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Koyote's Britons & other SAGA Stuff

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It took me over 3 weeks of painting in my spare time, but the my first unit of Tuareg (Moorish) cavalry is finally done.   With the addition of this last unit, my display case is full.  I

I'm going to use Great Invasion era Briton models, but I want to add some Monmouth and Mallory to the warband's backstory. This will add some flavor to the warband and guide my modeling and theme.

Here's my third Biped Creature.  The big, gold sword clearly identifies him as the leader of my Araby Ogres. If you look closely, you will see a big brown blob of paint on the sword's cross-guard

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I finished the last four mounted Hearthguard.  Below are all 8 Hearthguard together.

The lights that I normally use to photograph minis interacts with the blue paint on my Moors to produce photos in which the blues possess a violet hue that you don't see when you look at the models in person, under normal lighting conditions.  I tried to correct this by using different lighting.  The result is better than the earlier photos, but it's still not quite right.



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I did a bit more work on my 4-pack warrior "drum crew".  

I added the crescent moon banner standard topper to the banner pole, replaced the drummer's head (for the second time), and swapped out the [i]Artizan Designs[/i] swordsman for the [i]Gripping Beast's[/i] Mutatawwi'a Warlord on Foot.  

I really like the warlord model, and I REALLY want to incorporate the mini into my warband, but I don't need a foot warlord.  The plan is to paint him with a grey or white beard.  He'll be either an honored veteran who has seen too many summers to serve in the front lines, or an old warrior imam who accompanies the warband.



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Clever generals (which I am not) use mercenaries to exploit a certain rule or compensate for a warband's particular weakness.  I enjoy using mercenaries, mostly for the modeling, painting, and thematic opportunities.

Below is a unit of Sailors for my Moors warband.  I used Perry Miniatures' Afghan Tribesmen kit to make them.  Their garb and head coverings identify them as Muslims, but differs enough from the other models in the warband to clearly indicate that they belong to a different group.   And yes, I recognize the irony of using models depicting warriors from a landlocked country as sailors.

I still need to do some greenstuff work on them to fill in gaps.  I am tempted to add an eye patch  to the leader so I can call them pirates.  Argh, matey!  

The kit provides enough pieces to make 36 models, so I have plenty left over.  I will likely assemble another group equipped with javelins to serve as a unit of Borderers for my Mutatawwi'a warband.


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I typically buy greenstuff from my local game store, Dark Tower Games, which carries Army Painter branded greenstuff.  I’ve also purchased it online. I haven’t noticed much of a difference between manufacturers.

I use Apoxie Sculpt for larger scale work, such as work on bases and terrain. It’s characteristics make it a poor medium for doing proper sculpting and converting (detail work), but it’s much cheaper than Greenstuff, so it helps your hobby dollars go further when working on large scale projects.



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Last night, I took a break from painting to do some work on my first camel cav model.   Using a pair of snips and hobby knives, I cut away the saddle and enlarged the hollow under one the of the Gripping Beast Mutatawwi'a camel riders, so that it will better fit on the Irregular Miniatures camel.  Cutting away that much white metal from the recess with a hobby knife takes a considerable amount of effort and time ( I may have to invest in an electric dremel).  After narrowing the top of the IR camel's hump a bit, I was able to fit the GB rider and IR camel together quite nicely.

My warband needs baggage models (see p.17 of the Book of Battles), so I've begun the process of designing and purchasing the pieces for each vignette.

The first baggage model will highlight the Almoravid's use of drums.   When shopping for camels, I noticed the Perry Miniatures sells a Arab drummer mounted on a camel so of course I had to purchase the model.  My Perry order arrive yesterday and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the casts.  After my bad experience with the Perry Bedouin cavalry (likely the result of worn out molds), I was quite happy to see how cleanly cast and sharp the Arab musicians set (MA17) turned out.  I am also quite happy with the size and proportions of the Perry camel.

Below is a WIP and size comparison photo.  The center left model is the GB rider and IR camel that I worked on.  The center right model is the Perry camel drummer.  The model on the far right is the GB rider on its original GB camel (with its ridiculously small head).



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In general, when playing skirmish games I prefer round bases to square.  Also, I do not like to mix rounds with square (or rectangular) bases in the same warband.  

In Saga, for both aesthetic and game play reason, I prefer to mount cavalry models on pill shaped bases rather than large rounds or oval bases.  As for the latter, the one exception I've made is mounting my Age of Magic forest goblin spider riders on 40mm rounds.  For the spider riders, the rounds best fit the shape of the spider models' overall footprint.

