Medieval Man-at-Arms

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I picked up Saga back at Historicon, and I’ve been looking forward to putting it on the table and rolling them fancy dice around it.   The plan was, initially, to use Gripping Beast Saxon Thegns as Hearthguard, Gripping Beast Dark Ages Warriors as, um, Warriors, and one of those sweet Aenglish models I got from one of Tre Manor’s Red Box Games Kickstarters as my Warlord. (Worrying about Levies later.)

I’ve had some Saxon Thegns on my workbench basically ever since.  

When one of my several August trips was postponed, I jumped on the chance to power through converting and painting a new unit for the NoVA Open.  When I finished that with time to spare, I chugged some crazy juice and decided to paint a model specifically for the Capital Palette. I’d had Captain Whistlelock prepped, so it was on.

The plan for him early on was to paint him up using Rush heraldry.

1-Rush Banner

It’s anachronistic: unless I’m turned around (possible), this is Tudor-era, quite some time after Normans and Vikings were stabbing each other over rule of England.. but who cares?

He came together quite quickly.  Because I was doing him for competition, I went with more and thinner layers of everything. I also gave into the impulse to keep highlighting lighter and lighter basically everywhere.

The metallics are my usual lazy drek, but fortunately there’s not much metal, so it’s tough to spot.

The only stumbling block I hit was with the shield. I’d printed out some decals with the horses from the above image at ~4mm wide, hoping to use them as a guide to get the shapes roughly the same. Well, that didn’t work out at all… so, after a moment of panic, I put on my big boy painter pants, did a couple of test freehands, and then did them on the shield.

I’ve never really done much in the way of freehanding before: mostly just fake text on books; never shapes like this. They’re not perfect (and boy does it show up close, like in these pictures) but they’re really, really good for a first try. I’m super-proud of them.

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It was worth the effort: not only was I pleased with him, he was able to place Silver in his category (Historical – Small).  It wasn’t the most competitive Historical category (single figure / small is usually the most competitive category, but there was so much amazing 54mm figures, especially in the historical group), but still: that’s a huge achievement.  This is probably the biggest win I’ve had, yet.

(I think he looks best in the lighting in that picture immediately above.)

I’ve had some difficulty getting a good HDR glamshot, however. This is thwarting my using him as a permanent Facebook profile pic.

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This also means that I’m pretty leery of carting him around to game with: particularly because that dang sword’s broken off twice. Just means I’ll have to build and paint another one.  I’ll get over it.  (In fact, I’ve already done the first half of that.)

I will say that this means dire things about how quickly I expect to bang out Hell Dorado minis.

  • huronbh

    He looks great and congrats on doing so well at Nova. One comment about Saxons in Saga (from a fellow Saxon player), get yourself a unit of Levies. They are cheap and can hit as hard as a unit of Warriors. Also mount your lord and hearthguard if possible, it makes them much nastier. My 6pt list is:

    Warlord on Horse
    2 units of Hearthguard on Horse (combined into 1 unit of 8 models)
    3 units of warriors (combine into 2 units of 12 models)
    1 unit of Levies with spears (so that you get a dies for every 2 models instead of the normal for every 3)

    Hope that helps you. Also we need to get a game of WFB in at some point soon, if for no other reason then to catch up and i painted 2500ish points of Chaos Warriors over the summer (and I am still slowly working on expanding).

    • I started out wanting to do Saxons, but after finishing this guy I decided he looked like more of a Norman. I got a box of the Conquest Normans in just yesterday.

      (Of course, I also decided I shouldn’t game with him… siiiiiigh.)

      Thanks for the advice: I’m still figuring this thing out. With Normans, I’m looking at doing the following for 4 points (just getting started, remember):

      Warlord – Horse
      Hearthguard x8 – Horse
      Warriors x8 – Crossbows
      Warriors x8

      And, at 6, adding 4 to each unit of Warriors and taking a unit of Levies. So, very much like what you’re doing.

  • Sean Parker

    I’ve been drooling over Saga but have yet taken the plunge. How is it as a system?

    • I’ve yet to actually play it. :/ I’ve been too tunnel visioned on painting prep for NoVA and, when the opportunity presented itself, trying to get in some practice games with my army.

      Looking at it, it looks a little boardgamey… but not in a bad way. List construction is simple: you spend 6 points. 1 point gets you 4 elites, 8 decent fighters, or 12 crap fighters. Army nuance comes a little from equipment but mostly from dice boards. The dice boards are the key mechanic: you roll dice and have to plan out your entire turn up front.

      The editing is godawful; not so much typos as incredibly shitty organisation. (For example: I have to hunt down the one instance of exactly what Javelins do, but any time someone can ride a horse there’s a whole paragraph repeated. The diceboards should be double-sided, with the army construction rules on the back. Stuff like that.) Also, the book itself is too damn expensive. It’s like $40 for a softcover paperback that, after a week or so of reading, looks like it’s seen some heavy use. A codex might be $50+ now, but at least it feels like a $50 book. This is a $20 book.

      Book aside, it looks cheap as dirt to play in plastics. You can get 40+ infantry in a ~$30 box.

      • Sean Parker

        Cool, I might pick it up at some point. I like the low model count, that’s a big draw for me. One of the things I was attracted to LOTR/Hobbit. With all the new historical minis coming out in plastic, that’s one of the reasons I’ve been looking at Saga. I cant stand metal minis, and I avoid them like the plague whenever possible… That’s what’s kept me out of historicals for so long.
        Shame about the book quality… I can live with bad editing, I cant stand a book that’ll fall apart on me… Especially if its that expensive…

        • Yeah, model-wise, it’s low. Unless you play abnormally large games, you’ll have between 25 and 72 models; never outside of that range.

          And there’s a lot in plastic. The tricky thing is learning what kits to get. Gripping Best is great for Vikings, but if you want to do Anglo-Danes, you have to get Wargames Factory, etc. Good luck finding correctly scaled plastic bowmen or crossbowmen. :/

          And metal kits seem to be especially bad with historicals.

  • Sean Parker

    I forgot to mention before.
    I’d seen this one while at the con, I didn’t know it was yours. Very well done as always and grats on the win!