Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sourcing Saga

Hey all,

Over on the WWPD forums, PrivateSnafu asked a great question:
"Is there a consolidated list of manufacturers that produce models that are compatible with the system? Everything on Gripping Beast seems to be out of stock. I think that is the single biggest hurdle for me right now. What do I need and where can I get it?"
I'll be honest and say this was my biggest hurdle as well. Dark Ages figure ranges are plentiful, but sometimes they are hard to find, and few sources have a full range (with the exception of Gripping Beast, which has it all), making it difficult to gather your band of warriors. Here's a few figure ranges that I have come across that I reckon would be suitable for Saga.

Now, I need to put a big disclaimer out there: other than Gripping Beast, Perry Miniatures, and Conquest Games, I have not actually ordered from these other companies, so I have absolutely no idea whether the sculpts are good, the shipping rates are reasonable, etc. All I can do here is give you a starting place. The rest is up to you! If you have notes on these ranges, good or bad, or know of one I've missed, by all means please drop a comment below to help you fellow Sagamites (that's a thing, right?) find the right figures for the job.

I'll do this by faction, as I think that's how people will likely be shopping.

Viking Helmet Fail
This is the big one! Seems like everyone has a Viking range, making this one of the easiest armies to collect. I personally recommend Gripping Beast's range for several reasons:

1. Plastics. The Viking plastic box set comes with 44 figures, tons of weapons choices (including the elusive double-handed axe), and lots of variety. The biggest downside to the plastics range is the shield arm of each figure, which is not very poseable. But for its price (£20.00) the GBP01 Hirdmen Box Set is a great starting point. You can totally, if not very nearly, build two four-point Saga armies out of this box!

GBP01 Hirdmen Sprue
2. Metals match the plastics for design. Warlords, Bondi, slingers, and more.

3. Convenience. Its a one-stop shop for all things Viking

You can find Gripping Beast's Viking Range here ....

Other sources of Vikings include:
Artizan Designs - http://www.artizandesigns.com/
Crusader Miniatures - http://www.crusaderminiatures.com/
Foundry Miniatures - http://wargamesfoundry.com/
Reaper Miniatures (Stylized Vikings, ie horned helmets) - http://www.reapermini.com/
Wargames Factory - http://wargamesfactory.com/webstore
Dixon Minis - http://www.dixon-minis.com/dixoncatalogue.php?maintype=2
Old Glory (25mm) - http://www.oldgloryminiatures.com/
Essex Miniatures (25mm) - http://www.essexminiatures.co.uk/frames25anc.html

Conquest Games Plastic Normans
Normans are another of the nations that many manufactures out there have in their ranges. However, being mounted, they can quickly get expensive. To that end, I would highly recommend Conquest Games. They have both plastic and metal figures. The best thing about Conquest is the box of plastic Norman knights. Both Steve and I have used these figures, so you can see for yourself what they look like, here and here...

The box comes with 12 knights and some extra riders for variety. Its worth tacking on two Plastic Horse Sprues for £3.75 each. The knights box comes with three extra riders, so if you order two boxes you'll have 6 spare riders, several spare heads, and lots of extra weapons. It adds another 6x guys to your force, bringing the grand total up to 30 knights.

There are two drawbacks with these figures. First, if you're a perfectionist, theres a bit of greenstuff work that needs to be done around the horses' necks. Second, the kite shield lacks a 'boss' or that metal bump in the middle of the shield, making it difficult to find a good set of transfers. You can do what Steve did and just paint in the hole silver, or you can go nuts with some freehand like I attempted to do, but no matter what, its something to consider... unless you just paint the shield all one color!

Plus, they announced that they are going to release plastic Norman knights on foot in July 2012, so that's something to keep an eye on for sure.

You can find Conquest Games here...

Perry Miniatures, 1st Crusade
You can also think outside the box a bit with Normans. Their military success was enormous and they often took to adopting enemy weapons and armor. So you'll find Normans crop up EVERYWHERE in the late 10th and early 11th centuries. In fact, if you are looking for a good Norman range, include Crusaders into your search parameters. The First Crusade was essentially a Norman affair, so any figures you turn up for that will be suitable for your Norman warband. Que Perry Miniatures!

