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Author Topic: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?  (Read 1348 times)

Offline Kugelfang

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 59
    • Petite Guerre
Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« on: December 28, 2021, 07:49:56 PM »
Have an itch I might need to scratch but just in the dreaming/planning stage right now. Kind of interested in doing Normans vs. Byzantines but not in  huge mass-battle way. It's been decades since I've done any medievaIish projects. Nevertheless, I've always liked the look of the Fireforge figures but I have no actual experience with them.

Hmm... who makes a compatible line of Normans?

TIA!

--jeff
http://www.petiteguerre.blogspot.com

"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."
    -- 'The Go-Between', Leslie P. Hartley (1895-1972)

Offline Wiegraf

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  • Posts: 264
Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2021, 10:18:05 PM »
Could check out Victrix Normans. They might be more 11th century oriented, though im not sure how much they changed from the 11-12th century . Victrix lads might be a tad bit bigger than fire forge. .

Footsore also has some though im not familiar with their lines as much as victrix or fire forge.

Offline Ogrob

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1645
Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2021, 10:25:41 PM »
Victrix and Fireforge should look fine as opposite forces. There are some style differences, but size should be fine. Victrix tend toward thinner spear shafts compared to Fireforge, so if you want them to look harmonious in design you could possibly swap spears for one or both sides.

Offline jauntyharrison

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Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2021, 06:19:08 AM »
I'm going to have to humbly dissent that to my eye, the fireforge Byzantines do not look quite right for the 12th or 11th century. It's a difficult period to get a clear picture of, but I think using fireforge errs toward assuming too much continuity with what they Byzantines were wearing in late antiquity, rather than inferring that the Byzantines were exporting and importing quite a bit of their military equipment with both their eastern and western contemporaries. 

If you are thinking of battles after Manzikert, certainly leave out the Cataphracts and intersperse lots of minis of Pecheneg or Seljuk mercenaries. Actually you can include Norman mercenaries as well, because they too were employed in droves.

Offline Atheling

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Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2021, 01:18:35 PM »
By the time of the 12th Century, apart from the small stock of Byzantine soldiery you arr effectively looking at a largely Mercenary army. So, Western Men at Arms and Infantry, Turcopoles with a smallish backbone of Byzantine troops.

Offline Kugelfang

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  • Posts: 59
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Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2021, 07:20:13 PM »
Interesting... then what byzantine period would the Fireforge figures best represent?

Offline Atheling

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Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2021, 09:30:38 PM »
Interesting... then what byzantine period would the Fireforge figures best represent?

Therein lies the problem, especially when one moves to the later stages of the 12th century. Currently, there is no 28mm range that covers the Byzantines for the 12th C.

If you're into conversions/kit bashing then some of the following books may help if you have not already read them:

There are a few publications that you might find useful like the Ospreys:

Roman Heavy Cavalry (2): AD 500–1450 (Elite) - this one is pretty damn good for an Osprey.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Roman-Heavy-Cavalry-500-1450-Elite/dp/1472839501/ref=sr_1_2?crid=26CW3RBI3O22A&keywords=late+roman+cavalry&qid=1640899247&sprefix=late+roman+cavalry%2Caps%2C81&sr=8-2

Byzantine Armies AD 1118-1461: No. 287 - Dated, actually quite seriously dated.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Byzantine-Armies-AD-1118-1461-Men-at-Arms/dp/1855323478/ref=sr_1_1?crid=P30VDXGUFFE9&keywords=byzantine+armies+osprey&qid=1640899309&sprefix=byzantine+armies+osprey%2Caps%2C76&sr=8-1

Byzantine Armies 886-1118: 89 (Men-at-Arms)- Again, dated
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Byzantine-Armies-886-1118-Men-at-Arms-Heath/dp/0850453062/ref=sr_1_3?crid=P30VDXGUFFE9&keywords=byzantine+armies+osprey&qid=1640899363&sprefix=byzantine+armies+osprey%2Caps%2C76&sr=8-3

Byzantine Cavalryman c.900-1204: No. 139 - Not bad but it suffers from the usual Osprey syndrome of attempting to cover a long time period in what really amounts to a few pages:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Byzantine-Cavalryman-c-900-1204-Warrior-Timothy/dp/1846034043/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3V4J4EUSF43U&keywords=byzantine+armies+Komnenos&qid=1640899449&sprefix=byzantine+armies+komnenos%2Caps%2C62&sr=8-2

It would be criminal not to include John Haldon's The Byzantine Wars - covers a large range of battles but offers some flavour of how the Byzantine army developed and adapted to the enemies it faced:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Byzantine-Wars-John-Haldon/dp/0752445650/ref=sr_1_18?crid=9AH9JHERKFVD&keywords=byzantine+armies&qid=1640899655&sprefix=byzantine+armies%2Caps%2C72&sr=8-18

There are many other, but in as far as the 12th CE goes I have not read a great deal. My interest really focuses quite narrowly on the reigns of Justinian (527 to 565) to Heraclius (610 to 641).

Hope this is at least of some help?





Offline Brewis

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  • Posts: 11
Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2021, 10:01:43 PM »
Fireforge Byzantine infantry with kite style shields should fit for XI Century.
In IX-X Century Byzantines favoured round shields and Fireforge models are suitable.

