January 31, 2013

The full glory of the Jomsvikings

I don't often take army shots as my camera isn't really up for it. However here is the assembled might of the Jomsvikings. I could manage to have the camera steady enough to get a fairly decent shot of them all together. It is an improvement since the preview shot was taken! I still haven't finished the basing, eventually my stuff may arrive. Hopefully it does soon before I get lazy and can't be bothered pulling the models out anymore. Once something goes into the painted cabinet it rarely comes out for more work!

January 30, 2013

Flameguard Cleanser Officer

I haven't completely forgotten Warmachine. Despite spending almost the entirety of January painting stuff for SAGA I mananged to play more games of Warmachine than it. I wanted to get this guy since Wrath came out but I kept putting him off. He finally popped up on the local games stores shelf and I grabbed him. He was simple to paint as I haven't gone for much complexity with my Menites. Keeping them simple means that even though I have somehow been painting them since 2004 I can keep them consistent. They look great en mass on the tabletop. I, as seems all to common, haven't got my new model to the tabletop yet. I am playing a League at the moment and I am using my Circle army. I am hopefully getting a friendly game in soon so I can test him and his buddies out. I rarely take my menites off the shelf. I think last year I may have used them about five times in total which is a shame. Hopefully I can rectify this over the course of 2013.

January 29, 2013

The Lord of War

I think I skimped on doing the shield for the Warlord of my Jomsvikings. I was lazy and I had had enough of tiny intricate designs. I have looked around and noticed a few ways I can definitely improve the work I did on these. The Madhouse Workshop has some really nice viking shields painted up with battle damage and I like them a lot. Mine are very new looking and a bit more damage would improve them. The Hobbyhorse has a really nice shield painted for an Anglo-saxon warlord and I wished I had thought of doing something similar. I will do it for my Anglo-dane warlord I think. I also want to get some casualties for his base so it could be a while before I manage to order everything and do him the justice he deserves.

January 28, 2013

Axe Wielding Maniacs

At last here are my daneaxe wielding Huscarls. Absolutely no shields here and as such this were quite straight forward to paint. I spent a little more time doing the clothing and I added some more detailed than usual trims. If I was painting a larger regiment I would definitely forgo this step. With only six models it isn't too painful to have to do. These are the last troops in the army and so I can move on to something new. I don't know if I will paint more SAGA models, I certainly have enough for a new army, or if I will go back and do some Warmachine stuff.

January 25, 2013

The Pagans are Coming!

These are the last of my standard Jomsviking Huscarls. I added to these the warbanner that I had painted up previously. I think the scale works a little better than the Anglo-saxon banner I did.It is absolutely huge in comparison to this one. Painting the shields for this army has shown me a few things. Firstly as I expected: I hate doing freehand. However if I don't go for really thin lines it is somewhat easier. It probably doesn't look as good but it works for me. I can paint thin lines but I can't do it in such a way that it is perfectly consistent. I end up having to do a lot of touch ups and that takes an age. Thankfully I managed to struggle through and do various geometric and curved knots on the shields for this army and it looks good. I don't know what I will do for the forthcoming Anglo-danes. There will be many more models in that army and I really don't want to have to spend an age doing them!

January 24, 2013

The Saga Continues

Here is the second unit of Jomsvikings. Thankfully the army is tiny. Twenty five models make up the complete army.I am just using Huscarls to further represent the elite nature of the force. I went with a green and cream colour scheme though the camera as usual has washed the cream colour out and so it looks really white here. It is a lot warmer if you see them in person. I used Dark Angels Green (GW) and Bonewhite (VJ). The darker green compliments nicely the warmer cream colour. I haven't highlighted the green much as that is where I placed the more complicated designs and it took me an age to do. If I had to highlight those areas now I would go insane.

January 23, 2013

The First Vikings

Here are the first finished Jomsvikings. I still have the bases to complete but that won't happen too quickly. I am awaiting the arrival of the materials I need and they seem to be perpetually delayed. They will be fairly similar to the Anglo-saxon bases with the addition of a few rocks that you can see. One thing about Hamburg in the winter is that the floors of your apartment slowly fill with little stones from the paths outside. I gathered up they rather larger than expected collection from my hobby room floor and used them on the bases for the Vikings. They are the rights scale and have a decent texture.

January 22, 2013

To go a Viking

Here are what my viking raiders look like before painting. All the miniatures are from gripping beast I think. Some of the unhelmeted ones look a little larger than the rest and maybe they come from elsewhere. They can as an addition to the anglo-saxons I had ordered a long time ago. I believe it was a mercenary regiment that was attached to the army deal I got. I had started painting them as you see but as is usual I never finished them.

