Wednesday 13 December 2017

Sword and Sorcery

I have seen the book,
The book that turned Darkness
into Light

Tomm Moore, The Secret of Kells

Update! The warriors of the 4th and 5th mysteries are finally complete and based! Really pleased with the result. After a lot of thoughts and indecision I am finally sold on using metal for the armour instead of the cream colour I used on the first warrior and the Alluminarch. It makes it more fantasy and less sci-fi and, coupled with the new flame and sun motifs on the vests, give the model an old school vibe that I am very pleased about. It sort of looks like something out of a black and white illustration from Realm of Chaos!
There are very subtle differences between the two warriors, to distinguish the members of each circle of mystery in the order. The trim of the armour for instance but also the motif on the parchment hanging form the back plate should indicate the rank of the warrior within the order.

As I stated previously, this group is definitely nowhere near to be the "good guys". They are an order of fanatical puritans whose only aim is to annihilate every form of social progress and take the battle against chaos in an extremely literal way which would ultimately be as destructive as the powers they seek to eradicate.
Imagine them as an esoteric version of the Ku Klux Klan which is ruling a whole kingdom. The people living under their rule are impotent slaves of the Alluminarch vision of a perfect and immovable society, rigidly divided into casts and completely deprived of any concept of self betterment. The very opposite of the "Free People" of the Mortal Realms. A good comparison could be the Mechanicus in 40k. A stagnant order of sorcerers who struggle to preserve fragments of ancient past knowledge without questioning or seeking any improvement. If the Alluminarch had the technology for creating them he would love servitors!
Which makes me think... Fantasy servitors???

Thursday 30 November 2017

Warriors of the Fifth Mystery

Faith is the strength 
by with a shattered world
shall emerge into light

Helen Keller

It was about time that I posted an actual update around here! I could go on to tell you all the usual stuff, how life is getting busier, work and responsibilities and bla bla bla, but you came here to loo at some toy soldiers so here you go, another couple of warriors for my Alluminarchate warband!

These two belong to the elite Fifth Circle, meaning that they disclosed the true meaning of five of the eight mysteries of Sehemaza and are only a few steps away from total enlightenment (though from here it doesn't get any easier and nobody, not even the Alluminarch himself have ever grasped the meaning of the eighth and final Mystery). The knowledge they possess and the deadly weapons they wield make these two types really dangerous, specially if you happen to have sworn allegiance to the Dark Gods. In game (if I ever get to play one) they will probably use the rules of the Sisters of Avelorn which I reckon should be quite deadly in a small game of Skirmish, wreaking havoc form afar and helping my brave warriors with some ballistic support. Apart from the flaming bows from the SoA kit the rest of the conversion is identical to the one already experimented on my other warrior that you can see below finally completed with a proper fluffy base to match his leader the Alluminarch.

I am really happy with the final result on this mini, representing the third and hopefully final incarnation of this conversion that I was able to refine over the past months (actually it's almost one year since I came out with the concept of the Alluminarchate and I am still down to these three guys plus the leader... food for thoughts).

Again, for the ones among you who wants to know, the bits for this conversion come from a variety of both fantasy and 40k kits. Legs are from the HE Phoenix Guards with front armour and loincloth form the Sister of Silence 40k kit. The body is converted starting from the AdMech Skitarii Rangers with the top amor plate from the Ruststalkers Princeps. Shield and sun symbol are from the AoS Stormiest Knights Excelsiors (with resculpted parts to suit the war band's theme) and the head is a Bretonnian Men at Arms helmet with a SM Iron Armour MKIII faceplate from the Burning of Prospero box set. Arms are generally from the HE range with sculpted sleeves.

I would love to get to painting these quite soon but unfortunately I have other projects to work on and few hours that I can dedicate to it, so it might take some time before these guys see some Corax White.

As always, let me know your thoughts.


Friday 24 November 2017

The Court of the Cannibal Knight


Here is a sketch of a project I might embark in the close future. Check this space for more details!

Friday 27 October 2017

Crooked villains and greedy wenches

Hello again

To continue with my journey through Mordheim, here are some pictures of some of Van Hoogen's "Greedy Wenches" conversions.

Let me introduce you to Peetar Ruggbroeder and Rijk Van Rijker, champions and minority shareholders of the Company of the Golden Mermaid. These were converted based on FW Manaan's blade and sold along with our good captain.

Edvard Van Muntz , third son of deceased Herr Loedwijk Van Muntz, ex business partner of Captain Van Hoogen... Conversion loosely based on all time Barry Lindon favourite Lord Bullington.
I have not received satisfaction!

