I have been a keen Saga wargamer for the last couple of years, fielding my Saxons on many an occasion against my son's Normans. We both really enjoy the flavour that Saga mechanisms bring to a game, so we were really excited to hear that a Medieval / Crusades version, Crescent and the Cross is going to be released. I'd asked a friend to pick up a copy for me at Salute in April, but alas the production deadline has slipped and its now June and it still has not appeared. This has however given me some time to start collecting a new Army to use. Gripping Beast did release their Arab boxed set at Salute which give you 40 infantry for about £20, and Hat do some Arab cavalry that you can pick up for £4-£6 per box of 12 on Ebay. The starting point for this Army has been 3 boxes of Gripping Beast Arab Infantry and 3 boxes of Hat Arab Cavalry, which gives me 120 Infantry and 36 Cavalry. I have also purchased 4 metal Arab Heavy Cavalry miniatures from Gripping Beast as I have not found a source of plastic Arab heavy cavalry.
One of the key considerations when putting this army together was that I wanted to be able to uses the same set of figures for playing Saga, Deus Vult, Hail Caesar and my mate Nick's home grown 'Save the Colours’ game. All of these were going to have different basing requirements. To give me flexibility to re-organise my miniatures for different systems I have mounted them all on Sally 4th magnetic bases and then have used various Sally 4th Steel Vinyl lined movement trays to organise the figures into stands. Although Saga is a game of individually mounted figures, I still like to have them on movement trays at the start of the game to speed up those early manoeuvres, before they get locked in combat.
I have sprayed the horses in batches using brown, grey, white and off-white primer.
Riders have all been primed off-white.
The unit at the front of the photo are horse archers from Hat, I needed to do a hand swap on two miniatures using some bows from Perry Miniatures War of the Roses Infantry to give me 8 mounted archers. This was the first unit I put together and painted. Although the horse and riders are the same height as other 28mm manufacturers such as Gripping Beast and Fireforge, their heads are smaller than the oversized wargames sculpts we are used to which makes the whole figure appear smaller. To overcome this on later units I snipped the top half of the head off, filed what remained to make a neck and then glued a Gripping Beast Arab head in its place.
I have converted a unit of Gripping Beast Arab Infantry into sling armed levy by cutting weapons off the right hand at the wrist and replacing with hands with slings from the Gripping Beast Dark Age Warrior boxed set.
Javelin armed Levy, made up straight from the box with some nice transfers from Little Big Man Studios.
I have not seen the official army list or battle board for Crescent and the Cross Saracens yet, but as we will be playing lots of games within the city walls of Jerusalem, I decided that I needed to be able to field my elite cavalry dismounted. These conversions have had chain mail arms and cloaks added from pieces in the bits box left over from making Fireforge Knights Templar.
This is an example of Warriors armed with spears, guy on the right has a Knights Templar helmet from Fireforge that he must have picked up on the battlefield!
Bow armed levy, can't have to many bows in a Saracen Army.
Lance armed Arab Heavy Cavalry. Hat miniatures with new big heads from Gripping Beast and replacment steel lances.
Heres a photo of the first completed unit, 12 Arab Levy with Slings in Saga terms, or a unit of Skirmishing Slingers for use with Deus Vult.
These were a simple conversion of the Gripping Beast Plastic Arabs, cutting the right hand of at the wrist and replacing it with a sling hand from the Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors set.
The second unit to be completed is a unit of Saracen Levy armed with Javelins. These are Gripping Beast Plastic Arab Infantry with no modifications.
Figures have been based up using Sally 4th Magnetic Bases and Steel Vinyl lined Movement Trays to give me the flexability to uses the same set of figures to play Saga Crescent and the Cross, Deus Vult or Hail Caesar just by taking the figures in and out of their movement trays.
Here are the same group of 12 figures in the irregular movement tray that I use for playing Saga.
When they need to be dismounted to enter combat or occupy a building or other terrain feature, it is very easy to lift the figures out of their movement tray.
