Two Crusader Miniatures figures flank a Conquest Games figure
I've just finished a trio of Norman Knights and, enthused, have based up some more infantry and Bishop Odo today.
I never intended building a Norman army; mainly as several other people at the club already have one, but I continue to paint the occasional figure when I want a break from something else. One of the main advantages of them is that they are quick to paint, especially if you are using Crusader Miniatures chunky figures. On the whole I don’t like the increasingly old-fashioned looking squat appearance but in this case it makes the Normans very purposeful looking.
I have painted quite a few Anglo-Saxons (mainly Gripping Beast) and have always fancied doing Hastings and Stamford Bridge but Normans have a lot more uses than that. They are, of course good for the First Crusade and even the Spanish Reconquista as well as actions in Italy.
The problem I have with the Crusades (and I have thirty Perry Turcoman horse archers painted which I did for a Society of Ancients battle day) is that the Perry figures are so nice but really wouldn’t mix with the Crusader ones. So I would feel that I have to buy the Perries crusader cavalry which would be crazy given I am painting virtually identical figures for Hastings (except the bases would be the wrong colour for the Holy Land). So I am in the position where I am contemplating painting two separate Norman type armies. Madness!
One thing which may come to my rescue are the Conquest Games plastic Norman knights. I have just finished my first one of these and have some more on the way. These look much more compatible with the Perry figures I have so I would be able to mix them in much easier with theirs.
Conquest figure with added shield boss
The only fault the Conquest figures have is that, for some reason, they didn’t put a shield boss on the kite shields. This is easily remedied, however, as they include an equal number of round shields which do have bosses. It is straightforward to cut of the boss from a round shield and glue it onto the kite shield as I did for this one. The treatment of chainmail is not at all bad for plastic, given it’s about the hardest thing to do in this medium, and whilst not as crisp as metal figures is quite adequate. I have to say that I enjoyed painting this figure, which is something I rarely say for plastics, although filling the seam where the head and neck of the horse joins the body wasn't easy (and in fact I didn't bother on the first one).
Crusader, Conquest, Crusader
Although the horses are noticeably more slender than the Crusader figures I wouldn’t hesitate about putting them in the same unit. The option to have some round shields will be useful as I vaguely recall reading somewhere that some of the Frankish cavalry in the Crusades (the Provencal contingent?) had round not kite shields. Even if there is no evidence for this it is a good way to differentiate them from the Normans. I might do the same with Bretons at Hastings.
Perilously close to being a unit! Conquest figure in the centre.
So I will definitely be buying some more of these Conquest plastics for use in Britain, the Mediterranean and the Holy Land. Next I hope to have Bishop Odo done. here I have gone for the recent Foundry figure rather than the Crusader one which I will explain next time.