Thursday, August 16, 2018

First units for Saga - Crusader Hearthguards

My friend and fellow Northern Conspirator Mike has been promoting the Saga rule set within the club recently. He's even been hosting some one-on-one and small group games to introduce new players to the rules. It seems that his efforts have paid off as several of us are starting Saga armies to use with the the 'Age of Crusades' era /  source book.

I'm starting off with some generic Crusader units and will probably eventually create enough units to do most of the Christian armies. Later I'll likely want to do some of the Muslim armies to oppose them. Of particular interest are the armies with camels. I've never painted any camel-mounted troops.

These figures are from Gripping Beast and represent two four-figure units of hearthguards. The shield transfers are from Little Big Men Studios. I have some experience building plastic models and prefer water slide decals, sometimes even making my own. LBMS transfers are a hybrid between stick-on and water slide. Applying them may be more intuitive for those without experience using water slide decals, but for me I found them less easy to use. The graphics were sized appropriately for the Gripping Beast figures and the graphics with the exception of one shield so far were very good. The one shield that didn't keep it's detail as well as the rest just looks dirty, which is quite acceptable.

The first unit is Gripping Beast's "military sergeants with hand weapons". They're more uniformly equipped and I believe intended for the Milites Christi warband which explains their uniform equipment. I've kept the equipment regular, but varied the shields which I hope will give them a bit more utility. Eventually I may paint up a full uniform Milites Christi force with matching shields, but for my first units I prefer the flexibility.

These are wonderful figures with great equipment detail. Even the backs of the figures without cloaks have straps and buckles on them. I took some extra time to do a gray highlight on the black cloaks on these. The only complaint I have with these is the photographs on the Gripping Beast website depict these equipped with axes and swords. The weapon hands being separate. My pack only contained hands with swords - no axes.

The second unit is Gripping Beast's "dismounted knights #4". Three of the four of these come with shields detached and hands without weapons. I would have preferred all four match, either all with or all without. The one odd figure looks a bit misplaced among the others. The hands do not come pre-drilled. Not much else to say here, the figures have good detail and painted up quickly.

Saga has a lot of dice. Each army needs eight. Tomahawk Games provides images so you can make your own dice if you like. I purchased a set of Christian and Muslim dice, but the rest I will probably make on my laser engraver. This sample Teutonic die I created to see if making my own would be doable. I need to adjust the laser's settings to get the design etched deeper into the die's surface, but I think the end result will be worth the manual labor or masking and painting the dice. There's something about making your own stuff that's very satisfying.


Ed M said...

Very nice figs and paintjob. Good information on the figures, too. Seems like only last week or so that you were talking about getting started in Saga. That didn't take long!

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

Had to scratch an itch. Now it's back to working on game day terrain!