|Gripping Beast Spanish starter warband - link|
The bodies of the Norman Knights can be used as is for Hearthguard. There are options for round shields and spears...
The boxes of Knights come in 15 to a pack. three of them are unarmoured and two of them have padded armour. The rest have chain mail.
One possibility is to use "green stuff" epoxy putty or a similar approach to make some cloaks for the riders.
Putty can also be used to disguise the chain mail armour and give the appearance of Warriors rather than Hearthguard.
The Spanish Warriors when mounted have javelins, so cut down the length and maybe add another javelin to the shield hand?
If you want to have some foot troops, then the conquest Norman infantry I had leftover from my Norman armour can make good Warriors or Levy. Warriors on foot have no special rules, but levy can have javelins, bows or even crossbows.
I am not sure I want to go for any levy in this force yet, I will have a think about it. The mounted warriors with javelins seem more appealing so far as there is a special ability that can help them "Light Horses".
When it comes to making an army appear different to another with similar models you are left with three main options. Conversion (i.e. using other parts), painting and to a lesser extent, basing materials.
Using different heads (my bitz box comes in useful here) reveals heads from other Gripping Beast plastic kits (dark age warriors, vikings, anglo-saxons).
In addition I have some Fire Forge Steppe Warriors with different heads (not sure if they really fit). I also have some GB Arab warriors (40 to a box!) with spare heads and a range of weapon types.
Keeping the leftovers for conversions is a must!
I think I will use a variety of heads and some round shields to make the army look different to the Normans. A "red and yellow" painting theme will really make them appear different again, maybe with the odd cloak here and there.
All I need to do now is break out the craft knife and plastic glue....