Sunday, 4 December 2011

Workbench Update - Yet More Work in Progress.

We seem to have several different strands and ideas going on at the moment with different projects our group keep discussing. The ideas range from WW2 skirmish (we now effectively have enough figures painted for anything up to platoon level, even pushing to company level with a little more work!) to Darkest Africa (the Zombie Master has a large amount painted already) via the occasional fantasy figure (probably for RPG stuff) or Rob's 15mm Sci-Fi game.

In among this I have still managed to add bits and pieces to the growing collection of Dark Ages stuff. I would guess we now have enough painted figures to be getting stuck into a few games (approx 80 vikings and 60 saxons plus a handful of villagers) and really want to actually get gaming with them! Other than one playtest game, "The Battle of Ulvik Fjord" we haven't really had much chance to schedule in a proper session. Perhaps over the Christmas period...

 Anyway I thought I would put a quick update of a few bits and bobs I have going on in the background.

First up is a few Viking horsemen I previously picked up from Simon of The Big Red Bat Cave.

I have cleaned, based and undercoated the five of these chaps so far. They are pretty far down the list of 'stuff to do' but I thought I would make a start. Nice Foundry figures that don't seem to be available anymore, so many thanks to Simon for them.

Next is the old Citadel C28 FF12-2 Mountain Giant with Battle Axe.

Really like this figure - not a great paint job (one of my old attempts) but passable. I have now based him so just a little bit left to do. And yes, that's a couple of Scorpion Men in the background.

Next is the progress I have made on the Foundry cart.

Based and first layers of colours done. As you can see, I based the two oxen together on a round base and the cart on its own one. I wanted to seperate them from the cart itself in case the scenario demanded it and felt it offered a bit of flexibility.

Really enjoying working on this!

Finally a quick snap of the 'Metal Chocolate Box Lid of Painting' and the delights held within.

In the selection above are the Monks of Glastonbury from my previous post plus a menagerie of various Foundry and Gripping Beast farm animals and the next batch of Saxon villagers, again a mix of Foundry and GB. At the back/right of the shot are the two Reaper werewolves. Still not progressed on the first one but finally got around to basing and glueing the second one. He took a bit more work as his right arm fits at a funny angle - I managed to avoid pinning but needed a copious amount of greenstuff to get it looking right!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Workbench Update - The Black Monks of Glastonbury.

Not a lot done lately but finally made a start on the Redoubt monks. Whilst browsing various figure manufacturers to add to the lead mountain I found yet more monks to add to the growing congregation!

Brother Thomas (on the right) and the newly arrived Brother Cuthbert lead the monks in prayer.

The new recruits joining the Redoubt monks are the 'Brothers of Shrewsbury Abbey' from the Black Tree Design Feudal Characters range. They are Brother Cuthbert and the three from the front row in the middle. They are really nice sculpts and could pass in pretty much any period.

 Cardinal Bertrand and the monks.

So far I have only managed to base them and get the basic flesh done but they looked so characterful I couldn't help take a couple of pictures! Cardinal Bertrand is probably dressed slightly too late for the dark ages period we are setting out games in but I thought I might as well paint him up too as I was working on the rest. With the black undercoat they currently look a little like a group of particularly serious Benedictine monks. Brother Thomas looks much like a Franciscan friar in his brown robes. This of course made me think of the classic book/film 'The Name of the Rose.'

Brother Thomas investigates the murder of Brother Adelmo whilst the horrified monks look on...

The story takes place in Northern Italy, during the early 14th Century A.D. Franciscan monk William of Baskerville and his novice Adso of Melk (narrating as an old man) arrive at a Benedictine abbey where a mysterious death has occurred ahead of an important theological Church conference. William, known for his deductive and analytic mind, confronts the worried Abbot and gains permission to investigate the death – a young illuminator appears to have committed suicide. Over the next few days, several other bizarre deaths occur, and the two gradually discover that everything is not what it seems in the abbey.

Diabolic? Murder at the Abbey!

The title of this blog entry comes from an old Ars Magica supplement about the famous Glastonbury Abbey, a house of the black robed Benedictines since Saint Dunstan instituted it in the tenth century. The monks have fallen to diabolic corruption that threatens to overwhelm them all. 

