Tribal Mongols Arrive – Group 1

Back a little while ago I noted that I was ordering two DBA Tribal Mongol armies. I order the first and it arrived on my desk today. Now I am waiting to get home tonight to have a good look at them and of course I’ll photograph them as well.

These were original Donnington Figures from Ancient and Modern Army Supplies.

Payday is in two weeks time – that will be when the second Mongol army is ordered. In the meantime

Tribal Mongol Figures

In this post I am doing a quick survey of 15mm figures available to do the Tribal Mongols. Recall that the first six armies I will need to build for this project are:

  • Tribal Mongolian – two of these armies
  • Uigher
  • Sha-t’o Turkish
  • Khitan-Liao
  • Hsi-Hsia

I considered scales, includig 6mm and 10/12mm but settled on 15mm as the scale of choice for this. Perhaps I’ll mention something about other scale figures in a later post – but don’t hold your breath 😆

As I also mentioned before, the content of the lists for the armies were:

  • 1 x 3 Cavalry (the khan and his bodyguard)
  • 11 x 2 Light Horse – the tribe – 11 bases of them

This for forces prior to the 13th Century. For later forces, those in the early part of the 13th Century I’ll use:

  • 1 x 3 Cavalry (the khan and his bodyguard – maybe wearing armour this time on armoured ponies)
  • 1 x 3 Cavalry (some armoured supporters, wealthier or more successful members of the tribe)
  • 10 x 2 Light Horse  – the rest of the tribe – 10 bases of them.

So I will be therefore looking for the following figures for each of the first two armies:

  • 22 Light Horse figures – probably shooting bows
  • 6 Cavalry figures – more armoured type Mongols, maybe with some horse armour. One will need to be the Great Khan and one a standard bearer

The camp will be based around a ger and some baggage or tethered animals with an element of camp followers provided too – these likely to be women and/or children and range from 2 to 4 figures.

So, what figures are available?


The big question here is which figures to use to make up the Mongol armies. As I am building in 15mm, I will concentrate on that scale only. I should also note that as I am building two armies, I will use two manufacturers of figures. I am therefore examining figures for Tribal Mongol (or DBA Ready Made Army packs).

Essex Minatures

Essex Miniatures make a line of Mongols and also provide a DBA Army pack. The Mongol figure range includes:

Generals & Bodyguards, Armoured cavalry armed with lance and bow, unarmoured cavalry armed with land and bow as well as horse archers. There are also equivalent troops mounted on camels as well as dismounted.

As I recall from Iggulden’s novels, the Mongols did not adopt armour until after some exposure to it from the Chinese. If using Essex I will concentrate on using unarmoured and horse archer figures. Essex also make an ready made DBA Army pack that covers the Tribal Mongol armies from 840 to about 1218 CE. It’s cost is £15.40.

Donnington Miniatures

Donnington Miniatures also make a range of Mongols in their original range, including mounted and dismounted figures. This also includes baggage carried by Bactrian camel. The unarmoured figures themselves appear wearing that very distinctive fur-lined hat of the Mongols. The range includes mounted and dismounted figures, armoured and unarmoured.

Donnington also provides a DBA Army pack for this army, consisting of 56 figures. This is also for the correct time period and currently costs £14.00.

Museum Miniatures

Apart from having arguably the absolute worst website for a wargamer to deal with, Museum Miniatures also have a range of 15mm Mongols. The range includes both mounted and dismounted figures with the figures ranging from armoured men on armoured horses to unarmoured troops. The hats worn by these Mongols have a certain Hun-like appearance about them but will work OK for the Mongols.

Interestingly Museum does not offer a DBA Army pack for the Tribal Mongols, even though they do offer a Uigher army pack.

Legio Heroica

Legio Heroica is an Italian producer of wargames figures. They make an exquisite range of Mongols but these are for the Later Mongol Empire army. I shall return to these when I get to that stage of the project.

15mm.CO.UK offer a range of Mongols as well. As with the other manufacturers there are mounted and dismounted figures which are armoured and unarmoured. This also provide camel mounted troops and baggage. The figures are similar in appearance to the offerings of Museum Miniatures.

The figures in the range are in a range called ISARUS and were formally the Alternate Armies and/or Tabletop figures.

They do not offer a DBA Army pack

Naismith Design

Naismith Design figures are produced and sold by Navwar from the UK. They have a rather primitive mail order service (you need to telephone, fax or send them a letter) but their mail order service and turnaround is superb.

