The El Cid project is coming along nicely. I’ve now sorted through the ordered figures and put together the units. It’s going to be 2 DBA bases for a cavalry unit, 4 DBA bases for an infantry unit and 2 for a skirmisher unit.
I only paint in small batches of maximum 16 figures. My scratch built painting rack doesn’t take more, but more importantly, I need the feeling of getting things finished. Mass-producing hundreds of figures at the same time would be a nightmare and I’d never finish!
So, what have I painted so far?
Here we have two units of Spanish heavy cavalry and one of peones, which I will probably count as medium infantry for Hail Caesar. Incidentally, I didn’t buy the army lists and will base the unit stats on my own research. Also, I like the idea put forward by the rules writers that the stats should be adapted to the scenarios at hand, so if a small elite band fights against huge masses of ambushers you might give them some characteristics you wouldn’t give them if you fight a large battle. This is one of those ideas that immediately makes sense and one asks oneself why one didn’t think of this!
The cavalry are all Khurasan Norman Milites, very nicely sculpted figures with dynamic poses. At first I wanted to mix them with Splintered Light Normans to add some variety, but when I had them in my hands I realised that Khurasan horses are large – they are, in fact, considerably larger than those of any other manufacturer. So I will make separate units of Splintered Light cavalry and hope they will at least look ok beside their larger brethren.
The spears are a motley crew of Splintered Light, Essex and Donnington. They go together quite well! I am also happy with the decision to go for four DBA bases for the infantry. If I had made IMPETUS bases of 8x4cm, I wouldn’t have stuck that many figures on it. But, as K. remarked, the mass of figures really makes them look dynamic.
This is what was called a ‘phalanx’ formation and was used by the Almoravids. It consisted of a kneeling front rank of long spears and behind them ranks of javelin throwers. It was very hard to break and accounted for the many victories of the Almoravid forces. For Hail Caesar, I thought of giving them the Long Spears as well as the Pilum special rules, but this might be too powerful, so we’ll see. I’m going to do a couple of those, as they will form the bulk of the Almoravid army.
The front rank consists of Museum Miniatures figures. The second rank is a mix of Museum, Essex (second from left) and Lurkio (third from left). I made a litham, the traditional cloth worn by Berbers that covers the mouth area, out of green stuff for the Essex figures. This is an easy method of converting generic Arab figures to Almoravids.
Here you can see some of the light troops. In the front we have light Berber cavalry. Those are from Lurkio and I like their poses – I’ve also got some Berber cavalry from Minifigs, but not only do they have only one pose, it is a very static one.
Behind them are tribal skirmishers from Essex and behind those Spanish skirmishers, a mix of Essex and Minifigs. I’m a bit divided about Essex: Some of their figures are quite bland, but some I find very charming. There was a mix-up with the order, but their customer service was excellent and they sorted it out without any fuss.
Well, that’s my progress so far. Next I will paint up more of the Almoravid spears and a unit of Black Guard, the Almoravid elite infantry. My aim is to have about five or six units per side so we can get in a first game. However, before that I will have to make some new terrain – English pastures won’t really do it for Al-Andalus!