Monday, December 17, 2018

Caesarian Romans: Cohort IV Legio III Gallica

There's not a lot of difference at all between this and my previous cohort except I'm improving my home made decal application techniques. You really need to trim away as much of the backing paper when cutting them out as you can. It made them more pliable.
I've never really said much about my Signifers. The Signifer for this cohort like most of mine to-date is the standard inclusion within the Warlord Games Caesarian Roman box. They all come with the bull on a relatively plain shaft. I have hacked and changed and carved new ones and supplemented them with different standards from other manufacturers to individualize each cohort. I  adorn my shafts with awards (plastic card discs which I drill in the centre and this time built a raised centre with a small pellet of Green-Stuff. I also made tassels below the grip from Green-Stuff.
As this cohort is from a different legion to my previous use of the bull figure I got to use it again - easy.
Likewise I kept the Greek style helmet for my Centurion which comes with the set instead of kit-bashing a Gallic version. The bare headed legionary was just a metal head replacement from Warlord (I think). I paint the shield numerals but probably should have printed decals for that also if I'd thought it through properly.

I've run out of time before getting home for Christmas. I pushed to create this cohort in just over a week - a record for me. I have another 70% completed but I have work and packing to do in just 48 hours. I'll actually be gaming these bad-boys using Hail Caesar first thing in the new year. I've managed to crack out six cohorts this year (4 x legio XI and 2 x Legio III). I intend to finish my legion and a half by this time next year. No more posting for me until 2019 so a merry Christmas and a very happy new year to everyone.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Caesarian Romans: Cohort II Legio III Gallica

Apart from an obviously different shield design, my rendition of Legio III Gallica has nothing particularly different to my previous cohorts of Legio XI except perhaps one thing. I have designed and printed off my own decals which is a first for me.
I've taken the oft cited Bull motif for this legion from the back of a Roman coin (pictured). There were plenty of bull sketch motifs available through an internet images search but I thought they all looked too modern.

I then Photoshoped it to a plain black design. I had to take care with the dimensions and undertook a dummy print run so I could cut out the down-sized printed image and trial them on one of the Warlord shields. I had to re-size the definition lines and make them thicker on the master so they would show up on the miniaturized print - the detail on trial versions disappeared under miniaturization.
I'm still not convinced they are thick enough and I could have included more detail. Upon reflection I should have curved the tail closer to the bull's back: I might have made him taller that way and still fit onto the shield. The final image size was 12.03 wide x 6.9mm high.

I have used Lazertran decal paper. The decals printed off nicely and an entire A4 sheets worth of black bulls - enough for easily half a legion which is all I need. I then cut them out (carefully), trimming off as much around the images as I dared. I then floated them off in cold water - the temperature of the water appears unimportant.
Reading the fact sheet and watching a YouTube tutorial I brushed the shields with mineral turpentine and applied the decals after pat-drying them. I found it better to pinch the decals in the centre when applying them over the central shield ridge. I then immediately brushed them with turpentine which Lazertran recommends to soften their decals to form over irregular surfaces.
I noticed as the decals dried the backing for the decals turned white. At first they went blotchy white until eventually they looked like they were just cut out from white paper and glued to the shields. This was disturbing and if you try this yourself - don't panic. I hit the decals again with a wash of Microsol to ensure softening to ensure they 'melted' them into the shield form. It didn't do them any harm and I observe that these decals are much tougher than those which usually accompany plastic kits.
I always lacquer my decals before proceeding with other detailing just to fix them to the surface. As it happens, Lazertran recommends this to make the backing paper go translucent. This is modern magic and it really worked as they promised. Juno be praised! I used Humbrol Matt Cote but I suspect any varnish will do. I think you'll agree they came up a treat.
Making your own decals was so easy and I'm definitely doing this more in future. I've never been satisfied with the limited ranges available for Romans in particular and now I can make any design in any colour and apply it to any shield colour. Some guidelines advise that you should spray the printed decal sheets with a varnish spray and allow it to set properly before cutting out to float them off the backing paper. This is not at all necessary for using Lazertran.
It really couldn't have been more straight forward. My image is a black bull on a white background. It is a JPEG format. I had worried about the white background being printed along with the black bull but like a document printed on different coloured paper, only the print or in this case the black image was printed - which of course is what I wanted.