Monday, December 19, 2022

On The Painting Desk: Send in the Cavalry!


One of my long running goals for 2022 was to release a supplement for the Ionian Revolt for Men of Bronze onto the Wargame Vault.  I have a similar supplement called Hercules Abroad that greatly expands the Greek world across the Mediterranean and adds more armies and supplements.  I also have a similar supplement for Wars of the Republic called Revolt! that focuses on the 3rd Servile War.  

Before Men of Bronze was released, I wrote up an article and campaign to play the Ionian Revolt for Wargames, Soldiers, and Sailors.  However, due to a lack of a Persian army for photographing, the article was not published.  Instead, I did a piece on the Battle of Delium instead.  However, I still had my notes and what I wrote for the Ionian Revolt.  

It was these notes and this article that would form the basis of the Ionian Revolt supplement.  In addition, the Ionian Revolt seemed like an ideal venue to take a closer look at the Persian Empire lines-of-battle, and revisit some of their non-Greek foes as well.  

However, in order for any of that to happen I needed to get over one big hurdle.  I needed a Persian Army! This had thwarted my initial article and at the time, there were not any great plastic models available.  However, time moves on and now we have not 1 but 2 ranges of plastic Persians to choose from!  

The first is from Wargames Atlantic.  I used this company for my Dark Age Irish, and was very happy with the results.  I was able to make an army of 6 units with only two boxes,  They also painted up easily, and were very affordable.  The sets are great for making infantry and archers, but their are no cavalry available.  However, you could easily make the sample Line-of-battle list for Persians from the Men of Bronze book with these models.  

The other plastic Persian army is from Victrix Limited.  This company has provided the bulk of my Greek, Macedonian, Viking and Roman forces in 28mm in the past.  I have really appreciated the level of detail and pricing of these sculpts.  The range also has a wider variety of forces from unarmored infantry, armored/unarmored archers, and light and heavy cavalry.  Since cavalry was a big part of Persian armies, it made sense to go with Victrix this time around. 

I have been steadily working on this army, and have finished off a large chunk of the infantry.  This includes various light infantry, drilled infantry, Sparabara, Archers, Immortals, and a few odds and ends. The only troops left in the Persian army were the Cavalry.  

Like the rest of my force, the Cavalry are from Victrix Limited.  I had two packs of light cavalry and one pack of Heavy Cavalry to finish off the mobile elements of the army.  The Persians were well known for their cavalry forces, and it was one of their major advantages against their Greek foes.  This time, I assembled all 30 horses first, and decided to finish them off first.  The problem with painting cavalry is that to get 30 Models, you really need to paint 60 miniatures! 

The first step was to assemble all the horses, and then undercoat them with cheap acrylic white as the base.  This was the same method I had used for all my Persians, so I did not want to change up the process now.  I then painted all their hooves Dark Stone. 

Next up, was splitting the horses into small groups based on the color of their hides.  I used a variety of colors including Desert Yellow, Bone White, Mummy White, Monster Brown, Fur Brown, Ash Grey, and Uniform Grey.  By putting them into smaller batches, I was able to get a wide variety of colors across the herd.  Once done, I reorganized them again into batches of similar colors for the Manes, using Dark Stone, Skeletal Bone, Fur Brown, and Monster Brown.  I was essentially batch painting all 30 horses at once.   

From there, I painted their tack.  Here I used combinations of colors I had used on the Persian troops such as Voidshield Blue, Daemonic Yellow, Rust Red, Leather Brown, Desert Yellow, and Skeletal Bone.  I also used Bronze to pick out a few metallic pieces of tack as I went along.  Again, I organized them into little groups based on the colors I wanted to use on their reins and riding blankets.  When they all finished, I then gave them a wash of Light Tone.  

With all the horses done, I then based them all using cheap acrylic Territorial Brown with scatted Moss from my terrain bin on the base.  Again this mirrored how I had based all of my Ancient troops.  The horses were complete!  

I then turned my attention to the riders.  I started with the Light Cavalry soldiers first.  Normally, I assemble and base coat the completed models.  However, this time I decided to try something different.  Cavalry troops have a unique painting challenge as they do not have a base to hold onto or mount while painting.  You have to grip them by the foot, or some other method.  To avoid this "grip" problem, I decided to try painting them on the sprue.  This was a technique I had not tried before.  

I undercoated the parts I wanted with cheap acrylic white first.  Then, I base coated them like my other Persian troops.  The shoes were all Monster Brown.  Flesh tones were Tanned Flesh, Monster Brown, and Fur Brown.  Then, I choose a color for the pants, and painted one sprue with the color, then switched to the next color and did the next sprue.  Persians generally have trousers, a "skirt" and then a third shirt color.  After that, their head gear was normally a different color.  For these parts I used a variety of colors including Alien Purple, Daemonic Yellow, Rust Red, Desert Yellow, Skeletal Bone, Ultramarine Blue, Greenskin, Mummy Robes, and Pure Red.  This gave me a wide variety of looks, all with the same general "look" to them.  However, no two troopers looked the same.   

Weaponry was a combination of Skeletal Bone and Oak Brown handles with Bronze tips and blades.  Sashes and belts were Voidshield Blue, Daemonic Yellow, and Leather Brown.  The banners I also painted the symbols on while they were on the sprue.    

Once the riders were painted, I clipped them out and assembled the models.  In a few places I had to do some touch-ups.  Overall, I decided that I did not like painting on the sprue.  They were a bit cumbersome, harder to mix and match colors on, and I kept missing spots due to blind spots.  Once assembled, I attached them to a mount and then gave them a light tone wash.  

That was the light cavalry troopers done.  However, their officers I decided to use the Heavy Cavalry sprue to make.  I pretty much used the same techniques on them.  However, I did not paint them on the sprue.  The biggest difference was the Alien Purple coats I gave to all the Persian officers.  You can see them here.

For the Heavy Cavalry troopers, I took them off the sprue and assembled them.  I pretty much used the exact same approach to painting them as the Light Cavalry troopers above.  The biggest difference was I used more Alien Purple, Daemonic Yellow, and Rust Red in their color schemes and less of the Browns.  Their beards were all Dark Stone.  I wanted them a little bit fancier than their Light Cavalry fellows.  I also used Greedy Gold for their armor, to match the Immortals a bit closer.  Alien Purple, Voidshield Blue, and Greedy Gold were the colors I was using for Imperial elites so these guys got the same.  

Once they were completed, I mounted them on their horses and gave them a Light Tone wash again.  The final stage was I painted the shields on the Sprues.  The officer got a Hoplon, but the rest got the more traditional Persian Crescent shield.  I then gave all the shields Little Big Man Studios transfers to make them POP!  

That's it!  The Persian Army that has eluded me for so long is finally done! 

Now, here are some shots of various troops on the table.  

Light Cavalry on the Persian Flank!

Infantry supported by Archers

Persian troops put a Greek city under siege

Wow, that was a big army to get all painted up in 6 months!  I am pretty proud of the progress I made and how it looks on the table!  Now, I can breathe easy, get some use out of this force, and think about what comes next!  I just managed to finish these guys before 2023 kicked in! 

I would love to add three elements to the list, but they are of secondary concern.  Those are 28mm Scythed Chariots, Camel Cavalry in 28mm, and a late Persian War Elephant!  I have enough heads left that I could probably make an Elephant pretty easily from most Elephant kits.  However, the Camel Cav and Chariots I have been less successful in finding what I want.  If you have any ideas for any of these, let me know! 



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