Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Deadcember 2016

't ain't no sin to take off your skin, and dance around in your bones.

Deadcember, my favourite Oldhammer portmanteau, and a good an excuse to claw through the lead pile and slap some paint on something. Also, it offers the opportunity to indulge in a some Oldhammer blawging, comparing something old to something new, tutting a lot about the new thing, romanticising the old thing and throwing in some thoroughly unoriginal original thoughts.

Of course Deadcember is all about the dead, or rather the undead and 2nd/3rd Edition undead foot soldiers are a very different breed from their 8th Edition/End Times descendants, leaving aside the standard observation of the miniatures being named or even sculpted with 'individuality', the game lore itself paints them very differently.

Longhorn stood looking over the ruined parapet. The chill wind ruffled his surcoat, whistling eerily between his ribs.
"Still coming?" the voice belonged to Screamer, one of his companions-at-arms.
"See for yourself." A black column stretched from the horizon to a mile away. like an army of ants on the move.
"Here" said Screamer, struck by a sudden thought, "We can talk, right?"
"Yes." sighed Longhorn. He hated it when Screamer had one of his sudden thoughts.
"And we can see them, right?"
Longhorn nodded.
"We're Skeletons. right? No eyes, no eardrums, no vocal cords - but we can see, hear and talk. -Makes you think, doesn't it?"
"I try not to think. There's too damn many contradictions to being Undead. Let's see what Morbius is up to." Anything was better than Screamer waxing philosophical.

Skeletons with personalities, talking, even engaging in existential debates. Soldiers as indentured servants, who thanks to poor legal advice (probably) are stuck with employment contracts that lack the ultimate escape clause; death. A state of being that is even more pronounced with Uathach and his storm riders. Once an ally of Sigmar, Uathach betrayed his king somewhere along Sigmar's path to godhood, treacherously warring on Sigmar's Dwarven allies and beheading their commander before throwing it an Sigmar's feet. Sigmar and his warriors surrounded Uathach's chariots, killing his men before Sigmar pierced Uathach's body and cursed him as he died.

"Cursed Uathach, it was war you desired and even in death I damn you to ride the skies in search of war. Through all eternity you shall flee, pursued evermore by the lightning bolts of my wrath!Human no longer, you shall be known as the Storm Riders"

 Enter the plastic skeleton chariots of war! Yours to command for only 9 magic points and a chestnut brown ink wash.

Fast forward to modern Warhammer, albeit the End Times just before the Old World got blown up or whatever (I'm not sure, I never finished the books to be honest), and compare the Nagash storyline. Big machinations,  bigger egos, gigantic miniatures and no room left for puns or any other little jokes. Skeletons and Zombies simply become matter and consequently they no longer really matter. Gone is the dysfunctional employee/employer relationship of Screamer and Morbius, and even that Oldhammer rock star Henrich Kemler is reimagined as a poo faced manipulator of bones with an extra M. Necromancy makes you a fantasy version of Magneto who move bones rather than metal, so much so that we see the undead foot soldiers in the story arc become building blocks for a giant bridge, constructed with the detached precision of my 7 year old daughter playing Minecraft. All so that other bones can cross a chasm and go stomp some Skaven. There's plenty of room in the bridge for the undead once they are reduced to load bearing parts, but no room in the lore for skeletons or zombies with personalities, these are not Evil Ash's bumbling henchmen sadly.

War makes boring monsters of us all, or something.

Anyway, enough of the words and onto the picture, this is one of my favourite models from the C17 Skeleton range, even though he (or perhaps she, I can't tell how pronounced the cranial ridge is) has a somewhat generic name "Lich". I'd say what the model lacks thanks to an impersonal name it makes up for in personality. Look at her (I've decided it's a girl), she's glorious, with her big hair and the characteristic expressive facial bone structure that Aly Morrison blessed his skeletons with. She even has a tongue! I don't fancy the Skaven's chances much.
I stuck with my standard wine stain red robes that I've used on lots of undead models, which thanks to foundry's triad of the same name and some vallejo glaze medium I can paint to a standard that fools me into believing I know what I'm doing, bones were done with foundry bone triad and gold bits with shining gold triad (are you seeing a lazy pattern here?) Most importantly of all, I enjoyed the painting every bit as much as I liked the outcome.

