Carolingians from Look & Learn
I enjoyed my first game of Lion Rampant at Eric the Shed's the other week but although I want to build an army or two for the rules I am not that enamoured of the late medieval period (even if I did enjoy watching Ivanhoe (1952) on TV again the other day). My first love, at least for metal figures, has always been the Dark Ages. Given that lots of people are positing late Dark Ages armies for Lion Rampant (Normans, Vikings and Saxons) then I thought it wouldn't be too much of a push to go back in time a couple of centuries to the Carolingians. I have always been interested in the Carolingians since Look & Learn magazine serialised the Song of Roland back in the early seventies (it could even have been the late sixties - I think my oldest Look & Learn dates from 1967 - interesting to see it being acknowledged as a picture source on Great British Railway Journeys recently)
More recently I bought the Osprey Myths and Legends book, Charlemagne and the Paladins, a reminder that in France he is a semi-mythical figure like King Arthur, although he has proper historical provenance, of course. This fits well, I think, with the ethos behind Lion Rampant.
So when Artizan Designs came out with their Carolingian figures back at the end of 2005 I picked up quite a few. Although quite how many I have got is not clear, given the disorganised state of the lead pile. I just found eight archers in one of my little plastic drawers but there were a lot more shields for infantry, who must be somewhere else! Maybe I have even started some! Now I haven't painted many and I did the first back in 2006 so they have my over-contrasted style at the time but I am sure I can tidy them up a bit.
I have painted eight spearmen so need to do another four for a Lion Rampant unit, which is quite achievable (especially if I have the figures somewhere!).
As far as cavalry goes I have painted six figures so there is my first completed unit straight away. Again they will need tidying up as the painting is a bit iffy.
So, looking at the rules, what would be a good starting force? The Carolingians were very much about cavalry so, in every way, they are proto-Normans except, despite the Artizan models sculpts, there is not a lot of evidence for them having stirrups. The Warhammer Ancient Battles list insisted on 50% cavalry and I think that is the way to go for the Lion Rampant force too. So one unit of noble cavalry (mounted men-at-arms) and two units of lesser cavalry - perhaps the equivalent of skirmishing yeomen) would work. The Carolingians used a lot of skirmishing unarmoured light cavalry.
Their infantry was less important but they did use a lot of levy bowmen so two units of these and one unit of unarmoured infantry would make up the infantry contingent.
This would give a 24 point unit force like this.
1 x Mounted Men-at-arms, drilled (6 figures) 7 points
2 x Mounted Yeoman with javelins (2 x 6 figures) 6 points
1 x Foot yeoman (1 x 12) figures 3 points
2 x archers (2 x 12 figures) 8 points
So six units and 36 figures of which I have already painted 14. Twenty two to do. Quite achievable!
Now what I need to do next is find the remaining figures I know I have got out there. I have already started cleaning up the eight archers.
For opponents I intend to think about both Vikings (which would be interesting given their lack of cavalry) and Andalusians, although the only ones of those I have painted are crossbowmen and they wouldn't have had those at the time.