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.


TWD said...

Did you take a look at the recently released Shieldwall miniatures?

Sculpted by Colin Patten (who did the original GB Vikings) with a few extras from Musketeer Bill.
Nice range IMO and if I were to buy any more vikings its where I'd start.


Old Fogey said...

The Shieldwall minis are a good example of what I alluded to in my post. They are nice enough. Sculpted recently, but would fit in perfectly with those sculpted 20 years ago. In fact, put them next to the GB range and it would be hard to tell them apart. Meanwhile, in other areas of the hobby, things have moved on and we are seeing some amazing sculpts. Historical miniatures, stuck in the past, would make a good title for a blog post!

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