Assegai Central

Generic Near Eastern "Bronze Age/Biblical" Figures

by Mike Schubert, Pretoria Wargames Club
 
 
So you want to build up a Mitannian, Canaanite, Later Hebrew, Neo-Hittite or similar army for which there are very few of, next-to-none or no specific figure ranges and you are at a loss at what to get. Well, things are not as bad as it seems, because even if no figure ranges specifically for that particular army are available, others can be utilised instead. Keep in mind that even then the weaponry, armour, etc. of the more powerful nations tended to be copied by lesser nations.

 The guys from Chariot Miniatures have actually included lists of possible figures to use for some of the armies that fall into non-range or very small range categories in their catalogue, which is rather handy even though you still have to cross reference to the listed ranges for their descriptions.

 The figures discussed in this article are from the Essex BS range since I am the most familiar with them and they are the most accessible to me at the moment. The unit terminology is that used in the currently popular DBM set of rules. I intend to provide a list of the Essex figures discussed at the end of the article so you donít have to pick them from the text.

 

Chariots

To start the ball rolling let us look at what is the mounted part for most of these armies, particularly the early ones (i.e. Chariots). When looking at the army lists one finds that their cavalry is mostly or totally chariot borne and varies from the Cv(O) through Cv(S) going through to Kn(O) and finally Kn(S).

 Basically your Cv(O) has a partially or unarmoured driver and archer or a driver and two spearmen with unarmoured or cloth armoured horses. The Cv(S) has the armoured driver and archer and cloth or scale armoured horses. The Kn(O) has three crew and from two to four armoured horses as for the Cv(S), while the Kn(S) has four and four armoured horses.

The shrewd amongst you will notice that some of the chariots appear more than once in the discussions below. This is because the actual model is supplied with 3 crew figures and can be used for both 2 and 3 crew configurations. I sometimes use non-crew figures to ring the changes and to create more correct crews.

 For the Cv(O) and Cv(S) one can choose between the Syrian (BS30), Canaanite (BS29, BS31), Mitannian (BS120), Early Assyrian 2-horse (BSE58,BSE60), Hittite (BS39, BS40, BS41) and Sea Peoples (BS109,BS110) chariots, although I prefer using the Syrian, Canaanite and Mitannian chariots.

 The Canaanite chariot has with armoured archer, driver in loincloth with cloth armoured horses.

 The Syrian chariot has an armoured archer, javelinman and driver in long tunic with cloth armoured horses. The javelinman can double as driver by means of sniping off the javelin which fortunately is separate from the hand.

The Mitannian chariot that was only recently added to the lists has the armoured archer and driver with shield as well as armoured horses.

 The Sea Peoples chariots have armoured horses, a driver and 2 spearmen or general and can be re-crewed with an archer from one of the foot archer packs, and by taking the driver as is or from somewhere else.

 The Hittite chariots all have a driver and javelin/spearman in typical Hittite long tunics with oddly enough unarmoured horses as well as a choice of either an additional spearman, archer or general depending on which one of the three varieties you order. (BS41) with the archer can quite easily be used as Cv(O) by leaving out the spearman.

 The Assyrian 2-horse chariot has an unarmoured driver, an armoured archer and an unarmoured shield-bearer with cloth armoured horses.

 The foot archer figures most suitable are the Kharu archers (BS37) (for Syrian as these used to wear the long tunics depicted here and on the Canaanite driver) and the armoured and half-armoured Early Assyrian archers (BS65 and BS68 respectively).

 The Assyrian chariot is the only one that does not fit in with the others, as the Hittite, Mitannian, Sea Peoples, Canaanite and Syrian chariots are based on two generic types (one with a straight rear edge and the other with a curved rear edge) that can be used in conjunction with each other, both being the same size whilst the Assyrian chariot is a little bit bigger.

 I would suggest going either for the Early Assyrian chariots or for the Hittite, Syrian, Canaanite and Mitannian chariots rather than mixing the two styles when building up one of the earlier armies with Cv(O) and/or Cv(S).

