Tuesday 23 June 2020

North Africa and Sicily (9th – 11th century)

Next on my list of conversions are the North African and Sicilian Muslim army. Like the Andalusian and Almoravid armies, figures for the North African are conversions of the Colonial Sudanese and for the most part this will require repositioning of weapons, new paint and rebasing.

You can see an overview of the figures in photo number one; these will cover all the options for army list III/33. The Sudanese ‘ansar’ figures all lack shields and a recent order on Donnington with their great selection of shield types will rectify this.

After an hour and a half you can see in the second photo the result of figures separated from their old bases, cleaned and bagged. Figures such as the generals, their bodyguard and lancers, will be worked on first as these have shields and can be later rebased.

Aside from repositioning their lances, all the cavalry horses have their tails shortened to allow better placement on their new bases. These should take a few days to paint and rebase, then I can move on to batch number two, the Berber light horse.  

Photo one  

Photo two  

Photo three


Shields arrived recently and completion of the Muslim North African collection moved into high gear. Painting the infantry in varied colours was helped with the use of a guide showing the alternating pattern between tunic and turban. The light horse followed a similar pattern.

Painting guide

Photo front

Photo back  

What remains of the former Colonial Sudanese army is being parcelled out into future medieval Muslim armies, but more on that at a later date.  

Sunday 7 June 2020

A Disputed Succession (1027 AD).

Following the death of the old Duke of Normandy, Richard III, Robert I ascension to the throne of Normandy (1027) was contested by his younger brother Richard suggesting their father had not died by natural means. Failing an amicable resolution, both sides rallied their forces and met on the fields near Argentan. Augmented by cavalry from Brittany, Robert had a slight advantage in mounted troops to face Richard’s greater number and better-quality infantry supported by a large number of archers.

The field, less than ideal, offered barely enough ground for Robert to deploy his force in two contingents. Richard had less problem and could extend his line to overlap that of Robert and as a cautionary move placed a reserve formation of milites behind the centre contingent.

Perplexed by his brother’s idleness (low pips), Richard sent his left-wing infantry to seize the woods and threaten Robert’s right. Taking possession of the wood, Richard’s archers showered Robert’s knights with arrows. Stung into action Robert moved his battle line forward.

The advance was not without mishap as Robert’s harassed line of milites were struck by a well-timed charge by Richard’s knights gaining an advantage.

Demonstrating more skill, Robert launched a series of charges placing Richard’s knights off balance while denying them room to manoeuvre. It was not long before Richard discovered all his troops were now committed.

The general melee that followed became so desperate only the cry of “Robert, Duke of Normandy’ could acknowledge friend from foe. 

The battle ended with a third of Richard’s army dead or wounded and Richard’s subsequent capture meant the ascension of Robert to the throne would no longer be contested. Offered a monastic life, which was refused, Richard accepted exile to Italy.  

Game resolved in five turns with a score of 4 – 1.

Robert’s Forces
1 x General (3Kn), 6 x Milites (3Kn), 2 x Breton (Cv), 2 x spearmen (Sp), 1 x archers (3Bw).

Richard’s Forces
1 x General (3Kn), 6 x Milites (3Kn), 2 x swordsmen (4Bd), 2 x archers (3Bw), 1 x javelinmen (Ps).

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Islamic Berber (III/75)

I began refurbishing the collection of Muslim armies by first reducing the ten to four double sized collections. The two months work produced the Tulunid, the Fatamid, the Bedouin Dynastic and lastly, the Abbasid (here).

The latter included four elements of Zanj which were converted Colonial Sudanese. The ease with which the conversion was done prompted me to convert more to build a Zanj army (here). From the first photo on that page you have an idea as to the quantity Colonial Sudanese that remain.

The creativity moved to full steam as more colonial Sudanese were culled to begin work on the next army, the Andalusians. It took about a week to paint the figures and banners, but photos of the completed army will have to wait as they lack shields. These should arrive this week from Donnington.

Keeping the momentum, I selected more colonial figures to build the another collection, the Islamic Berber or Almoravid. These past weeks I have been converting and painting the ‘veiled ones’. Conversion included freeing weapons that were held across torsos or head and repositioning them. In addition, Milliput was used for the veils of all the figures, saddlecloths and decorative trappings for horses and camels.

Painting the Almoravid has reached its final stage. All figures have dark blue or indigo turban and veils and include the clothing for the majority. Others are painted beige or cream colour to represent the number of vassals included in the Almoravid armies. Banners will be dark coloured, most likely dark blue to bring uniformity to the army.  

15 – 06 – 2020

The Almoravid are of similar strength; two commands strong, but have minor differences between the two. All have blue turbans and veils with blue robed figures representing the core group of Sanhaja mixed with the off white of vassal tribes, such as the Guddala and Massufa. A speculative decision on my part, but the other colours do break up an otherwise a sea of blue.

As mentioned earlier, excepting the archers (Essex), all figures have been salvaged from the large Colonial Sudan war army, principally the Ansar infantry, cavalry and camelry. Milliput was used to enlarge the saddle cloths, add veils and wool trappings for the camelry. Shields were supplied from Donnington and they have a fine range of North African and Spanish types.

My experience with Milliput has improved over the past year with the construction of buildings, camps and the odd fur cap. This video by Marco Frisoni very helpful bringing my skill level up a notch, “How To Use Milliput To Fix Everything”