My second force for my Dark Ages skirmish project had to be the Vikings. After all, what is the point of gaming the era of the Viking raids on Britain without any Vikings? Once again, the core of the army was a pack of Vikings Huscarles, along with a pack of Viking bowmen who would be shared out with the other forces. I ended up picking up a command pack of Gripping Beast Rus (who were simply Vikings in Russia) to round out the force. When I was painting this force, I still didn't know for sure which rules set I was going to use for the battles. As such, I have more than I need for a typical warband using the Song of Blades and Heroes rules that I've since decided upon.
This is my single most favorite Viking -- Wulfgar Wyrmsson, I call him.
He comes from the Gripping Beast "Russ Leaders" pack, with his
square shield swapped out for a round Old Glory Viking one. The bald head,
blond scalplock and expression on the face makes this pose special. I was
tempted to add a gold earring but was afraid it might be overkill. As it
was, the black and red snake pattern on the shield came out pretty good,
I think. The bold color combination of reds and blues should make him stand
out on the tabletop, as well. It's the war-weary look in his eyes tha get
me, though. He looks like he'd just as soon kill you as bother to learn
Here are two more Viking leaders from the Gripping Beast pack. I like the guy in the fur coat over his armor -- doubtless the booty from some raid on a wealthy merchant long ago! I painted his lamellar style armor bronze to make him a bit more unique, but his leg armor steel. Gripping Beast Russ tend to be a tad shorter than my Old Glory Vikings, which make up the bulk of this army, so I based him up on a smaller washer before epoxying that onto the normal large, steel fender washer. The subtle difference in height was just the right amount. The leader with the trumpet I also painted in bold colors -- red and green. I like the helmet strapped at his belt -- it is a nice "moment of rest" touch. I thought the shield turned out great, too, with the dark green and white combination being very striking.
This guy on the left is from the Alternative Armies "Erin"
line that I painted up as a leader. The shield that he had cast on was so
obviously Celtic that I snipped it off with wire cutters and added this
round, Old Glory one instead. The Alternative Armies figs are probably a
bit bigger than the Old Glory ones that I'm using for rank and file Vikings,
but that's fine. There are certain "fantasy" touches to this fig,
including the oversized, decorative sword and round fancy disks on his armor
(from this angle, the only one you can see is on the side of the helmet).
I figure those just make him stand out more as a leader, though. For the
leaders, I also got a bit fancier with the shields, as you can see on this
The guy on the right I nicknamed "Conan," as I was painting him up, for his massive thews and huge sword. I picture him as a bit young for a Viking leader, perhaps the privileged son of a Viking Jarl. As such, I painted his scale armor a golden color and his cloak a deep, Moroccan red. This is another fantasy figure from Alternative Armies' "Erin" line (Milesian Warriors). I picked it up from Matt Gilford at Advance the Colors 2007. The other figures in the pack will make good Viking berserkers when I get around to painting them up. This is probably my second favorite leader of the batch.
This was my fourth, and so far, favorite batch of Viking rank and file
troops. I think Old Glory did a tremendous job sculpting depth in the facial
features. Their hawk-like noses and prominent cheekbones made them look
almost Arab in appearance, before I'd painted the hair colors. Speaking
of which, I'm not going with generic blond for all. I tend to use Iron Wind
Metals "Dun" for two of them, but dry brush one with khaki to
dull it down, while the other I dry brush Middle Eastern Flesh (an orangish
tone) in for highlights. The third I'll usually paint red brown, dry brushing
orange highlights. The fourth is a tan color with khaki highlights. This
mix of hair colors makes them look good in mass, I feel, without violating
an authentic Scandinavian look. This was also the first batch that had cloaks,
so let me get a bit creative with a two tone look of red brown and red,
light and dark green, and so on.
This was my third batch of Old Glory 25mm Vikings. With this much chainmail, they paint up pretty quickly. I've read sources that Vikings liked decoration and finery, so have made it a point to put borders on their sleeves and even fancy decorations on their sword sheaths. Everything I've read on colors is that they liked relatively bright colors, too, with reds, blues, greens and even purple being present, as well as the more drab grays and unbleached wool. So, in general, I paint the tunics relatively bright colors and do the pants in more dull, earth tones.
This was my fifth batch of "rank and file" Vikings -- and was
probably my least favorite pose, so far. The faces are somewhat miscast
with protruding rather than recessed eye sockets. However, in general, I
have been very pleased with the Old Glory dark ages figures I'm painting
up for this project. I'd heard that sometimes Old Glory overuses its moulds,
and some of the later runs can be of mixed quality. However, in general,
I have seen no evidence of that on either the Picts or Vikings I've painted
up so far. Other than the most minor criticisms (like the eye sockets, above),
I am 100% satisfied with the quality I've received from Old Glory 25mm.
You certainly can't beat the price! A buck for a 25mm fig (with prices of
15mm hovering near 50 cents each) is a great deal, in my opinion.
These were my first two batches of Vikings, and they turned out well, I think. Old Glory 25mm figs are great, IMO. They don't go overboard on cast detail. This has enabled me to do little patterns on their caps, sword sheaths and tunics. I realize the patterns don't come through too well in these photos, but they look great in person. Notice the mix of hair colors mentioned above.
Pictures to come on these guys. When I headed to Cold Wars 2008, one of the things I was looking for in the Dealer Room was an influx of reinforcements for the Dark Ages project. I bought a bag of relatively generic looking archers that I could split among the Vikings, Picts and Britons (the next army in line, after I finish the Vikings). It was an Old Glory bag of Viking Bondi archers I found that fit the bill. There is enough variety in the pack that I can easily split them among several different armies. I've only done five for the Vikings, so far, but there are more to be painted up. Also in the wings for the Vikings are Berserkers, which will be more fantasy figs from Alternative Armies line.
These guys came out pretty nice. I particularly like the cloaked guy in the blue -- it is a well sculpted figure and the dry brushing I did on his various colors came out well, I think. Just about all the figs in this pack came with shields to attach to the back of the figure, but I decided to only put them on scattered figs. Some of the poses just didn't look right with a shield strapped to its back, though this one here looks good, I think. Besides, it gave me a collection of spare shields to use for leaders and so on....!