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Saga – My Normans

Saga – My Normans

Project Blog by dugthefug1644

Recommendations: 65

About the Project

I started collecting miniatures for Saga and looked for the cheapest way in possible, because I wasn't sure whether the game would be for me. I have since fallen for the game and the painting of Dark Age miniatures and branched away from my original collection of Saxons & Vikings and into Normans. I have a Facebook page that helped me stay motivated and painting my collection regularly. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1748859648777691/ Even with this in place, I wanted to share my collection on the new Beasts of War format and have yet to quite finish my full 6 points of Normans, so wanted to share my planned purchases and my progress in painting them. Also check out my other Saga projects at https://www.beastsofwar.com/project/1216340/ (Vikings) and https://www.beastsofwar.com/project/1245542/ (Anglo-Danes / Saxons)

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Finally played some second edition SAGA.

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Finally played some second edition SAGA.

Played Saga second edition for the first time.

Was worried about the changes to the warlord, but still having ‘determination’ and ‘we obey’ and having the extra attack dice (8 attack dice for the warlord is pretty special) changed my opinion.

The refined fatigue system and the new battle boards were really fun to use. I also liked that as you lose strength of a unit (less than 6 levies, less than 4 warriors left) that unit no longer contributes to your dice pool for your battle board.

I lost as usual. I allowed my opponent to use my Normans and I had Vikings. I have never beaten Normans yet.

Great fun all the same. (Thanks Daniel Halliwell for the game.)

Will keep painting, but due to work commitments won’t be back at the club all of August. 🙁

Levies assemble...

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Levies assemble...

Got a game on Monday. Might finally get around to playing the second edition rules this time.

Evidence that a deadline can have a positive impact on a project without it causing any stress. 😊

Don't call him Scarface. :-)

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Don't call him Scarface. :-)

This Norman archer should have been dead from the savage wound, but is clearly made of sterner stuff.

The head is from the 20th century (Bolt Action German SS sprue) but I hoped that a vicious scar might drag him back to the Dark Age. (I know scars aren’t era exclusive, but felt that the neat side parting hair cut was dominating the piece)

No one will notice but me on the table top, no doubt. Lol.

After all this am I less likely to call him Hans than Pierre? Still not sure, but this was great fun to attempt.

Might see if I can imitate pockmarked skin at some point in the future.

Archers finally see some paint.

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Archers finally see some paint.

I got distracted by some modern miniatures purchases for Last Days Zombie Apocalypse. And I have been working a lot so hobby took a back seat.

My Facebook page is almost up to 300 members at this point and realised that I would never maintain that without some more content and effort on my part. It started as basically a blog but I have enjoyed the interaction with Dark Age history enthusiasts and Saga fans that you don’t get from just posting in a blog. It would be a shame to let that slip away, so I finally got something painted and will try to keep that up.

Archers arrived

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Archers arrived

My gripping beast sprues arrived. 6 easy build generic dark age archers.

I found my Conquest Games medieval archers sprues to make the other 6.

I added some heads from Bolt Action sprues to vary it up.

Some Wargames Factory heads were used too.

Been working a lot lately. Little time for hobby, but at least they are built now.

What's next...

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For those that know the game, Saga is played at a 4 Points level to get used to the rules and a 6 points level to play the game at a bigger and more balanced level.

I have a mounted Warlord and a Warlord on foot to choose from.
I have 1 point of mounted Hearth guard with swords. – 4 minis
I have 1 point of mounted warriors with javelins. – 8 minis
I have 1 point of warrior crossbowmen. – 8 minis
I have 2 points of warrior spearmen. – 16 minis

On my Facebook page I asked for advice on where to spend my last point.

The consensus was to get Levy archers. You can’t shoot Harold in the eye without a bow and arrow or two. 🙂

There’s also an ability on the Norman battleboard that can’t be utilized by any unit other than levy archers.

I have some spare Medieval archers from a really good Conquest Games plastic set, but I wanted some to look a bit more plain and basic in their clothing so i got a couple of cheap Gripping Beast generic Dark Age Archers sprues on ebay.

I also have a Christian Priest and a Norman with a small flag (calling it a standard would probably be a bit grand) both to consider as options once built and painted.

Will assemble my archers soon and try and pick heads that look as Norman-like as i can.

Warlords

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Warlords

I won a Golden Button for my Norman Warlord – perhaps more for a run of slow improvements rather than just for the quality of this model – but it was really appreciated and gave me a boost.

In my Conquest Games Norman Cavalry box there was a miniature arm sculpted with a stick. This intrigued me and i had enough horses to create a mounted warlord.

I read that William the Conqueror had used a stick, because he was famously pious and even though he was waging war on another nation it was not the done thing for a pious man to kill anyone. The stick could defend him yet not likely to kill who ever he struck. (maybe).

