Brian Blessed and his fellow Vikings deserve some worthy opponents, so I bought a box of the new plastic Gripping Beast Saxon Thegns from the excellent chaps at War and Peace Games.
For those interested, here are a few pics of some assembled figures.
I was interested to see how they compared to the Wargames Factory thegns. Mostly, all of Nedoreth's comments in his excellent comparison of GB and WF Vikings apply. The GB figures are easier to put together, but probably lend themselves to a more limited number of poses (they are made to represent a shield wall, after all). In height, the figures from both companies are a perfect match, although in proportions the GB blokes are noticeably more beefy and have bigger heads, with loads more individual character than the WF figures and impressive mustaches. The GB weapons are of the exaggerated proportions many expect, although not to ludicrous GW extremes. The WF spears and swords do look a little puny in comparison though.
The GB figures are very much aimed at representing the 'middle' Anglo-Saxon period (8th-10th centuries). Some of the helmets included really belong to the 8th century or earlier, especially those with boar crests or cheek pieces. There are no kite shields or two-handed Danish axes, so they aren't really suitable for Hastings by themselves. In contrast, WF include some kite shields and even a head with a mail coif under his helmet, so they work for the 11th century.
I tend to prefer the GB figures, despite the slightly exaggerated proportions. They really look the business, and fit together well to form an impressive shield wall. I also think the mail shirts on the GB figures are more convincing, with very tight sleeves on the WF figures. To get a sense of just how good the GB Saxons can look together, check out the photos of the Battle of Maldon game from Salute over at The Man Cave. (Brilliant blog, by the way). Certainly it is quite possible to mix in the WF figures to give more variety, and they would probably be better for representing charging or skirmishing figures. Here are some comparison shots.
GB on the left, WF on the right.
WF on the left, GB on the right. The angle of the photos makes the WF figure look taller, but they are the same height.
So, more painting to do as the 28mm Dark Ages bug turns from a whim to a couple of major projects. And then there are the Normans from Conquest Games... bugger. It's funny that the first army I ever painted were 15mm Normans, and I keep coming back to them in every scale I do.