Before I chose to specialise in French history I was very tempted to study Middle East history. The main reasons I chose France were its proximity, my French A-Level, my love of French cuisine and my love of Vauban. Still - the Middle East does exert some pull on my emotions.
That pull became much stronger at Salute 2014 in April, when I saw this layout, Crusaders besieging Jerusalem, by Gripping Beast I think.
The game was being run by a group of gamers from Burgundy so I could chat to them - all very interesting. It did leave me with a hankering to paint some Ottoman and Arab figures. I bought three packs of Foundry Mamelukes which I will start when my current painting figures are completed. I intend to buy some other figures, maybe the Gripping Beast plastic figures, the Zvezda Ottomans or something I can pick up on EBay. They don't fit in with my 18th century figures but the temptation is too great.
This brings me to my germ of an idea. Recently the BBC broadcast a three part series on the Crusades. The third programme talked about the 7th Crusade. In 1249 Louis IX of France and his brother, Robert of Artois, led a large army and invaded Egypt - the theory being if you want to kill a snake, cut of its head, Egypt was the finance behind the Muslim forces so kill that and you will kill the opposition in Palestine. On 11th February 1250, the Crusade was seriously defeated at the Battle of Al Mansurah.
My germ of an idea - Louis IX won the Battle of Al Mansurah and went on to reconquer Jerusalem and lay the foundations for a European style kingdom in Palestine. This kingdom lasts into the 18th century, sometimes at peace, sometimes fighting its Ottoman or Egyptian neighbours.
This will involve a lot of painting - three years to balance the European figures I have painted so far. That gives me plenty of time to think this through.