I have painted these guys up over the last few days. They went a little faster than I imagined they would. I still have basing to do on them all but I should have some shots up of them tomorrow. The models shown are a full 6pt standard army for SAGA. This is the smallest possible force as it is made up completely of elite Huscarls. I don't have many viking models and it is fitting that the Jömsvikings are all elite. I don't know how this will work on the battlefield but I hope well. The game as far as I can see is wonderfully balanced and while I have a really specialised force I will be easily outnumbered. My anglo-saxons come in at forty nine models. It will be interesting to see how a battle between the two plays out.

January 21, 2013

A Glorious Leader

I forgot that I had still to show my Warlord off. Here he is the glorious leader of my Anglo-saxon raiding force. He is mounted on a larger base as the rules for SAGA demand. He provides two dice to the pool used at the start of each turn that determines what abilities and units can be activated. It may sound very random but generally everything you want to activate can though what abilities you can use may vary. The game is quite strategic while the tactics do come down a little bit to luck, you can influence them of course but to varying degrees. I like the game a lot. It is much more casual than Warmachine but it still offers a challenging balanced game. I have yet to play and be annoyed by anything that has happened.

I went with a fairly standard basing scheme of mine that if you are a regular follower you will be familiar with. I do this with almost all of my models now as it matches the terrain I have in my collection and it will match my flocked and painted board if ever I finish it off. I often want to do stuff like snow or desert bases but then the army looks weird, at least when I play with it at home. I did use the Army Painter Winter Tufts here and they came out fine. I am still not 100% convinced that they are that amazing. I can never seem to get them to come out as well as others have.

January 20, 2013

It has alcohol

This wonderful fermenter has been sitting in my room for the last week bubbling away. I have to say it was pleasing to be greeted by this the morning after I had cooked it all up. By the end of the week it had quitened down a lot. As far as I understand at the moment the yeast produces a lot of carbon dioxide as a byproduct of converting the sugars in the wort to alcohol. I had expected the process to be a little stinky but the fermenter is well sealed it seems and nothing really escapes. In a tiny apartment it is a worry when something like this begins to reek. I also had to maintan it at a proper temperature which was actually easier than I though. The apartment is naturally about 19° which is perfect for ale yeast.

This picture shows the krausen remnants on the side of the fermenter. Basically when the yeasts start their work they are capable of churning the wort to such a degree that it forms a foamy head. This is often removed from the beer as it contains oils and such that contribute to off-flavours and a hangover. As I can't do this with a closed system I just had to leave it to eventually fall back into the beer. Its not too big a problem I am assured. The residue on the side of the fermenter is mainly remnants of the hops I used.

Yesterday I racked the beer, moving it from one fermenter to another to keep it away from the sediment now built up in the first one. As you can see it isn't very appetising stuff.The white layer is yeast while below it is mainly hops adding a wonderful brown green colour! It is especially lovely when you mix it all up during the cleaning process. The beer is now sitting in a second fermenter where it will stay for another week or two. Once fermentation has stopped completely I can then begin bottling it all up. Sadly it will have to stay in the bottles at least another three weeks before I can really enjoy it. I should though be able to start a second brew so at least I will be building up a stockpile.

January 18, 2013


These are the sadly small but elite core of my Anglo-saxons. I would like to have more of them but I really wanted to use up the Gebur models that I had. Maybe at a later date I can get another four of these done and swap out the Geburs.I practised a little with the freehand on the shields and it came out acceptably well. I am not very good at freehand and it takes me an age to get it to look well. I do want to ave impressive shields on the Jömsvikings and the Thegns presented an excellent chance to test out what I can and can't do.

My beer is doing quite well and over the coming weekend I will be transferring it to a second fermenter, that is going to be fun!

January 17, 2013

The last ones I assure you!

No more Ceorls, these are the last ones! These make up the last of the thirty two that I need. I divide them down into two units of ten and a third unit with twelve models. Combined with my Warlords dice and the dice from a unit of Thegns I get the maximum of six so I can effectively command he army and get to use my abilities to a maximum effect. Of course over the course of a battle I will be whittled down but as long as I get to use the abilities on the offensive I should be ahead in attrition.

I am making some decent progress on my Jömsvikings and I will start showing them off on Monday. I am trying to paint them to a higher standard as they came mostly unpainted. The problem with the Anglo-saxons is that they were pretty much already painted so I had to match my older and not quite as good techniques which I think I managed despite no longet having 90% of the colours needed.