Friday, 21 October 2011

Battle of Ulvik Fjord.

Our usual gaming group was at a bit of a loose end and down a couple of players the other night so we decided to try an impromptu test game for our planned Viking/Saxon campaign using the Strandhogg rules.

We kept it simple - two players (Andrew & myself) with one Noble and a warband each. As we had not playtested the rules yet we had a third player (Rob) as the referee to oversee the game rules and look after any villager/npc movement.

The warbands were set up as below -

Jarl Thorir (Noble w/ hand weapons)
Hæimkæll (Warband Leader w/ hand weapon and warhorn)
Rautr, Aðaldir, Áfasti, Reyrkir (Warriors x4 w/ hand weapons and shields)
Aldir (Archer w/ bow)

Jarl Ragnar (Noble w/ hand weapons)
Jari (Warband Leader w/ hand weapon and warhorn)
Ringrími, Ámungr, Skjörr, Þjólfr (Warriors x4 w/ hand weapons and shields)
Sveirgir (Archer w/ bow)

The brief scenario centered around a scouting raid led by Jarl Thorir on the neighbouring village of Jarl Ragnar across the Ulvik Fjord. Ragnar became aware of Thorir's plans and was waiting to the north of the village when the attackers arrived...

The peace of the sleepy village of Ulvik is shattered as Thorir and his men charge into the village. Jarl Ragnar awaits...

The first couple of moves were essentially the two small warbands charging into the centre of the village to join battle. Thorir had drawn a card that allowed his archer to open fire at great distance but use the 'Close Range' template.

Ragnar leads the way to meet the attackers. Thorir's archer, Aldir, chooses his target well...but misses! The arrow thuds into the shield of the shocked Ringrími just behind...

As the two warbands lined up to fight, a couple of rounds of arrows were fired off but to little effect. Ragnars archer Sveirgir managed to pick out his opposite number in the oncoming group but Aldir managed a save roll despite his light armour!

Ragnars man, Sveirgir, returns fire - he hits his target but the arrow has no effect. Aldir laughs, the gods are with him today!

With the bowmen having little effect (due to some lucky rolls) the opposing warbands waste no more time and get stuck in. The village rages with the sound of clashing steel and wood as the villagers start to flee.

The warbands crash into hand to hand combat...Hæimkæll and Jari face off against each other.

After a couple of rounds of intense fighting, Sveirgir, Ringrími and Ámungr lay dead on Ragnars side. Thorir's men, Áfasti and Reyrkir were also now in Valhalla. Hæimkæll and Jari continued to fight it out with no quarter being given. Ragner and Thorir traded insults across the din of the battle...

The battle rages. Ragnar shouts across the battle at Thorir. Anhild is upset that her goats have been disturbed and remonstrates with Aldir. Aldir laughs... (again)

The battle seemed to turn at this point. Þjólfr (with the grey and yellow shield) had been hanging back but saw his opportunity and charged into Rautr (with the purple cloak) slaying him instantly. Skjörr (with the green and yellow shield) managed to kill the two handed axe wielding Aðaldir and then under the influence of Ragnar, the two warrior decided to charge into Thorir. The Jarl met them both with a bellow and promptly cut them both down...

"Glory or Valhalla!!" Þjólfr and Skjörr rush to their ultimate doom...

With Skjörr lying dead next to him, Þjólfr starts to wonder if this was a good idea.

Hæimkæll finally managed to win his epic battle against Jari. The few left standing - Thorir, Hæimkæll and Aldir - turn to face the lone Ragnar...

Ragnar stands alone...

Deciding that discretion is the better part of valour, Ragnar makes a hasty retreat back to the hills to gather more men...

...and Thorir claims his glory!

Overall a simple and fun game. It has certainly helped us learn the basics and we all particularly liked the missile fire, the template idea providing a nice touch should your shot miss the mark. Melee felt a little bit clunky at first and shields seemed to be an essential but we gradually got used to it. We will probably try a couple of games with more warbands and larger forces to see how the Command Radius and formation rules work out. Once we have dissected these rules a little we may try out SAGA and see how it compares.

