Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Another pair of bondi

My plan was to complete the whole unit of eight bondi before the end of the month, but that's just not going to be possible now, so I thought I would photograph another pair rather than wait even longer for an update. So here we are, two more of the V&V Miniatures vikings. The younger warrior sports a shaven head, I have added some tattoos to the exposed skin, but you cannot really see this from the front. He also has a little fancy embroidery on the collar of his tunic.

The second warrior is a more unusual pose, wielding his spear in a two handed grip with his shield slung over his shoulder. He also wears a padded tunic, which I have seen some objections to on some parts of the internet as it's generally regarded to be a post viking era garment. My own view is that we know so little for certain about the appearance of the vikings - their clothing, their hair, shield designs, etc. The little "evidence" we have is related (often by their foes) decades or centuries after they were around, so hardly reliable, factual witnesses. It seems to me unlikely that they would not have padded their clothing to give some protection. Whatever the truth, this toy soldier is wearing a padded tunic.


I took a photo of the four spear armed bondi in a miniature shield wall, it's a nice little diorama. I have chatted to a few re-enactors who have said that it's likely the warriors acted in pairs or teams, with one providing protection with a shield while his comrade stood behind thrusting a spear. We will never know if this is true or not, but it does look good.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

More bondi

You might be thinking that there is a Gaelic vibe to these figures, with the darker hair colours and the plaid of the cloak. I suppose most people think of vikings as Scandinavian in origin. While it's true that they did originally set sail from northern Europe, many settled in lands they had raided. In England, a large contingent settled in the east and north of the country, forming what would later become known as the Danelaw. There were also sizeable colonies in the Scottish islands, the Isle of Man (off the west coast of northern England), and famously it was viking settlers who founded the Irish city of Dublin. It was these I had in mind when painting these figures. Once settled, it's likely that the vikings would have adapted to their new culture, in order to be accepted by the locals, and one way to fit in is by wearing their clothing. In addition, there could easily have been recruitment of local Irish/Gaelic stock into the ranks too - voluntarily or otherwise. So it's perfectly feasible (in my mind) to have viking troops not exactly fitting the usual blonde Norse stereotypes.

Of course, we have no idea what they looked like anyway, most of our pre-conceived ideas come from later medieval artwork and Victorian romanticism, but that's another post for another day.


With these two figures added, the unit now totals four bondi - half a point in Saga terms. I was hoping to have the whole unit done by the end of the month, and I am still just about on target. I am quite busy at the moment and with the festive season approaching I suspect hobby time will diminish, but I will keep plodding on, "little and often gets it done" is my mantra. If I don't manage to hit the deadline, it's not a big issue. After all, Rome (or even Dublin) was not built in a day.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Viking Bondi

A pair of bondi completed. These are the V&V Miniatures I have been working on for the past couple of weeks. As you can see, they are packed with detail and have lovely proportions. I have set myself a loose target of completing them by the end of the month, so getting two done now means I am on target.

The figure with the hat took me longer to complete. I painted some trim on his tunic and his shirt. I got this idea from visiting re-enactments, where often viking women are sat in tents making these "ribbons" from wool. It seems an easy thing to do, so I reckon most warriors would have these little extras on their clothing. I also painted stripes on the trousers but they are hard to see, I need to be a little bolder in colour choice at times.

The bare headed figure I intended to paint in a pale, neutral tone, to represent unbleached fabric. But the original shade was too blue, so I glazed over it with yellow and ended with a green grey mix. The shading is a little too contrasty for me, I prefer more subtle tones. The leather shoulder pads I think I may have misinterpreted the sculpt. Looking at photos from re-enactments I think it was intended to be a cloth hood. I assumed it was leather to give some basic protection to the shoulder areas. I do like the head though, this old boy is full of character.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

A Visit to Valhalla!

