Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Secret New 15mm Ancient Army Project Finally Revealed!

Ta-Da! Its from DBM Book 1

Neo Assyrian Later-Sargonid

On the 19th August 2017 a long time friend of mine gave me some 400+ mostly infantry figures. They had belonged to a mutual friend of ours who had died some years before. They were typical of their era, poorly painted, mostly Essex Miniatures on green painted card bases with old style railway scatter flock put on the bases whilst it was still wet. For me to use them I knew that it would only form the starting core of a new army and would require totally repainting and be put onto new modern style bases.

I decided that I would keep the project details under wraps until I was prepared to go public with it. After I got the figures I started the usual EBay search and found two painted EBay FoG armies and a painted DBA army that would be perfect to compliment these figures. I did pay slightly more than I wanted for the three armies but considering the scale of the project I planned to do it was a quick fix solution for me to get the core of the army together very quickly.

After I received these three purchases I had to order some more missing bits from various makers or off EBay and these were from Chariot Miniatures -Magister Militum, Essex Miniatures, Miniature Figurines - Minifigs, Irregular Miniatures, Lancashire Games and Donnington Miniatures. The EBay lots included a dirt cheap batch of unpainted but damaged castings which were going to be perfect to repair cannibalise together to scratch build some other missing elements. Finally another seller was disposing of lots of unpainted random batches of figures which were perfect to add into the project.

As part of the buying process I contacted the seller of the two FoG armies who informed me that he actually made the basing tufts so if you want to replicate the tuft basing style Mick Hood is your man. His EBay seller ID is “s627ja1” and he sells a huge range of tufts and provides a very quick delivery service.

The scatter rocks are actually “Realistic Gravel [Brown]” which I purchased off EBay from “thepotterhouse7”. The MDF bases came from Geoff Pearson’s company LaserCraftArt and I used Vallejo pre-coloured texture basing for the basing material edged in a cheap brand Raw Umber colour and a water downed wash over the top surface of the base.

So what was this “Secret Project”? Well after years and years of looking though DBM Army List Book 1 I finally decided to bite the pointy burnt stick and build my very first Book 1 army. To be honest there's not much in Book 1 that appeals to me history or more essentially gaming wise but I had played with this army in the old BHGS DBM Doubles Tournament at Colchester University with the long deceased friend. So I did know the army a bit from this time. We had almost no success using the army but I think that was more a case of how he organised his army and our weak playing ability. The army is one of the more popular choices from Book 1 and is 
“Ta-Da!” 01/51 Neo-Assyrian Later Sargonid.

This blog will be quite a task because I don’t know where lots of the figures come from so I won’t be able to give the various makers their due credit in most cases.

Because DBM allows players to use either army list book versions, the DBM2 or DBMM2 list book versions my first task was to see what I needed to build to ensure I can cover all of the options. The first thing I noticed when checking the lists was that they were quite different from each other. I also, for curiosity sake dug out the DBM1 list book as well, this was the version I had used when I played this army, I found it had been revised a bit between the DBM list versions too. First up was organising the painted armies into units as per the list to see what I was missing. I did this and put those to one side in their new storage box.

Every army requires some baggage and this one is no different. I decided that to start things off I would build a double base sized vignette of the Argon inspecting his army surrounded by his administration and some bodyguards. The Sargon himself is a Museum Miniatures casting that is normally supplied either in a chariot or as a separate command group on foot. His throne was created from an incomplete Lancashire Games chariot body [from one of the EBay lots]. The escort comes from various makers and were painted up to represent the multi-cultural nature of the Sargons conquests. The escort includes a figure converted from holding a spear to carrying one of the Chariot Fan type religious standards. Being the ruler he would also have an Assyrian Religious Standard in attendance. For his parasol I used a printed paper disc as a template and overpainted it to ensure a good quality of finish.

The Sargon would require more baggage elements in due course and having a large number of spare castings meant I had some scope to be quite creative. The Assyrian kings and princes had a reputation for fighting lions to prove their fearlessness so I ordered a pack of Lions from Chariot Miniatures and used a spare Essex Guardsman to represent his attempting to fight hand to hand with the lion.

