Sunday, March 25, 2018


Horses, horses, horses! It's pretty much all one of my daughters thinks about. Horse stuffed animals, horse pillows, horse blankets, horse coloring books, horse shirts... you name it. And, of course, Breyer horses.

This past Christmas, my wife gifted her and me with a set of Breyer paint your own horses. Fun! A few weeks ago, we finally sat down for a daddy-daughter craft day and busted out the paints.

Here is one of my efforts. I mostly used the paints that came with the kit, which were surprisingly good and in realistic colors. I did supplement with some Vallejo for the hooves, eyes and such. And I used a Vallejo ink wash to simplify the shading. But overall I think it turned out pretty well.

And the best part is, it was more painting time with my daughter. Always a bonus! I just wish I had taken more photos.

Oh, as a sidenote, she has also talked us into a family trip to Kentucky in July for Breyerfest. Should be horse heaven for a little girl!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Sleeping Beauty

Wake up! Oh, I'm supposed to kiss her? Well, that's kind of weird, since she's only about 7 inches tall.

I think painting her was enough, don't you? Yup, I finally finished another one of these Disney Paint Your Own Statue things. I painted Snow White a couple years ago, then got busy with other things. But now with my mantra of catching up on old projects, here is Sleeping Beauty. Or Brier Rose, if you prefer.

These are quite fun to paint. You can do them as simply or as elaborately as you wish. My daughters have painted up a few to practice their brush skills, but I use an airbrush to try to get as smooth a finish as possible. I actually use Ceramcoat craft paints, thinned with water and a bit of a flow agent. You have to be careful not to get them too thin (first coat of her dress, ahem), but too thick and it can really clog the airbrush. Like most things, practice, practice, practice!

The hair I actually did use a brush with some Vallejo Pale Yellow. Same for some facial details, including the lips and eyebrows, with some drybrush rouge. I did the eyes with a technical pen.

I still have a bunch of these in the stash, with Belle up next, followed possibly by Ariel. But it's not all princesses - there are some Monsters Inc. characters, Mickey and Minney, and Starlord and Rocket Raccoon. Enough to keep me busy for a while.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

More Normans

More Normans! Four knights on foot with spears, and a warlord! And a banner! And two extra guys for good measure.
I know, they would do better in Saga with horses. But as I noted before, I have to believe a significant portion of the Norman army still fought on foot. So there it is. And don't worry, I have at least one more unit of mounted knights to paint. And with word of Footsore Miniatures Normans coming, I surely will be tempted to get a unit of mounted warriors. And some archers.

Wait, wasn't this supposed to be a quick side project?

I actually thought I would need to paint up at least one more unit to reach a four-point Saga force, then I realized I could just spend a point on a priest. So technically, I think they are good to go. Anyone?

Oh, the knights with spears are from Black Tree Design, while the warlord and his pals are from Crusader Miniatures. All very nicely done, clean and easy to paint with the usual mix of paints. 

One final note, I had planned on using some Little Big Men Studios transfers on the shields, and while they are very nice and I have had great success with them on Saxons and Scots, they didn't quite fit these shields as well. Not their fault, they weren't designed for BTD. So I used them as a guide to paint the shields. They turned out all right, I think.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Addicted to Saga?

Yesterday I wrote briefly about how much I like Saga. So last night I decided to quantify that a bit and look at the figures I have painted up and grouped into units for Saga. And the first step is admitting I have a problem!

Mind you, not all of this is painted, and in some cases point counts are estimates, but this should give you an idea.

Most of the Saxons
Anglo-Saxons: 10 points worth. That's four units of hearthguard, five units of warriors, and a unit of archers. Consider I have two more hearthguard units with Danish axes, and an Anglo-Dane force could be even larger.

Vikings: This one surprised me a bit. Again not all of this is painted, but most of it is. I'd call it about nine points, including four hearthguard, four warrior and one archer unit. I also have some berserkers, some painted, some not.

Scots: Or Picts. Whatever. I'll call it about six points for now. Two hearthguard (only one painted, the other is on the table), two warrior, one javelin and one archer. This is a faction I definitely want to try sooner rather than later.

