Scanning the vast mounds of unpainted miniatures that forty years of wargaming has provided me with I contemplated a winter project, a single undertaking that I could use a a guiding star through the dark months ahead. My attention was captured by an opened box of plastic Vikings that I had raided for figures for my Barroom Brawl game some months ago and had just left the unused portion in the box. This teetered precariously on the stack of boxes of plastic minis that were awaiting assembly and paint. I decided that the Vikings would be my winter project at that moment.
A week or so later it turned out that the Tuesday gaming group was meeting at my house and consisted solely of Joe and myself, rather than play we assembled some of the Vikings while discussing the pros and cons of Two Fat Lardies rules. By the end of the evening we had built a box of Vikings that were ready for paint. I do like the plastics as you can make simple and subtle adjustments in the posing of the figures so that no two models are the same.
Wargames Factory Vikings, the painting begins
Further rummaging around in my stockpile turned up three longship models that were unbuilt and two completed ones. One of the finished ones is the old Revell kit (nicely detailed and fairly accurate, but rather fragile) the others are the Smer kit from the Czech Republic.
the Viking ship by Smer, box-art which pretty well reflects the appearance of the model
The Smer model s not as accurate but is sturdy and comes complete with rowers while being dead-easy to build. You can get them from Squadron for under twenty bucks. As I have five models total I probably won't be buying any more. This model provides space on the deck for crew as well as the rowers and comes with shields to hang along the side and decals to decorate them. A pretty good deal in all. The Revell kit costs about twenty-five, Revell also makes a Hanseatic Cog that could be used as well, but it comes in at an eye-popping seventy-five dollars (too much for a model that will essentially just be eye-candy). A few minutes spent of Ebay looking under "viking ship model" shows that a lot of the old Heller kits are floating around at pretty reasonable prices as well.
I plan on running a short "campaign" where the players each command a longship as they set out from Norway to trade and loot Northern Europe. I already have a pile of Saxons, Normans and such to serve as targets for these adventurers but will have to built a Dark Ages village or two and probably at least one Manor House and a church.
The success of the players will be weighted by the value of trade and loot as well as scored for acts of daring and bravery. Sort of like Gorka-Morka but without the head-to-head aspect. Players will be free to join forces to take on harder targets, although that may lead to squabbling between them as to who gets the spoils. As the campaign master I will be running the passive defenders (assisted by anybody that shows up and is not an active Viking player at the time) and track the movements of the ships as they travel across the storm-tossed seas. I figure that I can allow between four and eight players (the more the merrier) as it is unlikely that they will have all their forces in play at the same time.
I am still deciding on what rules to use; SAGA looks like a different approach and has reviewed well (but I haven't had an opportunity to read through the rules) and there are tons of skirmish rules out there so I will probably spend as much time reading rules as I do painting.
More on this as I make further progress.