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Author Topic: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears  (Read 988 times)

Offline CommanderBaker

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Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« on: February 27, 2020, 04:26:56 PM »
SO i recently backed Clash of Spears and received my book and Army in the mail. I now have this wonderful army of the Roman Republic to paint... but i have a very important question that needs to be answered.

What color should the tunics be? can they be uniform? and what about the shields? should they all be the same base color, or varied? and if so what colors?

I've never painted ancients before, and i'm not a fantastic painter. It doesn't have to be perfectly historically accurate, but i want it to look the part.

Can i just paint them all in red tunics? should some be white? (gods i hate painting white  lol)

Offline Andrew_McGuire

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2020, 04:44:05 PM »
I'm sure you'll get more informative answers before long, including book and website recommendations, but as you seem to be in a hurry to get started, it does seem to be the common practice to paint Romans in red tunics, though it is likely the dreaded white - actually not-quite-white, being undyed wool - was at least as common. Whether they were uniform within a unit is another matter; my guess would be: in theory, yes, but in practice probably not.

I'm not sure about shield colours at this period, though in the army of the Empire, and probably the later Republic, I believe shield colours were uniform, at least within a cohort, if not the entire legion. Again, most gamers seem to paint their Roman legionary shields red, though whether this is anything more than habit is a question for more knowledgeable members than myself.

Offline CommanderBaker

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2020, 06:02:48 PM »
Thank you for the reply, yes i am in a rush to get started, and i did a google search, but most of the results were YouTube videos that discussed arms and armor, but not really color. Then the reference photos or clips they used were from games or movies.

Flipping through the CoS book there looks to be quite a bit of variation, and I'm just not studied enough to have an idea if the colors of clothes or shields are arbitrary, or tied to, cohorts, or tied to the region the unit comes from or what.

I'm so used to seeing the movie 'Legion' in all red with lorica segmenta and later period helmets and the like.

Offline mellis1644

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2020, 06:59:11 PM »
Early republican armies likely would not have had consistent tunic colours, as they provided the clothing themselves. They also provided the arms and armour. However, to be identified on the battlefield by friends and not killed having fairly consistent shield colours etc  as well as helmet decoration (feathers etc.) is quite likely. Those are the most obvious and visible things they had so it makes sense. There is to my knowledge few historical fact for what they really used so you can do sort of what you like - they may have had some personal freedom of expression as well in those. :)

There are loads of good web sites with pictures but this one has some decent pics: https://www.realmofhistory.com/2017/07/13/evolution-ancient-roman-soldier/

After the Marian reforms - around the turn of the last century BC they would have got a lot more uniform, as the state provided clothing and armour for legions after that.   
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Offline Andrew_McGuire

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2020, 07:25:33 PM »
I you haven't already found it, this site may be a good place to seek further information, such as it is:

https://www.romanarmytalk.com

Offline Andrew_McGuire

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2020, 07:33:47 PM »
I'm so used to seeing the movie 'Legion' in all red with lorica segmenta and later period helmets and the like.

I assume you mean Gladiator, but all of the filmic and TV representations of Romans I can think of are from the Imperial period. The only exception I'm aware of is a very old - i.e. Mussolini era -  Italian film about Scipio Africanus, but as that is a) probably untraceable and b) in black & white, I doubt it would help much.

I'm sure there must be an Osprey book - or, more likely, several - that cover this period, but I don't know how much they would have to say about variation in clothing and shield colours.

Offline CommanderBaker

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2020, 07:53:11 PM »
Sorry i meant the typical movie legionnaire look not specifically a movie named legion. My apologies on the confusion. though Gladiator and the Eagle are the ones that immediately jump out to me.

I'll look at some Osprey book, i always forget about them and i have a few from other eras!

I had not found either of those sites but wow lots of info and photos already.

Its a really good point about them providing there own. Everything i have heard about this era specifically was that they even provided their own armor and that could determine, along with age, what you were classified as. I'll keep that in mind when im making my units.

