Saturday 7 December 2019

Sisters of Sigmar!

Greeting faithfuls!

I have been working on my new warband for Mordheim, the mighty and oft forgotten Sisters of Sigmar! Quite possibly inspired by the new Adepta Sororitas miniatures (which will find their way to my warband as soon as the multipart plastic kits are out in January hopefully) I decided to finally start this long due passion project.

Apologies for the not so great pictures, as always.

This first model is one of my two Novices, I wanted to start from the lowest ranks of my warband to work my way up to the heroes and of course I needed to test a good colour scheme. 
The conversions are based on the new Cypher Lords for Warcry, an incredible range full of potential!
I immediately fell in love with the poses and especially with the sandals, which I always thought appropriate for the warrior sisters of Mordheim.
The sculpted details are kept simple and plain, I wanted a spiked hood and a chastity belt worn over the robes. I am still considering if the rest of the sisters should have heavier robes but for the Novices I am ok to go for a less formal look as they did not deserve to wear the garments of their order yet.

I opted for a simple palette of light browns and blacks, which reminds of a medieval religious order.

In this picture you can see my next Novice, now ready to be painted and to join her sister.
My intention with these was to stay as faithful as possible at the original art from 1999 Mordheim rulebook and supplements, updating those great concepts to the 2020 miniature standards.

The base is round as I prefer them to square (though my friends are currently protesting against this decision) and I stayed faithful to my tested green stuff cobblestone approach to which I added just a touch of colour and interest with small pieces of paper cut and painted to resemble pages of a prayers book.

Hopefully after the next Novice I will move on to a hero and perhaps a bit of scenery, maybe a chapel or a reliquary? We'll see.

Thursday 3 October 2019

The Bronze God

Good Morning!

After yet another long break from posting (or indeed painting) anything, I am finally back to the hobby and can present you my latest work: the finished Wanderer King!

If you followed my blog since the beginning you might know that this is one of the longest projects I have been working on and what you see here is just the final incarnation of an idea I had back in 2015 for an outcast Stormlord exiled in the savage lands of Ghur, trying to prepare the tribes of the plains for the return of the God-King.
The first iteration of the model was mounted on a huge beast, the conversion took me months but sadly, due to my capricious nature, was never painted and it lies broken and incomplete in my cabinet.

Back in May this year I decided to return to the concept of the Wanderer King and try again, this time with a version on foot to ease myself back into it. I loved the conversion so much, but for a variety of reasons never managed to find the time to paint it... Until now!


So, a little bit about the painting process.
The most difficult decision to take was which colour to chose for the armour... None of the rest of my Ghurians have any piece of metal anywhere on the models... This was a very deliberate decision to represent the fact that their technology level is neolithic and they forgot the secret of metalworking during the long Age of Chaos. The Wanderer King had to stand up among the tribesman thanks to his ancient and battered armour...But what material should it have been?
After long reflections I decided for bronze. Not only it blends in quite well with the rest of the colour scheme I had in mind, but more importantly bronze was historically the first metal alloy to be used by humans for fabricating tools/weapons. It represent the next age of technological advancement after the Neolithic and in this case this evolutionary step forward is embodied in the figure of the Bronze God: the Wanderer King.
The rest of the scheme was pretty much a no-brainer as I wanted to stay as close as possible to the rest of my ghurians: brown, earthy tones with a touch of bright red to break from the monotony of a muted palette.
Since the model was full of wide plain surfaces and I wouldn't have been able to use intricate decorations or bright colours to make them interesting,  I decided to spend some extra effort on the material textures, especially different types of leather as you can see on his cloak and the belt. The white of the beast skull on his head helps drawing the eye to the main area of the model. All in all I am happy with the composition and I feel it works well close to the rest of the warband.
I am especially happy about the cloak, which took long hours of painstaking brushwork to complete, but was worth it in the end.

The completion of this model marks the end of a long journey for this concept. At some point in the future I might go back and revisit the mounted version but for the time being I think I am going to ficus on making my Ghurians a playable warband for Warcry... Suer excited about fielding them and the rules for mercenaries should allow me to use the King as an allied Knight Questor!

Exciting times ahead.

Monday 24 June 2019

The Red Griffon

Hi all!

Today I will show you what I have been working on during the weekend. As you may or may not remember my friends and I decided to return to the streets of Mordheim to celebrate the 20 years anniversary of its release (this is completely unrelated to the wonderful Mordheim 2019 event that Echoes of the Imperium is organising, although their work is a huge source of inspiration).

My Reikland warband is complete and ready to play but that doesn't men that I am not already planning how to expand it during the campaign. I have great plans for them and many interesting additions I'd like to make while my Wolves of Siegfried progress during the game.

The first member I was intending to add was a Freelance Knight. I have always loved the original Brian Nelson sculpt and I believe that this character fits very well with the theme of Reikland.

To reinforce this I decided to convert my knight to represent one of the proud knights from the Knightly Orders of the Empire. I initially chose Reiksguard but after a bit of research I discovered that this order had not been created yet at the time of Mordheim, so I changed my plans slightly.

The Red Griffon is a dishonoured knight formerly from the Knights of Sigmar's Blood and hails from the town of Carroburg, of which he is the formal ruler although he renounced this burden to pursuit his quest within the walls of Mordheim. Here is the background I wrote for him.

Graf Robert Von Uhland, Von Carroburg, the Red Griffon

Who is the Red Griffon of Mordheim? Some say he is a paragon of knightly virtue, worthy of the blood of the Unberogens that runs thick in his veins. Others swear he is only a miserable oathbreaker and a traitor of his class.
Whatever the truth all concur one one thing: a terrible curse hangs heavily upon him.

