Thursday, March 20, 2014

Nubian Archers

Ancient Egypt and Nubia had a close and varied relationship, sometimes being enemies, sometimes allies. Nubian archers were famed, so much that the Egyptian name for Nubia literally meant "The Land of the Bow". Ancient Nubia was situated along the Nile above the 1st cataract, in present day southern Egypt and Northern Sudan.

Here's the fist of my two units of Nubian Archers - 28mm Old Glory figures. This unit has shades of red for their "facing colors" (Divisional color within the larger Egyptian army). 

I have once again included an Egyptian command figure, in part because I needed 16 figures per unit and there are 30 in a bag of OG! Here I have given an Egyptian style of dress to a figure that clearly has Nubian skin color!

The feathers are finely sculpted, but fragile!

Some depictions of Nubians in Egyptian art suggest white or dull red head caps, but I have chosen to paint my own Nubians with black, plaited hair. 

My 2nd unit of Nubian Archers. 

Note the "panther skin" kilts and bronze/gold armbands and earrings. These Nubians certainly look very "African"; they wouldn't seem out of place in a 20th century Africa movie. I half expect them to address me as "Bwana!", which itself evidently means "Master" or "Boss" in Swahili.  (No racial slur whatsoever intended).

I haven't done much African flesh color before, but I think these came out pretty well - the figures were painted with thinned down Delta Ceramcoat "Walnut", and then dry brushed with CC Spice Brown.

The kilts were painted CC Palomino Tan, then spotted with CC Brown Velvet, using and old, frayed brush. Quivers are CC Bambi Brown. The reds used were CC Bright Red and CC Adobe Red, and the greens are CC Leaf Green and CC Jubilee Green.  Reds and greens predominate in Egyptian depictions of Nubian dress.

Wooden tomb figures of Nubian Archers, from the Cairo Museum.
Were the Pharaohs the first Miniature Wargamers?

A painted limestone relief of Nubian Archers from the temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri. Hatshepsut, who ruled as Pharaoh in her own right. She was the aunt of Thutmose II, the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh who was surely the greatest of the warrior Pharaohs of Egypt. These and many other fascinating images of Nubian Archers and interesting information can be found here

Map of Ancient Nubia with modern borders, etc superimposed

Nubian Prince and/or Ambassador.

"Nubian" Pyramids from the later "Kushite" era at Meroe (in modern day Sudan), circa 3rd century BC to 4th century AD.  The last 3 images and many more, plus a history of the region can be found here

Surely one of the great things about our hobby is the way it encourages us to explore human history, including some of the much less well known eras and locations!



  1. An interesting post, pleasant to read, well illustrated, and these figures (yours, but also those of Pharao!) are really this post!

  2. Wonderful brushwork on these. I think OG makes some really nice Nubians, as well as Libyans. Best, Dean

    1. Thanks, Dean. These OG figures are very nicely sculpted indeed!

  3. Great stuff, Peter!

    Terrific figures (the Old Glory range of Egyptians is really quite nice, eh?) and a very interesting history lesson.

    Two for the price one!

    1. Great; glad you enjoyed both!

    2. I browsed through the link you posted on Nubia. Really great stuff and I appreciate your inclusion of this info. Fascinating!

    3. You're welcome, Jon. If you had asked me future career plans at about age 9/10, it would have been Egyptology!

  4. very, very nice miniatures and painting. plus love reading your historical/background notes.