Monday, 19 March 2018

CLXV. Duardin Warriors of Volmar

Here come the rest of the Duardin.

Volmar sits on a mountain on Erebos, and is inhabited mostly by Duardin and Kobolds. People of Volmar are well adapted to their high-altitude life. They manage to grow crops on artificially constructed terraces, and herd goats on their mountain pastures. What their own efforts at agriculture cannot supply, they trade for the riches they discover in their mines. 

Duardin and Kobolds are very similar in height and build. The easiest way to tell them apart is  looking at the nose and ears: they are both elongated in Kobolds. However, the biggest difference is the fact Kobolds do not give birth to living young like Duardin, but lay eggs. This makes them incompatible, so Kobolds and Duardin generally do not intermarry. But they consider themselves to be one people, and most of their culture is shared.  

The kingdom has been on good terms with its neighbours for a very long time; conflicts with other realms are not common and not large in scale. 

Let's take a look at each of the Chosen Axes (and hammers!) of Volmar.



This was originally the Fjul-Grimnir model, the leader of Chosen Axes. What I liked about the original model is the set of keys, the giant's skull on the base, and the pose. As with the others, the mohawk was cut off to make way for a conical helm with a mask. This not so practical ceremonial helm has a bit of a samurai vibe mixed in... The runes in his skin were sanded away. I admit that weapon is utterly ridiculous, but for some reason I liked it. So I kept it, only removing the dragon head detail from the bottom end (the part I disliked). I had to replace it with something of similar shape and size in order to preserve balance. So I stuck a ring into a clutched hand from my bits box and glued that on.


This was the first one done, discussed in my last post.


This was Mad Maegrim, originally wielding a pair of axes. I simply wanted some variety.


And finally, this was Tefk Flamebearer. He used to have two different axes, but gave him one I removed from Maegrim, so now he has a matching pair.

A few shots of different stages of sculpting Tefk's helmet. The nose ring was actually added in the middle of painting.

Fjul's armour is the most elaborate one. I'm relatively satisfied with it, but I see I need to work more on my symmetry. Here I went to some other Trudvang dwarf armour designs, by Alvaro Tapia. The 'beard' portion of the mask covers a larger area on the front, basically being a chest plate. It's an interesting solution. 

When I look at my four warriors side by side, I feel the style of the helmets across the warband should have been more consistent. That's something to keep in mind for next time.

The original Chosen Axes are Fyreslayers. Photo taken from

Thursday, 15 March 2018

CLXIV. Volmar Duardin

Yet another converted Shadespire warband is in the works. The Chosen Axes fell into my paws last week, and I immediately started hacking them up. The first of their number is finished (bar the base, which will get done at a later date because I'm considering a display base). 


I really don't like the look of AoS Fyreslayers. The axes that are braziers, the headgear, the golden runes implanted into their skin... All of that is inextricably linked with their backstory, so if I was to transform them away from those elements, they would no longer be even remotely Fyreslayers. But that's fine by me, I love coming up with my own factions. So the mountain kingdom of Volmar was born. It's waiting to be populated by a mixed people: Duardin, Kobolds, Humans and Half-Dwarves. I'll delve deeper into their country and culture when the warband is done. They look like this at the moment:  

I've shown the first dwarf earlier on social networks, and people seem to pick up both Norse and Mesopotamian vibes from the helm. I'm very happy to hear that I've successfully blended those. The design was most heavily inspired by one particular illustration Paul Bonner did for Trudvang:

Art by Paul Bonner. © RiotMinds

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In other news, the village of Dol, the designated battlefield for the Legen event, got a few more people to inhabit it. Converted and painted another fleeing peasant from the plastic giant kit. Two boys who foolishly wish to fight the attacking gargants with sticks were converted from LOTR Hobbit Shirriffs. The panicked soldier attempting to hide under a discarded ox skull is a characterful conversion of an older metal model, done by Florian Gand from Germany. Thanks again for sending the conversion over, it's perfect for Legen.   

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

CLXIII. Legen: A Willow Tree

Time to slowly begin working on the board on which we'll be playing in July. I started off by making one of the smaller pieces: a willow tree.

This terrain was built entirely from scratch. The tree's trunk was sculpted in DAS air-drying clay, and the branches made from wire and natural roots. Experimenting with creating texture was fun.

It was primed grey and white, and painted mostly with glazes.

