The Successors of Alexander the Great
The successors of Alexander the Great are numerous and their armies have a large variety of troops in them, from Samnites in the west to Indians in the very east, Elephants to camels, Africans to Thracians. But there are also lots of similarities. Pike phalanx was usually the core for these armies. The use of thureophoroi common. Shock cavalry and naturally Cretan archers. Always Cretan archers. These characteristic features make these armies an interesting lot for wargamers. With a small number of core troops very remarkable armies can be created by adding the right territorial troops.
The Successor Phalanx
Some believe that the back ranks of the Phalanx were made of less armoured soldiers and recruits. The Pontic army even incorporated ex-slaves into it's army.
There are not much imitation legions available in metal. Navigator got one model , and Amazon one model. But I wanted to make a whole unit and like it when the models are not all the same pose. One can use Late republican Romans for this purpose, but the helmets are not very "eastern". Original phalanx units do not have chain mail, which is the normal outfit for the imitation legion. Swapping heads seemed too expensive. I came across a unit of Carthaginian veterans from Gripping Beast. They still have the Hellenistic type of helmet, but with the added chain mail. They are supported to be Carthaginians that nicked Roman gear during the long war in Italy. There my imitation legions were! With a little Milliput I also added a plume or crest on the helmets, inspired by Osprey's picture of a Seleucid imitation legionnaire. I painted the tunics in a very colourful way, to represent the oriental feeling of these soldiers and set them apart from the real Romans. Add a command group with a little Hellenistic feel to it and the unit is ready.
The Late Thracians
Macedonia kept using Thracians troops in their army. Thracian soldiers often used the dreaded Rhomphaia; a sharp, slightly curved, blade on a stick (about the same length as the blade).
Earlier Thracian warriors wore light clothing with colourful designs. Latter Thracian warriors are depicted as using near black cloths.
The Thureophoroi and Thorakites
As the Greek hoplite was beaten by the superior Macedonian pike phalanx, and the Galatians invaded the Greek territories, the Hoplite was gradually changed into a more lightly armed form of warrior. The new shields were of obvious Celtic influence.
Every change in armour or weapons has its reaction. Some thureophoroi became heavier armoured. These types of troops wore chain mail and are called Thorakites.
Later the Greeks realised that they needed a heavier kind of infantry to match the Macedonian phalanx and they copied the pike phalanx.
The Missile Troops
Rhodian slingers and Cretan archers were popular in every army!
The successor armies made extensive use of elephants in their armies. Pyrrhus' elephants bewildered the Romans in the early 3rd century BC. The Romans came up with anti-elephant wagons.
Other armies made use of pigs that were sent towards the elephants after they were put on fire!
The Seleucids and Pontic army kept using chariots, an old custom in the east. But not as missile platforms. No these chariots were designed to smash into the enemy lines. For that reason they had scythes attached to the chariot.
The tendency to better armour the cavalry ended in the ancient version of the tank: the Cataphracts. From half-barding up to full barded horses and men in full armor, they make an excellent display in the later successor armies.
The Ptolemaic and Seleucid armies sometimes made use of Arab nomads. Most catching of them are the camel cavalry. They wielded a very long swords (6 cubits).
The Persians and the successors depended a lot on the troops from Kappadokia.
The famous 'Parthian shot' came from the Parthian cavalrymen that were able to shoot while retreating.