Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The missing link

No, not Nedeli man, the million years old South African cave dweller, but Norse-Gael man, the thousand years old hybrid of Irish and Viking culture from the western British Isles.

When I started my SAGA project about nine months ago, I always had in mind that I would build four basic forces, with Dark Age Ireland as my theme. Two Viking forces and one Irish one down, the fourth and final instalment is the Norse-Gael.

I have not used them in anger yet, but love the thought of those two-handed axes...

I first encountered Norse-Irish (as they were known under WRG 6th Edition) at the former Forge club in Hednesford, Staffordhsire, probably 30 years ago. They were in the care of an ex-pilot named Bob Seagrave, who loved his combat troops, irregulars and big units. On the sole occasion I saw them, they cut their way savagely through some opponent or other. I also remember being regaled with tales of Bob flying a Short Sunderland flying boat up and down the Malaysian coastline during the fifties or sixties, presumably during the Malayan trouble of that time, to and from Singapore.

All the figures are bog standard Gripping Beast castings, shield designs sourced/ inspired from various pictures, drawings and the like, and one taken directly from a hanging in the Salem Methodist Church in Cheslyn Hay, Staffordshire! I changed the colours though!!!

These figures conclude my first foray into the Dark Ages, though I have a mind for more. I "need" some Irish horsemen. I would like to expand my Vikings and Irish into full-sized forces for WAB or similar.

The SAGA campaign for which the project was initiated is underway, and the Norse-Gael will make their appearance at the designated point! I may even take some photos of that first outing when the time comes and the participants actually mange to get together for the next round of games!


Warlord and both hearthguard units. The shield with the black cross outline and red swirl is the one from the Salem church, the one far left showing the stag based on the emblem on the Irish SAGA dice. I may add tow more hearthguard units to make these up to eight figures strong of the same equipment type.

The whole force, 25 figures strong in four units plus warlord.

The warrior options, two units of eight in total, one with those axes and the other spear/ sword and shield. Lots of my favoured patterned clothing too.

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Swiss go marching on

Well, I did not make it to Partizan.

You may remember I was planning to go just to have a look at the Dave Andrews et al Burgundian Wars game, but seeing the pictures on the Gewalthaufen blog was almost as good.

What a game that looks! Masses of figures, some good terrain, some lovely vignettes. My personal faves are the Berne scenes with pet bear in attendance (blame the Swiss for keeping captive bears, not me!)

So, are we Wyrley Retinue members still planning to go ahead with our own Burgundian Wars offering?

At the moment, "Yes" is the answer.

The game looked excellent, but we are not competing with that, merely doing our own thing. I will not be able to paint up that many figures in time  for one thing. Our intention is to show our own take on things, perhaps even gaming a historical battle between the protagonists. I know Nephew Paul favours Morat, but I bet he has got nowhere near building the Grunhag...

I suspect we will pick and choose something to cover several bases, as we have done with all our games to date. Some sort of siege activity would be apt, given Charles the Bold's predisposal to being caught whilst besieging! Add to that a flank march from the Swiss (a la Nancy), or perhaps something out of period transposed to the late 15th Century...

The point is, we are still good to go. Consider us "inspired" rather than "demoralised" or worse...

Proof of the pudding, they say, is in the eating, so here are a few shots of my increased Zurich contingent. I painted some Zurich troops for my original WAB Swiss army over a decade ago, but these are brand, spanking new this Summer, mostly Perry plastics with a few extras thrown in.

As ever, your comments are most welcome.

If anyone used/ is using Warlord Games' Pike & Shotte" rules for this era, I would love to know how you grade the two forces, especially the Swiss with their "quirks".


Combined Zurich and Zug cantonal pike block. Perry plastics apart from the drummer with blue and white drum who is from Essex. That's Essex Miniatures, NOT Southend-on-Sea Essex...The Zurich standard bearer is also Citadel/ Foundry. They are backed by a unit of halberdiers and flanked by some skirmishing handgunners.

The handgunners are also Perry figures, apart from the standard bearer, who is Citadel/ Foundry. The flag is a sticky label painted then cut to shape and wrapped round a piece of brass rod.

The halberdiers are all Perry figures. This is probably the only weakness in the Perry sets for this period. You have to chop down the pikes supplied and add the halberd heads to suit, which are also supplied. I think this union makes for a weak bond and likely breakages when they see action.

Close up. "Est-ce que vous regardez moi?" Or, "Oi, you with the red saltire. I'm gonna get you!"

A close up of the large Zurich flag. I would normally use calico for some hand painted flags nowadays, but started this collection years sago with Freezywater flags from the Lance and Longbow Society stand. Thus, I have to continue in the same vein now I am building up my original collection, though these two are computer labels. (I don't know why the flash went off. It was a beautiful, sunny day when I took these photos in the conservatory/ man-cave)

Those handgunners again.