Thursday, February 28, 2013

Viking Warlord Egil Skallagrimsson

By any measure, Egil Skallagrimsson was a badass.  Really, I hear you ask, how bad was he?  According to Egil's Saga, Egil was playing with a some of other kids when an older boy threw him to the ground. The  kids laughed and Egil got pissed.  He went home, grabbed an ax and used it to split the boy's skull to the teeth.  The two households came to blows and seven men were killed. Egil's father was unhappy but his mother thought he had the makings of a real Viking. He was 7 at the time! Egil was a boy you did NOT invite over for birthday parties, playdates or sleepovers.    

The detailing on this Gripping Beast figure was superb.  At times, I was guessing at what I was painting. Hopefully, it's not obvious!

Once again, bark found its way into another project!  I'm very pleased with how my warlord turned out.

The positive painting mojo carried over from the workbench to the gaming table in my first game of Saga.  We played A Feast for Crows with a Viking -Viking - Anglo-Danish mashup.  I had Egil up front because I didn't know better and half way through, my warlord went in side by side with my berserkers.  They cut the opposing Viking warlord to pieces.  Late in the game, the Anglo-Danish set on Egil with 6 Hearthguard armed with the deadly Dane axe.  To demonstrate the long odds against me, our host dropped 2 headstones on the tabletop before I threw my dice.  One for Egil and one for his last Hird. Egil smote 4 of the Danes and the survivors fell back in fear.  

My Viking opponent sent his last warriors at Egil.  Insults were thrown. parentage was questioned and finally, dice were thrown.  When it was over, every Viking warrior was dead, as was my warlord.  With his dying breath, Egil was heard to whisper, "We won on on points!" Epic and hilarious!  The Saga fire is lit and now onto my Norman warband.  
Gravestones at the ready.  

Looks like you'll be needing two more headstones, fellas!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A dip with Viking archers

There's some debate among Saga players on whether levy archers are a wise choice for the Viking warband.    I figure they can screen my lads as they madly rush crossbow, javelin or archer-armed foe. Even if I don't use levy archers regularly with this warband, just having them painted up gives me the chance to mix things up a bit.

My go-to method in 15mm is to block paint, wash with Devlon Mud and highlight to finish.  Sadly, I've used up all my Mud.  Agrax Earthshade is supposed to be the new Devlan Mud but it isn't.  I recently tried mixing up my own washes but I can't quite match the color/shading of Devlon Mud. I've seen the great work many of you do with Army Painter Strong Tone dip so I figured I'd give it a go.

$29 for a tin-is there a genie or leprechaun at the bottom?  
Having done this all of one time, I've declared myself something of an expert on the subject.  Here are my thoughts.

What works? Great coverage, good shading, very good consistency in that it sticks to the figure well without all running down to the base like my Future mixes do.  AP puts a protective coat over your painting, which is especially handy with skirmish figures.  The shading is quite nice once it cures.  

What doesn't?  Good lord it stinks!  I can't dip with an open window because its winter.  This is a challenge for anyone who lives as far north of the equator as the Vikings once did.  When I dip, I have to do it quickly and then shut the door to my painting room.   Also, I have to keep mineral spirits on my painting table to clean my dipping brush and to be honest, I'd much rather work with water-based products for the easy clean up and no smell.  

Gripping Beast figs dipped and highlighted.  Once again, I kept a limited Dark Age palette.  I'm pleased with the results but I'll go a bit lighter on some of my base colors the next time.

Up next  is my Viking warlord  pictured in his Saga below.  If you can name the man in the floppy black hat, I'll spot you +20 Viking history points.  Well, anyone other than Michael of the excellent Dalauppror blog as he'll know this on sight.  Sorry, Michael!
Viking poet, warrior, farmer...and stone cold killer.

Monday, February 18, 2013

16 Viking Hirdmen came knocking on my door

In Saga, the Hirdmen are your best troop.  They're expensive but tough as nails and able to deliver a knockout blow.  I  assembled these with sword & axes to differentiate them from my spear armed Bondi warriors.

These were primed black, drybrushed chainmail, block painted, washed and highlighted.  Skin was done with the excellent Foundry triad for skin tones-Flesh shade 5A, Flesh 5B and Flesh Light 5C.  This is going to be my go-to combo in 28mm. I can see why the Foundry triads are so popular.  They take the guesswork out of jumps between the base color and the first and second highlight.  If I were to add more Foundry paints to my paint bench, I'd have to swap them out of the paint pots and into droppers.  The amount of work that would take puts me off the idea for now!

