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Going to War, raising a Viking Great Army – Stage 2 (Part 2) building it.

Vikings!

Been a while since I did a post regarding my Vikings, they are still a work on the go but I’ve done enough now to provide you with another update of my Viking Great Army Build.

To date I’ve built (glued shields etc), tidied, cleared flash etc most of the Crusader Miniatures metal figures and based them (20x20mm), these are:

  • Bondi Command (DAV004 – Crusader Miniatures)
  • Bondi with Swords and Axes (DAV001 – Crusader Miniatures)
  • Bondi with Bows (DAV02) – based on 25x25mm.
  • Hirdmen Commands (DAV8)
  • Berserkers (DAV009)

Next on the list would be the final Crusader Miniatures blister Bondi with Spears (DAV003) and there were no spears!  The shields, the Vikings but no spears.  I tend not to check blisters these days because normally you’ll have everything in them, but I’m missing the spears so time to email Crusader Miniatures.

Right that’s the email gone.

I’m not going to base these, nor clean them up just in case they want the blister returned.

So moving on to my last metal blister, the Arizan Design’s Viking Jarls (VIK12).  These are the sub-commanders for my army, so these chaps will be based on 30mm round bases.

One thing I notice is that the Artizan miniatures are a good fit for scale compared to the Crusader but have a lot more flash to clean.  The Crusader miniatures required minimal work on that which is a nice change.

I notice one of the Jarls is missing a spear as well, is this a trend?  A quick check to the Artizan Design and I see the Viking Jarls do not come with spears.  So hold on a bit, do the Bondi with Spears actually come with spears?  Let me go check them.  What’s that?  You need to supply your own wire spears – why?  That’s a cheap trick, seems they want £5.00 for some wire spears that you can down to shape.

So another £5.00 + P&P, I’d rather wish that I had known this before.  I feel a bit cheated I have to be honest and I’m off to email Great Escape Games as they really should mention this, or supply some spears.  I also feel a bit of an idiot emailing without doing any detailed research, then again that’s me used to buying figures that include everything your require.

Time now to post onto the club forum to see what others do.  I could buy this spear pack but there will be a lot of waste as you need to cut these to fit.

Ok another email gone to Crusader apologising for being too quick to complain.

Next I’ve been told to buy the spears from North Star, so I have done.  Again it’s £5.00 + 10% P&P but I think the website isn’t very good and the payment portal is total rubbish.  What I’m saying here is that I’ve ordered the spears and entered my card details and not a single email has come back yet (it took over 24 hours to get a basic email from them).  This gives me an idea but back to my Vikings.

A few hours later and I have a number of the Gripping Beast plastic Hirdmen all built up, here’s a few pictures.

Made by Renedra Ltd of Wisbech, England (not far from my home town) and made with the same quality that you see with others they produce such as the Perry Miniatures British Line Infantry, and very similar with them are a number of easy to fit heads/arms that make building the models up so easy.  As these are the first I’ve done learning what left arms go with what right arms means a few mistakes it’s easy to sort with plastic figures as the cement takes time to bond, glad these aren’t metal otherwise the super glue would mean I have some weird looking Vikings!

Casting quality is excellent, very few seam lines around the models I’ve made so far and as previously discussed the arms/weapons/shields are easy to fit, very easy.

Each sprue contains 10 Viking bodies (5 different designs repeated) along with 14 separate heads (4 are duplicated) which gives you plenty of variation but also allowing you to keep the Vikings looking like they’re part of the same group.  There are plenty of shields (all plain) and weapons which allow you to pose your figures in a number of different ways, however I did find that after the first sprue I had one figure with a spear in his left hand with no matching right arm available.

A small conversion job for the left handed spear-man, I used a small right arm and then cut the hand thumb off and then glued the shield onto his small hand, and then glued the right onto the model, so here he is:

One complaint is that the heads are fixed to the sprue via the top of the helmet so cutting it out, then shaping the plastic is time consuming and can lead to a few flat helmets.  I’m sure once the Vikings are all undercoated you won’t be able to tell which were butchered and which weren’t.  If I had designed the sprue layout, i’d have added the join under the head, it’s easier to cover mistakes there.  Anyway this is a minor complaint really – I should take more time on these but alas I don’t have that.

Next models to create are the commands models.  There are two small sprues with two models which allows you to create a musician, standard or command model.  I plan on making one command, two standards and one musician.

