Tuesday 31 January 2017

Dark Age Archers WIP

I was hoping to have these painted by the end of the month, but here we are on the last day and they remain a work in progress. I thought I would present the stages gone through so that anyone interested can have a go at this painting style - and to help me in future projects. It's fairly quick and easy, mostly glazing and minimal amounts of highlighting.

Stage 1 : Prime and wash
The first stage is to prime the figures white. I use Halfords white primer, available in the UK - it's a car spray. If you are looking for something similar, make sure it's acrylic. Once that is dry, I wash the figures with a diluted brown. This is just to give a guide and a little lining, it beats working on a glaring white undercoat.

Stage 2 : Leathers base coat
I don't particularly enjoy painting all the leather areas, so I get them out of the way early on. Various browns are thinned and used on all the belts, bags, quivers, etc. If your paint is thin and a little translucent, some of the wash from stage 1 will show through, giving instant shading. Additionally, a khaki or pale colour is used on the leg bindings and a few of the paler garment areas.

Stage 3 : Flesh, base and metal base coats
This was a very brief session, base coat and first wash on the flesh areas. I also washed some earth into the sandy bits, and painted the metal areas. Sometimes you can only squeeze in a short session, but every little helps.

Stage 4 : base coat remaining garments
For this stage I was able to spend quite a bit more time, enough to get the base coats for all the clothing. These were mostly neutral creams and browns, with a little pale blue here and there. I also washed the metal areas with a grey - a mix made from blue and brown paints.

That's all I managed I'm afraid, it's been a busy month in other areas so little time for hobby painting. These are close to completion, just the hair and fur, bows and arrows and a little weathering left to do. Let's hope they do not attract the attention of PETA!

Sunday 22 January 2017

Another Age Of the Wolf game

As I mentioned in this post, I have recently started an Age of the Wolf Saga campaign with gaming buddy Matt in his world renowned dungeon. We have two armies each. I have Vikings and Danes, he has Normans and Saxons. Having fought one battle between the Normans and Danes, it was the turn of the Vikings to take on the Saxons. We had randomly rolled on each factions stance for the first campaign, and it came about that the Saxons would be raiding a defensive Vikings force. This is not the usual stereotype, but it is easy to imagine that the Vikings have established a camp and the Saxons have come to loot and destroy it, or some similar scenario. The battle we rolled for was The Escort - the Vikings would be escorting much needed supplies (perhaps stolen from Saxons?) back to camp, the Saxons would be attempting to stop them.

Baggage train heads to the left flank
The battlefield was fairly open, a couple of small wood copses in the centre. A small skirmish down the Viking right flank opened the action, a unit on each side falling in combat, with the Vikings deciding it was too difficult to get past the archer levy on that side. The baggage train headed to the left flank. The action switched to the centre, location of  the bulk of the Viking army, while a single unit of warriors accompanied the cargo to the left. The Saxon army attempted to relocate their troops.

Warlords face off
The fighting in the centre was sporadic and non-decisive for the most part. A concerted charge by the Viking warlord into the Saxon Lord should have seen him hacked to pieces, but the gods deserted the Viking dice and the Saxon Lord escaped by the skin of his teeth  - or rather by the sacrifice of his hearthguard unit. Meanwhile, the baggage train lumbered on, ever to the left flank and a much smaller Saxon defending force. 

Action on the left flank
In an attempt to clear the way, Viking warriors on the left flank charged but came off second best, though both sides were now considerably depleted. In the centre, a devastating Saxon arrow volley completely wiped out a warrior unit, leaving the Viking warlord marooned with his far more pathetic levy archers, who seemed unable to hit anything even though it was just yards in front of them. But Loki came to their aid, whispering false rumours in Saxon ears, warriors slinking away from the battle for no apparent reason (this being one of the more esoteric Viking battleboard abilities).