The band with two swordsmen (admittedly not very visible in the picture)... This really funny project drew great inspiration from a couple of movies villains, in particular the aforementioned Lord Bullington from Barry Lindon and the incredible Archibald Cunningham from Rob Roy... They were designed to push the stereotype of Marienburgers as "fops" even further that the official models, bringing in some aesthetic references to the XVII and XVIII centuries, like curly wigs, laces and a bit of extra pomposity. Can you imagine them painted with white-powdered faces and red cheeks that hide 5o'clock shades and rugged scars?  They would have been glorious!

Moving on to my second warband, this is the one I actually play (or will play as soon as I get to complete the scenarios for my table), meet the Reikwald's Wolves of Captain Metzger!

Captain Wilhelm "der Metzger" was inspired by another great movie villain... who can tell me which one? 

Sargent Krantz, the "Bear of Teufelbrück" is the muscles of the band, ready to break bones and smash spines.

Archibald "Peacock", the greatest swordsman of the Reikwald Forest, a self-obsessed narcissist and lethal warrior.

Dieter "Marineburg" the youngest of the wolves... Look at his terrified face!

Ilja, kislevite swordsman and drinking champion of the warband... Not even Sargent Krants is a match for this tough old boot.

And finally the Reikwald Spectres, whose leader, Diebold Serck, was Jaegermeister of the Prince of Reikland Sigismund himself, before disgracing the daughter of a courtier and being exiled from the capital.

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Blast form the past

Hi again!

While I am pleading mighty Chronos to grant me more time to finish some minis, I thought I could start sharing old projects that I never posted here on my blog. There will be more of these blast from the past articles in the future, so fasten your seat belts, here we go!
We start our serie with a warp travel back to the World-That-Was during the difficult times known as the Age of the Three Emperors to a certain eastern city of some renown...
Let me the introduce you to Jan Van Hoogen, captain of the Company of the Golden Mermaid.

Jan started his life as Johan Hagensson, the eighth son a courtesan in Wurtbad. Aged twelve he was sold to a mercenary company, and during the next 25 years he fought his way to the higher ranks, finally becoming a condottiere and gaining an ill reputation during the civil wars of the Age of the Three Emperors, selling his services to whomever was paying better and never swearing allegiance to a single pretender. After years of battles and treacherous conduct he finally retired to Marienburg where he used his blood stained wealth to buy himself a place among the raising merchant guilds of the city. He had a plan to grow old and wealthy in Marienburg but after some years he bit off more then he could chew and got involved in financing a risky expedition to Lustria which went really bad and cost him almost all his money.
Desperate to recover his fortunes he realises he just have one chance left: going back to his previous life as a soldier, squeezing back in his old armour and using all the little money he has left to hire a small mercenary company contacting some of his old "loyal" comrades, murderous rapist all of them. He had heard of Mordheim and the magic stones which seems to be turning mad everybody in the Empire and decides a last good plunder might turn the wheel of fortune back in his favour.

So instead of a grizzled and muscular veteran he is now an old, embittered and greedy fat man, who's desperate for money and doesn't give a horse sh**t about the lives of his men and certainly not about the ones of their opponents. He's definitely not a chubby fellow you'd like to share a drink with down at the tavern!

Jan, along with te rest of the Greedy Wenches, was a commission project I finished last year for a client... As some of you might know, I am always very reluctant to accept commissions, and part of the reason is that I really put all myself into every character I create and not being able to see it finished and painted is still painful for me.

Dear Jan, wherever you are now I hope you are in good hands and got the paint job you deserved!

See you next time with another dive into my past hobby works. Or maybe even something new!

Tuesday 24 October 2017

The Silent Guardian

I am really ploughing on with the hobby lately! I found my mojo back and started going through my backlog of unfinished projects.
This is one of the three "easy to build" Liberators that I bought from GW a while ago to test my marble technique and its effectiveness in batch painting. This guy and his two companions were left unfinished for some three months on my desk but this sunday I decided it was time to give them the attentions they deserved. The other two should follow shortly after.
I am really satisfied of the colour scheme, so much so that I am seriously tempted to start a small Stormcast battalion for an army on parade or something similar...

Monday 23 October 2017

Wrath of the Ancestors

Listen to the storm, young hunter
Do you hear the howl of the Wanderer King?
Can you hear his war cry shaking the very plains?
He is back to honour the Promise
And to tell us, his children 
that we are not forgotten

Haya! Another warrior of the tribes finished! We can consider this a new generation of Sons of Or, as I changed the bits for the conversion. When I started the Sons of Or the only half naked humans I could find were the Khorne Bloodreavers... But now, thanks to the Great Serpent (tzeentch) the new Kairic Acolytes kit proved just perfect for this project and really renewed my energy! Less cutting and filing, bare feet, no pants, they even have feathers and bird skulls... It's like the gw designers listen to my pleas and released the perfect ghurian kit!
Sorry for the bad pics... They always seem fine on my phone and then I upload them here and look all fuzzy. Oh well, you get the idea I hope.
In other news I am slowly going through my pile of unpainted models and just finished something nice this morning... pictures soon!

