Wednesday 26 April 2017

More Picts WIP

Eight more Picts recruited to the fledgling Saga force. These are Mierce Miniatures, metal figures from the Erainn (Irish) range - though currently only resin are available on the website. As they have great weapons, I am intending using these as hearthguard, so two points here to add to the single point of warriors already painted. My medium term aim is to have another two points of standard warriors and a point of levy to give me a regular six point force which I can use as Picts, Scots or Irish in games of Saga. In the longer term I want to add even more to the force to be able to use it in games of Fantasy Saga as a Wild Tribes faction. But that's jumping far ahead. I am pretty busy at the moment so it's going to be summer time before I can get these painted.

Saturday 22 April 2017

Viking archers

It's good to finally have these painted and crossed off the list. I started them in the first week of the year, then got distracted by many other projects before finally knuckling down to get the job done. I find historical figures particularly challenging to paint as generally they are not as inspiring as my fantasy collection, though these archers are better than most available.

These are Drabant Miniatures metal figures - two sets of viking archers and one set of Saxon archers. Mixing enemies together in a unit like this is the best I can manage with the limited number of figures available - maybe the Saxons have turned traitor or been captured and are now slaves. From a distance they don't look too obvious. In games of Lion Rampant missile units tend to be smaller skirmish units, so two units of six.

Thursday 20 April 2017

A Little Diversion

Over the Easter weekend I was mostly working on my dwarfs and some commission painting - painters don't really get holidays. But with all the bunny stuff around, I suddenly remembered this little chap in my stash. It's a raging heroes model, part of a kickstarter I had backed last year and have still to properly unpack. I decided to quickly paint him up.

He is rather small. That's a 25mm base he's sat on. Excluding the antlers and wings, he's about waist high to a goblin. There's a good level of detail for such a small figure. At some point I will make a proper review of the raging heroes figures, but suffice to say that my first impression was pretty favourable.

Sunday 16 April 2017

Easter WIP

"That goblin nicked our Easter eggs!"
At Easter time our thoughts naturally turn to adorable little creatures spreading joy and happiness throughout the world. And here they are, not quite hopping around, more stomping and grumbling, but still so lovable.

It's early days on these figures. The metal colours are applied and I have just about completed the shading by glazing in various greys, browns and a deep red. There's a bit more metallic colour to go on the horn, but I will move on to the very few non-metallic areas next. When those are complete I will apply matt varnish, then come back to the final highlighting of the metals. I am looking forward to adding a few spots of colour for the gems, these little chaps are looking dour, even for dwarfs.

Saturday 15 April 2017

Durgin Forge Dwarf Review

I have been hunting around for a suitable model to become thane of my Oakenheim force - and I think I have found him. This is a resin figure from Durgin Paint Forge, a small company making high quality resin figures at reasonable prices.

I first came across them on kickstarter - they are currently running a project to launch a whole range of dwarfs, which obviously caught my eye. I was wowed by the renders, but wanted to know what kind of resin they used, so I shot a message to the owner to ask him. A few days later, he had sent me a sample figure for my perusal!

This is a real beauty of a dwarf. The sculpt is first class, the pose is natural looking and the fine details defy the power of my camera. On the shoulder pads are some extremely fine inscribed details. On the axe head too. You will have to wait until I have painted it to really appreciate the mind-blowing quality of the detail.

The quality of the resin is top notch too. I could not find a single bubble anywhere. Very few resin models can make that claim. The mould lines were so fine they would probably be covered by primer, though I removed them with a craft knife anyway. I have not been this impressed by a model for a long time.

I have been collecting and painting for 25 years (blimey, how did that happen?!?) and can safely say this is one of the best models I have ever seen. Full disclosure - it was a free sample - but that aside I would still highly recommend it. A worthy thane for anyone's collection.

Sunday 9 April 2017


A unit of Picts for Saga gaming. The Picts are one of the factions in the Arthur and Aetius supplement, which I hope we will get to play one day. They could also be played as Scots or even Irish from the Dark Ages supplements. In Fantastic Saga, I reckon they would make a nice version of the Wild Tribes.

These figures are from Mierce Miniatures, spearmen from the Albainn range. I bought them a couple of years ago as part of a kickstarter, they have been sat in the box for the best part of a year. The new Saga book gave me just the impetus I needed to get them painted. They are available now in metal if you don't like resin.

They paint up really nicely, the sculpts are amazingly detailed and very crisp, so a lot of the hard work is done with some simple glazes. I went to town a bit on the tartan clothing, that was the real time sink in this unit. The woad and  tattoos might look complex but it's really just a blue glaze in most areas, with a few more solid squiggles and dots here and there to complete the illusion.

Wednesday 5 April 2017


The OakenGuard are the personal retinue of the thane of Oakenheim. Only the most skilled warriors who have proven themselves many times in battle are invited to join the Guard. They are provided with the finest armour and equipped with mighty great axes or hammers.

For these elite troops I have used mostly plastic hammerer/longbeards, arming them with great axes. One is simply a longbeard, most have heads from the ironbreaker set of models - I don't want them tripping over their beards in battle!

The figure in the centre of the front rank is a metal model from Russian Alternative with a head swap. Originally I intended this to be the thane of my Oakenheim force, but I have found a different model for that role (more on that another time). Now he is the Captain of the Guard, perhaps a blood relative, certainly a most trusted figure in the thane's life.

There are six warriors here, built from half a box of the hammerers. There will be another six of course, with the key figure in that particular group being the thane's personal banner bearer. Two units of six OakenGuard will serve me nicely in games of Dragon Rampant. In Saga, these two units would be three points of hearthguard (elite) troops.

Saturday 1 April 2017

A Little Whimsy

And now for something completely different.

I would consider myself a fan of fairly gritty miniatures. I tend to collect more realistic sculpts, prefer a meaner, grimmer look than some of the comical sculpts of yesteryear. One of the things that drew me into the Games Workshop universe was the darker, grimmer art of the 1990's.

A new discovery to me is a French artist, Jean-Baptiste Monge. When I discovered this artist, I immediately thought of another favourite of mine, Arthur Rackham. His depiction of the natural world is superb, many a "proper" wildlife artist would be green with envy at his expertise. Coupling this with creatures of myth and folklore is not a new idea, but I struggle to think of any that do it this well.

I have a minor obsession with short, bearded folk - usually of the dwarf variety, but these figures are equally appealing. They are not grim warriors wielding huge axes, but rather more amusing little chaps with pipes and hats. I find them utterly charming - not a word I would usually use for miniatures, but there you go, perhaps I am mellowing.

If you are equally captivated by all this, you may well be interested in a kickstarter by Blacksmith Miniatures. If you fancy a break from wargames painting and just like to paint a nicely sculpted resin figure, then it's well worth a look. I have my eye on this lovely little trio. Go on, do something a little foolish, add a little whimsy to your life.......

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