The Final Showdown
As with many a game of Saga, it had been a brutal affair, corpses littered the ground. As the centre was now depleted, the Vikings managed to smuggle one of the baggage animals to safety, but the remaining two were blocked by a handful of Saxons. And it was just a handful - the Saxon Lord, three of his warriors, facing off against just two viking warriors. The Lord attempted to tackle the ox cart, but somehow was driven off by the docile beasts. Loki once more played his part as his more Saxons slunk from the battlefield. The lone, fatigued Saxon Lord was finally bested by a pair of viking warriors and the battle was over. The baggage was safely received by the victorious Vikings. A bad day for the Saxons.

In the post battle sequence, things got even worse for the beleaguered Saxon. The Warlord suffered a serious wound and then received news that his province was suffering from flood and famine. Penniless and dejected he limped back to his camp. The Vikings however had even more fortune bestowed upon them. Gold flowed, warriors were recruited and were magically transformed into hearthguard!! Mmm, sometimes random campaign events can be particularly overpowered. Ten warriors is barely a point in Saga terms, but ten hearthguard are two and a half points. The Vikings are easily in a position of power at the end of this first campaign season, while the Saxons are now definitely the underdogs. It will be interesting to see if the system can cope with such unbalances. 

Monday 16 January 2017

Weekend Progress

There's not much to report at the moment, I seem to spend most of my time building more figures to add to the already large pile of unpainted miscellany. Here's the dark ages archers, not much to show - they have been primed, washed and then the leathers started. I should have done more but I was distracted by building the first unit of a Picts force. You can see them in the background. My short term goal is to have the archers finished by month end and a start made on either some trolls or the Picts, I just cannot make up my mind.

Monday 9 January 2017

Saga Age of the Wolf first impressions

The start of the year means a new resolve on gaming for me, to play more often. My regular opponent suggested we try Saga Age of the Wolf. I love Saga and dark ages gaming, so I was happy to turn up at the dungeon with not one, but two armies.

Age of the Wolf is a campaign system designed for several players, but we only have the two of us interested in this game and this era, so we are taking two armies each. Whenever a player has choices in the campaign, such as who to attack, we let the dice decide. It means we miss out on the scheming and backstabbing of a real player campaign, but we do get to play lots of games and a story develops as we go along, which is just as much fun I reckon - certainly better than just playing random one-off games.

Danish Levy take on Norman crossbows 
One of my factions is the Danes and they ended up raiding against the Normans, so we generated a battle. This turned out to be a new scenario called scouts, one of three or four new battles to try in the book. The units from each force turn up one by one as the game progresses. The Normans thundered forward with a unit of knights, hoping to ride down a unit of Dane levy, but their plans came unstuck when they were showered in a hail of arrows and the unit fell back dismayed and confused. More caution was then exercised, as both sides tried to organise a battle line as troops arrived on the field.

The Danes had an advantage in the early loss of the knights, plus their battle board ability to pile on fatigue to the enemy. They could afford to hold back and wait, while the Normans had to try to rush forward, especially when they came off worse in a missile battle - the Danish archers once more proving their worth, getting the better of Norman crossbow men. Again, this was aided by the excess fatigue piling up on the Norman forces.

Tired Normans face unyielding Danes
The Norman knights finally managed to calm their horse enough to engage and scatter the Danish archers, but they were quickly tiring. The latter stages of the game saw the Normans cantering and galloping around the trees, trying but unable to gain a decisive charge, constantly hampered by fatigue and exhaustion. Eventually, the Norman Lord over-extended and was set upon by the Danish Lord and his bodyguard. His horse crashed to the ground and it was only the quick actions of his nearby knights that rescued him from certain death. He was carried from the battlefield, dazed and bloodied.

After the battle there is a process to go through, as in-game casualties are converted to campaign deaths or injuries - the Norman warlord will be suffering from that serious wound for the rest of the campaign. Both sides managed to recruit more troops, theoretically the Danes did really well here with five new hearthguard joining their ranks while the Normans attracted lowly levy, though a good number of them. Perhaps those extra arrows will pay dividends in future encounters.

