Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In Memorial: Harris MacPhail and a 25mm Sassanid Persian DBA Army

It has been just over five years since Harris passed away. We were room mates, on and off for almost ten years, first meeting at the Dalhouise University war games club in 1975. By the end of the school year we were sharing a three bedroom, war game drop-in centre on Carleton Street in Halifax. It was the start of a long friendship, as well as years of gaming competition, in many different fields. The two most pronounced, were 1/300th micrarmour. Harris had the Germans, and I, the Soviets, and of course WRG 5th and 6th Edition Ancients.

In the beginning of our Ancient gaming, I had a plastic Airfix Roman Army but the time came to make my first purchases in metal. There was a small craft and hobby store located on the bottom floor of the Delta Barrington Mall. I no longer remember its name, but they carried a tiny inventory of Heritage Miniatures. I made a purchase, of some 25mm Sassanid Persian Cavalry. I do not remember why, but I was talked out of continuing with the Sassanids, and to allow Harris to build it instead. He received the figures that I bought and I returned to Rome.

25mm Sassanid Persian Elephants (Heritage Miniatures)

I have in my collection of figures, two of the elephants that he painted for this army. Late last year on eBay I saw twenty 25mm Sassanid Levy Infantry by Heritage Miniatures for auction. I thought of my buddy Harris and made a bid. I hoped to have the figures painted earlier but it was only in the past week that I finally worked on them.

The DBA II/69 Sassanid Persian (220AD-651AD) list consists of
1x3Cv (Gen), 1x4Kn or 3Cv, 4x3Cv, 1x2LH, 1 EL or 3Cv.
1x 3Aux or 3Cv, 2x7Hd. and 1x2Ps

25mm Sassanid Persian Levy Spearmen by Heritage Miniatures
2 Elements of 7Hordes

From the package of figures I produced two elements of 7 man hordes and three elements of 2 man psiloi. I know the list only calls for one element, but I was already using the same figures for two types of elements. I wasn't going to use them to also provide the  element of auxilia.So I based extra psiloi. I figure that I can use some of my later Roman, as well as some of my Saracen DBA/HOTT Arabian Cavalry to complete the other requirements needed to field the Sassanid Persians.

 25mm Sassanid Persian Levy Spearmen by Heritage Miniatures
3 Elements of 2 Psiloi

I hope that the figures will see battle early next month when I plan introduce a recent gaming acquaintance to the joys of DBA. Romans vs the Sassanids. May the best Empire win. After the clash,  I'll raise a glass of rum and coke in memory of Harris, and the many battles we had between these two old foes.


  1. I'll raise a glass to Harris's memory as well. The elephants bring back different memories though, I had a pair of them in college and last year bought 3 replacements at bargain basement prices.

    Wasn't that the Doll House that had a few miniatures? I remember getting a small,odd collection of Byzantines since they had 1 pack of each type.

  2. Hi Ross. Indeed it was the Doll House. I remember that their collection was always quite small. I received quite a herd with Jef's Successor Army. In addition I had a third matching Sassanid elephant that I painted years ago. I think I got that one from Odessey 2000. In total I think I wrote to Joseph at one point that I can now field 13 elephants.