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Friday, 2 March 2018

CLXII. Abhorrant Ghoul Queen's Court: Crypt Ghast Courtier and Ghouls

These are all conversions of Spiteclaw's Swarm models, a recently released five-rat set for Warhammer Underworlds:  Shadespire. I wanted to make ghoul versions that will fit with the rest of my FEC, and that I can still use for Shadespire if I want. They make four Crypt Ghouls and one Crypt Ghast Courtier. 

Arzu, Crypt Ghast Courtier (Skritch Spiteclaw)

Ghasts are Ghoul characters, and this Skaven hero was a great starting point for my conversion. 

First step is cutting off the parts of the model I don't want. I do this before assembly, because it's easier. In this case, I got rid of the head and tail (for being what identifies him as Skaven), the weapon head (didn't like the design), clipped the cape a bit (GW has developed an excessively fluttering oddly shaped cape issue). After assembly, I usually take my dremel and get rid of all the detail I couldn't cut off or file down with a file. This is followed by gluing replacement and extra bits in place, and then, finally, I whip out the putty and sculpting tools.

Arzu's face came from a Hobbit Goblin, like with most of my FEC. Her weapon got a halberd blade from Empire State Troops. The greenish parts in the above image are putty - mostly 1:1 hybrid of green stuff and Milliput. The sculpting of the crazy hairdo had to be done in several layers. There are minor modifications on the face, and the rest of my interventions were just fixing parts that got damaged in previous steps, and filling gaps.



Crypt Ghouls (Krrk the Almost-Trusted, Lurking Skaven, Hungering Skaven, and Festering Skaven)

Four footsoldiers to add to the existing bunch. None of the previous Ghouls were converted from a Skaven model, but I was pretty sure these would fit in well after a head swap and matching paintjob. 

This one was Festering Skaven. I really dig the pose, would be excellent for making a Skaven assassin model. Anyway, the tail and the head had to go, and I messed with the dagger handle a bit. This was the least difficult of the bunch.

Krrk is one of the two named characters in the box. In my version he is just another no-name Ghoul. 

He lost his head and tail, and later the weapon, too. I left the pet rats on his shoulder be because they're kinda cute. 

Hungering Skaven came with a flail and shield.

The flail became a mace, and the triangular shield got a change of shape. Added some laces sticking from between armour plates.

Finally, the Lurking Skaven. This one is the most problematic, because I had to do a weapon swap that makes him too unrecognisable, I think. But I simply don't envision my ghouls wealding katars or anything similar. 

I did sculpt him some Wolverine sideburns to make it up to him.

All Shadespire warbands come with very nice sculpted bases. I considered maybe using them for something else, but then I realised that some of the models have parts of their feet modelled on their base. I could have gone around this, but it just didn't seem worth the trouble. I used the bases from the box, and added some soil, grass and leaves to blend them with the previously existing members of the faction.


Thursday, 15 February 2018

CLXI. Legen: Sir Pelial and the Two Ravens

Two men went to hunt in Tall Dun Wood. 

One alone came back.

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Sir Pelial was riding through a forest again, on his quest to slay giants in the North. The Aelf followed, with her bow on her back. As they passed a hawthorn tree, Sir Pelial noticed a pair of black ravens perched on its branches. And he heard them talk. 

The first one said, "Where shall we go and dine today?" 
"In a hollow behind the old stone wall, I know there lies a new-slain knight," replies the other. "No one knows that he lies there, but his hawk, and his hound, and his lady fair. His hound is to the hunting gone, his hawk to fetch the wild-fowl home, his lady loves another knight; so we may make our dinner sweet." And the ravens flew away. 

Sir Pelial said to the Aelf, "Those carrion birds shall have to find some other dinner today. Quick, let us follow them." Soon they reached that place where the murdered knight lay. The ravens were already at it, pecking out the dead man's eyes. Sir Pelial scared them away, picked up the lifeless body and tied it to the back of his horse. The Aelf watched this in disbelief. "What do you want with that thing," she asked Sir Pelial. "You shall find out soon," he replied. "We are going to call on Iulia Docta-Sophosse."