January 16, 2013

A banner to believe in

Here is the command group for my Ceorls. They don't have a funtion in the game but as these were intended for Warhammer Ancient Battles I had the models ready and it would be a shame not to use them. Also it would mean I had to paint three more models, no thanks. I painted the banner again based on a design from Littlebigman studios. I think I over compensated for the previous small banner and so this one is rather huge. I also did the nose a little poorly and blacklining it really makes it stand out here. I don't think (hope) it is as bad in real life. The banner can now be used as rules in the latest supplement The Raven's Shadow. I don't know exactly what it can do as I haven't picked up the supplement yet. I am at least prepared for when I do!

January 15, 2013

Swelling the ranks

More Ceorls and yes there are more to come! The Anglo-saxons get an advantage due to their numbers and to capitalise on this I tried to maximise the numbers of my Ceorls. In my army I have spent four of my six points on warriors giving me a pool of thirty two. In SAGA you can divide these up as much as you want with a minimum of four and a maximum of twelve. Each of these units give you a dice that can be used to activate an ability or unit depending on what was rolled. The problem with this is that I need to have larger units to get the best use of my abilities but that restricts the amount of dice I generate to use those abilities. A nice touch that balances the faction very well.

January 14, 2013

The rabble is roused

I finally got the Geburs done thankfully. I hate painting the chaff of an army. It isn't worth any points and there are invariably loads of them to do. Between these six models and the previous six this is a unit of Geburs worth a single point. Four Thengs are worth the same and don't take that long to paint. Two of the models are missing their slings. I have no idea where they went or where the spares went either. I have some replacements currently curing and once they are done I will attach them to the models.

This army is finished thankfully. I will put up more pictures during the week while I get started on the next SAGA project - the Jömsvikings. I will have the nice accompanyment of my homebrew fermenting and bubblng away in the background as I paint these guys.

January 13, 2013

Boiling Beer

So I made Wort yesterday. My beer kit arrived during the week and I was eager to use it. A little too eager it turned out. Having scrubbed everything down I started. Very quickly I realised that I was measuring in pints rather than litres. Everything had to stop then and I rushed out to the store to get a pot big enough for 12 litres. The confusion arose as our kettle is marked in pints which I assumed were litres. I also picked up Aalhambra while I was out as I noticed it on sale. It was on Tabletop just the night before and Wil Wheaton convinced me it was fun. Once I got back to the house I got everything in motion.

This is the wort just as it is getting to boiling. It looks very much like really putrid vomit. The previous picture shows the ingredients. The two cans in the pot at the back are malt extracts. I am warming them up so that they will be easier to get out of the can. Malt extract is a really sticky treacle when cold. The little glass jars are filled with Cascade hops for bittering and flavouring the beer. Once the water has boiled I popped the extract in, breaking the can opener somehow in the process. The hops went in immediately afterward. The smell this generated was interesting and while the rest of the apartment didn't stink to badly the entryway was quite bad. I liked the smell but nobody else did. I boiled everything up for forty five minutes. This breaks down the hop oils and complex sugars in the malt. Right at the end I added more hops for flavour. The hops added at the end like this give a flavour to the beer but none of the bittering oils. They really seem to be perfectly designed for beer. Boil 'em for bitterness and natural preservatives and soak 'em for flavour.

Once all this was done everything gets strained (sparged) into a fermenter. I bought two. These are basically big buckets with a tap at the bottom and a hole on the top for a fermentation lock. Once the wort had cooled to 24° I could add the yeast. I don't have a chiller for wort so this process took about five hours of waiting. Eventually the yeast went in and I could seal everything up to prevent contamination. Just before that I took a gravity reading of the beer. This is done with a Hydrometer and it measures the density of the liquid. Water has a density of 1 and I ended up with a gravity of 1.048. They .048 is mainly sugar that the yeast will convert into alcohol. I checked out some reviews of the kit I used online, a Muntons Continental Pilsener, and I achieved with a 45 minute boil nearly a third more sugar than if you don't boil. With these kists you can just mix everything cold and leave it to ferment. Boiling helps everything along as far as I am told.

Now I just need to wait until the fermentation kicks off which should be soon and I am well on my way to making beer!

January 11, 2013

For Mercia!

