There has been the usual last minute rush to get our display game ready for the Claymore show in Edinburgh this coming Saturday. We are doing the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa 1212.
The trial run at the club on Sunday confirmed that more infantry were needed to blunt the first attack of the Spanish and crusader knights as happened in the historical clash. The solution came in the form of my paintbrush and credit card.
The prompt delivery by the Beast of some Berber spearmen gave me the chance to put together this quick paint job. There is an option in the army list to make them 'stubborn',which together with an Imam and shooters all around gives them at least some chance of holding off the knights. The flags are from the 'Flag Dude' that I picked up at Salute.
Then the credit card and a summer sale at Hinds Figures produced this unit. A bit further East than most Almohads, but they give a flavour of the very varied recruiting grounds for this army.
The battlefield is fairly bare plain other than a small village and the Almohad camp. I already have suitable items for these with the addition of some banners, courtesy of my update to the latest version of Photoshop. A feature of the last stage of the battle was the Christian knights attacking the camp defended, according to Christian sources, by black troops chained together to stop them running away. This sounds to me like propaganda as there was no lack of motivation in the Almohad army and the Caliph was unlikely to be guarded by reluctant troops. More credible is a chain line as a cavalry obstacle and that's the interpretation I have gone for.
With lots of wire spear cut offs left over from the Berbers, some MDF and a sortie to EBay jewellers for some 'antique' chain, we have the raw materials. Construction was fairly straightforward and plenty of rust pain to finish the job. The Navarre legends have it that the chain was gold and such a chain appeared on their flag after 1212. I think that was also unlikely so I slapped at least some rust over the chain as well.
With excellent timing the film El Cid was on BBC 2 last week. I can almost recite the script word by word I have seen it so often! Plus Michael Portillo is doing a BBC radio series on Islamic Spain. Well worth a listen.
If you are going to Claymore on Saturday, pop over and say hello.