One of my current projects is to refurbish a lot of my old lead pile. I had a fair amount of unpainted and poorly painted figures back from the late 70s and early 80s. Rather than keep buying new stuff I made the decision last year to refurbish a lot of the collection and make it usable again. This includes my first wargames armies consisting of wonderful Garrison 25mm Greeks and Persians (though sadly many of the Persians seem to have gone missing). I also acquired a Macedonian army made up from Hinchliffe and Minifigs models. So for the past few months while I’ve been pursuing other projects this lot have been steeping in Dettol to remove the sad old paintwork. First out of the starting gate is a battalion of Greek Hoplites. Lovely figures made by Garrison and still – in my opinion – able to hold their own 40 years later.

This batch are some of my first ever wargames figures, supplemented by some generous donations from Iain Burt. After stripping the paint the first task was to remove the bendy spears. I like nostalgia ,but tree-trunk spears entwined together like spaghetti are a step too too far. So the hands got drilled out and wire spears were added. The inspiration was to have a large hoplite phalanx – something that I’ve always wanted since seeing the photos of similar monster units in classic book The Ancient War Game by Charles Grant (see below).

The figures have limited detail so were – mostly – quite straightforward to paint. However making 48 identical figures appear in a varied and random paint scheme seemed quite daunting so I reverted to my comfort zone and put together a spreadsheet. Although this seems quite complex it only took about 20 minutes to do and then gave me a clear plan for batching up paint colours stage by stage.

The other challenge was shields. The Garrison figures are lovely but the shields are actually slightly oval rather than round. So I wasn’t convinced I would be able to get transfers to fit easily. Also I tend to enjoy making life difficult for myself so decided to hand paint them. I selected a series of designs that I could manage and allocated them again via the spreadsheet.

This unit is the first of a number that will form a Greco/Macedonian semi-historical force to be used for Warhammer Ancient Battles and other rules. One of the aims is to fight Hyborian style battles with Henry Hyde in his Byzarbian setting along with some other chums. Also they will function as Arcadian colonists in my Afreeq fantasy world – probably using Warhammer Fantasy Battles (2nd ed).

Next stage should really be to start work on some light infantry and smaller units of hoplites, assuming I don’t get diverted of course…..

Goat Major Written by:


  1. Dave
    August 4, 2019

    Awesome hoplitey goodness there mate, this is going to be a very impressive collection and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it. Dave

  2. Purprich the Great
    August 4, 2019

    I would say this is some of your best work.
    800 to go,

  3. August 5, 2019

    Beautiful work, Simon. It will be a shame when my Byzarbians chew them up and spit them out.

  4. Andrew Hardy
    August 18, 2019

    Brings back good memories. They look like modern figures and not from the seventies. Your painting is professional. When I was a young teen I had all sorts of Garrison Miniatures. I managed to obtain a large handful of Romans early this year. Getting the old chinese paint off was problematic for me. I ‘ve had to apply a fresh coat instead. It’s still work in progress, not as good as yours.

    • August 19, 2019

      Thanks Andrew. I used Dettol to get rid of the old paint. Smelly but effective !

  5. Andrew Hardy
    August 19, 2019

    I had used white spirits for over a week with little success. They were old a nd slightly bent originals, I used to have them in my first collection. My favourites were the Syrian 25mm at the time. These days collectors just want perfection in their modern miniatures. My preference are the more simplistic miniatures of the 1970’s as they are full of character, more closer to original toy soldiers in style. I had a lot of Garrison Miniatures’ Greeks. Your basing puts me to shame. Excellent.

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