Monday, 2 January 2017

Saxon, Viking and Norman Paper Soldiers

With no other modelling or figure painting in progress, I have been able to get working on my Saxon, Viking and Norman paper soldiers. I am using the "Battle of Britain - Wargame 1066" by Peter Dennis as the source book for these figures. The book allows you to photocopy the pictures and create your own paper army. Instructions are provided within the book on how to cut out and base your figures.

In my first tests I used the suggested approach and decided it was all a bit too flimsy for wargaming and would (in my clumsy hands) overtime become all bent out of shape. So I went with a simpler approach of decoupage with the cut out figures to make them look like a unit, then touch up the surrounds and flock the bases which would be geared to my normal basing of 3 to 4 inches.

Using 0.75mm balsa wood sheet (1.5mm will also work) I cut out and stuck two of the picture blocks onto the balsa sheet. These look like a very thin line of troops and more work is required to give the impression of a block of troops.

Stick on two pictures on side by side
Reverse pictures stuck on the other side
The next step is to cut out and around individual groups of troops, or even a whole block, and stick them on to the front and rear to give the impression of a block of troops. On my more recent units I have been cutting around the whole block rather than individuals or groups of figures. This seems to work best and is also the quickest.

Cut out individual or groups of men to add to the front and back
If you are wondering what glue I use, it is just the standard PVC glue from the hardware store which dries clear.

The decoupaged unit
Using white paint I touch up any lines which should not be there. Then I cut around the edges with a sharp craft knife before sticking the units on to MDF stands. When stick to the bases I use a thin strip of balsa wood to help strengthen the connection.

Tidy up any lines between the cut out blocks.
Base the units
Once all they glue is thoroughly dry, I paint in the white boarder around the edges using a watered down dark blue paint. This can be done very quickly and any mistakes are just wiped off. Having a mottled effect is fine, and in many ways is preferable.

Once the blue is dry a watered down white paint to break up the blue and highlight around the troops. I also use the same approach near the bottom with browns and sandy yellows to tie in with the rest of the picture.

Once all is dry I paint the base green and use flock. Finally, I paint on an acrylic varnish to seal the unit.

Background boarder painted and base flocked.

Ready for a game
While these will never look as impressive as units of painted figures, they do look pretty good from the right angle (always the case with flats). They allow me to try and wargame a period very cheaply as I expect to get three armies from the book: Saxons, Vikings and Normans. Each of about 20-30 stands in total of various troop types.

Cost of the book $20
Cost of balsa wood sheets $8
MDF sheet (for stands) $2
Cost of profession photocopying on weighted paper $40

Throwing in some paint costs, flock and a new sharp blade the cost per army will work out at about $25.

I do like the style these figures are painted in and will be getting a copy of the book covering the Roman Invasion (out in May 2017).


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. I am looking forward to gaming with them soon. They are also quite quick to create, so far I have completed 13 units over 3 days.

  2. I think you will get a lot of converts from these, who want to dabble with 1066 forces.

  3. I am enjoying making these as units are easily created, especially for big stands.

  4. They look really nice. Are the rules any good?

  5. Thank you. I have not tried the rules yet. They are based upon a grid and treat the opposing armies as having 2-3 divisions, e.g. left wing, centre and right wing. Each division having its own activations. It will be interesting to try them out.

  6. I have done something similar for the ECW< although with commercial paper soldiers:

    1. I did consider ECW. However, I have some old metal ECW armies I must clean up and repaint. So it was a choice of War of the Roses or 1066. I have some books on the subject so I went for 1066.

  7. Did you consider using the Bayeux Tapestry imagery for your 2D figure stands? (One of my long-term projects)

    1. A set of armies with that imagery would look wonderful (a great long term project). This is my first foray into 2D so it was always going to use commercially available sets which provide complete armies.