Monday 27 February 2017

Seleucid Army Showcase

Seleucid war elephants, supported by light troops, flank the Phalanx.

Many, many... many years ago, before reading first year military history at university, before the Internet, before fame and fortune, there was a local bike and hobby shop which sold little bags of metal figures for $5.85.

Its long gone now and I can't even remember its name. I know I bought my first GW Epic figures from it back in '92 and tens of those little bags, 1 or 2 a week, until the turn of the century when the shop moved and stopped stocking miniatures.

The mighty Seleucid Phalanx.

I remember spending hours painting the figures up, I had no idea what they were and just block painted a 'blue' and 'red' army.

Turns out those figures were Frei Korps 15mm Macedonians and Seleucids, and come the turn of the century and a long foray into wargaming, they finally came out of the bag I'd stuffed them in.

Tarantine, Xystophoroi and Greek Cavalry take the right flank.

Even Frei Korps has disappeared now, being handed on to various miniatures producers until ending up with Total System Scenic/QRF, but at least most of the range is still on the market.

So influenced by local players I started a massive repaint and also commissioned out a good portion of the light troops and medium cavalry to le Chasseur... we were young and foolish, drunk on the ides of life.. maybe not...

The phalanx stretches out to the elephants and cavalry on the left flank.

I used Osprey's Men-At-Arms 148 the Army of Alexander the Great as a theme for the army, spending many hours mixing rose, yellows, crimsons, oranges and lavenders.

In its present form the army is nearly 20 years old... and still not really finished.

It's been through DBA and DBM iterations, been expanded into a WAB (Warmaster Ancient Battles) army, and ended its last life as a FoG army.

Seleucid elephants - can't have too many elephants! Moo!

It's come last at both DBM and FoG tournaments but met with great and continued success with WAB. Perhaps to make another appearance using DBA 3.0, Hail Caesar or L’Art de la Guerre.

But its sat in its box long enough and I realised that I don't have any pics of it up on this blog, so hence this showcase.

The Tarantine light horse rush forward on the flank to pelt the enemy cavalry before the Xyston armed lancers behind them get stuck in.

So this is the 'army' showcase and the links below are to posts which showcase particular units and types within the army.

I hope you enjoy, its one of my favourite armies and although many players don't like the 'oversized heads' of the FK figures, they lend themselves well to detailed painting for 15mm troops.

Another unit of Xystophoroi, led by Seleucus himself.

Army Units
Command and Heavy Cavalry
The Phalanx
Asiatic Auxiliary Foot
Greek Auxiliary Foot

Artillery and camp.

Think these are actually Essex minis.

Made from cardboard and Das, these tents have stood the test of time.

The Phalanx was often screened by light troops, here Cretan and Asiatic archers fulfill that role.

The bendy lead spears have long gone and were replaced early on by piano wire - this has lead to many a bloody finger. The Sarisa (phalanx spears) are not to scale but long enough.

Another shot of the phalanx, think I've still got one or two more 'blocks' of four to do!

Camels protect the camp... yea right...

Seleucid elephants - flanked by more Asiatic bow (right) and Thureophoroi and Thorakitai (left).

Scythian horse archers lead the Xystophoroi on the left flank - still got some of these to do too!

Birds eye of the entire army... it just doesn't look big enough from this angle!

Seleucid Showcase: Cavalry

Xystophoroi - lance armed Seleucid cavalry.

For nearly 300 hundred years the Seleucid army was one of the best in the ancient world.

The core Seleucid troops were armed with a lance called the Xyston and were collectively known as Xystophoroi.

It's cavalry increasingly became more armoured over time until horse and rider were completely encased in metal armour - long before the knights of the medieval period. These knights were called Cataphracts and employed successful shock tactics.

Unfortunately, after nearly 20 years using this army, I have yet to paint up any cataphracts and have concentrated on the lesser armoured Xystophoroi.

Core of the Seleucid cavalry were armed with the long Xyston.

Once again the Frei Korps bags of figures allow for significant variation at 15mm and their Greek, Macedonian, and Seleucid cavalry bags were used for this army.

As with foot troops, the Seleucids and Successor armies also employed a raft of lighter, auxiliary cavalry from their allied or conquered Greek and Asiatic states.


Seleucus himself, one of the generals available from the 'personality' bags available in the FK Successor range.

Philip V, also from one of the 'personalities' bags.


The Companions were the best cavalry of the army.

(Macedonian) Companions

Anachronistic but couldn't resist fielding Alexander and his companions, painted by Le Chasseur.