 For the Kn(O) chariots the Syrian (BS30) , Hittite (BS39, BS40, BS41) and Early Assyrian (BSE58, BSE59, BSE60, BSE61, BSE62) can be used. The Canaanite and Hittite chariots have already been discussed above, while the Early Assyrian chariot is available as 2-horse, 3-horse and 4-horse options, the 4-horse option being more expensive due to there being two more horses, otherwise it is as described above. You will more have modify the crew figure bases to enable them to fit into the chariots (two can just get in), so it would be advisable to do test runs prior to applying the gooey stuff.

 For the Kn(S) chariots either of the Neo-Assyrian (BSE75, BSE77) or Neo-Babylonian (BSE92, BSE93) chariots can be used as they are actually the same chariot as far as wheels, body, yoke, horses and driver (armoured of course) are concerned with slightly different spearmen, archer and general depending on nationality.

For the Kallapani one can choose between the Neo-Assyrian (BSE91) or the Neo-Elamite (BSE102, BSE103, BSE104) versions. Here once again the body (which is actually something akin to a flatbed truck), wheels, 2 equids and driver are common with two helmeted javelinmen being included in the Neo-Assyrian version, whilst the Neo-Elamite versions have archers instead and sometimes 2 additional equids.

 I base my chariots on 40 * 45 bases, although 40 * 40 bases can be used together with shortening the yoke. The later however has the added risk of oneís chariots suffering breakages more easily, so the choice is yours. I found that even with the deeper bases you get horses heads sticking out at the front edge. All my other elements are based as per the DBM/DBA rules.

 

Cavalry

This is the horse mounted variety that took over the role played by the 2-horse,2-crew chariots, and here one can choose from Neo-Hittite (BS46), Early Assyrian (BS63, BS64), Neo-Assyrian (BS76, BS78, BS78a, BS79, BS80), Neo-Babylonian (BS94, BS94a, BS95, BS95a, BS96, BS96a) and Neo-Elamite (BS108). The Mannean cavalry (BS81) has a headdress similar to that of the Peleset figures in the Sea Peoples range (BS114, BS115), so in effect a Mannean army can be built up using these figures. The Neo-Assyrian (BS78a) and Neo-Babylonian (BS94a, BS95a, BS96a) are mounted on cloth armoured horses, the rest having to make do with unarmoured horses.

 The Neo-Hittite figure with javelin and shield (BS46) and the two Early Assyrian figures with bow (BS63) or javelin shield (BS64) are suitable for the Cv(I). In fact the list compilers mention that for Middle Assyrian Cv(I) cavalry each element should have one mounted archer and javelinman with shield on a base instead of three cavalry figures. In effect this represents a light chariot without the chariot.

 The horse archer (BS63) can also be used as a scout, as can most of the other bow armed cavalry, including the Syrian (BS38) which is more suitable for your very early armies.

 The majority of the figures are unarmoured with the Neo-Assyrian (BS78, BS78a) being the exception to the rule here.

 

Javelin/Spearmen

Here I mean both Auxillia (Aux) and Spearmen (Sp). For the earlier armies (e.g. Canaanite, Ugaritic and Syrian and Mitannian), one can choose betweeen the Amorite (BS34, BS35), Canaanite (BS32, BS33), Hittite (BS42, BS45), Early Assyrian (BS67, BS69, BS70, BS72), Mitannian (BS121), Sea Peoples (BS111, BS112, BS113, BS114, BS115, BS117), Neo-Assyrian (BS82, BS83, BS83a, BS86, BS86a, BS88, BS89), Neo-Babylonian (BS97, BS100, BS101) and Neo-Elamite (BS105). Those of the Sea Peoples with either reed headdresses (BS114, BS115) or horned helmets (BS111, BS112, BS113) are however not suitable for other nations, although you could use them for Philistines if so inclined.

 Two of these (BS33 and BS35) are shieldless, but paper punch shields can easily remedy this, although they can be used as they are as Ax(I) or Ps(I). The rest can be used for Auxillia and Spearmen , the Early Assyrians being particularly useful here.

