Saturday, March 20, 2021

Byzantine Skutatoi Infantry

   I have been wanting to get to some of the Byzantines posted for quite a long time. The center piece of my dark age collection will always be around the Bulgars/Avars, Russ, Franks, Arabs, Sassanian Persians etc...all make for terrific opponents. And needless to say they are always a popular choice for wargamers. Couple notes: I have went with Crusader Miniatures for these with one substitution and that is with the shields. My aim is to represent a later time frame circa 800-1000AD a period in which some uniforms would not be out of place and for the heavy infantry the shields would be largely circular not the kite/teardrop that became more common after 1000AD. For this purpose I simply substituted Gripping Beast oval shields in place of the crusader ones. I also went with 32 figure infantry units mostly for authentic appearances. Byzantine heavier infantry (Skutatoi) would often deploy in ranks of 16 and by using 32 figure unit 8 wide and 4 deep would look appropriate. Also, roughly 25 percent would be armed with a 32 figure unit with 8 bow figures comes out to 25 percent. Lastly, I went for an uniform color for these with a common shield design....later Byzantine would have the capacity for this and it simply looks nice. For this unit I chose a scarlet red (red was a common color for the bzyantines to use) and the shield design is hypothetical. I often do not use shield transfers and for ease of painting I prefer not an intricate design that consumes too much time (after all 24 of them require to be painted) but must have enough color to cause some pop for visual attractiveness. 

Italian mounted crossbow circa 1470

      Commission work therefore figures will be based by the owner. Not certain who the manufacturer of these miniatures are? The horses that were supplied are Gripping Beast sculpts but the riders I am not certain. The owner wanted them to resemble roughly the late 1400's time frame...I opted for a more polish armor look as compared to what one would have during the dark ages(armor always difficult to photo correctly) and went with some of more known colors of the period....yellow, green, red, blue, black and white. This time frame in Italy the uniforms were often varied and colorful and not necessarily uniformed (probably due to the high mercenary content of the armies) and the hoses worn on the legs could be multi colored. Soon (well soonish) I plan on posting some of the color choices I use for horses....I do not stick to one paint brand but for horses a lot of the paints I use are PS3 paints for various shades of brown. Not certain how popular this line is for miniature painters? but wanted to share my color combos that I use in connection with pictures. At any rate....

Viking Berserkers & Russ

         Gripping Beast miniatures I believe all of them. Painted for someone else who base them but I wanted to post some pics. The main purpose is always to help others who like visual display of others to help inspire or give fresh ideas for their own miniatures. For those not acquainted with this time period...the berserkers are those clothed in the animal furs...the Russ are the rest. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Carolingian Cavalry Artizan Design

        See previous post on the Carolingians for intent and information. All these miniatures are Artizan Design miniatures. 

Gripping Beast middle Artizan figures on the side

Carolingian Cavalry Gripping Beast

   The Carolingian period in my mind is a great one to represent. The enemies are varied that they fought including Vikings, Arabs, Avars, Middle Saxons and Lombards all being some examples. They have a nice look to them with scarlet leggings being popular as contrasted with blue, white and yellow (or ochre) shirts which were all popular clothing colors.  As with my Saxons it is a project that is a slow fuse one. The other challenge and also a positive of building a Carolingian force is the allied contingents that were utilized and I have yet to decide on all the components and size I plan on having. No doubt some Swabian foot infantry along with some Breton mounted will join in as some Saxons themselves(unless campaigning against them). My current aim is to have roughly 72 (or more) mounted Carolingians themselves of which I have 36 based with others currently painted but yet to be based. The two key manufacturers I have gone with are Gripping Beast and Artizan Design. Both ranges are very nice with my only complaint is the open hand figures of the Artizan figures as the javelins are less than ideally glued on. At any rate....I will in the future include some historical notes and campaigns with both the Carolingians and the Byzantine Empire as my personal collection comprises a large selection of this time historical campaigns and battles can be replicated. The following figures are Gripping Beast with a group shot of Artizan included and some size comparison pics.

Gripping Beast in the middle with Artizan on the wings

Gripping Beast in center Artizan front and back



      Second unit of Saxon foot that would of existed in England from 850's to its fall to the Normans. No real plan for these...that is....I plan to paint up roughly 32 at a time in between other projects with the intention of having some 10 units? 320 figures sounds like a good number to have but as I work through these I'm certain I will become more specific in my intentions. All the miniatures are made up from Foundry, Crusader and some Footsore. They do not yet include the latest round of releases that Footsore has recently done with late Saxons but I do plan on adding some. I did choose to add some mail figures representing some Thegns joining the Fryd to help stiffen them up. When I paint the Huscarls I will go with all mailed clad figures and use mostly the Crusader line.