30 June, 2021

Saga: 28mm Scots

To mark my appearance on my friend Mike's Saga-related podcast, Saga Ohio (Episode 15) to discuss using the Scots in Saga, I finally took some photos of my Scots army.  They were my first Saga army that I painted back in the fall of 2012.  There is a WIP post of them on this blog from December 5, 2012.  Mike's excellent Saga podcast is available several places online including at:



I am a long-time player of Scottish armies.  The first ancients/medieval armies I painted were 15mm Medieval Scots and English way back in 1989-90 for the WRG 7th edition rules.  I have a deep interest in Scottish history.  When I started with Saga they were a natural choice for me.  As a bonus none of the local players had them.

I view my Scots as representing the period from the mid 9th century to the late 11th century.  The earlier part of the period is when the Viking raids are in full swing; the Vikings defeated a combined army of Picts and Scots in 839 and killed both King Eoganan of the Picts and King Aed of the Dal Riata Scots.  That accelerated the process which led to the eventual combination of the two kingdoms of Dal Riata and the Picts around 850 into what was first called Alba and later Scotland.  The end of that period corresponds to the Norman Conquest, which is the latest army in the Saga Viking Age book .  So while the army list is called Scots, I see it as consisting of a mix of Dal Riata Scots and Picts in various stages of integration and gaelicisation between 850 and 1100.  I like to play my warlord as King Constantine II, who ruled from 900-943 AD, fought both the Vikings and Saxons, and took part in the battle of Brunanburh in 937.

When I was looking for miniatures for the Scots I chose the range from Crusader.  I am a big fan of their miniatures and also use them in my Viking and Iberian armies.  They are consistently well-sculpted and for the Scots their appearance fit the time period I wanted to represent.  I wanted to have a clear visual difference between the hearthguard and warriors for both aesthetic and gameplay reasons.  Crusader offered spearmen in mail so I used those for the hearthguard, and used the unarmored spearmen for the warriors.  Crusader also has a command pack of 2 leaders, a standardbearer and a musician and I got those as well for some extra varierty.  For my warlord I used the Crusader Scots Chieftain pack, which has a mounted and foot version of the same miniature.  Once I bought those initial miniatures and started painting the army, I added some Gripping Beast levies and a unit each of Gripping Beast hearthguard and warriors for a total of 8 points for Saga.

When I painted these in 2012 I was primarily painting 15mm miniatures, with some 28mm for Doctor Who games mixed in.  The Scots were the first 28mm historicals I painted and since then I have gradually shifted to painting almost exclusively 28mm miniatures.  I added decoration to many of the tunics and cloaks, mainly stripes, though I avoided the full Scottish plaid as that is a later historical development.  I sprinkled in a few woad tattoos to reflect a lingering Pictish influence.  Most of the shields are transfers from Little Big Men Studios though a few are hand-painted.  While they are not my best-painted Saga army I do think they still look good and they are my favorite army.

Warlord (Crusader): A set of the same leader mounted and on foot.  I've never used the mounted version in a game.  My Scots are all on foot in order to use their long spears to full effect.

Thanes (Hearthguard by Crusader): Four spearmen in mail and helmet with very long spears.  They serve as the offensive punch in the army.

Thanes (Hearthguard by Crusader): A second unit of four spearmen in mail and helmet.

Thanes (Hearthguard by Gripping Beast): I don't use a third unit of hearthguard often but I have them just in case.

Command//Hearthguard or Warriors (Crusader):  These four miniatures came as a command pack.  I  mix them in with the warriors to make 10-man units to add some variety or use them as a 4-man warrior unit.  The banner adds some visual appeal to the army, though I don't use it as a war banner under the Saga rules.

Warriors (Crusader): Eight unarmored spearmen, the backbone of the Scots army.  They are ready to use their long spears to hold off enemy attacks until ordered to attack.

Warriors (Crusader): Eight more unarmored spearmen.

Warriors (Gripping Beast): Still more unarmored spearmen.

Levies (Gripping Beast): Twelve skirmishers armed with javelins; very useful as a screen for the rest of the army and for missile fire.

The full army deployed for battle.  Javelin-armed skirmishers as a screen in front, backed up on each wing by a unit of warriors.  Two units of thanes in the center, and a third line of warriors on the left and thanes in the center and right.

1 comment:

  1. They all look great Jason. I like the warpaint on the legs as well its very subtle but is a nice addition and spot of colour to the figures.