Offline jauntyharrison

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 52
Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2021, 05:44:32 AM »
As far as I know the contemporary art that might give you the best guesses about the fashions of the times is the Madrid Skylitzes. It's a 12th century illustrated Sicilian copy of a very late 11th century greek chronicle. Manuscript Miniatures always a treasure for things like like this.

https://manuscriptminiatures.com/4203/13408

Of course the usual caveats for working from illuminated manuscripts are at play here. Several hands probably worked at this at several times. Illustrators often made tropey copies of copies of older illustrations. Conversely, the illustrations might show us more about the material culture of Sicily than they do about Byzantium.

Offline Atheling

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Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2021, 08:01:48 AM »
Fireforge Byzantine infantry with kite style shields should fit for XI Century.
In IX-X Century Byzantines favoured round shields and Fireforge models are suitable.

What about the overall look of the models as opposed to their shields?

Offline Brewis

  • Student
  • Posts: 11
Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2021, 02:08:05 PM »
I think the look of Fireforge models is appropriate for 900-1100 period

From 1200 onwards they changed especially shields and helmets

See links


Offline jauntyharrison

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 52
Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2021, 11:28:29 PM »
Those ospreys may be showing their age. I was under the impression that those funny chest harnesses have been more or less debunked.

If I were to get a bit more granular about what I think could be improved about the various fireforge kits for the period you want to play. Here's what it'd be.

For the fireforge spearmen. Are the pteruges hanging from the helmets ok? Probably. We we see something like that in the illuminated manuscripts. Is the lamellar ok? Yes. Is the scale ok? I'm not so confident about that one. Kite shaped shields? Good. Chest harnesses? I don't think are credibly evident in this period. Biggest complaint? Where's the maille? We know that all of the Byzantines neighbors were wearing maille, to the east and the west. It strains credulity that a large portion of the Byzantines wouldn't be wearing it. My recommendation? Get one of the other fireforge infantry kits, replace the scale wearing torsos with maille wearing torsos.

For the fireforge byzantine horse archers Apart from my skepticism about chest harnesses I have no substantial complaints about this kit. I like that maille is predominant. I actually wish there were one or two lamellar torsos. My recommendation? In this period this is a niche that would be overwhelmingly filled with mercenaries. Get turkic looking horsemen to fill out among and beside this kit.

For the Koursores and Cataphracts. These are what I strenuously object to for the period you want to play. Because of diverse problems throughout the 11th century Native heavy cavalry was a shadow of its former presence. Use mercenaries for this job on your tabletop, either normans or turks.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2021, 11:33:07 PM by jauntyharrison »

Offline Atheling

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Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2022, 01:08:31 PM »
Those ospreys may be showing their age. I was under the impression that those funny chest harnesses have been more or less debunked.

If I were to get a bit more granular about what I think could be improved about the various fireforge kits for the period you want to play. Here's what it'd be.

For the fireforge spearmen. Are the pteruges hanging from the helmets ok? Probably. We we see something like that in the illuminated manuscripts. Is the lamellar ok? Yes. Is the scale ok? I'm not so confident about that one. Kite shaped shields? Good. Chest harnesses? I don't think are credibly evident in this period. Biggest complaint? Where's the maille? We know that all of the Byzantines neighbors were wearing maille, to the east and the west. It strains credulity that a large portion of the Byzantines wouldn't be wearing it. My recommendation? Get one of the other fireforge infantry kits, replace the scale wearing torsos with maille wearing torsos.

For the fireforge byzantine horse archers Apart from my skepticism about chest harnesses I have no substantial complaints about this kit. I like that maille is predominant. I actually wish there were one or two lamellar torsos. My recommendation? In this period this is a niche that would be overwhelmingly filled with mercenaries. Get turkic looking horsemen to fill out among and beside this kit.

For the Koursores and Cataphracts. These are what I strenuously object to for the period you want to play. Because of diverse problems throughout the 11th century Native heavy cavalry was a shadow of its former presence. Use mercenaries for this job on your tabletop, either normans or turks.

Agreed. The composition of Byzantine armies of the 11th CE was very different from that of a century or two in the past. Loss of territory means loss of manpower and a reduction in the numbers that could be put into the field.

Offline Pan Marek

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 173
Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2022, 06:03:58 PM »
The Byzantine armed forces seem to raise questions.  But if the Ospreys are "dated", what are their problems, and where should one look instead?

Of all the powers in the middle ages, it would appear that the Byzantines kept the most, and better records than anyone else.  Why do we seem to know more about western European armies than Byzantine ones?

Offline Atheling

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Re: Would Fireforge figures work for 12th century Byzantines?
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2022, 06:15:11 PM »
The Byzantine armed forces seem to raise questions.  But if the Ospreys are "dated", what are their problems, and where should one look instead?

My answer would be to take a look at as much recent academic research as you possibly can. I know that's not very satisfactory as it obviously involves a heck of a lot of digging.

Of all the powers in the middle ages, it would appear that the Byzantines kept the most, and better records than anyone else.  Why do we seem to know more about western European armies than Byzantine ones?

A bias towards speaking/reading English as the native language for most wargamers?

 

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