Thursday, 9 May 2019

Saga: Age of Magic - The Challenge (4)

4. End of Week 2

The most significant thing that's happened this week is that all the figures I ordered have arrived, most of them in a big box yesterday morning. Because of that I haven't had time to get round to them yet, but at least everything has arrived. I have to say how impressed I am with the speed of West Wind's order turnaround, though, and Warmonger weren't far behind them either. But most of all I am pleased to say that I have kept on track this week and not run out of enthusiasm yet.

That all means that as of now I am in the position of being able to finish any of the armies, and I suspect because of that I will be concentrating my efforts over the weeks ahead on specific faction to get some of them finished rather than taking the current scatter gun approach to all and sundry. We shall see.

Anyway, here's the progress so far:

Great Kingdoms

The pegasus from Fireforge has arrived and even without assembling it I can see it is a lovely figure. I hadn't appreciated it was resin when I bought it, but this just means it has really clear detail, and will need an especially good wash before priming. The model comes with optional horse barding, which is a great feature. To make a better match with the Eastern Princes army I'm going to use for my Great Kingdoms, I will use a non-barded version, and replace the shield to match those of that army's hearthguard.

Pegasus parts
I've assembled the sacred ground monument and added milliput to make the cross more substantial. The steps have been textured with chinchilla dust to make them look more like stone.

The monument
Lords of the Wild

The snake-men have arrived but are still in their boxes for now. The only progress has been on the titan for the Rise of the Spirits ability.

I added more filler and small stones to the base go give a better impression of roots bursting up through the ground, and a bit more fine detail, sealed in with a coat of PVA glue. More fine detail to be added next when it's all dry.

The PVA dries...
The Horde

A few days after the arrival of my West Wind order, the few figures I ordered from Warmonger (Foundry) turned up very promptly as well. These are lovely figures, and meant that I could get on with the war chariot early this week.

The first step, after cleaning up the figures, was to attach the boars to an appropriately sized base. I've used a 75mm round base, the same size as for my monsters.

The boars on their base, undercoated
I filled the voids in the chariot wheels with milliput, and attached the wheels to an axle made from a kebab stick, which was fitted to the bottom of the chariot body. I had to adjust the chariot pole to make it a little longer to better fit with the boars. I built a yoke out of more bits of kebab stick and milliput and then let all the parts fully dry.

Chariot components
While this was drying, I modified the chariot crew. The driver's right hand, from which I had already cut his weapon, was drilled to fit a whip which I made out of thin brass wire bent to shape and fitted to his hand with a tiny bit of green stuff. I removed as much of his left forearm as I needed (most of this will be invisible when he is inside the chariot) and added a new left forearm with an open hand, taken from the bit box. The hand had to be enlarged a little bit with green stuff so as not to look totally out of proportion. The intention was that this hand be holding the reins when the chariot is finally assembled.
The warrior in the chariot is a splendid orc figure from Warmonger. I trimmed his base to fit the chariot and cut off most of the cleaver held in his left hand, as there wouldn't be room for it in the chariot, and this would be largely hidden from view when he is fixed in place.

I fitted the two crew into the chariot body, making good around their bases with green stuff. I attached a pair of matching shields to each side of the chariot body, and a smaller one to the front, more for decoration than anything else. Because the chariot model is equipped with javelins, I took three spare spears and made a quiver for them out of green stuff, which I attached to the outer rear of one side of the chariot body.

Chariot side view, showing the driver with his whip

A view from the other side, showing the javelin case

And from the front. Note the driver's enlarged left hand
I added a skull design out of milliput to one relatively flat side of the Sacrificial Stone which is this faction's Sacred Ground.

Skull design, not quite straight, but that gives it a bit of personality
The Undead Legions

The skeletons and the mounted hearthguard have arrived and are in their boxes ready for assembly. Having assembled one very fiddly figure I can already see that this is likely to be the most time consuming part of putting this army together. 

Other than that, the only progress is that the crypt now has a base (though no texture yet).

The crypt
Masters of the Underearth

I am very impressed with West Wind whose figures arrived within days of ordering. These dwarf crossbowmen are a little on the chunky side, and needed a bit of flash cleaning off, but they are very expressive  and I do like them. They are sold in packs of 10 so, needing 12, I bought a command pack to go with them - thinking that these would be specific command figures for the crossbowmen - which sadly they weren't. However, I was able to convert one of them to suit the unit better, adding a crossbow from the Frostgrave Warriors set and (though this figure is a bit of a midget in the unit) found one odd old dwarf figure with a crossbow to make up the numbers.

Spot the midget
A few days later the single dwarf ordered from Warmonger also arrived, making one of the two destruction teams, but I needed another one. So I took one of the West Wind command team figures (the standard bearer), cut off his weapon and standard and re-equipped him with a couple of scratch-built and highly unlikely looking double-barrelled pistols made from plastic tube, green stuff and plastic card. To distinguish the destruction teams from the other figures, I put them on 30mm bases.

