I finally finished these over the last couple of days, the Anglo-Saxons for DBA as part of the Bloodaxe Project. The post that took the original idea and then set it all in motion is the Dark Age Campaign Set – the Figures needed and Dark Age Campaign Set – the Figures ordered. Noticing how long ago it was I purchased the figures, it has been a year to get one of the six armies complete. If I keep at the same rate, I will have it all finished by Christmas 2026.
These troops represent the Anglo-Saxons from about 701 CE onward, about the time the Anglo-Saxons adopted shield wall tactics in battle until the time of Knut.
The army as painted covers the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria as well as some minor states.
These kingdoms were the ones that bore brunt of the Viking invasions and later struggle for control of England.
For those looking for the inspiration for this period, there are many books, both fiction and non-fiction around the period as well as coverage with fictional and semi-fictional TV series coming to mind. The Last Kingdom, set in the time of Alfred’s England and the Vikings, set just a little earlier are two that come to mind.
In wargame terms and for the DBA wargame rules, the army is III/24b Anglo-Saxon Army 701-1016 AD. The army as painted can also be used (morphed) into the Anglo-Saxons of 617 to 700 CE, when the infantry behaved more like warbands.
The great fyrd – poorer or older retired warriors
The members of the shield wall – spearmen fighting closely packed
The general or king in company with his hird – the best warriors in the shieldwall armed in part with big axes
Archers or scouts – for annoying the enemy and ranging ahead of the warriors to avoid ambushes
The rest of the hird, the best warriors in the shieldwall armed in part with big axes
To begin the process of adding more lead to the pile, I mean, after all, you can never have enough lead, I looked at all the figures I would need then though, I should by these in groups as they will cost a bloke an arm and a leg. I then received a bonus at work and thought, “what wargaming items can I spend this on … after all, it’s mine, allllll mine”!
Damn it if it did not seem like a great idea to get all the lead for this project, after all, it was only going to be another 1,800 figures or so. Best part was, when I looked at the order, I calculated that there would be enough left over to purchase a World War 2 French army for Blitzkrieg Commander IV. This was important as I had picked up a paint set in Sydney from Hobbyco. Even though the store was disappointing, the paint was not. French armour from World War 2, paints were Ammo by mig. I have wanted to try these paints for a while and yes I know, I could have purchased a set for early war British or something but the French seemed so, well, colourful and best, it means I will have a WW2 and a Modern French force.
What exactly did I purchase. Remember that I was looking to build the project around six armies:
East Frankish and
So, what did I purchase I hear you ask? Here is the order list of pack numbers I purchased:
1 x CIS17 – Saracen Command
1 x CIS01 – Seljuq Turk Heavy Cavalry
1 x CIS04 – Seljuq Turk Light Cavalry – Gallop
1 x CIS09 – Fatamid Spearmen
1 x CIS16 – Sudanese Spearmen
East and West Frankish
1 x EMC – Early Mediaeval Casualties
2 x EMN01 – Norman Armoured Cavalry, charging
1 x EMN02 – Norman Armoured Cavalry, stood
1 x EMN03 – Norman unarmoured Cavalry
1 x EMN04 – Norman armoured infantry
1 x EMN05 – Norman Archers
1 x EMN07 – Norman Crossbowmen
1 x EMN06 – Norman Leaders
1 x AGO03 – Gothic Heavy Cavalry
1 x EMA01 – Huscarles with Spear
1 x EMA02 – Huscarles with Axe
2 x EMA03 – Fyrd Spearmen
1 x EMA04 – Anglo Saxon Archers
1 x EMA05 – Saxon Leaders and command
Viking and Leidang
2 x EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen
2 x EMV02 – Unarmoured Spearmen
1 x EMV03 – Armoured Axemen
1 x EMV04 – Viking Archers
1 x EMV05 – Viking Luminaries and Loonies
1 x AGO01 – Gothic Infantry
1 x AGO02 – Gothic Archers
The armies will morph as well. I can make Irish Viking out of these figures for a bit of variation. I can also manage the Finns as well
The entire armies will be Baccus and I will admit to looking forward to their arrival. I am trying to clear the painting table and queue in anticipation. Mind you, I am not sure that ordering 1,800 figures in one hit, even 6mm figures, is the smartest thing to do. Still, wargamers will understand.
I spent some time this week having a look at the figures needed to make up the Dark Age set. Recall in Dark Age Campaign Set I identified six Dark Age armies to build the set around, being Viking, Andalusian, Anglo-Saxon, West Frankish, East Frankish and Leidang.
First decision was the figure range and while both Baccus 6mm and Heroics and Ros have the same ranges available, the pricing of both companies is near enough to the same to just pick one range on appearance.
I do like Heroics and Ros, especially for World War 2 and Modern wargaming but for Ancients, Baccus is a very nice range of figures so I decided to build the set with the various Baccus ranges.
Some “repurposing” parts of the Baccus range was necessary to achieve the six desired armies (and to be honest I am thinking of adding a Slav army to round it all out … but not yet). For some of the East Franks and the Norse Leidang I am opting to use some Goths from the Roman range. The Andalusians are being drawn from the Saracens in the Crusades range – using mainly the Seljuqs and Sudanese.
I have calculated that to achieve the desired results here, I will need to purchase 30 packets of figures from Baccus. This will amount to around £152.00 not counting postage 😦
The figure count (and therefore the painting queue) will grow by about 1,500 foot figures and 300 mounted figures, plus/minus.
I think I may break the order up into chunks and will plan to develop this project over the coming 12 months. In the meantime, I have a lot of modern naval in 1/3000 scale to paint up (not to mention 1/3000 scale World War 2 and World War 1).
