A painting project

By George Arnold

These days, I’m mostly finished with big painting projects. Any projects that come up now are smaller, easier (and much more enjoyable). In that vein, I recently decided to re-do some very old metal figures and give them a different look.

These are some ancient Greek peltasts from a company called Bresica Miniatures that operated out of Burbank, California, in the mid-1970s. They were one of several sets of Bresicas that I bought back then, some of the first metal figures I ever acquired. I’d come across the range in a catalogue when I was in my first job fresh out of grad school and finally had a (small) bit of disposable income to start upgrading the Airfix figures I’d been gaming with until then.

I originally painted these figures with enamels, in either black or white tunics. Years later, I stripped the paint from some of them and touched up others to get a less uniform look. But I was never satisfied with the result, so a few weeks ago, I again stripped the paint from all of them and started a new paint scheme from scratch.

This time, I went with a mix of reds, brown, grays and a few other shades. After a quick dry brush, I then picked out the other details. The detached shields were fiddlier to paint than I remembered, but my hand isn’t as steady as it was years ago either. I can always touch those up later if I decide to.

I mixed up the tunic colors so that each base is different. I also upgraded these fellows from their original javelins to thrusting spears. The figures, static and all the same poses in an old-school kind of way, are clearly based on drawings from the venerable “Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars” books from the Wargames Research Group. These figures represent thureophoroi, or later Greek peltasts, getting the name from the shape of their shield, a thureos. The bigger shield and the spear gave them an advantage over more lightly armed peltasts.

I still have a fair number of Bresica figures. The long-gone company had a good range of 20mm ancients that  fit well with 1/72 plastics like the old Airfix figures, although some of the Bresicas were quite inconsistent about scale, even within the same range.

About a dozen years ago, I added some 150 more Bresicas from a seller who wanted to get rid of them at a cut-rate price. Happy to oblige. A lot of those were Republican Romans and support troops, but I also got some very nice Italian hoplites that I’ve also incorporated into my hodge-podge ancients collection.

As some of my oldest metal ancient figures, these peltasts have taken part in many a battle over the years. It looks like they’ll be doing the same in the future, now in their latest finery.

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