Thursday 17 January 2013

The Quivers of Anita Ekberg*

I'm not quite sure how it's happened but I seem to have ended up with dozens of Minifigs Pb range Palmyran archers. I have a feeling I may use them as late Roman auxiliaries, probably to take on a ravening horde of Picts and blue Hurons in some sort of 4th Century Northumbrian skirmish-ish scenario.

These javelin men are the PB125 Roman Light Infantry of the later 2nd, 3rd and early 4th centuries. They are Palmyran in style.

A Palmyran archer converted into a standard bearer.

I've got a few Palmyran cataphracts somewhere too, though sadly the Palmyran camelman figure has thus far eluded my clutches. I wonder if any wargamers ever actually deployed a Palmyran Army? A game against Mark Antony's forces would be colourful.

*Anita Ekberg was cast as Queen Zenobia of Palmyra in late fifties Italian epic Nel Segno Di Roma.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Navy Blue Seals

For those of you not familiar with The Eagle these are The Seal People.

Where is all you angels

Now the figureheads have fell?

You're probably wondering what the splendid, if semi-literate lyrics of New Romantic yacht-sailing fops Duran Duran and a load of S Range Woodland Indians have to do with Ancient Wargaming.  The rather eliptical answer is to be found in the film The Eagle (which I watched again last night - and damned wonderful it is too, from the scythed chariot of the wild-eyed druid to English actor Mark Strong's excellent decsion to affect a New York accent to play a Celtic Roman legionary).

The film's star turns are the "Warriors of  The Seal People". These blue-faced, fur clad, Mohican sporting, tooth-necklaced bedecked young chaps always put me in mind of the Wild Boys from the Duran Duran video (Though the chief looks more like a drug-addled escapee from Trainspotting)

Leaving aside the Vivienne Westwood/ Irvine Welsh touches, the other thing that is plain to see is that The Seal People owe quite a debt to the Iroquois and other North American Woodland Indians. The figures above might easily be converted into Seal People. And don't think I'm not tempted.

Friday 11 January 2013

An Unexpected Bonus

Searching through a box of figures yesterday I came across this little chap - an S range mounted gladiator by the look of him. I've stuck him on one of the PB range late Roman horses I had lying around.

Maybe it's just me, but there's something about the gladiators helmet and mask that always puts me in mind of those novelty salt-and-pepper cruets in the shape of men in bowler hats.

Be that as it may, or may not, I've just aquired a copy of the Italian gladiator boardgame/figure game hybrid Gladiatori. When I've figured out the rules I will give it a try with the s-rangers.

Monday 7 January 2013

Making Plans

Inevitably in January thoughts turn to wargame projects yet to come (best not to think of wargame projects that were once to come, but somehow never did, or we shall be here all week - the other day I found a list of Minifigs Carolingians I must have made 25 years ago and never got round to ordering). One of my regular opponents is leaving Northumberland in August and so I feel our long promised restaging of the Hydaspes must be done before he leaves (after all as far as my little Macedonians are concerned Stephen is Alexander). That means finally knuckling down and painting the Indians. After that I am casting around for something new. Presently I lean towards late Romans in the style of one of the fellows above, probably 5th Century. Battling them...Sassanids I think, since I already have lots of armoured Persian cavalry that can serve and a mighty herd of elephants. The Sassanids are, I suspect, more interesting than the Goths or Vandals, and require less tattooing than the Picts. Others may have better ideas and I am always willing to be swayed....

Beastly Hun

More snaps kindly supplied by Rob. These show Minifigs S range one-piece castings (or "Onesies" as we should probably call them nowadays) of a Hun archer and a Byzantine lancer. The Garrison 20mm cavalryman (still available from Garrison, hurry, hurry) is in for scale.

Friday 4 January 2013


Big thanks to Rob for sending over these photographs of some of the JonBee Byzantine range. I gave Rob a big tin of these years ago and though my memory is nowadays as fuzzy as my eyesight my feeling is they look better in photographs than in real life. As you will see the archer is very similar to the Greek slinger, while the spear and swordsman share common (Airfix) ancestry.

Thursday 3 January 2013

JonBee 20mm Listing

I'd meant to put this up before Chistmas but the cached document (if that's a computer term - I may just have made it up) to Vintage20Mil had briefly disappeared. Anyway, it's back now so here is the JonBee listing as best we were able to assemble it.

