Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Dailami army

With my 28mm lead pile depleted, I've been working on 15mm projects. First up is a Dailami army for Field of Glory. The Dailami were highly prized mercenaries who served the Sassanids, Samanids, Buyids, Fatimids, Saftarids and Ghaznavids and later the Seljuks until the end of the 12th century.  That means these fellows can be ported into many other lists. The Dalaimi were the premier Islamic infantry of their time, earning praise from their enemies. Their standard arms were a sword, a brightly painted shield and a javelin. They also used axes and bows as well. While they usually were equipped with round shields, teardrop shields came into use when they were employed by the Fatimids. 

I used the Old Glory Syrian warrior line because the figures come with chainmail, a good mix of weapons and shields.  You can see from behind I kept the tunics to blues, greens and reds. A poem from 1048 described the Dailami shields as "similar to a wall and painted in 100 colours."  I didn't hit 100 but I did use a lot of colors here.


I'm taking elephants in my Dailami army, of course!  I used Old Glory Sassanid ellies, filing down the bulbous helmets and using greenstuff to create turbans. 


Bedouin Light Horse and foot in black.  Black is tricky to pull off in 15mm so I used 2 rounds of gray highlights.  



4 command stands rounds out the lot.  


I still need to paint up Ghilman, Kurdish lancers and a camp. I've got lots of Arab cavalry I can substitute in until I get back to this project.  This gets me just enough to be able to bring the Dailami to the tabletop.

This post has run quite long but I'd like to share a account of what made the Dailami special.  They were described as "all foot-soldiers, each man carrying a sword and a shield and three javelins in his hand" and as exceptionally nimble in mountain country. Agathias described the Dailami in the context of a night attack and ambush: "The Dailami are among the largest of the nations on the far side of the Tigris whose territory borders on Persia. They are warlike in the extreme and, unlike most of the Persians, do not fight principally with the bow and the sling. The carry spears and pikes and wear a sword slung across one shoulder. To the left arm they tie a very small dirk and they hold out shields and bucklers to protect themselves with. One could hardly describe them simply as light armed troops, nor for that matter as the type of heavy infantry that fight exclusively at close quarters. For they both discharge missiles at a distance when the occasion arises and engage in hand to hand fighting, and are expert at charging an enemy phalanx and breaking its close-knit ranks with the weight of their charge. They can reform their own ranks with ease and adapt themselves to any contingency. Even steep hills they run up without difficulty thus seizing in advance all points of vantage, and when they are put to flight they escape with lightning rapidity whereas when they are the attackers they press the pursuit with perfect timing and co-ordination. Well-versed as they are in practically every type of warfare they inflict considerable harm to their enemies. They are accustomed for the most part to fight alongside the Persians, though not as the conscript contingents of a subject people since they are in fact free and independent and it is not in their nature to submit to any form of compulsion."

It sounds like they were, after all, THE premier Islamic infantry of their time! 

41 comments:

  1. Very nice, Monty! Love the bright colours.

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    1. Thanks Simon! It will be tough to go back to the Dark Ages and a dull palette shortly!

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  2. Stunning mass of wonderful looking infantry, Monty! The shields definitely represent the poem well. Thy also sound very useful in a multitude of armies. Best, Dean

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    1. Thanks Dean! I did love that line but I was hard pressed to come up with 96 different shields. ;-)

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    2. I'm not sure about painting 96 different shield patterns.I would have painted 8 different Islamic shield designs, like you did with your Spanish :o) The Boys from Andalucia - 52 bases of scutarii you used same basic colors for your scutarii but different shield designs/patterns. http://twincitiesfieldofglory.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-boys-from-andalucia.html great effect here...

      anyway... a great and very colorful looking army..well done Sir!

      cheers,

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    3. Why is it that the best solutions don't come to me until AFTER I'm done? That is what I should have done. Very clever. I must keep this in mind for the next army. :-)

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  3. Lovely and unusual army Monty!

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    1. Thanks Cyrus! Every direction I look in the ancient world, there's another fascinating story. I should have come around to this period sooner!

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  4. I absolutely LOVE this army! The colors are fantastic and the mass effect, as Dean notes, is stunning. The shield work is top notch. Makes me wonder what you could do with Muslims in 28. Is this a force you will be keeping for yourself or off to market?

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    1. First of all, thanks Jonathan! It is dicey. From behind, there is subtle uniformity but from the front, not so much! I'm chomping to do Ottomans in 28mm. There is a blogger in Istanbul who pointed me to Turkish museums with fabulous pics and resources. You would not believe how often they used the color pink.

      My problem is that I paint for projects & the tabletop, and not for myself. So I have to find a partner before I leap. When Saga moves into the Crusades, I figure I'll have an opportunity.

