Category: Dark Ages/Early Medieval

Alexander Nevsky

It’s been a fair while since I spent this much time on a single model, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

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Excellent model by Fireforge Games, although I noticed some roughness on the top half of the sword – which I hid with some blood effects by GW.  I also wasn’t too enamoured by the moulded base consisting of a roughly rectangular rock, so I used some putty to work the rock into the base a bit more.

Apart from that, it was just painted as usual. I’m quite proud of the paintjob although the much-enlarged pictures on the blog bring every mistake and inaccuracy of the brush to the fore.

That’s all I have to say! Stay tuned as more Landsknecht/Empire are on the way.

From Russia With Love

Here we go with another small project: medieval Russians.

The reasons for collecting the army are manifold – I”ve never collected an Eastern Medieval army, my friend Flor has a large Teutonic Order to field against them, and my other wargaming compatriot Pascal just happened to offload two boxes of Fireforge plastic Russian infantry last year!

After many swervings through different historical rulesets I think I’ve settled on WAB as my go-to framework for composing armies. In this case I’ve chosen to build up this project as a Western Russian army from WAB: Age of Chivalry, mostly because it was the Western Russian states that came into contact with the Teutonic Order and because it has a lighter emphasis on the cavalry arm.

One issue with the plastic Russian infantry from Fireforge with regards to my own project, though, is that they are rather too well-armoured and well-equipped to make for convincing city guards – the bulk of the Russian army. Fireforge do sell bow- and spear-armed city guards, but these are single-pose resins which can look a bit samey in a big regiment, not to mention the cost when compared to plastics. All of which means I have had to be slightly more creative with assembling these models – let’s take a look.

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This smallish 12-strong unit is all I have right now – I’m an inveterate batch painter so even my test models come in batches!

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In WAB: Age of Chivalry, many units can have a mix of archers and melee troops, with the former usually standing at the back. With some well-timed reforming when enemies approach, this means you have a unit that can do a bit of both.

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Experienced Dark Age hobbyists will undoubtedly spot the Gripping Beast plastics I used. For these archers I used the two bodies on those frames that don’t have their left arm in front of their stomachs, and clipped off the left hands to replace them with the bow hands from the Fireforge Russian plastics. I also added the quivers from that set. Lastly, for the right arms, I mostly used a few different arms from a stray Wargames Factory Bondi set, which allowed me to create a few poses where the archers are grabbing an arrow from the quiver, and one who actually does have an arrow in his hand – sourced from a GW Skeleton set. Bitz boxes galore!

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For the unit leader and bannerman, I did use the Fireforge Russians in their entirety – although I used a slightly longer banner pole taken from their Templar Knights set as it’s slightly longer than the supplied spears, and a resin banner from their Russian command set.

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For the rest of the infantry, the other three Gripping Beast body types were used, with a mix of the Gripping Beast handweapons and some taken from the Fireforge set as you can see on this warrior on the left, and the GB musician’s horn also came in handy as the Fireforge set doesn’t have a musician option – an unfortunate omission for WAB players! The shields and heads on these warriors were also taken from the Fireforge set, and these two parts were really critical for the Russian city guard theme to come together!

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Putting those Russian armoured heads on plain dark age warriors meant I had to take out the modelling putty, and as it has been ages, the result is far from perfect. I had to make do with 15-year-old Milliput – not even the fine version! – to add some mail coifs to these models.

Painting-wise I’ll be brief – I used three different reds plus a few other colours, with the red being a focal colour for this regiment. I’ll probably do a second city guard unit with a different scheme to get the point across that they’re from another city, and I’d also like to do more heraldic types of tunics with split or quartered schemes. The reason I didn’t do it on these models is that I made the mistake of undercoating them black which meant I didn’t want to go in with fifty coats of white for that kind of scheme. Lessons learned! I did add some different kinds of patterning to many of the models, which took me right back to Viking times!

Lastly, I really like how the bases came out – it’s sand painted dark brown, drybrushed white, with some arid-looking static grass and snow effects from Vallejo. It fits the bill for Lake Peipus and surrounds!

What’s next for this army? Well, I have all these Russian plastics, so I’ll probably be making a largish unit of dismounted Druzhina from them. The excellent Alexander Nevsky model from Fireforge is also on the painting desk. Sadly, the rest of the unit will have to wait until later this year, as I am out of Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors to complete this unit.

I hope you liked reading this article as much as I liked writing it. See you next time, tovarich!

 

 

 

Hospitaller Characters

It’s the end of 2017, and another project has come to a close – huzzah! These hospitallers were actually among the first of my historical projects, being started up all the way back in – I think – 2012 with a box of plastic knights from Fireforge. I grew disenchanted with the models after having painted up just half the box’ contents, and the cavalry wing of the army has been neglected far too long, until this year. The rest of the cavalry will have to bide its time until it can appear on the blog, though, as the matter at hand is rather more interesting!

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First up, we have the supreme commanders of the army – the grandmaster and a priestly fellow! Notice how I have tried to make them stand out a bit by using the idiosyncrasies of the figures – which are actually from Gripping Beast’s Teutonic range – such as the hair, the mitre, and so on. Colourwise I have added yellow to the palette, as white and yellow are papal colours. Stoving in Saracen skulls, approved by every pope since 1098!