It has defintely been a busy week of painting the Anglo-saxons. I am ahead of what I have showed here so far and I should be able to field a fully complete army tomorrow depending on how motivated to continue I am today. I have kept the yellow and red scheme on all the shields as I want to be able to identify the army easily from any others I may paint. Dark Aage armies are usually depicted with shields in various colours. That looks great but for a tabletop game I want all mine to look somewhat cohesive. Having the clothing in various colours and designs was good enough. The colours I choose are fine historically as they are the colours of Mercia, one of the Anglo-saxon kingdoms.

January 10, 2013

Geburs for a change

Here are my first finished Geburs. These are missile armed skirmishers for the Aanglo-saxons. They come in batches of twelve for a point. They do get a big bonus in this army if they are armed with a spear and shield but then I would have no way to differentiate them from my Ceorls. Missile troops aren't so bad and it gives me the chance to get these finished. I can always put them in one of the other armies later if I figure out how to get some spear and shield armed Geburs. These were some of the first models I had painted for the army many years ago when these were destined to be used for Warhammer Ancient Battles. It was nice to finally put some varnish on them and call them done.

January 9, 2013

More Ceorls!

I should really have started painting these guys in batches of eight as they are then a complete unit worth one point in the game. I usually paint in sixes no matter what the models are and I followed that habit without thinking. I have twelve finished and that is a point and a half. Most games are six points so that is a quarter of the way. I added some crosses to the Ceorls shields as I will be copying another Littlebigman studio banner for this army. It will be a depiction of Christ and so the shields which were originally painted many moons ago should reflect this a little. I also made a start on my Geburs, the poorest quality troops available so that I will have close to a fully painted army for Saturday. I can see myself spending far too much time painting this week to get everything done!

January 8, 2013

Saxon Ceorls

There are going to be a lot of Saxons here over the coming days. As I promised last year I was bringing my Saxons back to Germany. I have spent the last few days rebasing them and yesterday I got the first batch of six that you see here done. I painted these originally about nine years ago. I never varnished them at the time and while they have never been played with they have been transported during various house moves. They have loads of chips and damage, especially to the weapons as these are lead miniatures I think and the weapons bend really easily. I am continuing over the rest of the week to get more of these done, hopefully six a day at least, as I want to get a game of SAGA played on Saturday. It will be my first time to play it outside of VASSAL so that will be good!

January 7, 2013

Black Varnish

It may sound bizarre but I am looking for black varnish and I can't find any. I want it so that I can edge my bases in black and varnish them in one go. Black paint isn't strong enough on its own and varnishing the bases afterwards is a pain as it has to be done for each model. I don't trust a simple spray on varnish especially if I have used something like a hairspray technique. So has anyone out there found a product like this?

January 6, 2013

I give in!

For many years I have been intrigued by Homebrewing. This year I am going to do it. I have some great friends brewing in Finland that are far more experienced than I and I also have found a great local brewing group to get help from. It seems that the hobby is quite a lot more widespread than I had thought at first, a little like wargaming. I am also suprised that it is far easier than I had at first imagined. Wwith some diligent cleaning and good quality ingredients you can't fail to make good beer. At least I have been so assured. I have no doubt I will fail somewhere along the way. I am currently awaiting the supplies which were suprisingly cheap. I suppose in a land where the beer is cheaper than water is in Ireland you reasonably can't charge too much. The crate below cost €9.49. In Dublin I would be afraid to estimate but at least double that would be a fair estimate. In the meantime however I have to get some bottles. Lucikly one of the local brews comes in these wonderful 'plop' bottles. They are fairly handy to use and don't need and special equipment or effort to seal. So my mission while I wait is to gather sixty of these.

That means I have three of these crates to consume in the near future. It seems like this new venture is off to a good start. Sadly I had a party at home before Christmas that would have provided ample bottle supplies except I didn't think about it until afterwards! At least this way I get to benefit twice. Dithmarscher is a brewery I like especially due to the history of the area. It is about sisxty kilometers from where I live and sadly I haven't visited it yet. The area declared itself a republic of peasants in the 15th century and managed despite some long odds to succesfully defend themselves a number of times. Their location in a marsh and some unique ideas helped them out. The beer is a lovely pilsener and I am going to enjoy it.

January 4, 2013

Angry Stompy Robot

I have had a few Khador Warjacks sitting on my desk half completed for quite a while. Two brush blending is a rather difficult technique and I need to build myself up before I embark on doing it. It came out fairly okay on the berserker here but I could have done with spending a little bit more time and attention on the model. It is always presented as being quite simple. I have as yet not found it to be. I don't know if it is related to the paints I am using or how I am using them. I also added some battle damage which I didn't do to the other 'jacks in the army. I had practised it on the Killa Kans and that came out fine. I might go back and apply some damage to the Kodiak and the Devastator.

