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Author Topic: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus & Eastern Princes  (Read 4753 times)

Offline Koyote

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Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus & Eastern Princes
« on: May 21, 2018, 07:04:22 AM »
Another year, another SAGA warband.  This time it's going to be Pagan Rus. 

Whether Viking women fought alongside their male counterparts is still being debated, but one of the few historical accounts of Viking women warriors comes to us from the Greek historian John Skylitzes. According Skylitzes, after the Siege of Dorostolon in 971 AD, the victorious Byzantines found among the Rus casualties, armed women. This one account isn't definitive proof, but its justification enough for me to add Brother Vinni's viking women warriors to my warband.  I LOVE his new Axe Maidens.

« Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 07:10:07 PM by Koyote »

Offline Koyote

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2018, 07:27:06 AM »
Last week, my Warhansa models arrived.  Overall, I'm please with the quality.  The minis are as-pictured on the website and the detail is good.  There are a few air bubbles here an there, but very little flash and fewer mold lines than expected.

My only complaint is their overall height.  They look like Rus dwarfs.  Their heads, arms, hands, and feet are slightly on the heroic-scale side of 28mm, but the length of their torsos and legs are a bit too short.

Fortunately, short legs are an easy fix.  Using a hobby knife I cut off their lower legs where their leg wraps meet their ketill pants (aka puffy Russian pants).  Using leftover rod from the metal javelins I armed them with, I pinned a short length of GS doweling between the two sections of leg.  Eventually, I will use GS to extend the length of their ketill pants to cover the GS doweling.

I converted 8 out of 12 models in this way.  The other 4 models didn't need it.  Strange.

I'm going to use these as my Pagan Rus levy.  To distinguish these models from my warriors and to better represent a levy's 3/4 armor, I replaced their large round shields with small round shields (made by Footsore Miniatures). 




Below is a size comparison photo.  My converted Warhansa Rus is now fairly close in height to 28mm viking miniatures from other manufacturers.


« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 04:00:16 AM by Koyote »

Online Ogrob

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2018, 07:51:27 AM »
Nice. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

Offline Koyote

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2018, 06:09:47 PM »
When planning a warband or army for any other tabletop wargame, I find it useful to start with a theme or backstory.  This approach may not be for everyone, but for me it fuels my creativity and helps me build a more cohesive and interesting warband. 

I came to historical wargaming from a fantasy and sci-fi gaming background, so when researching a historical peoples' history,  I inevitably find myself focusing on their mythical heroes and villains.

In Rus and Slavic myth, the Bogatyr are analogous to Western Europe's knight-errants.  The earliest tales of the Bogatyr have their roots in the pre-Christian era.  In these stories the Bogatyr exhibit superhuman abilities and their foes are often creatures from myth, like dragons and giants, but in later chronicles, the Bogatyr stories are based upon the  historical and semi-historical figures.  Perfect!


Bogatyrs (1898)

A sizeable portion of my Pagan Rus warband will be comprised Gripping Beast's Jomsviking models.  Their ketill pants and the shape of their helmets give these models a Rus look.   GB's Jomsviking hearthguard are the most impressive models from the Jomsviking line, so they will form a unit of elite fighters. 



My first instinct was to make the Hearthguard, but then after reading the Swords for Hire section of the Age of Vikings rulebook  I changed my mind.  The Gall-Gaedhil rules look like a lot of fun, but since these ferocious raiders operated in and around Ireland, fielding them alongside my Rus would be odd.   However, thanks to magic of 'counts-as', a principle borrowed from fantasy and sci-fi gaming,  I have no problem using the Gall-Gaedhil rules if I field them as a unit of 'counts-as' Bogatyr. Problem solved. :)


Offline OSHIROmodels

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2018, 06:25:03 PM »
Looks promising  8)

Offline Koyote

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2018, 10:31:46 PM »
I've finished sculpting my Levy's ketill pants.  Operation 'Leg Extension' was a success.  :)




Below are my Brother Vinni shield and axe maidens.  The models arrived with very little flash and no deformities or air bubbles.  When it's time to paint them, my only concern will be their mail.  The indentations that define the rings of the chainmail shirts are so fine and shallow, that I'll have to great care when painting them.  If I don't use very thin paint or if I apply too many coats, the indentations will be obscured by the thickness of the paint. 

Overall, these are gorgeous models and they scale well against Gripping Beast and modified Warhansa minis (see below).   However,  unless you are a very patient person (it took 3 months and a PayPal claim for them to arrive) or you buy them from a reputable supplier who has them in stock, you may want to think twice before purchasing them.





