Viking Warband

At the end of last contribution, I vowed to bring you a 40k model for the next update. Unfortunately, I had a wisdom tooth pulled on Tuesday which has left me rather apathetic, and so I have not been able to do much work on said model. In order not to leave you, my faithful readers, with too much downtime between contributions, I decided to finally throw my Vikings onto the blog.

Mighty Haakon, the leader of the warband, usually leads from the front.

Mighty Haakon, the leader of the warband, usually leads from the front.

First to step up to the plate we have the warlord of the warband – jarl Haakon. Like most of the warband, he was built from the Gripping Beast Viking Hirdmen box. However, this model was slightly converted to be standing on a pile of captured weapons, and to hold a great axe in his left hand. It isn’t the most impressive warlord model (I currently have two others waiting to be painted up, more on those in the future) but I think it gets the job done.

The wolf cloak at the back looks cliché but does somewhat convey his seniority.

The wolf cloak at the back looks cliché but does somewhat convey his seniority.

I painted this warlord, and the rest of the warband, with colour combinations I’ve already explained in my previous writings. The metal was a bit experimental, though – for the chainmail a drybrush of runefang steel, washed with Vallejo smokey ink and then coelia greenshade, and lightly drybrushed in prominent places with runefang steel again. The weapon blades, helmets etc. were instead basecoated runefang steel before being washed with the same colours. The end result of this process creates a slightly oiled look.

Another thing I’m fairly pleased with on this model is the horn. Really simple, too: a basecoat of zandri dust washed with seraphim sepia and then highlighted in little streaks with bleached bone. Again, the effectiveness of a painting process is often belied by its simplicity.

Four hirdmen with axes.

Four hirdmen with axes.

Do you see that yellow on the left model? In the past I would have struggled immensely to paint that colour over a black basecoat, but now? An undercoat of ceramite white (covers in one, sometimes two layers) followed by washes of casandora yellow and seraphim sepia. That’s all there is to it!

Four hirdmen with dane axes.

Four hirdmen with dane axes.

I did a fair amount of freehanding on these models, but it usually consisted of simple lines and dag-patterns on the edges of tunics or trousers. This kept things fresh for me and individualised the models a bit further.

Four hirdmen with spears.

Four hirdmen with spears.

Although the Viking warband in Saga is more geared towards the Danish Vikings that invaded/settled/raided England from Lindisfarne onwards, I rather wanted to portray a Norse warband. As such, the colours I used to unify the warband were the completely anachronistic red and blue of the Norwegian flag. All the shields in the warband were painted in a quartered design, with the blue and red basecoated respectively with caledor sky and mephiston red before being washed with druchii violet. Afterwards the blue was highlighted with teclis blue and then temple guard blue, and the red with evil sunz scarlet and then wild rider red. The same process was used on the helmets and the warlord’s clothing.

Four hirdmen with swords. Readers of the Saxon Chronicles series by Bernard Cornwell will recognise the names!

Four hirdmen with swords. Readers of the Saxon Chronicles series by Bernard Cornwell will recognise the names!

By far my favourite model in the warband is Ragnar, the one on the far right. Without too much work with the plastic kit, I managed to convey the idea of a seasoned warrior who has just knocked aside his adversary’s weapon with a flick of his shield, and has brought back his sword for an imminent killing stab. Pure Viking, if you ask me.

Four bondi with swords.

Four bondi with swords.

Speaking of excellent plastic sets: if I had known that Gripping Beast were releasing their box of unarmoured dark age infantry at Salute ’13, I wouldn’t have had to make do with these Wargames Factory models. There’s a world of difference in quality between these manufacturers, and it shows. The fine detailing on these models is tooled so badly. The model on the far left with the padded leather jacket, for example… You can’t see it very well on this picture, but I almost had to freehand back some of the detailing during my highlighting. Forget about drybrushing these.

Four bondi with axes.

Four bondi with axes.

The Wargames Factory kits come with a great deal of weapons, most of which however are very frail, and the weapons slot into the hands as opposed to the hands holding the weapons as with Gripping Beast plastics. Personally I find this looks ridiculous; it appears as if the warrior doesn’t have a good grip. So I decided to use my spare Gripping Beast hands from the Hirdmen kit to kitbash these guys some new hands (and in some cases, new arms) holding a lot more solid weapons.

Four bondi with spears.

Four bondi with spears.

The heads included in the Wargames Factory kit were of sometimes iffy quality as well – one even has a horned helmet – so I decided to use the better looking ones and use leftover Gripping Beast heads on the rest.

Four bondi with great axes, or berserkers if I use them.

Four bondi with great axes, or berserkers if I use them.

I do have to say that these models came out fairly well. Again, I felt compelled to use the great axes from the Gripping Beast kit and I had to do a lot of greenstuffing around the shoulders to make the torsos less squared looking, but I’m rather pleased with the effect.

Lastly, I wanted to discuss the names of the models. Since I based them on 25mm round bases from Games Workshop as opposed to the typical flat Renedra bases, I had a lot of space on the sides of these bases and decided to use it thus. Most of the names come from various Sagas and Eddas and so should be fairly accurate (I think). In order to denote the difference between the senior members of the warband, the hirdmen, and the common warriors, the bondi, I named the former with a variety of squarely Nordic names, while the latter were given more cutesy names ending in -i. The font was simply copied from a random google search result for ‘viking font’ and painted on with ceramite white. I could’ve used runes, but that would’ve made things a little less accessible for those among my gaming opponents that are uninformed in such matters.

And so I leave you until another contribution, hopefully due at the end of the week. More Vikings are sure to appear in the near future (I picked up another seventy-odd Old Glory Vikings and my friends are bringing back a box or two of the new Gripping Beast plastics from Salute), but first, that 40k model and some more Frenchmen. Adieu!

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3 comments

    • laurensvannijvel

      Thank you! Unfortunately I didn’t take a group shot yet, but I’ll probably do one once I can get some of the new Gripping Beast plastics painted up to replace some of the more hideous Wargames Factory equivalents.

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