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Romano-British for Dux Britanniarum

Romano-British for Dux Britanniarum

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Saxons!

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Saxons!

Having completed the Romano-British force I decided that I would continue this project and build the opposing Saxons. The Saxon starting force in Dux Britanniarum consists of:

A Warlord
A Champion
Two Nobles
Two groups of six elite Hearthguard
Three groups of six Warriors
One group of four Archers
You can therefore see that it is numerically smaller than the Romano-British force, but it is made up mainly of Warriors or Elites. There are no Levy or Numeri equivalents.
The first question was which figures to get. I knew that I wanted to base the army around Footsore’s Early Saxons range, but this immediately created an issue. When selecting my Romano-British I had decided to choose mail-armoured figures for the standard Milites. I know this is the equivalent of everyone turning up for work driving a Ferrari, but it is so much better than some guys in tunics who look like they didn’t want to be there (leave that to the Numeri).  However, this meant that when choosing figures to represent the Saxon Warriors they would need to be similarly attired to avoid disparity.  This immediately narrowed down the number of eligible figures from the Footsore range as only a few of their Early Saxons are wearing mail. Whilst I was willing to tolerate a few repeat poses, too many would spoil the charging warband look I was going for as they would look too disciplined. I therefore needed to look for another range that would inject variety.
After much internet research, I decided that Gripping Beast’s range would probably scale well against Footsore and I placed an order. I considered some of the figures available from Warlord, but I couldn’t find any pictures of them scaled against a Footsore figure so was reluctant to risk it. When the figures arrived I prepared and based them and you can see a comparison of two similarly posed figures from the two ranges side by side below.
Overall, the Footsore figures are better quality sculpts and more correctly proportioned. However, they are a bit static. The Gripping Beast sculpts seem to be older and the detail is less sharp. Also, the proportions of their fists are rather large, approaching the size of the head in some cases. The chainmail is also more chunky than that on the Footsore figures and sometimes gives an impression of being a woolly jumper rather than armour. However, the Gripping Beast figures are much more animated than the ones from Footsore so I’m confident that they will give the wild charging impression I’m after.  I’ve seen some pictures of Footsore figures set alongside Gripping Beast and once painted it is hard to tell the difference.
One gripe I have with the figures from both manufacturers is that they come with open hands.  On the one hand this gives you more discretion about how to arm them.  I took advantage of this to equip some of the hearthguard with swords and axes that came with the Gripping Beast order.  On the other hand, it does make it harder to affix my preferred wire spears as they are a lot thinner than the vast metal spears that I expect these open hands were designed for. In the end, I used green stuff to embed the spears into the hands and made an attempt to sculpt fingers and thumbs where necessary.  This is not perfect as the green stuff can become dislodged, but at least that then gives you more of a surface with which to glue the spear back in place.  However, on the whole I prefer drilling out closed fists and inserting the spear as is the case with the Romano-British figures.  The drilling out is a pain, but gives a more solid result in the long run.
The two nobles. If you look at the figure on the right you can see an attempt at sculpting a thumb.The two nobles. If you look at the figure on the right you can see an attempt at sculpting a thumb.
The other slight annoyance was that Footsore sent me a pack Late Saxon Archers rather than the Early Saxon Archers I ordered. However, it clearly wasn’t that important as I had prepared and based them before I realised, so I will make do with them for the time being.
These minor gripes aside I am pleased overall with how these figures look when set alongside each other. However, judge for yourself by taking a look at the photo at the top of this post.  I’m particularly looking forward to painting the Footsore Warlord and his Gripping Beast Champion as together I think they make a fine pairing!
The Warlord and his Champion. On closer inspection I saw that the Champion is resting his foot on a severed head. Not sure whether to keep that or cover it up in the name of good taste...The Warlord and his Champion. On closer inspection I saw that the Champion is resting his foot on a severed head. Not sure whether to keep that or cover it up in the name of good taste...

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