The decision was between the Ancient Indians or Sarmation, both armies I liked, had an interest in and both that would be something different on the table. I looked at a lot of websites and had a lot of advice from blog readers about the various manufacturers too. To be honest, a large part of the decision fell on the figure choice...that and the costs. Given the general lack of funds I am always suffering from this is a major issue, I can't blow what little cash I have on figures that I am not happy with...and I do have so many issues with 15mm figures.
I have decided on the Sarmations or, at least the Alan version...not sure why. I felt that the cost of the Indian elephants and heavy chariot units alone would be tricky, plus the costs of low point value infantry of course, even if I did buy the army a unit or so at a time. It was not all based upon negatives though; I do like the idea of the terrible (in the original sense of the word) heavy cavalry and cataphracts, the swarms of annoying horse archers... I also decided I liked the look of one particular figure enough to look at the whole range. Not that they had a whole range of Sarmations of course, few manufacturers do. It would be a case of selective purchases but as the army doesn't need a whole lot of different troop types this shouldn't be too much hassle....possibly famous last words! The company in question is Magister Militum, or rather, one of the many ranges they carry and deal with. Take a look at the Sarmation Cataphact they do....
There is just something about this figure that I really like, no one thing in particular but the overall look and feel of it. It is not the over played figure type you often see, all three inch thick plate metal armour and like something from a Warhammer catalogue! This actually looks like a cataphract from a semi nomadic and Steppe born army, you could actually imagine a horde of these warriors unlike the overly heavy figures you often see. Social and cultural economics can and do dictate military equipment choices, metal has always been expensive to procure of produce, especially for Steppe peoples.
For the lighter horse archers I will need to raid the other ranges Magister Militum do, such as the Huns. There is so little known information on how any of these armies actually looked that as long as a figure has the right feel for period and type one can get away with things; particularly in 15mm!
This next figure is from their Goth/Visigoth range, a useful light cavalryman for many armies I would have thought.
The Sarmation army for Hail Caesar can be made up of purely cataphracts and heavy cavalry, or at least be an entirely a mounted force; I quite like the sound of that. Ok, the figures will end up being a little 'samey' but a varied paint job can help there, along with a little innovation when it comes to basing of course. These are not armies that need figures to be individually based to allow for a myriad of formations...column or line is about it really. This means, at this scale especially, I can build a unit around just two double depth bases and positions the figures in a more random pattern than the usual DBA style base would allow for...a mini vignette perhaps?
So there we are, I will build a Sarmation Army using figures from Magister Militum. It will be built within the remit of the official Hail Caesar army lists but will also be simple and efficient with just a few types of unit....heavy on the heavies as it were. All I need now is a bucket of pennies, so plenty of sofa diving for me and I may even make an early Guy......anyone need a kidney???