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Author Topic: The Saxon Problem  (Read 3272 times)

Offline AdmiralAndy

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 75
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2021, 03:00:37 PM »
I think it's an image problem, as Alfred the Great is relegated to the background of history in popular fiction. Even in something like The Last Kingdom he is a background character. Never mind he not only fought off the Viking invasions but he also introduced the first navy, and introduce the first permanent structure of lasting laws for both noble and commoner but to date there's only 1 film iirc that focuses on him is Alfred with David Hemmingway from about 1970, with Ian McKellen in a supporting role amongst others.

Problem is when Saxons get mentioned its usually in context of 1066 and oh they lost, can't be very good then...

After all how many 1066, dramas, and documentaries about that are there, and half the time the fact a Viking invasion got beat by the Saxons and then walked across the country to fight again at Hastings. Compare that to the focus or point being lack Alfred gets.

A lot of the Saxon weaponry and appearance was similar to Vikings whilst they didn't have the 'cool' Norse Pantheon to spout, or berserkers they did have The Great Dane Axe wielding Huscarls.

Offline marco55

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1048
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2021, 03:58:19 PM »
Here is a Saxon Shieldwall. There are 264 figures here with a plan for 371-501 figures total.There are suppose to be another 100 cavalry,140 infantry and 120 archers for the Normans.The guy putting this together is having the diorama professionally done.These figures are 60mm (1/30).The foot figures cost in the $40-$50 range and the cavalry are over $100.This guy has a lot of money! :o
I thought you might like to see it.
Mark

Offline Gibby

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2163
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2021, 04:33:47 PM »
The Vikings have that trendy and cool image in pop culture, a bit like the Spartans do, where the little bit most know about them makes them seem like the more badass characters. Thus, Saxons get to be the stuffy mooks that the cool biker-esque viking lads smack about while yelling about Odin, ancestors, and listening to heavy metal or Wardruna. And remember to put on your eye shadow!

Offline marco55

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1048
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2021, 05:08:35 PM »
Her's a couple more pictures from other collectors.
Mark

Offline frank xerox

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 230
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2021, 05:11:54 PM »
Thatís it! Huscarls are cool; but no cavalry, no berserkers, no blood eagle dioramas. The poor old Saxons are just a bit bland - which the Uhtred books just emphasise.

Offline Atheling

  • Galactic Brain
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    • Just Add Water Wargaming Blog
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2021, 05:26:51 PM »
Thatís it! Huscarls are cool; but no cavalry, no berserkers, no blood eagle dioramas. The poor old Saxons are just a bit bland - which the Uhtred books just emphasise.

I think it all comes down to how you model each individual model on a base and how they interest with one another. If you choose your rules carefully (I won't get into that as I don't want to open a can of worms).

It's possible to make quite a dynamic looking unit. Here's the latest of mine.....


Offline Pan Marek

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 90
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2021, 05:33:43 PM »
For me, the late Saxons will always be the good guys because Robin Hood was a Saxon.  Its been built into me since I saw Errol Flynn portraying him when I was a kid (a long time ago).

I tend to view them as the underdogs.  With the Vikings, because their Christianity prevented them from being as cruel.
Against the Normans, because the Normans were haughty, were invaders and spoke French (!).

And they were mostly on the defensive against both.  That's fine.  Someone has to defend.

I solved the gaming aspect by sticking to skirmish games (I use Pig Wars). 
By the way, the area of scholarship about the Saxons is on the upswing.  A number of new books in the past 10 years.

Offline Duncan McDane

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1088
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2021, 11:28:23 PM »
I love the idea of a defensive "volks"army, consisting of "draftees" who are obliged to turn up at battle but probably rather would be anywhere than there, strengthened  by some marginally better trained freemen ( Ceorls ) and of course led by landowners and lesser nobles with their household tropps who actually did know a thing or two about fighting and got some decent equip aswell. Looks great on the battlefield and can be a challenge to play too; get the rabble in check and maybe, just maybe they can even do something right  ;).
On the other hand I picture offensive armies more like professional ones so they would not be that very different from Danish armies, spear, shield, sidearm, helmet and probably some kind of leather, scale or even mail armor. If you want to invade you don't take the rabble with you, of course.
And later in time armies would integrate more, influence each other and the odd alliances, mecenary captains and hirelings would bring their own tactical  influences and fashionable kit with them.
So yeas, I don't think an army from ( Viking ) Northumbria after 1000 AD would differ that much in appearance, equip and tactics from one of ( Saxon ) Mercia.
Leadhead

Offline Unlucky General

  • Supporting Adventurer
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  • Posts: 258
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2021, 07:06:48 AM »
Atheling,

I've been quietly admiring your figures for some time and I think you are completely on-the-money.