The LBMS shield transfers look brilliant as usual.  Here's a final shot of them massed up.  Knock, knock, Vikings calling!

I think Saga is going to get heavy rotation on the tabletop this year.  When I was shopping at The Source Comics and Games, the clerk asked me what I was working on.  I told him I was finishing a Viking warband for Saga and he replied that I was the 3rd person he'd spoken to who was working on Saga. 

Next week, for the first time ever, I'll take a Dip with 12 Gripping Beast Viking archers. I was hoping for the Swedish Bikini Team but you have to go with what you've got!  

Friday, February 8, 2013

You never forget your 1st - Saga warband!

Thanks to a sprawling collection of Vikings and Normans I scored at Bartertown, I've got a bunch of Saga painting under way. It's a nice change up from my 15mm work and soon, our club will be taking the Saga plunge!  My first warband is made up of Gripping Beast plastic Vikings. GB plastics are a treat, with tons of options off the sprue.  I'm following the Dark Ages Color Palette created by John at the 1000 Foot General blog.  It' hard to stick to muted colors but I think I managed. Thanks John for doing the heavy lifting for the rest of us!

Berserkers-1 Point.  Berserkers are best portrayed as shirtless, even pantsless, madmen running around in an animal's hide.  For the purist or pedantic, grab a box of plastic Celts and do a Viking headswap.  Boom, you'll have a shirtless madman.  You won't be able to use the 2 handed Danish axe though.  I love the look of these guys with a huge axe so I used my GB fellows.  Throwing 4 dice per figure in combat, my Beserkers are going to tear up the house!

Burkhard from the excellent dhcwargamesblog, gave me his advice on fielding berserkers:  Those are the men you need to perform a surgical strike (but they will most likely only survive one or two of those) that can serve as a game winner. Hide them behind a unit with higher armor values until they get close if your opponent has ranged weapons.  Sounds good to me and thanks for sharing, Burk!
Soon, you too shall be painted!

 Sven's Tree Removal,  at your service!  

Sorry boys, the pantsless berserkers got here first.  
Bondi Warriors-2 Points. Not much to say about except they went down well.  At the finish line, I realized they'll be handled roughly on the tabletop so I brushed on a protective coat of Future acrylic polish followed by Liquitex Matte Medium to take the shine off.  I did think about freehanding shields but I was desperate to get my first warband on the table.  Shields are the excellent LBMS transfers.

After years of painting 15mm, I confess that there's something deeply satisfying about working in a bigger scale. With a larger canvas, you reap a greater reward.  It's much slower going, in part because I've hardly worked in this scale in years.  Some of my 15mm color combos don't scale up well but with as many figures as I have to paint, there's time enough to crack the code! Skol Vikings!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Creating Corvinus' Carpathian camp

Sometimes, you just get lucky.  When it happens, it's best to smile and say it all went according to plan.  You can't see it but I'm smiling as I type!

Rummaging  through my hobby supplies, I discovered I didn't have a medieval tent for my Later Hungarian camp but I did find 2 Essex wagons.  I added cardstock and 15mm Baueda ancient supplies to load out the empty wagons.  I then tried to make a supply train with the 2 wagons but even corner to corner, I couldn't fit them both in the footprint of this Field of Glory camp.

As a fallback, I decided to try capturing the flavor of the Carpathian mountains.  I remembered I had a large piece of bark socked away and bark worked well in my last 3 camps.  So, it was back to the bark!  I cut the bark  at a 45 degree angle to created a switchback that allowed both wagons to fit into the camp.  I used Durham's Rock Hard putty to raise up the rear section of bark and hold it all together.

I primed in black and highlighted up with browns but brown failed me at the finish line.  Once I set the brown wagon with brown horses, brown supplies and brown driver on a brown mountain, I knew I had to start over with a different color. Ouch!  Out came the black and I repainted the mountain in 50 Shades of Grey.  My painting adventure bore no resemblance to the trash novel that's a such a hit with bored housewives, or so I'm told.

The 2nd wagon made the camp very crowded so I put it away for another day.  I used Vallejo Burnt Sienna pigment plus a glaze to make the oxidized runoff.

I used to dread making camps for my armies, putting them off until the very end.  The fact that I had fun with this one means I've finally whipped this bugbear. Bark has turned into my "go to" product for camps lately!