Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Rus Princes for SAGA

I painted Mutataww'ia for the US SAGA Grand Melee but the Princes got my attention during my practice games. That plus the Druzhina models I had under way were so lovely I moved them to the front of the queue. The late switch meant practice and painting were a bit rushed but I'm ready for the big show with days to spare! All Gripping Beast figures from their Rus Princes and Alexander Nevsky lines.
Druzhina:  Druzhina make the Rus Princes warband sing, so much so that it's not uncommon to see all Druzhina warbands.  The Princes of Winter ability raises their armor from a 4 to 6 against shooting and Parting Blow lets them shoot once a turn as if armed with bows or javelines-your choice! Druzhina have the same strengths and weaknesses of all mounted troops in SAGA.  They can fly around the battlefield but are weak against shooting (without the Princes of Winter ability) and struggle in terrain.
Levy: These fellows are kitted out nicely for levy. One can only conclude that Kiev had had a very good year.
Warriors:  I buffed my warriors with some Green Stuff fur and a Holy Icon. The snow basing is a mix of PVC glue, white acrylic paint and baking soda (1/3 each).  After spreading the mix  out on the base, I sprinkled baking soda on top where it dried to a dusty finish.  
The Rus religious adviser (in black) is Milites warlord head swapped with a Pagan Rus warrior.  I added a book that looks suspiciously like a bible. 

This was my first crack at painting a paper banner.  I can't freehand so I printed a picture of St. George and painted over it. It was tedious work but effective. I used dark base colors, mid tone and highlights to get the picture to pop.  It's a bit dodgy up close but from 3 feet, it works.  
My display board went from desert to winter with some color bits thrown in.  The murder of crows and wolves are Reaper minis and very nice indeed. The casualties are Gripping Beast figs.
I'm out of my head excited about the Grand Melee!  I've seen some of the war bands making the trip and they are stunning. We've got players flying in from both US coasts and the UK too including this year's UK Grand Melee champion.  We'll play in our own SAGA Great hall dressed up with Viking shields, torches and banners.  We'll get cool shirts, gaming swag and the chance to play SAGA over 3 days.  And I'll get to see Stephen the Viking again. I'm so looking forward to making new Sagas!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Making a Display Board

I'm signed up for the US SAGA Grand Melee at Adepticon in April.  This amazing event has 2 painting prizes-a Master of Brushes for the best painted warband and a People's Choice for the crowd favorite.  For such a big event, I want to put my best effort forward so I decided to make a proper display board.

A display board is one component of a painting score at this and other painting competitions. The purpose of the board is to display your figures at their best in an appropriate setting. You can also use your board to move your figures from table to table during the event.  Display boards seem to have roots back to the Warhammer Fantasy and 40K scene.  These guys really know how to rock it, as evidenced by pictures of boards posted here.  For historical gamers, the bar is a bit lower, thankfully! Not for long though because Warhammer players are migrating to SAGA, Bolt action and other historical games, and they're bringing their awesome painting and boarding skills along.
Desert board for my Mutatawwi'a warband 
Step 1 is to find a good board to build off of.  My first try was a cork-board that turned out to be too small and flimsy (below in green trim).  I found a nice selection of bulletin boards at Michaels Craft Store and selected a steel-backed magnetic calendar for under $30.
Brainstorming board, this one was too flimsy.
At Michaels, I also bought a bunch of cork to use for elevation.  Many display boards are flat and I thought some height might help mine stand out.  In retrospect, it would probably have been easier to build elevation using pink insulation foam.  Mine was done with successive layers of cork and hot glue. I worked a bit of a "wave" in to show off my cavalry shields to good effect.
I painted the wood frame to a suitably desert color.  I used Elmer's Wood Filler to fill the cracks and smooth the transitions.  This goes on easy and cleans up with water.

Next, I covered the board with white glue and covered it with Woodland Scenic ballast.  Once dry, I applied a light glue/water wash to seal the flocking.  Once dry, I painted it with a base coat and 2 highlights.

If I were a terrain superstar, I'd work up a mountain backstop to make it look like Rashid al-din (the Old Man of the Mountain) and his Mutatawwia warband are coming down for a spell. And by the way, Rashid is quite angry!
Finished...or is it?