First melee unit for my Saracen Army. 24 Arab warriors armed with spears.
This will provide a 4 stand unit for Deus Vult or Hail Caesar or 3 points worth of Warriors for Saga Crescent and the Cross.
The standard bearers arm is from a plastic pikemans arm from the Perry Miniatures European Infantry 1450-1500 boxed set. It always pays to have a bits box and save the pieces you did not need because you never know when you will need them!
Saracen Horse Archers, Warriors armed with bows for Saga
These are plastic cavalry from Hat (28018 El Cid Andalusian Light Cavalry).
The box contains 12 figures, 6 of which were bow armed so two figures needed a minor conversion, cutting hands off at wrist and replacing with hand holding bow from Perry Miniatures War of the Roses Billmen and Archers set. In a similar way to the infantry figures, the cavalry have also been mounted on Sally 4th Magnetic Bases and Steel Vinyl Movement Trays have been made to suit a number of different games systems. For Saga, I like to start with figures on 4 slot movement trays as they are brought in multiples of 4 for elites and 8 for warriors. I also have made a set of 2 slot movement trays to be able to field figures correctly for Deus Vult as well.
I have now collected and painted enough figures for my Saracen Army that they can no longer live on a tray on the dining room table! so I have assembled a couple of Sally 4th Warchests to house them. I have choosen a 70mm high Warchest to hold the skirmishing levy troops and a 100mm high Warchest to hold the spear armed warriors as they have been modelled with standard bearers that need a little extra height.
Both Warchests have been assembled with the optional clear Perspex front and Clear Perspex tops to show the miniatures of while still keeping them dust free and secure. Warchests are available with inserts to hold every size and shape of wargames figure base that has ever been used. I have choosen to use an insert to hold my miniatures in their movement trays. I like this option because it makes it very quick to deploy units on the table straight from the Warchest.
This week I've added another solid unit of Saracen Warriors with spears. This can provide me with 3 points for a Saga Warband or a four stand unit for Hail Caesar or Deus Vult. I have choosen to use all veiled heads, apart from the musican as I thought a veil would hamper his ability to blow into the horn. The only conversion in the unit is the standard bearer who has a hand and pike from the Perry Miniatures European Infantry boxed set to make the standard pole. The standard is a free download from The Grimsby Wargamers website.
The guys are off for their first outing tomorrow, Sunny Scarborough by the sea. They can't make a trip of this duration without a noble Warlord to lead them. I'm mainly planning to field my Saracen army in Saga led by a mounted warlord, but there are some cases such as fighting a siege when I will field by Hearth guard on foot to fight on the walls and in amongst the rubble. On these occasions I will be using a Warlord on foot as well. The mounted Warlord is from the Perry Miniatures Crusades range. The warlord on foot is a Gripping Beast plastic Arab with the addition of a Knights Templar cloak from a Fire Forge plastic box set.
Saracen Army in use as a Saga Cresent and the Cross Warband at War Torn Convention in Scarborough 28th-29th June 2014.
We played the Escort scenario a number of times as a 6 point battle, with the Saracens attacking the baggage train which was trying to make it through to Jerusalem.
36 Arab Bowmen made up from Gripping Beast Plastic Arab Warriors box set.
Unit has a standard bearer, musician and leader armed with sword and shield.
These can be used in Deus Vult as either two, three stand infantry units or as a single six stand unit, and in Saga will provide 3 units of bow armed levy.
I am planning on fighting a lot of siege / assault type scenarios with Saga Crescent and the Cross on Sally 4th's Outremer Middle East Terrain, so I decided that I needed to be able to field a unit of Hearthguard on foot. I don't know if this will be allowed in the official rules when they come out, but it makes sense to me. If the Saracens are defending a breach in a city wall, any units that are in the city will be put to use and mounted units would have to dismount.
These figures are all conversions using bodys, heads and shields from the Gripping Beast Plastic Arabs and chainmail clad arms and cloaks from Fireforge Knights Templar. The standard bearer also has a plastic Fireforge standard with a home made decal.