January 3, 2013

Flying a Flag

Here is the banner I painted for my upcoming Jomsvikings yesterday. It is based on a design from littlebigmenstudios. They produce some great shield transfers and banners. However I really didn't like the colours they used for this one so I sketched out the design and painted it up to suit. It is much smaller than the original which is fine for a warband rather than an army. I want to make sure that each of my SAGA warbands has a distinctive colour so they can be easily identified. I used Dark Angels Green(GW) and Bleached Bone(VJ) for the basic colours and highlighted hem slightly. I have to say that at the scale I did this it was tedious and I will make sure that the next banner I do will be much larger. It would have been almost impossible to paint on something like a plastic GW banner. At least with my meagre talents. I just have to get more of the Jomsvikings together now so I can have a fieldable force.

January 2, 2013

Attend me Priest!

I saw this guy a number of times in the local game store and I eventually gave in. At that point I wasn't really sure what he did and if I had I probably could have resisted much longer. He joins a mercenary unit and they then count as friendly faction models. In some cases that is excellent but I can't see a unit whith whom they are really that useful. I have Croe's Cutthroats but at ten points they are expensive and adding two more points to them won't really help! I also have Sam McHorne and the Devil Dogs but I really don't se them benefitting either. It is nice to have the model painted but I guess he will occupy the shelf for a long time to come.

I did a quick paintjob on this guy. I wanted to experiment with some yellow and pink highlights. They came out much better than I imagined and I will use these colours a little more in the future. I always highlight red from a very dark base colour. It prevents the colour from becoming too orange or pink. Hence I never really tried out a red where I intentionally wanted one of these to come through. I think the rich pink I managed to get fits quite well and so I will have to experiment with it elsewhere in the army. The yellow came out fine but it doesn't really fit the models that well. I guess not everything can come out as I want it. I think I will stick with a less vibrant yellow like on my Circle army.

January 1, 2013

I am back!

It has been two months to the day since I posted here. I just wasn't painting anymore and so I didn't really have anything to put up. There are enough news and rumour sites around that I don't feel I need to contribute to constant repetition. I was still playing regularly of course but battle reports are or at least good ones are very time consuming to write up. I never get many comments on those that I have done and their pageviews aren't very high so I haven't kept with the habit of doing them. My painting and general hobbying is the lifeblood of the blog and if I am not doing that then the blog has to go silent.

So as the blog moves forward I am hoping I can keep the pace up and keep a regular schedule. My plans for the coming year are three to four warbands for SAGA. I assume I have the models for that much as I bought what felt like a massive saxon army many years ago. These will eventually become Jomsvikings, Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Danes and then a fourth as yet undetermined faction. It will probably be Irish, Welsh or Scottish as the remained of models are unarmoured cheorl types. I have at least one opponent locally and maybe if I am playing in the club I can entice a few more guys to start. Currently my Menites are fully painted as are my Circle guys. I of course want to get a lot more of them but now that they are fully painted I want to make sure I keep them at that status. Whatever I buy has to be painted as soon as possible. It also means no bulk buys! I had a terrible habit of ordering €100 - €150 worth of models at a time. This lead to them piling up and getting neglected. So I will gradually increase these factions but no big splurges.

I do still have three other factions however for Hordes and Warmachine. I am not a hundred percent sure how that happened. I want to get my Khador army complete. That means a fifty point tier four pButcher list. A few other tier lists would be nice to have but that is the one I want to start playing with. That means I need to do a lot of painting. Also I want to start using my Blindwater Congregation. I have everything for them except a Warlock and Rask will fit the bill nicely. Once he is out I will start using them. Finally I have a nice selection of Mercs bought at various times and with various ideas upon their eventual usage. I want to complete a tier four Drake McBain list and that means steelheads. I have everything else painted so sometime in the near future I have to collect some halberdiers.

Then finally there is my all to massive collection of GW stuff. I will very soon have to cull it I am afraid. I have far too many armies in various states of completion and to be honest they are doing nothing but gather dust. I can never hope to sustain more than one or two of them for each system and so I need to consider offloading what I don't want. I guess at the moment that means I will be selling an Undead, Ogre, Skaven and possibly Empire army. I don't want to but I can't keep them all. Anyway I can still manage to squeeze them all into various storage spaces so it is a problem future me can worry about.
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