So this is last weekends output, some mounted Anglo-Saxon Heathguards for SAGA.
Now in general Heathguards seem to be a rare sight in an Anglo-Saxon war band in SAGA due to the fact, that Anglo-Saxons benefit most from large units (10+). Given that you can only purchase 4 Heathguards for a SAGA point, the does not seem like a natural choice and to be frank… I am not sure if I am making a clever choice here. On the other hand, I feel that many scenarios do require the extra speed mounted troops provide, so I am willing to take that gamble.
But maybe that gamble will pay off. If I amalgamate these two SAGA points into one unit it will be 8 men strong. With the right dice played on the right ability, this unit will count as 2-4 men stronger. But obviously that will leave me low on SAGA dice… ahh lets just see!
Anyway, on to what is important for the Challenge… the minis. Mounted Anglo-Saxons are not the easiest models to find, so I decided to take another route here. As some might know, I am simultaneously building a Norman army for SAGA and for those I had bought two boxes of plastic mounted Normans from Conquest Games. Actually more than I will need, so I decided to convert eight of them to Anglo-Saxons.Now their equipment is a little different, since in SAGA the Anglo-Saxons are based on the late 9th to early 10th century, while the Normans are based on the middle 11th century. So I took the heads as well as sword / axe hands from the Gripping Beast Saxon Thegns box set and fitted those to the Conquest models. The hands were easy enough to do, but the heads required some work, due to the fact, that the Conquest models have the necks attached to the heads, while the Gripping Beast ones have the necks as part of the body. So that required some sculpting of chainmail around the necks. Which was half as bad, since the Conquest minis are all sculpted with their swords in their scabbards, so I had to remove the hilts and re-sculpt those sections anyway. Plus I love sculpting chainmail!
Otherwise I went for the round shields that came with the Norman cavalry. Tear shaped shields simply felt wrong for early Anglo-Saxons and that leaves me with tear shaped only shields on my Normans later on. So this was a win – win scenario for me there.Painting wise I went a slightly new route here. I have always felt, that horses were a huge time drain to paint. So some time last year I decided to do the at least the base coat with my airbrush and these were actually the first mounted troops I did since then. And I think this was a good decision. In the past it took me about 10 minutes to base coat a single horse, now it was 10 for the whole group (including cleaning the airbrush afterwards). So I think this will become my new weapon of choice for horses.
All the rest was fairly standard straight forward painting. Not much to say there. Out of the eight shields, six are free-hand painted, with the two hanging by the horses sides sporting decals from LBMS. I really enjoyed painting these, especially trying to match their designs to those from LBMS, since all the other troops will have decals on their shields and I did not want them to stand out.
But my favorite is the one below, due to the fact that it is a simple wooden shield with the design painted on the bare wood. That gave me a canvas to paint both the bare wood and a design, which was great fun.
And here are a few more close-ups of the other riders:
There is also something else that was a first for me with these minis. In the past I always used varnish from the can to seal my minis. As we all know, that creates a “no spraying time” when it is cold and/or humid outside. Something that kept me from a posting before last week and that is simply annoying.
I have also been suffering from another problem for a little over a year now. I have always used an industrial varnish that produced a perfect flat result. But some time in 2014 they must have changed the formula, which always resulted in a satin finish. This would go flat after 6-12 month, but it was still highly annoying. So I got myself a 0.4mm needle for my airbrush which allows me to use varnish in it. She these are actually the first troops to be varnished using an airbrush. Really happy with that, especially since it will allow me to varnish regardless of temperature and humidity.
All in all, I am really really happy with these riders. I feel plastic wargaming minis can be hit an miss. Some are marvelous, others can be awful. When I took these out of the box, I felt they were somewhere in between, but once assembled and painted, I can only say that they are lovely. Especially the horses, even though the animals require some filling where the body meets the neck. In that sense, I am really looking forward to painting the Normans later on!
I also painted a bunch of Sci-Fi minis, but the bases bases on them are still giving me some troubles, so I am not sure, if I will be able to get those in before the Friday deadline for the AHPC (which I did not).
If not… Ei will be bäck! (Sorry for that one, but maybe this will give you an idea, of what is to come. 😉 )