Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Farewell Sweet Beast!

The dewy early morning silence was shattered by the anguished cries of a heartbroken parent. The day had finally arrived when this wretched and miserable parting could be deferred no longer. Fate, cruel, foul fate, thou hast weaved such a web of sorrow. No man shouldst ever feel such grief and misery, yet here we are, the time has come. I brought you into this world with such tender loving care; the craft knife, the plastic cement, the green stuff, the acrylic paint and the Quickshade dip. Oh the desolation, the anguish, brought on by the application of the bubble wrap and the heart-rending screech of the parcel tape! Oh e-bay! Thou dost rip asunder, thou dost rent apart, thou dost cause such excruciating tears of lamentation.

Farewell, sweet beast…
The Troll Drummer...
Created Summer 2009

Sold on e-bay, August 27th 2013!

Rest In Hampshire!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Levies Arrive at the Muster!

It seems to have been a long time coming, but the levies have finally arrived! Armed with bow or sling, each according to his own means, the lowly geburs of Northanhymbre have gathered to serve their noble warlord.

Below are a set of shots of the levies in all their glory! I only hope they perform on the battlefield in a way which reflects the time and effort which has gone into putting them together. Based on past experience, probably not!

This figure turned out almost exactly like his bow armed counterpart, even though the archers had been put away in their storage case while the slingers were being done!
 This fellow reminds me of my late father. It's the moustache and the left arm; he looks like he's leaning towards the bar to pick up a pint of Stones' bitter, just before last orders on a Saturday night!
 What a proud looking bunch! Who could possibly stand up to these brave chaps? Well, apart from...
 Archer and slinger working in tandem... the good citizens of Northanhymbre can sleep soundly in their beds tonight.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Making a set of Saga Dice and saving a few quid to boot!

The one major criticism I have of the Saga wargames rules system is the huge amount of cash you have to layout to get the stuff you need! The rule set is £25 and, if you don’t want to game with Vikings, Anglo-Danish, Normans or Welsh, you don’t even get the battleboards that you need included with the game.  Of course, there is no point having your battleboard without a set of Saga Dice to roll. A set of eight Saga Dice will cost you an unbelievable £12 if you buy them direct from Gripping Beast, not to mention the minimum £2.50 postage and packing charge.

Thankfully, we wargamers are notorious for our ability to get round things like paying over the odds for the equipment we need to game with. For a much smaller outlay of cash and a bit of time cutting and sticking at the dining room table, it is possible to make your own set of Saga Dice for a fraction of the cost of a proper set.

You could, of course, use any old six sided dice that you happen to have lying around; the rule book does tell you how to use an ordinary D6 in place of a proper Saga Dice, but if you want dice with the same symbols that appear on your battleboard, then constructing your own using blank D6s is something you might want to consider.

I decided to buy a set of 8 blank dice from ‘The Dice Shop’. If you haven’t visited their web store yet, then take a few minutes to do so. They have dice of every shape, colour and material you could possibly imagine (apart from dodecahedral, purple, rice pudding!). I ordered two sets of dice, as I’m ultimately aiming to put two Saga warbands together. The dice are 18mm 6 sided and cost £0.35 each, giving a total outlay of £2.80 for an 8 dice set. Postage varies according to how many dice you order, but I think the postage on my two sets of 8 dice came to £1.39. You can buy dice of different sizes, but I found that 18mm was just the right size to fit the printed symbols I had.

The printed symbols will cost you nothing, apart from a sheet of paper and the ink in your printer. I got my set of symbols from the Armoury section of the Saga discussion group, which can be found at:

Note: the above address has changed since I first published this post. To get the PDF document with the symbols, you will need to log in to the forum and click on the link to "The Armoury".
The symbols are available as a PDF document to download and include symbols for the armies included in the rule set and a set for Scottish warbands. All you do is print the document and cut out the set that you require. It’s a bit of a fiddly job, but if you work to a system, can be completed in twenty minutes or so. Once the symbols have been cut out, you just need to glue them carefully to the blank dice. I did one side of each of the 8 dice at a time and then rotated all the dice to do the next face; half an hour of brushing on glue and sticking to dice later, the job was done.

A final job, which I shall do in few days time, when the glue has had plenty of time to dry, will be to apply a coat of varnish to each of the dice, just to make sure the edges of the symbols stay down and to add a little extra protection, with all that future rolling to do.

This is what my set of Saga dice look like… I could have found the money to buy an official set I suppose, but for an hour or so doing a bit of crafting, I’m hoping the Gods of the Dice will smile more kindly upon me when my Saga dice clatter across the gaming table.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Slowly... very slowly... but getting there!

My painting schedule continues very slowly, but with each finished figure, each of my projects inches closer to completion. I've been trying to get back on track with my Wars of the Roses army this week, while plodding onwards with my Northanhymbre warband for Saga.

The last four slingers of the Levy unit are well underway and the two figures I decided to include as command have arrived at the gathering...

Firstly, the guy giving the orders. Standard figure, straight out of the Dark Age Infantry box, with a scabbard added so he has somewhere to store that blade in less dramatic times. Even with a somewhat 'Bee-Gee' looking hair do, I think he should do a pretty good job of leading the Levies into action.

Transmitting those all important orders across the mayhem of the battlefield is a vital task and with a horn that size, this guy should be heard from one end to the other. 
With the Levies nearing completion, it's time to start on the huscarls, so they can take their place on the battlefield, selflessly sacrificing themselves to protect the warlord, to whom they have sworn blood oaths of devotion.
Can't believe that I have actually bought metal figures from Gripping Beast to create my hearthguard! I think the deciding factor was simply the longer mail coat. As much as I like the plastic thegns from Gripping Beast, those shorter mail coats just don't measure up for an eleventh century huscarl.