Saturday, September 22, 2018

Old Glory Dark Age Miniatures

This past spring, a local gamer was advertising a few free bags of ancients that he was clearing out of his lead pile, which I happily picked up. However, as part of the deal I also had to take a bag of loose, miscellaneous dark age and early crusader figures. Most of these figures where of no use to me, but I did find a a few figures that I thought could be pressed into service with my Anglo-Dane/Saxon force for Saga.

First up is a unit of levy archers cobbled together from what appear to be Old Glory late Roman auxiliary archers  and Welsh bowmen. The garb isn't a complete match with my other figures, but I'm hoping they are close enough to blend in on the table.

The sculpting style between the two Old Glory lines is also different, but I think my painting and basing is enough to unify them so it isn't glaring. For me, the only remaining standout is the differences in the bows. The Welsh bows are a much more slender sculpt. They also bend much more easily as a result, so I opted to add some wire bowstring in order to stiffen them up.

One thing I found odd about the Welsh figures is a few of them are wearing a single shoe, with the other foot bare.  I don't know if there is a historical precedence behind this, but I decided to paint those figures as having two shoes and tried to hide the wonky feet in the grass.

The other figures I thought could be of use were some Swabian heavy infantry, which I plan is to use as mercenaries. They come with a mix of shield shapes, but I opted to only use round shields so I could add the LBMS decals I had remaining from my Gripping Beast figures. Luckily the shield sizes were fairly close, so only a little trimming around the boss opening was required to make the decals fit.

The sculpting of the figures is not as good as a lot of more recent figures, but that said, they still aren't bad and I'm happy to have them on my table. Size-wise, they are also a good match for the Gripping Beast plastics and metals, so you could mix them into units without concern.


  1. They look good. The 'one bare foot archer' comes from a 13th century English legal document known as "Liber A." The manuscript depicts Welsh warriors - not just archers - as having only one shoe and their other foot bare. This presumably allowed them to keep a balance on hilly or rough terrain. It's the only source of this that I know of. There may be other sources mentioning it.

  2. Congratulations on making a useable, even attractive, use of some unpromising material.

    I read about this one shoe business years ago but in connection with the Irish. The reason given was for grip [purchase on the ground]. I always found it difficult to understand how this might help and why being barefoot altogether wouldn't be better. Still, it does appear to have been an historical choice.

    I daresay, given the nature of both shoes and ground, there were quite a few folk who lost shoes in the mud.

    I enjoyed this post.


  3. Beautiful painting, love the shields and the archers...

  4. Well done! Really like that band of bow men you got there.

  5. Thanks all, especially AJ and Stephen for the historical context. Always nice to learn something new.

  6. Your results look as good as any gripping beast figures to me! They make the period look very tempting.

  7. Really nice collection - I especially like those shields!