Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Cattle Raid of Wyrley

Hot on the heels of Brian O'Brian come some of his lesser followers, the sort of hangers on who follow any crowd.

These Bonnachts/ Ceithern/ simple peasants might not have the flash clothing of their social betters, all in bright colours and all, but they know a good craic when they see one!

So, 24 of Ireland's finest (...), or three units of warriors in SAGA terms, all javelin-throwing menace and peat beneath the fingernails, as they seek to either ally with the Viking invaders for their own ends or throw them back in the Dubh Linn (or something like that...).

All of these figures are Crusader Miniatures bought from Dave Thomas' stand at WMMS, proof again (???) that I am slowly mining the lead mountain to the point of financial ruin and ultimate quarry closure. Maybe not.

I do know I had a great time re-reading my WAB supplements whilst completing this though. WAB is dead. Long live WAB!


Photographed outside on  a very sunny day, these guys must think they have left Ireland and gone elsewhere. Sun? Ireland? Two words you do not tend to put together when considering the Emerald Isle. I have been there several times and have probably had one good weather day in fifty!
Simple colours say all the sources, mainly white, yellow and black for the poorest. But these are not quite the poorest so get an upgrade or two!

I have done the shields mainly black, with or without a simple design, to tie the whole 24 figures together as a homogenous whole.

As I said above, these are not quite the poorest of the lot in financial terms, so in crept my desire for some colour and a few patterns in their clothing. Don't you just love cloaks???

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Brian O'Brian

The SAGA saga continues at pace, even though the Vikings are "finished", with a couple more planned warbands.

My theme is Dark Age Ireland, as natives and Norsemen vie for control of that fractured land.

So, what better way to continue than with those self-same natives, starting with their leader?

This figure is another of unknown provenance that I picked up for 50p from the secondhand tray at Stafford Games. I think he is another Ancient German figure in reality, maker unknown, just as with the Irish standard bearer I posted a month or so ago.

But again, reading references in various sources to shields decorated with metal fittings and so forth when describing Irish heroes, I thought the shield at least fitted the bill. The shaggy mop of hair, part braided, also called out "Irish" to me, his clothing was pretty non-descript, but well-appointed,  and the open hand was ripe for a sword from the spares box. The fur waistcoat he sports I imagine originated with his favourite wolfhound...

So, first of the Irish in both post and status terms, I give you Brian O'Brian.

The name is in honour of my late, much-missed father who was neither Irish, nor red-haired, nor a warlord nor even wore red that I recall. His name was "Brian" however and his sense of honour, his courage and his whole being were a fine example of what a truly wonderful man is.


The shield...

A side view showing my slightly clumsy attempts to upgrade his tunic to the sort of decorated example a leader of the time would have worn.

The "wolfhound waistcoat".

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Conflicting Standards

I decided I had to equip my miniature Dark Ages warriors with some vexillatory artwork, so found four figures from the lead mountain to hold a flag, one for each of my planned Dark Age Ireland factions.

I have absolutely no idea what make three of these basic figures are, or even from what basic range, nor how old they are, though I suspect the Irish flagman is actually an Ancient German! The one I am sure of is the Artizan Designs figure holding the raven standard.

Much use was made of the old WAB "Shieldwall" and "Age of Arthur" supplements in trying to create the images depicted on the flags, as well as whatever other art I could find on the shelves, such as the WRG "Armies of the Dark Ages" book. I could have looked long and hard for more stuff, but would rather paint than pore over pictures...

I also made a conscious decision NOT to highlight the flag itself, only the image depicted on it. My reasoning is that potentially complex designs can, in my opinion at least, lose impact the more involved their background is. Thus, using the "faces and bases" adage (you know the one, where you do your level best with the face and base of a figure as a way of hiding/ ignoring the other bits that get just a basic treatment), I give you four more humble offerings from the painting table for your perusal.

The poles are all metal spears/ pikes from the bits box, cut to size. Actually, at least one is cut too big as it does not fit in the tin with the Vikings I painted it for!!!

(Take it from me that each flag is identical front and back!)


The Artizan Designs guy, bought from Dave Thomas' stand at the WMMS show back in March. It was only when I finished painting him that I realised he is unarmed! The world's only pacifist Viking?

No idea where this figure is from, but for 50p in the Stafford Games second hand box he was a must have! The sword is a spare one I had lying around. He will be either another Viking or a Norse-Gael.

Another 50p bargain buy of indistinct manufacture, with a plastic axe from the Gripping Best Viking Hirdmen box. Again, either a Viking or a Norse-Gael...

The Ancient German Irishman, another 50p bargain buy. I am not sure I like this one. It looks like a horse on the ragged standard, which it is meant to, but it does not look like the sort of horse a 10th Century (-ish) Irishman would paint. Not swirly enough? Thus, I might get busy with some curly lining around shoulders, hips, face and eyes to try and make it look a bit more Celtic...