Category Archives: Dark Ages

On the Third Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me…

Threeeeee Norman Knights….

These guys are part of a long term project: I eventually will do some large scale early medieval skirmishing. Normans vs. Anglo-Saxons, or maybe Normans vs. Normans, or Normans vs. Vikings.

The shields aren't perfect, but were fun to do.

The shields aren’t perfect, but were fun to do.

The Perry Brothers has a range of Crusaders from the 1st Crusade, but they can serve perfectly as Dark Age Normans, I think. The models are great-a pleasure to paint. These are the only Perry minis that I’ve painted, but I can say that their vaunted reputation in the historical wargaming community is well deserved.

I'm not sure why, but I really enjoy painting the horses. Not that I'm good at it.

I’m not sure why, but I really enjoy painting horses. Not that I’m good at it.

I’ll be getting more of these guys, though I balk at the cost!

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Viking Process

I’ve been making slow but steady process on my Vikings. I have to finish basing the three I’m  showing  here, and then I have another  three to go. I have three Perry Brother’s Norman Knights that are supposed to be the Vikings opponents (probably going to use Song of Blades and Heroes for small skirmishes), and I haven’t even cleaned and primed them yet. Oh, and I’ve got about 40 Napoleonic soldiers of various types waiting on deck, plus a jeep and a kubelwagen. That’s a lot of stuff, for me. I should have everything finished up by 2024.

28mm metal viking. This fellow must be the leader, because his hair is blowing dramatically in the wind. My first attempt at blonde hair and non-dip based painting methods.

Red and green are the colors of Christmas, a decidedly non-viking holiday. My commander’s pants and cloak may be detracting from the fierceness of his visage.

This guy is some kind of giant. He’s from the same manufacturer as the rest of my vikings, but would be about 7′ tall, at scale.

Giant Gudrick’s hair looks a bit two-dimensional, as does his clothing. I need to work on creating a sense of light and shadow, without going for that certain hyper-contrasty look that so many miniature painters use.

This ruddy brown hair looks better than the flat lifeless brown that my giant viking is sporting.

In my ignorance of ten years ago, I ordered these Vikings without their shields. This realization only dawned on me after considerable pondering on the fact that 4 of the 6 models had oddly clenched fists. I’m a dolt, sometimes. Shields, and even shield transfers, are readily available on the internet, so no big deal.

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…Edit..While looking for 28mm shields, I’ve found where these figures came from (if you’ve read earlier posts, you’ll know that I purchased these vikings 10 years ago, and had no recollection of the name of the manufacturer)!

They’re Wargames Foundry Viking Characters. Mystery solved! Wargames Foundry also has a nice selection of Normans. Hrmmm…

The Workbenches of August

All apologies to Barbara Tuchman, but these are the things I’m furiously working on at the end of August:

Toeing the Line

I must admit, a bit of gamer ADD has set in over the summer, but I haven’t been totally irresponsible to my stated WW2 skirmish goals! I’ve been putting together Academy’s 1/72nd “Light Vehicles of the Allies and Axis” over the past week. The kit includes a Jeep (w/.50 cal machine gun mounted), Kubelwagen (top up, or down), a funky motorcycle with treads, and a ton of 55 gallon drums, ammo boxes, and jerry cans.

Academy’s “Light Vehicles of Allied & Axis” is a beautifully made kit.

This is an inexpensive kit, but even so, you don’t get a tremendous amount for your wargaming dollar. I’m used to getting a couple of tanks with my Armourfast and Italeri quick-build kits, and even though there are three light vehicles in the Academy box, somehow they don’t measure up. I’m guessing it’s because the kit doesn’t really contribute to completing a combat unit.

I do think the kit is a good bargain for a scale modeler. You can build one jeep, one kubelwagen, the motorcycle thing, and then you’re given enough of the stated accessories to adorn the vehicles and contribute significantly to a diorama or two. The kit is extremely well done-flash is almost non-existent, instructions are clear, and everything fits together marvelously. The vehicles are maybe a little fiddly for wargaming-I don’t see the mounted .50 caliber on the jeep surviving very many games, for instance. I have my doubts about some of the lights and other bric-a-brac on the kubelwagen, as well. I typically don’t base vehicles, but I’m considering it for these guys, just to try and keep them intact.

All that said, the only real problem with this kit is that no drivers, passengers, or crew are provided. You’ll have to source them yourself and hope they fit. HaT does manufacture various sets of ‘tank riders,’ which might prove useful. I’m going to order a set of the Americans, which are my most immediate need, and see how they work. Looking at the sprue, I’m going to have to kitbash a driver, somehow, as all the figures are carrying some sort of weapon in their hands.

I could have been a bit more careful in planning the build and making painting easy on myself. For instance, I never should have mounted the seats in either of these vehicles before painting. I don’t anticipate TOO much trouble, though. It will all come out in the minwax wash. Ahem.

Waste of Time, or Time’s-a-Wasting?

So, I bought these beautiful metal 28mm Vikings nearly a decade ago. I purchased the things over E-bay from a seller in England, and I can’t, for the life of me, remember who the manufacturer was. Maybe Wargames Foundry? In any case, they were never painted (I never managed to get anything painted back then), and have been languishing in a cardboard box for the better part of this century. The recent spate of Dark Ages games like Saga and the two Dux has inspired me to dust them off. They’ve been cleaned and primed, and may actually get painted before my other projects. It would be nice to have a short break from olive drab and dunkegelb! It’s satisfyingly easy to get chainmail to look good!

I’ve had these 28mm Vikings for years, but have never painted them. The time has come.

I’ve ordered some Perry Brothers Crusaders, which will serve as Normans, and I may use Song of Blades and Heroes by Ganesha Games to do some skirmishing with these guys until (and if) I settle on a set of Dark Ages rules. I’m pretty excited to put my hands on sculpts by the vaunted Perry Brothers, though the sculpting quality may be wasted on my meager painting skills.

A Dysfunctional Relationship in the Making

Napoleonics. I don’t know much of anything about the Napoleonic era, except for what you can learn by reading the Aubrey-Maturin and Sharpe novels, but looking around the blogosphere, I find the panoply of brightly colored figures to be nearly irresistible.

Scratch the ‘nearly’ part, as I’ve bought a couple of boxes of Italeri 1/72nd Napoleonics, and I plan on doing some skirmish gaming with them using either Song of Drums and Shakos by Ganesha Games, or Sharp Practice by Too Fat Lardies. I’m sure I’ll be starting out with SoDaS, because working up to the number of figures that Sharp Practice (which I’m really really really excited to try out!) is suited for is going to take a significant amount of time. I can’t imagine how the hundreds of grognards that game at division or corps level manage it!

Lovely Italeri 1/72 Napoleonic French Dragoons

In any case, I’ve cleaned up a few 95th rifles and French Dragoons, and I have a box of Zvezda Voltigeurs winging their way towards me as I type.  Maybe I can get an opponent interested in this era with some SoDaS play.

The detail on these Italeri British 95th Rifles (1/72) is amazing.

I think it may be somewhat frustrating to do Napoleonic skirmish in 1/72. The figures don’t have a tremendous amount of personality, and I haven’t found a good source for individual figures. An immediate problem is that there are no decent dismounted French dragoons in plastic, and they’re essential for the Sharp Practice scenario book. I’m sure there are some good 1/72-20mm metal figure makers out there, though, and I’m guessing/hoping I could use them to fill in the gaps.