Sunday, May 11, 2014

For the Ages

I sing of Hamar inn Haegi,
gift-giver, iron-wearer.
I sing his song,
his deeds are remembered.

To Aengland we sailed,
four ships, swift sculling.
On oars we pulled;
for Hamar, our chief.

To gold and fat sheep,
Hamar lead us.
To a killing field;
glory our lot.

Hamar, in craft,
saw reavers in hiding.
Wolves in metal;
our brothers, our foes.

Against us they stood,
gold-stealers, false-names.
Hamar, Odin-friend;
he cared not.

Hearth-friends of Hamar,
axe-wielding, mail-clad.
In the front of the line;
their bodies his shield.

Against them came fighters,
bear-shirted, wolf-tongued.
Howling for battle;
ravens ate them.

Behind us came riders,
fur-bearing, swift-hooved.
Strange bows they bore;
Dwarf-faced, ill-smelling.

Brave fighters of Hamar,
sharp-eyed, quick-footed.
On Freya and Heimdal they called;
Odin made them his.

False brothers drove back,
the first of our people.
Hamar stood;
last to leave is he.

Our warlord stood proudly,
sword-wielder, mail-clad.
Strong-armed, quick killer;
the foe fled.

Blood was our prize,
sharp iron, gold rings.
Glory was our lot;
Hamar led us.

For some time now, there've been a few guys at the club working on stuff for SAGA, the dark ages skirmish game from Gripping Beast.  Between blogger stuff from people like Monty, and marke's local contributions, I've been aware of, and tempted by, the game for some time.  Then marke, Bad Influence that he is, ran a big multi-player game on Wednesday as a trial for something he's putting on at Hold the Line (the club's summer show, check it out, it'll be awesome) , and I figured "hey, can't hurt to try it, right?".


Yeah, those would be the 4 hearthguard I assembled and painted since Wednesday.  So much for having painting block ;)

As it turns out, SAGA is crazy fun.  The core mechanic, for those unfamiliar, is the 'battle board''.  Each turn, players roll dice (the number of which is determined by army composition; bigger units are more durable, but smaller in number, hence fewer dice).  Dice are distributed to different options on the battleboard, with some standard across all boards (unit activation. etc.), and others specific to faction (Vikings get lots of special melee offensive abilities, for eg.).  This leads to recurring decision making throughout the game, and while at it's core it's igoyougo, there's no sense of passively waiting while the other player acts; you get to use your abilities on the opponent's turn as well.  I realized I'd fallen in love with the game when I found myself cackling maniacally at all the evil crap I'd just realized I was about to do to an unsuspecting opponent.


I spent a chunk of the next evening working up the saga posted at the beginning of this entry, practising my Norwegian accent, and digging through the lead pile, coming up with some plastic Rohan warriors and a box of Wargames Factory Viking Hirdmen.  More than enough bits in there for a Viking crew, with a little judicious filing and conversion.


The four hearthguard are a mix of bodies from both sets, with viking heads, weapons, and shields.  I've also put together a fairly snazzy warlord, but will save him for another post once he's painted.




As these are hearthguard, i.e., rich guys, I went with a full panoply for each, of mail shirt, helm, spear, and sword.  Colour are strong primaries, but I tried to keep them a little dull.




The Wargames Factory plastics seem to have a bad rep on teh interwebs, with the major complaints being that they're hard to assemble, and that they have "soft detail".  I found them just fine to work with.  Very little in the way of mold lines, easy to scrape off where it was.  There are loads of options for assembly, especially with the arms.

I think you need to spend a couple minutes figuring out which arms give you which options, and actually trying them on the figure before you start gluing, but I'm not sure why people think that constitutes "hard assembly".  A little green stuff smoothed the join between arm and shoulder, and a little filing and trimming helped with the heads, but they're no more difficult than any other multi-part kit I've used, and they're wonderfully flexible in terms of posing.




What they remind me of, a little, are some of the nicer 1/72 figures I've painted, in that they're proportions are much closer to scale human, rather than being exaggerated in the "heroic" 28mm scale common to some other figure manufacturers.  I think they work reasonably well with the GW LotR figures, which are similarly scaled.  The WGF figs are slightly larger, but I think on the table it looks more like taller and shorter men, rather than that the figs are out of scale with each other.




Looking at the pictures, I get the impression the top coat of varnish has merged some of the top highlights, but a bit of touching up should take care of that problem.  Given that these are the first batch of 28mm I've done in a while, and the first 28mm historicals I've done in a very long time, I'm cautiously pleased.

What's more important (for me, anyways), is that doing these guys, and that game of SAGA, seem to ahve re-energized my urge to paint.  I've got plans to set to work with some clippers and files once the warlord is finished, and put together a unit of vanilla warriors, and have gone on a massive Vikings kick; podcasts, both fiction and non-fiction reading, and I've even got the Beloved watching the series with me.

Daddy's back.



  1. You've certainly brought those plastics to life.

  2. Excellent Marcus! I know this ailment well, by Odin.Looking forward to seeing and hearing about the whole warband. And welcome back!

    Hold the Line looks like a blast. You have a great group of guys, but you already knew that.

  3. Glad I could tempt you into a great period and game.

  4. You've done great things with the WGF figures. You are right they can pose up great with some effort and creativity.

  5. Nice work on the WGF Vikings! The GB plastic Arabs are very nice for the next Saga supplement - Crescent and Cross...

  6. Those are great! Dark ages is my first wargames love! Much nicer than the Gripping Beast plastics, I think, who suffer from bobble head style anatomy.

  7. Nice work! SAGA is a pretty fun game.