 For later armies such as Cypriots and Urartians the Neo-Assyrians (BS86, BS86a) can also be roped in, the crested helmet on some of the Neo-Assyrian figures being based on an Urartian design. The heavy infantry figure with the small round shield (BS83a) can also be used for Urartian as they seemed to have a penchant for round bronze shields according to some sources. The more energetic of the unarmoured figures can also be roped in as Ps(S) (I.e. Psiloi armed with shields and javelins) or Ps(I) in the case of those without any shields.

 The only gripe I have here is that some of the figures have a separate javelin/spear which has that annoying habit of falling of, so that Cyanoacrylate glue (Superglue) and Press Stick (Blue Tack, etc.) end up being part of the travel kit.

 

Archers

Here one can choose from Amorite (BS36), Canaanite (BS37), Early Assyrian (BS65, BS68, BS71, BS73), Neo-Assyrian (BS84, BS87, BS90), Neo-Babylonian (BS98), Neo-Elamite (BS106, BS107), Sea Peoples (BS116) and Mitannian (BS122). The half armoured figures (BS65) can be used as alternative chariot archers or their dismounted equivalent. The rest can be used as either Bw(I)/Bw(O) or bow armed Ps(O). Some of the less wide legged poses can also be used as unarmoured chariot archers.

Slingers

Here one can choose from Neo-Hittite (BS47), Early Assyrian (BS74), Neo-Babylonian (BS99), Neo-Assyrian (BS85) and Mitannian (BS122), most of these being very generic in any case. I would prefer not to use (BS122), as for some obscure reason they decided to have separate slings (a friend of mine turned them into javelinmen via wire javelins).

Hordes

Any of the unarmoured javelinmen, archers and slingers can of course be used as hordes, preferably mixing them for that horde effect. It is not economical to put more than five figures on a base, but go ahead if you want to though. I have not seen too many of those with more than five though.

 

Here is an example of a Kassite Babylonian 200 pt DBM army:

2 - Generals Reg Cv(S) - 2 pkts Mitannian Chariot (BS120)
5 - Elite Chariots Reg Cv(S) - 5 pkts Mitannian Chariot (BS120)
5 - Chariots Reg Cv(O) - 5 pkts Canaanite Chariot (BS30)
12 - Spearmen Ireg Ax(O) - 6 pkts Sea Peoples (Mixed Javelinmen) (BS117)
12 - Support Ireg Ps(O) - 3 pkts Sea Peoples (Mixed Archers) (BS116)
4 - Archers Ireg Bw(I) - 2 pkts Sea Peoples (Mixed Archers) (BS116)
4 - Psiloi Ireg Ps(O) - 1 pjts Aramean Archers (BS73)

Figure List

In essence the list below is that provided in the Essex catalogue, but divided by types rather than by ranges.

 

Chariots

BS29 Canaanite 2-horse chariot, driver, general
BS30 Syrian 2-horse chariot, driver, archer, javelinman
BS31 Canaanite 2-horse chariot, driver, archer
BS39 Hittite 2-horse chariot, driver, general, javelinman
BS40 Hittite 2-horse chariot, driver, 2 javelinmen
BS109 Sea Peoples 2-horse chariot, driver, general
BS110 Sea Peoples 2-horse chariot, driver, 2 javelinmen
BS120 Mitannian 2-horse chariot, driver, archer
BSE58 Early Assyrian 2-horse chariot, driver, shieldbearer, general
BSE59 Early Assyrian 4-horse chariot, driver, shieldbearer, general
BSE60 Early Assyrian 2-horse chariot, driver, shieldbearer, archer
BSE61 Early Assyrian 3-horse chariot, driver, shieldbearer, archer
BSE62 Early Assyrian 4-horse chariot, driver, shieldbearer, archer
BSE75 Neo-Assyrian 4-horse chariot, driver, 2 javelinmen, general
BSE77 Neo-Assyrian 4-horse chariot, driver, 2 javelinmen, archer
BSE92 Neo-Babylonian 4-horse chariot, driver, 2 javelinmen, general
BSE93 Neo-Babylonian 4-horse chariot, driver, 2 javelinmen, archer
BSE91 Neo-Assyrian cart, driver, 3 infantry
BSE102 Neo-Elamite 4-horse cart, driver, general, 2 archers
BSE103 Neo-Elamite 4-horse cart, driver, 3 archers
BSE104 Neo-Elamite 2-horse cart, driver, archers

