Wednesday, July 31, 2019


My Newest Addition: Fireforge Mongol Camel Drummer and Tsubodai

And now, for something completely different...SAGA fever has caught on in my gaming circle.  Originally, I was simply a mildly interested bystander to these SAGA goings on.  Upon further investigation, though, I realized that the low SAGA figure count meant that I had among my Smalle Warre Tartar contingent more than enough figs to represent a 6 point Mongol Saga Warband. So, with no investment in new figures or painting time, it was an easy leap to give SAGA a try--and with the dreaded Mongols, no less. Given that our club will be having a SAGA Game Day in October, I decided that I should upgrade my Mongol specialty figures, namely the Warlord and Mongol Camel Drummer.  Hence this post.  After casting about for options, I settled  on Fireforge figures.    
 Heavy Metal: Fender Washers for Heft

Now, Fireforge figures are plastics, and I'm a metal figure guy.  I decided to put this preference aside, though, given that this was only going to be two figures and they were so dynamic compared to other options.  To compensate for their lack of heft, however, I put a fender washer on each base. This trick has worked out well, and the figures have a nice, substantial feel to them about the same as if they were metals.  I have to say, though, that the overall experience of working with these two plastics/resin figures has not made me a convert.  My next SAGA project will be to upgrade my Mongol Hearthguard heavy cavalry, and I'm going to do those with metals.  I don't intend to knock Fireforge figures with this observation--metals have their own challenges, to be sure.  It's just that after all these years, I'm just wired for dealing with metals (just like I'm still using Enamel paints: they go together in that way).  But enough of that.  In this post, dear readers, I present a study of how I did these figures.  For those with an interest in the nitty gritty, you'll find an itemized account of the paints and processes at the end of this post.  But now, on to the eye candy.  As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX.

Although I used the Fireforge model as an example, I did other research and reinterpreted the figure in my own way. To keep him from looking like he was wearing a giant pancake on his head, I painted the fur lining of the Mongol cap, even though this detail is not in the sculpt.  This was also my first attempt at rendering chain mail: I'm tempted to try a few other medievals based on the result. Here are a few more angles:
To seat the rider, I found that I had to bend the scabbard to the point where it cracked in order to get it around the two bags to the rider's left rear.

I reinterpreted this figure as well compared to the Fireforge example. The major difference was in the horse armor. Based on examples of colorful Mongol horse armor, I decided to jazz it up and do it in alternating metallics (bands of brass/gold and steel). I also did the shoulder scales as armored as opposed to what appears to be leather in the Fireforge example. A few other color choices are different, but those are mainly superficial. The horse took slightly longer to do than the rider (a first). Here are few more viewing angles to complete the study:
The confluence of plastic where the reins met on the horse's mane was quite wide.  Given the rider's hand position, I needed to trim this in order to seat the figure. Fortunately, this was quite easy to do and didn't impact the look or lines of the figure.

The figs as seen more from tabletop distance.

All colors are flat or matte (except for MM Gold). 
All paints are Enamels: Humbrols, Testors Model Master (abbreviated "MM" below), and Testors ¼ ounce bottles  (abbreviated "Testors").
Black Wash: Vallejo Black Wash (Dipping Formula Immersion)—used as wash, not dipped.

Black Wash Technique: Black wash (thin or regular), then gone over again in either the original color to highlight and clean up the "dirty" look left behind by the wash or a lighter color to add effects. For brevity, if the description just says “black wash," then it was also highlighted in the original color.

PRIMER:  I primed the figures in white (I'm a white primer guy).  

Face & Hands: Humbrol 61 Matt Flesh with thin Black Wash
Eyes: MM Light Gray
Camel Torso: Base: MM Military Brown Black Washed then Highlighted with MM Dark Tan Camel Cords: Underpainted Black then painted with Humbrol 62 Leather 
Camel Bit: Underpainted Black then painted with Testors Flat Steel 
Saddle Blanket: Humbrol 80 Grass Green then then Black Wash 
Saddle Pad: MM Leather 
Leather Pouches: MM Leather then Black Washed 
Other Bags: MM Flat Light Gray then Black Washed and Highlighted MM Flat White 
Rolled thingy: MM Dark Tan with Black Straps then Black Washed 
Drums: Humbrol 100 Red Brown with thin Black Wash 
Drum Heads: Humbrol 103 Cream with thin Black Wash, Highlighted with MM Light Gray 
Drum Cords: Underpainted black then painted MM Light Gray—brushed with MM Flat White 

Sleeves: Humbrol 74 Linen Yellow then thin Black Wash & Highlighted with Humbrol 81 Pale Yellow 
Chainmail: Underpainted Flat Black then brushed with Testors Flat Steel 
Felt Coat (small bit showing between chainmail and sleeves): Humbrol 113 Rust 
Trousers: Humbrol 157 Matte Azure Blue Highlighted with Humbrol 89 Middle Blue 
Boots: Humbrol 62 Matt Leather Black Washed 
Hat and Earflaps: Humbrol 62 Matt Leather Black Washed 
Hat Lining: MM Light Gray, Black Washed, Highlighted with MM Sea Gray & Dappled with MM Flat White. 
Drumsticks: MM Italian Dark Brown 
Scabbard: MM Leather
Scabbard Ornaments: Testors Flat Brass Highlighted with MM Gold and Outlined in Flat Black. 