Now I just need to finish painting up those rather shiny looking animals...  

Friday, 7 October 2011

Workbench Update 2 - More Work in Progress.

In addition to the new Saxons I have also made a start on various other minis to swell the growing ranks of Vikings and Saxons.

First up are a few 'Viking Heroes' I bought from Simon of the Big Red Bat Cave. I have based and undercoated some of them including a Thor figure, the huge 'Rollo the Granger', 'Brogger the Bold', 'Happy Thoruiv the Flatulent', all from Foundry and Gripping Beast's 'Sven Forkbeard' swinging the large Danish axe. I feel sorry for the ones standing behind Thoruiv the Flatulent...

"What's that smell??" (middle row l-r) Brogger, Thor, Sven (front l-r) Rollo and Thoruiv.

Next are a small unit of Viking archers (also from Simon) all from Foundry.

Sigurd indicates which direction to fire in...

Lastly are a few Saxon villagers and an oxen pulled cart from Foundry, plus an unidentified plastic pig that I have no idea where she came from. Based and undercoated she seems to fit ok as a big ol' sow though!

Some Saxon villagers go about their daily business, blissfully unaware of what lies in wait for them.

A quick snap of the whole lot...

Figures from Foundry and Gripping Beast.

Our group are still leaning towards the Strandhogg system for our rules of choice, despite the release of Saga. They look to be a simple but effective set - for a great detailed review of them check out Cor Blog Me!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Workbench Update - More Saxons.

Despite the major distraction of primarily working on some WW2 bits for our planned Troops, Weapons & Tactics campaign over recent weeks I have made a start on the next batch of Saxons/Vikings etc and thought I would put up a quick post.

Above are 12 new Saxon types and an early Saxon Chieftain to the right. The are all Gripping Beast miniatures from the 'Saxon/German Tribes' range. I have managed to get most of the basic painting done on them so only need to think about detail and flesh work. Slightly anachronistic but in the background are some partially done Crusader Miniatures WW2 Germans and a wonderful Foundry sentry with his rather upset alsatian guard dog. Also on the back line are some Musketeer 'Inter-War Period' minis and the stunning 'Male Werewolf' from Reaper, probably one of the best werewolf sculpts I have come across.

Figures by Gripping Beast, Crusader Miniatures, Wargames Foundry, Musketeer Miniatures and Reaper Minis.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mystery Solved!

Finally managed to track down the identity of the 'mystery figure' - was looking at the Mega-Minis site as suggested by Jagatai (thankyou) and in a round about way decided I was looking for a Barbarian of some sort. To cut a long story short I found the Lost Minis website and searched for 'Barbarians' - first thing that came up was the 'Barbarian Personalities' set from Asgard, sculpted by Jes Goodwin (who did lots of Citadel stuff) and though there wasn't a picture I deduced he was 'BP8 Aurock Storrirkin' - Stuff of Legends fortunately had pic and confirmed this:

He is the one on the bottom left. Don't know why this bothered me so much but I was on a mission to find out! I am usually pretty good at identifying old minis and was determined to track this one down! Thanks for the suggestions guys.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Mystery Figure...

Can anyone out there help me find out who made this chap below?

He has a 'viking' feeling' to him, with a strong fantasy element. Searched all over the web and still none the wiser :-(


Monday, 19 September 2011

Early Citadel Hill Giant.

Sure I can fit this brute of a chap in somewhere...

"Yes, they are skulls around my waist. Big whoop, wanna fight about it??"

He is the "FF15-2 Hill Giant swinging Club" from late 1982. To be honest, compared to todays miniatures he hardly rates as a 'Giant' anymore but he could be a rather surly beserker in one of the warbands...

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Viking Blade Fodder / Monks!

After much deliberation on where to buy some monks for the Vikings to slaughter I decided on the Monks/Clerics pack from Redoubt Enterprises.

I went for the 9 pack (all of the above plus one corpse not shown) but you can also get them in a pack of 5 consisting of the group to the right of the picture. I liked the kneeling monk (as Paul of the Man Cave would say "Lord protect us from the fury of the Northmen") and at £10 for 9 figures you can't go wrong!