Cavalry

BS38 Canaanite light cavalry, bow
BS46 Neo-Hittite medium cavalry, javelin, shield
BS63 Early Assyrian medium cavalry, bow
BS64 Early Assyrian medium cavalry, javelin, shield
BS76 Neo-Assyrian mounted officers (heavy cavalry, bow)
BS78 Neo-Assyrian heavy cavalry, lance, bow
BS78a Neo-Assyrian extra heavy cavalry, lance, bow
BS79 Neo-Assyrian medium cavalry, lance, bow
BS80 Neo-Assyrian medium cavalry, bow
BS81 Mannean heavy cavalry, lance, bow
BS94 Neo-Babylonian medium cavalry, lance, shield
BS94a Neo-Babylonian extra heavy cavalry, lance, shield
BS95 Neo-Babylonian medium cavalry, lance, bow
BS95a Neo-Babylonian extra heavy cavalry, lance, bow
BS96 Neo-Babylonian medium cavalry, bow
BS96a Neo-Babylonian extra heavy cavalry, bow
BS108 Neo-Elamite light cavalry, javelin, bow

Javelinmen/Spearmen

BS32 Canaanite spearman, shield
BS33 Canaanite javelinman
BS34 Amorite spearman, shield
BS35 Amorite javelinman
BS42 Hittite guardsman, javelin, shield
BS45 Anatolian javelinman, shield
BS111 Sherden heavy infantry, javelin, 2-handed sword, shield
BS112 Sherden light infantry, javelin, shield
BS113 Sherden medium infantry, javelin, 2-handed sword, shield
BS114 Peleset heavy infantry, javelin, 2-handed sword, shield
BS115 Peleset medium infantry, javelin, 2-handed sword, shield
BS117 Mixed javelinmen
BS118 Mixed Sherden en Peleset officers
BS121 Martu javelinmen
BS65 Early Assyrian spearman, rectangular shield
BS67 Early Assyrian medium spearman, round shield
BS69 Early Assyrian medium spearman, round shield
BS70 Early Assyrian light medium spearman, round shield
BS72 Arameam javelinman, shield
BS82 Neo-Assyrian heavy guardsman, javelin, shield
BS83 Neo-Assyrian heavy infantry, javelin, long shield
BS83a Neo-Assyrian heavy infantry, javelin, round shield
BS86 Neo-Assyrian medium infantry, javelin, long shield
BS86a Neo-Assyrian medium infantry, javelin, round shield
BS88 Neo-Assyrian foot officers
BS89 Neo-Assyrian light medium infantry, javelin, round shield
BS97 Neo-Babylonian medium spearman, shield
BS100 Chaldean spearman, shield
BS101 Chaldean javelinman, shield
BS105 Neo-Elamite spearman, shield

Axemen

BS43 Guardsman, Axe
BS44 Axemen

Archers

BS36 Amorite archer
BS37 Kharu archer (javelin)
BS116 Mixed Sea Peoples archers
BS122 Martu archer
BS65 Early Assyrian heavy archer
BS68 Early Assyrian medium archer
BS71 Early Assyrian light archer
BS73 Aramean archer
BS84 Neo-Assyrian heavy archer
BS87 Neo-Assyrian medium archer
BS90 Neo-Assyrian light medium archer
BS98 Neo-Babylonian medium archer
BS106 Neo-Elamite archer
BS107 Neo-Elamite light archer

Slingers

BS47 Neo-Hittite slinger
BS123 Martu slinger
BS74 Aramean slinger
BS85 Neo-Assyrian armoured slinger
BS99 Neo-Babylonian slinger