For a variety of reasons I have decided to engage in a brief tryst with this period by combining my passion for the past with my love of toy soldiers, and so I will be making up a small force of knights (and their company) from the first crusade. The joy of this period is that the equipment involved was similar to that used by the Norman invaders of 1066...which means that there are lots of models available for the hobbyist.
After much searching of my local hobby store I settled on some rather fetching plastics of Norman Infantry from Conquest Games. These are great models and for £20 you get 44 troops... For someone used to paying GWs prices this was quite a refreshing experience!! I also bought a box of cavalry for a later project.
Anyway with the bank holiday weekend available I decided to paint a few of these guys up, as I will be using them for skirmish/warband level games I decided to lavish a bit of extra attention on each of them.
First up we have a couple of Knights both equipped with swords and the contemporary shields that were a hallmark of the period. Their knightly status is implied by the fact that they are actually able to afford the relatively expensive maille haubergons that provide a significant degree of protection against the battlefield's many dangers.
Next I decided that my Knights would be supported by a couple of sergeants/men-at-arms. Given their poorer status these professional soldiers could only afford a padded gambeson as opposed to the full maille worn by their betters, nonetheless less they are still formidable fighters. Whilst not strictly necessary I decided to tie each of the sergeants to their patron by utilising the same colours on their shields, this allows them to maintain a degree of coherency without straying into the field of official heraldry which wouldn't arise for some time.
These are my first historic models for years so I am pretty pleased with the finished result. I am even more pleased with the sergeants as they are the first models in twenty-five years of painting that I have actually painted up from a white undercoat!
Next up I will try and do some archers or unarmoured spearmen to reinforce their lieges retinue of warriors.