So that's my first offering of Deadcember 2016, I hope you like her.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Kremlo and the Amazons

A few more inhabitants of Lustria, including it's most famous son Kremlo the BlueSpineSpick Slann and a Koka-Kalim Blade Woman and Beserker. A small addition to my slowly growing Lustrian warbands.

Next up on the painting queue will be Juggo and Aygar from the Magnificent Sven scenario.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Koka's first two followers, and a new one for Cruimh

Koka's first two henchmen have arrived in the shape of Cupacocoa and Pintamilkada from the C32 Slann range. Quite pleased how Cupacocoa in particular turned out, this could be the start of my very own teal phase. Tried to go for an obsidian look for the weapons, but not sure I quite carried it off.

Not to be outdone Cruimh has been joined by his first pestigor, the only one of the models which isn't a Bob Olley sculpt, I believe he's by Jes Goodwin, and was a joy to paint.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Koka and Cruimh

I've started a little Realm of Chaos warbands project to work on. I'm starting small with two heroes pledged to the opposing forces of Nurgle and Tzeentch. Both of our heroes rolled twice on the followers table and after a slightly fudged second dice roll (more a reassignment in truth) I was left with a human Nurgle champion who I've named Criumh (Irish for maggot/worm) and a Slann Tzeentchian champ. Cruimh starts with 5 human followers and 4 pestigor, whilst Koka gets 4 Slann and 4 Lizardmen to command. A nice start that should give me two very different and distinctive warbands. Extra fluff came from Koka's rolls for initial rewards and attributes, giving him the slightly daunting reward (no less for me than for his opponents) of Pseudo-demonhood and a firey blade. Whilst Cruimh got Mesmerising stare.

So I've earmarked and even painted a few minis for most of the forces, red redemption cultists and Bob Olley pestigors for Cruimh, some Slann and pre-slotta Lizardmen (I only have two lizardmen currently) for Koka.
I'm hoping to keep in particular Koka's warband 'themed', perhaps some old Norse Lustrian adventurers or Amazons for humans and maybe even Chaos Snakemen for beastmen if he survives long enough to get more followers. 

For Cruimh's human followers I went with the 4 command and a single trooper from the redemptionists set, trying to work a little worm motif into the shields and banner.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Dark Elf Warband Leader

I haven't had a chance to paint anything these last two weeks thanks to work :(
So when I had a few hours tonight free from conference calls with people in Mountain Standard time I took the opportunity to paint a figure. Sloshing through the dettol jar of old figures I found a likely champion for my generated RoC warband. 
I say likely, but in actual fact he was the few Dark Elf figures I could find. The jar of old figures contains lots of minis my friends and I collected back in the late 80's and early 90's, but none of us, it seems, took a fancy to Dark Elves, plenty of beastmen, bloodletters, thugs and warriors, but the evil skinny ones are noticeable by their absence. Absent that is with the exception of one or two Marauder Dark Elves.
I really liked the Marauder sculpts when they were unleashed onto the pages of white dwarf back then, and I must say they have aged well. The falcata style swords look a lot more practical, but every bit as menacing as the OTT spiky 'dagger axes' sculptors seemed to favour with later 90's Dark Elf minis. I'm pretty sure the full Marauder Dark Elf army was only £80 back then. Not something ebay has taken notice of :)

Not the best paint job in the world, but with only a few hours tonight to finish stripping, priming and painting him, I'm happy enough with the results. Once again, no basing material, ebay or the garden centre will have to sort this outrage out for me soon.

