How to paint Vikings?

This morning as I was leaving for work, my friendly postie handed me the box of Vikings for SAGA I’d just ordered.  As usual, I have to recommend the Combat Company in Sydney. I ordered the models at about 10am yesterday, and they were in my hand by 8:30 this morning.  Less than 24 hours is pretty good service I think!  I took them to work to open there, and I have to say I felt a strange excitement I’ve not felt since I was a boy, when nearly all miniatures were metal.  I’d forgotten the weight of a box of two dozen metal warriors, and it felt good in my hand.

The models look really nice.  I’d venture to say they look better in real life than the pictures I’ve seen, but you know, I actually find that a lot with miniatures.  You have to really know what you’re doing to bring them out in a photograph.  The box they came in is cool too – it’s like an old plastic snap-shut VCR case with a full colour cover.  I was a bit put off by the thick weapon hafts in the pictures and was planning on using brass rods, but they don’t look so bad in real life and my brother (who’s been sculpting models for the last couple of years) tells me it’s a structural thing because they’re bendy metal.

It’s funny how quickly I’ve slipped into the niggling historical modeler’s mindset.  I’m becoming obsessed with making sure the colours and designs I choose are historically accurate.  Yes, I read a 30 page PDF about clothing in the dark ages.  And in a moment of insanity I considered using the actual powdered natural dyes available in Europe at that time, and mixing my own paints.

Maybe just for the warlord…

I really enjoy thinking about new ways to paint that fit the models at hand.  What I’ve decided to do for these guys is get some Army Painter bone undercoat/primer.  I think this will be a great base for flesh, hair, and natural cloth.  Then I’ll colour the cloth areas with washes to give a faded natural linen effect.  I’ll paint all the metal dark grey, and subtly highlight with metallics, and then wash the models with blacks and browns and add some weathering (muddy and grass-stained knees, blood spattered shields, that sort of thing).  I’m looking forward to it, and should have some time to start early next week.

Oh, and I just finished a commission – a farseer on a jetbike for Warhammer 40,000.  It’s the first commission I’ve ever done for someone I don’t know, and the customer was really happy with her, so I feel kind of proud.  Photos soon.

All the best,


2 thoughts on “How to paint Vikings?

  1. sinsynn says:

    James the rivet counter.
    I should’ve seen this coming.

    • beat ronin says:

      Yes, you should! I’ve always been into ancient and medieval history at least as much as I am into fantasy and sci-fi, so I suppose it was only a matter of time till I gave it a go gamewise. The funny thing is, none of my sci-fi armies have ever been “official” colours – I really like making up my own Sororitas convents, Guard regiments, Ork warbands, whatever. Even my Infinity models are quite different from the studio jobs. But when it came to doing history, I got all persnickety about it really quick.

      Did you know that in the Dark Ages in Ireland people generally wore a long linen tunic (like the ones Arabs wear now), and a heavy woolen cloak, and that’s it? In Ireland? People were pretty tough back then.

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