The monks gather.

Hopefully they shouldn't be too much work and they can join my current solitary monk Brother Thomas who was beginning to be concerned he was the only one to face the heathen invader...

Brother Thomas.

Brother Thomas is an old Citadel Miniatures chap I have owned for many years. I bought him in about 1982 for 40p and he has graced many wargames tables and RPG's over the years. He has certainly faced far worse things than one or two angry Danes with axes. Battles that spring to mind include the legendary 'Bloodbath at Orcs Drift', the 'Nightmare in Blackmarsh', 'The Battle of Dalion Pass' (the only game I am aware of thats had intelligent baboons fighting on one side!), 'How Red Was My Valley' (regarding the case of the missing Count von Bulow) the defence of the Principality of Francovia and the 'Return of Martin the Liche-Lord and the Wars of Spite'. Other characters involved included the dwarf lords Clando the Bane and Torak Dragonhelm IX (bearer of the Runesword Casmakis), the 'Scarlet Plumes' (a kind of roaming police force made up of Runequest miniatures), Harboth & the Black Mountain Boys (Citadel Orcs before they went really spikey), Mengil Manhides company of Dark Elves and even a Slann raiding party after slaves and booty. Hmmm, last one sounds familiar...anyway, enough reminiscing!

The other options were the excellent Wargames Foundry 'jolly monks', the various Gripping Beast monks and the Conquest Games '12th Century Benedictine' monks.

Wargames Foundry.

Gripping Beast.

Conquest Games.

Pictures are from the respective websites.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Viking Raid!

Had to post a link to The Southern Strategists blog as they have just played a raid scenario on their incredible game board using the Strandhogg rules. I must say I am pretty inspired by their set up! Great stuff...

"Vikings on the Beach"

Saturday, 20 August 2011

GB SAGA Rules Get Release Date!

SAGA Rulebook.

(from the Gripping Beast website.)

Saga is a game for model soldiers set in the Viking Age when strength and bravery were worth a thousand men. This rulebook contains all the necessary information you need to discover the SAGA gaming system. You will find not only all the game rules, but also a selection of scenarios to get you started plus four of the factions involved in the wars of the Viking Age (Anglo-Danish, Vikings, Welsh and Normans – with more to be published.) With plenty of illustrations, step-by-step examples and diagrams, learning the game mechanisms is simple and intuitive.
Less than thirty models per side are needed to start playing, so get ready to immerse yourself in this age of heroes and write your own saga.
SAGA uses ordinary D6 dice and special SAGA Dice and to play the game, each player will need their own set of SAGA Dice. SAGA Dice are six sided and covered in special Warband specific symbols. There is a section in the rulebook explaining a Do-It-Yourself solution for SAGA Dice or you can buy one of our lovely specially commissioned SAGA Dice sets.

ALL PRE-ORDERS FOR THE SAGA RULESET (including any deals) OR THE SAGA PAINT SET COME WITH FREE EXCLUSIVE SVEN FORKBEARD FIGURE (pictured above.) Supplied unpainted. Sculpted by Bill Thornhill.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Viking Horde!

Nearly done! Been ages since I posted anything (distractions including real life and other projects) but my 'Viking' project is almost there. Thought it was about time to take a couple of pics to record where I have got to so far.

There are about seventy or so miniatures here, most are complete other than finishing touches on their bases and a few need some flesh work or other bits and bobs.

There are a few Saxons in the background of the above too. Again, they are all but done, though they need a splash of varnish and the bases flocked.

I also need to finish the handful of villagers and the Longship. No livestock yet, or indeed anything else for the Vikings to actually help themselves to!

Quite a scary looking bunch from this angle!!

My other project 'distractions' can be found here:

Zombie Apocalypse in a Green and Pleasant Land with The Dead Hate the Living.

WW2 Wargaming with A Project Too Far.

A Very British Civil War in East Anglia with Hard Times of Old England.

And finally Pulp, Horro and Sci-Fi with Level 2.

