Vikings, Fjǫgur!

Another small post in my slow burn Viking project. Just a pair of axemen today.

These guys are essentially a pair of the guys that we use to fill out units. Nothing terrible nor anything special about them. Armed with axes and shields, the most noteworthy thing on them is the halved shield on the one. Sometime ago, I read something about how Vikings and others of the period would paint the designs on their shields in a way that the lines of the paintwork were “off” from the lines of the actual planks of wood that were used to create their shields. This in turn meant that enemies would not know where to aim blows on a shield to be able to split it – as that would be bad for your defence.

Similarly, this pair have no emblems or knotwork on their shields – just plain halving and quartering. Some guys have to have the plain shields so the more fancy ones stand out, and that’s the job of these fellows. Similarly, their clothing is mostly in muted earth tones, and even the red shirt is a deep, earthy. browny red. (yeah, I know reds would have been much more pale, but hey!)

 

 

Vikings, þrjú!

The next post of my small Viking project. A couple of weeks ago, when I got up on the morning of Christmas Eve 2016, I decided to paint up some Vikings, and see if I could get them done by Boxing Day. I very deliberately selected four figures. Two of them were the berserker pair that, while now part of the Foundry catalogue are ex-Citadel models from the truly Oldhammer days. Before everything was All-Warhammer, All The Time, Citadel has small ranges of Normans, Vikings and Feudals under the Fighters/F4 category. When Bryan Ansell resurrected Wargames Foundry as a Historicals company while purging the historical ranges from Citadel, he moved a large number of moulds across that he deemed appropriate. The two berserkers here were amongst the models who made the trip, and as such, are still available today.

Citadel F4 Fighters Norse Vikings, Wargames Foundry Viking Berserkers - VNS003

Erik and Thorir the Ex-Citadel Foundry Vikings.

I actually owned both models back in the day. Erik, the model with the 2-handed daneaxe was broken at some stage, losing the axe and chunks of both arms – while Thorir, gazing at the sky, was simply lost to time. I notice that there are a couple of other old models that I always liked still available in the Foundry ex- range, so I’ll have to do another Foundry order before too long to pick them up. I should point out though that all of these models, like my other painted vikings in the above-linked posts came courtesy of the Cannon man from work.

Citadel F4 Fighters Norse Vikings, Wargames Foundry Viking Berserkers - VNS003

These two were painted very quickly, and done on time. While painting them, I noticed the shield boss on Thorir’s shield. This was unfortunate, as I’d selected all four figures based on getting them done quickly, so the two old-school models that were mostly flesh and pants, and the other two that had a good amount of armour and chain on them – and no shields amongst them! So…. erm.

Citadel F4 Fighters Norse Vikings, Wargames Foundry Viking Berserkers - VNS003, Eureka Miniatures Beowulf the Geat

…and joined by Beowulf the Geat.

It took until the first days of 2017 before I got around to painting the shield. I decided on using muted tones for it, to go well with the muted and earthy tones I’d used for both berserkers’ clothing and gear. While I didn’t get the shield pattern perfect, I’m happy with how it came out nonetheless. At the same time I also fished out the model who is the Warlord for the moment – Eureka Miniatures’ Beowulf the Geat – and added some small freehand ravens to his shield, which makes a vast difference to the model in my opinion. I can’t fathom why Nik’s Beowulf range doesn’t have “Viking” keyworded anywhere in it. I’ll have to ring him and point it out since it can’t be helping his online sales. I know that technically, Beowulf predates Vikings by several hundred years, but when you’re selling miniatures…

Vikings with daneaxes

Vikings with Daneaxes

The next pair of Vikings are essentially “just some guys”. I’m not sure of their manufacturers, though I think it’s pretty safe that they’re from different ranges given the difference in sculpt style. If/when I find out where they’re from, I’ll update. In the meantime I have nothing particularly interesting to write about them.

Vikings with Daneaxes

I used a little more in the way of the colour palette on these guys, but still kept them quite muted.

All together now....

All together now….

Finally, a group shot of all my completed Vikings to date. There are quite a few more where they came from!

Vikings, Tvau!

Part Two then, of my Vikings. These figures were mostly completed in 2016. On the 14th of November if my record-keeping is accurate. Of course, I then realised that the horn-blower who wasn’t yet finished should really have a shield as well, and so completing the sextet went into painting limbo, since the horn-blower isn’t exactly my favourite model from the bunch. Since I had to paint a Viking shield for another model a few days ago, I did this one as well.

His mate in the picture above is one of the smaller figures amongst my metal Vikings, but he’s got a bearing to him, both in the pose and especially in the facial sculpt. Like he’s the sort of bloke you wouldn’t want to mess with. The horn-blower on the other hand looks like he has a big plum for a head, but the ruddy cheeks work for his pose.

