Monday, September 8, 2014

Model Review: BTD Camel Riders

As the Saga game expands into the Crusades, the range of models you can draw from - wonderful for the modeller!

I wanted to share a review of some Black Tree Design Camelry Models I just bought. Three packs of the beasties is enough to give a Warlord and eight other troops. They will probably serve as two points of Hearthguard giving eight tough troops for an enemy to contend with.

The rules in "The Crescent and the Cross" book for Saga give them an advantage over horse cavalry in both movement (uneven terrain fatigue rule) and melee (horse cavalry lose half their attack dice against them).

I bought one Command pack and two unarmoured model packs.... read on to see what I think of them...

Here is pack FD1044 Camel Cavalry light armoured spearmen...

As you can see in the image below, you get three camels and riders, three varied shields and a length of wire for spears / banners. I will be using some wire spears from Gripping Beast.

There is some flash on the camels to trim off, mainly being around the feet and a piece from the belly to the base.... you may also be able to see piece of flat casting on the rear left leg of the camel model below. This seems to be a lack of detail in the cast as it appears on each of the same type of camel. There is a little flash here as well where the legs connect at the back of the model. You may need to do a little work with a craft knife or file to clean (roughen!) this area up to get some detail in place. You only really see it side on from low down on a table so its nothing too worrying.

The detail on the camels is amazing. So much better than plain horses!

The riders have quilted (padded) armour, added to the folds in the other clothing their is plenty of depth to give the painter a good looking model using washes and/or drybrushes.

The back of the rider and shield.... still detail and the shield has somewhere to really bond the arm in place (see later comment on this).

There is a mould line across the camels back that is only really obvious on the saddle. The rider should cover some of the and a sharp knife should carefully be able to remove the rest.... The base under the camel has some flash that will need trimming so it can stand flat on a surface. The length of the base is

You can see the pipe on the base going to the camels belly... it will be a vent in the mould to allow the molten metal to flow freely from the bod back up to the base during casting. A sharp knife should see this cleared off...

The Rider seems to sit comfortably on the beast... You may need to pinch the legs of the rider in when gluing him in place. Note that the cast metal base of the camel is approximately 41mm long by 11mm at its widest. It should sit comfortably on a standard 50x25mm cavalry base.

This is one model where I think it makes sense to paint the rider and camel separately then glue him in place at the end (given the detail on the rider and saddle that needs to be painted).. I couldn't see any obvious mould lines on the riders - perfect!

There is a little flash on the end of the shoes of some of the riders that needs to be trimmed off (no issues here). There is also a support (a pipe from casting!) that needs to be trimmed off from under the riders right arm) The right hands are posed upright with hand open ready for a spear or banner.

 Here is pack FD1045 Camel Cavalry Command...

The camels themselves seem to be the same models as the pack above. The riders features some models in chain vests.... These are suitable for Warlord IMO. Again, each pack comes with some wire that could be straightened and used as spears. I will be using wire spears I already have, and a length of wire to make a War banner if needed.

The riders are a little differently dressed to the other pack. The chain mail shirts should be straightforward to paint.

The riders are very clean -just a little flash on the extremities to cut off with no impact to detail. One armoured rider has an axe in his right hand. The other armoured figure has a hand ready for a banner or spear (the hand is open and in the upright position). You will need to remove the metal pipe from this rider (see centre figure below). The unarmoured figure below has a scimitar in his right hand.

All the riders in these kits seem to have a small 'bobble' on the left arm where the shield boss fits. This should help in making a secure glued joint. A good feature IMO.


The models are solid and seem easy to cleanup. One point someone raised on the forums was about height/size of the camels. I add a photo below showing a comparison between one of the BTD camel riders and both a Conquest plastic Norman Knight and a Gripping Beast plastic Dark Age Warrior.

I have to say, I don't see its too much of an issue. Having once ridden a camel, I can say they are tall beasts and you do seem in a commanding position.

The price of these in the UK was £10.50 per pack, but BTD had 10% off at the time of purchase, so £9.45. Three packs plus postage (UK) was around £32 for nine camels. This compares well with other offerings I have seen at around £6 per model. At the end of the day its the modeller who chooses on the basis of suitability, not necessarily price.

Here is a link to the camelry on the BTD US website... link.

So there you have it, I think these models are a good addition to a Saga Arab army. Please feel free to discuss this topic on the forum link...

28mm (left to right): GB plastic DA Warrior, BTD camel rider, Conquest plastic Norman Knight



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