Actually from the Greek Xystophoroi bag, not sure why I didn't use the Seleucid Agema available in the FK range.

Line Cavalry

From the Greek Heavy Cavalry bag.

Greek Cavalry

The FK Macedonian Companion cavalry bag provides for Greek Cavalry - based on the uniforms from the Osprey book used as a reference. Think Le Chasseur painted the stand on the far left, the ones on the right are painted as Thessalonians.

Tarantine Cavalry

Tarantine mercenary cavalry were considered to be some of the best light horse available early on in the period.

Scythian Cavalry

Scythian horse archers were used throughout the period, some of these were also painted by  Le Chasseur.


Not the best of troops but good for guarding the camp... or leaving in the box...

Sunday 26 February 2017

Seleucid Showcase: Greek Auxilary Foot

Thureophoroi, Thorakitai, Thracians, and Cretans protect the elephants and flank of the phalanx.

Along with their Asiatic auxiliaries, the Seleucids and other Successors made good use of their 'Greek' allies, although the word 'Greek' is used in its widest sense here.

So these are all Frei Korps 15mm and form part of my Seleucid army, and the sheer majority of which were painted by Le Chasseur.


So called because of the name of their oval shields - the Thureos - these troops seemed to have developed from the Greek Peltasts - named because of the name of their shields, the Pelte.

These were sometimes very good auxiliary troops, lighter than the phalanx and who fought in similar but shallower ranks and files, with javelins, short spears, and sword.


Thought to be a heavier version of the Thureophoroi, these troops seemed to have fulfilled a similar function but were generally armed with a long thrusting spear and chain-mail armour.

Although there seems to be some confusion now as to whether these were actually separate class of troops who just happened to carry the Thureos, or even whether they existed at all - meh.

Both types of auxiliary seemed to have evolved into what could best be considered 'Roman-like' Hastati and Princepes, as the later part of the Successor period overlapped with the Roman Republic.

Still these are good looking troops of which I only have half painted... what? Its only been 20 years!


Next door neighbours with the Macedonians in the kingdom of Thrace, these guys were considered hardy and aggressive troops on the whole.

There were generally two types of heavier Thracian auxiliary used in the Successor armies. One type was armed similarly as the Thureophoroi, the other - as are all these troops - were armed with the vicious Rhomphaia - basically a curved blade on a stick,

These guys saw service throughout the ancient world of the associated period.


Sourced from Crete, these archers were considered some of the best in the ancient world and would turn up as mercenaries in many countries' armies until well into the medieval period.

So no self respecting ancients general of lead and plastic should be without these guys in their armies!

Seleucid Showcase: Elephants

Any player who says that it wasn't the enormous numbers of elephants available to this army in most rule sets, which made them game it, is either lying or hasn't read the associated army list properly.

This post showcases the 15mm Frei Korps elephants available in my Seleucid army.

Seleucid Elephants

These guys are really nice multi-part figures which I can remember building and painting.

I think the elephant without the Seleucid armour is in fact listed as a Macedonian elephant with howdah.

Macedonian Elephant

An earlier version of the Macedonian elephant without howdah, still feasible in a Successor army.

My favourite rule of the last 20 years for these guys was the Stampede rule in WAB. Upset the elephant enough with javelins or arrows and off it would go, I scatter die and 2d6cms later, you'd be amazed what they bumped into!

Seleucid Showcase: Asiatic Auxilary Foot

Asiatic auxiliaries flank the phalanx.

The Seleucid and Successor armies employed fairly large numbers of lighter troops to support the phalanxes, elephants, and heavy cavalry.

This post showcases the 15mm Frei Korps troops that were drawn from the lands conquered during Alexander's times, which would have been the local population of the Eastern Successor States.

Asiatic Bow

With origins from the Persian armies like those of Darius, Asiatic bowmen often provided the bulk of auxiliary foot troops.

These bowmen functioned as dedicated 'massed' bowmen (above) and as light troops or skirmishers (below). They were of varying quality ranging from poor to good.

If memory serves correctly, Le Chasseur painted these guys up as part of a commission - nice job!


One of the many marauding bands of 'Celtic barbarians', the nomadic Galatians were hired to provide more of a punch than other auxiliaries, functioning much like aggressive Celts on too much sugar.

The Galatians often armed themselves with the spoils of battle and the FK bags reflect the expected mix of equipment nicely.

Kappadokian Hillmen

Often used to 'bulk out the numbers', hilltribes were often mustered into the Successor armies.

These were generally sound troops that could function well as skirmishes.

Again I think these hillmen were a commission painted by Le Chasseur.