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Starting Saga – The Viking Invasion of Ireland (18 posts)

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  • Avatar Image bazleebub93p said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Saga has been sitting on my watch list for a few years now and the recent weekender with @avernos pushed me over the edge. The rules system seems light and fun and you get to play with Vikings so it should be a no brainer. The new campaign system sounds like a hell of a lot of fun with a few friends. It also seems like a natural fit since I live in Dublin, I’m just around the corner from the Dublinia Viking exhibition at Christchurch, and I’m dodging the Viking tour every day.

    After a bit of reading around I found this nice article on starting SAGA on a budget with Vikings on the In short, they suggest picking up two boxes of Gripping beast’s Dark Age Warriors and a Box Viking Hirdmen. They then go through a breakdown of how to use that for a Viking, Norse-Gael, Jomsviking, and Irish warband. Similarly, Gripping Beast also do some deals for Starter Viking and Anglo Dane/Saxon warbands where they’ve mixed in some of the sprues giving you enough for a 4pt warband and a few extra.

    Thinking about it, I wasn’t really happy with either options. My goal here is to put together enough to be able to turn up at a mates house, put all the models down, and have a game. I wanted to keep it as cheap as possible with the most options. In the end I went for 1 box of Dark Age Warriors and 1 box of Viking Hirdmen. This gave me enough to put together a Viking warband and (my reasoning goes) an Anglo-Dane war band. Slightly better bang for my buck than getting 3 boxes or for getting two of the 4pt starter boxes.

    For the Anglo-Danes many go for the Saxon box instead of the Viking, but well the Danes were still Vikings so… I gather the bigger difference was in favoured facial hair and later on in religious affiliation. More importantly, the Viking box has the Dane Axes I needed for the Anglo-Danes and they can later be subbed into the Norse-Gaels. Putting them together I used helmets on all except one of the warlords and the berserkers. My idea with this was to make it easier to tell which were Hearthguard, which were Warriors, and which were Levies. Hearthguard are in chainmail with helms, Warriors don’t have chainmail but do have helms, and Levies don’t have either. Working with this idea I’ve ended up with two 5 point warbands.

    1 Warlord
    4 Berserkers (two weapons, chain armour, bare heads)
    4 Hearthguard (one handed axe or sword + shield)
    4 Hearthguard (one handed axe or sword + shield)
    8 Warriors (spear and shield)
    8 Warriors (spear and shield)

    1 Warlord (Dane Axe)
    4 Hearthguard (Dane Axe)
    4 Hearthguard (Dane Axe)
    4 Hearthguard (one handed axe or sword + shield)
    8 Warriors (spear and shield)
    8 Warriors (spear and shield)

    4 Hearthguard (One-handed axe or sword + shield)
    Then I have 10 unused Dark Age Warriors bodies and 10 unused Viking Hirdmen. These didn’t get made as I ran out of armoured heads. I could definitely go back and make some Hearthguard without helms, they should still be clear with the chain and weapon combination. Theres also a ton of extra weapon bits and pieces unused, the sprues are just jammers.

    I didn’t go for any Levies yet. The Dark Ages box only has the option for slings and I felt the two sides would look better with bows. Gripping beast just this weekend announced they are making some Dark Ages archers, so I might pick those up later.

    My first man.

    For the bases I looked on ebay and found a seller doing MDF bases in 25mm for the men and 40mm for the warlord. Very cheap.

    The shields in the above picture are only blue-tacked on to test the fight. I should note here that I like using super glue but found that sometimes it ended up with quite delicate connections that liked to snap under any pressure. That said I hate using poly cement due to the spider webs of glue that get everywhere despite my best efforts.
    Initially, I had a few frustrations with putting the guys together as there wasn’t the flexibility I was used to from GW plastics around the shoulder joint. Rather than a circle connection, these are oval-ish so rotation needs to be kept minimal or leaves a weird gap. I also found that some of the connections weren’t flat to flat and I was happier after a little filing. On reflection there do appear to be a few intended poses and I was just being stubborn and wading upstream. Initially, this made me feel a little frustrated as if the kit wasn’t as good as I had been led to believe but after a while I got into the flow with it and would now say I’m very happy with it.

