Dan Becker's 20 mm Alexandrian Army

Alexandrian Companion Cavalry
Alexandrian Companion Cavalry
This article describes the preparation and painting of some 20 mm(1/72 nd scale) plastic miniatures.Many regular readers of this site will ask "Dan, you already have manyarticles on 54, 28, 15, 10, and 6 mm miniatures, why would you want totry another scale?"I guess that is the point for me. I already explored some of theother popular scales, and I wanted to explore one of the mostpopular scales for war gamers and painters.Also, after painting someplastic figures for BattleLore,I found I enjoyed the plastic figures and wanted to try more.Advantages of this scale include a large number of manufacturers,wide figure ranges and availability,and lower per-figure cost than metals.Some also like the proportions of the plastic figures compared to metals.They look leaner and less chunky.Disadvantages include more paint flaking and fragility due to plastic's flexibility.Also mold lines and sprue connections are much tougher to remove and clean up.

The figures to the right are Alexander's Macedonian Cavalryfrom Hät's Macedonian Army.Click on the photo to see a larger version.This inexpensive ($7.50) box contains 60 foot and 12 mounted figures - an excellent value.The range of unit types and poses for this price is unequaled by metals miniatures.Additionally, Hät and many other quality manufacturers (e.g. ESCI, Italeri, Zvedzda, IMEX, Stretlets)make many ancient figures to ally or oppose this army.See Plastic Soldier Review for many photos and write ups on all the different figures.

Alexandrian light missile troops
Alexandrian light missile troops
To the right are some bow and staff-sling missile units.All the figures on this page are "speed painted" with the goal being to paintas many figures as possible in the shortest amount of time.I estimate the 16 figures required about 8 hours of hobby time or about 30 minutes per figure.The steps include:


Alexandrian light skirmisher troops
Alexandrian light skirmisher troops
To the right are some light skirmisher troops armed with javelins.These units are also known as psiloi, and are used to harass and break-up enemy troopformations.

The step of washing the unit is a bit of an art.An ideal wash will flow over the unit evenly, lay low only in crevasses and folds,not pool up into globs, not hide or change your color scheme, and provide anice gradation from nothing to dark.If you make a dilute paint wash yourself, it can be very finicky and sensitive to thepaint finish and either pool-up or disappear entirely.

There are many good brands of wash, so unless you are an expert, I would recommend not to mixone yourself. Commercial brands are mixed very consistently with pigmentsmeant for washes, and often contain flow enhancers and other additives to enhance the finish.The brand I use here is Wonder Wash Ink which iswater-soluble and comes in many colors.I used black ink on the cavalry above and brown inks on the foot soldiers.Another good product is Kel's Magic Saucewhich should be rewarded for creative marketing name alone.The Kel's brown is a bit more chocolatety, less reddish than the Wonderwash Dirty Dark Brown.Another great product is MinWax Polyshadepolyeurethane finish which is ultra silky and protective, the disadvantage being thatit is spirit based - volatile, smelly, slow-drying, hard to clean up.

Alexandrian light peltast troops
Alexandrian light peltast troops

To the right are some Greek Mercenary peltasts.I used to think they were name peltasts because they pelted you with dartsand nasty insults, butactually they are named for the kidney shaped pelta shield.

The units are epoxied toa ferrous washer (#10 sae washer, 1/2" diameter, 13 mm diameter)which is flocked with some scenic grass.The advantage of mounting to a ferrous washeris that it is magnetic and can bemagnetically mounted toa stand for painting or a base for a movement tray.The heavy washer also outweighs the plastic figure and causesthe figure to stand upright rather than fall over.

Well, that is all for now. Even with the speed painting, I am happy withthe results. Nothing better to do on a winter weekend Saturday when you are sick with a cold.I think I will eventually paint the rest of the box, butI ultimately do not know how I will use these figures.Maybe I will paint up an opposing Indian army and make a colorful dioramaof the Battle of Hydaspes River.Maybe I will paint up a Persian army of Darius III for war gaming.They also would be great game pieces forthe Commands and Colors: Ancients board game,although I would need many, many more figures.They certainly look nice just sitting on the shelf.Thanks for reading about my miniatures. More links are at the bottom of the page.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Last modified: Thursday, 09-Jun-2011 12:53:46 MST.