Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Dark Ages Project Finally Finished

I think I failed to mention in my last post that I hadn't quite finished the Dark Ages project - having laid out all my troops which you can see here I realised very quickly that I was light on archers and unarmoured saxons.

A quick scan on ebay revealed some decent priced gripping boxes and in a few days 110 more troops awaited their call up papers to join the army - 30 more archers and 80 more spearmen. These have all been based 3 men to a 5cm square mdf base.

I can now safely say that I have finished painting dark ages for the moment - mind you the Victrix Vikings do look quite nice and if I can find some at Salute I might create a couple of Viking units.

Here are some of the final renders

So now it is all about preparing the games - the big one Hastings is planned on Sunday 10th March and I have been busy preparing the order of battle, players aids and background material over the past two months. In much the same way that I set up my Isandlwhana and Rorkes Drift games a couple of years back I'll publish all of this in the blog in the next few weeks.

I have now settled on using Hail Caesar for the big game - principally because it comes from a ruleset most of the players are familiar with and we do know that these rules lend themselves to some inhouse tweaks. More on this in the Hastings post.

So as I have said I have been busy reading up on Hastings and pouring over several books relating to the events of 1066. I have discovered a couple of excellent reads if you are interested in this period and would highly recommend them.

First up is a paperback I found in Waterstones called Harold, the King who fell at Hastings by Peter Rex - a great account of the man and the run up to his untimely death.

Next up is a great little book by Peter Marren on all three battles of 1066

Can't forget the Osprey book - plus it has a section on wargaming Hastings although this does seem to be a bit dated

Perhaps the definitive history by MK Lawson - it is also a good read

Now whilst I was doing all this research I discovered that WH Smiths were selling a magazine style book called not surprisingly 1066 Battle of Hastings - it wasn't cheap at #9.99 but it had lots of pretty pictures and in a moment of madness I bought a copy.

That night I settled down with a cup of cocoa for a good read (actually a glass of red but don't tell Mrs Shed). I got the distinct impression that this was aimed at a younger audience - perhaps 16 year olds studying history. It was reasonably well written and looks great BUT...a massive BUT coming up. The first pages I turned to was the battle of Hastings and imagine to my surprise the authors of this history have suggested that the English Bowmen in the Saxon Army were his elite troops...and the longbow his key weapon. Oh my god I despair these poor kids...it then dawned on my that the editors of this rubbish must have got the battle mixed up with Agincourt.

Nice picture - but whats that  in the left lower corner

This just makes me angry !!

They talk about the Longbow as the sniper rifle of its day taking out Norman soldiers....Not good..very sad.

As a final foot note I found this website the other day - Battlefields of Britain. It was the first time I had come across this and it is full of useful information. In particular I like the objectives of each commander and the maps of each stage of the battle...

Highly recommended


So now after all that reading I have to put together the first game of the year in the Shed...the Dark Age forces are going to get their first warm up in the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

The battle takes place next Monday night (25th Feb)

More soon plus the start of the next shed project ;-)

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The Armies assemble

It seemed a shame to set out the Saxons and not the Normans so yesterday both sides took to the field.

Previous post here

Obviously my table is not big enough and I haven't even added the hill, woods etc

Even so there is a lot of plastic ranked up and ready to rumble.... 

Normans on the left - Saxons on the right

Off to focus on how I can bring this battle to the table...

Sunday, 13 January 2019

28mm Saxon Army Complete

Following on from the Norman Army I am delighted top present the Saxon Army - now all complete bar some banners

previous post can be found here on the Norman Army

These are all predominantly Gripping Beast Dark Age figures sourced from the following boxes

I have mixed up the Vikings and Saxons - I know its heresy but fundamentally they look the same.

There are a lot of figures to assemble.

So the Saxon Army takes shape - first up some skirmishers - please note I am only showing some examples of these units not all of them

Then we have the unarmoured Fyrd - I need a few more of these boys and two more boxes are on order

and of course we have the mainstay of the army - the armoured thegns

Of course there are the Huscarls - an extra big unit and differentiated with their red cloaks. The cloaks came from spares I had from my Fireforge Crusaders

I thought it would be a bit of fun to give the Saxons at least some cavalry - these were created from some Norman Cavalry spares and a box of dark age cavalry.

Finally King Harold and a few command stands (only showing Harold today) - He still needs a flag.

So here is the entire Saxon Army

And that's it...in the next post I'll show both armies side by side (over 1000 figures) and talk about how we are going to play that iconic battle Hastings

Thanks for following

To see both armies facing one another go here

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Norman Archers & Command

previous post here

So here comes the third and final post for the Norman Army. In this we are focusing on the Norman Archers and the Command Stands.

The Archers have all been assembled using the Conquest Games Medieval Archers and the Gripping Beast Dark Age Archers. I managed to squeeze out 8 units of these chaps – some of which can be used as skirmishers if required. A couple of observations on these plastic figures.

Conquest Archers

Gripping Beast Archers

First up the Gripping Beast figures appear to be slightly smaller in bulk against the Conquest ones and for that reason I have avoided where possible putting them on the same bases. The Conquest versions are beautifully sculpted and give the modeller plenty of opportunity to create plenty of different poses. Indeed you can give them short or long bows. These are probably the best of the range that I have seen from conquest and despite being called medieval archers on the box they have a very strong dark age flavour – conical helms and short mail coats. So as mentioned I can field 8 of these units.


Conquest Archers
My research into Hastings suggests that 25% of the Norman Army were archers, 25% horse and 50% infantry. As of today I have 35 units for the Norman Army in the following numbers – Archers (8), Horse (10), Foot (17) – close enough I think.

Gripping Beast Archers


Skirmish line
Archers on the table

As far as the command stands are concerned I created four from the plastic Norman Foot boxes and a further five from metal figures sourced from the likes of Conquest, Footsore and another manufacturer I cannot recall. These have all been mounted on circular bases to differentiate them from the standard units. Both rulesets we are going to use – Hail Caesar and To the Strongest call for separate leadership stands.

So there we have it folks the Norman Army – just need to add a few banners and then it is all complete

Conquest Plastic

Close Up

Pictures of the Duke (conquest games - bloody big horse)

Still need to add the banner

And there we have it the Norman Army - 35 units and 10 command stands

Up next (as soon as more static grass arrives) is the Saxon Army of King Harold.

which you can now find here