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In part one of the story, I set about to build up a 28mm, SAGA-compatible, all-metal warband that would still provide enough troop variety to flesh out either Battle Troll or Song of Blades and Heroes games. With HMGS Cold Wars Convention approaching, I did the research and the math and thought I had a pretty good handle on what the market had to offer.

Hitting the dealer’s hall when it opened on Friday at noon, I made a B Line over to the Age of Glory stand and started combing through the Crusader miniatures rack. Going through the SAGA rules, I decided that the Anglo-Saxons or the Scots matched my playing style the best, but after mentioning my Norman ancestry (Willy’s my 28th great grandfather) the dealer gave me a look and asked why the heck I wasn’t going with the Normans.

As luck would have it, Steve from Age of Glory had worked up some special SAGA sets composed of the Crusader lines that matched the Gripping Beast boxed sets almost exactly and the Normans were marked down from $76 to $67. Since it was nearly twenty bucks less than the comparable Gripping Beast Pack, I grabbed an additional 8 pack of Normans with Crossbows  (DAN005) too.

So what’s in the box?

8 mounted milites (hearthguard) built from sets DAN100, DAN101, and DAN105


1 mounted warlord (the sword wielding bloke from DAN105)


8 dismounted spearmen in chainmail (warriors)  built from a mix of DAN001 and DAN002


12 Unarmoured archers (levy) built from DAN006


So the normal “butcher’s bill” for a force (minus the crossbowmen)  this size would be around $79 (still a good price vs GB), but getting it at a discount made it a complete steal.

Tales from the basement:

Quite pleased with myself, I returned to the HAWKs roost in the Lancaster Host’s Paradise Room and thinking my mission complete, waited for Wally’s Basement’s flea market to open…this is where the insanity ensued:

On my first visit, I ran across someone selling four packs of Black Tree Designs Normans, two 12 packs of the unarmored slingers and two 12 packs of the unarmored archers and while it would give me way more peasant levy troops than I would ever need, I couldn’t pass up the price of $30 for the lot.


If that weren’t enough, on my Saturday morning visit, ran across a pack of Crusader 8 Norman Spearmen in Quilted Armour (DAN003) and a pack of 8 Unarmored Norman Spearmen (DAN004) and snatched the lot of them up for $12.


What next?

I will definitely tackle the Crusader miniatures before moving onto the Black Tree. i will probably draft the flea market find Quilted Armor guys as my primary dismounted warriors with the unarmored guys as back up and leave the chainmail for the rare occasions my milites have to dismount or use them as “counts-as” Flemish Mercenaries to assist with the rather gallopy-shooty Normans’ lack of ground staying power. The crossbowmen will fill another warrior slot for the time being.

As for as the peasant levy, i will obviously paint up the Crusader ones first so I can be all matchy-matchy. the slingers can’t be fielded by the Normans in SAGA, but will be great as throw-away troops in “Song” or “Battle Troll” or I could loop them into a future Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Danish army as young-uns who haven’t grown beards.