Footsore Flashback: Arabs Under the Brush

Hi, I’m Paul, and welcome back to Painting, Sculpting and Gaming.

Today I present you with another Footsore Flashback. This article was first published on the Footsore website in April 2017, and it focuses on one of my very favourite Footsore lines: the Armies of the Caliphate.

Always colourful and exotic, Arabs are now also—as the youngsters would say—bang on trend following the release of Saga’s new Age of Crusades expansion (which is, of course, available now from our webstore). So those of you with newly acquired Arab warbands can rejoice, as Monty Luhmann is here to show you how to make your new favourite miniatures snap, crackle and, indeed, pop.



I’ve had a thing for painting and playing Saga ever since I painted my first Viking warband. Since then, I’ve painted 14 warbands and published 58 Saga posts on my Twin Cities Gamer blog.  Today I’d like to share how I painted my Mutatawwi’a warband in the hope it will help fellow Saga-mites get their favorite faction on the table.

When composing my warband, I like lots of options for each faction I paint and play and the Mutts muster out at two warlords, 8 Naffatun, 32 warriors and 16 hearthguard.

Below are the Footsore Miniatures Arab packs I used to build my Mutts:

12 Arab Heavy Infantry = 3 points of foot Hearthguard.

12 Arab Heavy Cavalry = 3 points of mounted Hearthguard.  Foot Hearthguard are versatile but I also love the speed of mounted troops. That means I paint up both.

32 Arab Infantry with Swords & Spears = 4 points of warriors.

8 Naffatun. 4 = 1 point of Dogs of War Naffatun.  Naffatun are indispensable with Mutts because they dish out fatigue easily while the battleboard allows you to quickly shed your fatigue.  You can only field four Naffatun in an Arab warband, but I bought eight so I could paint two sets: one in black and one in color.

Step one is to take your Footsore figures out and admire them!  The level of detail is exquisite and there is lots of variety in the poses.  I adore the character sculpted into each face.  After a suitable period of admiration, sort and prep them for basing. Scrape off any bits of flash or lines with an X-Acto knife or small file.  Lucky for us, there’s very little clean-up needed on Footsore figures because they’re so superbly cast.

I use Renedra’s 25mm plastic rounds for basing and attach figures using a hot glue gun. It’s fast, easy and adheres perfectly.  I use FireForge Games plastic spears, but metal spears—as sold, of course, by Footsore Miniatures—work even better.  Most hands are predrilled but for the few that aren’t, a twist of a pin drill and you’re done.

For flocking, I use a mix of Woodland Scenic’s fine, medium and large ballast (1/3 each).  Apply a coat of white glue (PVC) to the base and dip it into the ballast.  If you miss any bits, put down a spot of glue and dip again.  Once the ballast dries completely, apply a wash of 70% water, 30% white glue.  When it dries, this wash locks up the ballast for good.

Once the ballast is dry, it’s time to prime.  I use Army Painter’s Leather Brown for most Dark Ages priming including the mounted Moors below.  If you leave it intact on the spears, shoes and the back of the shields, it saves some brushwork. I use black for Hearthguard so I can easily drybrush chainmail and metal.  I use grey for the warriors for a neutral base for painting white robes.

My warrior paint scheme is white uniforms with shields, turbans and sashes done in bright colors.  There are many ways to paint white.  You can prime white and wash for shadows.  You can paint white neatly over a grey primer or light grey base coat, leaving grey in the folds for shadows.   I use a Vallejo Khaki to Sand Yellow to White transition.  Khaki lightened with some white is my base color.

Vallejo Sand Yellow goes on next.  Leave Khaki intact in the folds for shadows.  Work in batches of 8 or more figures for efficiency.

Vallejo Oily Steel goes on all metal bits and is washed with P3 Armor wash. German Camo Black Brown goes on the back of the shields and skin.  White is liberally applied over Sand Yellow.  It’s a bit ragged but remember, gaming distance is 3 feet!

Saturated color alert! A dark base color is applied to sashes and turbans for the highlight color to pop against.  Vallejo Dark Prusia Blue is the base for Deep Sky Blue highlights, Magenta for Squid Pink highlight, and Black Red for Carmine highlights.  If you don’t have these colors, no worries! Find a dark and light combo that works for you.

The highlight color is carefully applied to the turbans and sashes, leaving the base color intact in folds for shadows.  Shields are painted with simple geometric shapes using a pallet of black, white, red and yellow.  Repeating color themes and a tight palette help give a warband visual unity.  Skin is painted last to avoid the trial that comes from getting stray paint on painted flesh.  Use Foundry Flesh 5A for the base, then a flesh wash, followed by Flesh 5B for a highlight.  Spears are Vallejo Iraqi Sand.

Script on the shields is a done with a Black Micron pen or a 000 paintbrush.  I tried copying Arabic script and decided squiggles work better for me.  I add grass tufts to the bases for visual interest and finish with a protective coat of spray-on Matte sealer.

That’s it in 19 easy steps, more or less!  I still need to paint a linen banner and mounted Hearthguard to finish the warband.  These Footsore Mutts are my second Mutt warband.  My first (below) was painted in all black which is another option. I love the bright colors and exquisite detail of my Footsore Mutts so much that they’re going to the US Grand Melee with me in March.

When you paint your next Footsore warband, remember, it’s your lead and your brush.  Have fun bringing your vision to life!



About Monty Luhmann

A passionate Minnesota hobbyist with a propensity for gaming, painting and history, Monty Luhmann was introduced to skirmish and the Dark Ages by SAGA.

You can read more of his posts concerning Saga and tabletop gaming on his blog, Twin Cities Gamer.



We’re currently open to submissions, so if you have an article about sculpting, painting or gaming, then please do send it our way. From historical to sci-fi, battle reports to painting tips, modelling to terrain and all points in between, we’d love to hear from you. See our submissions guidelines for more details.

About the Author

Paul L. Mathews
A born-again wargamer since 2015, Paul L. Mathews is now the editor at War Banner. He is also the head honcho at his own freelance enterprise, Tabletop Creative. A dull boy, Paul's interests include editing and staying up past his bedtime

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