For the fourth baggage element I decided that I would paint up twelve spare spearmen to act as the Sargon's close escort bodyguard. They are Lancashire Games AB25 Heavy Infantry Spearmen.

I have only created four baggage elements so far as I am still thinking about what else to use with this army but when laid out in a line they do look quite impressive.

Next up is the Sacred Standard. The list text states this was carried in some form of chariot but did not give any specific details on its design or what it consisted of. I used another part of the damaged Lancashire Games chariot as the yoke and attached it to the very boxy  Museum Miniatures chariot code SKU 15 CT10g Since it was a sacred standard it required religious crew SKU 15 AS92, symbols and of course a body guard yet more Lancashire Games AB25 Heavy Infantry Spearmen. The chariot posts were drilled out to take wire poles topped off with some Museum Miniatures Assyrian Standards code SKU15 AS93. Assyrian religious history makes great stock on the Tree of Life so a Google around this phrase came up with an impressive image that when correctly scaled printed out perfectly to use as the banner above the standard wagon. I have seen other gamers wagons decorated with shield transfers so decided that I should try and decorate my wagon in a similar style using religious symbols. After I completed the wagon and had painted it I glued the paper printouts to the front and sides and overpainted them with the same wagon body paint to match in with the wagon.

The end effect is quite impressive and certainly adds to the imposing style of the army.

The army is allowed what is described as "Wagon laager to protect flanks of foot", these are basically wagons laid out in lines as temporary fortifications. Since this is a 15mm scale army and most 15mm scale wagons are usually far too large to fit on a standard DBM 40mm wide base I opted to use Irregular Miniatures 10mm scale wagons code TMS15, since I am not gaming in 10mm I did a special order for just the wagons without driver or horses again. Something I had already done with my Medieval Era armies. There's not much to say about these elements as they are just empty wagons used as a defensive line but fit on 40mm x 20mm bases perfectly.

Next up are the Reed Boats. These are from Museum Miniatures code SKU15 BO02 and are sold with three to a pack and have four paddling crew each. Personally I felt that this made the models look overcrowded so I only gave them three crew each. They are quite large models to I put two to a standard 80mm x 40mm element base. This meant I have enough castings to make up six elements so have two spare for this army but other armies can use six so they are an insurance for the future if I morph this army into another Assyrian army list. The bases are painted up with Miniature Paints Deep Turquoise which matches the water features I use in my games. I have put the spare crew into the civilians bag as they may be useful to represent children working with cooking fires and other food pots.

The army list has some compulsory cart mounted mobile infantry. It consists of two elements of Reg Ax S and two elements of Reg Ps O and must be taken in equal proportions and a minimum of two elements. The EBay purchase of broken chariots was perfect for me to create the two Reg mtd Ps O elements. I used some left over Lancashire Games AB28 Auxiliary Archers as the crew and for the foot elements. The chariots needed some repair work but are perfect for carrying Ps elements. The associated Auxilia elements are mounted on Elamite style Kalapani flat bed carts. I used Museum Miniatures SKU15 CT11 castings. The Auxilia fighting crew and foot elements are Chariot Miniatures code ASS16 Assyrian Levy Spearmen, the chariots are Hittite code ACH8. I had one spare chariot left over so I made a third element which may end up on EBay in due course.

Next up are the Archers. The list gets three distinct group of archers. The first group are listed as an Elamite Regiment and are two elements of Reg Bw I I did a quick search for what they looked like and found that I had eight archer castings in the mass of badly painted infantry that were suitable. They are Essex Miniatures castings code BS125.

The next unit is listed as an Egyptian Regiment and are two elements of Reg Bw I I did a quick search for what they looked like and found that Museum Miniatures code SKU15 EY16 New Kingdom Archer Kilt would be suitable.

The third and final group of archers are listed as a Kushite Regiment of four elements of Irr Bw O. I had some archers in the FoG purchase which turned out to be perfect to use as these with minimal changes to the base edging. The castings are from Lancashire Games and are found in their Biblical Horde Battlepack code BBP608 as well as being sold as code AB30 Elamite Archer.