Amazing Saxon Village

Was just looking at some blogs and found this amazing Saxon village created by Rodger of Rebel Barracks and his group. Check his blog out for some fantastic pics!

I want one!!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Saxon Unit Almost Finished!

Finally feel like I am getting somewhere! I am practically dreaming in viking at the moment...
Thought I would put up a few photos of the Saxon unit nearly completed. Couldn't originally decide if they could be Viking bondi but they were looking far more 'Saxon' as time went by so I have put a few Saxon LBM transfers onto the shields. Still need to do a little finishing work on the painting and a bit on the bases but almost there!
Only another 19 Vikings and 9 villagers to go after this, then I can finish all the bases on the previous 50 or so already done!

I might actually get to paint something else soon...

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Viking Progress...

Finally managed to do a little more work on the Viking mob thats been sitting on my workbench for a while. Thought I would put up a couple of pics! About 40 or so in various states of completion (I really should just finish a batch before I start on a new one) so plenty of work to be done on these chaps...


Monday, 30 May 2011

Grendel 2

Further to my previous post, I came across this beast from Reaper Miniatures, Lunkh, the Hill Giant -

Not cheap but a nice miniature!

Sunday, 29 May 2011


Prompted by Paul (Man Cave) I couldn't resist looking for a suitable figure (in 28mm scale) to be a reasonable representation of Grendel.

So far not had much luck but did come across these -

'Grendel Attacking' from Black Pyramid Gaming on ebay.

 Otherworld Miniatures also do a nice range of giants. Perhaps the 'Stone' or 'Hill' Giant would fit the bill?

Stone Giant, Frost Giant, Fire Giant, Hill Giant.

From Wikipedia -
"Grendel is one of three antagonists, along with Grendel's mother and the dragon, in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf (AD 700–1000). Grendel is usually depicted as a monster, though this is the subject of scholarly debate. In the poem, Grendel is feared by all but Beowulf.
Story -
The poem Beowulf is contained in the Nowell Codex. As noted in lines 105–114 and lines 1260–1267 of Beowulf, Grendel and his mother are described as descendants of the Biblical Cain. Beowulf leaves Geatland in order to find and destroy Grendel, who has been attacking the mead hall Heorot, killing and eating anyone he finds there. Barring his lineage, all motives for his attacks are left up to the reader. Usually in most film or literature adaptations, Grendel attacks the hall after having been disturbed by the noise of the drunken revelers. One cryptic scene in which Grendel sits in the abandoned hall unable to approach the throne hints that his motives may be greed or revenge. After a long battle, Beowulf mortally wounds Grendel by ripping his arm off. Grendel dies in his cave under the swamp. Beowulf later engages in a fierce battle with Grendel's mother, over whom he triumphs. Following her death, Beowulf finds Grendel's corpse and removes the head, which he keeps as a trophy. Beowulf then returns to the surface and to his men at the "ninth hour". He returns to Heorot, where he is given many gifts by an even more grateful Hroðgar.
Debate over description -
During the following decades, the exact description of Grendel became a source of debate for scholars. Indeed, because his exact appearance is never directly described in Old English by the original Beowulf poet, part of the debate revolves around what is known, namely his descent from the biblical Cain (who was the first murderer in the Bible).
Debate over Grendel's nature -
Some scholars have linked Grendel's descent from Cain to the monsters and giants of The Cain Tradition.
Seamus Heaney, in his translation of Beowulf, writes in lines 1351–1355 that Grendel is vaguely human in shape, though much larger:
... the other, warped
in the shape of a man, moves beyond the pale
bigger than any man, an unnatural birth
called Grendel by the country people
in former days.
Heaney's translation of lines 1637–1639 also notes that his disembodied head is so large that it takes four men to transport it. Furthermore, in lines 983–89, when Grendel's torn arm is inspected, Heaney describes it as being covered in impenetrable scales and horny growths:
Every nail, claw-scale and spur, every spike
and welt on the hand of that heathen brute
was like barbed steel. Everybody said
there was no honed iron hard enough
to pierce him through, no time proofed blade
that could cut his brutal blood caked claw."