Trojan War: King Memnon of Ethiopia

Following on from my post about doing some Amazons and Ethiopians for the Trojan War a few weeks back, I was inspired to get a mini for King Memnon of Ethiopia, who features in the later sections of the Iliad.

Memnon and his warriors, photographed on a rocky hillside that I built a few years back. Background by Jon Hodgson Maps

In Rosemary Sutcliff’s Black Ships Before Troy, one of John Howe’s watercolours has a go at recreating Memnon and his troops. I say ‘recreating’ but ‘imagining’ is probably a better term for this kind of mythological illustration.  Anyway, I thought I’d attempt something similar in 28mm. 

Illustration by John Howe from Black Ships Before Troy

After some hunting around through the usual suspects online (Foundry, Eureka, Redoubt, Lucid Eye) I settled on using a Northstar Kadesh chariot with a converted Sea Peoples leader as Memnon. The colour scheme was to reflect the green and gold that I’d used to tie Memnon’s followers together last time out, expanded with a little red and black.  Howes’s illustration draws upon the modern Ethiopian flag colours for inspiration, which although obviously anachronistic, has a clear African vibe to it. One reason I picked the Northstar chariot was that the horses had elaborate plumes and caparisons which would allow for some bright colours and patterns! 

Northstar chariot original (pic from Northstar website)
Sea Peoples Champion (pic from Northstar website)

Memnon himself started life as a Sea Peoples officer; the figure was suitably heroic (pointing and waving a sword, wearing scale armour) but I wanted to swap his headgear for something more esoteric.  His Ethiopian warriors are conversions of Perry Beja models with some Greek-style crested helmets so I wanted something similar but suitably ostentatious for the big boss.  

Memnon’s warriors – all converted plastics. Bodies and bare heads are from Perry Miniatures’ Beja, apart from second left who has a Warlord Games Greek Hoplite body. Helmeted heads are Victrix Iberians with crests added. Shields are from Oathmark Skeletons and Wargames Atlantic Skeletons.
More of the same – these guys have weapons and shields taken from Oathmark skeletons and revenants.

Cue hunting through all my bits boxes!  Victrix had some nice crests but these were beaten into second place by Wargames Atlantic skeletons, which feature a single transverse crest of heroic dimensions.  

After some chopping and gluing, I managed to transpose the rather OTT crest onto Memnon’s royal head and blended it in with some inexpert green stuffing.  A fur cape was added from a Victrix Roman and I now had the hero I was after. 

The charioteer was a simpler affair, being no more than a Perry Beja body and arms with a Victrix Iberian head and crest. The hands had the weapons cut off and were then drilled out to accept reins that I would add after painting. 

The Northstar chariot is made from MDF and grey board (originally produced for them by 4Ground and now by Sarissa) and it’s a clever little piece of work that wasn’t too hard to fit Memnon and his charioteer into. 

Component parts from Northstar – you can see the level of detail on the MDF chariot.

 I primed it separately from the other models with a coat of Halfords camouflage dark brown spray.  This didn’t take long to dry brush up with various shades of brown before painting the housing to match the cowhide shields of the Ethiopians.  Ok, then I got slightly carried away and decided to add a pattern, but hey, it looks the part. 

Memnon and his charioteer both had a white undercoat before being painted using the same colours as my previous Ethiopians.  His fur cloak had a few spots added to suggest a leopard or similarly ferocious big cat. 

The horses – also primed white- received a base coat of GW Contrast Apothecary White with various patches of grey and pink added for variety.  Patterns were picked out in acrylics using a number 1 brush before blocking in the areas around them in black.  Tassels and plumes were treated the same as the Ethiopian helmet plumes – GW Contrast Warp Lightning and Dark Angels Green in various mixes. 

With all the base layers finished, I gave the minis two coats of matt varnish and then did the bronze. After that, it was time to assemble the pieces. 

In a scene reminiscent of Ben Hur, our heroic charioteer struggles to get it together with the reins and chariot…
Success! Just the last bits of basing to go..

After some suitably sandy basing and a few grass tufts and rocks, Memnon and his warriors were ready to go.

I really enjoyed doing these minis and will be using them in my Greek myth games very soon – either in Midgard or, quite possibly, as a good basis for a warband in Of Gods And Mortals (OGAM).

9 thoughts on “Trojan War: King Memnon of Ethiopia

  1. What an excellent project! Very imaginative and beautifully done. Have you read “the war that killed Achilles” by Caroline Alexander? It’s an attempt to put a history to the myth.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s by Caroline Alexander who wrote such an excellent history of the Bounty Mutiny, different era I know but she has a great approach

        Like

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