Naismith have a series of nice figures, including Mongol Light Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry, Command and some camel mounted figures to boot. These are in their Samurai and Far Eastern range. They also have figures for others of the eastern nationalities.

There are some great painted examples of the Naismith figures on the “An Hour of Wolves and Shattered Shields” website.

Falcon Figures

Falcon Figures make a larger range of Mongols as well as many of the figures that will be needed later, including, for example, the Koreans.

Alain Touiller Figurines

Alain Touller Figurines from France offer a good range of Mongols as well, although I believe that they sometimes can be slow to supply. They also seem to do a range of Koreans which may be useful later in the project.

Black Hat Miniatures

Black Hat Miniatures offer a range of general Asiatic types the nomad ones of which would appear to pass for Mongols although there are no specific Mongol figures.

Lancashire Games

Lancashire Games also offer a range of 15mm Mongols, including Light Cavalry Firing Bow, Light Cavalry Charging with Bow, Heavy Cavalry, Extra Heavy Cavalry, Dismounted Light Cavalry and Light Cavalry with Spear. The dismounted figure would work for the camp follower and the Extra Heavy Cavalry for the later Mongols. Missing are the command figures.

Old Glory 15s

Old Glory 15s offer a range of 15mm Mongols as well. It is difficult to see how accurate they appear to be from the website photos but they look like they would pass as Mongols.

Outpost Wargames Services

Outpost Wargames Services have some suitable figures included under the range of Jurchen. These can be found under the Ching/Manchu Dynasty range. There is a limited number of figures that can be used for Mongols as the Jurchen became the Manchu and they eventually overthrew the Mongol Yuan court – subjugating the Mongol homelands first. There are many interesting old folk tales spoken by older Mongols about the Manchu even today still.

Pass of the North

Pass of the North have some Mongols at the masters stage – heavy cavalry and light cavalry. They are really nice figures and look just about perfect. However, I am not sure whether these are in production yet or not. I have written to Pass of the North to inquire and will update here later.

As I mentioned above, I contacted Jeff Caruso, the principal behing Pass of the North and he sent me this reply:

Unfortunately, I’m not able to manufacture now (anymore?) I apologize for the confusion of the website. I stopped it two years ago but the host has left it up since it generates hits, a lot more it appears than many of his other clients. I suppose if I could get my casting machine to work, I’d go cast regardless of the impact on me, but I can’t get down on the floor to work on it. Boo hoo.

Thanks for your kind remarks on the appearance of the Mongols as I’ve had a fascination of Genghis Khan for many years. The sculptor will be honored too.

It is a shame that as apart from his Mongols which were really very nice, many of his Ancient German figures in particular were just bloody marvellous.

Viking Forge

Viking Forge have a range of 15mm Mongolian figures although looking at the images on the website I think these would work better as a later Mongol warrior – more like the Mongol Empire time.


There are plenty of 15mm Mongols out there. I am thinking that I will likely build the two Mongol forces from the figures in the Essex, Pass of the North and Naismith. When I come to make the Mongol Empire forces I will look at some of the other ranges. I will start to consider some of the other armies in later posts but for now, that wonderful wargaming task – the planning sessions – will continue.

Tribal Mongol

As part of the Mongol Conquest Campaign that I outlined here the other day, the next step in the planning is based around two areas – some background information on the armies as well as looking at the available figures for each of them. As I mentioned, I am building this little collection based around Conn Iggulden’s books as a start, with a bit of history tossed in for more flavour.

Remember that I had decided to do this in 15mm and set for the De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) rule system. For the first chapter of this project, I will need to look at the basic armies of:

  • Tribal Mongolian – and I will need two of these to represent the Mongols and some of their earlier opponents
  • Uigher and other Central Asian Turkish tribes
  • Sha-t’o Turkish
  • Khitan-Liao
  • Hsi-Hsia

I am loosely following Iggulden’s books and these were written based on the content of the Secret History of the Mongols. This is still the main source for information of the Mongols of this period. I’ll build a bibliography later, as well as some book reviews but note that copies of the Secret History are expensive.

DSC01365As readers of Thomo’s Hole will realise too, I spent some time working in Mongolia and I will freely admit that was one of the happiest times of my life. The people are, mostly, really very nice and the countryside is just gorgeous. It was also good to have travelled parts of the Mongolian countryside as well as Kazakhstan and northern China to get a feel for the country in that part of the world. The picture to the left is the steppes in the east of Mongolia. That is the main road in that area as well that you can see. I’ll cover the terrain of Mongolia in a later article.

