Sunday, May 20, 2012

Normans, Wargames, and Documentaries

This was originally posted on Scary Biscuits Studios- republished here for searchability and posterity's sake!

One of the advantages to late night feeding times for young Ted is that I can spend the time in between (usually 3-hour stints) to get some painting done. My evening shift usually runs from 6pm to midnight, so I usually get a good six hours of painting in each night, which is more than I had before! I'm sure that free time will dwindle as he gets a bit older, but I'm taking advantage of it while I still can!  My goal is to have enough SAGA armies to play a little rendition of 1066 at the end of this year. For that I need three armies: Normans, Anglo-Danes (Harold), and Vikings (Harald). I've got most of the Vikings I'll need, but I have to order some Norman bowmen/crossbowmen and Men At Arms. With my extra painting time I've hit my SAGA armies pretty hard, pumping out 17 Normans and 25 Vikings. I have a box of Anlgo-Saxons on the way, so that will be army number three once I get those done.

Anyway, here's a few shots of the Normans. Excluding the main man, I've got 16 mounted guys, all rated Hearthguard in SAGA. A few assembly notes can be found here...

Four SAGA points of Stormin' Normans

First unit of spearmen

Second unit of spearmen
I like to call this unit my household guard
My Warlord. (My god, I've painted a dragon! Actually I did two!)
The Warlord
These are the Vikings (sans Warlord). Still have a bit of work to do one I get the decal transfers for the shields. I won't post pictures of units just yet, except for a couple of the berserkers. Also, I've already been hassled about the bereskers not wearing their traditional bear skins and frankly, I don't care. I think they look cool (and angry) enough for me!

Two SAGA points of warriors (spears and axes) and two points of Hearthguard (swords and berserkers)

Berserker. I had fun with blood spatter!

This 'zerk has an arrow through is leg, but the photo doesn't show that well.


I wouldn't have got anything near as many figures finished if it weren't for YouTube. While searching for pictures of Norman kite shields, several hits came up with  YouTube videos of re-enactors, which gave me some excellent ideas for patterns. But as usually happens with YouTube, one video leads to another and before you know it, you're watching hours of footage. In this case I stumbled across something I didn't know existed on YouTube: whole documentaries. I started with anything I could find on Hastings, the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons, but what really got me through were the following three series.

Blood of the Vikings

The premise was about trying to trace Norse ancestry in the UK through DNA testing, and tracking those people through the ages as they integrated into the local populations. It was pretty interesting. I think there was a lot of things that could have used some further explanation, but from my point of view it was a valuable series that helped form a picture of the British Isles under Viking influence. Its a good series to have on in the background while painting your Viking army!

History Of Ancient Britain

This series is excellent and really worth watching. At first the presenter, Neil Oliver, seems to come off as overly dramatic, but you soon learn that he has a real passion for archaeology and history and that comes out in his documentaries. It really has nothing to do with the Dark Ages, but its a really good series about prehistoric Britain, from the beginning to the Bronze Age. It is a four-part series and I've already begun to watch it through a second time with my wife.

History of Celtic Britain

Neil Oliver's second part to the History of Ancient Britain is this series which picks up where the last left off. Starting with the Bronze Age, Oliver follows the history of Britain through to the fall of Rome. This is the most recent in Oliver's general histories, and I can only hope he's working on the next few now!

History of Scotland

In this series, Oliver covers the history of his homeland. All of the stories in this series are new to me and I found them very interesting. It does clip along at a fast pace compared to the ones above, but thats because he fits in the whole of the story of Scotland in two 4-part series. The person who uploaded this series did so in 10minute segments, so don't be put off by the high number of videos!

Series 1:

Series 2:

Anyway, I hope you find these helpful and interesting while painting up your SAGA armies!


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