Thursday, 7 April 2016

The big Dark Ages project kickoff!


In many of my recent blogposts I have referred to my new "Dark Ages Project" and it is now well time to tell you more about it. The Medieval Period is not my forte, I think it is mighty interesting but hobby-wise (just like WW2) it is too vast a period with too many armies/ factions for me to get stuck in. So I won't. Not really if you do not count me dabbling in the El Cid period anyway.

That said, I have always had a big crush in Dark Age British History. The tales of King Arthur but also the Viking incursions have long held me in their grip. After reading Guy Halsall's excellent book on Arthur, Worlds of Arthur, I am now pretty sure Arthur as a historical person didn't exist, but the tales are just too good not to be an inspiration for gaming. I just never actually knew how to do this. My main vehicle of hobby is still pretty much the plastic 1:72 figure and the Dark Ages cannot be decently gamed in this medium, at least not in the way I would like to do it.
After seeing the popular Vikings TV series I was hooked on that as well and upon seeing Stronghold Terrain's character figures I decided to get stuck in. After renewing my WI subscription I was given a Warlord games voucher and bought a box of 28mm Viking hirdmen and that's when the proverbial poo hit the fan. My obsession with doing something Viking/ Dark Age related kicked in overdrive.

My initial aim was to create some Viking Series factions to game low level skirmishes with the (and now you'll laugh) Fistfull of Kung-fu rules. I would make up teams of powerful characters Ragnar and Friends, Jarl Borg and crew and King Horic and troops to duke it out. But after participating in the Dux Britanniarum demo at Poldercon I was hooked on that ruleset too and thus I needed bigger forces. The above mentioned factions can be joined together to create a Norse army and then I needed to get cracking on some Saxon adversaries as well so in came some more Gripping Beast figures and a few Foundry Saxon characters. Accidentally I ordered the Raiders supplement to Dux instead of the main rules from Gripping Beast so I than ordered the main rules and cards from TooFatLardies  direct.

In my order from Gripping Beast I included livestock and civilians as well and some brilliant lasered MDF houses were ordered from Timeline Miniatures.
Now very recently I was pointed out by a very kind and enthusiastic gentleman that the Norse had extensively raided  the parts I live in as well. The larger part of the northern  Netherlands were called Frisia back then, but the part where I currently live belonged to Frankish Austrasia and not far from here the same Norse conquered a Frankish Palts (Royal Residence) and fortified it for use as a base of operations. For about two years they raided the surrounding lands including Maastricht and some French and German towns, before the Franks (or Carolingians) brought in a huge army to get to grips with them. A 3 day battle ensued and ended in a deadlock. The story then ends with the Frankish emperor granting the Norse leader a noble title (an earldom but I'm not entirely sure) after which he was baptised and swore fealty, but as soon as the emperor had skedaddled he resumed raiding. Some local nobles then put an end to him.
Anyway now I needed some Carolingians as well, so a Saga starter army of Carolingians was duly ordered from Gripping Beast. There are not enough models in there to create a decent sized Dux force but that's no biggie since I ordered a Carolingian shield pack and some characters from Artizan Design and will convert some from the plastics I already have lying around. Funnily enough over at the Dux FB page someone has kindly shared a set of rules for Vikings and Franks (WIP) and I will be creating my forces on that basis.

Yup, it has all escalated really quick.  So how will this go onward from now? Well let me show you part of the huge pile of mini's collected for the project:

One can obviously see the rulebooks, the blue box in the left-hand upper-corner is filled with plastic sprues: 2 boxes of GB Hirdmen, there's 1 box of GB Dark Age Warriors and a Wargames Factory Saxon Thegns box, there's a box of GB Civilians and one of lifestock, the figures in the foreground are some characters from said boxes and Foundry and Artizan figures.
The Carolingians are not in the picture since they had just been coated and were drying at the moment.

And here is the first house I have finished for the gaming table:

Enough to do apart from work and real life I should say...

Cheers Sander


Gunbird said...

Well, that expanded quickly enough :)

peter said...

Nice collection you have there Sander! But what will you when you go to another meeting or conventio, when there are so many boxes are shouting: BUY ME!
Looking forward to the painted figures!


Ray Rousell said...

Some lovely looking goodies Sander, i shall look forward to seeing this progress even more!

Michael Awdry said...

Always love the enthusiasm about a new project and this looks like a cracker.

Jacksarge said...

I'm looking forward to seeing more! The Dark Ages are one of my all time favourite periods.

Sander said...

Thanks guys! I'll try and get some painted stuff up on the blog soon(ish).

legatus hedlius said...

My first 28mm metals were Gripping beast Vikings so am loooking forward to seeing this project progress.