Plastic 28mm Persians 1 planning

Assembling the plastic Persian hordes

From chatting to a 28mm Early Achaemenid Persian army

Discussing the new version of the DBA ancients rules with a colleague led into how he’d always wanted a hoplite army. Given I’d always fancied wargaming the invasion of Greece by Xerxes in 480 BC before we knew it we are planning armies.

We agreed on larger figures simply because Tony was keen on them and plastic ranges make such an ambition affordable. I certainly wouldn’t have agreed to get a 25/28mm size Persian army in metal as with all the cavalry and hordes it would cost a small fortune!

Persian and Greek Wargames Factory boxes

Persian and Greek Wargames Factory boxes

Planning out the Persian host

Having settled on DBA I looked at the Early Achaemenid list. Double bases for the Immortals and sparabara infantry increased the body count but using light infantry instead of hordes reduced it. Well, reduced by a small amount! Once I had worked out what I needed I looked at the Wargames Factory range of Persians.

Happily they cover all the troop types I needed and I set about planning the figures I needed. I then got a bit too enthusiastic and decided only Big Battle DBA would do justice to the battles of 480-479 BC. Some thinking later and I produced the army and list of figures needed at the end of this post. The number of figures was slightly daunting but having more time at home because of a health problem meant I had time to assemble them.

In the course of thinking about the army I used the usual references for wargamers from Duncan Head’s book on the Persians to Field of Glory army lists. Plus this made a great excuse to buy Tom Holland’s new translation of Herodotus!

Checking figures against the army list

Checking figures against the army list

Recruiting the plastic Persians

Happily I found some boxes on eBay and then North Star Figures had a sale of Wargames Factory at the right moment. Even so I found after much sorting out and assembling of figures more were needed! Caliver Books provided my last recruits so it was just planning how to paint them.

All figures are multi-part so lots of sprues

All figures are multi-part so lots of sprues

Painting 28mm Persians

Whilst the Wargames Factory Persians are not the finest figures on the market they provide the basis for a good paint job. I realised if I did that painting my miniature Persians would take longer than the campaign lasted! So I decided to go for the good old block colours and brown varnish technique.

This is also known as “the dip” method as marketed by the Army Painter company. I use a similar approach of painting in the basic colours in almost toy soldier style. I let them dry completely and then apply a coat of Ronseal acrylic varnish with a brown stain in it. Using lighter colours than you usually would helps the varnish stain combination do its work. The stain varnish combination provides instant shading and looks ok on the gaming table. A bit crude for 28mm size figures perhaps but gets them on the table.

Big Battle DBA Early Achaemenid Persian army list

General and sub generals 3 bases of 3CV = 9 figures

Cavalry 3 bases of 3CV = 9 figures

Light Cavalry 3 bases of 2LH = 6 figures

Immortals 3 bases of 8BW = 24 figures

Sparabara infantry x bases of 8BW = 72 figures

Hillmen 3 bases of 3AX = 9 figures

Medising Hoplites 3 bases of 4SP = 12 figures

Light infantry 9 bases of 2PS = 18 figures

There is an option to replace the light infantry with hordes but that would be another 63 figures to make and paint…

Box of ancient Persian infantry with the lid off

Box of ancient Persian infantry with the lid off

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About Rick Lawrence

Making models and playing tabletop games since the late 1960s, and still enjoying it! Now working in heritage and dabbing around with photography, with quality cafe time when I can.

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