Monday, 1 January 2018

Viking Hirdmen

I thought we should get 2018 off to the right start in the way we mean things to continue and begin the year with one of the most fearsome sights any self respecting member of the Devon Fyrd might feel a little quiver of anxiousness facing.

These Viking Hirdmen, first put together on holiday in Holland last summer, have been glowering at me for a few weeks on the painting desk as time has been earmarked to organising other projects, but with the acquisition of the banner-man at Warfare together with the required shield decals in November and the run into Xmas freeing up extra down-time I was determined to press on to get these chaps done in time for the new year.

As mentioned with the other sets of Gripping Beast plastics, they really do allow the wargamer to rapidly build a nice collection of figures at very reasonable cost in pretty short order and with a few mixed head options and the addition of a few cameo metals can be made to fit the bill in terms of being easy on the eye.

Although quite stylised in appearance with plaited beards and side locks they really do look quite different from the Saxon counterparts and I really love the two handed Dane-axe wielders who with their shields slung really look the part.

As mentioned previously I am planning to use these with Dux Bellorum to fight the bigger battles I have in mind, with some really interesting fights to do that occurred down here in Devon.

The six figure sabot bases should work fine with Dux Bel and the twelve to fifteen bases per force fit nicely onto my 6 x 4 mat with the larger table available should the fancy take me.

I had originally planned to use the loser style six figure sabot base to distinguish shield wall from warrior troop types but now plan to have all units using these rectangular options with a note as to which sides are using which formation type.

For the odd skirmish affair I plan to use Dux Britanniarum as the preferred rules and thus I was keen to keep the skirmish basing as an option for the smaller clashes envisaged.

Work to complete this collection, to get some games kicked off early for 2018, now moves to my Viking and Saxon skirmishers, bows, javelins and slingers, together with the remaining options from my second box of Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors suitably attired to double up as either Viking or Saxon spear carriers as required.

Just to reiterate these figures are the Gripping Beast Plastic Viking Hirdmen with a metal standard bearer, also from Gripping Beast and the shield decals are from Little Big Man specifically designed for this range.

So on with the last few figures to complete this collection and then work moves to a 20th century theme for our planned summer game in North Devon and then I can move on to all things Romano-Dacian.


  1. Nice work on the painting! I‘m not keen on these plastics but I feel you‘ve made the best of it. The bases do look much to regular for me though. I can’t believe the vikings fought in neatly ordered ranks. I‘d order the next sabots with one figure less in the second rank so the holes can be arranged to be ‚between‘ the holes in the first row. Just a suggestion though.

  2. Excellent presentation - enjoyed the vid clip. Thanks for all the blogging from 2017, always top stuff.

  3. Nice paint job, for sure! The angles on some of the arms look a bit ... off. But you've done the figures proud!

  4. Good work JJ.

    I thought the video was surprisingly effective.


  5. Thanks for your comments chaps, glad you liked the start to 2018.

    I think for plastics, and these I guess are pretty much first generation, they are quite good, and I know there are lot worse than these offerings and that might include a few metals. That said I think these work well with the better metal offerings that can be added to soften the repetitive stances and angles which can distort the view of the arms and legs which when up close are not as distracting as might appear in the pictures.

    As far as straight bases, I agree to a point in that I think some of the nicest bases for these kind of irregular formations are probably Simon Miller's Bat Bases for his "To the Strongest" rules with the bevelled and irregular shaped edges and I think his Wars of the Roses/100YW infantry stands look fab, but as I said I want to skirmish with these chaps as well as line em up for the bigger clashes and I am happy with the compromise. I looked at irregular spacing but the I feel the gaps look a bit silly with these chaps fighting fairly close order shield to shield and with the others in the back helping to brace the front line.

    I guess one man's basing and rules choice are like shoes, we don't all take the same size.

    Thanks for the video feedback Vince, I've had some positive comments about these clips and they are really just another way of looking at the same subject but hopefully adding something extra in terms of the painting or modelling.

    Cheers all

  6. Smashing figures and paint job. I know what you mean about sabot type bases. It's one of the constant compromises we make to get the most out of out figures. Having said that, you have made the best possible job of it. If my stuff was painted half as well as yours I'd try to get the maximum utility out of them too; and thanks for the video. Useful info much appreciated.

    1. Thanks SRD, much appreciated. Well the proof of the pudding so to speak will be when the two lines of figures face each other across the table and we can see how distracting or not the bases are then.

      I played a game of Dux Bel at the end of last year at the DWG and it was then that I thought they might be a bit heavy on the eye particularly when using dramatic hills where any edge sticking out over an incline is particularly distracting, but perhaps that is my pedantic nature at work.

      I did though make a mental note to try and keep my hills gentle and look to avoid using these bases over too much ground clutter, anything basically that might cause those edges to stick up in the air, shouting to the world "look he's using sabot bases and aren't we ugly!"

      Thanks again

  7. Nice work and a good overall display. It's another bit of inspiration for my own Saxon and Viking project I've just started with the Gripping Beast plastics. Looking at your set up, I'm guessing 25mm round bases and 80mm sabot bases. Cheers.