I got my hundreds of 15mm miniatures in the mail today! I haven't used 15mm miniatures before, and I've got to say that, seeing them in person, I am astounded at the level of detail in them. People on the net are right in saying that Essex miniatures are the miniatures by which to compare others.
I'm in the busy process of sorting all the miniatures into groups according to how they will be glued onto bases. While the cost of the miniatures was phenomanally cheaper than 28mm, the packaging was very simple - each army in a paper gift bag, containing unlabelled snap-lock bags for each group of miniature types. However, since no two unit types look identical (ie, spearmen don't look like crossbowmen) sorting them has been easy.
Instead of using DBA/DBM, Field of Glory, or some other historical miniatures rules set, I've decided that I am making some house rules to supplement the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game (which I love and already know how to play) and have made a First Crusade army book giving stats and equipment to all the unit types in the Early Crusader, Fatimid Caliphate and Seljuq Turk factions, including creating historical heroes for each faction.
For the Early Crusaders, there are three types of heroes, being Commanders, Companions and Captains. So far I have all the Commanders and Captains, and one of the Companions, but I'll have to order the other two companions seperately because their type of miniature (monks/priests) are not a part of the FOG Early Crusader starter army collection.
Here's a photo to show the Early Crusader heroes, which I plan to assemble and paint first.
From top left to Top right, we have:
Bohemond of Taranto, his Banner Bearer, and his Man
Godfrey of Bouillon, his Banner Bearer, and his Man
Count Raymond of Toulouse, his Banner Bearer, and his Man
Legate Adhemar (Bishop of Le Puy) and his Standard Bearer
From Bottom left to Bottom right, we have:
Lord Walter Sans-Avoir, his Standard Bearer
Robert II, Count of Flanders, and his Standard Bearer
Duke Robert Shortstockings of Normandy, and his Standard Bearer
Count Stephen of Blois, and his Standard Bearer
All of these people were real people who actually fought in the Crusades. I've researched their biographies, and have images of their banners, shields, etc, so I can hopefully paint them up historically accurately.
The difference between a Standard Bearer and a Banner Bearer, is that any unit can have numerous Standards flying, which are flags, banners, coats of arms, ribbons, but the Banner Bearers are only 1 each for the three Commanders. They travel with their Banner Bearer, and can attach to groups of soldiers, giving a big combat bonus to those troops as long as the Commander and his Banner are with them.
The four captain (along the bottom) and the Bishop are able to attach to units to, but they do not give bonuses to the unit, they are simply heroes that can fight alongside them, or move independantly around the board.
Here's the photo of the Early Crusader Heroes, unpainted and unassembled: