The ancient Assyrians in miniature
An odd thing about going to a very religious school is it gives a good knowledge of biblical warfare. This is a great help if you take up ancient wargaming as a hobby. Then there’s reading Byron’s “The Destruction of Sennacherib” describing the ancient Assyrians as “descending likes wolves on the fold” that stuck in my mind.
Later this made me think of building an Assyrian wargames army. In the 1970s I toyed with getting a 25mm Lamming Miniatures army but decided the blocky style of figures wasn’t for me. They looked more like pie tasters than the elegant figures shown in Assyrian sculptures at the British Museum.
WAB and WRG and me
Alan Buttery’s Wargames Research Group (WRG) work on biblical armies kept the flame burning. I then got the seminal WRG book on biblical warfare when it was issued. Following that was the Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB) Chariot Wars volume, which was in many ways a follow up to the WRG book.
Even combined with new and old Osprey books I didn’t quite crack. It was De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) that finally did it. I went for an early Nomad army that was quick to paint, then a Mycenaean one.
I was hooked and realised adding Elamite and Neo-Babylonian forces to the early Nomads would create the allied force at the 691BC battle of Halulue. Naturally I’d need the opposition in the form of a Neo-Assyrian army.
Recruiting and organising the armies
As usual I started sensibly with a DBA army for each allied contingent. When it came to the Assyrian host I decide to have my cake and eat it by creating a force that would work with other rules like Field of Glory (FOG). The annual sale at Museum Miniatures saw a parcel of small Assyrians arrive. Now they are organised and ready for their turn on the painting table.
For those interested I have based my army on the DBA list for Neo-Assyrian Empire and then added elements (an element is a group of figures on a base) to make up numbers for Field of Glory and similar rules. I won’t reproduce the lists here as the DBA one is in the rulebook and the Mad Axeman’s FOG Wiki has several suggested Field of Glory lists too.
Now I just need to check I’ve enough Nomads, Elamites and Neo-Babylonians to face these wolves…
My first ancient army was Airfix Romans and I notice their patchwork leather shorts are back in fashion! These were first unpainted and then with thinner plasticard shields added painted up. This force fought Ancient Britons, and even elves and goblins, with WRG Ancients 4th Edition rules.
They were followed by a Republican army made by the long defunct Leviathan Miniatures. Nicely cast separate pila and well proportioned figures I enjoyed painting. Happily ignored by burglars but I sold them some years ago when moving.
My current Romans are made by Martin Goddard at Peter Pig. I created a notionally Flavian army for Boudicca’s revolt but now plan to use them back to the early first century AD. This is based on the finds at Kalkreise which show frontier troops using lorica segmentata armour earlier than previously thought.
This army was created based on the DBM rules and suggested forces in Roman Britain. It was painted while I was working in Bath and couldn’t afford to go out every evening in the late 1990s.
The DBM army arrayed
Time moves on in Dumnonia
Over time I have decided to concentrate on 15mm for ancient games as described in a previous post on the British opposition for this army. So this army is overdue a refresh. I’m simply bringing small groups of figures into larger groups to tie in with Field of Glory. Having more Romans is a pleasure in itself too!
Working amongst the Roman collection in Exeter Museum has also re-awoken my enthusiasm for this period of Devon and Britain’s history. Plus recent Osprey books on this period including Boudica’s Revolt and the Teutoburger Wald coupled with reading some historical fiction by Simon Scarrow and Lindsay Davis.
General and Auxilary Cavalary
New cohorts for old!
The first batch of figures are under coated and ready for painting on the work bench. I’m glad I kept colour notes to help them blend in with my existing figures!