Thursday 19 October 2017

Alluminarchate MKIII

I am back!

The few among you who are patient enough to follow my blog will know by now that I am not very regular with my posts... in fact I believe that it's more than three months since I posted anything on here! You are not interested in my excuses anyway, you come here for the models, so I thought I'd throw in a couple of Wip pics of what I am working on at the moment... The Alluminarchate warrior markIII (it's the third reinvention and hopefully the final one of the concept).

I am really sorry about the bad resolution of these, I am currently panting the model and will post the final result soon... Wips of the painting

Still some finishing touches to apply and possibly some more details... The base will make the few colours pop out I hope (it worked with the previous colour scheme)... You will notice that I switched the colour on the armour from cream to metal. It works better this way I believe as it gives a slightly less futuristic look to it. I can promise that the metal looks better IRL and hopefully final pictures will show it!

As always, let me know.

Saturday 25 March 2017

The Alluminarch

The Alluminarch, Abbot and High Lord of Anaryn, spiritual and militar leader of the Alluminarchate is finally completed!

This model took me some time, between converting and painting I have bee working on him for almost a month, but in the end I am really pleased with the result, a suitably imposing model and a fitting leader for my warband.
The conversion was aimed at creating a mini that blurred as much as possible the line between the archetypal cleric, warlock and warrior... As I imagined him he should embody the spiritual, martial and eldritch aspect of the Alluminarchate and to achieve this on a single model was quite a challenge.
As for the rest of my warband I painted him in a very simple, almost bichrome palette of cream and light blue whites, using gold trims and blue gems to bring it to life.

The base was again quite challenging... I envisioned Anaryn as a strange land filled with the magical wind of light and based it on the illustration of the Shamutanti Hills by John Blanche, one I was particularly fond of since my childhood. I really liked the overgrown mushrooms and mossy rocky outcrops, really in line with my vision of Anaryn, so I set up to create a base that screamed "warhammer" as much as possible with a touch of old school and a hint to the High Fantasy settings of Moorcock's Elric. It took me several hours to complete it as I had to sculpt mushroom caps, roots and rocks, but I feel happy about the outcome.

What do you guys think?

[I just edited this post to show some WIP pictures of the Alluminarch as some of you have asked for them. The pics are not great unfortunately but they should give an understanding of the process... I started with a sketch, as usual, then moved on to collecting the bits I identified. In this case I used the legs of a Genestealer Magus, torso and arms from the Eldar Farseer, the staff from the  HE Archmage on dragon. The head was the most challenging, combining the tall hat of an Empire Battle Mage, the head of a Bretonnian Man-at-arm and the iron mask of a MKIII marine from Burning of Prospero (plus the usual trims in GS). The stoles hanging from his chest piece (sculpted in GS to resemble the one of the Skitarii Princeps I used for the rest of my warriors) were done in plasticard bent to shape using the heat of a candle to which I glued two sun symbols  taken from 30k Ahriman  (I actually had to buy 2 of the models to get these bits... Don't judge me, it was worthy!).
All in all it was a quite complex conversion, but I really enjoyed the process of creating a new aesthetic but keeping it in line with GW spirit and bits.
To make something like this is very important to plan ahead of starting with your tools, I find that sketching really helps me putting together ideas while I surf the web for interesting bits.
I hope this was useful!]


