Saturday, March 30, 2013

Welsh Bonnedig Archers

Quick post up of my progress on the 12 levy archers for the Welsh warband.  I'm using a hot glue gun for all my 28mm basing. A bonus is that the glue smooths out the transition from the base to the miniature.  The color palette here is simple and earthy, given they're a peasant levy.

I'm using Americana Light Cinnamon for the base coat, followed by Cocoa and then Sand for the highlights.   I took extra care in applying my base color to the ballast, given the trouble it took to paint the 10 wee toes.

Half the figures below have a single highlight of Cocoa and half have a 2nd highlight of Sand, popping the texture nicely. Static grass goes down after a protective coating.
I'm really enjoying painting for Saga.  I have to say that it's the most fun I've had painting...ever, really.  The siren song of 28mm skirmish is you don't ever get bored painting the same figure over and over.  Now that the levy troops are complete, it's on to 24 Welsh warriors.  This is where I can stretch my color palette and bring in stripes, checks and the like. Dawnsio ar y dibyn!
A new Saga faction-the Undead Warband 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mustering a Welsh warband!

Tuesday night, I got a package of Gripping Beast minis with the makings of a 9 point Welsh warband.  53 foot figures, 13 mounted and loads of variety and poses.  I'm shelving my Vikings and Normans to dive into the Welsh.  New love is like that-overboard with the old, in with the new!

I'm going to try something new with this project.  I almost always wait till my figures are complete before posting up pics.  This time, I'll post as I go including more work in progress pics.  I've been finding WIP posts very helpful to understand how my fellow bloggers got from "A" to "Z" results.  The only downside is I'm relying on my cellphone camera so until I break out my real camera, the photos will be decent but not great.

Being addicted to painting, I immediately set about prepping all 24 of the Welsh levy figures.  I primed white and followed with an acrylic ink wash (Umber Brown).  You could prime brown and work up but I really like the effect of working up from the inked mini.  The ink settles darkest into the low spots, giving a nice smokey shadow to work with.  The ink wash is fairly quick and the only downside I can think of is that you do tend to get one very brown hand.  
These fellows are the javelin-armed Strathclyde levy. Being peasants, I kept the palette very limited for these lads.  Once I get to the Welsh warriors and hearthguard, I can loosen up a bit!

When I block paint, I paint neatly to keep the brown shadow in place around the belts, edges of clothes, folds, fingers and toes.  I follow this with a wash of GW Agrax Earthsade.  I've shelved the Army Painter dip/brush on technique for the time being.  More on that later.
Highlights over the wash. I'm painting the eyes for this lot.  They're quite small on the GB figures but the white does pop nicely off of the Umber Brown.

Here I've skipped a bunch of steps on account of forgetting to take photos while in the heat of the battle.  Thank goodness I'm not a war correspondent.  A quick shot of the PVC/ballast step.
Near the finish line.  I still need to put down a protective coat, hit with anti-matt, give the base 2 steps of progressively lighter drybrushing followed by static grass.
Pupils round 1
Round 2-bigger, better
These Welsh sculpts are fantastic.  They're the best Gripping Beast figures I've painted to date.  Very crisp detail, very lively and full of character.  Honestly, they're a bit like crack When I'm not painting, I'm thinking about painting and when oh when can I paint again?  Is there a 12 step acrylic program for folks like us?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Norman Milites for Saga

Here is the 2nd and final round of my Conquest Games plastic Normans.  To distinguish my milites/hearthguards from the sergeants/warriors, the milites are all chainmail clad and kitted with teardrop shields.

The Norman battleboard in Saga is built for mounted and shooty troops.  Mounted move 12" while foot troops creep along at 6".  Throw in a double move and these boys can  fly across the battlefield!  Just as Superman has his kryptonite,  mounted troops suffer a -1 to armor when shot at so you must hide them from javelins and archers. This tends to make the Normans a finesse warband.

My friend Hugh suggests the Normans shine brightest when employed with the Muhammad Ali strategy. Hunker down against the ropes, er, the back line of the tabletop and let your opponent come to you.  Play rope-a-dope by covering your mounted troops with your archers & crossbowmen.  Jab with missile fire until your opponent charges into your screening shooty troops.  THATS when you unleash a punishing barrage of uppercuts with your mounted troops and drop him to the canvas.
It's pronounced Mil-Eets, sucker!  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Plastic Norman sergeants

Up next are my Conquest Games Norman Sergeants.  As with all plastics, you're trading fiddly prep and assembly for $ saved.  Conquest Games plastics run $30 for a box of 15 mounted Normans versus $5 a figure for metal.  I'll post a side by side comparison of painted Norman metal and plastic figs before this warband is through.

Lots of options off the sprue with both horse and men gluing up nicely.  I employed a painting "cheat" to speed things up.  I sorted the horse into 4 lots and then hit them with either Army Painter Black, Leather Brown, Bone or Fur Brown primer.  I then worked up the socks, manes and tails before washing.  The cheat worked well with Leather Brown but not so much with Bone.  2 tone highlights were in order for some of the models, while others looked fine with just a colored primer and wash. 
Don't look at me, I'm hideous! 
A close look shows who was primed with what color.  
I managed to squander the time saved with colored primers in my next step!  I've seen some of you make painting stands for mounted troops so I tried to copy that.  I drilled out water bottle caps, clipped out piano wire, drilled holes in the the rider's bottoms (hey now!) and blu tacked them down.  This was a poor idea as the figures kept swiveling about on the piano wire until I blu tacked the feet as well.  HINT! Just glue the damn figures on their mounts and paint away. It's not like we're painting for the Louvre.
I should mention I assembled my milites/hearthguard with teardrop shields while sergeants/warriors got spears and round shields.  That way, everyone can tell at a glance what my warband is made up of.  The bare wooden shields were a lifesaver as it meant I only needed 8 fancy shields and not 12!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Saga - Norman archers and crossbow

First up for my Norman warband are my shooty guys.  The Normans have good shooting abilities on the Saga battleboard.  Massed Volley lets bow units shoot at twice as their normal range.  Even better, Storm of Arrows activates ALL ranged weapon units to shoot with no fatigue. Being able to shoot archers and crossbow twice in a turn with no fatigue is a big bonus.

Crossbow units reduce the armor value of their target by 1.  Unfortunately, they suffer a -1 to their armor value in melee due to their cumbersome equipment.  I'll greatly enjoy turning enemy units into pincushions as they approach and then I'll be quite sad when they get sucked into melee.  Crossbow count as warriors so they're easier to activate than levy archers, they generate a Saga die (levy archers don't) and they get more dice per figure for shooting.  They seem like an obvious first choice for any Norman warband!
I painted 8 but count only 7 in the pic.   Hellooooo?

Queue Monty Python's "How Not to be Seen."
Levy bow are my second shooty unit.  The question is, do I take 2 units of levy bow or 1 crossbow and 1 levy bow?  2 units of levy bow kills you in the Saga dice generation phase so it's a tough call.  I may paint up a 2nd unit of bow so I have options. I can see Burkhard shaking his head "NO!" at the idea.

All Gripping Beast figures. Army Painter Strong Tone painted on, not dipped.  I put a coat of Future polish over the top over the highlights for protection, followed by Liquitex Matte Medium to take the shine off.  Basing is Woodland Scenic ballast- 50% Fine, 50% Medium.  And since these metal figures are prone to tumbling around in the box I'm storing them in, I ordered up Litko magnetic bases for the 25mm disks.

Next week, I'll get my Vikings on the tabletop at a small local Con, followed by food and beers with my friends.  I'm thinking the whole event will look something like the picture below. Ah, life is good!