Of course, now that I’ve finished it, I’m happy enough with the horn-blower’s shield. Simple, but neat and effective. I went with more muted yellows than I usually do, from almost white into an ochre, rather than orange.

Wargames Foundry Vikings

I believe that the larger of these two is a Viking Hearthguard model, and he’s a big chunk of metal. Since he’s chunky and quite well-geared, I gave him a deep red cloak to suggest wealth, and grey hair and a marked face to suggest that he’s both a veteran of many battles as well as (probably) some lucrative international bodyguarding duties. His friend here is painted in simpler, more muted and earthy tones. I tried to “streak” the paint in his shield to suggest a less wealthy origin. Damn, at this scale, the blown-up photographs really emphasise every flaw in the freehand shield painting. They look much neater and straighter at their actual size of 10mm or so.

Wargames Foundry Vikings

Someone’s cloak is clearly much more expensive than someone else’s…

Wargames Foundry Vikings

The final pair are amongst my very favourites of all my Viking models. I think these two are both by Foundry again, but it’s the dynamic posing that really works on these for me. Not a lot more to say about these two. I like the models and I like the way they turned out with paint and their shields added.

Wargames Foundry Vikings

These models, like the first half-dozen will be used for SAGA amongst other things. I’ve got a nice selection for my Hearthguard, and the others will make up a unit of Viking Warriors for the time being. I’m still short a model for a final warrior or my Warlord, so I’ll have to get some more done soon. I’ve just finished a few more Vikings, so once they’re dry and flocked I’ll have them up here as well. I can see a lot of the metals here being spread out amongst the plastics eventually to use as unit leaders.

Wargames Foundry Vikings

When I got to the second half-dozen of my Vikings, I’d decided much more consciously to paint the shields with a palette that complimented their bearers’ clothing and overall colour scheme. I’d been doing this to an extent with the first set, but I’ve been much more aware of it since then. A flaw in the way I used to paint years ago was trying to get too many colours onto my models, when a smaller palette with more variation of those colours works better for the models far more often.

 

 

 

Vikings!

Something a little different to the norm. A bloke at work, who I’ll call “Cannon” and I accidently found out that we both collect and paint toy soldiers last year, when I happened to be carrying a few LotR models past him at work and he was “hey, what are those?” and then to my shock recognised them as LotR models. Sometime earlier this year, he gave me a pile of spare Vikings, in what I think was at least partly an attempt to get me to paint something non-fantasy. There were some nice figures in there, and they’re a mixture of Eureka, Foundry, Crusader, Gripping Beast and possibly others. I’m really not sure of all of their origins, so I’ll have to ask him to let me know which are which so I can properly tag them.

So without any further ado, here’s the start of my SAGA Viking force (and also my KoW Historical Viking force)

Eureka Viking,

A lot of the more subtle highlighting on these guys just hasn’t come out in the photographs, particularly on the shields here. The guy on our left is a Eureka Miniatures model, but I’m not sure about his blurry-faced friendo. Shields are both freehand, and in retrospect I probably should have done something fancier on the red-and-white since he’s got a real leader feel to him, but he was the figure I painted first, so I wasn’t yet confident in freehanding Viking shield designs.

Eureka Miniatures Viking

 

While there’s plenty out there regarding Viking shield designs, you’d think that figuring out realistic Viking clothing colours would be a reasonably easy task, but it was much, much harder than I expected. I noticed initially that Foundry et al have their models painted in much the same way as their Celts – all stripey trousers and colourful patterns. I wasn’t so sure, so in doing some research online, I found quite a bit of contradictory stuff. The TV show “Vikings” had at least one full-time researcher, but then, it’s a TV show. Of course, some random guy on the internet decided to “big man” himself when I dared in a forum to suggest the show as one potential source of painting inspiration and bothered to lecture me on how everything in it was wrong. I guess he must have been there in the 10th century.

In the end, I decided to avoid the whole “stripey trousers” look entirely. I’ve got Celts to paint down the line and so they can have the plaid and stripes. I’ve kept the Vikings to solid colour for the most part, with a mixture of bright colours (especially on shields) and more muted, earthy tones.

I’ve got a pile of plastics to paint later, so I’ve decided to go richer overall in tone with the metal models. These models are where I’ll draw my Warlords, heartguard and other elites from, and so these guys are much more the professional Viking “soldier” and more likely to have visited Albion on “shopping sprees” as well as travelled the Mediterranean or even served as Varangian Guard. Based on these loose ideas, the metal models are much more likely to be wealthy and so afford more colourful clothing, as well as richer shades of colour. The two blokes below really fit that ethos to a tee.