That’s the command and one musician completed, time to get back to the rank and file troops.

The command/musicians are a bit dull if you ask me.  The musician looks like he’s about to fall forward and the horn arm doesn’t allow you to put it into his mouth, what would be ace I think.  The heads are a pain though, they’ll joined onto the sprue underneath, ie where the beards are.  It’s quite hard to cut them off in one piece and make the beard look good, I lost one head due to slipping and cutting half the beard off!

A couple of pics of the Vikings built so far:

However that’s enough for this blog post.  I’ll continue building my Vikings over the next week and let you know how I get on.

Cheers
Colin

Going to War, raising a Viking Great Army – Stage 2 (Part 1) building it.

Here we go again then, day 2 (was when I started this, it’s now day 6) of the week without kids and now I’m onto the build element of my Viking Great Army.

In an earlier blog I mentioned that we’re having a Dark Age campaign at the club in November using the Clash of Empires rules and so I bought a Viking Great Army (VGA) direct from Great Escape Games and then I wrote my army list.

To recap, here’s a picture of what I have available to build, and next to that a breakdown of what exactly it is..

The Viking Army Deal contained the following:

  • 2 boxes of Gripping Beast plastic Viking Hirdmen (88 figures total)
  • Artizan Designs Viking jarl and standard bearer, plus 2 hersir
  • Crusader Miniatures 20 bondi
  • Crusader Miniatures hirdmen command and berserkers
  • Crusader Miniatures 8 archers (skirmishers)

Plus I also received a Viking Lord Miniature (still to locate him!)

Next thing I did was to email Jim (Products of Wargamers) asking him to about the total number of bases that I wanted, plus asking him if they sell movement trays.

He (as always) quickly replied and told me he could make the bases I required and the movement trays and that he’d be in touch with the costs of them, I’m still awaiting this and the bases – so time to send him another email I think.

I’ve also bought some Shield Decals and some bases for this miniatures.

The Shield Decals were bought from Little Big Men Studio.  I asked my club members where I can buy shield decals/transfers and when I look at the Little Big Men Studio I liked what they had so I told my brain to use them.  I had a few questions and so I contacted them (via the website) and within a few hours, Steve had replied to me with my answers.

I bought the following stuff:

Order 1:

Order 2:

Total cost, was for Order 1, £24 plus £1 P&P, Order 2 was £9 plus £1 P&P, total cost £35.

If I’d ordered both orders together, it would have cost £37.50, because any order over £25 is sent out using Special Delivery which costs too much I think for a little A5 letter.

At this time I’m waiting on these as well, but I only ordered them yesterday so it’s too early to have them.

So what i’ve started to do is to remove some of the models (the metal miniatures to start), clean the seams, the flash etc and glue their shields on so that as soon as the bases turn up, I can glue and then get them undercoated.

Here’s a few pics of the Hirdmen Command made by Crusader Miniatures.

 

 

 

 

 

Behind those you can see the Gripping Beast Plastic Viking Sprues, these will be done post all the metal figures.

Next come the Crusader Miniature Berserkers

 

 

 

 

 

 

These chaps will be the first I paint of my Vikings, I think they’re excellent..

Next up comes the Crusader Miniatures Bondi with Bows, this time a pack of 8 miniatures rather than 4 as shown in the first 2 packs opened and dealt with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s all for Part 1, Part 2 will show the further metal miniatures opened up, cleaned and photographed, 3 more packs of Crusader Miniatures and 1 Artizan Designs.

I have to at this point comment that the Crusader Miniatures are excellent, nicely detailed without going over the top and pretty clean casts, not a lot of seams or flash to clean off.  But my main gripe is that any packs of 8 (that i’ve opened, ie the Bondi with Bows) just repeat the models twice, rather than having 8 different figures.

Cheers
Colin

 

Going to War, raising a Viking Great Army – Stage 1 planning it.

Here we go then, I have a week without kids and so apart from the normal working day and the call of the pub in the evenings I have some spare time.

In an earlier blog I mentioned that I picked up the Clash of Empires war games rules and bought a Viking Great Army (VGA) direct from Great Escape Games and that I planned to partake in a short CoE campaign at the club.

To recap, here’s a picture of what I have available to build, and next to that a breakdown of what exactly it is..