I have been to Valhalla! It was not full of viking warriors drinking ale, fighting and carousing, but a few tourists drinking beer and chatting. Maybe I got the wrong one - this pub in York is the one I visited. Wooden benches, fur blankets, flickering (medieval) lamps, runes carved into timbers, there was even mead served in horns. It was definitely characterful bordering on cheesey/comical, but it served nice beer and there were plenty of beards to check out.

It did inspire me to dig out some of my vikings that I had started to paint back in the spring. Just a pair of them to finish off a small unit of bereserkers. These are V&V miniatures, which I have said before are probably the finest sculpts available to budding jarls, as long as you don't mind working with resin and paying a little extra than usual. 

One of the two figures does look a little too old to be a berserker. I did reinforce the age vibe with his silvery beard and tattered clothing. With that bandage round his head he has the appearance of a walking wounded, so there's a good chance he will be demoted to a bondi at some stage in the future, though the blood spatters on his axe and shield suggest he should not be underestimated.


And here's the unit of four berserkers ready to wreak havoc on their weakling opponents. More vikings to come in the next few months I think. There's the long-awaited (by me at least) Saga battle book just been announced, so I am keen to get some more of the Northmen painted and ready for action. For the glory of Odin!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Pair of Orcs

I finished painting my pair of old orcs. When I started them I applied a fairly neutral bland pale green, then added some quite intense green, blue and yellow inks to create the different green tones. I did also apply some fairly basic highlights (just dots of a light beige) before glazing with the highlight tones. The interesting thing is how intense the figures started, but gradually toned down as more shading was applied and the rest of the figure was painted. If I was really radical I could probably replace my whole collection of paints with about a dozen paints and half a dozen inks.*

These figures date back to 1992. That was the year I started playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle, with the boxed set containing plastic night goblins and elves. I loved the elves, the models were really nice and it probably stirred my inner Tolkien nerd. I also collected Undead, as they were easier to paint. I never really appreciated the greenskins, they seemed deliberately jokey and not to my taste - and anyway my brother collected those so I never gave them a second thought.

Fast forward to the start of this year, 2018, so that's about 26 years later. I had been up in the loft on the annual xmas decoration hunt, when I came across all my old White Dwarf magazines. I dragged them down and had a flick through, especially those very early issues when I first started gaming. It's definitely a nostalgia trip, and a lot of figures have been collected, painted, played with and sold down that quarter of a century. Somehow, I suddenly realised how much I missed the simplicity of those older models. Not the elves, they are covered in jewels and other details, but the orcs and goblins in particular struck me as very simple, but evocative. After scoring a couple of good deals on ebay and facebook, I had a handful of greenskins to add to Mount Unpainted. And now, ten months later, I have painted three of them. Maybe, in another 25 years, I will have them completed. The original post on the troll can be found here.



*Hmmmm, maybe this would be a good project for the new year?

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Orctober Orcs (and Dwarfs)

A quick post to show that I am still here, though painting has slowed due to holidays and work. Still, there is a little progress, this time on my Middlehammer projects.

These two orcs are part of a small collection I have accrued over the past year, from various places like ebay and facebook. My idea was to collect the models from 1992, the year I started playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle. It's proven to be very difficult to get the figures, I still have some holes in the collection, but I thought I would make a start anyway on the painting. I chose these two as they do not have shields, so I don't have to fret over how to handle them. They are quite close to completion already, they were joyfully easy to paint, mainly using inks in a little experiment.

And then there are the six dwarfs. These were started in September, I wanted to see how far I could get on small sessions and am documenting the time taken in each progress photo - hence the 57:00 minutes in the top left. Things are moving along on them and they too should be finished soon.

Eventually, I will have a good sized dwarf force and a smaller band of greenskins. My aim is a  fairly haphazard one of having enough troops to play Saga (about 50 or 60 per warband), with a longer term goal of them just growing until I have finished my collection. It's strange really that they mirror my other current project, painting orcs and dwarfs for Lord of the Rings - though they feel in aesthetics and painting style like completely different ranges.
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