    On the Dane Axes, each of the Viking sprues had 2 Dane Axes but only one set of arms to use with them. Without realising this I ended up using one of the sets of arms for the Anglo-Dane warlord for his offhand. This was easily resolved by using spear arms and clipping off the top of the Dane Axe and then adding it to the resized spear haft. The Dark Ages box has axes slightly bigger than the Viking which looked fine on the longer haft giving extra options. This way I was able to put together 8 hearth guard with Dane Axes and one Warlord with one.

    These are the two full armies assembled. There’s also a Lagertha model I picked up in the background and at some point the Ragnar I’ve ordered will arrive. Due to the way the models have a small base at the bottom, something needed to be done to hide this. Taking the easy option I used Vallejo Dark Earth and caked the bases with it. Now it has since dried you can see somewhere parts of the lip are still visible but this can easily be covered with basing material.

    Shields were kept separate.

    Base coat of white (on both sides) as the plan is to use transfers later on from Little Big Men Studios.

  • Avatar Image bazleebub93p said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Everything sprayed with undercoat and a highlight spray cos. This was with a black base and a grey highlight. In retrospect, a white might have given a greater contrast as it’ll all get covered up later anyway.

    From here I decided to paint groups in points. So 4 hearth guard or 8 warriors. So the above are hearth guard getting base colours and dipped in Army Painter Strong Tone quick shade. Again the idea here is to get the armies painted and ready to go so no masterpieces here.

    This is another 1 point worth of models, in this case, 8 Warriors getting painted and ready for dipping.

    There are the little big men shields in action. On the top half, you can see it going from Right to left. Weirdly you peal of the clear top layer then stick the coloured side to the shield. The paper rear is then removed by dropping some water on it and pealing it off. Unexpected but works pretty well. Shield then get painted up and varnished.

  • Avatar Image bazleebub93p said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Bases finished by painting them Vallejo Dark Earth again (the paint this time not the basing surface) and dry brushed with some lighter colours. Add a few Army painter tufts for the grass. Shields up and good to get in the battle. After taking this I decided I wanted to using the Army Painter dip again to get the shields a little grittier.

    Since this, I’ve taken some time to match the shield patterns into themed groups to get a little more cohesion between groups.

    As I finish this up, I’m onto the next point. Another hearth guard with Dane axes. I’m still unsure if I’ll stick shields on their back or not.

    I’m going to keep dropping updates to this thread as I work through it until finally I get that game in.


  • Avatar Image avernos1847p said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    great stuff, I spent this morning dipping 5 point Viking warband myself and have a raft of LBMS sitting ready to attach next. Nice to see some more Saga on the way. I have a plan for a Clontarf game on the anniversary (23rd April) but it may become the hybrid child of Saga and Lion Rampant.

    “Daemons and Shit!” -BoW Lloyd 2017

    Sophia Lives!!!

  • Avatar Image rasmus4692p said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Looking great

    Official graduate of the Oriskany Operational Warfare Military Gaming Academy
    Warrens personal Viking Henchman
  • Avatar Image tibour197p said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Looking good, I always like to see more people getting into this great game.

  • Avatar Image limburger2175p said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    @bazleebub :
    That’s a great intro into starting an couple of armies :-)
    If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve got more than a few armies/game systems on my build&paint list already this would be exactly what I’d need to get started on yet another system …

    festina lente cauta fac omnia mente
  • Avatar Image bazleebub93p said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Let’s have a quick word about colours. When starting this project my image of Vikings was coming straight out of the History Channel tv show. I was expecting drab colours, lots of blacks and leather browns. Some reading of the intewebs corrected me on this point. First off have a read through this article on the 1000 foot general blog. He goes through the colours that would have been available in the Dark Ages and gives some Vallejo and GW equivalents that could be used. It is a pretty wide range, although some were more common than others.

