh of the model's gives an adequate sheen
 

Smeggers

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This one was started last night. Still a bit more to do, but I feel very pleased with the face. Thanks for the tip @Helm it seems to have cured the problem.
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Helm

MIA
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A couple of eye SBS here
Personally I don't paint a catch light just gloss varnish the eye.
 

Smeggers

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Thanks for that, I've pinned them to my favourites for further perusal.
 
I'm an oil man myself, I like the slight sheen it gives for flesh and that you can work it for a long time
Most of Dads large figures are painted in oils and always painted his horses in oils. He found that oils could be blended easier for shading.
When he painted horses in oils, he’d give the final finish with a very fine soft sponge.
 

Smeggers

ADC
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Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I was wondering about the helmet cheek-pieces. Presumably in battle these would be laced up at the chin, but what about out of action or during training? Would he be permanently buttoned up tight like a modern RSM, or did they have "officers dress standards" (i.e. whatever goes)?

Its a pity we know so little about their dress, bearing, daily routines and habits.
Just been reading Ospreys Roman Legionary 58 BC to AD 69 (Warrior series) ISBN: 978 1 84176 600 3.
Bottom of page 21, "On parade and in battle Roman soldiers word their decorations with pride". Plate F depicts a Centurion wearing Phalerae, Torques and even a Corona Civicus as well as his very ornate cheek pieces during the battle of the Teutoberg Forest, Autumn 9 AD. The picture shows Cent. Marcus Dawkins (legio XVIII) and follows the portrait on his gravestone from Xanten in Holland. Full description on page 62, Battle of the Teutoberg Forest.
 

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