Figuring out figures

I was ill last week so I’ve been a bit slow with my Lydians, but the knights are all finished and I’m onto the Paphlagonian light horse and the optional light chariot command.

King Gyges and his nobles - nearly finished

Magister Militum converted their knight command element from normal knights. The standard bearer (I’ve used the Sun off a Lydian coin) and the bugler have new right arms, but King Gyges has just had his lance cropped and converted to a sword and his arm bent around. Luckily you can’t really tell unless you are looking at the figure from below. The light chariot from the Magister Militum army pack is a 13th century BC Hittite chariot and driver, with a Lydian spearmen as the general. Beautiful though the chariot driver was I couldn’t really bring myself to use him, so I’ve just taken the javelin off an Essex desert nomad type – an inoffensive generic ancient guy with a beard and a kilt – and I’ll use him.

That brings me to the subject of choosing figures for my planned Hebrew and Neo-Hittite armies.

I want to use the Hebrews for both the I/27 Early Hebrew, and I/34 Later Hebrew lists. My choice for the Hebrews fell to Essex or Venexia figures – Magister Militum have a very limited range and Falcon Figures UK have no pictures of theirs. Looking online at armies made up using the Essex figures, although they look very nicely painted there are none with the characteristic Hebrew turban, and Essex don’t have a very good range of unarmoured figures with helmets. Venexia are the only figures who are specifically designed to be Hebrew. There are a mixture of turbanned and helmeted figures. They wouldn’t normally be my first choice as they are a little rough and gawky, but I’ve used a few Venexia figures before in my Philistine army and they painted up OK. In the 8th century BC the major influences on military equipment were the Assyrians and the Urartians, so I wanted my chariot crews (especially the heavies) and elite infantry to have an appropriate look. I’ve got a couple of Essex Assyrian chariots for the heavies and I’ll mix in some Museum Miniatures figures and any left overs from my Venexia order for the crews. The Hebrews bought their chariots from Egypt initially, so I’ll use the nice Essex later Egyptian chariots for the light chariot elements. I’ve also got a pack of Museum Miniatures Assyrian Heavy infantry, who will do as the 4Ax elite infantry in the Later Hebrew list. Venexia figures are a little larger than Essex so the big Museum figures shouldn’t stand out too much. My only qualm is that the Early Hebrews were decidedly in the Bronze Age, and the later list covers the transition from bronze to iron. Some of the figures will have to have anachronistic metal.

With the Neo-Hittites it’s a slightly different story. The list really represents various city states in Syria that used to be Hittite. So the figures should mostly look like Aramaeans, again with an Assyrian or Urartian flavour. All the armies I’ve seen online use Hittite figures straight out of the 13th century BC Hittite Empire. Fine for Qadesh but not for Qarqar. I’ve done the same by using some nice ancient Syrians as an element of Syrian auxilliary Ax in my Assyrian army, but they will eventually find their way into a Hittite Empire army. I’ll have to use a mixture of Essex figures for the auxillia – their ‘mixed’ Sea Peoples figures would pass for Levantine types with turbans. Chariot crews and elite infantry will be Assyrians converted to have Urartian style helmets, or with their helmets filed down to round tops which the Neo-Hittite chariotry illustration in Ancient Armies of the Near East seems to show. For the chariots themselves I’ll use an Essex Middle Assyrian chariot for the heavy one, and I’ll see if I can add little discs (bronze bosses a la AANE again) to the side of an Essex ’round’ chariot for the light one. I’ve got an Old Glory chariot with an attempt at the bronze bosses but it’s a bit shabby.

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