Converting 1/72 ancients plastic figures: Early Libyan

Despite the bounty of new figures released in recent years there remains still a large number of armies that are not ready available out of a box, Early Libyan is one of them, but one that is not too hard to convert, at least in small numbers...
I made an Early Libyan DBA army as a test to see how hard would be to do a full DBM army, but unfortunately it turns out to be too much an ambitious project for the time being, given my limited spare time to devote to it... Nevertheless I'm quite pleased with the result, and I've got a brand new DBA army to play with anyway! (not that I play much DBA lately, but that's another story... :)
Back to the conversion, I wanted my elements to be compatible with DBM, so I made sure that my Ax where Ax(I), that is shieldless, and so on for all other elements. For this reason I've used the DBM classification all around.
Early Libyan (list I/7) has 4 possible variations, but two of them are rather poor lists, being made almost exclusively by Ps, so I concentrated on the first two only. I'm working on a Numidian army as well, (which hopefully will have his own page soon BTW) so at a pitch I can always borrow some more Ps from that to play version c and d of the army if I ever want to try them out...
A quick look at the lists shows that to be able to field both a and b in all possible combinations I'd need:

1 irr Ax(I) general
1 irr Wb(F) general
1 irr LCh general
9 irr Ax(I) javelinmen
3 irr Wb(F) swordsmen
3 irr Bw(I) bowmen
11 irr Ps(I) javelinmen
11 irr Ps(S) shielded javelinmen
Lybian archer

Quite a lot of elements as you can see! Therefore after writing down the list I sat down and tried to optimize it a bit... the first to go were the duplicate Ps(S). There is no difference in DBA, so I've decided to make part (I) and part (S) for the time being, after all the main purpose of this test was to see how easily all the different troop types could be done, so a mix is a good solution for my purposes. Next, I decided I will hardly ever need 9 Ax, and 6 would be enough most of the time. Also the 3 Wb won't be needed at the same time, so I can always use them as additional Ax if I ever want to try the 9 Ax version. Last, I've decided that the minimum 5 Ps of list b will be plenty also for list a... :)
After a bit of editing I've settle down for this:

1 irr Ax(I)/Wb(F) general
1 irr LCh general
6 irr Ax(I) javelinmen
3 irr Wb(F) swordsmen
3 irr Bw(I) bowmen
4 irr Ps(I) javelinmen
1 irr Ps(S) shielded javelinmen
Lybian swordman

Now that I've got my army planned, time to start to work on the figures! I've decided that for the bulk of my army I'll use ESCI ZULUs, they're great figures and work pretty well for the javelinmen who make up the bulk of the army. They come with separate shields so there is not even need to remove them and the headgears are just perfect. I have picked the figures without rifles, painted and based them. Done.
Lybian javelinmen

Next the Ps(S), I've decided I'll use the same figures for these, as the DBM list makes clear they're the same javelinmen after all, and just give them shields.
Their original shields would not do, being too obviously Zulu, so I gave them some round shields that comes with HAT Carthaginian Command. These have a hole in the center, so I've passed a steel pin through it and trim it down to a few millimeters long. The pin is glued to both the shield ad the figure using Plastix, the resulting bond is very strong, and provide a convenient central boss for the shield.

Lybian shielded javelinmen Lybian shielded javelinmen

For the bulk of the shieldless javelinmen I've decided to use different figures for variety and also to make it easier to tell them apart. I've settled for the ubiquitous HAT's Alexandrian light troops, they are generic enough, even if the tunic wasn't in use at the time, but I can always transfer them in the ranks of the Numidians when I manage to find more appropriate figs... :) Here they are as they come out of the box, just painted a suitably dark skin color and based.
Lybian javelinmen

Next the bowmen, here is where the idea of a full size DBM army finally came crashing down! I had hoped to use American Indians figures mixed with the odd Atlantic Egiptyan for an extra bit of period flavour, but this proved much harder than I had expected... I was counting on the old Airfix indians, but unfortunately they turn out to be much smaller and crude than how I remembered them... outrageous how things change in your memory after a few dozen years... :) I also had quite a few Atlantic figures I was counting on, but when I checked them I realized all the archers were wearing trousers! I never got a set of Revell's indians, so those may work, I don't know, anyway in the end I went for Imex Sioux... problem is that at 4 figures per box, these are rather expensive! :) There are actually 11 archers per box, but 3 are mounted and 4 are again wearing trousers. Even the 4 suitable ones have a bow in one hand and a spear in the other... so time for some "proper" conversion, good old style: full body swaps! The first couple of legs donors came from Atlantic Egiptyan infantry, they are perfect and the set include a figure that doesn't work particularly well with the others, so chop chop, and hey pronto Early Lybian Bowmen!
Lybian bowmen

More legs donors came straight from the same IMEX Sioux set, the poor fellow is in rather contort pose but is quite suitable for the "operation". These are all classic body swaps, chopped at the waist along the belt, and keeping the quiver to add strenght and help hide the join. The two half figure are joined with a steel pin cut to size as support, and glued with Plastix.
Lybian bowmen

Once primed they proved that being a bit careful with the cut saves the need for any putty. Here they are ready to be painted with a couple of Atlantic Egyptyans who joined the ranks. I've removed the feathers from the side of the head, then as an experiment I've glued some back to the front, to make them look a bit more "Libyan"... I have no idea how long those tiny bits will last (when they pop off I'll just touch up the hair color), but I'm curious to see how long they'll resist, as an experiment... :)
Lybian bowmen

The other four Imex Sioux armed with bow are meant to hold a spear in the right hand, I've just replaced that with a short piece of metal wire and the pose works well as an archer reaching for his next arrow I think... they wear a bone breastplate, but I think it blends in quite well anyway... after all it's entirely possible similar protections were occasionaly used by Early Lybians as well, for all we know! :)
Lybian bowmen

So here they are, painted and based like the others. Wasn't such a big job, but considering how hard they are to come by, making hundred or so elements like these is not an option really. Hopefully the new biblical series from HAT will provide some more suitable figures in the future...
Lybian bowmen

For the chariot general the Atlantic Egyptian job has all it takes! Well, nearly... the only real issue with this otherwise excellent model are the wheels, not only they're way too chubby, they're way undersized. I've been on the lookout for suitable replacements for years, and eventually I've found some metal ones which are nearly perfect. No idea who makes them unfortunately, so eventually I gave up looking and resorted to make my own! They are very similar to the one you can see here, and they are now available for sale from BAUEDA: 1/72 Egyptian chariot wheels conversion kit!
Another small problem are those round marks from the injection mold found on all early Atlantic sets, those needed to be covered, so while I had the milliput out I've added some detail to the chariot as well...

Lybian Chariot

Once started is hard to stop, so while I was at it I also covered the pattern on the horse barding, never liked that much... ;) I've removed the sword and replaced it with a metal wire whip for the driver, and also added some detail to the plume holders on the yoke using green stuff. The shield with the quiver attaches at a wrong angle for my taste, so I removed one of the pins that holds it and masked the hole with a bit of putty. The chariot is rather small inside, so I've trimmed the base off completely from both figures. This is a test assembly shot, and an image of a real Egyptian chariot recovered from the tomb of Amenophis III for comparison :
Lybian Chariot

Before gluing temporarely all the parts to coins for painting them I've built up the whip to a tapering shape using PVA, then spray primed the lot.
Lybian Chariot

And here it is painted and based like the rest.
Lybian Chariot
Next: Part 2 The Swordmen Warband and the Foot General element!

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