    I went for these kind of colours with my first set of Hearthguard: Hirdmen for the Vikings and Huscarls for the Anglo-Danes.

    It is a little hard to see from this shot but those are a green, a blue, a yellow, and a red tunic with a mix of leg colours. Then I added in the shields, yellow and purple, red and white, brown and white, and red. I’m happy with how it came out, but it all ended up a bit hodge-potch. Although that might be part of the point.

    Next up I painted 8 warriors: Viking Freemen or Anglo-Dane Ceorls. This is a case where the Anglo-Saxon helms might be good for the Anglo-Danes as the Warriors were often Anglo-Saxon’s serving under their Anglo-Dane masters. I’m still not too bothered as there is this big grey area around it all.

    For these guys, I used more of the drab colours and avoided the rare colours. Despite what you might think from this picture I actually went through the shield transfers I had and sorted them out into thematic sets. It’s just that this set of 8 was basically the left-overs. The chaos dial was turned down slightly.

    The most recent set are Anglo-Dane Huscarl’s with Dane-Axes. In this case, they don’t have shields (although I might take the option to add some to their back later) and I went for a single colour for the tunics to give them a unit feel.

    The beards and other parts of clothing give a decent amount of variation to keep things different. Personally, I think the balance is going to lie somewhere in between. I’ve pulled out a few sets of shields have a couple of linked colours that could work throughout the unit. Ultimately they all have a unifying dull brown from the drudgery of the dark ages, the unrelenting mud of it all, and of course the strong tone dip.

  • Avatar Image avernos1847p said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    obviously you’re done already but it’s a very interesting point on colour so I’d thought I’d share, the following are examples from Stockholm of dyes available in Sweden in the Medieval period, a little later than the raiders but it gives a good idea of what they would have.

  • Avatar Image avernos1847p said 1 year, 1 month ago:

    Loving the work you’ve achieved on your minis in such a short space of time. The slight cost in LBMS transfers is well worth it as it just makes the minis stand out.

  • Avatar Image bazleebub93p said 1 year ago:

    A working week with another 8 warriors completed. This week has been busy but I’ve managed to sneak in some time most days to keep things going.

    This week I have a few things to mention. First up to come back to the colours we were talking about last time.

    These are the basic details for the Warriors. I’ve been using all Vallejo colours. First the metal is given Gun Metal, the spears (and later shields) get US Field Drab, skin gets Flat Flesh, leather is Flat Brown. Nice and easy.

    This leaves the fabrics to finish. So we know that the Vikings had access to a decent variety of colours but that doesn’t tell us what to actually use, especially for a group. talks about this a little bit and brings in the colour wheel. The example of the analogous colour scheme was of interest to me as I had already picked out the red shields. Picking out the groups clothes I tried to go with browns and yellows avoiding greens and blues.

    I think they turned out pretty nice!

    My work this week though was a little sloppier. I found myself less focused on getting the work done. There were lots of reasons: I had things on, work was busy, I just started running a sci-fi rpg, family visited. The key part here is I had to work to keep focused. Like most miniature painters I have a bit of a shiney syndrome, in fact this project interrupted my painting of a small Black Templar army.

    Over the years I’ve found my excitement for a project can be honed and focused. I immerse myself in media that will keep me excited about the project I want to work on. So in the same way the new 40k hype got me to pull out my space marines, watching Vikings keeps me excited about painting Vikings!

    So here are a few things I’ve been enjoying.
    The last kingdom
    The 13th warrior
    The Viking age podcast
    The Irish history podcast
    Dark ages magazines from the app version of wargaming illustrated

    There is plenty of stuff out there, some terrible. The important thing is I’m keeping my excitement up which keeps me focused on getting the job done. I found this was an important thing for me to understand about myself. With some effort, I’m able to channel my excitement as long as I keep it propped up.

    With the addition of this set of warriors, I’ve hit 4 points for a SAGA warband! Four points is the recommend starting point and is the starting warband for the age of the wolf campaign. That’s pretty awesome, I’m just a warlord way from a viable army!

