Almost two years ago, I bought a 4-point metal starter box of Vikings from Gripping Beast, with the expectation I would never actually play (I just liked the idea of painting some viking miniatures). When second edition released, I decided to get the actual books, and convinced a friend to at least snag the base rulebook, but while that has generated vague interest, it hasn’t turned into actual models or games yet. I did field some of my Vikings as Ostlanders during the last local Mordheim campaign, but that and Frostgrave were starting to look like the extent of their usefulness around here, until I recently showed my Vikings to my friend Dave and got some real results (maybe the fact that I’ve recently made a real effort to get them all painted had an effect on their usefulness in this regard). He took advantage of the Gripping Beast black Friday sale and bought himself some Normans. He assembled them over the holidays, and last night we played an actual game of Saga…
We laid lots of terrain down, then rolled Method B for deployment and ended up touching almost none of it, haha. Clash of Warlords for our first game.
My Hirdmen watch as my Warlord and a unit of Bondi advance through the woods, leaving them behind.
Being new to this whole thing, I leave a unit of Bondi hiding in rocky ground while my Berserkers run around it in the open. The Berserkers will be largely cut down by ranged fire during Dave’s first turn; only one will be left standing.
My Bondi attempt to cut down some Norman Crossbowmen, but Dave’s dice are on fire…
… son of a dingleberry! (I rolled 13 hits, and Dave defended against almost all of them).
My last Berserker decides to make himself useful and charges a unit of mounted Norman Hearthguard. Valhalla gets him some extra dice…
… and he takes them out! He’s also gone as a result of Valhalla, but this is probably the first interaction to go even remotely my way, and marks a bit of a turning point in our battle.
Having finally dragged themselves out of the rocky ground (and having been whittled down by more ranged fire), my Bondi manage to take out some more Norman Warriors, but not enough. A few still remain standing.
My Warlord has defeated his Norman counterpart, but so has 3 Crossbowmen and a largely untouched unit of Levies to deal with.
Crossbows down, Levy Archers to go…
While he doesn’t take them all out, my Warlord does take out enough Levy to negate Dave’s final Saga die, ending the game.
We quite likely played more than 6 turns, as we sorta glossed over that part and just played until one of us ran out of Saga dice. Lots of fun, though, and both of us are very much looking forward to playing again (and we’re going to get some more miniatures so we can start thinking about 6 points in the not too distant future).
Thoughts after our first game?
Normans are probably going to be a tough fight for me. I did okay once I’d closed for combat, but the Norman ranged options did some real damage (especially to my poor Berserkers!) and the mounted Hearthguard twisted some of my deployment choices back on me. Their maneuverability really limited my ability to choose my battles via deployment.
Berserkers need some real help getting across the battlefield. I’ll need to make better use of terrain and other units to get them safely into combat.
Our game took a few hours, but that included *lots* of rules searches and clarifications, plus we basically played to annihilation. Games should be pretty quick once we get a better handle on the game.
I’ll probably read through the rules again now that I have a game under my belt. It’s well laid out from a reading perspective, but trying to find specific rules while playing was pretty rough (reminded me a little bit of Infinity’s second edition, but not as brutal since the book is a lot shorter). There are definitely a couple of things I’d just like to confirm we did correctly where movement and fatigue are concerned.
TLDR: We really like Saga.
Yes, with the second Bondi unit that I posted a couple weeks ago, I finished painting a full army. Not something I can say very often. Let’s take another look at those final 8 warriors:
What follows is pretty much going to be a bunch of photos, because I’m feeling pretty good about these guys. Sharing time!
I feel like this guy’s got some tricky moves… Watch the feet!
And there we go. Thanks for checking them out. I am in fact working on those Gall Gaedhil I mentioned last time, but I interrupted that painting task with some shieldmaiden assembly.
So lots more Saga still coming. I picked up Njal, too. Also, Dave’s Normans arrived, so once he’s got them assembled and on bases, I’m actually going to get to play!
K, this is it! I’m only 8 miniatures away from having a fully painted 4 point Saga warband, so I’m painting all 8 at the same time.
Day 1: Prime the last few that were still bare metal…
Day 2: Some blues, some greens, some browns. Moving right along…
Day 3: A few different skin tones and wood colours, and most of the clothing complete.
Until next time!
The painting bug finally caught hold of me again, and the result is a whole mess of Vikings. Previous to the last week or so, I had slowly worked my way through two Berserkers, a Hearthguard, a Warrior, and my Warlord. 5 models. I have now more than tripled that, and I have also convinced a friend of mine to take advantage of Gripping Beast’s black Friday sale, so I’m actually going to get to *field* these ruffians (and not as Ostlanders).
Viking Paintfest, Round 1:
I started with these three Bondi (warriors), as they were ‘based’ and primed and ready to go. Realized pretty much immediately that if I was going to work on multiple minis at the same time, I should do more than 3. So I finished that first night by grabbing a few more that I’d already gritted the bases on and priming them.
This brought the count to 5 Bondi and Gunnar Hamundarson. I don’t have Njal yet, so he was probably a silly choice to paint at the moment, but it’s just such a great model.
I used a lot of different colours on this lot (and so many browns!), but I like the feel of it. Uniform in their lack of uniformity, if you will.
And there’s that batch finished, and bloodied up. I think I mixed about 7 shades of red for this group; I reduced that to about 3 for the next lot.
Next lot! 7 miniatures this time: 2 Berserkers, 3 Hirdmen (hearthguard), and 2 Bondi.
I went with this combination because it would finish off a bunch of units that I’d started over the past year (usually one at a time for local painting contests).
