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.

Wargames Foundry Skeletons – The Hydra’s Teeth, Unit 2: Spear

The second unit for the Mythical Greek army is the one shown below – made up of Reaper Bones Skeletal Spearmen and the starts of the show – the other half of the Wargames Foundry Greek Mythology Skeletons range. “Children of the Hydra.” Unfortunately, the whole range is made up of only 10 models across two blisters – 4 with spears and 6 with swords. Within that only a few of them look distinctly Greek, so with 6 models needed to fill out the regiment, I decided to look elsewhere rather than order another pack from Foundry (I prefer fewer doubled-up figures, anyway). Their sister unit, armed with swords was finished some time ago, as was most of this unit, but some recruiting issues drew finishing this lot out for longer than I’d hoped.

Wargames Foundry Mythical Greek Skeletons with Spears

Wargames Foundry Mythical Greeks with Spear – Rear

The metals from Foundry worked out well. I just wish more of them had more explicitly Greek gear. I replaced their metal spears in the end with plastic ones from the Wargames Factory skeleton set. The shield on this guy comes from Little Big Men, and was a real bear to apply. Apparently it may have come from a faulty batch, since the plastic film would just not come off, and destroyed two other transfers in the process/attempts…

 

Wargames Factory Plastic Skeletons join the Wargames Foundry Metal Skeleton.

In the end to fill out the missing two in the ranks, I again turned to the Wargames Factory plastic skeletons. They’re already Greek-themed to an extent, which is great. My only concern was how fine they are, and as such are very susceptible to breakage as wargaming figures – especially with spears sticking up everywhere. Still, with these guys towards the middle it should be fine. Again WGF comes to the rescue of the WGF-dominated unit. In the end, I decided against adding shields to the skeletons bracing their spears – mostly because there was no easy and effective way to attach them that would still look good. A bit of a shame, but c’est la vie.

Wargames Factory and Foundry Skeletons fight side-by-side

I went with the one skeleton coming out of the ground to help invoke the whole Jason and the Argonauts thing. A classic from our youth, (even if it was made before many of us were born, it was often shown late on Saturday Mornings here, as well as when VHS arrived.

And now, The obligatory Finished Unit shots:

The Hydra’s Teeth – Spear: Finished!

The Hydra’s Teeth!

Their “good” side. Showing off their shields a little better.

And finally, an army shot of the Mythological Greeks so far. Not a whole lot yet, but it shows the two units of Skeletons along with the Bronze Bull painted earlier this year.

The Mythical Greek Army begins to take shape.

Wargames Foundry Skeletons – The Hydra’s Teeth, Unit 1: Blade

Wargames Foundry is a well-known maker of Historical Miniatures. At one stage in its history a sister company to Citadel Miniatures and Games Workshop when all three were owned/controlled by Bryan Ansell, their paths have diverged wildly over the years. While it’s generally well-known that Bryan took a lot of Citadel’s earlier very-historical-inspired ranges with him to Foundry. What’s less well known is the fact that they have some ranges like the Greek Mythology range, which features models like Harpies, Satyrs, Centaurs, Pegasi, our old friend The Bronze Bull, and our topic of the day – Skeletons!

Wargames Foundry Greek Mythology Skeletons

The three more interesting of the six

As part of the Mythic Greek force, the (two, probably) units I’ll be making of these guys are going to be referred to as The Hydra’s Teeth. Apparently they should be more correctly referred to as Dragon’s Teeth, but to me “dragon’s teeth” mean tank traps, and I’ve got more than a soft spot for Ray Harryhausen’s seminal animation work of decades gone by. Since the 2 packs of 5 Foundry figures come to have 6 figures with blade, and 4 with spear out of the 10, I’ve split them for Kings of War purposes. I’ve combined the 6 blade figures with the 6 Bones skeleton figures that I finished off a couple of weeks ago to make a KoW Regiment of 12 (20).

Wargames Foundry Greek Mythology Skeletons

These three aren’t as impressive, front-on.

