Back to my gaming roots
One of my first ancient armies for wargaming was a box of Airfix Ancient Britons. Despite the archaeological anomalies like the solid wheels on the chariots and odd arms and armour in places they were great fun to paint and fought many a battle in the 1970s. I did sell them off when I moved up to 25mm metal figures from Minifigs. However, the Roman invasions of Britain and Boudicca’s revolt kept the interest in gaming with Ancient Britons alive. Sadly I’ve no photos of those early Ancient Britons nor their Roman opponents
Airfix never had druids and screaming women!
Going down a size
Moving house twice in a year focussed my attention on just how many unpainted little metal men I had. Yes, I used the past tense there!
I decided to clear out anything I just have a few of and wasn’t going to turn into a complete army. I also decided that for big ancients armies I would move to 15mm size figures. This is because they take up less room, are quicker to paint (as I can’t see so much detail now!) and thanks to scale creep are almost as big as my old Airfix figures were!
Before making this decision I considered trying 10mm for ancient and medieval but found them not quite right for me. I used some Pendraken 10mm Vikings as a test and can while they did not suit me I suggest trying Pendraken if you are considering 10mm. I sold these on eBay as part of the grand clear out in the end.
Cracking on in 15mm
Another consideration was having a Peter Pig Roman army in 15mm I had painted for DBA and DBM. Getting a similar scaled opponent made sense of course but like most wargamers I try to leave sense out of it when choosing armies and scales!
Peter Pig Romans
The challenge with painting an army of irregulars is getting the variety there without painting each figure separately. I have a simple system for this involving strips of cardboard!
This is a rather ocd variant of the old take a colour and paint a different bit of each figure with it. To ensure variation I sort the figures into groups with a minimum of duplicates. Then each group is glued to a cardboard strip and undercoated.
I paint all flesh first using a red brown wash then a warm flesh colour.
After that the fun begins! Well my idea of painting fun anyway. Take a colour and go through a strip of figures applying it to different areas, so a dark brown is hair on figure one, trousers on figure two, belt on figure three and so on.
Then take another colour and move onto the next strip. As you can now see repetition of colour and pose is kept to a minimum. Having plenty of paints helps!
One point to keep an eye on is use brighter, historically more expensive, colours on better equipped wealthier types. Use patterns on clothing and showy shield decorations as well, again more so for those who could afford them.
For the sake of sanity and speed use one colour for shield backs, spear and weapon shafts, metals. Then varnish and base to taste!
Chariot Miniatures slingers
Chariot Miniatures Warband
Why the Vikings?
Like many things in life my interest in the Vikings goes back to childhood. Reading the Norse myths followed by the Ladybird book of Alfred the Great triggered an interest that was rekindled at various points in my life.
Principally when studying English Medieval History at school and university, then the fiction of Michael Scott Rohan, followed by Bob Calvert’s Lucky Lief and the Longships album. And of course reading the Penguin translations of the sagas!
Exhibitions, museum displays and visiting sites like Whitby all played their part in keeping my interest alive. As did films like the Hollywood classic with Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis in and more recently various documentaries on on TV.
Little Metal Vikings
Despite this interest I didn’t make any model Vikings until my mid twenties. I confined myself simply to one set of Golberg zinnfiguren Vikings while recovering from an illness.
However, not many years later I was tempted by the Wargames Foundry range of figures. I painted a few Vikings and Normans but with no sign of the range being finished nor finding a set of rules I enjoyed I sold the figures.
In the 1990s I tried 15mm and DBA. I enjoyed painting the Donnington Miniatures figures but the games were not really satisfying, so I sold the armies. Some years ago I got enough Wargames Foundry Vikings for a skirmish force but didn’t find any rules to suit the saga style games I had in mind.
Recently I tried some 10mm Pendraken figures. They were great models with plenty of variety but the thought of painting enough for a large game was too much. So they went on eBay.
Happily for my Norse ambitions the Saga rules appeared. They met my desire for saga inspired character and my painting threshold as only a few figures are needed.
So rules purchased along with plastic Vikings from the ever helpful chaps at Gripping Beast. Vikings are assembled and ready for painting, with Anglo-Saxons up next.
… and not in canoes!
I finished this last batch of Indian Allies for my British in North America some time ago. Having caught up with the rest of my life I am catching up with blogging!
Come on in, the water is sticky
Using the water effect was nice and easy. It poured out smoothly with no sudden surges. Well, years of pouring ales and wines may have helped here! Once in place there were some small bubbles.
Getting rid of these with a pin, as I have done with resin casting in the past, was not a good idea. I actually split some bubbles into two! I switched to using an old paint brush and just brushed them out without any problems.
The verdict is I like this product and found it straightforward to use with a little care. I got mine from Maelstrom with some other odds and ends, so I got a discount and post free.
That’s enough of those native chaps for now
I have now finished the three units I planned. Hopefully the idea of using a different theme on each unit’s bases will let me recognise them on the table top. The photo below should demonstrate the theory!
A big bag of them, Sir!
Not exactly thousands of them but a bag of 50 Old Glory 10mm American Revolution Indians supplied by Caliver. I decided to use Old Glory so the British native allies would look different to the French. I plan to use Pendraken Indians for my French forces. So it was open the bag, clean up the figures, and paint!
How was it for you Hiawatha?
I have painted 30mm Indians for this period and found tattoos and war paint a mixture of fun and frustration. On these wee fellows the smaller scale let me use the daub technique to give a quick impression of warpaint. That’s the aim anyway! I enjoyed painting these although one or two figures have very over scale muskets. I would recommend considering them for any North American eighteenth century conflict.
Sharp eyed readers will see I have used a Pendraken British officer to further identify these figures as British allies.
One from another
Eventually I will have three units of these chaps. So how to tell them apart?
Clever micro painting with distinctive war paint could be one approach. I wanted something I can see when standing or sitting at the table so testing my badger paws painting technique to the limit was not the answer. I settled on making each unit’s basing distinctive. The result is one unit with a plain base using just some Gale Force 9 forest flock supplied by Maelstrom Games, a second using Woodland Scenics twigs from a model shop, and the third one will appear in a later entry! You can judge the effectiveness of this plan from the image below.
The flock and twigs were anchored with a mix of PVA glue and paint. The twigs were painted and washed with acrylics. The end result was then sprayed with Testor’s Dullcote – once we had a warm and dry enough day!