The Viking Army Deal contained the following:

  • 2 boxes of Gripping Beast plastic Viking Hirdmen (88 figures total)
  • Artizan Designs Viking jarl and standard bearer, plus 2 hersir
  • Crusader Miniatures 20 bondi
  • Crusader Miniatures hirdmen command and berserkers
  • Crusader Miniatures 8 archers (skirmishers)

Plus as a bonus for buying the Age of Ravens source book I also received a Viking Lord Miniature (I need to find out where he’s ‘safely’ stored).

Right then, where to begin?  First I’ll look at how to base these models.

Reading the rules the Hirdmen/Bondi will need to be based on 20x20mm bases because these are classed as ‘closed’ infantry.  It would also then make sense to put the bases on movement trays to make that all easier to move around.  The Bondi Archers are classed as skirmishers and so will require 25x25mm bases.

Looking through the rules, seems 6 is an accepted frontage for a unit of Vikings.  With 20 Bondi that’s 3 rows of 6 (18) with  2 behind.  The Hirdmen number 96 (88 plastic, 4 command and 4 Berserkers) which makes for 3 larger units of 32 or 4 of 24 and works out well with 4 ranks of either 8 or 6.  This should mean that with a Berserker in each unit I shall get 2 more attacks added to the number of models in the frontage (not taking into account their commander/generals extra dice).

There are rules that benefit both the wider frontage and the number of ranks you have.  The wider your front the more attacks you get, the deeper your ranks the more bonus to the combat resolution score.  So it’s important to maximise both and with that knowledge I would think 8 with 3 ranks would work best.

Next we come to building the army list, for that I need to use the Age of Ravens source book as it has the VGA army list.

Reading Age of Ravens tell us that our army must be built using the following rules.

Command
Must include 1 General
May include up to 3 Sub-Commanders

Core Units
Must include 2 units of Hirdmen
May include up to 8 other core units.

Support
May include up to 5 support

Skirmish
May include up to 4 skirmish

Allies
Up to 30% available

Now that we know what we have to include and what we may include we can now take the 2500 limit for the Clubs CoE Campaign and start to design.

Around an hour later I have this:

Command
Konnungr (50 points)
Hersir (55 points)
Hersir (55 points)
Hersir (55 points)

Total Points: 215

Core Units
Hirdmen

Hearthguard – 24 models (624 points) (The Konnungr’s Bodyguards) – Throwing Spears added
Unit A – 24 models (432 points)
Unit B – 24 models (432 points)
Unit C – 24 models (432 points)

Add 1 Berserker to the Hearthguard and Units (A-C) (36 points)
Upgrade Hearthguard and Unit A to add Throwing Spears (48)

Total Points: 2004

Bondi
Warband D – 20 models (200 points)
Warband E – 8 models – Skirmishers (56 points)
Upgrade HTH to 3 and ML to 7 (Swap Javelins for Bows) (24 points)

Total Points: 280

Total Army Points: 2499 (215 + 2004 + 280)

That’s all the easy bits done.  I need to order up the bases and movement trays, I’ll use my normal suppliers Products for Wargamers as they are cheap, efficient and generally good folks.

Counting the bases, 20x20mm I will need approx 118 of them, 8 of the 25x25mm, 3 of 30x30mm round (Hersirs) and 1 of 40x40mm (Konnungr).  I’ll write an email in a moment (sent it) so that’s all done and dealt with.

That’s it for preparation, next we come to building the miniatures that’s part of another post and now it’s time to do something else, i’ll start on these later today – 130 odd models will take their time…..

Cheers

Clash of Empires – Vikings! The Age of Ravens Sourcebook and a bit more…

A few months back we had an offer posted on the Clubs forum, regarding Clash of Empires (CoE). This is described on Amazon as ‘Tabletop Wargaming Rules for Battles from Deepest Antiquity to the Medieval Era’.

I enquired into what CoE was really all about via our clubs forum and got told that it was all about historical gaming from all periods of history from Classical to Roman through to Viking, Dark Ages and through to the Medieval period of history, it sounded ace.

What was better though was that Great Escape Games were offering the club a great offer as they have recently released the second source book for CoE called ‘Age of Ravens’ which to my delight had Vikings.  As I keep being told I have vikings blood in me (I burn as soon as the sun comes out, I have a large frame, I am aggressive and I have a beard and a thirst for ale…) anyway I’ve always liked them since a school visit to the Viking Museum in York all those years ago.

The club deal was excellent and we received:

The main rulebook ‘Clash of Empires‘ nearly 200 pages of A4 lovelyness all contained within a hardcover.  Printed on what feels 115gsm silk paper showing that no expense has been spared and laid out in a way easy to find the section you want as they’ve colour coded the sections.

In this book as you’d expect you have rules concerning Army list creation, movement, combat, morale, game sequence, scenarios and everything you need to play. I’ve had a quick read of this, and I will write a blog post all about this in a few weeks when I’ve had the chance to do that and then had a chance to play this game at the club.

The next book we got was the ‘The Rise and Fall of Persia‘.  This is the first source book for CoE, just like the rulebook its a hardback, full colour, silk paper and it’s got 130 pages.  It allows you do built 28 armies lists from Classical armies, through to Persian Empire, Cyrus the Great, Peloponnesian Wars (Greek vs Greek) and Alexander the Great.

The last book we received is the book I first talked about above, the ‘Age of Ravens‘ and my favourite book (as it has the Vikings in it).  Once again it’s another hardbacked, full colour book with around 112 silky pages and allows you to build up to 18 different armies which are split into different times.

As it’s my favourite book of the three and I’ve read it more indepth than the others and so here I can go into a lot more detail. Do not worry, I plan to build an army for the first source book and when I do, I’ll let you know.

As mentioned, the book is split into three different times and within each of these are a number of Armies of that time.  Here are the three periods with the lists contained within.

  • Wolves Upon the Fold
    • Viking Raiders (c. 793-865)
    • Irish (Hiberno-Norse) (c. 795-1167)
    • Welsh (c. 700-1200)
    • Picts (c. 550-845)
    • Scots (c. 700-1124)
    • Middle Anglo-Saxon (c.700-1016)
    • Viking Great Army (c. 830-1130)
  • Invasion and Conquest
    • Later Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Danish (c. 1016-1071)
    • West Francia (c. 879-1100)
    • Breton (c. 750-1100)
    • Norman (c. 911-1100)
    • Anglo-Norman (c. 1072-1154)
  • The battle for Spain
    • Later Visigothic (c. 654-718)
    • Ummayad Invasion (c.711-750)
    • Early Christian Spanish (c.750-1040)
    • Al-Andalus (c. 756-1172)
    • Later Christian Spanish (c. 1040-1250)
    • Berber (c. 1039-1269)

Between each period you are given pages of photographs showing miniatures representing various units and armies from the period, pages of them in fact and all in full glorious colour.  Plenty of reference models shown and you’re told who makes them, and my flick through to find this information showed that a fair few seem to be made by Gripping Beast.

The book almost finishes up with three scenarios:

  1. Brunanburh 937 (Army of Atheistan (Middle Anglo-Saxon) vs Celtic-Viking Alliance (Viking Great Army))
  2. Val-ès-Dunes 1047 (Norman Rebel Barons (Norman) vs Franco-Norman Alliance (West Francia))
  3. Torrevicente 981 (Galib’s Rebel Alliance (Early Christian Spanish) vs Caliphate of Cordoba (Al-Andalus))

But then finally slips in some more information on wargaming in Viking Britain and Western Europe in the 9th-12th centuries.

My aim was to get into the Vikings and I was pointed towards the Viking Great Army.  Lucky for me Great Escape Games have read my mind and have produced a ready to purchase Army!

Here’s a link to that product, look at that £80 (plus a bit of P&P) for 128 models (28mm), of which it’s a mix of plastic (Gripping Beast) and soft metal (Artizan Designs and Crusader Miniatures).

The Viking Army Deal contains the following:

  • 2 boxes of Gripping Beast plastic Viking Hirdmen (88 figures total)
  • Artizan Designs Viking jarl and standard bearer, plus 2 hersir
  • Crusader Miniatures 20 bondi
  • Crusader Miniatures hirdmen command and berserkers
  • Crusader Miniatures 8 archers (skirmishers)

That looks like this:

As you can see, a great deal when compared with other games and this is enough for 2500 points.

So then my CoE plan, in a few weeks I’ll make the plastic figures up and then spend a week preparing them (trimming seams etc), give them a black undercoat (not sure how now my Shed has gone) and then get to work on overbrushing all the chainmail…

One thing I forgot was that as I was one of the first to get the new source book I received a bonus figure, according to the Great Escape Games website it’s a Viking Warlord!  Exactly what I need and here’s a picture.

Anyway until next time, have a good one and keep fighting.

Huzzah!