Thursday 24 December 2015

Meroitic Kush – the miniatures.

The ten infantry elements are nearly complete but I thought I would place an update on the Kushite activity with a sample photo and brief text.

I am pleased with the range of clothing colour which disguises the fact that these are later period Sudanese. The muted green, blue and beige clothing are bleached to give a sense of long exposure in the sun and the skin tones and highlights have a natural sun baked appearance.

Figures were all rebased to group necessary sword armed types into two blade elements and the remainder now forms five elements of spear.

The three bow armed elements are Amorite taken from an Old Glory Biblical range. Their beards have been cut away and their clothing follows the standard fashion, however these do demonstrate their preference for another hair style.

The cavalry are Classical Indian types and with an application of Milliput now have a similar hair style as their brethren and round shields which replace the oddly shaped ones they carried before. The “Chief” has a crown similar to the illustration of King Silko done by Angus McBride and now sports a cloak.

The Milliput should be thoroughly cured tomorrow that I can finish the cavalry elements. One more day for groundwork and grass, these should be ready for their final photo this weekend. And this is just in time as a delivery arrived yesterday with figures for my latest project. 

Saturday 19 December 2015

Meroitic Kush

The Meroitic Kush comprise of two elements cavalry, infantry wielding spear or blade supported by both formed and skirmishing archers.

The mounted figures are leftover Indian cavalry and a sparing use of Milliput was used to fill out the shield to give a circular form and the hair was modified to conform to the style of the other figures. The general should have a cloak and head piece similar to the Angus McBride illustration of King Silko.

The infantry seen below will need to be re-based to build two elements of blade with the remainder spear armed. Most of these have kilts which will be painted in a variety of drab colour and leather gear. Skin tone will be articulated to reveal more muscle and arm bands.

The hair style for the bowmen will also be treated with Milliput and clothing colour will follow a similar pattern as the infantry.

These should not take long to paint up and planning six different clothing colour plus lighter and dark skin tones should give quite a variety to the group. 

Friday 11 December 2015

Meroitic Kush of the 3rd century

Collecting the Meroitic Kushite or their successors, the Nobades, is driven by my desire to take less used figures from my collection and recycle them into a usable army. In this particular case, lacking British troops for the 1885-98 campaign  my Sudanese native collection have remained unemployed since their re-basing four years ago. As the Severan Project grew in scope several African kingdoms were added to the “to do” list but were given a low priority. Now that the Bosporan collection is complete I can look toward the Sudan as my next area of conflict for the Middle and Late Imperial Romans.

Meroitic Kush
By the 3rd century AD, the Kingdom of Meroe was on the decline economically and politically and why this happened remains a mystery to scholars. Archaeological evidence records Meroitic pyramids at this time were of smaller dimensions, simpler in appearance and held less burial objects that previous centuries.  
Trade routes that moved along the Nile were now making better use of the region’s eastern shores to move goods to Arabia and India. Aside from an economic situation on the wane, Kush’s political future was in a state of flux as the names of Pharaohs or Kings are no longer recorded.

Rome at this time still held garrisons along the Upper Nile, so we can surmise the threat from the south was significant enough to maintain a military presence. Further investigation we find a northward migration of tribes fleeing from the southern regions that would later become known as Axum. The influx of these tribes into Kush no doubt added to the instability and as a consequence the inhabitants moved east. Some regard this relocation of the Kushite during the 4th century a benchmark for the people better known as the Blemmye.

Artistic license
This past week I have looked at many illustrations, rock carvings and murals spanning six or seven centuries and looking at the figures offered currently, I decided to pursue my original course and build a rebel army. Whether these are to be titled Blemmye or Nobades is not set in stone, but I do like the idea of a cobbled collection of scruffy looking rebels, perhaps modeled after the Meroitic list. 

Why this list you might ask? - Look to the terrain differences.

The army lists.
I/58 Meroitic Kushite 592 BC – 350 AD
1 x General (Cv)
1 x Cavalry (Cv) or Meroitic archers (3Bw or 4Bw)
2 x Meroitic archers (3Bw or 4Bw)
5 x Tribal spearmen (Sp)
2 x Tribal swordsmen (4Bd)
1 x Herdsman with bow (Ps)
Terrain type: Steppe, Aggression 1

Terrain differences.
If you have not noticed, there are terrain differences between the lists; the successor kingdoms, the Blemmye, Nobades, and Christian Nubian have “Dry” as home geography, the Meroitic Kush, “Steppe”.

The grassland plains are the Butana steppe which is devoid of trees for the most part excepting those areas bordering lakes or rivers. Known for its iron work Meroitic Kush depended on the forests for their production of their famed iron work.

Map of Ancient Meroe credit Ancient Sudan Org.:

Thursday 3 December 2015

The Bosporan Kingdom of the 2nd/3rd c. AD

The Miniatures.

In Phil Barker’s book The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome, the Bosporan Noble lancers of this time period are describe as similar in appearance to Sarmatian but ride un-armoured horse, light cavalry are described as Scythian and this may mean their apparel or method of fighting and citizen infantry have a similar style of uniform as Roman auxilia of the period.

Noble Lancers.
The Old Glory Sarmatian shown here all came with armoured mounts. These figures have been ordered in the past and generally had a mix of armoured (3x) and un-armoured (6x) per pack and this was not the case, so all horse were painted with cloth or leather protection. The cloaks, shirt and trousers of the riders were done in red, blue and purple or madder red to give a near “Byzantine” look. This was done for no other reason than to make them distinct from the 24 elements of Sarmatian cavalry in my collection.

Horse archers.
These are Scythian cavalry and painted with lighter shades of blue, grey and beige. Trousers, caps and harness were painted in different shades of brown. I am pleased how these turned out.

Citizen infantry and archers.
These are Roman auxilia figures and have a uniform appearance than the mounted units. The bowmen (3Bw and Ps) are Palmyran figures sporting boots, trousers and tunic with some wearing a cap or are bareheaded. These represent the Sindi and Maiotian farmers that fought as archers.

Mobile artillery.
The mule cart is scratch-built from thin triplex and scored. Fixed on an extra Napoleonic limber the cart is pulled by mules from the OG Colonial baggage pack. There has been some discussion at Fanaticus whether the bolt-thrower was fired from the cart or transported to a location and assembled for use. I opted for the latter as all the pieces looked much better when placed on a 40 x 40 mm base.

These are now ready to field against the Sarmatian, Alani and Huns.