I'd love to know how Saxon figure sales compare with the Vikings and Normans.

If British wargamers in particular tend to prefer non-Saxon armies in this period that would be strange to me given how strongly the public historical memory favours Saxon heritage these days.

Online tomrommel1

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Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2021, 07:23:39 AM »
I don't think that the Saxons were lesser capable then the Vikings or Normans in any regard. The JŁtten , Angeln and Sachsen invaded around 449 what we today call England. So it was the last invasion before the Norman one. That in itself is no small achievement  I think and they ruled for nearly 500 years then ( until 1066).
In hoc signo vinces

Have a look at www.wargamesgazette.com

Offline Atheling

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 9664
    • Just Add Water Wargaming Blog
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2021, 08:06:51 AM »
Atheling,

I've been quietly admiring your figures for some time and I think you are completely on-the-money.

Thanks.

I'd love to know how Saxon figure sales compare with the Vikings and Normans.

I really don't know (nowadays). If you had asked me a decade or so ago I would have been able to give you an accurate picture of what sells as I used to paint for one of the biggest Early Medieval manufacturers. Just going on the evidence of the proportion of Anglo Danish armies that used to turn up at the WHW Campaign weekends, I would have to say that they were reasonably popular.

If British wargamers in particular tend to prefer non-Saxon armies in this period that would be strange to me given how strongly the public historical memory favours Saxon heritage these days.

To some extent I think this is inevitable. I've found myself looking at stuff like a Late Med/Early Renaissance Mughal army but have never managed to find a good enough range, or even parts to convert for that matter.

Online Hammers

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Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2021, 08:36:37 AM »
I blame Steve Coogan.

You mean Saxondale?  lol

Offline SJWi

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 506
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2021, 08:42:59 AM »
I think the popularity of the Vikings stems from their use in skirmish/raid type games where they can fight in England, Ireland, France, Spain, the Mediterranean and even America. In my experience you donít see many people building Viking armies for large battles.

Offline Atheling

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 9664
    • Just Add Water Wargaming Blog
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2021, 09:05:58 AM »
I think the popularity of the Vikings stems from their use in skirmish/raid type games where they can fight in England, Ireland, France, Spain, the Mediterranean and even America. In my experience you donít see many people building Viking armies for large battles.

True. I think that is perhaps more to do with the general trend towards skirmish level games (what ever that really means, one man's poison etc.). From my own personal perspective, as soon as my Anglo Danes are finished later this year I'm "going deep" into the Norse in creating the army of Haadrada. I think it's all a combination of wallet power, somewhat mitigated by the availability of quality plastics, and the trends towards one rule system or another.

It's an interesting subject and I'd love to hear what people have you say on this particular aspect.

 

Offline Sir_Theo

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1131
Re: The Saxon Problem
« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2021, 09:56:19 AM »
I think in the popular imagination Saxons are still too often shown as perennial losers. Repeatedly losing to the Vikings (who are cool), and having to pay for them to go away. Even Alfred is relegated to being a guy who hid in a marsh and burnt cakes. Later they lose to the Normans. Even in their earliest iteration they are only really shown as proto-vikings.

Obviously anyone who looks at the history of the period a bit more closely knows that none of this is true. But we are still in a place where the general received wisdom is of the Dark ages as a dark and unknown time. It might change, Vikings are still flavour of the month but maybe Saxons will have their time and public perceptions will change? There needs to be a few BBC 4 documentaries about Saxon art, culture and history, and maybe a lavish HBO type show about Alfred, or Harold or something.

 

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