Sunday 12 March 2017

Warrior of the Fourth Mystery

The first warrior of the Alluminarchate is finally finished!
Many things happened in the last months, and I am happy to say that I took part in the fantastic AoS28 project launched by Jake at ExProfundis and hosted on The Grand Alliance forum and FB. It's a great endeavour, aiming to represent all the potential of the AoS setting through careful narrative and conversions of small war bands inspired by the well known Inq28 community.
My Alluminarchate will be only one of many wonderful gangs of weird and never seen before inhabitants of the Mortal Realms, many of which have already been completed and visible on the forums and websites affiliated.
I am, as usual, quite slow at making good progresses, but I finally finished the first warrior of my small band and can say I am fairly happy with the result. It is not the most striking colour scheme I ever used but I gave myself a goal with these minis... I wanted them to look exactly as I envisioned them: pure white and gold, almost blazing with light. No blues, no rich reds or purples, only these two colours... It has been a real challenge to achieve a non-monotonous miniature with only two colours, and I had to carefully plan my palette ahead of starting. To create a bit of variety I used two tones of white: creamy and blueish, which I used for different parts of the model: cream on armour and weapons, blueish white on the flowing vests and cloak. The gold parts were simple enough but then I knew I wanted to add a chequered motif on some parts of the miniatures. This was done for two main reasons: 1) It's an obvious reference to the early warhammer iconography, and one I personally always liked. 2) It is also a great allegory of the eternal struggle between Law and Chaos, which was central to the old setting in its first incarnations and I much preferred to the present "good vs bad" feel. Also, This was the heraldry of an order of Alluminas' paladins in a RPG campaign of a good friend and it felt appropriate enough to be recycled for my Alluminarchate.
For the base I wanted to represent the prosperous and magical lands of Anaryn as I imagined them, inspired by this John Blanche very old artwork:

Not Mr.Blanche best work probably but I really liked the old school magical vibe of the landscape, very fitting for Aos and the Realm of Hysh!

I will now endeavour to complete my war band in a reasonable time and will post here and on TGA soon.

Thanks for looking


Sunday 29 January 2017

The Alluminarchate of Hysh

Tonight, when darkness will embrace the land and the light of courage will fickle in our heart, we shall walk again the Path of the Enlightened and reflect upon the Fifth Mystery of Sehemaza:
"He who witnesses my radiant splendor shall see his deeds restored and preserved, stronger than stone, purer than light, as to embrace my Law means to resist the ways of the Changer" 
Glory to the Luminarch, Alluminas be praised

New year, new project! As some of you might have noticed I took a couple of months break from the hobby, while I was struggling to get enough motivation to finish any of my (many) ongoing projects... Of course when inspiration stroke me again it urged me to start a new one, as if I did not have enough down the pipeline. Anyway, I should blame for it the great Bruticus at Ex Profundis (go check his blog, amazing stuff over there) as his recent chaos warband of worshippers of Malal sparkled in me way more than just nostalgia for the old world pantheon and gave me a idea for an AoS bunch of worshippers of the Law God Alluminas the Protector.
Not much is remembered of this deity in the Age of Sigmar (and indeed not much was even known in the World that Was) apart form the fact that Alluminas is one of the three Chaos Gods of Law (delightful paradox of the Moorcock's legacy of the early warhammer), an entity of astral complexity whose sole purpose is to undo the deeds of Chaos by fighting change in every form.
Some of you might remember the Law Gods from the first edition of WFRP, where they were briefly mentioned as beings rarely worshipped as the associated creeds are generally beyond human comprehension or desires. But the Age of Sigmar is a completely different time, and we can imagine that after centuries of chaos rampages some of the inhabitants of the Mortal Realms might desire a bit more... stability! Well Alluminas would definitely bring them some if only he cared or even existed!

Let's jump to this project then, which revolves around the idea of a small kingdom in the Realm of Hysh (Light) protected by an order of warrior-monks called the Luminarchate whose hq is an abbey/library which survived miraculously the Age of Chaos. Much like our own benedictine monks during the Dark Ages, I imagined the Luminarchate to have origined from an order of monks who spent centuries collecting and protecting all the knowledge they could find, copying it in manuscripts and enchanted tomes which they kept locked in a giant Fortress-Library. It was thorough their endless quest that they found out about the Law Gods and started to worship Alluminas for protection, trusting the Unmoving God with the preservation of their holy work.
When Sigmar's Storm broke and the Age of Chaos came to an end the ancient Realmgate deep in the heart of the Abbey cracked open and a small company of marble clad giants emerged from the swirling void beyond. Similar in appearance to the image of their god the Luminarchate named them Astrafteros, the Gleaming Ones and started worshipping them as emanations of their god. These divine warriors spoke to the people of the Luminarchate telling them that the time had come to leave the boundaries of their hiding place and finally spread the True Word of the Law to the rest of the land and to liberate them from the curse of change. Armed with all the knowledge of times long gone the Luminarchate warriors are powerful indeed and their zeal is unshakeable like the will of their god.
Strangely they do not seem to see any difference between their patron and the astral god worshipped by the Astrafteros, who in turn never spoke against their creed or their rites. Are Sigmar and Alluminas one and the same or are the new comers exploiting the religious fervor of the Lminarchate to fulfill their own goals?

I will leave you to ponder this, in the meantime here goes the first WIP of one of the elite warriors of the Luminarchate... eternal glory to whom will manage to tell me where all the bits come from (there are a LOT of different kits there). I will start painting this bad boy (good boy?) very soon, and will post more angles and better pics later this week.