    As I mentioned in the first post, I wanted to go for 5 points as a starting army. I had originally looked at 4 but knowing the Vikings could only take 4 bezerkers but that the Anglo Danes could take lots of Dane axes so I wanted more than four with axes. I had also heard that the Anglo Danes have some sweet defensive options which shine with the sword and board huscarls. As I was going for 2 groups of warriors anyway it made sense to go for 5 points. This also means I can later add in some of the recently announced Gripping Beast Levy Archers to round it out to a 6 point army.

    So next on my painting table I have those a warlord and 4 huscarls with Dane Axes finishing off this side of the army.

    Once they are finished I will have hit the half-way mark!

  • Avatar Image bazleebub93p said 1 year ago:

    A little late on this update. I get most of my painting done on the weekend. Last weekend as I was watching everyone on the hobby boot camp I realised I was within a heartbeat of finishing the two warbands myself. I had already completed enough models for a single warband.

    Later I would split the groups up to go for a red versus blue approach

    I did have some trouble with the weird cracking on some of the shields. From what I can tell I was rushing it. I didn’t have the problem when I a) let the transfer dry properly and b) let the drip dry for 24 hours.

    So, rather than stopping to write a post and get some pictures I kept going and got the last few miniature done. The army painter approach is just fantastic for getting through mass figures. It’s also important for me to know that if I want to go back and add extra detail (some highlighting, add eyes, etc.) I still can. More importantly, they’re straight up done. These guys are ready to hit the battlefield and get a game in. The gripping beast plastics also seemed quite suitable for the style. The models had basic block areas for colour so they were simple enough to paint up, but also had good definition to allow them get good results from the dip.

  • Avatar Image bazleebub93p said 1 year ago:

    In the hopes of speeding things up during games, I picked up some of Sarissa’s movement bases which group four models into a larger base. The versions they provide have a minimal amount of lip around them. They aren’t square so avoid the ranked look. They link up nicely so 2 or 3 can be pushed together for units of 8 and 12.

    Anglo-Danes in the Cabinet

    Vikings in the Cabinet

    Hopefully, you can see the Vikings are roughly browns and reds while the Anglo-Danes are roughly blues, yellows, and greys. At the same time there is enough variation within them and the units could be combined into a single warband if needed.

    I still have another unit of Hearthguard which are on the painting table. Right now I think they get added to the Viking warband and I’ll order some of the new Gripping beast archers to round out the Anglo-Danes. This would bring both of them up to 6 points.

    One of the elements of the game is that units build up fatigue as they do things. One suggestion I had heard was to use spare shields as tokens. To step it up a bit I decided to put them onto some of the many spare bases I have and muddy it up a bit. The extra bits from the sprues work perfectly for this.

    The bases on the left still need some bloodying up. I did try adding a few of these into the Sarissa bases which seemed handy but turns out they are tricky to get out again! ><

  • Avatar Image bazleebub93p said 12 months ago:

    A quick update, on April 14th I headed down to Gamers World in Dublin where I met with one of my friends (Ger) to get my First game of Saga on! It was Feb 26th when BoW had a weekender that convinced me to go all in on SAGA. So 48 days between taking the notion and getting down for a game.

    We managed to get two games in with one all for the Vikings and Anglo-Danes. It was easy enough to pick up (and explain) and at the same time the battle boards gave enough depth that I’ve been thinking of other options since then.

    Painting continues. I have a final group of 4 hearthguard to finish off and like Warren I’ve also picked up a Ragnar and a Lagertha to lead the Vikings. Those are currently in progress and will get posted once finished. I’ve also taken some of the spare sprues and I’m working on a banner bearer for each of the warbands. The gripping beast plastic hirdmen kit had some small flags I’ll be using. Once I clear my painting desk I’ll be putting down for the new box set of Levy from GP so I can add a point of Levy archers to each side.

  • Avatar Image warzan10395p said 12 months ago:

    Flippin brilliant stuff here :)

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