They took their dead man to Iulia Docta-Sophosse, who was a master reanimator from the land of Turm. Sir Pelial gave her a bag full of gold, and then Iulia shook his hand and had the corpse carried to her cellar. There she had her servants peel off its skin, and scrape all the meat off the bone. The bones they then boiled and bleached in a vile brew, whose preparation is a well kept secret of the necromancers. The clean white skeleton was then laid out on the ground, and Sir Pelial and the Aelf were sent away. What was to happen next, they were not allowed to observe. So Sir Pelial went to a smith with the fallen knight's suit of armour. He handed him too a bag of gold, and the craftsman set to work. When the suit of mail was remade to Sir Pelial's satisfaction, they went back to the house of Iulia Docta-Sophosse.

Their new companion was waiting for them there. A man of bone stood silent and still in Iulia Docta Sophosse's yard, with his empty eye sockets, bare ribs and long gaunt fingers. Iulia instructed Sir Pelial on what rite to do every day to keep the skeleton animated, and to the Aelf she explained how it should be cleaned and repaired. Then they put his black armour on, said farewell to the reanimator, and went back on their way.

As she marched next to the eerie figure, the Aelf wondered for a moment what his name was, and what had ended him. But that moment passed, and she thought no more of it. 

The Aelf hoped the next person they met would have more spirit than humourless Sir Pelial and the hollow Murdered Knight...

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The Murdered Knight, the second member of the retinue, is here. Conversion is based on one of the old citadel skeletons. It got an arm and head swap from Empire Knights, and a shield from plastic Giant bits. The helmet was heavily modified with green stuff.

The story is this time partly based on the Scottish ballad Twa Corbies. It's a grim song and I absolutely love it. This is my favourite performance of it I've found so far:

Friday, 9 February 2018

CLX. Legen: Nerod

Work on my knight's retinue is well underway, but now it's time to show some love to the opposing side: the attacking gargants. Meet Nerod, the inciter and leader of the giants' crusade:

Legen was a stone castle of sublime proportions, built by gargants long, long ago. In ancient times, from there they ruled Erebos. There is a huge ruin on a mountain in the north of the island, crumbling and abandoned for centuries. They say this is what was once Legen, but due to inaccessibility and roosting griffins nobody bothers to venture there.
The ancient giants were gradually pushed further and further north-west by the little-folk, and ultimately defeated, broken and scattered. The greatest of gargants, and their ruler at the time, was Legen-King. In a spectacular and bloody battle, the king was slain by heroes of old, and his body cut up into pieces.
The body parts were then buried separately all over the islands. This was done to forever prevent the king’s return, because it was rumoured he had magical regenerative powers. Although people enjoy telling it, that story is generally not taken seriously, and is believed mostly by children and fools.

There are gargants on the islands to this day. They are roaming monstrosities of slow mind and great appetite, but they normally roam alone. A single gargant is able to do plenty of damage to peasants, but can be taken down by a well armed and trained party of soldiers. A herd of giants in the kingdom (fortunately a rare occurrence) is a threat that cannot be ignored by any sensible ruler.
As it turns out, the story of Legen was all more or less true. And only a while back, a gargant named Nerod happened to find the still rotting head of Legen-King. The head spoke to him. It gave him a quest. First, Nerod carried this enormous head to the cold ruins of ancient Legen, where now gryphons roost and winds howl. The head said that the time for restoration of Legen had come. He must be made whole again and gargants must rule the island once more. The little-folk are weak now. They are not united. If the giants gather together they can crush their feeble kingdoms one by one. So, Nerod set off southward, to seek the king’s hands and feet, heart and intestines, muscle, blood and bone. And he preaches to every giant and giantess he meets of his sacred quest and restoration of Legen’s might. Some of them listen, and follow. The gargants are marching south…

I wanted to base this model on the Forgeworld Curs'd Ettin, but since it got discontinued it's become impossible to come by. So I was left with the option of using the plastic giant kit to build something similar. The custim legs and arm extensions make him a taller and much more imposing monster. 

This size comparison will give you the sense of his relative size:

Next up, we have the severed head of Legen-King. Nerod found it and took it to the cold ruins of Legen. From there he set off to gather followers and lead them south, to crush the kingdoms of little folk and put the king back together.

As you can judge from this head, the ancient king of gargants was truly colossal in size. The tales of his regenerative abilities must have been true, as centuries have passed and the head looks like it is only beginning to decompose.

The head is a resin base from Scibor Miniatures. The bushy eyebrows were added after painting, and they were meade from small chunks of cotton swab dipped in mix of water, paint and PVA. I'll need this piece as a prop for when I write and illustrate the gargants' half of this saga.