Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Painting Challenge Submission 3 - More Byzantine Cavalry

28mm metal Byzantines from Gripping Beast.

The submissions to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge continue! The Conscripts are out in force, and you have already seen a lot of great submissions from Dallas and Mike shared here as well. Hopefully Byron will share some of his amazing projects too. For my part, I am bit disappointed at my slow pace thus far. I find my move to a new house, even though it took place in September, still causes a lot of disruption to my usual hobby pace as I struggle to locate bits, get figures base coated etc. etc. and just can't get the hobby motor running smoothly, as it were...my points target seems a touch fanciful at this point...

That said, some figures are still getting painted, and I return to you with more efforts in the 28mm Byzantine area. There are eight figures here, all metal castings from Gripping Beast's line of Thematic Byzantine troops. There are three more Kataphractoi (super heavy cavalry), four Hippo-Toxotai (mounted archers) and a lone figure to serve as a Byzantine commander/character. As with my previous Byzantine entry, these figures are all based individually to provide some flexibility in terms rules/gaming approaches.

I love LMBS designs, but I do wish they could be normal waterslide transfers instead of the convoluted, multi-layer exercise. This entire sheet of decals failed, as the various layers would not come apart. Cue the hobby fury!

All of the figures - save the commander - are carrying shields, and most, but not all, of those shields have decals from LBMS. I find these products indispensable, as painting and managing shields is one of my greatest hobby foes! Shields, generally speaking, are a large mental barrier to painting these kinds of figures - only heraldry is worse. But as much as I love the LBMS transfers, I do find them frustrating...there was some manner of defect in the pack of decals for the bucklers on the arms of the mounted archers, and I found myself needing to try and duplicate the established pattern myself with freehand painting...which SUCKS. I'm sure there are reasons for the design of these products, but I just wish there were some more options for shields out there involving plain old waterslide transfers, as opposed to this incredibly fiddly and complex process of peeling layers etc. of the LBMS products.

For all that, like I said, they are indispensable...I just ordered more!

Byzantine commander/general/warlord.

Lovely sculpt from Gripping Beast, lots of fun to paint.

Anyway, enough complaining, and on to the figures. For starters, the commander/character figure is a lovely sculpt...again, it has a lot of character and I really enjoy that about many of the metal figures from Gripping Beast. He has a haughty air, as one would expect of some senior Byzantine officer/nobleman. I put a touch of purple into his clothing...not to make him an Emperor, but someone "in the family" (and is thus at least likely plotting to become Emperor).  He is not on a flashy command base, but as I intend to have him available for Warhammer Ancient Battles, he will need to have his base able to mix with others - so a standard size mounted base for him.  

Kataphractoi cavalry, ready to wreck some sh*t in the name of God and the Byzantine Empire!

The long kontarion (big spears) are steel spears from Wargames Foundry.

Thankfully there were no problems with these three shields.

The three Kataphracts are similar to the ones I painted a few weeks ago. I really enjoy these particular Gripping Beast castings, they have a lot of character.  Two of the riders are armed with Kontarion, the long spears seen with "eastern" heavy cavalry such as the Byzantines, Sassanids (and others). The other rider is brandishing his heavy mace. These figures are so fun to paint!

Mounted archers, a critical component of Byzantine cavalry units.

Again, lovely character and detail on these metal castings from Gripping Beast.

The four mounted archers, with half-barding on their horses, will join the the Kataphracts. Byzantine cavalry (and many others) often mixed archers in with their heavy cavalry into powerful combined formations. Thus the Kataphracts could shower their enemies with arrows even as they approached them, and then slash/smash and crash them to bits at contact. While I often feel like archers are second-fiddle to their mail-clad and fully barded Kataphract colleagues, the archers were essential troops for the Byzantine army, and very skilled. To be able to ride and shoot, and do it as part of a disciplined cavalry formation, took considerable practice, skill and a lot of training...even without all of the armour of their Kataphract bretheren, the mounted archers and half-barded horses represented a significant investment of resources for the Byzantine armies. The archers were key troops.

All together, the Kataphracts (including the archers) I have painted so far in the Challenge can comprise a 15-figure unit to use in games of Warhammer Ancient Battles, and thanks to the individual basing, they can make use of a special wedge formation, and I have ranked up the full unit together for a couple of pictures. 

Wedge formation for Warhammer Ancient Battles!

I look forward to having these fellows counter-charge Dallas' Normans someday!

Of course, this group can be split up as well, to skirmish in games such as "Lion Rampant", which I look forward to trying sometime soon as well.

Stay sane everyone - thanks for reading. 


Neil Scott said...

They look superb

DaveV said...

These are a very colourful addition to your force!