Sunday, 24 October 2021

The Unquiet Dead Have Arisen


I love the dead before they're cold.
Their bluing flesh for me to hold.
Cadaver eyes beyond me see...
Nothing.

(Alice Cooper 1973)

In my ongoing pursuit to work out what figures I own, I've I laid out my Unquiet Dead: The Danse Macabre to get an understanding of how many there are and exactly what I have. As it turns out there are not as many as I thought, but I do have quite a few still on the sprue (so to speak) waiting for me to make and paint them.
All of these figures are individually based and I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing at this stage. I originally made this army for SAGA - Age of Magic and I'm inclined to think of it more for this type of large skirmish game such as Dragon Rampant rather that a full on big battle game. I don't even know what some of the units are or how they would fit into a large army yet. But I'll work that out some time later.

I've kept the colour pallet of this army very washed out. I want it to look misty and insubstantial. This isn't easy to do with physical models. My solution is to go for a lack of colour and heavy dry-brushing using very pale greys on top of very heavy dark washes.

Obviously the top photo is the whole army as it currently stands. It's made up of figures from a variety of companies. The chaps below are Wraiths from Reaper Miniatures. These are actually glow-in-that-dark Reaper Bones that I painted. I've used them as a Wraith King and Hearthgurad in Saga - AoM. In a big battle game I'm not sure what the "hearthguard" would be. Captains and hero characters most likely.
My cavalry is pretty dismal being just this single box of FireForge Undead Knights. Not bad figures but somewhat uninspiring and static. The guys in front are newly painted Oathmark Undead Revenants. Nice figures. They have a nice ancient dead vibe and could be used as regular fantasy troops with just a head-swap.
The main body of the army is made of these GW figures. I've stated in previous posts that I got a bunch of cheap GW undead. I added to these ones last year when GW brought out a magazine that was going for $8.99 with a sprue of these figures included. I bought a few of them to boost numbers and still have 40 more figures to add to the army. I intend to use these and a ghostly hoard. I currently have 60 of them painted.
A bat swarm made using Reaper Bones bats. I also have half a dozen giant bats that I could fit into the army somehow. More on the enthroned eyeball figure later.
Another unit - this time axmen - from the Oathmark Undead Revenants box. Again; these look great and a simple head-swap could see these figures as regular ancient fantasy troops or even orcs.
Another unit made from the GW magazine series. These are really lovely figures and I think they're some type of banshee or other howling spirit. I'm not sure how they fit into the army yet but they look really nice.
Some more GW from my initial cheap purchase (a couple of years back). I don't know what they are supposed to be but they're nice looking models.
I have a second one of these undead knight figures and I just recently did some conversion on it so that it's carrying a spear with a banner. It's based and undercoated and it's awaiting it's first coat of paint. I was going to wait until it was done before doing this post but then I thought: Why bother? 
A Bone Dragon (I think) from Reaper. This is another Bones figure and fits well with the rest of the army. As usual these large Bones monsters are great value for money.
This an old CItadel figure from the late 80's early 90's called Souron: Lord of the Rings. I had it for many years still in the blister pack and only painted it last year. It's a great figure but not exactly how I picture The Dark Lord on his Dark Throne! However, this figure could add a lot to the army as a necromancer or spell caster. What I need to do is mount it better. Maybe put him on some sort of wagon or mobile dais with a compliment of dead 'uns to serve him.
I made these movement bases to create hoard units. Each base has 15 figures so the 60 that I've finished will make up 4 units. I'm not sure if this will work or not. They do look okay but, as stated, I'm unsure how I want to use this army at this time.
Finally there's this guy. I haven't included him in the other pics. It's an undead troll from Mantic Games. The figure looks okay but I'm not sure if it will work with the rest of the army.
To finish off: a few pics that better show off some of the detail on the Oathmark Revenants. 

