Impetus Parthians and more

Just about recovering from last weeks late nights and the round trip to Sheffield to the Joy of Six. As you will be aware from this blog and the forums we tried to get an Impetus tournament off the ground. As such Ken (Pilgrim) wanted to take part and wanted to play a Parthian army. I scratched around in my boxes to discover somewhere in the past I had bought a 1,000 point Warmaster army from Rapier – sorted with a few additions in the form of Persian Takabara javelinmen to constitute the hill tribes. The list was drawn up to 350 points using the as yet unpublished Parthian list that I was kindly sent (Parthians_Impetus_350_1).

A couple of nights spent cleaning up the models and 5 evenings painting saw the army done. Another couple of evenings saw them based. At between 1 and 3 hours an evening the whole army was painted start to finish in around 18 hours – 11 bases and 3 command teams. As I plan to do a number of forces I decided to avoid confusion by doing each army in a theme or colour. For the Parthians I chose blue as the uniting army colour. Using a variety of colours would be more interesting but my prime aim was to avoid confusion on the battlefield especially where I am painting both sides with the potential for similar troops. Here is the finished product :-

The Army, the larger village base acting as ‘baggage camp’


The Light Horse Archers


The Cataphracts


The Hill Tribes with Javelin


The Commander


Very tidy figures to paint quickly and effectively. Rapier saw them at the JoS and are now rumored to be considering revisiting their ancient ranges with a view to additional poses especially for the horse archers to help create a little more motion on bases. Further to discussion with Ken I shall be adding in some more Hill Tribes to create a bit more variety and the list he latterly suggested. Possibly even expand the army up to a three command 400 then 500 point army.

Painting Guide – Parthian Cataphracts

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, horses then block painted v150 German Camouflage Black Brown, Black Wash

Barding and rider armour – v 175 Bronze, and ‘elite’ riders/commanders v179 Gunmetal Grey

Helmets – v175 Bronze to lower half lames, v 179 Gunmetal Grey to skull bowl

Horses – Standard selection of browns tending to the darker colours including nuzzles and ears.

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Beards – v 169 Black

Chest Surcoat, and banner – v130 Amarantha Red

Kontos shaft – v143 Flat Earth

Cloaks – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Shoes and reigns – v127 Ochre Brown

Commander helmet plume – v029 Red.

The ‘elite’ unit I did with chainmail riders armour, white plume for the commander, and yellow banner.

W&N Nutbrown Wash, Scorched Brown base, varnish

Painting Guide – Parthian Horse Archers

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, horses then block painted v150 German Camouflage Black Brown, Black Wash

Horses – Standard selection of browns

Saddle blanket – v130 Amaranth Red

Shirts – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Trousers – v110 Deck Tan

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Moustaches – v 169 Black

Bows – v134 USA Tan Earth

Boots – v143 Flat Earth

Reigns – v127 Ochre Brown

Hats – v121 Yellow Ochre

W&N Nutbrown Wash, Scorched Brown base, varnish

Painting Guide – Parthian Archers

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, Black Wash

Tunics – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Trousers – v110 Deck Tan

Boots – v143 Flat Earth

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Bows – v126 Ochre Brown

Quivers – v130 Amarantha Red

Headband – v001 White

Hair – v169 Black

W&N Nutbrown Wash, Scorched Brown base, varnish

Parthian Light Infantry Javelinmen

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, Black Wash

Tunics – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Trousers – v110 Deck Tan

Boots – v143 Flat Earth

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Javelin shafts – v126 Ochre Brown

Quivers – v130 Amarantha Red

Bows – v136 USA Tan Earth

Shields and fletches – v001 White

Headgear – v136 Red Leather

Horn, Standard, commander shield boss – v174 Brass

Javelin heads – v178 Natural Steel

W&N Nutbrown Wash, gentle wipe over shields with tissue to lift off and preserve white a bit better, Scorched Brown base.

Quick retouch v 001 White on shields, add shield designs.