      I'm up to 6 FoG armies and since we play rarely, I was just thinking I'll have to move a couple armies in the new year. You know me well, sir!

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  5. Very impressive Monty! It is a wall of fabulous colour. I have some 28mm Gripping Beast Sassanid Persians which I'm developing into an army (in slow time!). These guys supporting them would look very impressive. I'm going to have to do some research!
    Best wishes,
    Jason

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    1. Thanks Jason and Sassanids in 28mm will be fantastic! I bet you have an ellie or 2 in the mix. Looking forward to seeing the big reveal when they're done!

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  6. Fantastic group effect. This is exactly the look I am trying to get for my 6mm Fatamids. Nicely done.

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  7. I went back and confirmed that you've succeeded in spades! I don't know how you do it. After painting 28mm, I find it a bit of a trial to scale down to 15mm. And here you've gone done a whole step further!

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  8. Stunning work Monty!

    Greate looking army, bright colours and love the work on the shields. I´m very impressed by you 15mm painting, especially sins I have given up that scale due to that I find it hardet to see the little bugger these days...

    Once again, greate work !

    Best regards Michael

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    1. Michael! The more I paint 28mm, the harder it is to "saddle up" on 15mm. I'm getting spoiled.

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  9. Beautiful Monty! This unusual army is realy reat, love the mass effect, the bright colors, the devastating pachiderms, the wonderful shieds and the basing ideal to showcase the troops...A single regret : I'm afraid I will never play against them on a table!
    Splendid work!!
    Best,
    Phil.

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    1. Phil, thanks! If only I could take a "tube" under the ocean, I could travel to France and see your work firsthand! And perhaps make my way into one of your lovely AARs!

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  10. Stunning paintjob. Very colourfull and great overall impression. I especially like the freehands on the shields. At the moment I'm considering going 15mm scale myself.

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    1. Thanks Moiterei! Ok, I'm curious. What might you paint in 15mm?

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  11. Great looking army, going to be very impressive on the table.

    John

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    1. Thanks John, I hope I can get them out on the table before Christmas!

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  12. The elephant conversions worked out well, Monty, and that mass of colour looks great.

    FMB

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    1. Thanks! I'm not much for conversion, but it did turn out well. Really love the bells on the Sassanid turned Dailami ellies!

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  13. I love the colours and the detail you achieved in insane! Great job Monty.

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    1. Michael, you are too kind, but thank you very much!

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  14. Very impressive, Monty! And a thoroughly informative post as well. I'm ashamed to say I knew nothing about then except the name, so thanks for the potted history!

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    1. Thanks Pru! I normally try to do some historical background over a series of posts...I do hope I didn't go overly long. ;-)

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  15. What a beautiful extravaganza of color Monty! Great work on those shields and some nice background info as well!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher! I need to dig some more and see if the dailami ever went head to head with the Varangian Guard. I suspect they did. Best of the best! That would be a showdown.

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  16. Great work of art Monty!

    I really like your colors used on your minis and your flocking/basing are great...

    my favorite units are your Bedouins! the elephants and your command stands.

    cheers,
    Phil

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    1. The light basing really does help them shine. But then, you're the one who suggested it to me. I do like the Bedouins and I wonder what an entire army in black would look like. A Bedouin army would rock. Thanks Phil!

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  17. Damn colourful beauties and history too!

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    1. Thanks Fran! All that's missing is an extreme closeup of Ray!

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  18. Hi Monty,

    they are Fantastic ! great! colorful! well based!
    and a very powerful army in FOG, you 'll be happy when you will play them.

    Cheers

    thefrenchjester " 10 days before the Kick off!"

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    1. Gillies, thanks! I can't wait to see what you do for the competition! And try these fellows on the tabletop. I hope you're getting plenty of rest for the big race!

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  19. Great work Monty, these really stand out. You have managed to produce a lot of models quickly and to a high standard. Impressed. Always like the back stories too.

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    1. Dan, thank you! My 15mm painting is a bit more workmanlike since the year I painted all Xyston. Great figures like that spoil you for the rest!

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  20. Wow, I turn my back for 5 minutes and this is what you get up to..?
    ; )
    These guys are amazing; the simile about the "wall painted in 100 colours" is really apt.

    So these guys were active from Sassanid Persia through to the Islamic period? That's a good army to collect, especially from the purely utilitarian point of view of being able to mix and match.

    Lovely work!

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    1. Thanks Ev! Turn your back again, and I'll have another army. Seriously.

      The Dailami did have a great run of 700 +/- years. I had trouble finding material on them but luckily, I got just enough to give me the flavor.

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  21. Late to the party as usual, but these look ace! I love all their colour... Very fitting!

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