Sunday, 3 February 2019

Thoughts on Dragon Rampant

Dragon Rampant - fantasy version of
Lion Rampant.

I drafted this post before last year’s mid-year wargaming hiatus. It’s out of place in time, but I thought I’d go back to catch up with this interest.

As most of you will know, Dragon Rampant is the fantasy version of Lion Rampant. I'm not generally given to fantasy games, but I'm drawn to anything in the Rampant series.

I did collect a couple of 15mm HOTT armies (Pirates and Skeletons) but I never got round to painting them. I'm not keen on being drawn into the ever-expanding Games Workshop universe, and I find Lord of the Rings too well-trodden and at times a little twee.

I'm rather more attracted to Poul Anderson's darker vision in The Broken Sword. I read that many years ago, and last year reread it on Kindle. (To be exact, I mainly listened to it.) So if I did do Elves and Trolls they would as far as possible be as depicted in that book, which is set in the Viking Age.

Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword
- a dark version of Faerie Folk.
Mike McGraw (Skrapwelder on TMP) used Elf heads on Dark Age figures,  but I already have a 25mm Viking army and don’t want to duplicate it with pointy ears!

The best range of Elves that I've been able to find is the Grenadier range now sold by Mirliton in Italy, but at least partly available from a few suppliers in the UK. They look more Celtic than Viking but the castings are very good. I'd model the Elves on a Viking army, using High Elves for the Huscarls and Wood Elves for the Bondi.

There are a number of Orc options for the Trolls. These need to be a little shorter than the Elves, mostly semi-naked and armed with clubs. They are rather more simple and primitive than the way in which Lord of the Rings Orcs are usually depicted and the best option I've identified so far is the small range from CP Models supplemented by selected Reaper castings.

There would also be wolves, giants and sorcerers. Dragon Rampant very cleverly introduced the idea of reduced size and single model units as long as they add up to 6 or 12 Strength Points. For example, you can field 6-figure units counting 2 points per figure. Convenient sized units are, therefore, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 or 12 models, which gives you a lot of flexibility and is potentially very economical.

Foundry North European Bronze Age figures
Other possibilities would be to recycle my 25mm Vikings with the addition of some fantastical elements, and my 28mm Late Mediaevals as an Arthurian Romance army. More recently I've also been thinking about Nordic and Greek Bronze Age armies using Foundry figures, or something skeletal using the North Star Skeletons. So many options!

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