In preparation for the JoS I also cobbled together a 350 point Early Imperial Roman army (EIRoman_Impetus_350_1). The premise was they were on Parthian soil and hence the army was tailored to having some counter aspects to the masses of horse archers they would be facing. The only thing missing was some Armenian allies. Keen to keep this army essentially a Baccus incarnation I had another rummage and came up with some Sarmatians who make splendid stand ins for the one base of cataphracts and two bases of horse archers I needed. I did replace all the lead Kontos with pins for a bit more durability. All three units took around 2 hours to paint. The variation in the horse archers gives a little more movement and action on the bases compared to their Rapier counterparts – I like them both for different reasons. I am currently working on some army specific figures so will go into more detail in a future post.



….. and a final thing was the Normans which was going to be the initial ‘loan’ army. 300 points worth have been painted but did not get to basing as my time was channeled into the Parthians and Romans. I plan to expand the force to at least 350 if not 400/500 before I base these, and then it will be onto a Saxon army to oppose them…



7 comments on “Impetus Parthians and more

  1. regaplanar says:

    Great stuff Mike, I can’t believe you painted these up so quickly! I picked up a 1000 point Anglo Saxon army at JOS and have so far this week only managed to paint and base 2 units, shame on me!

    I really do like the impetus base sizes, I find the WMA 40 x 20mm bases a bit fiddly but then that’s the nature of the beast.

    By the way I have been busy transferring my Vallejo paints into the flip top pots I bought on ebay.

    Can you just clarify what ratio you use for the distilled water and flow aid, I am using 1 part flow aid to 20 parts water then adding 40ml of the solution to the Vallejo paint, not sure if this is thinning the paint down too much?

    Finally – do you use the flow aid solution with the W&N nut brown and if so how much ?

    Many thanks


    • cranium27 says:

      Hi Russ

      One of the reasons for going with an ‘army colour throuought is that the regularity paints quicker. Saxons will by their nature be slower, with a wider use of colours, and you could spend an hour on its own painting up all individual shield designs. One trick it might be worth trying with the Saxons is using a AP Leather Brown undercoat and black wash as your ‘undercoat’. Then anything you don’t paint is brown already. There will be more on Saxons in the comming weeks as they will be the next army up after I have backfilled the Romans.
      The 60mm width bases are a must. If you wanted to go a little more epic then 80mm wide bases offers an even more dioramic effect (but may raise issues with compatability). I am tempted to do my Medievals/WoR armies on 80mm wide bases to demonstrate at army scale what the effect looks like.
      I use a 20% mix of flow aid and distilled water – that is in the 30ml droppers I got 6mls flow aid and 24 mls distilled water. I add it to the Valejo paints as I use them and use as much or as little to create the consistency that I am happiest painting with – this will inevitably vary from indivudual to individual.
      I do occasionaly use a 50% W&N wash dilutes simply with distilled water, might be interesting to see the effect of diluting with the 20% flow aid mix.
      Hope this helps – and looking forward to seeing those Saxons.


  2. regaplanar says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your prompt reply, that’s a great tip about using AP leather brown with the wash. One of the most time consuming jobs on the Saxons is painting in the backs of the shields ass these are grey to start with. This will save me time and that is always a plus when painting!

    Have to say the Baccus sculpts are fantastic, the units I have done really came to life once I applied the W&N wash, the transformation was radical to say the least!

    Your painting tips have finally stopped me shading 6mm figures, something which has been almost an obsession for a good few years! I never realised that by just painting spot colours onto a good undercoat and using a wash to finish could bring these figures to life so well.

    I’ll be sure to post some photos of the Saxons soon, I will let you know how I get on with the AP method too.

    All the best


  3. Hi!
    I am sorry to post this as an off topic.
    How did you make shields for the ottoman cavalry here: ?

    • cranium27 says:


      Two main types of shield we used – one curved trapezoid shield and a round one. The round one was lifted from another miniature – cant think what, whilst the curved trapezoid one was firstly a roman shield with an angulation, then I made some from scratch using tubular plasticard – these I put in with my proof moulds for future use and I think I have a small stock of both of them built up.

      If life does not get in the way I am hoping to start sculpting the Ottoman cavalry in the next couple of weeks – so may have some rough examples ready for Partizan II.


  4. Hey Mike, coming to Derby?

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