The Perry Miniatures range of the First Crusade is absolutely brilliant. I have ordered several packs to supplement my Saga Normans, including crossbowmen, and men-at-arms. They have a lot of other great miniatures there too, so be sure to include them when planning your Norman warband!

You can find the Perry Miniatures First Crusade range here...

Other sources of Normans include:
Crusader Miniatures - http://www.crusaderminiatures.com/
Foundry Miniatures - http://wargamesfoundry.com/
Essex Miniatures (25mm) - http://www.essexminiatures.co.uk/frames25anc.html

Gripping Beast's Anglo-Dane Huscarls
Anglo-Danish & Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Danes are usually found in the same place under the catch-all catagory of Anglo-Saxons. Hoever, specific Anglo-Danes are slightly more difficult to find, in terms of a miniature line for them. Once again, Gripping Beast offers the best and easiest selection with their Anglo-Dane range found here....

The Anglo-Danes are essentially a hybrid people, melded from the Anglo-Saxons and the Danish Vikings. To make a long history short (Tom is sure to do a better job), the two kingdoms came together under Canute (aka Cnut, Knut, etc...), a Danish king who was among the one of the first Viking rulers to accept Christianity over the pagan Norse gods. Anyway, Canute's kingdom brought together Anglo-Saxons and Danes, which means for Saga, Anglo-Saxon ranges are perfectly suitable.

Double-handed Axe on the Bayeux Tapestry
The one distinguishing feature of the Anglo-Danes is the aptly named double-handed Dane Axe. These weapons were the APDS ammo of their day, slicing through chain mail armor with ease, dismembering limbs and heads alike. So a few warriors (or all of them if you choose to upgrade your heathguard with them) armed with these deadly weapons will help set your force aside from normal Anglo-Saxons.

Also, of minor note, the Anglo-Danes, like the ones that faced William the Conqueror at Hastings, wore mustaches and only very rarely wore beards. So, I'd perhaps steer clear of using Viking heads or full body figures if you are trying to replicate Harold's Huscarls of 1066.

My next Saga army will be an Anglo-Dane one, so I decided to go with Gripping Beast's GBP02 Saxon Thegns plastic box set. Rumor has it that this box set doesn't have any double-handed axes, but luckily I've saved some from my Viking box (GBP01 Hirdmen). However, there are a few sources for some double-handed axes.

Anglo-Saxon/Anglo-Dane Sources:
Gripping Beast Anglo-Saxons http://www.grippingbeast.com/shop.php?CatID=24

Gripping Beast Anglo-Danes http://www.grippingbeast.com/shop.php?CatID=5
Crusader Miniatures - http://www.crusaderminiatures.com/
Essex Miniatures (25mm) - http://www.essexminiatures.co.uk/frames25anc.html
Foundry Miniatures - http://wargamesfoundry.com/historical_ranges/single_packs/ancients/saxon/
Wargames Factory - http://wargamesfactory.com/webstore

Gripping Beast's Mounted Welsh
I'll be straight up and honest that I have very little working knowledge of the Welsh during the Dark Ages. So, I'll cut to the chase and list some sources. If you have any others to add, please add a comment below so I can update the list (that goes for any of the above nations as well!)

After a quick search all I've come up with is:
Gripping Beast - http://grippingbeast.com/shop.php?CatID=215

I've seen some Welsh armies use Warlord Games's range of Celts. I have no idea if they are appropriate, but they have some plastic boxes to help with costs: http://www.warlordgames.com/store/hail-caesar/gallic-celts.html

Like I mentioned above, let us know what you used for your Welsh and We'll add to the meager list above!

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. I've intentially left the Northern Fury factions out until I can get my copy of the book. If you are looking for that info, I'm sure you'll find plenty of help at in the WWPD Saga forum (found here...).

Thanks again and happy gaming!

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