Viking Berserkers and Thoughts on Hail Caesar

I am very pleased to show you yet more finished work this weekend; it’s been a while since I’ve painted this much. Due to fair weather this week I’ve been able to paint outside after work in the evenings, which was very enjoyable. As I have already told you, I painted the Sarmatian horse archers from Monday to Thursday noon, and these guys were painted from Friday to Sunday noon. Let’s take look.

These are Old Glory models from a second-hand bring & buy deal.

These are Old Glory models from a second-hand bring & buy deal.

I didn’t want to spend too much time on these models as the quality of the sculpts themselves isn’t all that great.  There are also just four different sculpts, so much of my colour scheme tinkering had to do with not repeating the same colours on identical sculpts.

The one on the right will be the source of many a Pokémon joke...

The one on the right will be the source of many a Pokémon joke…

To cut corners with the actual painting, I decided to drybrush the skin instead of highlighting it. I did use the same GW colours though; a basecoat of bugman’s glow, then a drybrush of cadian fleshtone, a wash of reikland fleshshade and then a final drybrush of kislev flesh. The result is fairly rough, but then again they’re berserkers – that’s how they should be!

The shields go a long way towards enhancing an another crude paintjob.

The shields go a long way towards enhancing an another crude paintjob.

Apart from that, the models were mostly painted with the same colours and techniques I’ve been using on my other Vikings (besides those that form part of my Saga warband of course) and I won’t repeat myself going into detail on them. Astute readers will notice that the bases haven’t been finished yet – Yes, I know. I have left my PVA glue at work, so the tufts are going on first thing in the morning. Apart from that’s, they’re ready for action.

I’m still not sure as to what I’ll be working on next week – I’ll rummage through the unpainted box tonight and you’ll see the results by next weekend. Until then! Or, if your interest lies in gaming as well as painting, read on!

 

Thoughts on Hail Caesar

Two weekends ago, my buddy Flor and I played our first battle with Hail Caesar. He took the part of the Anglo-Saxons, while I fielded my Vikings. I promised you readers a battle report, but as the battle was postponed, I couldn’t borrow a camera to make pictures of the various troop movements of the battle. I hope you’ll trust me when I say that it was quite a modest spectacle, with around a hundred painted models on each side arrayed in thin but tough shieldwalls. I’ll do a quick report of my first impressions of the ruleset.

The thing I was most charmed about, was the fact that shield-carrying heavy infantry can close ranks to decrease their hitting power but increase their resilience. This rule is perfect for simulating the push and shove of tight shieldwalls, and we both made extensive use of it to counter some of the more nasty supported elites that were hitting an otherwise doomed unit.

Before the battle we were warned by some friends who had already tried out Hail Caesar, that the system of supporting units was a flaw of the ruleset – in their opinion, supporting attacks are too effective for what they are supposed to do, and the ruleset pushes you towards putting your small skirmishing support troops behind your main combat troops which is of course entirely opposite to how they operated historically. While I can’t immediately disagree with their look on the matter, my friend and I didn’t find anything overpowered about the system. Perhaps this had to do with the small amount of light supporting troops on both sides – we might impose some restrictions on the amount of skirmishers per division, nothing too narrow though.

How did the battle go, then? Well, let’s just say that it was largely determined by some terrible dice rolls for the Anglo-Saxons and some ridiculously good ones for the Vikings. It’s still a game of dice after all! The Anglo-Saxons opened the score first by easily breaking my large archer unit on one flank, but after that the odds shifted and then remained in my favour. There was a great deal of charging and disengaging between units, and the Anglo-Saxon huscarl elite died a brave death being totally surrounded by great numbers of Vikings. Both of us experienced the limitations of the general’s command radius and there were certainly some orders that were bungled, although the general’s re-roll ability certainly helped.

All in all, we had a good time with the ruleset (although my opponent obviously frowned massively due to his abysmal dice rolls) and we’ll be sure to try it out soon enough, with slightly bigger armies. With the berserker models now added to the arsenal, I can further boost the power of my Hird (they count as an upgrade to those units) and actual Hird models that are freed up in this way can immediately be added to another Hird unit for which I’ll just need to paint four more of them. By the time that happens, I’ll be pushing 200 points on the list and it’s time for a second division of them. There is rumoured to be a saying among wargamers along the lines of “One can never have enough Vikings”… Guilty as charged.

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