Unfortunately I was unable to visit Salute, but my friends from the Red Barons brought home some of the new Gripping Beast plastics and the latest supplement for Saga for us. So I’m a very happy man indeed, and immediately set to work on these new models.
I’ve built and painted the first of these as Viking thralls for my main warband. Although standard Vikings are not naturally accommodated to take levies – they have no battleboard abilities to augment shooting and many abilities focus on hirdmen and bondi – I wanted to build a unit for variety and for those times when I want to try out a different battleboard with my collection of models. Also, my buddy Flor and I are slowly building our collection of respectively Anglo-Saxons and Vikings towards ‘bigger’ rulesets such as Hail Caesar, so superfluous units such as these will undoubtedly see use eventually. Now, the models themselves.
I’ll have to tell you that I am a huge fan of the two previous kits, the Viking hirdmen and Saxon thegns; I built most of my warband from the former kit. For the longest time, I like many other hobbyists have been anxiously waiting for the release of the unarmoured warriors, hoping for equal or even better quality. And while it’s certainly a superb kit, I can’t help but feeling slightly let down by its contents. For example, I was hoping for a lot of different heads on each sprue as with the hirdmen (chiefly to improve the looks of those hordes or horrid Wargames Factory bondi I have lying around) but it turns out there’s just seven different heads in the kit as opposed to nine in the hirdmen box. Also, the nice extras from the other kit, such as pouches, seaxes, sheathed swords and such are also absent. Still, the sprues are crammed with different weapon options and shields, so Gripping Beast made the obvious choice, and what you do get in the kit is of superb quality.
As for my paintjob, I used some of the GW edge paints which my girlfriend gave me last Christmas (err, Yuletide) as a basecoat, to mix things up. Especially the pastel blue and turquoise are wonderful colours. Mostly I used a technique of basecoating, washing and then layering with the basecoat colour. Some of the thralls also received some stripes on their tunics, but I didn’t want to take this very far as, after all, they’re only thralls. The models took the paint very well, and especially the faces are very detailed and expressive – those were a real joy to work on. The one gripe I have is that some of the heads are rather big, especially when compared to the small hands. You can see this is the case with first model on the left in the second picture. Not a huge problem, though.
The one thing I still need to finish on these models is to write their names on the bases. However, since these are just thralls, I’ll write ‘trell’ (the Norwegian word for them) on each of their bases. It’s a hard knock life, after all!
That wraps it up for about half of this week’s work. The other half has just been finished today, so you can expect a double update on more Vikings and Decebalus this weekend. Until then, my faithful readers!