Normans: The most recent faction I have started painting, after having them sit in a box for a few years. So far I have the one unit of mounted knights and one of foot warriors done, with one of foot knights nearly complete, along with my warlord. Next up will likely be a unit of crossbowmen, giving me four points, enough to start playing with them. But in the stash I have at least one more unit of mounted knights, and I think maybe two of foot knights. I'd like to get some archers and mounted warriors to call this one good.

Irish: Digging through the stash, sometimes you find things you forgot you even had! Looks like enough to do a four point force in there. I'm not so much of a purist that I might bolster that with some of the Scots noted above.

Era of the Princes: Yeah, this one doesn't fit in with the British Isles theme of the five above, but I like them. I have the four point starter pack, and the black hoods to add to it. Not a one is painted, but someday!

So, yeah, that's a lot. Six factions! That's ore than I thought. And like any good gamer, I'd like more. Skraelings, anyone?

Many of these were actually painted more years ago than I care to admit, long before Saga came out. I was waiting for Saga, apparently, I just didn't know it. While I've consistently used my Saxons in Saga games up to this point, look for that to change!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Normans on Foot? Without Armor?!

I really like Saga. A lot. I mean, there is a lot to like about it. A warband creation system that is easy to grasp, right-size units that won't break the bank or the painting queue and, of course, the differentiation between factions using the battleboards.

For all that, there are still a few puzzling bits. For example, I've always wondered about the lack of rules addressing attacking uphill. Seems that should get at least a fatigue or something. But that's not the point here. Another puzzling bit has been the total eschewing of Norman foot troops.

Now, don't get me wrong. The sight of a line of Norman knights mounted on their hardy warhorses is surely something to stir the heart and the imagination. It's a great basis for the factional character in the game. But what about the chaps on foot? Those who couldn't afford a horse? Or, perhaps, had to leave it behind in Normandy? Surely the Norman army had a large contingent of good old fashioned poor bloody infantry.

So that's where I'm going with my Norman force. This is my first painted unit of foot troops, some unarmored warriors. They don't count for much on the Norman battleboard, but that's what house rules are for, right? I'm sure I'll think of something. After all, I have quite a few more of these fellows to paint. I also have about three units of dismounted knights awaiting the brush as well.

These particular minis come from Black Tree Design. They were very easy to paint, using the usual mix of Vallejo and Testors. One downside is there are only four poses spread amongst the eight, so there is some repetition. But then again, who's looking at them? Everyone is watching the knights on their mighty steeds!

Watch this space for more Normans!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Soviet Armor for the Motherland!

It's a long way from the masses of armor the Soviets would have put in the field, but at least now I have two tanks completed!

These are both resin kits from Warlord Games and went together rather well. Both were given an overspray of Testors medium green, followed by a wash of Citadel camouflage green ink, then duly drybrushed, tracks dirtied up, etc.

The T-26 is slated for duty in Finland. If you remember, I participated in the Baker Company Kickstarter and had hoped to get some Soviet tanks that way, but I think that is pretty much a lost cause. And lost money, unfortunately. But this little tank will do nicely.

I'm not as sure what I will use the BT-7 for yet. Someday I hope to expand my Soviet forces to include Barbarossa actions, but that is still a ways down the road. In the meantime, I feel good to get these two in the "complete" pile.

But have no worries, there are plenty of Soviet soldiers and a couple of T-34s in the stash, just waiting for the right moment.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Adding to the Fyrd

As any Anglo-Saxon warlord in Saga will tell you, size matters. A lot. As such, one can never have too many warriors in one's fyrd.

So here are an additional 10 for mine. These are from Renegade Miniatures, and lovely minis they are. They were a joy to paint, and look great finished with the usual Vallejo and Testors paints. I did use Little Big Man Studio transfers for the shields, and I think they turned out rather well.

This gives me 36 Anglo-Saxon warriors, or four points. That gives me quite a bit of flexibility in unit makeup. I would probably go for three units of 12, but who knows. I also have 16 hearthguard, or four more points. Although to be fair, four of those have the big two-handed axes and are probably more suited for an Anglo-Dane force. (I also have four more of those to paint...) But I am not such a purist that I would not use these warriors in an Anglo-Dane force.

What with my start on a Norman faction, before long we'll be doing Hastings!