Trooper A from Dark Elf Regiment by Marauder Miniatures
Lacking the original Marauder miniatures convex and embossed shields I settled on an old placcy round shield from my bits box and painted a skull motif to make him suitably menacing ;)

So there we have it, a few hours work tonight to get me back on the right track with my RoC warband. I have grabbed a pair of suitable beastmen from the dettol jar to paint up as his left and right hand un-men this weekend.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

A mountain in a jar

After a long and very stressful week of work I was rewarded today with a sweetie jar. Delivered to me by my mother who arrived for a weekend visit. Courtesy of an old friend Shaggy, whom I gamed with many many years ago. Back then, four members of our Warhammer gaming group embarked on a Realm of Chaos adventure. We arrived somewhat later to the Warhammer world than our other friends, who had already declared their allegiances as Dwarves, Elves, Greenskins and Undead. 

Chaos, unsurprisingly, seemed a more attractive prospect than the paranoid and joyless Empire or the rigid pompous aristocratic Bretonnian farmsteads. This was after all, escapism. It offered each one of us a home, Shaggy was seduced by Slannesh, Mackers revelled at the idea of spilling blood for Khorne, Jamie flittered and fluttered before declaring for Tzeentch, and I fell into Father Nurgle's comforting folds, and so we embarked on the sort of organic fun that Realm of Chaos offered. 

We bought miniatures, from The Dungeon in Belfast, 3 hours journey on a bus in those days (it went via Omagh! for some fucking reason), with nothing but a cheap portable tape deck blasting out Nirvana, PJ Harvey and Sonic Youth to pass the time. Later in Derry's short lived comic book, miniatures and general nerd store in Pump Street. It was run by a guy whose name I cannot to this day remember. Despite the geographic and financial constraints we played. 

I'm glad we did, and even more grateful that Shaggy preserved our collection of lead for almost two decades before gifting it to me. Here's what I received today.

A fucking gigantic sweetie jar of memories. I opened it up, and hour later I almost recovered from the nostalgia.

First up we have the Red Redemption Disciples. Although they were designed in the 80's, I bought them in the early 90's. By then, they were marketed as Chaos Cultists, having lost their earlier status as a regiment of renown. Twelve to a box, they were painted with snakebite leather and generous lashings of chestnut brown ink. The maggot motif was to mark them out as Father Nurgle's children. Sadly the design only made it onto a few shields and the banner remained undecided.

Father Nurgle features heavily, as I next managed to piece together enough pieces for not one, but two palanquins of Nurgle! One of the riders is of a traditional WFB sort, the other is of a tecknological/rogue trader sort. Either way, I have found a champion to lead my resurgent Nurgle warband. Considering the prices of these models on ebay, I'm ecstatic with finding these.

Next up we have a selection of citadel and marauder beastmen. Some pestigors and a few slannesh beastmen too. A nice haul, and containing a few models for my starter chaos warband.

Warriors are up next, 2 slaneeshi on he right, the guy in the centre with the metal shield, is from the Monsters Starter Set. A nice figure I'm sure you'll agree, there's also a Nurgle warrior and the Marauder minis chaos hounds and beast master.

A nice selection of thugs and marauders, some great sculpts here, especially the bone armour guy and the one with the flattened head.

Here we have a nice selection of Chaos Knights, all horseless I'm afraid, but nothing that can't be sorted out from either GW's bits section or ebay. Also shown is the old Chaos Chariot, no driver or horses sadly, but that's what ebay is for. One or two nice old skellies in the picture too, and a Goblin from the same Monsters Starter Set linked above.

Now, for the baddies and beasties, a group of Greater Daemons, in various stages of repair and usability, some nice old Ogres (or is one of them a troll?) a Dragon ogre (missing right arm and foot/tail section), a chimera, a coatyl, a boar centaur (nothing for him to push sadly) and a nice little chaos dwarf to add to my collection.

