Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age: Knights of Poitain

I'm considering on using Sarmatians for the Knights of Poitain. Sarmatians were supposedly the inspiration for King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table. So why not Poitainian Knights as well, after all they do make up most of the Aquilonian Cavalry.

Here are some decent images of Sarmatian knights.

This last image is of Scythians, but I think the would fill in nicely for infantry!

Here are some Old Glory Sarmatians. They don't have shields so I'll probably have to make some, I've heard that nail heads work decently as shields.

That's all for now. Cheers!



  1. The heads of small thumb tacks make nice round shields, though possibly a bit large for 15mm, assuming you're a 15mm guy rather than a 25mm man. Alternatively, use a stationary hole punch on light plastic card.

    When doing the Armati Hyborean lists, I pictured the Poitainians as more West Europe C12th or C13th, as this seems to mesh with a battle description in one of the later Conan stories - though your suggestion of Sarmatians probably fits better with the average tech level across Hyboria.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Kobold. I'm planning on using 15mm at this moment. So I'll try the hole punch thing.

    I've been conflicted with the whole medieval feel for hyborean armies. I know a lot of experts refer to Aquilonia as a sort of medieval France/England kind of army. I've been leaning more towards dark ages for inspiration, it might not be completely accurate but I might make it work.
    For regular Aquilonian forces, I've been painting some Medieval Russians. The Russians are actually suggested in Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age game. I've painted some of the Roundway Miniatures' Russians and they look decent. I'd prefer a little more detail and different poses but they work.
    I'll post pictures sometime soon.

  3. I confess I'd rather use Sarmatians for Kothians -Hyborians settled in a 'Shemitic' land? Or, even better, for the 'Hyborian lancers' of Khauran -Koth exiles settled even deeper in Shem, thus even more Shem-influenced.
    I tend to see Aquilonian knights as in 'mail and plate' (references to 'jazeran') and among them those of Poitain as the heaviest, best armored ones.
    The geographical location of the 'Hyborian Age' country generally hints at its 'historical' model (Zingara = Spain..) and Aquilonia <=> France.

  4. I do like the idea of Samrmatians as Kothians.

    Looking at the picture of the Old Glory Sarmatians, I was struck by how Norman they looked, which then made me wonder if Byzantine Cavalry might not fight better, figure-wise. I suppose it depends if you're trying for a 'historical' feel or a 'as Howard described' feel. If the latter, then something French 100 years War-ish (or Burgundian) captures the mix of troop types and the appearance of the army, I feel.

    After all, it's going to be how your rules handle the units, rather than how they look, which is going to be the game decider - though pretty toy soldiers do make the game more of a visual feast :)

  5. Bah! Para 2 - fit better, not 'fight better'

  6. Thanks for the ideas. I posted this excerpt from The Black Colossus a while back. http://maximumrockroleplaying.blogspot.com/2010/02/excerpt-from-black-colossus-chapter-iii.html

    It does speak of plate mail armor and sallet style helmets in reference to the army of Koraja. I'm just having a really hard time finding the perfect armies to portray that. I need to find something that both fits the description of a medieval army but doesn't look medieval in a historical sense. Maybe I need to sculpt my own minis, I don't know.

  7. The army of Koraja is indeed one of the best depicted -and certainly the most visually betrayed in the Marvel comics!
    The comparison between Khauran and Koraja is interesting:the two countries are of similar location, origin and background. Yet while Conan can easily raise 3000 'Hyborian lancers' from the Khauran exiles, Koraja at its best can only field 500 knights: meaning that the Korajan knights are, all things equal, ten times less numerous than those of Khauran -and thus, individually, ten times as wealthy. This would explain while the knights of Koraja are probably the most heavily armored of all 'Hyborian' knights, with the possible exception of those of Poitain (but the style of armor must be different: no Shemite influence in Poitain).

    To try & imagine how Howard himself 'vizualized' the warrior types of the Hyborian world, one has to remember the late-19th C. illustrations / reconstitutions of Ancient / Medieval fighters -still largely used and copied in book illustrations, popular uniform plates, even comics... by the 1960 (e.g. still in Funcken's 'Soldiers of all Ages).

    "Maybe I need to sculpt my own minis...". Indeed a combination of plate and mail "looking the part but not 'medieval'" is provided by many illustrations of TSR books, calendars, &c.: mail reinforced with *Ancient*, not 'medieval' pieces of plate: Greek-like greaves &c... Rarely 'translated 'into minis, unfortunately: a few characters in set such as 'Dragon Lance'... But converting medieval minis by adding such 'plate' pieces of greenstuff would probably be less difficult than sculpting new minis from scratch.

  8. Headswapping can also change greatly the appearance of a mini, making an 'historical' one less easily recognizable: eg.g. think about giving a Burgundian / French Ordonnance / War of the Roses head to a Crusader...

  9. Thanks for the ideas abdul666. It's a really good option. You've got some keen insight into Hyborea.

  10. I'm interested in 'arms and uniforms' since childhood, with ancient - medieval one of my two favorite period (probably because I read, at a very impressionable age, Flaubert's 'SalaammbĂ´' in an edition filled with fantastic illustrations); and I read Conan and am interested in wargaming since the early "70....

    A minor problem with Sarmatians as Kothian knights is that the former are shieldless: while all 'Hyborian' knew stirrups and 'advanced' saddles, and used the couched lance like medieval knights, not held with both hands like the ancient 'kontos'.

    *Elves* could be promising source of bodies for headswapping: their armor is often of an appropriately 'medieval but unhistorical' appearance.