Celtic Myth: Fir Bolg

Fir Bolg warriors mass for battle at the dolmen. Background is, as ever, a fab download from Jon Hodgson Maps

The Fir Bolg – ‘People of the Bag’ – appear in Irish mythology as the indigenous people of Eriu, who are displaced by the Tuatha de Danaan. For the classic Alternative Armies Celtic Myth range from the 1990s, sculptor Andy Cooper gave them a look that mixes elements of Neanderthal, Celt and Aztec (plus a bit of Lemmy from Motorhead).

Fir Bolg warriors. Check out Lemmy in the centre!

Clubs, stone weapons and spears are the weapons of choice along with wicker shields, portraying a culture with little metal-working, which fits nicely with the concept of a Stone or Bronze Age society being supplanted by invaders wielding iron weapons. (I think an alternative portrayal could make use of the Foundry Bronze Age Europeans, but that’s a project for another day).

Our Fir Bolg hero in the centre stands over his fallen Milesian foe (a Gripping Beast Gallic casualty)

I wasn’t quite sure about them when they first came out but ended up acquiring a small warband second-hand over the years. They have a certain charm and I enjoyed painting up a small force for Of Gods and Mortals and Celtic gaming in general. The initial selection of models wasn’t huge – Andy only sculpted a few packs for AA – so I did some conversions for heroes and the druid, Cesar. For Cesar’s body I used another Andy Cooper sculpt (this time from his own company, Westwind). It’s a Arthurian wizard type with a head swap from another Fir Bolg.

Tailtiu, Queen of the Fir Bolg and Cesar the Druid. Cesar has been based up with an old Fantasy Warlord standing stone.

I also added Tailtiu – an ancient fertility goddess – inspired by the entry in the Celtic supplement for OGAM by Graeme Davis. . This involved repainting a very old fantasy figure and surrounding her with corn stooks (resin from the bits box, possibly by Hovels) and new-fangled flower tufts – unavailable in the 1990s but perfect for a goddess of crops and nature! I’m not entirely sure where the figure came from. I have a vague memory she might be an old Metal Magic mini from Germany but I really can’t be sure.

Alternative Armies have just added a figure for the Fir Bolg champion Sreng to the range – an entirely new sculpt – so I look forward to adding him to the war band in the very near future.

Pic from the AA website of the new Sreng model. Strong shades of Jim Fitzpatrick going on here – I like him!

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