In the past I've used 50 mm and 60 mm rounds to make Baggage (vignette) models.  Rounds are ill suited for models that have a long, roughly rectangular footprint like a wagon and draft animals.  Years ago, when I assembled the wagon from Gripping Beasts' Baggage kit, I mounted it on a homemade pill shaped base that I constructed by attaching a Renedra rectangular base to two pieces of Renedra rounds.  



The DIY Renedra pill base turned out okay, but a couple of years later when it was time to base a Victrix Gaul chariot, I needed another pill shaped base.  This time, instead of piecing together bits of Renedra bases, I made my own pill shaped base by cutting it out of a large, wooden circular base made by Litko.  


My Muslim warband's Baggage models will be a bit more traditional than the story-themed Baggage/vignette models I made for my Briton and Pagan Rus warbands.  Since I dearly love camels each will include at least one camel accompanied by some men on foot.  In my mind, the layout of each camel procession should fit nicely on pill shaped base, so it's time to crank out a few more wooden pill shaped bases.

According to the Book of Battles, a Baggage model's base must be no smaller than 40 mm x 40 mm, and no larger than a 100 mm x 50 mm rectangle.  The pill shaped bases I have in mind measure 3 inches x 2 inches (roughly 75 mm x 50 mm), so it meets the requirements.

I begin with a Litko 3 inch (1.5 mm thick) wooden base.  Using a pencil and ruler I drew a center line.  Next I added two parallel lines, each 1 inch from the center line. .  


Then I sketched 4 curves to give each end a nice rounded shape. Then used a hobby saw to cut along the two parallel lines in order to remove the semicircle pieces of each side.


Finally, I used a hobby knife and sand paper to round the corners that were created by cutting away the semicircles.


Below is a mock-up of my first Baggage model for my Muslim warbands.  In keeping with the Almoravid drum theme, this first Baggage model will be my drum section. The camel is made by Perry Miniatures. The foot models are Gripping Beast. The plastic drums and arms come from the Perry Miniatures' Afghan Tribesmen kit.

The base is a bit crowded, so I'll likely evict the horn blower and use the extra space on the base to add some interesting terrain features.




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Oh rotary tool, where have you been all of my life?

I bought an inexpensive mini rotary tool (aka electric dremel) for $19, plus a pack of Tungsten Carbide Rotary Burrs for $15, on Amazon.  And boy oh boy, did it work great!

Previously, I used a pair of snips and a hobby knife to remove this camel rider's saddle and carve out the hollow beneath the rider to fit it onto the Irregular Miniatures' camel.  Cutting through white metal with hobby knife is a chore that quickly destroys the blade and is hard on the hands.  The task was made even more difficult by the fact that I had to get the knife into a curved hollow to remove material in a U-shape.  

The rotary tool let me accomplish in minutes what had taken me 30+minutes of snipping and careful carving.  It also let me do a much better job of shaping the U to conform to the camel's back.  I still used the snips to remove those sections that I could, such as the rear of the saddle, but after that, the only tool I needed was the rotary tool.




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I finished the 4-pack of Warriors that will, depending upon my build and the scenario, hang in the back and generate an extra SAGA die. Since they may spend much of the game just standing around, I figure they might as well look like the belong in the rear of the warband's formation -hence the flag, drums, and aged champion.



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In the most recent episode of the Saga Thorsday podcast, Rodge and Monty voiced their desire to include in the 2022 Adepticon Saga tournament, scenarios that include baggage and/or objective markers.  This is great news, because one of the highlights of Saga tournaments is seeing all the wonderful warbands on display.  And for me, seeing each player's take on their particular warband's baggage/objective markers really adds to their warband's display.

Both Rodge and Monty are quite keen on including the Ambush scenario (see Book of Battles) into the 2022 tournament scenario lineup.  In this scenario, 3 baggage markers move across the center line of the table.  On Turn 1, the opposing warbands enter from their warband's long edge.  If a baggage marker is destroyed, it is transformed into an objective marker.  It's a Survival Point scenario in which players earn points by holding objective markers at the end of the scenario.

Transforming of baggage markers into objective markers gave me an idea.  I am going to link my baggage and objective markers together, so when I remove a particular baggage marker, it will be replaced by a particular objective marker.  To do this, each baggage marker will include a prize carried by non-combatants or guards. The corresponding objective marker will include that prize and the body of one of its guardians.  Both the baggage and objective makers will be generic enough that they can be utilized on their own, without the need to use them paired together.

