Thursday, September 28, 2017

Saracen Horse Archers for SAGA

"Saracen" horse archers in 28mm for SAGA. These are 28mm sculpts from the Perry twins.

My efforts to complete a 28mm Saracen warband for "SAGA: Crescent and the Cross" continue.  I had finished the Warlord for the warband back in the late winter, during Curt's most recent Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Now that the fall season is here, I really want to finish a four-point warband for him to lead into battle.  I started with the spearmen first, as they were relatively easy, and now I have a second "point" to share - eight mounted horse archers.

The Perrys are incredible sculptors, and they knocked it out of the park once again with these Seljuk archers - I love the fluid energy in the poses - you can imagine them riding circles around hapless Crusaders, filling the air with deadly arrows...
These are 28mm metal figures from the Perry brothers' amazing First Crusade range.  They are Seljuk horse archers. When I imagine the "saracen" warriors who confronted the Crusaders, I think of troops just like these, swirling and colourful horse archers boldly riding in daring-yet-evasive formations, loosing deadly arrows at the relatively slow Crusader forces.  I'm pretty pleased to have this group of eight mounted warriors (good for another "point" in SAGA) to add to my small collection of Saracens.

The single LBMS shield I managed is visible on the left of this photo - wish I could have done them for all the shields, but having one really nice one is still a great accent for the unit
I like to paint in a process-driven fashion, but I doubt painting any of the Saracen/Caliphate etc forces will ever allow for much of that, and these colourful figures are a good example.

I have always enjoyed having a lot of broad guidance on what I'm painting, particularly when it comes to historical subjects. This might be from books, or friends, or both. But seeing as the Crusades started over a thousand years ago, there is just not that sort of "certain" historical reference that I can get with WW2 or even Napoleonics or the War of Spanish Succession etc uniforms.  At some point you need to have enough confidence to just...start winging it...within some broad, accepted boundaries of course, but still winging it...there is no "codex" for the forces from a thousand years ago. So that's what I did here, just started picking different colours to see what might work.

Hence the quite diverse colours on these fellows.  It does not seem like there was a "uniform" of any sort for the Turkish horse archers.  The closest thing seems to be an arm band that many of the Islamic warriors wear - but these also seemed to be multi-coloured.  I'm cheating and using them as a unit identifier - they are all yellow on this group, while the other colours are generally all over the place. I don't know if that is correct, but I'm going with it.

And who knows? Maybe they never wore red caps? Or white coats? I don't know. I was guessing here for just about all of this stuff.  But I'm still pleased with the overall effect - they look colourful, swift and brave.

The purple outfit is one of my favourites - when you are dressed the well, you are probable and amazing shot with the bow and arrow!

As with the infantry, I struggled with the shields on these figures.  While LBMS makes amazing shield transfers for these round shields, most of the shields themselves have studs on them which render the transfer process beyond reasonable in terms of hobby complications. That is why you only see one really nice LBMS shield in the bunch, the rest are hand-painted.

The Saracens set off in pursuit of the foolish Crusaders...
I f*****g hate painting shields, and it has been a major stumbling block in the way of my oft-stated-pledges to Curt and Dallas to finally paint some figures from this period.  But to not lose interest, I am compensating by listening to differing inspirational music, ranging from random collections of medieval harp music on I-tunes to the very mystical and excellent Loreena McKennit. And there is always the awesome "Horse Soldier" by Corb Lund - I never get tired of it, and it makes me want to paint a regiment of cavalry every time I hear it!  And besides, once its painted, hey - looks OK to me. The music did the trick here.

The starting warband I have planned for the Saracens will have a total of 25 models.  With these fellows completed, that is 17 painted so far, accounting for the warlord and two "points" of warriors.  The final eight models will be hearthguards, which in the Saracen warband are represented by fearsome Ghulam warriors.  Hope to have some progress to share on them soon!

And go listen to Corb Lund! Just typing that makes me want to paint cavalry!


Moiterei_1984 said...

Well done Greg! I really like what you‘ve done with these chaps. Colourful but not gaudy. I wouldn’t care too much about ‚historical accuracy‘ as most of what we think to know today is an educated guess at best... and sometimes not even that.

Peter Douglas said...

Great work on these horse archers Greg - I love those Perry figures. I also use a unifying feature on my medievals (I do Christian and Muslim Spanish) - it really helps to keep the units straight. You have to make a full meal deal of painting figures for this era, but it's worth it.

Still don't understand the irrational dislike of painting shields.

Curt said...

They look superb Greg! I really like the bold colours you’ve gone with - very much in theme with the richness of the period, I think,’

I completely understand the completely rational dislike of painting shields. :)

Millsy said...

Very fine indeed. I'll second Curt on the bold colours, especially the yellow.

john de terre neuve said...

Terrific job Greg, they are nice sculpts for sure.


JamieM said...

Cracking stuff Greg, you're really getting through these figures! I never really care about historical accuracy other than does it look right and these do, so that's a thumbs up from me.