Later Crusader DBA Army

By Tony De Lyall

DBA Later Crusader Army

DBA Army List # 141 - Later Crusader- The Options

  • 4 x 3Kn
  • 1 x 3Cv (Turcople)
  • 3 x 4Cb
  • 2 x 4Sp
  • 2 x 2Ps
  • (1 x Camp Followers)

The army represents the forces of the Crusader states of Syria (the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Principality of Antioch, Counties of Tripoli and Edessa) in the 1128 AD - 1303 AD period. No flexible options at all in the list but a good historical representation.

Tactically Crusaders armies tried to destroy the enemy through a decisive charge by the knights - often a difficult task when fighting armies of horse archers who preferred hit and run skirmish tactics. The infantry component of Crusader armies was there to protect the knights from their more mobile and flightish opponents until the moment of the charge by the knights. The combination of spears and crossbows formed a wall of arms that kept the Saracens from closing and could return their arrow fire. About half the infantry component of a Crusader army would be armed with crossbows or bows.

The military orders - Templars and Hospitallers - provided an important source of troops to the Crusader states and a regular disciplined body in Crusader armies. Unfortunately they tended to be independently minded at times.


Enemies are -

Seljuq Turkish (124), Cilcian Armenian (132), Comnenan Byzantine (133), Medieval Syrian (139), Ayyubid Egyptian (143), Khwarizmian (146), Mamluk Egyptian (158), Ilkhanid (159a)

Notes on the Figures

The army is made up from -
  • Italeri Crusaders.
    • The box says the figures represent Crusaders from the 11th century but they look more like they come from the later 12th century ie. from the Third Crusade rather than the First. The box has a useful mixture of cavalry and infantry.
  • Airfix Robin Hood.
    • These figures have been out of production for quite a while. This is unfortunate since they are one of the most versatile sets of figures for conversion into all sorts of ancient and medieval types.
  • Revell Normans.
  • Revell Anglo-Saxons.
  • Hat Prussian Dragoons.
    • Only the horses only have been used. I didn't like the Italeri Crusader horses. Most have just have two legs on the base. This makes them too flexible. They will shed paint from the legs if knocked. I used the Hat horses which are made from a harder plastic providing a very stable and paint retaining platform for cavalry figures. Some conversion with a sharp knife is required to remove the Napoleonic look. I cut one set of reins off. I also cut most, but not all, of the rear blanket off leaving the impression of a high back saddle.


Secular Knights
Secular Knights
Knights of the Military Orders
Knights of the Military Orders

The Knights are Italeri Crusaders painted to represent both "generic" crusading knights and as the knights of the military orders.

The red knights are a conversion. The figures have had the mace cut off and replaced with a lance made from 1mm thick brass rod. They are mounted on the horses with housing from the Italeri set. Incidentally housing for horses seemed to have appeared in the Outremer towards the end of the 12th century following Moslem practice and later spread to Europe.

The other knights are mounted on converted Hat Napoleonic Prussian Dragoon horses.


Turcopoles The cavalry are Turcoples. Turcoples were either Syrians or Crusaders armed and dressed in eastern fashion usually carrying both light lance and bow. According to Ian Heath the battlefield role of Turcoples continues to be disputed by historians. This is reflected I think in army lists. The DBM army list has them classified as Kn(F) and, post 1150, optionally as Cv(O). Armarti rules classify them as Light Cavalry. DBA have them as Cv.

The figures are a conversion based on the drawing of a Turcople in Ian Heath's Wargamers' Guide to the Crusades. The basic figure and the horse come from the Revell Anglo-Saxons set. To this figure a spear has been added. A shield made from a brass washer with the hole covered with a circle of paper from a hole punch was also added. Both have been glued into place. The bow case, which is partially visible in the image, has been shaped from 5mm length of .100"/2.5mm styrene channel (manufactured by Evergreen, USA). The bow is a small bent section of a pin and the bow string a piece of sewing cotton. The bow, string and case were assembled with glue. A pin was inserted into the left side of the figure and cut off close leaving a small stud. The completed bow case was then glued to the stud.


Crossbowmen Italeri Crusaders have only two crossbow figures per box and these are in a kneeling pose that seems inappropriate for use as massed bow. I therefore decided to make my own. The basic figure from the Airfix Robin Hood set. The crossbow stock is a section of a large metal staple. The bow is a bent pin cut to size. The two pieces were super-glued together to form the crossbow and this then glued to the figure. A small section of 0.8mm brass rod was glued to the other hand as a arrow.

The DBA list requires 4 crossbow figures per base. The DBM Army List for Later Crusader classifies crossbows as Irr Bow(O). Consequently I decided to mounted 3 figures on a base as per DBM instead of 4 to save having to convert additional figures.

However, if you want to use the Italeri crossbowmen they paint up easily without any conversion
Italeri Crusader Crossbows


Spear The spear are converted from an Italeri Crusader infantry figure armed with a sword.

The conversion involves the boiling water technique. The sword was cut off. The figure was then lowered into boiling water to soften it (CAREFUL!). The arm was then bent forward and the figure immersed into cold water to set it into place. A spear made from a straightened out paper clip was added. The spear is anchored into the figure base for stability.


Psiloi These are Revell Norman archers straight out of the box. An alternative would be to use the kneeling crossbow figures from the Italeri Crusaders.

If you feel these figures look too armoured for Psiloi then you could do armed pilgrims using Airfix Robin Hood archers, or Marionite Christians bowmen using Italeri Saracens.

Camp Followers

Camp Followers Friar Tuck gets the guernsey as leader of some Airfix Robin Hood figures.

(To contact the author, click here.)


Heath, Ian. "Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096 - 1291", WRG, 1978. Heath, Ian. "A Wargamers' Guide to the Crusades", Patrick Stephens, 1980. Barker, Phil. and Scott, Richard Bodley. "DBM Army Lists, Book 4" 1994.

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