If you have been following my posts on the Saga viking warband, you may have noticed that I have been a little curmudgeonly about the figures I have. I spent about a year looking at what the market had to offer and was a little surprised that the range by the historical manufacturers was less than inspiring. After all, vikings are an iconic part of European dark age history, so you would expect there to be plenty to entice the gamer.
I looked at Foundry, but find them a little chunky and leaning towards fantasy style. Gripping Beast are more historically accurate but fairly stolid, their range has barely been updated in twenty years (though the newer Jomsvikings look much better). There are a couple more smaller metal ranges which fall somewhere between these two. And then there are plastics by both Wargames Factory and Gripping Beast. I have held these in my hand, seen them up close. They are okay, not up to the standards expected by fantasy players, but cheaper than metals and so a possible starting point. In the end, after dithering for months, I went with the Gripping Beast viking starter set, mostly because I managed to get a deal with a rulebook and dice thrown in, hoping that I could make them decent enough with some nice shields.
The good news is that I have finally found what I was looking for. A very nice set of viking sculpts, leaning towards historical accuracy rather than fantasy looking, with good proportions and some dynamic poses. And with hands that actually grip their weapons. Drabant Miniatures is a Russian company with a small but very nice looking range of vikings. The UK supplier of the range seems to be Old Glory. My favourite set is those shown at top, but I would be very happy to include the others in my warband too. These three packs would make a unit of hirdmen and a unit of bondi, taking my starter warband up to six points. Something to look forward to in the new year I think.