Friday 19 August 2016

Norman Army Camp - Strelets

Another themed set from Strelets along the lines of the Medieval britain set

27 bods (some as Groups of two´s or three´s ) 28 if the Babe in arms is included. 7 mounted bods (one, with the woman slung across the saddle,  is a double pose) two fighting/hunting Dogs and a wild boar.

One small annoying thing, the Nags. They are the same poses as in (off the top of my head) the Norman Knights, Military Order Sergeants and the Norman Cavalry on the March sets. Annoying because the Norman Cavalry on the March set is included in the box, and 3 of the mounted bods in the Norman camp set  are more suited to a Walking or stationary Nag.
Theorectically, you could pinch one Walking nag from the Norman Cavalry on the March set  but then they would all end up with Nags on the gallop, so hardly giving the semblence of being "on the march".
Fortunately  I´ve got a Tonnage of spare nags, so I can choose some more suitable poses, not so fortunate if you haven´t.  

Apart from the nag Problem, it´s a great set. Very little flash and as far as I can find out, historically accurate, they´ve even got some of the bods with the classic norman soldiers haircut.
I´d have liked to see more female poses but 4  (even if one seems to be being mistreated) is a decent number compared with other sets.
The Party revellers

Bringing home the Bacon Doe
As with a lot of pairs carrying something over thier shoulders..they are out of step which, if you´ve ever tried difficult to do for any length of time.
Exactly what the cook is doing with the big fish I can´t tell but...........
...maybe he´s handing it over..which explains the soldiers pose.

The bod on the far right is playing  a fiddle or lira/Vielle, or more likely a Rebec
The face. It reminds me of a 1960´s -70´s british actor..I think he played a Police inspector or detective in a series but who was it??
The mounted poses
As mentioned, I´ve swopped the nags for others, in this case from other Strelets sets, Italeri and HäT

Side saddle in a different style

The Hunting bird? It, like the rest of the Menagerie in the set, is big. Exactly what it is, no idea. After looking through any available data like the de arte venandi cum avibus or the  Boke of Seynt Albans , (the latter , which was  Published much later than the norman period, it does have a section on Hawking.) I found nothing approaching the size of the bird on his arm,  so I went for a Basic "Looks hawkish enough for me" paintjob.

Wild boar and hunters
I removed the chunk of  pike from the boars left flank, it just didn´t look right somehow.
At PSR they mention the almost vertical angle of the crossbow but with a bit of hot water Treatment and twisting, it aligns to a slightly more realistic angle.

Wild? Seeing as it´s being chased I assume it´s not just wild but  totally furious!!!

Why has he got an empty scabbard and sword belt hung around his neck? I remember reading somewher that the Franks considered the sword belt with it´s buckles and scabbard as a symbol of potency and to loose it was a profound disgrace,  so maybe the hanging it around his neck is something along those lines (?)
Anyway, the rope noose Needs twisting to get it at the right angle but it fits tightly so painting the prisoners face after Fitting is a good idea..I didn´t and had to re-touch the paintjob.

The females.

The one in the middle is playing a harp

How to paint up the Dogs? Digging about and reading loads of (often contradicted) articles on what the Norman war Dogs looked like, I ended up more confused than I started.  I found  a wide range of breed names like the  Alaunt de Boucherie (Butchers Alaunt),  Molossus, Agassian, Mastin, Alano, and Lebrel.
There were a couple which had nice colour schemes like the Dogue de Bordeaux or the English Mastiff  but the  earliest record for the Dogue de Bordeaux Comes from the 14th Cent and the English Mastiff is more than likely a decendant from the Alaunt line.
Most likely is the  Alaunt de Boucherie. Seeing as it´s an extinct breed and the coat colour is disputed, one of the Alaunt types, the Alaunt Gentil, is generally White but Looks like a´s  got a  dolichocephalic skull (narrow at base, long in length) as opposed to the Mastiff look which is brachycephalic (wide in base, but short in length), I went for the representation on the box art.
Dolichocephalic? Brachycephalic? I only found These words, along with mesaticephalic (it means moderate headed btw) when looking up the various dog breeds. The things you learn from painting up Little lumps of plastic !

I removed the straps from the Dogs, they didn´t really line up anyway,  and replaced them with (even if slightly out of scale) jewellry chains.

The Dogs, even for fighting Dogs, are BIG! Too big really but apart from  a couple of Fighting Dogs from various Valdemar sets or the Revell Conquistadors,  there aren´t many others..and they vary in size too much.
Pity really,  as a lot of armies, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and conquistadores   (to Name  a few) have used fighting Dogs in their ranks. If I were Strelets (or any other manufacturer) I would make a set of fighting Dogs, Mastifs, Wolfhounds etc.
Imagine, how would a large pack of Fighting Dogs look like in a wargame ? How would they be used?