Thursday 28 November 2013

The Return of the Vikings

I actually wrote a draft of this blog post about a year ago. I had just finished painting Anglo-Saxons, my first Saga warband, and was eager to get them a foe to fight against, which just had to be vikings. I love viking history and Scandanavian mythology so it was inevitable I would collect them at some stage. I looked around at all the figures available and came to a juddering halt. I found that the sculpts available to buy were fairly bland. Maybe I have got used to the high quality and variety available to fantasy gamers, but the offerings from the historical mini companies seemed mediocre. So I put them on hold, hoping to find a decent range at some time in the future.

Fast forward to the present and I have finally decided to go with the Gripping Beast starter warband, partly because I was able to pick it up at a slightly reduced price on a forum, mostly because I realised there was not going to be an alternative appearing any time soon. The figures are okay sculpts, a bit "wooden" in the way that historical metals often are, but they are about the best I can find. I have a few figures in my collection that are worse sculpts, but so many more that are much, much better. And yet, they are highly regarded on historical gaming forums, so I guess it's just a different standard among different genres.

The starter warband contains 16 bondi, 4 hirdmen, 4 berserkers and a warlord. I have decided to split them into two batches, starting with half the bondi and the hirdmen. The berserkers are strange creatures (one of them is stark naked!) and I might replace them. I do have a handful of vikings from years back when I first dabbled in historicals, so they might be called out of retirement. Of course, though they are well over 10 years old, they fit perfectly with the newer figures. I am hoping to get the first batch primed over the weekend. I want the whole warband painted in time for xmas, they are pretty simple figures so should paint up quickly.

Monday 25 November 2013

Looks like Lord of the Rings is Back on the Menu Boys

I was in Manchester last weekend and decided to nip into the GW shop. It's been a long while since I ventured into one, I mostly buy my supplies online. I wanted a unit of flesh hounds for a customer, independent online shops do not stock finecast, so I thought I would pick up a box from the bricks and mortar shop, save the wait for the postman. "Er, we don't stock them, you have to order them online", said the GW guy. Oh well, it was not a completely wasted trip as the window and cabinet display was very good - too many shops have rather mediocre painted figures, but Manchester is not one of them. I was particularly drawn to the Lord of the Rings armies, a huge horde of uruk-hai in particular. Meanwhile, in the short version of the intro, I painted up some uruk-hai this week.

These models are one set of plastic fighting uruk hai and a trio of metal berserkers. As usual with my LotR figures I have speed painted them, just a few white hand markings being the only bits requiring any finesse. Isengard orcs are elite troops and so this little mob is already at 250 points or so. When I add in some wolf riders and maybe some orc allies from my Mordor contingent, it will be a complete army. Having finished the whole lot in four or five sessions, it would have been nice to continue with this army for a while, but I have something else I want to get done by xmas. Hopefully I will get back to them soon in the new year.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Testing some skin tones

At some point I will be painting vikings for Saga, not to mention RedBox dwarfs. I want to develop a new way to paint the skin, so I dug out a couple of Foundry figures with plenty of areas to practise on.

I primed them white using vallejo surface primer, just brushing it on then blasting it dry with a hairdryer. Then I washed over the figures with a brown colour, to help me see where all the details are (or not in some cases).

I want to see what I can achieve by just glazing on the colours. I started with beige brown (all colours are by coat d'arms) for the shadows, then added a little white for the highlights. This was a little too pink for my liking, so I added a tiny amount of olive to remove some of the orange from the tones. It's quite hard to tell the results from the picture, but it's very smooth and quite easy to apply. It's possibly a little too pink, but then these are Scandanavian vikings and we can assume it is midwinter!

Friday 8 November 2013

Khorne Marauders in progress

Painting work is progressing on the Khorne marauders. Most of the neutral colours are now completed, the lack of red will be rectified in the next painting session.

As I was completing assembly I was searching through my bits for some Khorne icons to use on the banner. Alas, my search was fruitless and I will have to rely on my freehand ability, which is nerve-wracking. However, I did find a Reaper model of a viking that I am using as the unit champion. The previous unit champion has now been promoted to a hero, though strictly he is called an exalted champion! Chaotic nomenclature at it's finest.
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