Offline Breazer

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2018, 10:37:35 PM »
This looks like quite the fun warband. very cool miniatures collected together.

Offline Hu Rhu

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2018, 11:03:35 PM »
That is a great start.  Looking forward to following this project.

Offline syrinx0

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2018, 02:57:50 AM »
This is indeed looking like a great start.  The "easy" modification of all the legs of the one unit would have stopped me.  lol
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Offline Koyote

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2018, 11:15:28 PM »
Baba Yaga is another aspect of Slavic and Rusian folklore that I wish to bring to the SAGA table.  In the earliest Slavic legends, she's a pagan goddess who personifies storms, winter, nature, fate, and death.  In later tales Baba Yaga takes on the role of terrifying old witch who can be both cruel and kind (sometimes both in the same story). This contradiction make her unusual among European folk figures who tend to behave as either an antagonist or an ally/mentor to a story's protagonist.   

So how do I fit this mercurial supernatural creature into my SAGA warband? Well, part of the genius of SAGA is that the abilities on the Battle Board are not constrained by fidelity to historical fact or high degree of realism.  Instead, many of the abilities are best thought of as principles that relate somehow to the faction's martial practices and/or culture.  For instance, in SAGA 1.0, the Vikings' LOKI ability allows a Viking player to remove units of enemy Levy or Warriors that number 3 models or fewer.  This ability can be interpreted as some form of divine intervention from the Norse trickster god, but it can also interpreted as the Vikings or their off-board allies creating a clever ruse or diversion that either scares off or lure away the enemy models.

Similar to the LOKI ability, many of the SAGA 1.0 (and 2.0) Pagan Rus abilities seem like they could have a supernatural origin or may simply be the result of how the Rus and their off-board allies use their surroundings and weather to their advantage.  If it's the former, then Baba Yaga could be the source of the ability's supernatural effects. 

I've ordered blue acrylic tokens to indicate the targets of Blizzard and Biting Cold, but I don't yet have a marker for The Long Winter, which is a table wide effect.  This is where Baba Yaga comes in. For my Irish warband, I created a small vignette depicting children throwing rocks. I used it to taunt my opponents and indicate my use of the Sons of Dana ability.  For the Pagan Rus, the plan is to do something similar.  I am going to create a Baba Yaga vignette that I place on the board when I activate the The Long Winter ability. 



Offline horridperson

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2018, 11:22:24 PM »
This is a really cool project.  Great job on the warhansa figures.  Do you have a model in mind for Baba Yaga?  If you don't check out the Dejar figures.  Quite expensive, but worth it by the look of it.

Offline Breazer

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2018, 05:04:08 AM »
That sounds like a great idea. The image you posted with your post reminded me of the bloodrage mystics expansion. The raven clan mystics look a lot like a good depiction of a baba yaga in miniature form.



I hope you don't mind me posting an image here.

Offline Koyote

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2018, 06:16:27 AM »
@horridperson: Do you have a link to Dejar figures?

@Breazer: That model would make a fine Baba Yaga on foot. I have the game. I’m going to dig it out and take a closer look at the the Mystic.  Thanks for the comment and the pic.


Now that I have plan, the next step is to find the right figure.  Carnevale and Eastern Front Studios both make nice Baba Yaga minis, but Carnevale mini is unavailable and the only way to get the Eastern Front mini is to buy a $200 set that includes Baba, her house, a few other items.  The Eastern Front set is frigging fantastic, but I don't know if it's $200 fantastic. 

Pathfinder and Reaper makes a Baba minis, but both models are meh. 

The Bones 4 Kickstarter includes a Baba mini and the render looks awesome, but the quality 28mm “human sized” Bones models is typically fairly poor. 

I'm getting a Baba mini with my Hellboy kickstarter, but that's 12+ months away and I suspect that the model will be closer to 32mm than 28mm historical.

The best Baba-like mini that I have access to right now is the OOP Wyrd Miniatures Zoraida Alternate model. The model is on the small side of 28mm, so it works with 28mm historicals.  Also, its posed squatting down, so if I can find or make a suitable mortar for her to ride in...   



« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 05:55:51 PM by Koyote »

Offline duhamel

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Offline DintheDin

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Re: Koyote's SAGA Pagan Rus
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2018, 12:02:32 PM »
You are doing a great job, i'll be following youw project! Cheers!
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