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