I’ve been GMing an RPG in my home written Arabesque Swords & Sorcery setting for about a year now. Having painted up miniatures for the other PCs I needed a bowman to represent a new one. I bought a single sprue of 5 Gripping Beast Arab Spearmen/Archers off eBay as I knew I could make a suitable bowman out of these. I also wanted know just how versatile they would be for other projects without buying a full box.
On assembly they look great and fit together well with minimal mould lines. They do exactly what it says on the box – only one sword arm (for a leader) and one arm holding a mizmar or horn (for a musician) on each sprue of 5 men. This means you have to assemble them as spearmen/javelins with a few possible bowmen unless you kit bash with arms from elsewhere to make more swordsmen. With only 2 archer arms per sprue a full box of 8 frames would let you make 16 archers out of 40 men. Head options include helmets, keffiyehs and tagelmusts. The uncovered faces are a mix of clean shaven and beards.
These figures have been designed to give wargamers a wide scope covering several periods. Fantasy gamers can use that too should they wish to represent different troop types.
As with all modern multi pose plastic miniatures, if you intend to use these on individual 20mm bases you’ll need to be a bit careful gluing them together to ensure they rank up nicely – sticking out elbows, shields and thrusting spears can play havoc with that.
Anyway, I painted up the Bowman and left him with the other PC miniatures at the player’s house where we play. This of course left me with the other 4 figures to play with.
I painted these first 2 using the tagelmusts because I think they look great. I used simple undyed cloth colours against the black of the head wear to create a Bedouin or Berber look.
The next 2 are more Moorish (sorry) with helmet and keffiyeh.
The shields on all of these are ‘inspired’ (shamelessly copied) from shield decals to be found for sale on Gripping Beast’s website.
If (like me) you were trying to find a cheaper alternative to double as the Regiment of Renown Mad Mullah Aklan’d’s Death Commandos by Citadel Miniatures then these could easily pass if you were willing to overlook the spears or find replacement sword arms. I’ve also heard of people using these as Haradrim for Lord of the Rings which sounds like a great idea too.
A couple of boxes of these are definitely on my want list for later projects.