This brief report just scratches the surface of what's in the book. I only had a hurried look but it seems well organised and very detailed. Hopefully the campaign will progress well for all four armies - too many campaign systems allow one side to gain such an advantage that the underdogs just give up. It's early days as yet, with just one game played, but I have high hopes for this gaming adventure.

Saturday 7 January 2017

Drabant Miniatures Archers

It's a return to the dark ages this year (and no, that's not a satirical political quip). Last night I had my first taste of the Saga Age of the Wolf system, and it was so tasty. I will post more about it after a few more sessions, but suffice to say the very next day I dug these archers from out of my stash, prepped and glued them on to bases.

These are Drabant Miniatures archers, one box of Saxons and two of the Vikings, though my aim has always been to use them as one unit of 12 fairly generic dark ages archers. Once painted, this unit will be serving in both my Viking and Anglo Dane forces. It's surprising how effective they can be - especially against fully armoured knights.

I have been taking a look at my Dark Ages collection and it's a real hotch-potch of stuff. I started with some plastic Wargames Factory figures, and they are the worst. Avoid. Then I tried some Gripping Beast plastic Saxons and they are quite reasonable, though all heavily armoured (wearing chain mail) which is not so useful in the age of the woollen sack vest. Then I tried some Gripping Beast metal vikings and I was a little disappointed in those, some pretty awful sculpts and poor casts. More recently I have tried Saxon Miniatures Anglo-Danes and they are pretty decent. By far the cream of my collection are the Drabant Miniatures vikings - painted examples can be found here. If you are looking for high quality and don't mind paying a little extra, they are highly recommended. It's a shame that the range is so limited.

Thursday 5 January 2017

Happy Thorsday

It's Thursday - the day of the week named after the Norse god, Thor. Famed for his magical hammer, Mjolnir, and also associated with thunder, lightning, strength and fertility. I have also read various claims that he was believed by vikings to offer protection from the seas, hence the wearing of Thor hammer pendants. Not a bad guy to kick off my year's painting then!

This is a figure from the Blood Rage game, one of the Norse gods. I painted it using the Army Painter undead paint set - I will post a fuller review on this set when I have tried it out a few more times, but as you can see it gives some nice natural tones. All the paints used on this model are from the set, including the slightly strange pale green on the base which I will probably paint over, but I just wanted to try out as many of the included paints as I possibly could.

Five fascinating Thor factoids!

He rides a chariot pulled by two goats, named Tanngrisnir (teeth-barer, snarler) and Tanngnjostr (teeth-grinder). Not only do these fearsome beasts pull his heavy wooden chariot across the skies, they provide him with food. Thor cooks the goats for his supper, then uses his magical hammer Mjolnir to resurrect them the next day.

Thor owns three magical items, the most famous being the hammer Mjolnir. In order to wield the power of the hammer, he has a pair of iron gloves, Jarngreipr, and the belt, Megingjord, which doubles his already mighty strength.

Thor was very adept at killing giants with his hammer Mjolnir. These giants were not the oversized men blundering around the Warhammer world, but more like titans or even gods. Most are human shaped, though some are beastly - such as Fenrir the World's End wolf and the Midgard Serpent. Some are hideous while others are beautiful. The Norse gods and giants are often at war. In one tale, giants hide Thor's hammer under the earth and will only return it if the beautiful Norse goddess Freyja will marry Thrym, king of the frost giants. Thor is disguised as Freyja and goes to the wedding feast, tricks the giants into returning the hammer, then slays them all.

As well as a day of the week, Thor has a chemical element named after him - Thorium. There's even a Thor's hero shrew, the only mammal known to have interlocking vertebrae.

Thor will die at Ragnarok, the end/renewal of the world. Jormungandr, the Midgard Serpent, will come out of the sea and poison the sky. Thor will battle the giant creature and ultimately kill the beast, but then will walk just nine paces before dying from the venom sustained in their epic conflict. A hero's end, worthy of a place in Valhalla.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...