Saturday 22 December 2012

The arrival of the dreaded lurgy

Sadly no painting this week as a plague of biblical proportions descended on the family home knocking down myself, the wife and both kids. True to form myself and number one son took to our beds (and whinged like only a man can can according to the wife) while the wife and daughter bravely battled on at work and school (while throwing disapproving looks at the weakling men folk). Of course now the women folk are both laid up in bed suffering while number one son and myself are almost back to full health (and slightly smug).

Anyway in between running around after coughing, sneezing and fever ridden women I hope to get back to a bit of painting action before Christmas proper starts and a week of family visits and over eating again puts paid to the hobby time.


Monday 17 December 2012

Command stand - Thorfinus filius Oter

Another command stand this time Thorfin (or Thorfinus filius Oter) , described as the most powerful jarl of the Hebrides, who convinced Somerled to depose Godred the II King of Mann by suggesting that Somerleds own son Dugball become the new king of Mann.

Thorfin is a Gripping Beast Irish warlord from the Saga range, the horn blower is another Gripping Beast Scot/Pict the standard bearer is a Crusader miniatures Irish miniature with his axe replaced with a flag pole. The Flag is again from the "Don't throw a 1" Blog with a re-paint and highlights.

Next up is to keep plugging away at the various Norse-Gael miniatures I have to build a unit as Somerled's household troops.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Somerled king of Kintyre

Slowly painting up my Islesmen and have finished up one of my command bases. This base is going to represent the Norse-Gael Warlord and king of Kintyre Somerled.

Somerled is a Gripping Beast Norse-Gael warlord from the Saga range, his standard bearer is from the Gripping Beast Scots/Pict range and the horn blowing bodyguard is a Crusader miniatures Scots thane with a plastic Wargames Factory horn. The flag is from the excellent Don't throw a 1 Blog which has lots of nice (and free flags for gamers).

Sadly my printer ink ran out when I printed the flag so I had to re-paint it and add some highlights. I have no evidence that Somerled was a short arse but the newer Gripping Beast Saga miniatures seem much shorter than the older Gripping Beast miniatures. Plenty more Gaels to paint up yet.


Thursday 13 December 2012

Heros of the Dark Ages

I came across this company recently and thought they looked interesting (and not to expensive) so I ordered a few miniatures from them. I was looking for a few different miniatures to add some interest to command bases and such like and among the ranges there were several miniatures that looked like they would fit the bill.

The order arrived today and sadly I'm a bit disappointed. Now I should say I wasn't expecting Perry brothers level of sculpting, having looked at the pictures on their website, and the miniatures are slightly crude though IMO serviceable enough with a lick of paint. No what left me disapppointed was the massive variation in size between models from the same manufacturer. Some of the miniatures are closer to 20mm in size while others look like they are pushing 40mm and almost all of them look either to big or small to fit with my other miniatures. Below are a few pictures that might illustrate what I mean

Below are some shots with other manufacturers Gripping Beast (left) Heros of the Dark ages (middle) and Crusader (right)

 In the interest of fairness other companies also seem to be a bit variable in their figure sizes. First picture below is Crusader second in gripping beast.

Right moaning about size aside here is a closer look at the heros of the Dark Ages miniatures. First a viking holding a loft a severed head which I thought might mark out a Norse command stand quite nicely he is one of the larger figures

Next a monk. As I was thinking of putting together a force to represent Wimund Bishop of Mann I thought a few monks might be nice to dot around the units this guy is a big brute but not a bad miniature.
 I thought this guy would make a good Godred of Mann he is another big boy but has the right look for the Isles with bare legs, mail and simple nasal helm.
 Another monk this guy is a "normal" 28 and will be hanging out on Wimund's command base
 A mounted Abbot don't really now why I got this figure just thought he looked good. Probably the nicest figure of the ones I ordered though he is going to need some work to make him fit on his horse properly.
 The three dwarves these three are more like 20mm than 28mm they are also rather "flat"  miniatures they might find their way onto a baggage element or something.
So all in all some OK (and slightly different) miniatures for the price with highly variable heights and sculpting. 

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Christmas trees....

