Monday, September 25, 2017

Saracen Spearmen for SAGA

"Saracen" spearmen in 28mm for SAGA: Crescent and The Cross - figures by Perry Miniatures

I'm taking a bit of a break from 30k painting, and my hobby focus is shifting back about 29,000 years or so to the era of the Crusades.  These are 28mm arab spearmen, metal castings from Perry Miniatures.  The spears are steel spears which the Perrys once sold as well (but no longer appear to).  These eight figures are meant to serve as one-point-worth of warriors in a Saracen warband for the game SAGA.

As I needed to paint the shields, I opted for very, very basic-looking patterns

Back in February, during Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, I got started on a Crusader warband for "SAGA: Crescent and the Cross".  During the Challenge I managed to complete a four-point warband for the Crusaders.  Each "point" in SAGA is a variable number of models, depending on whether you have hearthguards (four figures per point), warriors (eight figures per point) or levies (12 figures per point).  In this case it was two points of hearthguards and two points of warriors for the Crusaders, so twenty-five models once the warlord was included.

I used steel spears from Perry miniatures, and I absolutely love them - unfortunately the Perrys don't seem to stock them anymore?

Of course the Crusaders would need some figures to Crusade against, and I intended to finish a Saracen warband to oppose them, but I only ever finished a single model for them - the mounted Warlord figure. The poor Saracen warlord would not last very long in the face of 25 Crusader attackers...if I ever want to finally getting around to trying "Crescent and the Cross" with the group the Warlord was going to need his own warband too!

I tried some vague-looking arabic script on a couple of the shields to add some flavour to the warriors
The Challenge finished in March, and I never got around to finishing the Saracen warriors. Indeed, I don't think I've painted anything other than 30k in one scale or another since then! Its been power armour and bolt guns since then.  After I got back from the lake this year, I thought it was time for a change, to freshen things up and hopefully try and get some momentum behind this project.

The Saracen warlord appears, overjoyed that a few warriors have decided to join him!
While the clothing of these warriors is somewhat straightforward, one of the greatest deterrents I find to actual painting and collecting figures for ancient warfare of any sort is the shields. While LBMS does make some amazing shield transfers, there is a bit of a gap when it comes to the arab shields for the Perry range (I could not find Islamic LBMS transfers for the kite-shaped Perry shields).  So these were hand-painted, and while they are pretty basic, the painting of shields remains a big mental hurdle I need to clear when painting these figures (which are just marvelous sculpts, by the way). 

For a skirmish game, I would prefer to have these guys on round bases.  But I am also harbouring ambitions of playing "Hail Caesar" one day, and that calls for formed units.  When I did my crusaders, I based the infantry on square bases in the vain notion that they might join a larger, formed "Hail Caesar" unit.  While my ambitions to ever get a "Hail Caesar" force of any sort together continue to fade the more I consider it, I still wanted the Saracens to match the look of the Crusaders base-wise, so that is why they are on square bases too. 
The Saracen warband to date - nine figures painted, another 16 to go...and all of them mounted!
For years and years and years I have aspired to game in the setting of the ancient and medieval world, particularly in the Crusades.  I have always been fascinated by that period of history, and the notion of gaming in that setting is super intriguing. But man, my momentum dies every time I start in on the shields (I HATE painting shields).  There are other drags too - trying to source spears etc, never mind the complexity of the uniforms and armour for different Islamic warriors, tribes and factions.  The more I try to do this stuff, the more it seems it's just one of those areas where I don't think my interest will ever translate into the outcome from the painting table.

Having said that, I'm determined to stick it out, however, and at least get this Saracen warband finished!  That's nine figures finished from a final total of 25...hopefully I can build up some momentum and keep it going! The "Hail Caesar" game may never happen, but hopefully I can get some SAGA skirmish games in sometime this fall.


Dallas said...

The models look great, Greg. I have no doubt that you will be able to grind out the rest of the faction (shields and all) in no time!

Peter Douglas said...

Great to see the Arabs Greg, you've done a great job with them. I love these Perry figs, one of my favourite ranges and the era is full of colour. Shields look great - hand painting is definitely the way to go IMHO transfers are far more frustrating to use.
Cheers, Peter

john de terre neuve said...

Nice job Greg, I believe you have done a very nice job on the shields and the figures look great, I think I would find the crusaders the greater challenge which I have yet to paint.


JamieM said...

Very nice indeed and Saga is a good fun little game so even if you never get to "Hail Caesar" status, I'm sure you'll have fun with them.

Curt said...

They look wonderful Dude! Your shields are great. I went with Footsore for Arabs, not just because they are great castings, but also because they have a whole range of shield transfers as well. I, like you, HATE painting shields.

DaveV said...

They look great, Greg! Shields can be tough.

I am actually thinking about doing a crusading order for Saga. Templar bodies with Order of Santiago shields and iconography.

Peter said...

Just come across your blog looking for 30K inspiration but I also harbour dreams of a force for the Crusades. At least you have figures and have painted some - I haven't even got around to buying any yet! These are very nice indeed. BTW LBMS have some Arab kite shield transfers here: