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Sounding the Call to Arms

June 22, 2017

When buying models for a project like this, one generally goes about it in one of two ways. The first is a measured and premeditated escalation, where the hobbyist carefully purchases and builds one box at a time before moving on to the next. This certainly tends to create more controlled approach and generally leads to focused, unified units. And then there’s the second way, where the hobbyist buys a whole stack of boxes at once and builds them up piecemeal. Building this way can be a bit more chaotic, especially if one starts kitbashing by mixing elements from different kits into one model or unit. Each way has its merits, but I opted for the latter…

After reading some reviews of appropriate kits, I rushed giddily to the internet to buy the models. I chose each to fit both a narrative and mechanical role, with some being easier to explain than others. I’ll begin with the most relevant and work my way down, starting with the backbone of the warband.

I wanted to start with the core of my army first, so I picked out the Gripping Beast Plastics Viking Hirdmen kit. I thought that these sword hefting, mail-clad, bearded northerners would be a perfect fit for Jarl Einar’s Huskarls, and I wasn’t wrong. The detail on the minis is fantastic, and there are tons of weapon and head options to make each Viking look fighting fit.

I liked the look of Gripping Beast’s poses and models, so I decided to get their Dark Age Warriors kit as well. Compared to the Hirdmen, there are much fewer weapons, poses, and head options, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. From what we can tell from the historical record, armor and helmets were actually pretty rare in the Viking age, so these unarmored Danes will make the armored bodies look even more formidable.

I’ll admit, this kit was a bit of a stretch. Though we do have solid evidence of Vikings using stolen horses to raid farther inland, it is doubtful that they ever fought from horseback. Enter Rule #4. I don’t find it too difficult to imagine a Danish warrior having been on the wrong end of a Frankish cavalry charge and thinking that maybe there was something to this whole “mounted warrior” thing. It goes without saying that I’ll have to heavily kitbash these guys to look more like Vikings, but I think I can shape them into something passable given enough plastic, glue, and epoxy. Time will tell.

And lastly, I bought a few sprues of Wargames Factory’s Saxon Fyrd. I won’t lie; I bought this kit for the bows and metal rimmed shields. I will certainly craft the bodies into something passable, possibly thralls taken from raids, but I’m not too impressed with the kit overall. Still, I can make them work and having a few bodies of different proportions in the mix will make the whole set that much more realistic.

With all of these kits in front of me, it was tempting to grab up my hobby knife and glue and start smashing plastic together. However, I managed to resist the “new toy” syndrome for a moment, and considered the larger picture. One of the reasons I bought so many kits at once was to utilize them as a whole rather than building haphazardly. In order to avoid that, I needed a plan

  1. Stelios V. Perdios permalink

    The Gripping Beast Dark Warriors are a great purchase. I used them to built an early Welsh Warband for SAGA. And when SAGA fell through, they’re now often featured in my games of Dragon Rampant.

    The Norman Knights are, indeed, a stretch. But the Vikings were adaptable. Historically, some of the Vikings became mounted “Normans” after all. Maybe your warband represents some of the first.

    Just keep that casualty figure that comes with the kit handy because they might not have been good with mounted warfare at the outset. 😉

    And if all else fails then you’ve got a nice group of Normans to paint up.

    I look forward to seeing how this project develops.

    Happy painting!

    • Agreed! Those rascally Vikings and their pesky notions! If there is one thing I can say about the GBP kits, they give plenty of bits to festoon the Proto-Normans with. They may not be very effective at anything, but they will look glorious!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. To be a Jarl | WizendTurnip Press
  2. Drafting a Plan of Attack | WizendTurnip Press

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