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."

Bergelmir the Mountain Yeller

Another pic of my Ral Partha Frost Giant Bergelmir...

A link to a nicely painted version of the old Ral Partha Frost Giant above.

Another pic here from the Stuff of Legends website. Also has a pic of another nice mini, the Storm Giant that Paul of The Man Cave mentions -

RP01-090 Storm Giant

For Paul of The Man Cave here is the Grendel mini by Ral Partha -

Love this! Can't imagine how difficult it would be to get hold of this one though...

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Jötunn - Frost Giants

Was doing a little bit of reading on Norse mythology, specifically Frost Giants, since my purchase below of the Ral Partha frost giant whom I have decided to name "Bergelmir the Mountain Yeller."

The below is from Wikipedia:

A jötunn was a giant in Norse mythology, a member of a race of nature spirits with superhuman strength, described as sometimes standing in opposition to the races of the tribes of the Æsir and Vanir, although they frequently mingle with or intermarry with these. Their otherworldly homeland is Jötunheimr, one of the nine worlds of Norse cosmology, separated from Midgard, the world of humans, by high mountains or dense forests. Other place names are also associated with them, including Niflheimr, Utgarðr and Járnviðr.
In later Scandinavian folklore, the nature spirits called trolls (deriving from the term for 'magic') take over many of the functions of the more ancient concept of the jötunn.
The mountain range Jotunheimen in southern Norway was named after the mythological Jǫtunheimar by the poet Åsmund Olavsson Vinje in the 1860s.
In Old Norse, the beings were called jǫtnar (singular jǫtunn, the regular reflex of the stem jǫtun- and the nominative singular ending -r), or risar (singular risi), in particular bergrisar ('mountain-risar'), or þursar (singular þurs), in particular hrímþursar ('rime-thurs'). Giantesses could also be known as gýgjar (singular gýgr) or íviðjur (singular íviðja).
Jǫtunn (Proto-Germanic *etunaz) might have the same root as "eat" (Proto-Germanic *etan) and accordingly had the original meaning of "glutton" or "man-eater", possibly in the sense of personifying chaos, the destructive forces of nature. Following the same logic, þurs might be derivative of "thirst" or "blood-thirst." Risi is probably akin to "rise," and so means "towering person" (akin to German Riese, Dutch reus, archaic Swedish rese, giant). The word "jotun" survives in modern Norwegian as giant (though more commonly called trolls), and has evolved into jätte and jætte in modern Swedish and Danish, while in Faroese they are called jatnir [jaʰtnɪɹ]/[jaʰknɪɹ] (Singular: jøtun [jøːtʊn]). In modern Icelandic jötunn has kept its original meaning. In Old English, the cognate to jötunn is eoten, whence modern English ettin.
The Elder Futhark rune , called Thurs (from Proto-Germanic *Þurisaz), later evolved into the letter Þ. In Scandinavian folklore, the Norwegian name Tusse for a kind of troll or nisse, derives from Old Norse Þurs. Old English also has the cognate þyrs of the same meaning.
Norse jötnar - The first living being formed in the primeval chaos known as Ginnungagap was a giant of monumental size, called Ymir. When he slept a jötunn son and a jötunn daughter grew from his armpits, and his two feet procreated and gave birth to a son, a monster with six heads. These three beings gave rise to the race of hrímþursar (rime thurs), who populated Niflheim, the world of mist, chill and ice. The gods instead claim their origin from a certain Búri. When the giant Ymir subsequently was slain by Odin, Vili and Vé (the grandsons of Búri), his blood (i.e. water) deluged Niflheim and killed all of the jötnar, apart from one known as Bergelmir and his spouse, who then repopulated their kind.
Some of the jötnar are attributed with hideous appearances – claws, fangs, and deformed features, apart from a generally hideous size. Some of them may even have many heads, such as Thrivaldi who had nine of them, or an overall non-humanoid shape; so were Jörmungandr and Fenrir, two of the children of Loki.
Yet when jötnar are named and more closely described, they are often given the opposite characteristics. Very old, they carry wisdom from bygone times. It is the jötnar Mímir and Vafþrúðnir Odin seeks out to gain this ancient knowledge. Many of the gods' spouses are giants. Njörðr is married to Skaði, Gerðr becomes the consort of Freyr, Odin gains the love of Gunnlod, and even Thor, the great slayer of their kind, produces a child with Járnsaxa; Magni. As such, they appear as minor gods themselves, which can also be said about the sea giant Ægir, far more connected to the gods than to the other jötnar occupying Jotunheim. None of these fear light, and in comfort their homes do not differ greatly from those of the gods."

Not much to report...

