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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Welsh warriors & backstory

With every new project, I like to read up on the armies and era I'm painting.  Saga has given me the perfect opportunity to dig into the Dark Ages, where my knowledge is a bit thin. Admitting that up front, here's a quick overview of the Dark Age Welsh.

A Welsh army was generally made up of lords, retainers and locally raised free men over the age of 14.  Welsh warriors dressed in linen shirts and pants, covered by a wool cloak down to the knees. Hair was kept short and mustaches were common.  Their primary weapons were the spear, axe and bow.  Spearmen could operate in close or loose order as the situation demanded. Javelins were common and a circular shield was often employed. Welsh bows were made of elm and fired at close range as an ambush weapon.  The Welsh longbow would not make an appearance for some hundreds of years.

The Welsh tended to rely on agility and cunning rather than armor.  They relied on ambushes and raids, utilizing the rough and hilly terrain covering much of WalesBattle was preferred on marshy or broken ground, which favored the Welsh's mobility.  Their initial charge was a headlong assault accompanied by a storm of javelins.  This might be followed by feigned flight to lead an enemy into a trap, a common tactic for lightly armed and agile troops. Spirits were raised with battle cries and war trumpets. The initial charge was fierce but if it did not break the enemy, the warriors often lost heart.

Based purely on looks, there's slim chance these fine fellows will lose heart on the tabletop battlefield.  Gripping Beast did a fine job with the sculpts.  Short hair, mustaches, woolen cloaks, spears, axes, bows and circular shields.  Check, check, check and check.  Nicely done!  



Over the weekend, I grabbed 3 lines of triad paints by Reaper Miniatures.  They just might be the paints I'm looking for.  Big plus that they come in dropper bottles!  After I get a chance to put them to use, I'll post up on how they compare to Vallejo.

And if that isn't enough to bring you back, it's on to the adorable Welsh ponies and riders.  I'm very pleased to say that Gripping Beast did an outstanding job casting the Welsh horse. Short, stout and almost cuddly!
Coming soon to a Saga event near you

27 comments:

  1. Fantastic! I love all of the colors and stripes - a very interesting group. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with those shields!

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    1. I hate to disappoint but I'm waiting on a set of Welsh shield transfers my customer just located for this lot. When they finally come, I'll get them down, put down a protective coat, finish the flocking and they'll look much better.

      I could use the reps scratch painting shields but I've been hard at this lot for 4 weeks. In other words, I'm not unhappy that shield transfers are coming. Whew!

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  2. Monty, thanks for the Welsh history brief and for sharing your colorful Welshmen. What is your planned treatment for the shields?

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    1. To disappoint all my followers, lol! See above.

      It is a bit of a relief, since there are nearly 40 shields in the warband. And unlike the Hungarian shields I painted last year, I don't have a Welsh website with Dark Ages heraldry or icons. ;-)

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Pru! Hey, I just got over to see your new HUGE ancient spanish army. It rocks!

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  4. Well done, Monty. I look forward to seeing the finished lot soon!

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    1. I kind of feel like I'm fashioning my own noose!

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  5. Exelent start !

    Very nice historical re-cap!

    I goot a bunch of the GB welsh minis as well, this might be the inspiration I need to get around painting the...

    Best regards Michael

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    1. Well, you're pretty busy with the Russo-Swedish war! At the rate you paint, you can probably get back to them within the month. ;-)

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  6. Very nice group Monty, colours are great...
    Phil.

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    1. Thanks Phil. And don't worry, I have a big batch of 15mm on the table.

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  7. I like the faces in particular...looks good.

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    1. Thanks Gareson! Good figs sure help in that regard!

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    1. Thanks Yorkie, and can you send some of your weather up here? It's now snowing again. Ugh.

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  9. They make a very nasty force indeed played right and using terrain and battle board to your advantage they can be merciless.

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    1. Andrew, thanks! We're very new at Saga here but I had a hunch this was a tough bunch, especially with Taunting. Ouch!

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  10. Looks like you've really caught the SAGA bug, Monty. So, what's your next force going to be? ;)

    FMB

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    1. I was thinking the Scots or maybe the Rus. Then some of the fellows I game with starting listing their new ancient army projects so I made a big 15mm buy. And I keep reading your AARs and thinking about Bold Action-thanks for that!

      I really should plan better!

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  11. Hi Monty,

    nice work Mate, you are the unstoppable Saga warband painter!
    be careful or you will finish to have so many dark ages troops to play FOG in 650 points ;-)
    is it the ancestor of the " Pony express"? or the horse with no name ???

    little big men studio shield are compulsory to gain time and have a great result with their splendid scots, irish and vikning designs, I tried them on some Norse Gael shields and they are Top ( no chance to do the same with a paintbrush)!!!!

    Cheers

    thefrenchjester " lost in the Hebrides ;-)"




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    1. Gilles! :-)

      LBMS transfers are wonderful. Can we see your Norse Gaels?

      I broke out 100 naked Gauls for a 15mm project last night and I as I was cleaning them up I thought, Gee, these are really tiny! I need to get back up on that horse before I cross over to 28mm for good!

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  12. Monty:

    Great looking Welsh. I love the colors and patterns on the tunics and cloaks. One of my gaming buddies has a large Welsh army he painted for WAB - he said he hated it, but all of us with Norman and Breton armies loved it! Just kidding, it was a really well researched and painted army. Give you guys credit as they don't have most of the shiny bells and whistles like other Dark Age armies. Kudos. Dean

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    1. Dean! Thanks! Is your buddies army up on the web? I ask only because I do like to see the many interpretations that people use when working up from scarce sources. ;-)

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