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"What period/nation would these figures work for?" Topic

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swammeyjoe28 Jun 2020 10:37 a.m. PST


I've got a massive number of these Conan Bossonian Guard figures, which seem to be wearing mail under a surcoat, carrying a polearm (I think a halberd?) and sword and wearing a metal helm with gorget.

Pictures here:

What time period and nations could these work with, historically? Right now I'm just using them as generic city guards and mercenaries for RPGs.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2020 11:21 a.m. PST

I'll let those better versed in medieval costume take this one. But as a Howard fan, I'd like to point out that they're Gundermen. The Bossonians are archers. (Pretty sure Howard's inspiration for the Gundermen was English billmen, but that doesn't mean the costumes will line up.)

swammeyjoe28 Jun 2020 11:28 a.m. PST

Fair point, Gundermen or Aquilonian would have been better. But the boardgame team for some reason insists on calling them all Bossonians.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Jun 2020 12:30 p.m. PST

Probably more Swiss than English but, even then, a bit far fetched for an historical figure.

William Warner28 Jun 2020 1:19 p.m. PST

I personally would use them in a Balkan army, maybe Serbian, Transylvanian, Bosnian, etc. This is not based on any historical knowledge, but on the fact that to me their appearance "feels" right. Remove the spike and they might be useful in Western armies if you're not too great a stickler for book accuracy.

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2020 5:00 p.m. PST

IMHO, the short answer is that it would take so much cutting and sanding to remove all of the non-historical, "fantasy" details on these figures that it would seem a much better use of your time to trade or sell them and use the proceeds to buy historically faithful figures.

The weapon itself is a halberd; infantry so equipped would be typical of Western Europe in the later 14th or 15th century. From the top, here's what a historic make-over would entail:

Helmet: This visorless sallet would require removal of the spike, raised center ridge, and cheekpieces (they're not shaped into a proper gorget or bevor). The leather/cloth drapery hanging from the helmet itself looks vaguely Middle-Eastern and doesn't go with Western Europe. The coif needs to be leather or (better) mail; "studded" leather as shown on this figure is only a thing in Hollywood and has no historical validity.

Torso: I don't see mail at all under the surcoat. Nothing too wrong with the surcoat's body although the sleeves are weird. The shoulder guard and strange circular badge near it are ahistorical but could perhaps be left alone. A bigger problem is the "Temple of the Moon" belt buckle, no historical equivalent and unfortunately doesn't look easy to fix.

Arms: The grooved padding here looks something like cricket pads; it could be corrected by cutting cross-grooves in the padded sleeves to make them look like actual gambeson.

Legs: Can't really do the cross-groove fix for these, as padded-armor breeches were definitely not a thing. With a lot of cutting and sanding you could reduce them down to proper woolen breeches. The poleyns (knee guards) are OK. On the shins, one would have to get rid of the studs and file and shape to proper greaves.

Weapons: The halberd is OK although the spearpoint should be a bit longer. What does have to go are the leather wrappings on the shaft. The shortsword is fine. The big cross-strap over the left shoulder looks like it serves no purpose perhaps a bag could be added although medieval warriors are almost never shown in period art carrying any of their marching kit into action.

I'm sorry to be such a spoil-sport, but your question seemed genuine and deserved a honest answer. The figure sculptor did a fine job of creating fantasy troops and deserves credit for not just copying historical models.

swammeyjoe28 Jun 2020 7:55 p.m. PST

Eumelus, thanks for the answer. They'll continue service as OPFOR for RPGs and with Dragon Rampant. At least now I can paint them with whatever fantasy color scheme I want!

Zephyr128 Jun 2020 9:03 p.m. PST

Just make them into "foreign" mercenaries, then they could be from anywhere… ;-)

Griefbringer29 Jun 2020 9:13 a.m. PST

I will have to agree with Eumelus: these are decent looking fantasy figures, but trying to convert them into historicals would require a ton of work and the result might still not be too impressive.

That said, if you like the general style of those figures and would like to see some historical figures with similar vibe, you might want to check out for example the Agincourt to Orleans (1415-1429) range from Perry Miniatures. This has a wide range of metal packs:


as well as plastic sets for cavalry, French infantry and English infantry. Whether these 28 mm figures scale nicely with your Conan figures I cannot comment upon, not having seen the latter in nature.

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