Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Three Warlords of Saga


    My first warlord prize stand for the Saga Age of Melee tournament, a "Welsh-style" general

Last year, I painted up a handful of warlord stands as prizes for the Advance the Colors 2022 Saga Tournament. I wanted to do the same thing again, but figured that doing them in several batches, rather than all at once, would be easier. I am running two tournaments this year, so picked out one batch of figures for the Ancients tournament and one for the Age of Melee (all historical periods). I would be painting at third warlord stand for myself at the same time. With three figures per stand, nine figures wouldn't be so bad, right?

    Using Gripping Beast's "Aetius" figure, I created a warlord stand for Roman-style armies
Wow...these three stands seemed to take FOR EVER...FOR EVER (channeling the movie "Sandlot")! Granted, the warlords themselves were mounted while their standard bearer and bodyguard were on foot. Still, that shouldn't take that much longer than a normal batch of 8 miniatures, should it? Apparently so. Being general or heroic figures, they did have a lot of detail. And being prizes, I wanted to make sure I did a bang-up job on them. How embarrassing would it be if the painted warlord stands were the last prizes chosen? Last year, they were some of the very first chosen, which I found gratifying. I received a lot of kind words and praises for them, so I had to make sure these were up to the same standard.

    I would have to say this stand is up there in my all-time favorite warlord stands I've painted for Saga
The Age of Melee stand would use as its base a mounted general from Gripping Beast (I believe), called "Mounted Welsh Warlord." It is an incredibly cool figure with scale armor and a dashing half-cloak over his shoulder. The horse is rearing majestically and it is simply a great pose. I decided to alternate silver and bronze scales, and was happy with how those turned out. I crossed my fingers and did a tartan for the cloak, which came out great, I felt. The yellow squares at the intersection of the blue and green "grid" really set it off. The shades of green and blue colors gives a nod to current Scottish tartans, so I felt they looked believable.

I added a bard figure to the stand that has been sitting in my unpainted lead drawer for more than a decade. I am no longer sure where this figure comes from, but it is a beautiful casting. I love his sweeping gesture as he points out the subject of his praise. I gave him lots of decoration so that he is dressed to befit his lord's status! The standard bearer was simply a well-armored dark age warrior who I thought fit the look of a Dark Age British style warlord. I want these stands to be relatively generic and useful for at least several or a handful of warbands. In that vein, I made the banner a Celtic-style boar which I found with a Google Image search. I put it in Photoshop and switched out some colors and added a nice border. I made it match the color scheme of the warlord and feel it really stands out.

    I really like how the bodyguard's and standard bearer's shields came out on this stand
Next up was the warlord for the Age of Ancients tournament. I chose Gripping Beast's Aetius, Magister Militum figure for the general. Not only are there Roman armies in pretty much every Saga "Age of..." book, there are other warbands that might have Roman-style equipment in Age of Invasions that it could work for, I feel. Of course, since he is Roman style, I had to go with deep reds for the color scheme, with a dash of purple here and there. I went with a yellow cloak for contrast and think it works well overall with the banner and accents on the clothes. I Googled "Roman Legionary Banners" and sorted through the dozens of images before deciding on the rampaging bull. I added a border of tiny SPQR eagles around it, hoping that it wouldn't date the warlord to one particular period (such as Christian imagery might). You have to remember, Age of Caesars will be out before too long (hopefully), so I want him to be usable for that book's Romans, as well.

    Aethelflaed Alfreds-daughter, Lady of Mercia, is believed to have actually led armies
Finally, the third stand that was for myself -- Aethelflaed, Alfreds-daughter, Lady of Mercia! Ever since watching The Last Kingdom series on Netflix, I thought it would be amazing to have an Anglo-Saxon army with the redoubtable Aethelflaed as a warlord. This daughter of Alfred the Great was raised at court and is lauded by historians both modern and medieval. It is certainly within the realm of Saga to have her as warlord (perhaps even subbing in as a "Legendary Warlord" for her dad?). The miniature (I believe) is from Reaper Miniatures Bones line, but I had long since thrown away the box and had the figure sitting on my desk for years.

    I like this little diorama for Aethelflaed, and I think the plastic Reaper figure turned out well
Another touch I really liked was the Saxon warrior holding his shield over his head, blocking arrows from hitting his Lady. The Saxon comes from the Gripping Beast's Ceorl Shieldwall pack. When I saw the figure, I got the idea to use him as a bodyguard catching arrows intended for his lord (or lady). So, I saved the figure until I was ready to paint up Aethelflaed. Actually, I thought I had two, but could find only one. I originally wanted an arrow catcher on either side of the horse. I drilled out the Saxon's shield and pushed brass wire through. I added "green stuff" to the end of the wire as the arrows' feathers. It came out okay. I am sure others could do better, but I am still learning with green stuff. I wanted a royal deep red and dark blue color scheme for the Lady, and echoed it on her attendants. The casualty figure at her feet was actually a last-minute addition. I had painted it up for something else, but just loved how it looked, so placed it on the base during the flocking stage. As a final touch, I used Aethelflaed's supposed banner from the Bernard Cornwell novels of the goose holding a cross in its mouth.

All in all, I am VERY happy with how these turned out -- even though they took me about three weeks worth of work! Stay tuned for another batch of warlords over the next month...!