Painting SAGA

SAGA Warbands

With the Warmaster High Elves completed, I am turning my ambitious eyes towards the SAGA system for Dark Age historical battles. As you can tell from the blog, I am usually building armies around Games Workshop rule systems which offer a single source of models. Historical 28mm models for the Dark Ages on the other hand come from tons of different manufacturers. Not really knowing where to start, I used my common approach of “buy everything” :).

So a while ago I received a bunch of boxes from the main manufacturers: Gripping Beast, Wargames Factory, Wargames Foundry, and Conquest Games. I basically bought one box of every Dark Age/Ancient plastic set these manufacturers offer as well as a few metal models (mostly Gripping Beast character models and a 6 point Jomsviking warband do cover their distinct style). That yielded over 400 models of mostly interchangeable styles – enough to build a few warbands surely!

The plastic kits are all pretty nice but I have to admit that I was disappointed that the models in the Wargames Factory “Saxon Fyrd” and “Viking Bondi” box are the same (except some weapon choices maybe). I bought one of each to get more body variety but alas that is not to be. Fortunately, I can mix them with Gripping Beast Bondi and Fyrd, and probably mix in some of the Celtics/Ancient Germans from Wargames Factory. Should be ok.

The plan is to build 3-5 points per warband of “distinct” units and then have a generic pool of common levy to draw from (they all seem to look the same). Visual distinction is tricky for Dark Age forces so I will try to use some simple archetypes to keep the forces apart. For the more “civilized” warbands we will go with chainmail for the hearthguard and clothing for warriors. Anglo-Danish and Anglo-Saxons will get mostly spears with Christian symbols on their shields. Vikings will get mostly axes and pagan/viking symbols. For the wilder nations, such as Scots, I am tempted to go with mostly naked torsos from the Wargames Factory Ancient German/Celt sets. Probably not historically accurate but “Hollywood approved” and the only way to visually distinguish them from the other warbands.

With that thought, here is the plan:


Warlord with Dane Axe

Cnut the Great

Hereward The Wake

Brodir of Man

8 Huscarls with Dane Axes

4 Huscarls with Spears

24 Ceorls with Spears [shared with Anglo-Saxons]


Warlord with Sword

Warlord with Sword and Horse

Harold Godwinson

Alfred the Great


8 Thegns with Spears

[24 Ceorls with Spears shared with Anglo-Danish]

12 Geburs with Spears



Ragnar Lothbrok

Harald Hardrada

Gunnar Hamundarson

8 Hirdmen

4 Berserker

16 Bondi



Wardlord with Dane Axe

Sigvaldi Strut-Haraldsson

Vagn Akesson

16 Jomsvikings

8 Jomsvikings with Dane Axes

16 Dreng


Warlord on Horse

William the Bastard

12 Milites on Horse

4 Milites with Spears (on foot)

16 Spearmen

8 Crossbowmen



Kenneth Mac Alpin


4 Thanes with Spears

4 Thanes with Spears on Ponies

16 Soer-Chele with Spears

12 Doer-Chele with Bows

Generic Pool of Levy

24 Archers

24 Slingers

12 Javelineers

12 Naked Javelineers

I might do some more “naked” armies – maybe some Irish or Welsh – but let’s see how will it goes with this lot. The first step will be an orgy of sprue clipping and inhalation of plastic cement fumes… More to come soon.

2 replies on “SAGA Warbands”

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