Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Parthians for Basic Impetus

I have painted up a Parthian force for Basic Impetus in a rush, all ready for the competition I'm running at the school this year. I've based the figures using the base sizes for 15mm, which seems to be what most players do with their 1/72 armies. The figures are mainly HaT Parthians, with a few conversions using HaT Roman Cataphracts and Orion Parthians.

I also used this army to experiment with the Army Painter quickshade dip, beloved of many painters of 28mm figures.

Instead of using a black undercoat, I undercoated these figures white, did simple block painting with no attempt to shade, then painted on the dip (I used Strong Tone). When they were dry, I went over them with Vallejo matt varnish, then did a few lighter highlights on clothing and armour.

My verdict on Army Painter?

Yes, it is overpriced repackaged furniture polish, but good luck to them. I wish I had thought of it first.

There are no problems using it on bendy plastic figures. I tested it on a HaT Andalusian spearman, bending his spear every which way with no ill effects.

I don't recommend dipping the figures. Use a brush, and treat the stuff as a wash to add depth and shadow, rather than something you have to gunk all over the place. Do some highlighting at the end of the process - it makes a huge difference. Part of me feels like I'm cheating, but it certainly saves time, and at the moment that is something I don't have a lot of. I like the effect, particularly over flesh, whites, yellows and reds, and it is great on horses. It doesn't look so good over blue.

I'll certainly be using it to put armies on the table.


  1. I've also been converted by Army Painter, although you're probably correct; furniture varnish might be cheaper. I've found that my tin in the shed has been drying up and the resulting thicker stuff lends a really dirty campaign to my figures that I quite like.

  2. Nice figures Alan, and a very informative post. Sounds like the Army Painter is a bit like the Cabots Stain that I have used - before I ran out.

    How does Basic Impetus compare to DBA? I've downloaded the rules, but I've yet to give it a go.



  3. I must get round to finishing my 10mm Parthians. I may well copy some of the colour schemes here - very effective!

  4. Fine looking lads. The finish does remind me of the burnt umber wash I used for years but no harm in that.


  5. Thanks chaps. Nick - I'm having another game of Basic Impetus tonight, so I'll let you know my considered verdict! With your interest in HOTT you should have a look at the fantasy variant of BI being developed on their forum.

  6. Parthians are a colorful bunch, aren't they? I particularly like the colored edging on the horse armor and the tunics are nice. I base my 1/72 DBA guys on the 25/28mm size bases.

  7. Alanus, re. your rules query left on my blog's last post; The club rules guru has an electronic version of the current edition of our rules he'll send to me to pass on to you. Drop me a line at and I'll forward them to you once I receive them.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.