Destruction team #1: Warmonger 

Destruction team #2: converted West Wind 

Friday, 3 May 2019

Saga: Age of Magic - The Challenge (3)

3. End of the First Week 

One week on and I am still waiting for delivery of the figures I ordered, and (typically) I've ordered some more since then as well (details below).

The main progress made is that all the figures that I do have are now based, with their bases textured and painted. Those that were not already painted have at least been undercoated. 

Great Kingdoms

Not a lot of progress on the figures, but the sorcerer has been based and the dragon has been based and undercoated, and looks much better for just that.


Undercoated dragon
While searching for the crypt I came across a resin Celtic cross originally bought for Saga, but which I never got around to sorting out. This is ideal for the monument that will be the sacred ground for this faction, so I will put it together with the addition of a base and some milliput, and a pedestal made of balsa wood.

Essential components of the monument
Lords of the Wild

I finished my conversion of the lamia sorcerer by plaiting some dressmaker's wire and winding it around her staff, to make it look both more ornate and a bit larger. This was finished, and a few holes filled, with a very small amount of green stuff. You can't see it on the photo but I also added a pouch and a shoulder strap for it. She already has a shoulder strap on the front for the quiver on the original figure.

The lamia sorceress
I cut a round base from MDF for the Rise of the Spirits giant lizard, because my model wasn't going to fit on a 75mm round base. I textured the edge of this, and in an effort to make this look like the lizard was bursting out of the ground, constructed the area inside with fragments of broken, dried, DAS clay. 

And then (while doing the gardening) I had what I thought was a brilliant idea that changed everything. This is supposed to be a titan made from the terrain - so what if it was a dragon/lizard-like creature but made of earth and undergrowth? So with ambitious thoughts of making something similar to those brilliant driftwood sculptures in the back of my mind, I had a go at constructing something appropriate. I began to build this out of small pieces of dead wood glued together and strengthened it gradually with milliput. It turned out to be easier to construct this directly onto the base. I'm quite pleased with the end result, but it needs a bit more work to make it look a bit more lizardy and less like a horse.

The terrain dragon poses

Needs work to make it look more like a lizard than a horse
The Horde

The Warlord, Champion, Sorcerer, Creatures, Hearthguard and Warriors have all now had their bases textured and painted, and unpainted figures have been undercoated ready to go. I realised while doing this that four of the Hearthguard figures were supposed to have shields (they have holes in which to add them) and so I found four matching shields of an appropriate size to equip them with. These are almost certainly not the ones the models came with, but that doesn't matter.
The champion
I've had a bit of a rethink of the list, and rather than the chimera, it seems a better fit to the army to add a war chariot. With that in mind I had a good look around at available figures; there are some, but most of the good ones seem to be currently either out of production or hideously expensive (or both). A lot are also in multiple packs, but I only want one. The answer I came up with was to buy some suitable beasts to pull it and a warrior to ride on board, and scratch-build the chariot myself. So I ordered a pair of boars and an appropriately aggressive orc figure from Warmonger miniatures.

In the meantime I've made a start on building the chariot body out of kebab sticks, coffee stirrers and green stuff. The wheels started life as a pair of small slot bases, to which I added green stuff, milliput and bits of coffee stirrers. I also found an old orc figure that with a bit of work will do nicely as a chariot driver. I now need to wait for the the boar figures to arrive before I can really progress this further.

Some of the starting elements of the war chariot
Legions of the Undead 

After another play test I've decided that a unit of four mounted Hearthguard instead of the behemoth makes a lot of sense. It won't stop me finishing the behemoth off but I suspect I am unlikely to use it much. The Necromancer will benefit from some bodyguards too, and the army could use a mobile reserve, so this is all the more useful. I also think the Black Knight could do with a bit more mobility so I'd like him to be mounted as well. So (and somehow I suspect this was inevitable) I have put in an order for a few more figures.

The Necromancer and Black Knight (on foot) are now based and primed.

The necromancer
Black Knight on foot - needing a bit of touching up
Also after a search through some boxes I found a nice crypt (from Debris of War) which I will use for this faction's sacred ground.

The crypt
Masters of the Underearth

As with the other factions, the figures are now all on painted and textured bases, and those needing to be fully painted have been undercoated.

This splendid warlord is the "white dwarf" figure associated with the magazine of that name which I believe is a bit of rarity now as it was a limited edition a very long time ago. It's great to have an excuse to put him to use and hopefully my painting will do him justice in the end.

It's  clear that this list would significantly benefit from some troops with ranged weapons, so I have decided to drop the Manticore and four of the Hearthguard and add in 12 Levy crossbowmen and two Destruction Teams instead. On that basis I ordered some figures from West Wind and Warmonger miniatures.

In the meantime I textured and painted the bases of the mine entrances, and added some more detail in the form of belts for the winch pulleys (made from a cut rubber band).

Belt added to the pulley mechanism

...and the same on the other entrance

So far, so good. Let's see if I can keep the momentum up for another week!