The other day I saw a gallery of someone’s commissioned figures that featured some masterfully-painted figures, amongst the (hundreds?) of models were some with battle-scarred and scratched up shields. While I’ve added a small amount of verdigris to these, I mulled over trying something similar. While I have confidence that I could do a good job, I decided against it based on a couple of reasons – 1) While I like my bone technique, the shields are very much the focus points of these figures, and I wanted to keep them looking neater to draw the eye. 2) The Bones figures are really not very good at all, and I really wanted to avoid anything that would potentially dull those shields from drawing the eye away.

Wargames Foundry Greek Mythology Skeletons

Their “good side” – shields up!

The linen curiass on the figure I decided should probably be a “leader” (at least as far as mindless skeletons go) was lacking a bit of detail, so with the help of the talented artists who work for Osprey and a quick Google Image Search, I worked out a way to add some more interest to the unit commander by adding some geometric patterns across his chest and under his arms.

The “Commander”

Side View

It’s a little unfortunate that out of the 10 sculpts by Foundry, only two of them wear torso armour – the linen curiass in both cases. One blade, and one spear. Similarly, only two are helmeted, both of whom are amongst the four spear-wielding sculpts. Most of the sculpts are pretty much plain skeletons with perhaps an armband – not even bronze greaves! The only positive of all this is that it would make it relatively easy to swap in any other brand’s undead models armed with sword or spear, glue a Greek shield on, and bump up the numbers. Now all I need to do is find a source of decently-sculpted, unarmoured metal undead – preferably inexpensive and one-piece casts that are armed predominantly with swords or spears. Not as easy as you’d think as I’m finding. Otherworld’s models are beautiful sculpts, but have separate arms that look like fragile attachments, and aren’t really priced for making regiments.

The Wargames Factory (not Foundry) plastic box are very much Greek-themed – in fact it’s where I sourced the larger Hoplons and Dipylon-style shield that I mixed in to the Foundry models but I still have concerns about their potential fragility on the wargames table.

Anyway, here’s the first unit of The Hydra’s Teeth, ready for action!

Wargames Foundry Greek Mythology Skeletons, Reaper Bones Skeleton Sowordsmen

The Hydra’s Teeth – Front

Wargames Foundry Greek Mythology Skeletons, Reaper Bones Skeleton Sowordsmen

The Hydra’s Teeth – Left

Wargames Foundry Greek Mythology Skeletons, Reaper Bones Skeleton Sowordsmen

The Hydra’s Teeth – Right

I think the combination of large, bright Greek shields and keeping the Bones models to the mid-centre and rear ranks does a good job of minimising the visibility of the multiple boring monopose figures well enough in static photos like these, and will do even moreso once they’re all on the table amongst scenery and an active battle. Now I just need to sort out two more spearmen somehow, and I can call both initial units done and dusted.

 

 

 

 

 

The Bronze Bull

It’s been some time since I’ve posted anything new. Basically, I haven’t done any painting from the first couple of days of October until about two weeks ago, mostly spurred on by playing a lot of Zombicide with the group, and Tarmor coming over to do some painting.

Today’s topic, though, is the Bronze Bull. I ordered this from Wargames Foundry, along with a pile of other Mythological Greeks for Marouda’s Mythic Greek KoW army a couple of weeks ago, and it turned up a few days ago. Since it’s going to be one of the centrepieces of the force, and it’s not an especially complex model, I thought it was a good idea for her to do most of the painting (with me just doing the base and some details that she was less confident with. I mounted it on a GW 40mm base and added putty, slate and an appropriate spare shield, then sprayed it on Friday. All painting done yesterday (Saturday). Always nice to get something started and finished in a day!

 

Colours were straightforward. Various copper, brass and silver tones from Vallejo’s ranges, and P3’s Brass Balls. Some Citadel Technical Nihilakh Oxide over white for the eyes to give a nice subtle glowing effect, and job’s a good’un!

I intend to make another large order to Foundry in another month or so – this time for Jason and many Argonauts and also some more historical Greeks to shore up the army. Later on down the line it’ll be time for my Romans.