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Next up, these are two battle standard bearing types, predominantly to be used in WAB. As you can see I have used some leftover plastic bits from Fireforge kits to add some flair to these Gripping Beast models.

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Finally, here are four other seneschal models. Most of these are from the Gripping Beast crusader command set, with one other stray Teuton (the one with the fur, of course!) added in. These have also all been modified to carry leftover weapons from Fireforge kits, as there is certainly a scale and style difference between the two manufacturers.

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As well as painting dragging on for years on this project, rolling dice in anger with them is long overdue! So, to that end, my friend Flor is coming over with his Teutonic Order soon and we’ll duke it out using the WAB rules to see whether black with white accessories or white with black accessories is best. Groovy, baby!

Hengist and Horsa

It would seem all I’m painting lately are dark age-themed models, but that really isn’t the case. It’s just that I really like painting them and then showing them off. The two models below are for my friend Alex’ warband so I’ll be passing them on in a few days, and as I really like these Footsore Miniatures sculpts I thought I’d show them here first.

 

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Both were completed over the course of a day, I can’t really time them. I started out with a drybrush of all the metallics, then blocked in all the colours, washed them with the appropriate GW washes, then highlighted everything at least once.

 

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As you can see these models carry enough fur to make those PETA nutjobs cringe, which is precisely why I lavished extra attention on them! You can’t really see in the pictures as they’re a bit overexposed, but I managed to create a lovely gradient towards the edges of the furs, all the while keeping the textured effect intact.

Dark Age models lend themselves particularly well to some freehand patterning, so I opted for some simple lines and dags on these two fellows. I think they’d be a bit too plain looking otherwise.

That’s it for now! As far as Footsore Miniatures are concerned: in my experience they’re the best Dark Age models currently available. I’ve recently painted a small Irish warband of theirs (just awaiting a flag for the standard bearer) which was equally well-sculpted and cleanly cast. Their ranges are still showing large gap but they seem to be filling these at a fair pace. Do give them a try if you haven’t already!

Franks of a Different Stripe

More Franks were painted over the course of the last few weeks, but as you’ll see they’re nothing like the previous lot. These are Carolingian Franks from Gripping Beast, and they’re a commission from my friend Alex.

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First up, the Warlord. He’s the more colourful of the lot, and I gave him a white horse to stand out that much more.

 

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Two points of mounted Hearthguard. These were also done rather colourfully. I had a good time mixing and matching colours on different garments to make each model unique.

 

 

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A point of mounted Warriors. For these lower-ranked guys I opted for simple, neutral colours on their garments but then made the shields stand out. cofcof

Finally, two points of foot Warriors. As with their mounted comrades I used neutral tones on the garments, and as you can see from their bases I used four different undercoat sprays which would form the base of the models’ tunics. That certainly sped up the painting process!

I’ve just completed painting the last of these models this morning and I’ll be handing them over tomorrow evening. I’m glad to be shot of them, as that means I can focus on my own lead pile again!

Some Late Roman Addenda

Who knows, I might even manage to finish a project this year! Incredible! These Late Romans have been on my plate for a little over a year now and I’m actually close to completing them. They’re a relatively small force, but I think they’re among the better-looking of my projects, what with those shields. It’s a double update today, with some artillery which I finished in late January on the one hand, and the companion cavalry on the other. Let’s take a look.

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First off, these two scorpiones. I could have based these a little bit smaller, but as I’ll mostly be playing Sword & Spear with them they do have the mandatory 12cm frontage. I wish Gripping Beast did more than one set of poses for the crew, as it looks a bit strange this way, but otherwise they’re just fine.

 

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Next up is this ballista. They came with a third crew member, but as the model in question is a fairly imperious looking chap I decided early last year to press him into service as one of my commanders. Still, even with just these two lads to man the thing I think it looks fine.

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Finally we have these companions, which were an absolute breeze to paint up really. I started off from an AP fur brown undercoat spray which was mostly useful on the horses. The rest of the models were handled in the usual fashion, with the one exception being their golden shield rims and their purple helmet plumes, just to get the imperial theme across.20160224_135907

I originally didn’t plan on taking any cavalry beyond the mandatory clibinarii and some assorted horse archers, but when my gaming compatriot Eddy Maes decided to pass his bag of unused Late Roman lead around I couldn’t resist a good rummage! Once again Eddy, my sincere thanks for selling these on to me for a great price.

 

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The one thing I’m lacking for the project in terms of models are dracones. I’ve prepared some long spears (stupidly long in this case) in the hands of the standard bearers to receive these later, but it’s holding back the completion of many a unit. Hopefully I’ll be able to track some down at Salute this year, which will be my first foray into that great convention!

Hope you liked this update, and until next time!

 

More Unarmoured Late Romans

A quick update to show you some progress – I haven’t had much time to photograph models lately!

Models by Gripping Beast.

Models by Gripping Beast.

These Gripping Beast sculpts are always a joy to paint, with their deep detail and chunky faces. Their shields are also a big canvas on which paint some of those lovely shield designs which I shamelessly stole from Little Big Men – if you don’t feel like freehanding these, order from them as I hear they’re great.

On to some cavalry now! Either some companions or some horse archers, I’m not too sure yet. First off though, some more 6mm WSS. Stay tuned!