Saturday 25 May 2013

The Original Hairy Mob - Crusader Pictish Armoured Spearmen

Finally, some heavy troops for the Picts! I had got enough archers, crossbowmen, javelin-armed skirmishers and light cavalry to run all over the table, but nothing that can actually get into a stand-up, drag-out fight and have a chance of winning.

No longer! Here they are, the original Hairy Mob! Fully armoured and heavily armed, these guys are going nowhere except right through your army...

You want the village? Come and take it...

These are typical Crusader offerings: well cast with minimal seams and no flash, two examples each of four different poses. To give me a little bit more variety, I added extra beard to some of the already fuzzy hooligans, and altered a couple of the helmets (removed the nasal, to give an earlier look). No spears are provided, so these are home-made from steel wire.

We're goin' nowhere, pal...

These would be the toisech or thanes of the army - the one section of heavily armed, well-equipped nobles. As such they would all have been trying to be a bit different, so the shields all got a different design. These are all homemade decals, made as described in an earlier post here.

Any unit of elite / companions/ champions / whatever your game rules describe them as would be drawn from men like this.

If you can see our shield designs...

The figures are modelled in a fashion that recalls the latter part of the Dark Ages, and so would be suitable into the era of the early united Scots kingdom and battles with Vikings as well as the fights with the Angles of Northumbria.
...Then you are much too close!

Arguably they are too late in form for use in either Dux game (Brit or Bello), and would be anachronistic. I am not greatly bothered. Arthur and Aelle can  both expect these guys to make their lives uncomfortable in the future.

Merry meet again!

Monday 20 May 2013

Where am I?

The answer to which, of course, is...

"In the Village..."

Although this one doesn't quite resemble the one from The Prisoner (well, I'm sorry, but the idea of Picts, Britons and Saxons on penny farthings is just a step too far!), it might lead to some interesting situations all the same.

The three quick terrain pieces (granary, pig sty and barn) are here along with the sections of fence, and the two Sub-Roman houses I built way back.

 Where am I?

Another view, from a different direction.

Who are you?

And a third look, for good measure.

What do you want?

Merry meet again, or perhaps more appropriately in this case:

Be seeing you...

Thursday 2 May 2013

Gripping Beast Dark Age Plastic Warriors - Addendum

Wow, what a lot of interest!

A couple of people, including Alex Mayer, asked about heads. Specifically whether the kit heads fit other ranges, or if other ranges' heads fit the kits. I should say that the rumour mill did suggest that alternative heads may be in the offing for these from GB themselves. In the mean time, though...

Whether the GB kit heads will fir with (e.g.) Perry, I can't provide any real substantive information, other than to say the Gripping Beast heads measure 6.4 mm high from chin to crown, 5.4 mm wide across the ears and 5.4 mm deep measured at the eye sockets. This should allow you to compare, and maybe this will help - I hope so anyway.

As for heads by other manufacturers' fitting with the kit bodies, here you go. Here's a picture of a GB sprue with two West Wind metal SHS head sets. One is Sub-Roman bare heads, the other Sub-Roman infantry helm heads.

  Looks promising from here...

The main difference is that in the GB kit, the neck is cast as part of the body, whereas on the West Wind heads, the neck is moulded with the head. It's more obvious on this photo.

Could be a bit of a snag here, though...

And here are a couple of minis with the heads in place. The helmeted figure will end up as one of the warriors, his superior equipment (i.e. the helm!) standing to set him above the lowly levy (with the bare heads). I cut the neck out of the bare WW head to fit it, and drilled and milled the neck out of the body of the one with the helmet, so it will work either way. To my mind, drilling and milling the plastic is easier, but you need to take it steady as its much easier to remove too much material that way! A dab of superglue fixes them. I'll probably add a smear of filler for good measure, but the fit isn't bad as it is.

He is lower class, so I look down on him!

A little more of the back, gents?

Hope this helps!

Merry meet again.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Forty Thousand Page Views...

When I started writing this, I thought that with a bit of luck as many as ten people might eventually look at this blog, one time each.

I've just found I've had forty thousand page views. I never expected even one percent of that level of interest.

Sincere thanks to every single person that has commented, joined or read my blog. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have, and if you've found any of it interesting or useful, I'm really pleased.

Thanks once again and please keep coming back!

Merry meet again.

Gripping Beast Plastic Dark Ages Warriors

Finally! Darren from Gripping Beast promised these were coming "soon" at Vapnartak 2012. I'm glad he doesn't owe me money on those terms!

Well, for my money these are well worth the wait.

What do you get? Well, a stout box, with a set of assembly guidelines inside. The figures themselves are on eight identical sprues, each carrying five bodies. The bodies are moulded with the shield arm in place, but with the weapon arm and head separate. Clothing is generic early medieval / Dark Ages, and consists of tunic and trousers, with shoes. Each figure is dressed and posed differently, immediately giving plenty of variation.

Sprue, one side

Each sprue has seven different heads on it, all different, with varying expressions and hair. Bald, short haired, long haired, bearded and moustachioed, with one wearing a hat, these give tons of variety. The sprue carries five arms holding spears. Eminently reasonable as the main weapon of men of this type and class would be the spear. In addition, you get two arms holding javelins and one each with axe, sword and horn. Then, there are three right hands holding slings. Cut away the existing hand and glue one of these in place, to provide missile troops. Finally, each sprue has five round shields.

Other side of the sprue

Also in the box is a sprue of 20mm plastic bases.

Moulding is first-class. The detail is crisp, sharp and quite deeply cut. It's easy to remove the parts from the sprue with a set of cutters, and then a quick scrape removes all traces of the minimal mould seams. Assembly is quick and simple with liquid cement, which leaves no gaps. I cut out, cleaned up and assembled five figures in half an hour. I've spent longer than that cleaning up five metal figures any number of times!

Assembled and ready to prime

You have to put a couple of gripes into a review - it's in a set of regulations somewhere, because otherwise people think you haven't looked properly. So, here goes. No scabbards for the swords, although a bit of plastic card and green stuff will soon remedy this. One head without facial hair would have been nice, to allow you to model some Sub-Romans, but West Wind's separate metal heads fit perfectly and will easily serve to provide not only this but helmeted heads if you want to portray a slightly better class of warrior.

Bottom line? I love them and would recommend them without reservation. Twenty quid for forty figures as good as this is a no-brainer. A Sub-Roman Dux Brit warband less characters and elite needs 18 levy, 12 warriors and 4 missile troops. You can get the whole lot of those out of one box and have enough figures left over to build some reinforcements (extra levy or skirmishers)! Buy some, now. You know you want to!

Merry meet again!