Wargames Foundry Vikings

The Foundry models are in the typical chunky style, but have a lot of character to them. There’s a bit of Brian Blessed (in a ginger wig) to the right guy, and they’re both the sort of figures that Space Wolves seem to want to channel. I’ve got a couple of half-painted Wolves squads I should finish one day as well… and some more actual Wolves half-assembled.

Wargames Foundry Vikings

I enjoyed the freehand designs on these guys. I’m especially proud of the raven. The cross designs look a little wonky, but the photos are of course blown up to quite a few times their actual size, so look much straighter in person. I decided that I might well use transfers on a lot of the Viking models, but all of the metal models would get freehand shields.

Wargames Foundry Vikings

Even when doing “red” cloaks, I’m trying to avoid the bright reds of my fantasy models in favour of darker, slightly earthier reds – while maintaining the richness of colour.

Eureka Vikings, Wagames Foundry Vikings

The group shot. These guys could comprise of half a KoW regiment, but more importantly, Warlord, hearthguard and a spare model) in SAGA. These initial six were finished back in October. I’ve got another batch of five just waiting on their last man before I show them, and a few more now on the paint desk.

A Question of Vikings and Stripey Trousers.

Last year, purely by accident (my carrying some part-painted Axemen of Lossarnach past him at the end of my lunch break) a co-worker spotted my “little men” and actually recognised what they were – specifically LotR models. It turned out that after (sort of) working together for a year or so (we work in different areas of the workplace), unbeknownst to each other there was another hobbyist in the place. Skipping over why we still haven’t managed to schedule a game yet, we’ve traded some odds and bods each way, and late last year he cornered me and rather generously insisted very strongly that I accept some of his unused Viking models – wanting me to take an entire SAGA warband’s worth of them. I was hesitant to accept, since I’ve got a ton of stuff already, but eventually he wore me down and I accepted. Since he asks me every so often if I’ve started painting them, I’ve now decided to paint them up a dozen or so at a time and hopefully help to motivate him to do some painting as well, as he’s been planning to knock out a big block of 50 Vikings in one hit over a fortnight off for at least 6 months now. I’ve told him about the monthly challenge on Dakka, and he’s warmed to the idea of completing a dozen models a month as a more realistic goal.

My WIP Vikings. Just add colour!

So last week I started these. Doing about half an hour of “monkey work” each night after work. Filing metal bases, gluing them down to plastic rounds, adding acrylic putty to the bases, spray undercoating, sanding the bases, then painting the sand. Blacking out the metal parts, drybrush, highlight drybrush, wash…

Stripey and colourful Foundry Vikings. Image stolen from Alternative Norse Miniatures article on Frothers. Check it out!

But now I’m a bit stuck. I want them to look reasonably realistic. They’ll still retain my overall “clean” style, but I want the colours to be appropriate. Browsing various galleries of Viking miniatures tends to show them painted in the same way that many Celt models are painted. Very bright colours, stripey trousers… I dunno. It just seems like they might be barking down the wrong tree.

The same sort of palette (though more muted) can also be found on Gripping Beast’s website.

I know I wasn’t worried about being historically accurate with the Spartans recently and was happy to go for a “Hollywood Style” combination of Lambdas and Corinthian Helmets, though I was wanting to be reasonable with the colours. I did the same with my T-34s for Bolt Action simply because I wanted to get some Red iconography on them despite most Red army tanks of the period and type not having red stars, etc. For whatever reason, I want to get the Vikings more accurate than that same “Hollywood Style”. Television teaches us that “The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants”, after all… 😉

The Vikings, from THP gallery/Elizabeth Sneed

My googling found me quite a good article on Viking clothing on The Hollywood Reporter’s website of all places (yes, really), including an attached gallery. No stripes to be had, but a smallish variety of muted colours.

I’ve got access to Osprey Elite 3 (Vikings) where Angus McBride’s wonderful colour plates only show striped trousers on a Rus/Eastern Viking (pictured on the cover), and Osprey Men at Arms 85 (Saxons/Vikings/Normans) where once more, the plates (G.A.Embleton) again show a variety of muted colours, but no stripes.

Of course, the models I have here are the nicest ones from the batch given to me, and many of them have capes or look like leaders in some form or another, so a unit destined to provide my Hearthguard in SAGA – and as elites in other wargames. So they’ll be painted a little fancier than others. Still, I’m wanting to know if I should stay with mono-colours on their clothing, with perhaps a differently coloured hemline or some patterning on cloaks at the most – and is striped clothing the historical no-go that it seems to be, despite being painted so often on seemingly everyone’s Viking models?

I know there are at least a few people who read this who are far more well-versed in this than I am. Any ideas?