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New Recruits

June 29, 2017

Whenever starting a new model project, my first unit has always been an elite centerpiece of some sort. These impressive and characterful units often represent the essence of the army, and are usually some of the army’s hardest hitters. However, for this project I wanted to resist these urges and start with a dependable line unit instead. This was difficult. Just the word “Viking” evokes mail-clad warriors with swords and thick shields, feral berserkers in animal pelts with paired weapons, or bearded strongmen swinging vicious two-handed battleaxes. In truth, most Viking warriors were actually unarmored spearmen with only a round wooden shield to protect them. Still, it was these men who put a fear of the North into the coastal towns and villages of Europe. I thought it fitting that I start my warband with a group of these hardy Northmen…

As a quick aside, I feel that the spear always gets a bit of a bad rap in miniwargaming. It isn’t glamorous like a sword or a war axe, but has been the primary weapon of war for most of human history. Easy to construct, use, and maintain, spears could be found in great numbers in nearly every armed conflict until the adoption of firearms. Vikings were particularly fond of the weapon; It was no mistake that Odin’s primary weapon was a spear. The spear also has the advantage of having a noticeably longer reach than most other weapon types. This made them easy to use in large, tight formations like the Viking shieldwall. Most of my army will be carrying these useful tools of war.

Sticking closely to Rule #2, I felt it necessary to start with the unit’s leader. As I mentioned in my last post, these unit leaders are the lynchpins of their respective bands and influence how the entire unit looks and acts. For hobby purposes, I’ll be using the leader model as a template for the rest of the unit’s posing and painting choices. This also means that I will likely play them slightly differently based on their leader. Since I already had a handy list of characters to choose from, I picked a name and set about building the model.

“Black Handed” Hrodolf, the laughing warrior and irreverent leader of the right arm of the Shield Wall. He earned his name when he burst shivering into Jarl Einar’s hall in the dead of winter carrying a dire message. The Jarl’s neighbors were planning to march at the first melt of spring and put Einar’s lands to the sword. For his efforts, the winter took most of Hrodolf’s ears, part of his nose and the two smallest fingers on his left hand. Though Hrodolf had been in the sevice of another Jarl, Einar looked upon that frostbitten, black hand and knew he was speaking truthfully. Einar gave him a name, an arm ring, and a place at his table for his service.

Despite his disfigurements, Hrodolf never lost his sense of humor. As his name grew, he began collecting other laughing warriors and formed them into a decent fighting force. He called these men his “Incorrigibles.” These men distinguished themselves in the coming civil war, often cackling like crows at the enemy from behind their shield. Einar saw Hrodolf’s growing potential and placed him as a commander in his Shield Wall.

Now that his neighbor’s armies have been crushed, Einar asked Black Hand to accompany him on his raids. Hrodolf agreed without a second thought, and many of his Incorrigibles volunteered to follow his lead. Now to dress them for success with an appropriate palette of paints

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