Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Thoughts on Age of Arthur armies

As mentioned before, I'm starting to collect a Age of Arthur Saxon army with a view to adding some GB plastic Thegns (when available) in order to make the army in to later Saxon horde suitable for taking on those fearsome Vikings (think Bernard Cornwell's "Alfred" series and you'll be about there). However, when collecting an army I also like to think about collecting a suitable opposing force so as to give easy access to historical match ups.

When I first considered collecting for Age of Arthur it was the Romano-British that caught my eye but having thoroughly reviewed the lists and talked with a few other players I feel that it may lead to a rather defensive mind-set. Since I'll be forming plenty of Shieldwalls with my later Saxons I fancied something a bit more dynamic. The British & Welsh Kingdoms (B&WK) lists meets this requirement quite nicely! I already have a small collection of GB and Artizan figures suitable for Teulu and Combrogi so they'll be the start of this army. These are now on the painting table and I'm really looking forward to painting them. As for the Saxons, well I haven't actually got any suitable figures as yet but once the B&WK figures are nearly done then I'll order a Duguth unit deal from GB. Those Early Saxon figures are splendid. In fact my B&WK figures would do nicely in the Saxon line, as page 96 of AoArt shows some of these figures (the armoured ones) in Saxon units. Such are the benefits of dark ages gaming.

Anyway, I have ordered a copy of Shieldwall (for the later variant of the army), plus I've ordered 200 20x20mm 1.5mm plywood bases from Fenris Games (highly recommended!), so things are moving forward slowly. Buying lists and bases before the figures ... sounds a bit "cart-before-the-horse"... no, I'm just being organised ;-)

Shields are still something of a puzzle as I'd really like to try out painting some free-hand designs but (a) it will take ages, and (b) I'm not sure my painting skills are up quite to it. Perhaps I'll try a few ... then get on to LBMS!? I've also been giving some thought towards what sort of scenery will be required as a few good items on the table really give the battlefield the right atmosphere for the era being played.

Next time I post, work permitting, I hope to show you my first dark ages figures.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Saxons, Vikings & Normans

I've been fairly well focussed on Romans and Celts for ages now, so I think it's time for something a little different.

Gripping Beast's new plastic and metal range have really ticked all the boxes for me. Top notch figures with the maintsay of the army available in plastic at a very reasonable £18 for 44 figures. A decent sized force for WAB should cost less than £100. The figures look like they'll be so much fun to paint.

In addition to their Vikings, GB have plans to make a boxed set of plastic Thegns available later this year! But my aims for an army are a little more ambitious than just 11th century Saxons... Regular readers (thank you!) may recall that I keep blathering on about Age of Arthur. It's probably my favourite supplement, even though I don't actually play it yet. Well, I see this as my opportunity to get in to Dark Ages gaming properly. I could collect a 6th - 7th century Saxon army based around the Heptarchy or Anglian lists using mainly GB's excellent Early Saxon range, plus a few of the superb Musketeer Saxons. This could then easily become a later, ie 8th - 11th century, Saxon force with the addition of a few Dane-axe wielding thegns and some chaps in Norman-esque style helmets. Basically two armies for the price of one plus a few extra figures. The Early Saxon Duguth, Geoguth and Ceorls will do good service as Ceorls and Fyrd in the later Saxon battle line.

I've always been fascinated by the Normans. Aged 7 I visited Hastings only to be disappointed to find that the field was not covered in Saxon / Norman dead!? I've seen the Bayuex tapestry twice. I've been all over Normandy on several holidays - wonderful place - can't wait to visit again. But if you get the chance to visit Duke William's castle at Falaise... then don't as it's awful. Anyway ... it now looks like a new company Conquest Games will be releasing a range of plastic Norman cavalry. Check out some pics here. Then there's always the excellent ranges from Perry's and Gripping Beast too.

It will of course be Warhammer Ancient Battles, so I'd better order a copy of Shieldwall soon!

Happy gaming!