Painting to Play: Speed Painting Your Gangs of Rome Miniatures with Jon Harrington

Hi, I’m Paul, and welcome to the hobby tea break that is Sculpting, Painting and Gaming.

The internet allows the modern hobbyist unprecedented access to research materials and images of painted miniatures. The majority of these images, however, feature miniatures painted to a standard that most of us are unable to reach. This can be especially disheartening to those new to the hobby, and who may think that every miniature in their collection must be painted to this standard. That, at least to some, can be disheartening.

However, as outlined in this article by Jon Harrington, there’s no need for the miniatures we game with to even approach, let alone match, these standards. So breath out, relax, and let Jon take some of the pressure off.



I want to show how easily you can paint your Gangs of Rome miniatures to a tabletop standard and, in doing so, spend less time painting and more time playing. This article is aimed at those relatively new to painting, and features the base, wash and highlight method. Hopefully it will provide some ideas and, maybe, a little inspiration.

I have chosen to paint three gang fighters and a mob to show you a range of miniatures. Once built, the miniatures can be primed with a generic grey undercoat, which can be applied with a brush or aerosol. I have used resin jigsaw bases for the fighters but have made my own cobbled bases for the mob. War Banner, however, sell some very nice resin mob bases on their webstore.


When I paint human figures I apply the flesh colour first because it’s the ‘bottom’ layer. I have used a range of flesh tones because Rome was a melting pot of humanity and this gives variety between the figures. In this case I’ve used four different colours, two from Army Painter, Dwarven Flesh by Cote d’arms, and Rhinox Hide by Games Workshop.


Neither the gangs nor mobs would dress like an army in similar uniforms so I’ve raided my paint store and chosen a range of colours for the clothing. Because I’m going to wash the figures I have deliberately chosen to use lighter shades to offset the darkening effect of the wash.


With the clothing completed it’s time to add colour to any smaller details such as belts, bracers and weapons.

The next step is to add depth to the block colours by using washes for shading. I use the Army Painter Quickshade coloured washes to improve colour retention compared to using a single tone. If these were going to be painted to a higher standard I would be more sparing, but here it’s a case of covering the colour with the appropriate wash and allowing it to collect in the recesses.


Inevitably there is a loss of brightness when you use this method, but the next step will lift the figure. To recover the highlights I dry brush the original colour over the washed area. You can see the improvement in the right hand figure but with darker base colours it can be worthwhile dry brushing again with an even lighter shade to pick up the edges.


Finally I apply and metallic paint, typically gunmetal with silver dry brush for weapons and a bronze for buckles and clips.  A quick coat of matt varnish will protect the paint and stop chipping during play.

The bases are really easy. Cover them with a light brown—in this case Army Painter Banshee Brown—and then wash with a soft tone all over. When that is dry apply a light dry brush of the brown to the edges of the cobbles and finally glue some small areas of green flock to the base for colour.

The mobs and fighters are then ready to play. This is as far as I go for tabletop standard, but the detail in the Gangs of Rome miniatures means they are eminently suitable for a really high quality paint scheme. War Banner’s studio / promotional miniatures are painted by Darren Linington and his painting is truly inspiring. If you want to know how he paints faces he’s contributed a great article to Sculpting, Painting and Gaming.



About Jon Harrington

An on / off wargamer and painter for over 30 years, Jon Harrington is enjoying his latest return to the hobby. He is keen to stop buying more miniatures than he paints (failing) and not to buy any more game systems (also failing).




Written by chief writer Adam L. Dobbyns with Andy Hobday, and based on a concept by Darren Evans, Gangs of Rome is an innovative skirmish game set in the bloody and violent streets of Rome.

As the ambitious head of a wealthy family, you have your eyes set on the Senate. Can you use your gang of street fighters to grab, grow and exercise your influence on the city and seize a place in the senate?

Recruit. Dominate. Ascend.

This is Gangs of Rome, an innovative 28mm Skirmish game for the sharp of mind and bold of action.

Welcome to Rome, Dominus.



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About the Author

Paul L. Mathews
A born-again wargamer since 2015, Paul L. Mathews is now the editor at War Banner. He is also the head honcho at his own freelance enterprise, Tabletop Creative. A dull boy, Paul's interests include editing and staying up past his bedtime

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