I picked up some GW Nuln oil to wash the armour (is it weird that I’ve never bought any previously?) and decided to try a few more interesting shield designs.
Mixed results. I’m not exactly a freehand genius, but I’m happy enough with the results. Once I’ve bloodied these fellows up a little it should soften the aspects I feel look weird.
It takes a pretty serious effort on my part not to overdo it with the blood. Maybe I do anyway, but it strikes me as pretty unlikely that vikings wading through a battlefield *wouldn’t* be visibly bloodied, so here we are. Weapons and hands seem like obvious candidates, and I picture shields just being another weapon; either via a classic bash, or using the edge (with shields this big, though, maybe that’s unrealistic? I have no personal experience with dark ages combat, haha). That’s enough overthinking for now…
So, the result of this latest painting binge? I have now painted:
Gunnar Hamundarson and my Warlord.
One point of Berserkers.
1 point of Hirdmen.
1 point of Bondi.
Next up? Another point of Bondi and maybe Njal or a mercenary unit, depending what finds its way onto my desk.
February brought me my new Saga books along with some viking dice, wire spears, and a couple of new units. The wire spears meant I finally finished assembling all of my previous units (I’d been holding out, avoiding those soft metal spears they came with).
All of this also got me jazzed to paint something for the local shop’s historical miniature painting contest, so I picked out a hearthguard that was already prepped and primed and got cracking.
You’ll notice I’m also using my citadel painting handle for the first time. I picked it up a little while ago, but I’ve only painted cars for gaslands since then so this was my first real opportunity to try it out; colour me impressed. Even using the non – beveled Renedra base, it kept a good grip throughout the project.
Flat Earth for the ground, Red Leather for the helmet, Golden Yellow for the hair/beard, and a Game Colour orange for the tunic. It was a very bright orange (I think I’ve previously just used it for Escher gangers), and I had doubts right up until the final clear coat.
The pants are a Heavy Opaque Blue (I love the coverage the heavy Game Colours provide) and mostly Gory Red on the shield.
Oily steel for the metals, and I mixed some of my Red Ochre pigment into my gore to get it a bit chunkier and I liked the results; I’ll definitely do that again.
And that’s my first Viking Hirdman, all painted up and waiting for me to paint up some fitting compatriots.
Short post. This is my first Bondi, all finished up. The clear coat is on there and he was entered into the miniature painting contest at ThunderCon. He didn’t place, which was pretty disappointing as there weren’t very many entries in his category and I thought third place was in reach. Maybe next year.
I’m hoping I get to see the detailed judging results on him, as I’d love to see how close it was. I’m not a big fan of highlighting, which often hurts my chances in competitions, but it would be nice to know what else I should be focusing on for next time.
Bonus? I’m now 12% of the way through painting my SAGA warband. Progress!
K, at least a couple of people might be waiting to see how that Berserker came out, so here goes!
I’m really happy with how he came out. I entered him in Thunder’s monthly painting contest when I finished him (that month’s theme was Historical), but it was the lowest turnout we’ve ever had. Good news is I won, but it meant a little less. Still, this crazy old Berserker was displayed in full view for a little over a month, which felt pretty good.
The wash came out a bit grungy, but mostly I just thought it made him look dirty, so I embraced it and tried to make it look like he’s actually in a battle. Hence the wounds, and the blood running into the edge of his beard. The grey pumice stuff ended up looking pretty great on the base; I added a couple of Army Painter grass tufts to give it a bit of variation.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get to play at all, but I recently picked up a Saga warband from Gripping Beast. I opted for the metal Vikings, which means I got four berserkers among my miniatures. Being historical miniatures, there is of course some variance expected from what’s shown on the packaging… the packaging let me know I might get a berserker in a loincloth, I got one in the buff.
He’s pretty amazing.
Obviously he’s not done yet, but I thought I’d share the progress I’ve made so far. First step was to clean up the miniature a bit. It’s not the cleanest sculpt I’ve ever seen, but based on the reading I’ve done online I get the impression the bar for historical miniatures is a little lower than for some other genres. Given that these guys worked out to around $2 each, I think they look pretty decent.
Next on my agenda was doing something about the base. As it’s a historical miniature, it has the traditional small flattish bar attached directly to the model’s lowest point. Yuck. To deal with that I broke out my jar of Vallejo ‘Grey Pumice’.
It’s basically a gritty acrylic medium that can be used instead of the traditional sand-and-glue method when basing models. I used it to build up the flat Renedra base until it appeared level with the top of the miniature base. Now it bevels at the edges and should dry brush nicely later.
Another cool aspect of these miniatures that surprised me (again, probably nothing new to historical fans) is that almost none of these miniatures came armed. A couple were sculpted with weapons, but most had cupped hands awaiting a weapon selection, and the warband came with a bag full of swords, axes, shields, and spears. This fellow came with one cupped ‘weilding’ hand and an arm braced for a potential shield, but I felt like any Berserker *so* berserk that he charges into battle naked was probably not going to hang onto a shield (or any particular equipment) mid-battle, and therefore worthy of a random assortment of weaponry. With that in mind I did some modification to the shield arm so I could put a sword in his off hand. At this point I broke my only appropriate micro bit, and the new ones I ordered online have still not arrived even now. Last weekend I got tired of waiting and carved the hand out using the broken remains of that last bit. It was messy, but it worked.
A coat of brush-on primer went on after that, and this weekend I started painting him. I feel like the paint is really bringing out the imperfections in the miniature, but hopefully they won’t be too obvious when all is said and done.