I will use Wargames Foundry's Arab Casualty set to make the slain guardians.


Below are my first two mock ups of baggage markers and accompanying objective markers.  I don't have the casualty models yet, so I am using a stand-in model.

The first baggage marker is procession of Imams, with their leader holding up a holy text that is bound in a gold, gem encrusted book cover.  

The objective marker will depict a slain Imam lying next to the sacred text.



The second baggage marker is procession of drummers.  The drums mounted on the camel will be sacred, Golden Drums of [insert suitably impressive name here].

The objective marker will depict a slain drummer lying next to one of the golden drums.

I don't have a spare camel drum lying around, so I made a simple mold using Instant Mold, stuffed it with greenstuff, and the next morning, voila!  





The third baggage-objective set will include a prisoner.  I don't yet have the models, but they are on order.

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I've been thinking more and more about playing this warband as Mutatawwi'a. When I do so, I want to include a unit of auxiliary (mercenary) Borderers.  Their unit entry describes them as fierce and independent warriors who come from difficult to reach, mountainous regions.  Their special rule, [i]Formidable[/i], emphasizes familiarity with rough, rocky terrain by providing them an increase to their Armor when the unit is within uneven terrain providing solid cover.

Below is a unit of Borderers, assembled from the Perry Miniatures Afghan Tribesmen kit.  My preferred equipment choice for Borderers is javelins, so I've replaced some of their swords with metal javelins. In two instances the sword poses were too cool to get rid of, so I added a javelin to the models' shield hand.  To symbolize the Borderers preference for fighting in rough terrain, I've deviated a bit from standard recipe for this warband by adding large areas of rocky terrain to the bases.  



I used Woodland Scenics Surface Rocks (C1231) rubber mold to cast the plaster-of-paris rocks.  This mold casts rocks that are much larger and thicker than what I need for basing these models, so I had to break them up and then shave them down with a hobby knife.


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I finished assembling my Muslim themed baggage and objective markers.  All that's left to do is to add texture to the bases, primer, and paint.

As I posted earlier, these baggage and objective markers are designed to be use in conjunction with one another for the Ambush scenario, or independently of one another.

The first baggage marker depicts a procession of drummers. The drums on the camel will be gold plated ceremonial drums with sacred significance to the Almoravid.  

The objective marker depicts one of the sacred drums and a dead drummer.  The casualty model used for this model is beardless, so I used GS to add a short beard, similar to that of the camel mounted drummer.



The second baggage marker depicts two Christian monks/priests and their captor, a Muslim warrior.  All three have paused to look at the remains of a long dead warrior.  

On the objective marker we see that the captor has been slain, and the remaining monk/priest is begging for mercy or giving a heartfelt thanks to his rescuers.  You can't see it from this angle, but I've added a conical helm to the top of the casualty's head to match the helm worn by the model on the baggage marker.

These models need more work. I plan to add chains to the monks/priests to more clearly indicate that they are prisoners.



The third baggage marker depicts a parade of armed warrior imams.  Their leader is holding aloft two relics, a small golden urn and a gold bound text.  

The objective marker depicts a slain imam.  The relics lie beside his corpse.  A vulture has swooped in a for a quick snack.

I used GS to add a forked beard and a band around the casualty model's forehead to match the headdress worn by the imam on the baggage marker.




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Behold, the new and improved baggage and objective markers.  Now with more arrows, chains, and manacles.

The arrows come from the Fireforge Games Living Dead Warriors kit.  It's such a great kit.  The arrows add a bit of height to the models and serve as an interesting detail.

The chains come from the GW plastic Flagellants kit.  Over the years I've gone to the well-o-bits that is the Flagellants kit, over and over and over again.  It has so many great heads, weapons, torsos, and extra bits.



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2 hours ago, Ish said:

I have a Anglo-Saxons warband for Age of Vikings, although I never really get to play. I’ve got tentative plans to build a Crusaders army, but haven’t gotten around to it.

Do you play your Anglo Saxon warlord mounted or on foot?

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3 hours ago, Ish said:

On foot, makes him easier to hide behind the big blocks of Spearmen.

What do you mean by “ hide”? Aside from flyers, in SAGA, units block LOS to other units, regardless of the units’ model type or size. As such, infantry units block LOS to cavalry models (also elephants, creatures, and monsters).

Do you use a big base for your warlord or a stand infantry base?  Also, are your Anglo Saxons mounted on square or round bases?

Lastly, has your warlord expressed any interest in joining Marjorie Taylor Greene’s proposed Anglo-Saxon caucus? 

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