Time for another planning session I reckon – off to the pub!
Having studied History at University (when I was supposed to be reading Economics) I always feel a little less than professional when I refer to the Dark Ages as the Dark Ages – but it fits. The glory days of Rome were well past and there were many years to go before the golden age of the Renaissance appeared. Even in China we had just come out of the Tang Dynasty and were heading into Five Dynasties. (907–960) and then Song Dynasty. The glory days of Yuan when the Mongols took over China were not until 1200 C.E. or so.
I have always had an interest in the Norsemen however, especially as I did study the Vikings in those misspent university years. The project Vikings in 6mm – the Project Start came as a result of reading some historical fiction around Erik Bloodave. I have been doing some research over a Tim Horton’s coffee or two and have settled on the following armies. I intend to purchase enough figures to build them so that they can be used for both DBA version 3 and Basic Impetus
III/40b Viking Army 850-1280 CE
14.8 Viking 789-1066 CE
III/34b Andalusian 766-1172 CE
18.3 Later Andalusian 961-1072 CE
III/24b Anglo-Saxon 701-1016 CE
14.9 Later Anglo-Saxon 789-1016 CE
III/52 West Frankish/Normans 888-1072 CE
15.3 Normans in Normandy 900-1072 CE
III/53 East Frankish 888-1106 CE
15.11 Eastern Franks & Ottonians 898-1125 CE
III/40c Leidang 790-1070 CE
Haven’t worked this one out yet 🙂
I had to do a bit of converting troop types and rules to work these together for two different sets of rules. Firstly there was base sizes. I did consider using 60mm base widths with 30mm depth for pretty much everything as both rules would work with that as they both use base widths for measuring ranges and move distances. However one thing I am very short on in the Philippines is space, so a 2′ x 2′ (or 60cm x 60cm) playing area was the first constraint. I then decided that I would use standard DBA/DBM bases of 40mm frontage. As both sets of rules use base width measures it would still work OK.
The second task was to determine a conversion between Basic Impetus and DBA trop types. I settled on the following conversions:
DBA Troop Type
Basic Impetus Troop Type
FL or S
CP2 or CP1
I reckon by the time I finish I will have a few more to add to the list.
As for basing, as I am using 6mm figures, I am planning on basing 4 x 6mm figures for what would be a single 15mm figure on a 40mm base for the likes of 4Bd (16 figures to the base). For loose order (3Ax etc) then 12 figures to the base (normally 3 x 15mm figures). Light troops will be 6 to 8 skirmishers. For mounted troops I will be using a ratio of nearly 3:1 for all except Light Horse. So 3Kn will have 9 or 10 figures on the base. LH will be 4 figures on the base.
It just so happens as well that I believe the next issue of Slingshot from the Society of Ancients (Slingshot 324, May/June 2019) will have an article about a Dark Age campaign using 6mm Viking figures, among other things. In fact, just checking their Twitter feed there will be DBA Danelaw Campaigns as well as Tweaking DBA 3. I’m looking forward to that issue (and joining the Society of Ancients is recommended for anyone interested in Ancient Wargaming).
As for figures, I really only have a choice between Baccus 6mm and Heroics and Ros. Both have good ranges of Dark Age figures. For the Andalusians I will need to trawl through the Crusader ranges. Most likely that will be Baccus who have a larger range of Saracens and Seljuqs. Goths (as a nice hairy barbarian type) will also make an appearance in these armies doubling for some of the Finns and Slavs or Rus.
And yes, just what a wargamer needs, another project and more figures. I think I will slip off now and start my modern Soviet fleets in 1/3000!
As if I did not have enough half finished and unstarted wargames project, I am about to add another one to the list. I really must get organised with more painting time though and start to clear some of these.
It has started with this book. A modern telling of the tale of Erik Haraldsson known as Bloodaxe. Erik Bloodaxe lived from the late 7th century until he was finally assassinated in 954 C.E.
The book has been (and still is) a ripping read and of course it has fired my interest in adding some Vikings to my wargame collection.
As I mentioned in Another Project – Vikings in 6mm, I have a fine collection of Two Dragons Vikings here in 15mm but I want to build the Vikings in 6mm. I originally started thinking about just two armies in 6mm and set them for DBA and/or Basic Impetus. That would have required about 400 figures all up using the basing scales I use of 15mm base sizes and 3 or 4 6mm figures for each 15mm figure.
Wargamer’s megalomania has now clicked in and I am thinking that 10 armies would make a nice collection. With those I could probably morph a few other traditional enemies if I wanted to.
So Baccus 6mm Vikings are nice and while the ones illustrated to the left from the Baccus website are based on a 60mm base, basing on 40mm will look similar, just 4 figures per rank less.
So, adding to the Vikings (DBA army III/40b) I am looking to add:
Northern Slav (III/1a)
Anglo-Saxon (III/24b) – two of these 🙂
Leidang Army (III/40c)
West Frankish (III/52)
East Frankish (III/53)
Thinking about a Pre-Feudal Scots as well – such is the megalomania!
So, I will need more than the original 400 digures considered and this will therefore go from being a nice little project to a big one.
The option other than Baccus is to use Heroics and Ros figures who also have their Vikings, Saxons and Normans and could therefore provide most of the figures here. This will lead, of course, to a few days pleasure planning and combing through catalogues.
I am also still considering the naval side with some additional bits, such as 6mm Snekke and Drakkar from Heroics and Ros. Another option is the 1/1200 scale Viking and Saxon vessels from Navwar.