Thursday, 14 October 2021

The Goblin Muster

After setting out my Elves to see what I have and get a good headcount, I decided to do the same with my evil-doers so I could decide what I need to add to their ranks. I thought I had more goblins but I don't. The Elves outnumber them quite significantly. The difference is: the evil doers have a lot of trolls, ogres, spiders, wolves and other nasty creatures that the elves don't have on their side.
That's the whole army. I have ten units of actual goblins/orcs. I decided on ten because it's equal to the cohorts in a Roman Legion and Tolkien often refers to "orc legions." However, I do wonder: should I make the individual units double ranks or keep them as single ranks? I do have a box of the new, excellent looking, Wargames Atlantic goblins on the way. I'd like to make them as a solid pike block for the center of the battle line. I hope I can.
The cavalry figures above are from the Mantic, Kings of War range. I think they're called Gore Riders (or something similar). They're big orcs mounted on boars. Horrible figures to put together and they're made of that horrible Mantic resin but they look good when they're painted.
I don't have any formed missile troops for these guys. Instead, I have a whole bunch of skirmishers - 30 of them to make up five skirmish units of 6 figures.
This wolf-pack looks pretty tame by fantasy standards. These figures are from Reaper and they are far too well proportioned to look ferocious and mean as fantasy wolves should. These are more of a harassing unit rather than a frontline fighting force.
The big guys at the back. A unit of trolls and a few other evil creatures. In the rules I'm writing I added rules to integrate single creatures into the ranks of some units (mainly warbands). This rule doesn't work very well with single ranked units, hence my thinking about double ranked warband units.
This is the general on his mighty big, horned dire wolf. This is a Wizkids figure with a little bit of conversion done on the weapons. If he's not in the role of General he can be used as a hero to lead the orc boar riders. The spell casters: The one on the left is an Oathmark metal figure the other two are Reaper Bones.
The giant Dire Wolf (from Wizkids I think...?) - I've used this as an alternate general in the past. It's seems fitting as Sauron, in the Silmarillion, sometimes takes the form of a giant werewolf, so I can't see why my general can't do the same. As it is, it's a big mean looking model. The ballista are (again) from Wizkids. A great, versatile model and you get two in each pack.
Giant spiders as light cavalry. I've had the figures for a while and they fit the part well. I could add riders but do they really need them? Werewolves up the back. My rules have a special rule called: Lycanthrope. With this rule a were-creature can be added to a unit but only revealed when the unit goes into combat for the first time. That's how I've used these figures so far by adding one to the wolf pack. I made this original unit of three for Dragon Rampant.
In the pic below you can see what I mean about the units not looking quite right. To me, they don't look deep enough for a massed goblin/orc host. I think they should be two ranks deep because they just look too thin on the ground. I could field them as five warbands of 8 bases or six warbands of 6 bases with some big creatures added here and there, to make up a seventh warband. But... I don't know which way to go.

And that's them for now. Not as many as I thought but I do have the box of Wargames Atlantic on it's way to boost their ranks. Because of the way I paint these guys (which is pretty rough) I can pump them out at a rate of about a dozen a day. I'm unsure how much detail the WgA figures will have but I'm hoping they won't require me to paint too many fiddly bits. I like my orcs to look dark, grimy, rough and ready. If the painting is a bit rough it just makes them look even more evil!

