Monday, October 4, 2021

On The Painting Desk: Let's Go a Viking!

 One of my goals for 2021, was to buy the Victrix Viking set to paint up.  I have the rules for a Viking age wargame in draft stage, and I needed models to populate the pages of the book.  I also need them for some playtesting and blog promotions.  I did not expect to get to them this year, as I was going to have to paint a lot of Romans! 

Well, in a big surprise to me I finished painting them all up!  That was 60 Vikings that I pretty much batch painted all at once!  This is not a process I recommend to the sane wargamer or painter.  The process I took was pretty simple and followed my normal approach.  

First, I assembled the models.  As usual, I used Washers as I like the heft they give as a base.  Plus, I can magnetize them for transport if needed.  Once assembled, I brush undercoated them all white to be ready to paint.  

From there, painted all their flesh.  There was a lot less of it than with the Romans.  I then painted all shoes in a three different colors of brown.  Then, I started painting all the pants in red, green, blue, yellow, grey.  I tended to do each color in batches.  

From there, I worked up in various colors for the different layers of clothing.  Some models had two or three layers before you got to their chain mail.  Several also had padded leather jackets beneath their armor as well.  This made the layering up stage a bit tedious.  However, I used an every 4th model style of approach to keep different color combinations.  This randomization really slowed down the batch painting process, but I tried to paint all the green of a layer at once, then the reds on the layers, etc.  

It was a long and slow process to get them to a point where the chain mail was ready to go.  I actually painted the weapons as well.  I used two different wood colors for the haft, one a darker and the other a lighter.  A unit of skirmishers did not even have chainmail or shields, so they were the first batch of models to get completed. 

From there, I moved onto painting all the mail.  That took a good chunk of Gun Metal to complete all 40 Vikings left.  Then, I gave them all an Agrax Earthshade wash, based them, and called them done. I then went and hand painted all the shields on the sprue and then put them on.  

Here is a note on hand painting Viking shields..... it sucks! I first painted them all with an Oak Brown.  Then, I broke them into four batches and base coated the shield faces white, red, blue, and green.  From there, I tried to half, quarter, and beyond as needed.  Then, a bit of silver trim and center piece, followed by a wash.   


In the end, the army looked like this:

First up we have the Jarl and his Noble buddies.  This unit was also built to represent berserkers, or Nobles with Danes Axes as well.  These were mostly from the Command Sprues in the Victrix kit.  I really love the guy swinging the Dane Axe over his head!  Great model. 

  From there, the Warriors with Dane Axe.  Again, I could switch the Jarl model to this unit and make the command squad in Berserkers and this could be Nobles as well.  The Dane Axe is an iconic weapon of the Viking Era.  

Behind the Dane Axemen, we have Bondi militia warriors.  These were mostly farmers and the like called up to perform military service.  They typically used spear and shield to form a shieldwall.  This allowed a sturdy defense that the rest of the army could use as a base and mobilize around.  Being farmers first, they were not as well equipped as the Viking Hirdmen. 

On the other flank, we have more Viking warriors.  The first group has hand weapons and shields.  These guys could form a shieldwall, but could also act as raiders by swiftly moving forward and attacking as individuals.  They could be used in a variety of roles on the battlefield as support or as the main thrust of an attack. 

We also have the Viking warriors with spear and shields.  These guys will be able to form the famous shieldwall that is a hallmark of Anglo-saxon and Viking warfare.  They are mostly hirdsmen and dedicated warriors in this lot.  

Finally, in the back we have troops without armor and only with hand weapons.  These guys can act as irregular troops or skirmishers on the battlefield.  They can act on the edges of the army, screen them, or move quickly through terrain.  However, they are not to be counted on in a fight, unless they have the advantage in position or numbers.  

Well, that is my Viking army from Victrix.  I painted them in the course of about two months, but I batch painted them all together in one block.  This puts me at just over 220+ models painted in 2021!  This is my biggest year yet as I finished several Roman armies, and a Viking army plus a few odds and ends.   

Next up, I probably need 1 or 2 more armies for the roll-out of my next ruleset that will be Viking themed.  I will need these armies for photos, battle reports, and social media marketing.  I am thinking about getting the Wargames Atlantic Dark Ages Irish, and/or Gripping Beasts Dark Age Warriors for Anglo-saxons.  If you have used either of these ranges, give me your thoughts about the range in comments or the Messageboard.   I am hoping to have this rule set out some time next year. 

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  1. Hi and thanks, great article, batch painting the bag would have driven me daft.I admire your dedication.
    I recommend the Gripping Beast Dark Age warriors and Saxon Thegns. They are old and slightly smaller than the Victrix but they rank up very well shieldwalls. I have had some discussions about the warriors holding their shields 'too close' to their body but if you are standin around in the rear ranks it is far more comfortable. They are also really quick to paint. I would certainly try a couple of sprues from ebay.
    The Irish are wonderful [almost finished my first box]too but they are all barefoot, javelin armed chaps[ ok three short swords and an axe per sprue].You do get[very] large round shields as an option , but they really don't look like Saxon Fyrd. There is only one helmeted head per sprue. I have used them as Welsh Scots Picts oh and Irish so far.
    You don't mention the Victrix Saxons they are nice and could be made to look 'early' rather than Anglo Danish easily but they are rather dynamic for shieldwalls and the weapons are even more frgile than those in the Viking set. Ihave replaced all the spears with spares from the GB sets as I did with their Vikings.
    Apologies for the length of the comment covers most of the pros and cons I hope.

    1. WELCOME and thank you.

      I decided I wanted to branch out from Victrix with my next set of Dark Age figures.

      As for the Irish, if I get them I would be using them as...... Irish! My new game has a list for them.

      Great thoughts on the GB plastics and the Victrix. Things for me to consider. I have heard a lot of folks complain about breaking bits on the Victrix, but I have not really had that issue. I better knock on wood now for sure!

    2. Cheers for getting back so quickly . It's late here in the UK and I need to be up for morning in Aotearoa/NZ on Skype.
      The new rules sound interesting , certainly given individually based figures. Says somebody who's cracked and put a load of his old 25s on DBA bases this weekend.
      Sorry for all the typos!
      Well I think I am getting clumsy with age but one of my young nephews starts conversations with ' Can I bash them Ni ?'

  2. Are there copyright issues using manufacturer models for images in your rules? Do you need to get permission or just provide a disclaimer?

    1. I am not an attorney, so any legal advice I provide should be double checked for your local jurisdiction.

      My understanding is that you can use any model from your own collection for your own photos. It is a courtesy and a best practice to provide citations for your models used.

      If you used a separate photographer, they may have copyright on the photos. If you try to use promo photos from the company; they will have copyright on the photos.

      Summary, you do the work of painting and photographing your purchases yourself.... fine. If other folks are involved, it gets trickier.