Sunday, August 9, 2015

Forgotten Army: Part 3

Enemies of Byzantium: irregular spearmen.
Apart from the more or less complete units requiring a bit of repair work,  I have a more-or-less historical opponent that has at various times been used as  Georgians (Abasgians) or Bulgars.  It is probably fortunate that military fashions tended to blend and mix throughout a region.  The horsed figures bought as Bulgars were fairly ideal for Georgians, even though those peoples lived at the opposite ends of the Black Sea.
Enemies of Byzantium: more irregular spearmen. Sixteen
elements (stands) in total.
What follows is a series of pictures of works in progress in various states of completeness - or incompleteness.

The below picture depicts some shields with which I had been experimenting - this some 15 years ago, you understand.  The oval shield were moulded flat,  like the starred trio in the picture.  Using two pairs of pliers, I tried bending them in a horizontal plane to give them more of the rounded ;semi-cylindrical look, as descendants of the Roman skuta.
Byzantine shields for a fourth 'Regiment'.  Admittedly the design
is anachronistic, dating more from the 6th century than the 10th,
but it has a dramatic appeal of its own...
There were meant to be 12 of them, to be wielded by the front rank of the skutatoi in the following picture.  That the shield design dates from about 400 years before, I'll treat as 'artistic licence'.
The 'Fourth Regiment'.  These guys are more heavily armoured
than the others, so dating more from the time of Nikephoros
Phocas and John Tzimiskes, than, say, Constantine IX..
In the following picture are;
1. 'Barbarian' bowmen.  These are various manufactures.  Some Tin Soldier Byzantine toxotai got in amongst them to eke out the numbers, as did some skutatoi to serve as standard bearers.  A very few figures of ancient manufacture against bulked out the whole thing to about a dozen elements.
2. Four surplus Varangian Guardsmen with axes, and shields slung over their backs.
3. Eight orphaned 'red' skutatoi who may simply remain as they are.
4. 'Red' light  bowmen (psiloi, toxotai).   I tended to use light - almost pastel - colours for regular light troops.
Byzantine detached toxotai (psilos bowmen), 'spare' skutatoi from
pre-DBM days, and the four remaining Varangian Guardsmen
figures who didn't lose their axes in favour of spears.  Edging the
picture to the left are some 'enemy' bowmen.

Rear view of the 'Axe-bearing' Guard, showing the slung shields.  One chappy has lost his...
One of the Varangians has lost his shield...
A box more than half full of 'spare' horsemen: barded and unbarded lancers, and horse archers, with a few light horse as well.  Those pennon ornamented lances are those that have come adrift from other figures.  As there are quite a few more horse archer figures than lancers, they might be given a lance and become Georgian heavy horse.  The uniforms are quite near enough in design.
Heaps of unemployed Byzantine horse.  As there will be a surplus
of 'heavy' horse archers, they may be given a lance and
become Georgian cavalry.

Shields, dislodged lances, and my preferred brand of razor blade.
The shields come flat, but I experimented with round them
using pliers.  Regiment Number Four may be getting such
semi-cylindrical shields.
A closer look at the spare shields.  You can see how I've worked on several to round them.  Pity I didn't think of it back in the early 1980s.

The previous two articles gave no particularly clear view of the light horse.  I used to go for the maximum: 1 Trapezetoi element (LH(S)) 2 Prokoursatores (LH(O) - they are the ones in the second line - and 2 Hyperkerastai (LH(F)).  You'd imagine they would get overwhelmed by the light horse of other Asiatic armies, eh, but they performed well, on the whole.  In later versions of the army, they would be assisted by Pecheneg horse archers, though it was just as likely these 'barbarians' substituted for the hyperkarastai...
Another view of the Byzantine light horse: lance-armed trapezetoi
and bow-armed hyperkerastai in the front line; lance and bow
armed prokoursatores in the second.

Some 9 lance armed extra-heavy horse, 15 lance armed heavies
and a heck of a lot of bow-armed guys.  More light horse and
'super-heavy' kataphraktoi as well.

Closer view of the 'spares'.

I also have several 'spare' skutatoi whose future remains undecided.  I am considering building out my foot units to four (not counting the Varangian Guard and the akritoi), each comprising 3 Spear and bow double elements (Bw(X)/Bw(O)), and one element of menavlatoi (Bd(X)).  Each should include two elements each of slingers (Ps(O)) and of javelinmen (Ps(S)).  That is quite feasible with my figure inventory!
The unmodified skutatoi in this picture will probably become semi-heavy
menavlatoi armed with very heavy throwing spears.

Bulgarian light horse archers from Essex, I think.  I've had them near 20 years and still haven't painted them...

Enemies of Byzantium.  These are Essex
Bulgar horse archers - quite 'gracile' figures.  They
could equally well be Georgian...
More horse archers of unknown provenance.
These, and the picture below, do have more of the 'Hunnic' look one would expect of
Bulgar light horse.
Asiatic armies need lots of light horse archers...
... but they require something with a bit of heft as well: Cv(S) (Bulgar) or Kn(S) (Early Georgian).
Not sure what these are - a bit of a mixed bag.  The centre
element looks like the personal retinue of Tsar Tervel himself...
Below, some Bulgar light horse archers that did actually get painted.
Bulgar light horse who have been with brush distance of
a paint pot...
The next two pictures are of quite nice Byzantines of indeterminate origin that have eked out my Georgians over the years.  Quite what their future is, is uncertain.
Byzantine horse figures who stood in for Georgians for many years.
They may revert to type and become thematic cavalry supporting
Nikephoros Phobos, pretender to the Imperial Purple of Ionium.
Meanwhile, I am of course leaning towards something imaginary, but leaning close to history, at least from the point of view of geography and the political situation.  The central Empire is that of Ionium, sometimes called by their enemies the Empire of Rum, from its Latin origins.

Some of these figures look vaguely Roman or sub-Roman.  But
if they can look anything like Bulgars or Georgians, that will
be what they will become.

The Emperor - a.k.a. the Czar - is one Dementius I Krazius, known as the Porphyrogenitus.  His chief commanders - Strategoi - are:
1. Ghiorghios Maniakes
2. Dmitrios Psychopathes
3. Michael Phrenetikos
4.Roussel de Bolluxe - a Norman mercenary in Ionian service.

The revolting Nikephoros Phobos has carved out an enclave of the Empire for himself - the so-called Empire of Pharbeyond - and at the head of which he has proclaimed himself Emperor, Caesar, and every other Imperial title he can think of.  Very conscious of his rights, the Porphyrogenitus, intends to deprive his rival of throne, lands and life - when he can find the time from battling Vulgarian and Abasgian barbarians...

Other enemies are:
Khan (sometimes called Czar) Tervel (Vulgarians);
King Bagrat of Abasgia (Subordinate generals Gurgen and Sumbat).

1 comment:

  1. I'm fairly sure that the unknown figures are TTG (now They copied the poses in the WRG book Armies of the Dark Ages. Personally I think that they are very nice figures so get on and paint them!