|28mm Crusading troops from Perry Miniatures|
The Crusades have always fascinated me, and the notion of gaming the period has captivated me for a long time. But I have avoided diving into the period for a variety of reasons over the years - the more I studied, it felt like the less I knew, and I wasn't sure where or how to get started figure wise, and the hesitation was enough to keep me avoiding it. Some cool submissions in this edition of Painting Challenge (like Stephen S's Hospitallers), however, finally inspired me and decided to jump in. After pondering some different scales and rules, I figured the quickest route to getting a game in would be a skirmish game. With that in mind I thought I would start with SAGA. For figures, I opted for the wonderful 28mm sculpts from the Perry twins.
These figures represent the beginnings of a four-point Crusader warband for SAGA. There are eight warriors and one knight (the test model). These figures arrived on Friday night and I was pretty keen to get started so I spent that night and the next day preparing and priming the figures, with paint beginning on Sunday. For the foot troops I used some flattened steel spears I had lying around, while the Knight retains the cast pewter lance which came with him. I love the steel spears, and I can see why folks go for them...
While SAGA is a skirmish game, I based the figures on squares/rectangles so they could slot into movement trays to take part in games of "Hail Caesar" that I hope to do sometime well down the road. That will be a long time away, but a guy can daydream, right? :)
|Some fun freehand painting on the shields - tried to do some very simple mono-coloured ones to match some more complex ones as well|
Painting fellows wearing chain mail is relatively straightforward, but as I had been contemplating this project one major stumbling block in my mind has always been the shields - specifically the patterns on them. I hoped to work around that using decals from LBMS, but my order is nowhere to be seen yet in the mail, and I was so fired up by the surprising success of the Winnipeg Jets over the weekend I didn't want to wait to get started, so I just did the best I could by panting freehand. It turned out OK. I have still have no idea what the story is with the patterns on the shields, but for now, I'm trying to "fake it till I make it."
|Take that Iannick! The Winnipeg Jets inspired with a surprise road victory in Montreal on Sunday...|
I find preparing the Perry castings can be a chore, but as Curt has often said to me it's worth it in the end, as these were a real joy to paint and I absolutely love the sculpts. It's always a great feeling when a new project offers such a nice jolt.
|The spears are flattened steel - this is the first time I have used them, and I see why people prefer them...|
While these figures are meant to take part in games set in the Crusades, I suspect they might do for a variety of different settings where Normans were involved, from battles in Italy and Sicily to service as mercenaries for a later Byzantine force, among a few options.
|The star of any Crusading setting - a Knight! Can't wait to finish more of these fellows.|
Alan and Paul: Every great journey begins with a single step. I look forward to seeing this force grow into a SAGA warband, and then perhaps a retinue for Lion Rampant, then on sabot bases for Basic Impetus, before reaching the epic scale of Deus Vult, Hail Caesar or Sword and Spear. God Wills It! The great thing about painting figures for the First Crusade is that you can use them as a Norman warband as well. I think you have done a great job on these, from the basing on up. Special mention goes to the handpainted shields, which those who know me know I have strong opinions about. Indeed, I have been known to rant. LBM decals are beautiful, don't get me wrong, but the true test of a hero is whether he or she eschews such things and with grim determination seizes the paintbrush and makes something truly individual. I salute you, sir, and give you an extra 4 points for your efforts.