One of the best perks of playing a historical wargame is the amount of choice you get when it comes to picking models. Almost every period has a couple of companies backing it. This usually means you get great value for money.
For the SAGA periods (Viking Age and Crusades), the most well-known manufacturers are Gripping Beast (also involved in the production of SAGA), Wargames Factory and Foundry (and there’s a ton more out there).
In the midst of all this mayhem, I stumbled upon a small manufacturer: Saxon Miniatures. Based in the UK, the company only has two kits out yet: a set of 15 Viking warlords, as well as a set of 15 Saxon warlords. I will be reviewing both in this article!
Both sets comprise of 15 named warlords, based on actual historical figures. While the aesthetics of it all are purely up to the designer, it’s a nice touch nonetheless. You’ll find such famous names as Ivar the Boneless and Sven Forkbeard in the Viking pack, and Harold Godwinson and Alfred the Great on the Saxon side.
Fans of the Vikings TV-series won’t be disappointed, either: king Aelle, king Edwin and of course Ragnar Lothbrok are present!
First off, a couple of technical things out of the way. These figures are made in 28mm scale. They are cast in the same kind of metal as most other wargaming figures: white metal.
The packs come with enough loose shields and swords to fill almost all hands. Speaking of which, all weapon hands are cast open, so you can easily fit in one of the swords provided. Or you can use a weapon of choice, such as a wire spear. But you’ll have to supply these yourself.
Also, as with most historical figures, the packs are not supplied with bases. The figures are cast on foot stands, which will keep them upright on your kitchen table, but not on a more scenic table. The reason for this is that you can base them in whichever way you like, for whatever system you’re playing. For us SAGA players, it means getting some 25mm round bases!
The figures: casting, poses and detail
On to the figures themselves. There’s a couple of things of note.
First, you’re really getting 15 unique figures per pack. Each has his own distinct features in terms of pose, body shape and other details (helmets, clothing, etc).
Compared to my other models (Gripping Beast and Drabant) these have the most dynamic poses. Even more so when compared to Gripping Beast’s Saxon and Viking plastics, which I feel are rather static (but that’s a matter of taste).
The casting is well done: mould lines are few and flash is minimal: what there is, is very soft and easily cut away.
My only gripe here is that some of the larger surfaces, such as cloaks, can be a little rough. I think I even saw something that resembled a fingerprint somewhere: that must have been on the master green model.
It’s something that’s common on historical figures, though: Gripping Beast models often suffer from the same rough surfaces. Nothing a bit of sanding won’t fix.
The detail on the figures is very good (again, when comparing to GB and Drabant models). It’s at least up-to-par with GB and slightly less than Drabant (which I will cover in another review).
Of course, if you hail from the ranks of the Infinity or Batman players, these models are a big step down in terms of detail. I have yet to see a historical 28mm figure even come close to the level of detail and quality put out by Corvus Belli and Knight Models.
Which leads us to…
Afore mentioned Batman and Infinity models are also much, much more expensive than what we have here. In terms of getting bang for your bang, you can’t match historical models. Saxon Miniatures indeed falls within the category of “affordable”.
The model packs cost £25 each. That works out to £1,67 per model. However, you can get them both in a bundle for only £40, which works out to £1,33!
If we compare that to Gripping Beast (which is still market leader when it comes to dark age 28mm models!) retail prices at £6 for 4 Hearthguard (coming in at £1,50 per model), you’ll have figured out Saxon Miniatures offers a great deal for their models.
For that great price, you are getting unique models, in interesting poses, of comparable or better quality than GB. Not too shabby!
Combining the above points (quality and pricing), I can only confess to being a big fan of these models. Please do not hesitate to hop on over to www.saxonminiatures.com to pick up a pack (better yet: both!).
I want to thank Colin Patten for providing me with these minis for a review. He assures me more is coming. We’ll let you know when he releases some awesome new minis (rumour has it he has huscarls coming in!).
Finally, I urge you to take a look at Colin’s plain awesome website http://historymaker.ie. Colin does professional dioramas for museums and they are breathtaking.