Ancient wargaming figures

Essex Miniatures 25mm late Macedonian phalangite

Somewhere in my loft is a 25mm Seleucid wargames army.  Metal figures, all painted by me, glued onto cardboard which I painted green.  It fought a good few times at a wargames club near my school.  Mostly I lost, as I had no better idea of tactics than to advance and roll the dice when my forces collided with someone else’s. 

But I still cherish the victory I achieved over a cavalry force, probably of Sassanid Persians.  This was nearly impossible under the rules, as they had all the mobility.  So I had to force them to come to me.  I set my army up in a corner of the board/table, in a square with an open rear and side at the edge of the table.  The L-shape of the rest was anchored on a hill, and I waited for my foe to execute a flank march to enter my square from behind.  When he did so — as I thought he would, rather than try to attack heavy infantry in square — I rearranged my square to place my best troops facing where he had to appear.  He duly did, with all his heavy cavalry, and duly got pummelled.  Victories were few in those days, but that one I recall.

This evening I wondered if anyone still makes 25mm metal figures of ancient armies.  A hunt around the web revealed that Essex Miniatures still do.  Their website is here (that link takes you straight to the ancients page).  Prices are probably about the same, considering the depreciation; now about $1.50 per foot figure.   The image is of a painted late Macedonian phalangite.

The left hand frame indexes to five different “pages” of armies and figures, all of which seem to relate to the old Wargames Research Group army lists.  How I remember those!  My own force was equipped in accordance with it, although the rules rather hampered anyone who wanted to deploy a phalanx.

I feel something of a tug, to order some figures, buy some paints — acrylic, rather than enamel — and paint up a few.  But whatever would I do with them?  Alas, my days as a table-top general are over.


6 thoughts on “Ancient wargaming figures

  1. Heh heh heh. The good old days of DBM Camillan Roman and Sicilian Normans.

    Wargaming is currently undergoing quite a bit of growth – you should easily be able to find somebody to play nearby. Osprey publishing are releasing the Field of Glory ( rules, which basically are an update of the WRG systems.

    I took up wargaming against after a decade’s pause in 2006, and it has been great fun ever since. However, I’ve shied away from historicals (every time I look at historicals, the last 10 years of knowledge I’ve aquired make me cringe over the inaccuracies, especially in period-broad systems like FOG) and gone for what I regard as good game systems instead. It has been very rewarding, in more than a nostalgic way.

  2. Roger,

    Well, there’s always the ROME: Total War computer strategy game, with the Barbarian Invasion expansion pack.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  3. ROME: Total War is a lot of fun. I know that a lot of people have moved over to Warhammer now, though I’m not much of a fan of it.

  4. That is a sensible attitude, since Warhammer is not a very well designed game and its publisher is doing its best to make it worse – at least for adults. Try out Warmachine/Hordes (best designed game on the market right now) or Kings of War (Warhammer 2.0) if you are interested in fantasy miniatures gaming.

  5. I’ve been a collector of these kinds of figures since my dad gave me his prized collections. Since I’m a history teacher (ancient history that is), it’s really fun to know having this kind of figures since you can tell it to your grand kids that these people are the ones who fought the greater enemies.

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