Tales of the Budget Warlords - Month 1

Written by George Kleanthous / 20.08.2019 / Views


I'm guessing you have read the intro article...if not then get over there and give it a read!

If you have, well, I guess it's time to introduce the Budget Warlords and what they are working on

Our Budget Warlords:


Well, I am proud to present the first part of my ‘Budget Army’ for Kings of War!

The premise of the challenge is that 5 members of the ‘Model Box’ community have taken it upon themselves to show how thrifty and easy it is to paint up and present a playable army. We decided upon Kings of War as the Army Lists and basic rules are free, perfectly sitting in the ‘thrift zone’ and also allowing free rein across both Historical and Fantasy armies. The points value was set at 500. A perfect ‘starter’ value.

I decided to go with the Late Roman Empire as my poison of choice. The reason I went this direction was purely for my love of Rome … pretty much in a nutshell.

Month 1 then … Heroes and Characters … and yeah … I was naughty and added a Cavalry Unit – why I hear you ask, why have you broken the rules on month one? Truth be told I only have one Hero and decided to live life on the edge and make judicious use of my painting time, I know what I have to come.

First things first – Late Roman leaves quite a large area to investigate. I spent several days searching the web and came across ‘Belisarius’ by ‘Footsore Miniatures’ – at £7 for a Cavalry Figure I was not only blown away with the sculpt but also enamoured with the cost. Literally taking the challenge to the letter I also looked what other units ‘Footsore’ had to offer – why I hear you ask? Isn’t part of this challenge to showcase UK Miniatures Manufacturers, well yes .. but I had a 10% discount code – you surely can’t argue with my logic on this.

I browsed the available Cavalry and came across the ‘Romano/British Heavy Cavalry’ 3 for £10 – winning! Now I will let you into one of our secrets to thrifty wargaming really early on… Kings Of War only requires a 50% +1 rule to unit size to be legal. So, by selecting a 5 man unit of Cavalry I only needed to purchase and base 3. You may see this theme repeated.

Next was movement trays – now I will come on to these fully at a later stage regarding my Infantry units, however here I will cover the solution I have employed for these bad boys. The solution was, to scour eBay! Not finding much that was cheap, I lucked out on an old plastic GW Movement Tray set (or part thereof) for £3.75, which gave me enough for an ‘old skool’ 5-man Cavalry unit. Brilliant!

This still left me with a basing dilemma – cavalry doesn’t tend to come with bases, sad but true – well thank you ‘The Works’ £2 for a big ole bag of ‘discs’. Upon sorting through them I found that they were conveniently 20mm, 32mm and 40mm in diameter. I dived straight in for 4 x 40mm bases and knew I had a job done.

As this isn’t really a ‘painting tutorial’ I will spare you the painting processes, however, I did have to sort out how I was going to make my Cavalry look decent on their multibase and avoid gluing them directly to the base. This was an extra challenge I set myself to allow use across multi gaming systems, Kings of War, SAGA, Hail Caesar and Warlords of Erehwon. This would lead me to have to think a bit outside the box. There are obviously bases out there that you can buy to do the job but as a thrifty challenge it was up to me to come up with some money saving ideas – so I came up with what is shown in the pics and using some 20mm discs from the Works selection I was able to come up with a secure mechanism for keeping the minis in place on the base and yet be removable. 

So … I present to you Month One. Belisarius and Cavalry.

£21.65 (Basing Materials not included)


Inspired by the opening sequence of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000) movie, where Maximus and the Roman legions are squaring off against the Germanic hordes, I have decided to go with a rag-tag Germanic army, led by a suitably burly Germanic Chieftain. They will also be the perfect opponents for my small Roman army I have on the go.

My first purchases are from Warlord Games; Ariovistus, Germanic Chieftain (£4.00) and a box set of Tribesmen of Germania (25). Add postage and the total comes to £34. For the budget gamer, the Tribesmen Box is a steal! 43 models for £25! If I were to use the exact model count for a Regiment I would need 20 models and a Horde I would require 40. I will opt for a more scenic base and a sparse model count. Since the minimum number of models required is half-plus-one, I’ll add 21 models to create one Horde-sized base and the same again on the other.

This should give me a nice starting army consisting of a leader, and two Hordes of Tribesmen.


I am typically inclined toward small force skirmish games or an RPG with maps & minis. However, this project is interesting. I decided that I was going to build two armies for it. One historical, one fantasy.

I usually start with exploring Miniature Market and Miniature Giant for figures. With this search, I had to go into completely different websites that cover historically accurate, large scale armies. I’ve never looked closely at these sites before. The other thing that I was shooting for was to purchase everything for these models and not make anything or use anything that I already have. Well, with the exception of some of the basing materials. I was going to go cheap on these by using sand and some (clay, non-clumping) kitty litter. You can get a 10lb bag for about $3-4 . Realistically, the cost of the kitty litter and sand is negligible.

I tried to use US sellers as much as possible on my purchases, as the shipping costs from the UK are pretty high.

