Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Maximinus in the Middle

Above are some lovely Middle Imperial Romans that I bought from Saxon Dog last year, now in the early stages of being assimilated. I have extended the size of David's bases to 18cm wide by gluing my own (lurid orange) magnetic bases to the edges. I will need to paint around a dozen miniatures to make up the numbers. David also sold me some lovely cavalry (not shown) so with the couple of units I already have painted I should have the basis of a modest army.

Until recently, Middle Imperial has been very much the "forgotten front" of the various eras of Roman armies. The Caesarians have Caesar's histories, the Early Imperial's Trajan's columns and the Late Romans the Notitia - there is nothing quite the same for Maximinus in the Middle, Severus and all of the numerous Emperors of the Crisis of the Third Century, very few of whom ever lived to collect their pensions. There is less written about the period and only a single, albeit rather wonderful, range of minis in 28mm by A&A sculpted by Adam "Smithy" Smith.

A couple of things could be about to change that. The author Harry Sidebottom is in the process of writing new a series of books about the Crisis of the Third Century, which will complement his earlier Ballista novels which I greatly enjoyed. I attended the launch of the second book in this "Throne of the Caesars" series last week and am reading the first book. There is more politics than in the previous series, but the books are no less interesting for that; I'm learning a lot about how the Roman court worked.

The other development is that Sam "Longstreet" Mustafa is writing a new game called "Aurelian" which is set in the same period and should (on the basis of his other rules) be a must-have. As with Blucher, this will have card units which will make the period very accessible for those who lack suitable minis (and who, aside from Dr. Phil Hendry, Tarty and Raglan, has?).

These developments explain why the MIRs have made it to the top of my painting queue. I already have a Middle Imperial list for my own "To the Strongest!" rules and just need to get around a dozen units finished to give it a go... oh and I'll need some Germans or Sassanids for them to fight, when not fighting each other.

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