I have since read other articles that say that the stick wielding figure on the bayeux tapestry was actually William’s half-brother Bishop Odo. Traditionally in miniatures gaming the significance of arming a miniature with a stick would have been to represent Bishop Odo rather than William the Conqueror as far as I have seen.

Warlords

Mounted Warriors (Mark II)

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Mounted Warriors (Mark II)

I realized that once I read the Saga 2nd edition rules that mounted warriors are only allowed to be fielded with javelins. I haven’t used javelins or fought against javelins yet, but i am reliably informed that they are a solid option in game.

This realization meant that I had to change weapons on the few warriors i had completed. This wasn’t a major issue. I did ask some Dark Age re-enactors whether a javelin and a spear should be modeled differently. I only asked because a Roman style javelin had a very striking look to it and wondered whether there was a wrong way to model a Norman javelin. The consensus was that there was no obvious difference between a javelin and a spear that was worth worrying about, that the historical evidence was sketchy and the variety would have been immense.

Mounted Warriors (Mark I)

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Mounted Warriors (Mark I)

As i said before, i chose weapons, heads, clothing, shield types and bases to make the difference in troop types obvious when compared to my hearthguard.

I managed to get a favorable mention on a Hobby Hangout one week for some of my warriors and they used one of my minis as the icon art for that weeks catch up.

Hobby Hangout Livestream [Catch Up Now!]

Felt almost as good as a golden button (more on that later).

 

Mounted Hearthguard

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Mounted Hearthguard

I saw that the cost and low blister size of metal cavalry models was prohibitive, but with my Vikings and  Saxons being completely infantry based I wanted to include cavalry in my force.

I turned to Conquest Games miniatures and their plastic cavalry sprues gave excellent value for money. I have seen people dress down the quality of sculpt and crispness of details on these miniatures, but I feel that the quality is fine. The alternative for me was perhaps not to have cavalry at all and feel that would have been a shame.

I intended to have one troop of warriors (8 miniatures) and one set of hearthguard (4 miniatures) and realized that to differentiate between warriors and the hearthguard would take a touch of planning. I didn’t want to limit my fun with shield designs and tie the whole unit into one shield type. The miniatures did have a variety of attire, but there was no obvious sculpts that allowed me to pick 4 more opulent, better armored, standout models that would be obvious by pose or model alone. I settled on rectangular shaped bases for my hearthguard and lozenge shaped bases for my warriors. For the warriors I also tried to select heads and clothing that were definitely less well armoured and less affluent looking than the ones selected for the hearthguard.

I think that a sword was often a status symbol because they weren’t as quick or easy to make as a spear or as common as an axe so went for all swords with the Hearthguard.

Crossbowmen... More Foundry fun

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Crossbowmen... More Foundry fun

I brought two blisters of 6 Foundry Norman crossbowmen and sold the few poses I wasn’t as impressed with on ebay to bring me back to 8 warriors (the maximum for that unit type in the game.) Bizarrely I got as much for the 4 miniatures as I paid for one blister.

I was delighted that quite by accident one of my crossbowmen has ended up looking like Moe from the Three Stooges and was happy that people had made the link and had a laugh about it.

Spearmen... slow progress

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Spearmen... slow progress

The metal spears are quite vicious when handling these miniatures. The use of metal spears is probably old hat and normal fayer for most historical gamers but this was my first experience of it.

Once they were all primed and assembled I took the models one or two at a time and just enjoyed them. Painting their clothes and continuing my obsession and new found confidence in free hand painting of shield designs was a joy each time. Not picking one design for all the shields or painting them in production line fashion really did slow the whole process though.

I also used my local rugby club badge as inspiration for one kite shield which amused me and gave me great pleasure.

Spearmen... slow progress

First purchase

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First purchase

I had already purchased some Black Tree Designs Saxons by this point in my Saga collecting journey. Most of the feedback was that these were not excellent sculpts, leading to relatively average paint jobs and I think I agree. People liked my effort on their shields and bold colour choices, but the lack of detail did hamper my efforts. The price of the BTD minis was excellent at the time, but having looked deeper into the available companies and sculpts I do wish i had been less intent on getting the cheapest miniatures and taken the time to save a few more pounds and invested in nicer models.

My first Norman purchase was from a sale on at Wargames Foundry Miniatures. Norman Spearmen with kite shields. They are definitely plump and heroic scale, they are fairly old sculpts but i really liked some of the fun facial expressions and poses. I felt that these were a step up in quality compared to my Saxons. I wasn’t sure that i really liked the plastic Conquest Games plastic Normans I had also looked at. There are some lovely Footsore Miniatures for a great swathe of Dark Age factions now, but at the time some of these weren’t released yet. I am still ultimately happy with my choice even with the extra ranges available today.

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