Category Archives: History

SAGA Irish warlord

IrishfrontHere is the finished Irish warlord. I think I’ll call him… king Dairmuid MacColl. Seen here with his advisor/wife/sorceress, Brigit.

I read that tartan was very simple before the 17th century.  "Like a tea towel" was how I saw it described. So I tried to capture that on Brigit's woollen cloak.

I read that tartan was very simple before the 17th century. “Like a tea towel” was how I saw it described. So I tried to capture that on Brigit’s woollen cloak.

I planned to paint these models very simply, as I did with my vikings, but I developed an ulcer on my eye that made it hard to concentrate and I messed them up. I then had to go back and do a lot of repair work on the paint job, so they ended up taking ages and being a bit more complex than I wanted. But I kept trying to minimise the work, so now they’re kind of in a middle ground for me: not as much effort as I would normally put into a centrepiece model’s painting, but more effort than I put into the vikings.

Still, I’m happy with them. I’ve been trying to find out what the ancient Irish law code says about colours.  I heard that there were strict social castes in pre-modern Ireland and that only certain groups could legally wear certain colours.  But the research is going slowly.  I got impatient and went ahead with the painting. All I know for certain is that warriors were allowed to wear saffron, so I’m hoping King Dairmuid isn’t wearing a nice shade of pigherder blue…

Till next time,


SAGA: Irish Warlord ready for painting

Irishwarlord I had this post scheduled for next week, but since it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, I thought it would bring good fortune to whack it up today. Here you can see my newly-built (and so far un-named) Irish Warlord for the dark ages skirmish game SAGA, undercoated and ready for painting.

The spear-lass behind him is “Boudi” from Hasslefree Miniatures. I did some research and discovered that Irish women habitually fought beside men, until Christianity put a stop to it. Maybe an early example of Christian sexism; maybe early just-war thinking to protect women and children from war.  Maybe both.

My bog-dwelling Irish warband are not pagans, but they’re not far off, so I’m imagining she’s a bit of a throwback, and must be related to the warlord if she can get away with carrying a spear.

Okay so the crop-top may be a tad anachronistic. But I’m being selective with my accuracy here because it’s such a great model. The stone the old fella is standing on is Das air-drying clay. I made a greenstuff mould of an old Celtic knotwork pendant I had as a grungy teenager (still had it in a shoebox, *sniff*), and then pressed the clay into it. His javelins are from North Star.

Like if you like them. Questions and comments are also welcome.


For the Emperor

Is there anything that can be depended upon other than the emperor’s way? Is there a secret key to the salvation of humanity other than this? Is there a place of refuge other than this? The emperor should be revered for all eternity. Leading the masses, dash straight ahead on the emperor’s way! Even if inundated by raging waves, or seared by a red-hot iron, or beset by all the nations of the world, go straight ahead on the emperor’s way without the slightest hesitation! This is the best and shortest route to the manifestation of the divine land.

…Believe in the emperor, the embodiment of Supreme Truth, the one God of the universe! Imperial subjects of Japan should not seek their own personal salvation. Rather, their goal should be the expansion of imperial power. Needless to say, they will find personal salvation within imperial power.

Until you read the word “Japan,” the above quotes could easily be mistaken for flavour text lifted straight from Warhammer 40,000. They are in fact from the writings of Sugimoto Goro, at the time a (posthumous) national hero in Japan for his ultra-nationalist warrior ethos.  He was killed in battle during the Japanese invasion of China just before the second world war.  I found these quotes in the fascinating book Zen at War by Brian Daizen Victoria.

A reminder that the grim darkness of the far future may not be as silly as it seems.