The list has a Mede Regiment which is two elements of Reg Sp O and two elements of Reg Ps O in the DBM list and the Reg Sp O are changed to Reg Ax O and their Reg Ps O is now allowed to support in the DBMM list. It has to be taken in equal numbers and the lack of a mitigator in the DBM list version appears to be a mistake as the DBM Mede list allows their Ps to mitigate their own Reg Sp O. I had unpainted castings in the bulk purchase that looked as if they were the right figures. They are from Lancashire Games and the code for the Sp and Ax is AB51 Hittite Infantry With Spear. The Archers are code AB52 Hittite Bowmen.

The heavy infantry is divided into Guards, Elites, Line, Reserves and Levy's. There's a lot of them and they are linked within the lists to almost equal proportions of Light Infantry.

I dont know most of the figure codes but they are almost all Essex Miniatures. 

Here's the Guard Spearmen with their lone supporting archer element.

Next are the Elite Spearmen infantry and supporting archers.

Here are the Line Spearmen with their supporting archers.

Heres the Reserves of the Battle Array. They are listed as any mix of twelve elements of Reg Sp I and or supporting Reg Ps O. In the DBMM list they are changed to equal numbers of Reg Ax O and Reg Ps O. which I will blog further down. I still have to paint up sufficient additional Reg Ps O to be able to take both options as desired.

Finally here are the Levy. Fifty elements of Irr Hd O. Theres are mostly Essex Miniatures mixed codes from lots of their Biblical ranges but are also bulked out with some Lancashire Games castings. Some of the castings were damaged so I have had to do repairs. One of the men has half an arm missing so I guess he must be an old warrior injured in combat.

The army is well supported by light infantry too though no guards.

Here are the Elite Loose Order Infantry and its supporting archers.

Heres the Line Loose Order Light Infantry and supporting archers

Heres the Reserves of the Battle Array Light Infantry and supporting archers. I have other castings that I am thinking of painting up to replace these in dues course to make them stand out from the Spearmen elements.

The army is then further supported by what are called Tribal Levies. The list states they can be bow, sling or javelin armed. Since there are twenty elements of Irr Ps O and I have lots of spare castings from the donated lot I decided that I would paint up 20 elements of Irr Ps O Archers and 10 elements of Irr Ps O Slingers. This will allow me to allocate different castings to separate commands to avoid losing track of what is in which command. The DBM list also gives you four elements of javelinmen classed as Irr Ps S which are regraded to Irr Ps I in the DBMM list.

The last item of infantry in the list are some Armoured Slingers. There's only two elements but I had eight castings so I painted them all up anyway.

So this is almost all of the infantry required to field this army so now I will move onto the mounted part of the army.

The fighting core of the army are their heavy chariots. They are all graded as Reg Kn S and are quite imposing when deployed en masse.

The army is one of the few that can have four regular generals which makes it a very flexible army command wise. All of the generals can at some time in the list be exchanged for regular cavalry elements, ordinary at first then Superior. The red chariot is a new build and I managed to match the painting and basing styles so it didnt look out of place with the other chariots.

Here are the armies eight other Reg Kn S chariots.

Here are the alternative generals elements modelled as cavalry Reg Cv O/S

The army has an allocation of sixteen cavalry elements. I am still painting the last two elements which I will append to the blog once they are done.

The army has a small allocation of light cavalry, three elements of Mounted Scouts reg LH F and a pair of Kimmerian Horse Archers Irr LH F.

Heres the Mounted Scouts.

Heres the Kimmerian Horse Archers.

I still have some outstanding castings to paint up to complete all the options as the Arab Levies mounted on Camels are missing. Theres two elements of Irr Cm O and two elements of Irr LH I. Unfortunately these have been deleted from the DBMM list version.

The list also has the option of taking a Scythian allied command consisting of between 9 and 33 Irr LH F including their general in lieu of taking a fourth Sargonid command.


  1. Quick work, Drew! They look very good. I'm amazed you actually painted 50 Hd. Look forward to seeing them on the table...

  2. I have been playing around with various lists containing over 40 Hordes. I know you hate the concept but I played with them under 1.3 with a Doubles partner and we did have some interesting games!

  3. Excellent work Drew, very impressive. My Vedic Kings of the Peacock Throne may have to rise to meet this danger from the west!