Sunday, August 2, 2015

Forgotten Army: Part 2.

My last posting featured mainly my Byzantine foot.  Here's more of the horse.
These first pictures are of my kataphraktoi (klibanophoroi according to WRG army lists for 6th Edition Rule set).  The right hand pair (from their perspective) was my original, single, double-based elements.  I gave them all lancers, partly because I had given all my SHC (super-heavy cavalry) lances when building up my armies for earlier rule sets - well mainly that, actually.  I already knew that the lance-armed outer ranks protected the bow-armed inner ranks.  
Mace, lance and bow armed kataphraktoi.
But the left hand element (nearer the camera in the above picture) I built up according to the description received from the Praecepta Militaria of Nikephoros Phokas, with maces in the front rank, archers in the middle of the rear rank, flanked by lancers.  The maces came from the Revell Hundred Years' War plastics, the ones with the smaller heads looking ideal for this scale.
The maces came from Revell plastic
100YW figures.

The Emperor leading his army into battle, painted according to  Angus McBride's portrait of Basil II in the Osprey book in the 10-11th Century Byzantine army.  In my own Empire of Ionium (Capital City, Ionople - it's great having a vaguely Greek name!) the Emperor Dementios commands overall, but can rely on Ghiorghios Maniakes, Dmitrios Psychopathes and Michael Paraphroneus with independent commands.  Just as well, with an empire beset by enemies all around... and within... (Nikephoros Phobos is slated to be the villain, or maybe it will be Sklerus the Skeletal... )(...or both).

The Emperor and his icon bearer.
I painted the icon, which was supposed to be of 'Our Lady of Blachernai', with no idea nor information what the original looked like.  So it became a kind of 'Madonna and child' style of thing.  If I were to do it again, I think I would make it the facial portrait only of Mary ('Our Lady').  As the thing is now done I have left it as it is.   

Tagmatic kavallarioi.

Now for the kavallarioi (kataphraktoi in WRG 6th Ed Army lists).  The above barded types I designated Tagmatic, although by the turn of the millenium I believe the bards were being phased out.  I tended to identify my regular Tagmata by giving them kite shields.  Some of these follows have lost their lances, or else had the spear heads knocked off them.
More Tagmatic kavallarioi.
The lance construction is robust enough for most occasions, but aren't very resistant to a knock.  They are made from modelling wire and about half the pointy end of a pin, held together by the paper or tinfoil pennon.  Paper pennons, if not self-coloured, are coloured with some sort of marker pen. Regarding them as self-shading and self highlighting, I never add shading or highlights to flags, guidons or pennons.
Kavallarioi en masse.
Even badly in need of a morale boosting period of TLC, Byzantine horse make an impressive sight en masse.  To the right of the above pic, a body of Bulgar spear men apprehensively await the onset.
Kavallarioi en masse, showing shield designs.
My Thematic horse I characterised by their lighter weight (no bards) and the round shields.  They were classed as Cv(O) [Ordinary cavalry] under the Konstantinian List (#75), but Cv(S) [Superior] under the Nikephorian (#64).  My preference lay with the Nikephorian list, but I often played with the Konstantinian in order to get some 'home' games!  The high aggression factor accorded the armies of Nikephoros Phokas, John Tzimiskes, and Basil II Porphyrogenitus made me often the 'invader'. Maybe that was why I never did get the hang of using the terrain set-up to my advantage... 

Thematic or provincial kavallarioi.

All my cavalry arrived with very short lances. As I like pennons on my lances, they needed to be longer to accommodate them.  Having carved out the moulded on lances, I bored a hole through which the shaft could be thrust. Generally speaking this method is very successful.  I could have made them more robust by wrapping the pennons around the wire, leaving enough of the end exposed for the head.  But I can be over fussy occasionally.

Thematic or provincial kavallarioi.
I also have a thing about shield designs.  I like colourful and spectacular if I can achieve them.

Below,  a small contingent of Normans, led by Roussel de Bolluxe, in the service of the Emperor.  Apart from the flag, these guys kept their original lances.
Below, masses of Ionian (Byzantine) horse, led by Dementios himself, bears down upon a line of Vulgarian spearmen.  The spearmen form a project barely half finished, and that was where they have been left for over ten years already.  The Byzantines were for the most part painted between 15 and 30 years ago.  Considered in that light, they have stood up to their neglect quite well.
Byzantine horse attacking.

Below, some trapezetoi that never made it into the DBM army.  From a unit of perhaps a dozen figures, only two could be recruited.    I had begun on a second unit, and all.
Surplus light horse...

I know I posted this picture (below) last time, but I want to explain something further.  The leading pair of light horse elements were my hyperkerastai - fast moving light horse archers and flank guards. They were classed as LH(F).  All four figures were bow armed.  The trapezetoi (LH(S) were all given lances and javelins.  But what of the light horse, at the time classed as LH(O)?  I split the difference, one horseman getting a lance, the other a bow.  Of course, I now discover that these procoursatores are classed as LH(S) as well.  Go figure...
Hyperkerastai and procoursatores.

Finally (for this posting) some pictures of Byzantine psiloi - light foot: toxotai (bowmen), and akontistai (javelinmen), and to close, my simple and long-serving Byzantine baggage camp.

These javelinmen began their career as slingers...

Byzantine  baggage camp and logistic support...
(To be continued: more on the Bulgars and Georgians - oh, and more bally Byzantines...).


  1. Great stuff! The Byzantines have always been a favourite of mine, especially with Belesarius!

    1. My first thought was to go the Belisarius way, or maybe Emperor Heraclius, but reading up the history of the later Empire settled me onto the 10th and 11th centuries. I might equally have gone for the period of the Comnenan Dynasty, which seems almost as glorious. It is a pity it petered out into the maniac Andronicus, then to be replaced by the pitiful Angeli.

  2. These look great, and have held up well over the years, or so it seems to me.
    I have several Byzantine armies in 25mm, I just can't do them in 15mm.
    I stared out with WRG 5th edition so 25s were the rage back then. I also
    couldn't get into the generic units under DBA and DBM, the armies
    seemed to lose allot f their historic and national character to me.

    1. I can't say 15mmm figures appeal to me all that much, either, but Tin Soldier figures are nearer 18mm, so are a little easier to paint, and have more of a presence. Many of my 'barbarian' figures ate 'true' 15mm.

      I have "ancient" plastic armies (Revell 100YW figures done as Wars of the Roses armies), and a DBA Roman Army with Airfix figures. More on those later.

  3. It's all very nice and you may just be tempting me to dig out mine!

    1. Thanks! That's the way it goes, sometimes. I suspect, though, that after this series of postings, it will be back into the boxes and forgotten for several more years... :-(

  4. Very impressive miniatures, so colourful and highly detailed! Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you! They do need a lot of work though. I don't know when that will happen!

  6. Good to see some of your old friends out in the light of day once more! Fascinating to see what people have in their collections. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Cheers, Aaron. One good thing I discovered; I had more armoured bowmen than I previously thought.