Unfortunately have not managed to get a lot done over the past week or so. Got some basic flesh shading done on about 19 Vikings and 9 villager types but not a lot else, certainly nothing worthy of a photo!
On a plus note I think I have the basic idea for the first scenario, very much based on an idea by the influential Paul @ 'The Man Cave'. The scenario in question, "Ambush at Bruthweald" is a great idea (I always enjoy reading his battle reports!) and I reckon is a good place for our own game to begin.

As an aside, although I had no intention of there being any 'fantasy' element in our Viking/Saxon campaign I couldn't resist a dip into the past when a found an old Ral Partha 'Frost Giant' on ebay. I always remember him in the old Citadel 'Blue Blur' catalogue and was overcome with nostalgia and picked him up!

 He is the fella on the bottom left of the picture. In all honesty he needs a bit of work painting and basing wise but here he is with a few berserks from the warband of Rurik the Restless...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Weekend Work!

Managed to get a little bit more done on Sunday and took some more pics (of course) I need to actually sit down and get painting as I keep spending all my time doing prep work at the moment!

Dug out the Revell Viking Longship at last and began the basics on the model. It looks good and the scale (1:50) seems to work fine with 28mm. Clearly it needs a good paint job and some modifications - not too sure about the plastic sail. Some folk have also worked this as a waterline model and it looks great but I am not sure if I am brave enough to do this as I have been a long time out of modelling! Check out Herrodadog's Viking Longship & Kevin Barrett's Longships among others for some nice examples of how the ship can look.

As far as being an accurate model I found a helpful quote by 'J Tilley' from Model Ship World -
"The Viking ship kit was based on a full-sized replica that stood at the time in Lincoln Park, Chicago. That replica was, in turn, based on the Gokstad Ship, one of the two major Viking ship "finds" now preserved at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. The Revell kit is a quite accurate reproduction of the Gokstad Ship - with a few parts simplified (e.g., the insides of the gunwales, where the straps on the shields are supposed to be hooked) and a few others based on speculation and inference. The most obvious in the latter category are the "dragon's head and tail" at the bow and stern. The actual Gokstad Ship was buried in a funeral mound, and the bow and sternpost projected into a higher, more acidic layer of soil. When the archaeologists excavated the ship in the late nineteenth century whatever ornaments had originally decorated the bow and stern had rotted away. The ones on the Revell kit are reconstructions based on other Viking artifacts of about the same period."

A few pics of the model...
Basic hull of Longship constructed (with Bolli onboard getting rather excited at the prospect of going 'viking')

Another view with the mast in place.

Before I went any further I decided to give the hull an undercoat before I started any of the fiddly stuff! I also took the opportunity (and advantage of the nice weather) to basecoat my final group of Vikings.

The motley crew and longship apparently stranded on a garden chair.

Looks pretty good - the basecoat brings out the grain quite nicely. Now I have to decide if I am going to risk destroying the model by cutting into the hull for that waterline look...

Saturday, 14 May 2011


Strandhogg in old Norse was a Viking tactic, based on the spies followed by a flash raid, like commandos on the coast. One of its possible, but non exhaustive significance is “fight on sand or on the beach”.
It was almost exlusively a Norwegian Vikings technique of combat.
The Vikings had already developed spy networks from their many commercial counters vicus. These spies informed them of the local customs, the dates of religious feasts, helped with translation and indicated places to plunder and personalities to be removed and hold to ransom. It happened that Vikings made these raids against their own countrymen as well. Harald I, known as Harald Fairhair, prohibited strandhögg on the Norwegian territory.

Progress this week

Actually not that much done this week to be honest! Little bit more painting done on the Gripping Beast Saxon / Viking warband (still can't decide what they are yet...) and some bases started.
Also selected what I think will be the final batch for painting - some more really nice Foundry and Artizan figures plus a few 'villager' types. No doubt I will paint more at some point as I still have a mix of old Citadel Norse and some remaining Gripping Beast shieldwall folk but for now I want to finish what I have done and get to work on the Revel Viking longship I recently picked up!

 The GB Viking / Saxon warband (one figure complete!)
 The final warband group to be painted (for now anyway)

The villagers (Foundry Vikings) plus a few stragglers in the background from the old Citadel 'Norse' range.

Group shot!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Another Pic!

Found another pic of the current painted Viking situation. Still need to finish the majority of the bases but getting there...
Will try to take some better pics when they are properly based.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Salute 2011 Pics

Some photos from the Gripping Beast 'Battle of Maldon'.
Bit out of focus but thought I would put them on here anyway...

First Picture

First warband almost finished (and a poor monk captive!)

Top left are a few more in progress but these chaps could well end up becoming Saxons...

New Blog

First post - recently back into wargaming and the first project will be a Viking / Saxon skirmish based campaign. We will probably use the Strandhogg rules.
I hope to post occasionally as a brief diary of progress on figures painted and scenario ideas etc!