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Elves on Parade

I've been slowly building up an elfin army since the beginning of last year and I've been a bit confused as to what I have and I've been wondering if it's large enough to be called an army. I only just bought a box to store all of it in one place. So I decided to put them all out on the table and take some photo's for posterity (knowing my own track record of creating armies and then selling them on).
The vast majority of these are the Oathmark plastics from Northstar. I'm not sure how many boxes - I think five boxes of heavy infantry and two boxes of light - But I'm not sure. I still have the best part of a box of heavy infantry which I can use to either boost some of the existing units or to build another phalanx.
So, now that it's all set out it's not bad at all it's quite a respectable sized force. I only have a 6'x4' table and this is pretty much enough to fill one long table edge considering I've put the cavalry and chariots in the rear rank.
I've tried to create distinctive commands within the army. They could be considered different houses, cities, or different fiefdoms, etc... All under the command of the Erlking. 
The ballista look nice. These are from Wizkids and with a little bit of modification they came out okay and fit in well enough. With many of the units I'm not sure if they should be mixed spear and bow regiments or individual units. I've been playing around with various concepts for the rules I'm writing but I'm uncertain which way to go.
I like the unarmoured light infantry. The figures are more versatile than the heavy troops and I've used them to make a couple of peltast/javelin units as well as skirmishers. Also, in the pic below is my dragon mounted knight which can be either an alternative general or a hero.
On the far left of the photo below are some other skirmishers that I kit-bashed form the light elves and some Conquest dark age archers. I recently found a Conquest sprue with another couple of bodies so I made them up and I'll paint them to bring them up to an 8 figure unit. As you can see, I consider these Green Elves to be a lighter command suitable for deployment on the flank.
The blue unit in the centre is supposed to be a phalanx. To me it makes sense for elves to use more archaic unit formations. When I last read the Silmarillion (last year) I noted that Tolkien used the term "phalanx" to describe the elvish host going into battle. I like this concept but I'm unsure how to model the formation: 3 bases wide by 2 deep as I have here or 4 bases wide to accentuate a big unit? I'm not sure. The use of chariots also falls into the concept of archaic units and formations.
Eagles! These are Wizkids models too. For what they are and price-wise they're good and they do the job. It seems that giant eagles are one of the acceptable weird units for an elfin army. I'm not sure if they should be individual creatures or a single unit. In the rules I'm working on they can be either (like all the creatures in the rules).
I think I need more cavalry. I kit-bashed these using Gripping Beast Noble Goth Cavalry and they came out nice but I would really prefer something more elfish. I really like some figures I saw by Mirliton, but being in Australia the cost for the figures together with postage was far more than I could justify. Also, I'm not sure if the cavalry I have should be considered one unit or two. Six figures for a cavalry regiment just doesn't feel right to me.
And there it is. My elf army as it stands at the moment. It's not the biggest army out there but it's large enough to be called an army and not a warband or raiding party and it will grow, because I'm a fool in that respect. What I really need to do is decide what size the units should be and stick to my decision. And that's something that's not easy for me to do!

Next Up: My goblin army!

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Elves, Big 'Uns, Dead 'Uns and a Big Dead 'Un too

I've had a bit of a hobby hiatus due to a sad family issue. But it's time to get back to it. So, over the past couple of days I've been getting a few things off the painting desk. These things have been sitting there for a while and now they've made room for other things to take their places.

First up is this guy. I'm not sure what he's supposed to be. I got him in a Mantic Terrain Crate last year. He might be an armoured ogre or a big orc. I decided to paint it as a massive orc/ogre. It has nice detail and is up to Mantic's usual good standard. But overall, it is a pretty stupid figure. For scale: He is on a 40x40mm base.
I've had these undercoated, ready and sitting on the bench for about a year. I should have painted them ages ago but I didn't. They're from GW and they're really easy to paint. This little group took one day's worth of painting to get done. I got my hands on 60 odd figures very cheap last year to go along with the 30 or 40 I already had. I have about 50 painted now and I should get the remaining 50 done to make up a nice big undead hoard.
Another figure from the Mantic Terrain Crate and a good addition to my growing undead hoard is this Zombie Troll. It's okay but not a great figure and, to my mind, looks pretty stupid. But it'll work okay for what it is.
And finally, some more elves. Once again, these are the Light Elf infantry from Oathmark. After painting a box of these I don't really like the figures very much. They are really boring. I could put in more effort to adding costume detail but I want these for games so I've given them a basic "table-top" level of paint job. These figures are value for money but there are better figures out there.
I'm not sure if these are supposed to be wild, wood elves or whatever. What I'd really like for wood elves is to get my hands on more figures like this one below. I got this one from EM-4 Miniatures but I don't think they've had any in stock for a long, long time.

P.S. I just read through the preview before committing to posting this page. I'm pretty negative about everything. These are nice figures and I've given them a half decent paint-job. Maybe the recent sadness in our family is affecting me more than I realized.

I'll be more positive next time: Cheers!