I bought these figures in 2004, inspired by the movie. I painted two bases then, and this week, 9 years later, finally finished the project.
The main reference for this project was the Osprey book The Sarmatians 600 BC - AD 450. I initially wanted a more varied look back in 2004, but I decided on a simpler paint scheme this time round. The two bases behind the front rank date from then: you can see they are in a range of colours. The rest of the bases are painted in a more uniform red scheme. The Sarmatians used red as a colour for military equipment, and it is possible that they retained this in Roman service. I decided against depicting the horse barding as scale metal armour: historical sources disagree on whether Sarmatian horses were barded, and if so, whether in metal or leather. I decided on brown paint scheme which could plausibly represent leather barding, or, (as one source claims) scales made from split hooves or horn.
To distinguish the general's base, I made a Draco standard (which is basically a windsock) from a plastic straw and a bit of foil left over from a champagne bottle. I initially made a standard from GW "Green Stuff", but I did not like the results, so I opted for a simpler design.