I'm thinking the plan will be this:
for velites especially i will do a large variation of colors with shields in one or two colors.
Hastati will be no more than 3-4 tunic colors and ill keep shields per unit of soldiers
principes will be red or white(off-white) with shields again all the same within a unit.
Triarii will all be in red with red shields.

that just leaves the shield decals. i am terrified to freehand that stuff. ive never messed with water slide decals before. do we know if they actually had symbols like that on shields or not?

again thank you all for your help, i am super excited to play Clash and to get into this era. 

Offline Shahbahraz

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2020, 11:49:13 PM »
All we really know is that expert observers in the civil wars (Marian period) were able to determine the arrival of new legions. Which suggests shield colours, as at a distance, not much else would be identifiable.

Tunics, even if at first civilian in origin, would be worn out quickly under armour and straps, and would have to be replaced by the legions. There is a theory that off-white, being undyed and cheapest, was the general use colour, but that there may have been a 'battle dress' if so, it would probably have been red. It's cheap to dye, relatively colour fast and doesn't show the blood so much, an important point for morale.

Given that legions had names, it's quite possible that they developed shield patterns reflecting the name, such as the twins (Gemini) or Jupiter's thunderbolts, and so on.

I would say that sticking to red and/or off-white for tunics is a safe bet, shields for a legion would be uniform in colour, may have carried legionary symbols.
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Offline Frostie

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2020, 07:50:24 AM »
Here is my take on Republican Roman.  I chose a few tunic colours and then one standard shield colour per Legion

Offline Burnin Coal

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2020, 10:56:47 AM »
Here is my take on Republican Roman.  I chose a few tunic colours and then one standard shield colour per Legion

Really like your take on it...great looking units too...when I eventually get onto Republican Rome I shall be adopting a similar approach

Offline Easy E

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2020, 04:07:09 PM »
The 'Official" answer is that we do not know. 

However, this allows you to do whatever you want!  Therefore, the schemes you suggest work well.
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Offline wmyers

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2020, 06:09:23 PM »
Xenophon (431 BC – 354 BC) relates that red was the colour uniformly worn by the 10,000 he commanded.

https://books.google.ca/books?id=QqA6DwAAQBAJ&pg=PA218&lpg=PA218&dq=xenophon+tunic+colour&source=bl&ots=HdIMKg-lG6&sig=ACfU3U3XMjGEbKbXXtvYrZwrs9waHgvbLg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjT8Zeg9YPoAhWFuZ4KHZmYDZMQ6AEwDHoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=xenophon%20tunic%20colour&f=false

Anton Powell (2017) asserts that was a common practice among the Greeks by this time.

https://books.google.ca/books?id=OWPNDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT211&lpg=PT211&dq=xenophon+tunic+colour&source=bl&ots=gvn5Bi4tsn&sig=ACfU3U3PRZR98-8QcIk1IpzV2j3LJgnmEg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjT8Zeg9YPoAhWFuZ4KHZmYDZMQ6AEwC3oECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=xenophon%20tunic%20colour&f=false

Fields (2013) states the colour red was used not only hide blood stains, but to also instill terror into opposing forces.

Did the Romans copy the Greeks in all things?  We do not know for sure, but we do know they had great influence.

So, red would not be out of place; there are a number of good reasons to use that colour. 

Offline seldon

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2020, 06:58:17 PM »
And brown pants ?  :D

Offline seldon

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2020, 07:04:05 PM »


some tunics...

Offline CommanderBaker

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Re: Tunics, Tunics, and more Tunics. Colors for Clash of Spears
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2020, 03:00:25 PM »
Frostie those are great!. yeah i like that idea. keep the shields uniform and the tunics more varied. for sure what im going for. I'm super excited for clash of spears. Just played a pick up game to just test rules out with some normans and vikings. was good fun.