Looking down the list I'd have to guess that the Greek-looking officer type I posted a picture of earlier is actually the Macedonian heavy swordsman.

These little chaps are from the Greek range, clearly, but whether they are Greek Officer throwing Spear or Spartan throwing spear is another matter. I'm favouring the former, if only because the Garrison 20mm Spartans had a different style of helmet.

Assyrians AA 1 Noble, full mail, firing bow
AA 2 Standard bearer
AA 3 Light infantry throwing spear
AA 4 Heavy archer firing bow
AA 5 Light archer firing bow
AA 6 Heavy slinger
AA 7 Light spearman
AA 8 Light archer
AA 9 Light swordsman
AA 10 Standard bodyguard swordsman
AA 11 Standard bodyguard clubman
AA 13 Assyrian charioteer
AAC 1 Mounted spearman, armoured
AAC 2 Mounted archer

Persians AP 1 Officer on guard with sword
AP 2 Standard bearer
AP 3 Immortal with spear
AP 4 Light infantry standing with spear
AP 5 Light infantry charging with spear
AP 6 Light archer firing bow
APC 1 Mounted spearman
APC 3 Camel archer with shield

Romans AR 1 Tribune advancing with sword
AR 2 Centurion with sword
AR 3 Eagle bearer advancing
AR 4 Legionary advancing with spear
AR 5 Legionary standing with spear
AR 6 Legionary charging with spear
AR 7 Light infantry with javelin
AR 8 Archer firing bow
AR 9 Light infantry slinger
AR 10 Praetorian guard spearman
AR 11 Praetorian guard swordsman
AR 12 Light infantry swordsman
AR 13 Roman spearman, throwing
AR 14 Roman auxiliary
ARC 1 Mounted spearman

Egyptians AE 1 Pharaoh firing bow
AE 2 Standard bearer
AE 3 Heavy infantry charging
AE 4 Light infantry charging
AE 5 Light archer firing
AE 6 Charioteer
Egyptian Chariot (For use with Airfix horses)

(Macedonian heavy swordsman with a PB range Persian standard bearer in for scale. As you can see the JonBee figures are pretty small. The Greek hoplites in the first photo could easily pass for modern 15mm figures)

Gauls AG 1 Chief charging
AG 2 Standard bearer
AG 3 Heavy infantry with sword advancing
AG 4 Light infantry with sword
AG 5 Light swordsman
AG 6 Archer
AG 7 Swordsman with winged helmet
AG 8 Spearman with winged helmet
AG 9 Spearman
AGC 1 Mounted spearman with shield
AGC 2 Mounted javelinman

Greeks AGr 1 Officer throwing spear
AGr 2 Hoplite advancing with spear
AGr 3 Hoplite charging with spear
AGr 4 Phalanx hoplite with long spear
AGr 5 Light archer firing bow
AGr 6 Macedonian phalangite
AGr 7 Peltast
AGr 8 Spartan hoplite throwing spear
AGr 9 Slinger with shield
AGrC 1 Mounted spearman with shield

Macedonians AM 1 Standard bearer
AM 2 Heavy spearman advancing
AM 3 Heavy swordsman
AMC 3 Cataphract

Normans N 1 Norman advancing with spear
N 2 Norman heavy archer
N 3 Norman light archer
N 4 Dismounted knight with sword
N 5 Dismounted knight with spear
NC 1 Norman Knight with spear and shield

Anglo-Saxons A 1 Anglo-Saxon axeman, fyrd
A 2 Anglo-Saxon spearman, fyrd
A 3 Anglo-Saxon swordsman, fyrd
A 1 Standard bearer

Byzantines AB 1 Officer with mace
AB 2 Standard bearer
AB 3 Heavy spearman
AB 4 Heavy swordsman
AB 5 Heavy archer firing bow
AB 6 Heavy archer, helmeted
AB 7 Javelinman
ABC 1 Heavy cavalry
ABC 2 Light mounted archer

A further 11 cavalry figures were added including Huns, Goths and Mongols unfortunately we have not yet been able to find further details.

For it's time - c.1966 - this would easily have been the most comprehensive range of ancient figures available (if you ignore the German flats used by Tony Bath and others, that is), In fact even by modern standards it is pretty comprehensive.