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Monday, 8 July 2019

Teaching old dogs new tricks.

                                      My enthusiasm for The Saga skirmish system for a fun couple of hours gaming shows no signs of waning. On learning of my groups intentions to hold a day of games using the crusade supplement I spent a few brief moments of insanity considering buying various boxes of shiny plastic crusade era figures to paint up a couple of armies. Then sanity took over and I decided against it. A couple of days later I was casting my eyes over the rows of troops stored lovingly for oh so many years, something I often do while looking for inspiration or even disbelief at the time invested there. Not to speak of the money. Anyway I spotted away up in a corner a couple of shelves filled with 25/28/S (I give up on figure scales to be honest). They were my WRG 6th edition armies of Asiatics and Ghazanavid forces filled with various manufacturers from Airfix to Hinchcliffe (see mixing scales was never a problem for me) I climbed on some steps I have and looked hard at the shelves and there at the back was a large mass of Asiatic horsemen both lights and heavies from I'm guessing, mainly Dixon miniatures.  They were a fairly generic lot and could serve as anything from I'm guessing Huns to Hungarians and anything in between. A quick look through the Crusade supplement and sure enough there was an eligible list , the CUMAN horde. Time to inspect.

                                   These figures are over 40 years old I'm guessing and very well used in the days of use which were before I left the UK in the 80's. I had already reconciled myself to a fair bit of repair and painting , expecting normal gaming damage and wear and tear.  Lo and behold they were in great condition. Now these figures are far from my current painting style and were almost certainly one of the first armies I performed a lot of conversion on so not perfect. The horses were painted with artist acrylics in tube form and very presentable. The riders resplendent in gaudy colours from Humbrol. not an ink or shader or two tone or even I think a dry brush. Having said that they weren't bad at all. Mounted on ponies and not horses , for their day these figures were the dog's bits in my opinion and still look good today.
                                       A lengthy production of bases and tufts some remounting and 21st century base texturing and there they were. Very pleased I am too. What do you think?

armoured nobles on cataphract horses. I think these were Dixon riders on Hinchcliffe horses. The only change I would make to these now would be replace the lead lances with brass ones.  I hate bendy lances.

 Armoured nobles on ponies all dixon. Those ponies must have been tough little buggers.

More Nobles. Quite a few conversions to be seen here.

 The next four pictures are the light horse classed as warriors with composite bow in saga. there are some really great figures in this lot with lots of character. Dixon was one of the first figure makers to give his figures real faces.

I should add I think I saw enough Arabs and Mameluks to make some sort of Saracen force as well.
Who says you can't teach an old dog (army) new tricks. 


  1. Well ,they look fine to me Robert. Once on the table you won't notice the lack of washes or drybrushing and in fact I think they'll stand out more.

  2. They look ideal for the games. Great to see these older chaps getting an outing.

    1. Oh me too. I enjoy looking up at long neglected figures and it's such a pleasure to get them back into action again for minimal cost.

  3. A lovely re-discovery of forgotten figures. I was intrigued to see you had chosen Ghazanavid forces as one of your early armies.

  4. Now there's a tale. I actually developed the army before WRG adopted it for the army lists. I may even have provoked that. This is a tale of 40 years ago when my blood lust was much greater than now. I have long been fascinated by the early mid medieval period and discovered the Ghazanavid kings while researching mamaluk related armies. I found a research pamphlet by C.E. Bosworth called The Ghaznavids:994-1040. I ordered it from the local library scanned it once then bought the same article. I was gobsmacked by the scales of the army and especially the ginourmous numbers of elephants. Now we are talking WRG 6th edition. A unit of 8 elephants each carrying 3 mounted archers is not to be sniffed at especially when shielded by a sub unit of bow armed skirmishers. heheh That army caused consternation and fear wherever i used it . Whatsmore it was backed by serious and acredited research. PB of course nerfed it a lot in the official lists but it was still a great deal of fun to play with.