More or less this time a year ago Santa decided I was a good kid and brought me a box full of nice miniatures for 10 mm Byzantines from Old Glory. Great! First army for Warmaster Ancients! I got 4 packs in total, one of each: “Cavalry Command. Armoured Horses” BZZ 100, “Armoured cavalry, bow and lance, half armoured horses” BZZ 102, “Heavy Infantry Command” BZZ 109, “Front rank Skutatoi” BZZ 110. In my opinion it is a good start for a Justinian/Heraclian Byzantine Army I am interested in collecting.
I have 100 Skutatoi and 50 Infantry Command miniatures to work with. They come in stripes of 5 as shown in the pictures below:
At the beginning I really liked the close formation of the infantry but then it showed that if you glue just five of them on one stand then there are funny gaps between the soldiers if the unit is in line formation. The command is broader too so in column formation it does not look good either. What is more, the miniatures do not come equipped with spears. In such tight formation it is quite difficult to fix them, at least in my opinion. Anyway, I faced two options, either separate some of the stripes to form 8 miniatures in line on one stand (16 in two ranks, the way it is shown on the picture from Old Glory UK) or separate each miniature and position them in roughly even distance from each other. I chose the latter because of two reasons. First, it meant I could form 4 full units using all Skutatoi models I have and 4 command strips (6 left for later use). Second, attaching spears would be easier. It is quite boring work to do and some of the shields might get damaged a little in the process but majority of the miniatures separate nicely as long as you separate the base. The effect I got is shown below:
I used plastic wires for spears and they are easy to bend, hence the spears are not that straight as they should be. The good thing though is they do not break as they are very flexible. I will see how they will survive any transport experience though. In general, however, I am happy with the effect I achieved, the unit looks nice and there are no silly gaps in formation.
I have 30 “Armoured cavalry” and 9 “Cavalry Command” miniatures to work with. Since I need 12 miniatures to form a proper unit I will form 3 cavalry regiments easily. I could try to stretch it and try to form 4 but it means one unit will not have any command group and my units would not look that magnificent with less miniatures. We will see though. Both cavalry packs come with separate horse and riders miniatures. Command fit nicely into their saddles but regular cavalrymen seem to have not enough leg spread. I have yet to see if it can be fixed quickly or is it going to be a more gruesome work. The miniatures before assembly look like below:
One more thing I have noticed is that all cavalry miniatures I have are bow armed only. There were no miniatures of lance armed cavalry, despite the description. I thought it would be a mixed pack of both. Since there is no picture on the Old Glory website I cannot give you the answer if you can have a pack of lance armed cavalrymen. It would look great to have a front rank lance armed while the second rank firing their bows. It can still look very nice with the miniatures I have at the moment so I do not despair. I am just wondering if it is just accidental what kind of miniatures you can get.
Some additional comments
As far as historical accuracy goes I used Osprey books for comparison. In my opinion the miniatures look like 10th century Byzantine soldiers. However, they are still similar to 6th century Justinian cavalry and 7th century Heraclian infantry. Have a look at “Romano-Byzantine Armies 4th-9th Centuries” by David Nicolle and “Byzantine Armies 886-1118” by Ian Heath.
The quality of miniatures is good, I like the proportions but the lack of spears is quite a drawback. I am not sure if it is a good idea to cast infantry in stripes but then maybe I am not doing it exactly the way manufacturer imagined. I don’t quite understand why they have almost no pictures for the miniatures (it is also true in other ranges). It really makes the decision what to order quite difficult.
I would not mix these miniatures with figures from other manufacturers. The differences in proportions and the look are big enough to notice them even in 10 mm scale. It might work though in the case of entire units. I will check it as soon as I paint some Mongols from Magister Millitium and see if they can be used as some barbarian horse archers.
In terms of price it seems it is a little cheaper. For example, 100 infantry costs 12£ which gives 12p per miniature, while Magister Millitium sells 30 infantry for 5£ – almost 17p per miniature. 30 cavalry from Old Glory costs 12£ (40p per miniature), while MM sells 12 cavalrymen for 5£ (almost 42p per miniature). I don’t know about other manufacturers, as I have models from OG and MM at the moment.
I hope that helps.