The Mongols are a collection of tribes inhabiting the area to the north of China and up into Siberia. The wargame list for this presented in the DBA rules however covers not just the Mongols but also the Tatars, Naiman, Merkit (all mentioned in Iggulden’s books), Onggud and Kereyit.

The list of troops to make this army in DBA is:

  • 1 x 3 Cavalry (the khan and his bodyguard)
  • 11 x 2 Light Horse – the tribe – 11 bases of them

This will provide the basis of the early forces. With all that light horse, it is a fairly one dimensional force but it’s early opponents were similarly one-dimensional. For later forces, those in the early part of the 13th Century I’ll use:

  • 1 x 3 Cavalry (the khan and his bodyguard – maybe wearing armour this time on armoured ponies)
  • 1 x 3 Cavalry (some armoured supporters, wealthier or more successful members of the tribe)
  • 10 x 2 Light Horse  – the rest of the tribe – 10 bases of them.

At least now there is the start of a second dimension.

For both these forces the camp will consist of a base with a Ger (yurt) and a camp follower element of some women and children ((Women were by and large hardy and tough and also had a vested interest in protecting the camp especially as this was a nomadic society and and without permanent settlements – to lose your protection in winter was to die on steppes where the temperature could fall as low as –50 degrees Celsius)) – if I can find some suitable figures dressed in deel ((this is the Mongolian traditional dress and is similar for both men and women)).

The next step in the Mongol part of this is to indentify some suitable figures which I will do in a separate post. I will also start to look at the other armies for this chapter of the project.

A New Ancient Project

It’s been a few months since I outlined my next wargaming project, to be added to the pile of other projects either planned or underway but not yet completed. Time for an ancient one.

This came about as a result of the three for two sale from Essex Miniatures. I’d bought Hungarians, Poles and Serbs. It felt so good handling 15mm lead again that I thought I should look at something a little Ancient. Having been reading Conn Iggulden’s Mongol series of books recently and noting that the fourth book in the tale of the Mongols has just been released, it felt good to consider a Mongol theme.

The DBA rules have a Mongol campaign in them with the armies being Hungarian, Mongol, Pole, Russian, Chinese and Khwarizm. There is also an eastern based campaign set around the Asian opponents of Kublai Khan (Korea, Sung Chinese, Japan, Vietnam and Burma).

I wanted to start it a little earlier however, starting with the Mongols coalescing into a unified state, to deal with the various tribes first then sort off on worldwide domination. To that end I am looking at a campaign (or at least a series of armies) consisting of:

  • III/44 Tribal Mongolian – two of these armies will be required as the early on the Mongols were fighting each other
  • III/11ab – these are the Uigher and other Central Asian Turkish tribes – one of the early opponents
  • III/42b Sha-t’o Turkish
  • III/15 Khitan-Liao
  • III/66 Hsi-Hsia

These would do for starters. I know that I could easily add the Tang and Sung Chinese into this group, especially as they are dealt with in the first three books of Iggulden’s novels but I think they will keep nicely for a link set.

A second stage would have a smaller campaign consisting of the following:

  • III/44 Tribal Mongolian – only one of these required now as the Mongols are more unified now
  • III/61 Sung Chinese
  • IV/14ab Jurchen-Chin
  • IV/15 Qara-Khitan
  • IV/35 Mongol Conquest – this is what the Tribal Mongol eventually became

The third stage would be to adopt from the rules the Mongol Terror campaign, consisting of:

  • III/67b Early Hungarian
  • III/62b Early Polish
  • III/78 Early Russian
  • IV/35 Mongol Conquest
  • III/61 Sung Chinese
  • IV/24 Kwarizmian

Lastly the Kublai Khan stage where the armies involved would be:

  • III/61 Sung Chinese
  • IV/48 Yuan Chinese (the Mongol Empire in China)
  • III/56 Koryo Dynasty Korean
  • III/54 Early Samurai
  • III/59 Medieval Vietnamese
  • III/9b Burmese

I realise that I could then add in the period of the various Hordes traipsing across Asia in particular but they will need to wait for a later project.

In the meantime, there are 16 DBA Armies listed above – that will keep this as a running project for some time. The next stage in planning this will be identifying figures, starting with the Early Mongol period.