All in all, a great haul, and one that would have cost me a pretty penny on ebay. Considering how much i'll have to spend on dettol now, it's a good thing they were all free.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Realm of Chaos Warband

Tonight I generated my chaos warband to use in my Realms of Chaos/Warrior Heros - Legends mashup. Which basically involves using the excellent Warrior Heroes - Legends encounter generation and NPC reaction system with the more familiar (and fully featured) Warhammer Realm of Chaos backstory and combat system. This marriage I hope, will provide me with the ability to play a solo Realm of Chaos warband narrative campaign.

So first things first, my warband leader. I rolled a D100 on the starting profiles table and got a 25. Looks like my chaos champion is a dark elf. I rolled again for his or her level and the perfidious gods of chaos gave me a 01.

So that's a basic Dark elf with the following stats.

M WS BS S T W I A Ld Int Cl WP

I roll a D6 for the Champion's starting equipment and receive a 4, spending it on a suit of heavy armour for 3 points and a sword with the remaining point.

I decided to pledge my champion's allegiance to Chaos in its purest form rather than submit to any one particular Chaos Power, and so I consulted the Mark of Undivided Chaos section for my starting rewards, which says
If the new champion chooses to worship Chaos in it's undivided glory, rather than a specific Chaos Power, then he receives a random reward from the Chaos Rewards Table. He also receives a random Chaos Attribute.

And so I rolled on the Chaos Rewards table to see how Chaos first favours it's new champion. A roll of 79 - Gift of the Gods, which states
The Champion has come to the special attention of his Chaos Patron assuming he has one. Refer to the Patron's gift table and randomly generate a gift from the Patron himself. The resulting gift cannot be refused, even if it is a Chaos Attribute. If the Champion has no Patron then he cannot have a Gift of the Gods. The result is rerolled - if Gift of the Gods is rolled for a second time then the Champion is rewarded with a Chaos Attribute instead.

So that's a re-roll then for my unaligned Chaos Champion. This time I rolled a 94, The Eye of God. Sounds ominous...

The Powers of Chaos turn their attention to the Chaos Champion, weighing his deeds against his usefulness, and deciding what will be his fate. The Champion cannot refuse the Eye of God as he can other gifts, but must stand before the Powers and receive his judgement
  1. If the Champion has 6 or more Gifts but less than 6 Chaos Attributes then the Champion has pleased his Patron. The Patron rewards his Champion with immortality. The Champion leaves the mortal world and becomes a Daemon Prince, sitting alongside his Patron in the Realm of Chaos.
  2. If the Champion has 6 or more Chaos Attributes then the Patron decides his slave is no longer worthy to serve as one of his Champions. The Patron rewards his Champion by turning him into a Chaos Spawn.
  3. If the Champion has less than 6 gifts and less than 6 Chaos Attributes then his Patron reviews his progress with interest and allows the Champion to continue in his service. The Patron rewards the Champion by giving him a Chaos Weapon with 1 randomly generated property. If the Champion is a Wizard he also receives +1 attack and +1 wound. Champions other than wizards and Champions of Khorne, are given the powers of a Wizard with a magic level of 1 and the associated number of spells and magic points. Champions of Khorne are given a collar of Khorne plus a Fleshhound instead; second and subsequent gifts of collars may be passed ontoa follower.

Given that my Champion has just started his fateful journey, point 3 applies. He rolls for a Chaos Weapon with 1 property and receives a weapon with Impunity. 

The blade's pommel and hilt are made from the still-living heart and ribs of a failed servant of the Chaos Gods. The blade increases it's bearers wounds by 1/5.
So that would be 5 extra Wounds if this was Warhammer Role Play, but as we are playing WFB, it's 1 extra wound for my Champion. Coupled with the level 1 magician's powers a good result! His stats now stand as 

M WS BS S T W I A Ld Int Cl WP

Next comes the roll on the Chaos Attributes table, 539, Levitation! 

Finally, we roll for my new Champion's followers, and the dice come up 21; D6 Beastmen of the Champion's Patron, as my Champion has no patron I get D6 regular Beastmen with an average saving throw of 6. I roll a 2. So there we have it, my new Champion, a floating Dark Elf with a few spells and a pair of Beastmen followers.

To the Paint Desk!