We are very excited to announce that Victrix is starting a new Medieval range, covering the period from the 12th to 13th century. We intend to cover the armies of the Crusades, both Western and Islamic, followed by Feudal Europe including Spain and the wars of the Reconquista.
Throughout this blog post we will show you some of the first renders of this new range, including renders of a Christian Knight with various helmet and weapon options, and a selection of Islamic foot soldiers. This will also include a very brief overview of the Medieval world at this time, We hope you enjoy!
The High Medieval period
The period between the 12th to 13th centuries is a part of the wider High Middle Ages that lasted from 1000 to 1300 AD. This era was notable for huge advancements in various technologies, in whilst the estimated population of Europe exploded during this time, growing from 35 to 80 million between 1000 and 1347. Much of this can be linked to the Renaissance of the 12th century, a period of change that included social, political and economic transformations paired with an intellectual revitalization of Western Europe with strong philosophical and scientific roots. This can be widely seen as a Golden-Age within the medieval period.
The development of castles and cathedrals further advanced building technology, this allowed for the construction of vast stone structures in particular the increasing complexity of stone fortresses further developed the art of siege craft which in turn influenced the military tactics and technologies of the period. Infantry developed specialised roles, for example the reintroduction of pikemen into European armies filling an anti-cavalry role, or the use of crossbowmen, sappers or engineers, all vital for sieges. The increasing use of crossbows during the 12th and 13th centuries led to the use of closed-face helmets, heavy body armour, as well as horse armour, essentially turning the mounted knight into the ‘tank’ of the medieval period.
The first sets being worked on are some Knights from the late 12th to mid 13th century wearing surcoats and riding barded horses. Barding started to come into use near the end of the 12th Century in Europe but started to be used earlier by western Knights in the Crusader States due to influences from the Byzantines and Moslem cavalry. It added much need protection for the horses against the hails of Turkish arrows.
There will be a good mix of helmet styles in the set encompassing the change from the classic Norman style conical helmet to the full Barrel helm which came around 1230. Also included will be the intermediate Helmet styles which had face guards but did not fully enclose the head which started to appear around 1200.
For this particular set we have not included Cuisses which were quilted padding over the thighs which started to appear around 1220 as this would restrict the Knights for earlier use. They can be covered in later sets.
This set of knights will work from the 3rd to 7th Crusade but at a push also the battle of Hattin 1187. They can be used as standard knights not affiliated to the Military orders but also as Templars, Hospitallers, Teutonic knights and other Military orders.
We have also made a start on the Islamic forces. First of all being Moslem infantry with spears and swords which will represent the foot soldiers of the 11th to 13th century Fatamid and Ayyubid Caliphates as well as Syrian City Militia, Andalusians in Spain and can be used further back into the 7th and 8th centuries as part of the great Islamic conquests of those centuries. Foot archers will be a separate set.
With this set we are gong for a huge amount of head variation and characterful faces with dynamic attacking and advancing poses. Some armoured figures will be on the command frame and in a follow up armoured set.
What the future holds
Though this is the beginning of a new range, we at Victrix intend to cover the major factions of the period and we hope to create the opportunity for collectors to have a choice of opposing armies in the various spheres of conflict throughout this period.
The Crusades will obviously be focused on, with the intention of releasing sets for both Christian and Muslim armies as shown above. Moreover, this will link nicely with our intentions to include releases for the forces of Al-Andalus and the Northern Christian Kingdoms of Spain; a hugely interesting period of Muslim and Christian medieval history.
Feudal Europe will also be explored, we are hoping to perhaps explore the factions of the Angevin Empire, France and the Holy Roman Empire, who were in states of constant warfare throughout this period.
We will also be releasing a Byzantine range for this period, these can be used against Christian or Muslim factions such as their Italian enemies whom sacked the city of Constantinople during the fourth Crusade, establishing the Latin Empire.
This is a really exciting time for Victrix and our customers, though this is early in development we can't wait to see what comes from it and hope that you join us for the ride, keep your eyes peeled for updates in the future!