I chose to go with Spartans for my historical force (mostly because I watched ‘300’ around this time). My force consisted of 2 regiments of Hoplites (11 each) with spears and shield, a regiment of archers (11), a unit of war dogs (3) and a leader. (Everyone needs to have a dog, or two, or three).


The first criteria for the Spartans was that they had to be historically accurate. The second consideration was the quality of the figure’s sculpt. The third is price. I went through many, many websites trying to find the right Spartans. In the end, I liked the Hail Caesar Spartans (Warlord Games) sculpts the best for my regiments.

After realizing that the figure that I was going to use for my leader was not very exciting, I decided that I was going to be using the Hoplite with Spear and Shield (Mortal Gods) from the February Model Box as my leader. He is going to be mounted on an Alien Lab Creator base from the same MB.

The movement trays are from Tectonic Craft Studios. They make mainly MDF items. I had a minor bump (my error) with the order and the issue was taken care of right away. Their customer service was great. The cost for the trays was split between the Spartans and the Ogres forces for a cost of $34 for all of them. Split in half, $17 (~£13) for each.

I bought most of these items on eBay because of the lower prices. Warlord Games - Hail Caesar Spartans, Hail Caesar Wardogs, and MDF bases. Total for these, with S/H and tax, is $50 (~£38). I went with Victrix Ltd. directly for my Greek Archers.  With S/H, they came to ~£20. I had to order the latter from the UK and had to pay a much higher price than I wanted to for shipping.

I went with Ogres for my fantasy force. I needed 2 regiments of Ogre Berserker Braves (3 each), a regiments of Goblin Archers (11) and an Ogre Warlock Leader.

I decided that Reaper Bones figures would be best for representing these Ogres inexpensively. I needed 2 regiments of Ogre Berserker Braves (3 each) and an Ogre Warlock Leader. I wanted to make sure that my ogres all had the same look to them, so the figures that I chose were all sculpted by Bobby Jackson (one of my favorite miniature sculptors). All of these were bought from Miniature Giant. The total for them, plus shipping, was $27 (~£21). The 40x40 MDF bases ran $12 (~£9). The Warhammer Goblin Archers ended up being the best deal that I could find for archers. I really don’t like these figures, but for the price, they couldn’t be beat. Goblin archers, £15.

I did terrible on the Spartan force. I am at £71, and this isn’t even counting that I am    using the Hoplite from February’s Model Box. I see that I should have looked a LOT harder to find better deals on the models. I think that part of the problem was that I kept finding other cool miniatures and websites.

I am doing better on the Ogre box. The final total for them is £48.


More to come...


Why did I choose samurai? Well why not! I have loved them since i first started practicing martial arts as a kid. Their code of honour has always appealed to me as has the combination of aesthetics and effectiveness of their weapons and armour.

        The heroes i chose i found on ebay. They're from CMON miniatures, the fox clan Daimyo and one of the fix clan Bushi and they cost me £4 & £3 respectively (£3 & £2 for the figures and £2 p&p). They are one-piece plastic and really detailed. They were incredibly daunting to think about painting as i have put brush to miniature in over 20 years!


Going into this challenge I knew I’d have my work cut out for me. I’ve not yet delved into the world of Kings of War so I knew very little about the game and how lists were built. Luckily Dan was quite experienced with the system and pointed me to the free rules which can be found on Mantic’s website as well as the KoW easy army site for easy list building.

Now that that was out of the way the truly hard part was beginning… picking an army. As KoW allows you to not only use any models you like but also has lists for fantasy and Historical armies I had the hard choice of deciding between Fantasy (something close to my heart) or Historical, a subject I am not to well versed in.

One of the cool things about KoW is that you can, if you wish, take mythical creatures in a Historical army so I felt that that would be a great way of getting me into Historical minis whilst scratching my fantasy itch.

I originally wanted to run a Chinese army and theme it around the famous Terracotta Soldiers however not only was it incredibly hard to find ancient Chinese miniatures, but they were also quite expensive!

So failing to find a Chinese army I could build on the cheap I decided to move over to a Medieval army (which I knew would be easier to find) I still wanted my army to be mythical so I opted to build an Arthurian army of Camelot which meant I could be flexible with the units and add mythical creatures to it in the future should I wish to do so.

I found my King Arthur mini whilst curating the Medieval March Model Box and knew it would be perfect for my General, It was the King/Prince from Crusader Miniatures without the mount which cost £6.00. I also found my Merlin (who would be my army’s wizard) from Footsore Miniature’s ‘Merlin & Lancelot’ set which cost £6.00 direct from Footsore Miniatures (enter site links).

As I was only using 1 half of each set but had to pay £12 for the privilege as they did not come separately - £3 per model isn’t bad though!

We hope you enjoyed the first part of our Budget Warlords challenge. If you are interested in starting your own Budget Warlord challenge feel free to share your progression in the Model Box - Official Group on Facebook or use the hashtag #yourmodelbox #talesofthebudgetwarlords

You'll be hearing from us soon!!!