No work on my figures over the last few days as I have been busy at work and, worse than that, I got an iPod for the first time. So I have been spending my time working out how it works and trying to put some tunes on it before a business trip next week.
I have been reading the 3 Ospreys on ancient Greek armies however:
Spartan Army, Greek Hoplite and The Ancient Greeks. A few things are becoming clear. The nature of Greek warriors' equipment changed somewhat between the Persian Wars at the time of Marathon and Thermopylae (beginning of 5th Century) and the Peloponnesian Wars (late 5th century). While not being a complete accuracy fanatic (this all was 2,500 years ago and so what we know is fragmentary anyway) I have ascertained that change related to three key areas which effect the look of the troops enough to make a difference to the appearance of a Spartan wargames unit.
Helmets Spartan troops at the time of Thermopylae wore helmets that were largely indistinguishable from those worn by other Greek city states except, perhaps for the transverse crests on some (officers?) helmets. At some point, certainly by the Peloponnesian War, the so called Pylos helmet became the standard helmet in Sparta. The transverse crests seemed to remain.
Armour Early period troops seemed to have a mixture of bronze and linen armour but, again, by the later period armour was becoming less common due, it is though, to the more mobile tactics of opponents.
Shield Blazons The familiar Spartan Lambda device was not in use at the time of Thermopylae but again seems to have been introduced later, although earlier than some other city states devices. I remember the illustations in the book The War Game I received in the early 70s had the Spartan troops with the lambda device and I think that the film The 300 Spartans did the same. However, it now looks as if this was unlikly.
Looking at the Foundry Figures they are a mixture of armoured and unarmoured but all wear the Pylos helmet except for a few figures with transverse crests on their helmets who wear normal Greek helmets (modelled on a couple of surviving Greek sculptures from the earlier Persian Wars period). Given the distinctive long hair of the Spartans there are no Foundry figures with regular helmets and long hair.
So I have, therefore, made the decision to model an early Peloponnesian war Spartan Army, as this suiots the available figures: Pylos helmets, some armoured and some unarmoured hoplites. I need to decide whether to mix these in units or have separate ones. I am starting with the armoured hoplites.
Spartan troops wore crimson for most of the period but given that I use Humbrol Enamels their crimson looks a bit dark for ancient dyes and I think I will go for Humbrol 153, a sort of dark red closer to the illustrations in the Osprey book.