OK a quick heads up for UK gamers about Christmas trees. Over on  TMP every festive season there is always a thread about cheap snow covered model Christmas trees for model Christmas villages. Well I've never seen them here in the UK  until I was in Homebase today looking for something total unrelated. Homebase have a model Christmas village this year and among the accessories were snow covered fur trees perfect for 28mm I bought both packs on the spot and £7.00 netted me 10 nice snowy fur trees ready to put straight down on the table here a couple of pictures if anyone else is interested.

Monday 10 December 2012

Gripping Beast Islemen - WIP

I've made a start on the Gripping Beast figures that came in the post though I'd show a couple of pictures of the progress. These guys are going to to be Somerleds household troops (hence the armour) so I've tried to make them more Gael (hence the proto tartan) than Norse to make them different to the Mann forces (in reality I suspect there wouldn't have been much difference in appearance between Godred's and Somerled's soldiers).

The Crusader miniatures turned up yesterday as well so I have plenty of white metal to paint over December :) 

Thursday 6 December 2012

Arrival of the the post

My order from Gripping Beast arrived to day on the plus side they are very nice minatures on the down side I plundered figures from different ranges mostly the Dark age Scots and the Saga Norse-Gael ranges and the two ranges are quite noticably different in size. I have two very nice Islemen generals but the standard bearer and musican I have tower over them (instead of Somerled the slayer I seem to have Somerled the short). The other down side is that the axes are all seperate and I have to drill the hands out to get them to fit....I don't like drilling hands.

I also ordered a few character type miniatures from a company called Heros of the Dark Ages yesterday among some pretty odd miniatures there are some quite nice minis hidden among their ranges.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Mann Norse command bases WIP

Having now finished the Hird for my Mann Norse I've ordered some suitable miniatures for Somerled's Gaels from Crusader miniatures and Gripping Beast. While I'm waiting for them to turn up I decided to keep my new found enthusiasm ticking over by making some command bases for my Mann Norse out of left over Wargames factory plastic vikings and bits from my bits box.

I have a load of 50mm laser cut circle bases that I'm going to use for command bases on which I plan to mount 3-4 miniatures on. To lead my Norse I'm going for two different leaders first Godred II Olafsson king of Mann (and possibly Dublin) from the early 1150s and enemy of Somerled. The  second commander will be Wimund Bishop of Mann and the isles in the 1140s an English monk who claimed to be the hier to the Mormaer of Moray and gathered a band of sea raiders to plunder the coast of Scotland.

Below are some pictures of my command base WIPs two standard bearers, a horn blower and a conversion to represent Wimund.


Monday 3 December 2012


Well it's been rather a long time since I posted...mainly because it's been along time since I did anything hobby worthy to post about. Real life has a habit of getting in the way of my hobbies and real life for me culminated in being diagnosed with suffering from stress and depression by my GP a couple of weeks ago one of the things about depression is a total lack of  get up and go or enthusiasm to do anything...sadly in recent months that has included my hobbies.

 Anyway my GP encouraged me to "try and get back to do things you enjoy" so the last couple of weeks I've been plugging away at some miniatures with the vague idea of doing some battles around the Irish sea in the mid 12th century.  I had some plastic vikings and left over Conquest Normans hanging around and while searching the net for ideas came across the Gael- Norse warlord Somerled (and the rather interesting bishop of Mann Wimud). I also came across a few examples of multiple basing of miniatures (Impetvs style) which I thought might be fun to try.

It took quite a bit of effort to get started and my painting skills have gone a bit ropey from lack of use over the last few months but I knocked up this first unit the Hird of the king of Mann Godred Crovan II ready for a dust up with Somerled and his boys. Information for the look of Mann Vikings around 1150 is a bit sketchy (the isle of Lewis chess pieces seem to be the main source) but using my trust Ospreys on early medieval Scandinavia and Vikings I went with a mix of Normans and Vikings I'm taking a punt that Mann (like Ireland, Norway and the Isles) might have been a bit behind the times with regards to military equipment....even if it's not quite right (longer mail coats might have been more appropriate) I like they way they've turned out.

I've tried to give the impression of a shield wall with some berserkers breaking out from the lines. I know berserkers are most likely a bit archaic for the 12th century but I'm using a comment in the WAB shieldwall supplement that the vikings of the Isles where a rum lot known for witch craft and other foul practises to keep this old tradition going (even if it is a bit of fantasy).

anyway here are some photos of the finished unit.....though it seems the camera/lights have combined to make the colours seem a bit more yellow than they are in real life.

Cheers Jon