Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Saga Viking building completed - ready for paint!

Yesterday was a dreary day in our part of the world - not good for outdoor activities, but perfect for continuing work on my Viking building for Saga.

First, I finished the detailing on the ends of the building. I added the bracing strips, and an arched doorway on the entrance:

After that, I turned my attention to the base. I found a scrap piece of MDF that was approximately the right size, and beveled the edges with an Xacto knife. I drew on the rough contours of the building, and used spackle to build up the terrain a little. I also added some stones and a step leading up to the door.

I glued the ends in place, and added a roof. For the roof I used some thin balsa that I was able to bend around the slight curve of the building. Some glue, some weights to hold it in place, and a touch of superglue at the very ends, and it stayed in place quite nicely.

Once that was done it was time to turn my attention to the thatched covering. I had some teddy bear fur that I bought a long time ago for just this type of project. It is a very unattractive dark green color - but it was on sale, what can I say? Besides, after painting it will look (I hope) great! I cut several strips of the fur material and glued them on. I did make a mistake on the top section along the crown of the roof. I glued the fur on with the "grain" of the material going in the same direction (horizontally) as the rest of the pieces. This meant that on one side, you could see the material underneath the fur, and it looked bad. I removed that piece and replaced it with a strip cut with the grain going perpendicular to the rest of the strips, so I could "comb" the thatch down in the directions I wanted.

When the strips were glued down, I "painted" the entire roof with a watered down PVA mixture. I actually used Scenic Cement from Woodland Scenics, since I was too lazy to mix my own. The best I can tell, this is basically watered down adhesive, so it should work well. 

Then I set the building aside to dry completely. Once that's done, it'll be time for priming and painting!

'Til next time!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Saga Viking Warband - work continues slowly...

Ok, a small update.

Most of my figures have been based and primed, except that I added some levy archers to the warband. These guys are in a state of partial assembly - I've glued on the heads and arms holding the bows, but not yet their right arms. They're Wargames Factory plastics (I actually bought the Saxon unarmored bodies, since the only difference is the heads and I had plenty left over from my other Wargames Factory Viking boxes), and the right arms are all designed to hold a weapon. I'm still trying to decide what to do with them.

But, in the meantime, I am beginning work on some terrain for my Vikings to defend. I really like the look of 4Ground's Viking dwellings, but since I never take the easy way out of anything I decided to build my own.

The first step was to draw the basic shapes of the end pieces on foamcore and cut them out. Then I glued wooden coffee stirrers (good material to work with at a great prices - Free!) to the side. Lastly, I carved out and glued the cross beams. I made the ones on the front of the building a little more ornate.

The next step is to add details to the ends, then glue on a roof and cover it with teddy bear fur to represent the thatch.

I'll take some more pics at that stage.

'Til next time - keep your axes sharp!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Star Trek:Attack Wing and SAGA

It's been an age (nearly two years) since I last posted. But I felt the urge to share, so I'm back. I've spent the past two years dealing with some family tragedy (both my parents-in-law passed away suddenly) and generally not feeling much like wargaming.

But lately that has begun to change, and  it has taken me in totally different directions - from futuristic science fiction space battles to dark age man-to-man combat!

About six months ago, the kids and I discovered Wizkids' Star Trek:Attack Wing. We've been going to the organized play events at three different local venues (Giga-Bites Cafe, Dr. No's and Titan Comics and Games), and enjoying it tremendously. It's the first game that all three of us have gotten into, and the first time we've participated in any sort of officialy-sanctioned competitive environment. Despite my initial fears that the uber-competitors would make it unpleasant, exactly the opposite has been true. We've run into three groups (with some overlap) of very friendly gamers, who have been very supportive of our participation. In particular, they have been generous and gracious to the kids, who are an oddity in that environment. My son Lucas, 13 years old, is the youngest participant by far, and my daughter Iya, 16 years old, is the second-youngest and almost always the only female. We've won, and lost, our share of events, but the main thing is that we've all had a great time learning and playing the game. I am hopeful that we'll be able to use this experience to branch out into other miniature wargames that the kids and I will be able to share.

The other game that has been taking one of our local stores (Giga-Bites Cafe in Marietta) by storm is Saga, from Gripping Beast, rules for dark age skirmish gaming. In fact, the rules themselves are almost impossible to get right now, and despite that there is a growing group of gamers that are getting into the game.

I am just beginning to assemble a Viking warband for Saga. I still don't have the rules myself, but from what I've been able to gather, except for the option of fielding a unit of Hearthguard as Berserkers there is no difference between how else I equip my figures.

I had several Wargames Factory Vikings and Germanic Warriors that I had built, but never based or painted to actually use in a game. I also had a Middenheim champion from Mordheim that I thought would make an impressive Warlord. But I did not have enough for a complete warband, so I broke down and bought the Gripping Beast starter box for a 4-point Viking Warband. Between what I had, and the box, I can put together a 6-point plus warband.

I have started to assemble some of the GB figures, and form them up into units with my other figures. The photo below shows my fledgeling warband. The Warlord is at the top. Below him the unpainted metal figures are GBs Berserkers and Hirdmen. Below those are two units of plastic Vikings that will make up more Hirdmen. At the bottom are a unit of 12 Bondi with spears, and half a unit of Bondi with hand weapons. I still have the 16 metal Bondi from the starter set to assemble, as well as the Warlord figure.

I'll post more details as I get them painted and into the fray. So far though I am very pleased with how the GB and Wargames Factory figures go together. My only disappointment is the selection of Hirdmen that came in the starter set. I understand the image on the box is merely representative, but I got all four figures with the integrally molded shield who look best as spearmen. I was hoping for some of the more dynamic poses from GB such as are shown on the box image. Going forward, I think I will likely either go with plastics so I can convert to my heart's desire, or buy specific packs of figures rather than another boxed set.

My goal for the rest of this week is to get these guys based and primed, and hopefully be able to start on the painting. (Life is very full right now, with family - two teen-aged kids - and work making it difficult to find time to wargame, and I am a very slow painter as it is, so I make no promises on how long it will actually take me to get this done! Perhaps by the time I get a copy of the rules and dice I will have at least enough troops to put a small force on the table.)