Sword handle: Black grip with knob in Testors Flat Brass Highlighted with MM Gold 

Legs & Head: Underpainted MM Burnt Umber then Brushed with MM Burnt Sienna 
Tail and Mane: Flat Black Brushed with MM Gunship Gray 
Blanket (showing under armor): MM Sand, Black Washed and Highlighted with Humbrol 81 Pale Yellow 
Scale Armor: Underpainted Black then brushed with alternating lines of Testors Flat Steel and Testor’s Flat Brass, the latter  highlighted with a light brush of MM Gold. 
Head Armor: Testors Flat Brass brushed with MM Gold. 
Head Ornament: Underpainted black then Brushed with Testors Flat Brass and Highlighted with MM Gold. Black lined at joint of face armor. 
Armor Edging: MM Insignia Red Brushed over with Testors Flat Red 
Harness: Humbrol 62 Matt Leather 
Reins: MM Leather 
Saddle Rear: MM Natural Wood & Humbrol 113 Rust--edged with Testors Flat Brass. 
Saddle Front: Humbrol 113 Rust. 
Whatsit? Cylinder on Right Side: MM Leather with Testors Flat Brass Brushed with MM Gold, outlined in flat black. 
Quiver: MM Leather with ornaments in Testors Flat Steel outlined in flat black. 
Arrows: Underpainted Flat Black then brushed with MM Light Gray and Highlighted with MM Flat White 

Scale Armor, and Helmet: Underpainted black then brushed with Testors Flat Steel 
Horsehair Plume: Flat Black Highlighted with MM Gunship Gray 
Armor Edge (Lower Front and Bottom): Underpainted black then in Testors Flat Brass  Highlighted with MM Gold 
Inlays on Shoulder Scales, Helmet Spike, Visor & Edges: Underpainted black then Testors Flat Brass Highlighted with MM Gold. 
Chest Straps: Humbrol 62 Leather 
Arm Hole Lining : MM Leather 
Scabbard and Bow Holster: MM Leather with Testors Flat Brass Highlighted with MM Gold ornaments underpainted/outined in Flat Black 
Bow: MM Natural Wood; Tip in Testors Flat Brass Highlighted with Testor’s Gold; 
Bow Inlays and Ornaments: Black Bands with Testor’s Flat Brass Highlighted with MM Gold. 
Undercoat: MM Bright Blue with thin Black Wash & Highlighted with Humbrol 89 Middle Blue Trousers: Humbrol 80 Grass Green with thin Black Wash 
Boots: Humbrol 62 Leather Black Washed 
Sash: MM Insignia Red Brushed with Testors Flat Red
Belt: Humbrol 62 Leather. Buckle underpainted Flat Black & then Testors Flat Brass touched with MM Gold. 
Stirrups: Testors Flat Steel 
Sword: Blade, Testors Flat Steel; Guard, Testor’s Flat Brass brushed with MM Gold. Black Washed.  
Sword Lanyard: Testor’s Flat Red 



  1. Reuse, recycle! Always a good idea for these diversions.

    I have no bias either way on the plastic/metal choice byut in any event these 2 look worthy of their role. Really nice work on the armour!

    1. I've dabbled with a few plastic/resin pieces before, but those were cannon so I didn't draw too many conclusions. These turned out well enough, thankfully, but they also confirmed my preference for metals.

  2. Nice! The kettledrummer on camel is a great piece.

    1. Thanks, Jonathan. There are a few other lines that have Mongol Camel Drummers, but once I saw this one, there was no question that this one was "da bomb" :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ray. Now I can get my Warlord bumped off in grand style!

  4. Fabulous brushwork on these figures, Ed. Very dynamic poses too.

    1. Thanks, Dean. These are definitely top drawer specialty figs, even if they're plastics :)

  5. That commander is amazing. You should paint Samauri with that technique. They'd be FANTASTIC!

    I 100% agree about metal vs. plastic figures. I prefer the heft.

    1. Thanks AJ; Samurai are definitely cool--just what I don't need right now, more temptation!

  6. I used to love SAgA and played a lot, but for some reason it doesn’t do it for me anymore. No matter.
    Great painting on these figures and they are quite dashing. 😀

    1. Hi Stew: so far, we haven't reached "SAGA Saturation" so it's all good (especially since I'm using on hand figs and only had to buy the rules--and fancy dice).

  7. Lovely looking Mongols! Great drummer and super commander! I've had Saga for ages but never got around to it, nice to already have a force to have a go though,I look forward to the battle reports!
    Best Iain

  8. Thanks, Iain. We'll have to see if the upgraded command figs lead to improved results :)


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