Hrobert Von Uhland was born in Carroburg, the second son of Burgraf Leitmar Von Uhland and Baroness Olla Von Siebold-Stoltzer. Destined to a military career the boy was sent to Altdorf court where he had the honour of studying under Count Dietrich Van Dorff, weapon master of Prince Siegfried. Quickly realising his potential his teacher entrusted the young to the order of the Knights of Sigmar's Blood where Hrobert was accepted at the age of eighteen.
HIs career within the order was rapid and successful. At the Battle of Helmgart he distinguished himself as a squire of the Claw Guard subsequently earning his spurs at the tournament of Ubersreik, where he unhorsed seven senior knights including the Count of Nordland and finally ascended to the rank of Preceptor, one of the youngest knights to receive this honour.
HIs raising star seemed unstoppable and many of his fellow knights would look at him as a candidate to the title of Grand Master one day. But that all changed a few years later when Hrobert was implicated in the scandal of the Wedding Procession of Countess Von Alptraum.
Betrothed to the Elector Count Martin of Stirland the Countess was preparing her long voyage from Averheim to Wurtbad and to grant her protection along the road the Knights of Sigmar's Blood sent a detachment under the command of Graf Von Uhland.
When the caravan was attached by beatmen while crossing the Stir Hrobert was forced to face a difficult decision. His knights were taken by surprise by the assailants and the muddy ground of the river bank slowed their horses and prevented them to rally and disperse the enemy. Realising the danger Hrobert acted quickly, snatching the Countess from her coach and fleeing inside the Stirwald.
More than one month passed before the two managed to finally reach the gates of Wurtbad, bloody and exhausted but safe. Hrobert was saluted as a hero by the Count for saving his future bride but his gratitude turned into fury when, just a few days after their arrival, Countess Von Alptraum burst into teas and asked the count to cancel the wedding as her heart already belonged to the knight who so bravely saved her from certain death. Hrobert was still recovering from his woulds when the Count's guards arrested him and took him to court where he was immediately put on trial under accuse of seducing the young noblewoman.
Forced to defend himself and under threat of excommunication from his order Hrobert swore his innocence on everything he hold dear. He swore on his honour and when this failed in appeasing his judges he swore upon the lives of his family that he was true and he never touched the bride-to-be.
Eventually the Count's justicar was forced to release the young knight as no irrefutable evidence of his guilt was found but it was too late to stop the murmurs.
Von Uhland's reputation received the final blow only one year after, when news of a tremendous calamity that befell the city of Mordheim, in Ostermark, reached the halls of the knights' fortress.
A second letter came from Carroburg just a few days after announcing that Hrobert's father, the Burgraf, his firstborn son and his wife were all visiting the court of Count Von Steinhard when the city was smothered by Sigmar's wrath.
Those who were present at his trial in Wurtbad were quick to remember Hrobert's words and the oath he sworn upon the life of his family. Now they all lay dead and to many that was proof enough that the knight had lied and tarnished his reputation beyond repair. He was immediately expelled from the order and sent back to Carroburg in disgrace. Incapable of accepting the shame Hrobert refused to take his rightful place in his family's palace and sold all his lands and titles, giving the money to his ancient order and keeping only his armour and his steed.
Then he rode towards Mordheim, some say to try to find his parents alive and cleanse his reputation, while others suggest that he is merely seeking death to put an end to the curse he bestowed upon himself.
Nobody knows the truth anyway and many warriors found their doom during a duel with the Red Griffon for asking him about the Countess.

The conversion involved different bits from old Empire kits, mainly Demigryph Knights and Greatswords. Strangely GW never truly realised a plastic Empire knight on foot so I had to fiddle quite a bit to get the result I wanted.
The head is probably one of my favourites of all times and it comes from the Stormcast Sequitor kit. it is just perfect for a noble reiklander!
Of course I still have to convert the version on horse but this can wait, I have to go back to buildings now!

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Return to the City of the Damned

Hi all!

I came back to Turin, my hometown in Italy, in may to visit family and friend. While I was there someone proposed to get back to Mordheim, our favourite GW game, which we played a lot when we were teenagers. What started almost as a joke quickly escalated into wild enthusiasm at the idea and it was proposed that we played a campaign next time we will see each other this summer on a newly constructed board with our old war bands (and some new ones).

We are six players, currently playing Reikland (myself), possessed (Luca), Undeads (Marco) and Skaven (Matteo) with two potential extras who might join us in July if they manage to finish their war bands.

As the architect of the group the task of building the scenery fell onto me. A few years ago I started building a Mordheim board in my cellar in Turin and to my great surprise and relief everything was still there, neatly stored in boxes and safe from dust and dampness. The buildings were only sufficient to cover half of the board though, so as soon as I came back to London I decided to put on hold every other hobby project until I can finish the other half of the terrains. It will be a challenge to transport it back to italy and some maintenance will be necessary I am sure, but I vowed that by mid july we would have an amazing mordheim board to play on and, by Sigmar, I will deliver on my promise!

This is the first building I constructed last week in my office in London. It took me some time to get back to scenery building and painting after so long but eventually I was pretty ok with the result. This is a pretty big scenery representing some kind of clocktower, mostly built to give my reiklander shooters a high platform to shoot down all those cultists and zombies.

As they say, the devil is in the details, and the devil is always welcome in the streets of Mordheim! I put a lot of effort into adding graffitis and pamphlets, shields and barely to enhance the atmosphere of the piece.

The top of the tower I left unglued to make the shipping to Italy hopefully a bit easier... the model could do with a few more additional touches of realism, like a mechanism for the zodiacal clock but for speed at the moment I will leave it like this... We need more buildings and I cannot overdo with the details or else I will not be able to finish the board in time!

This is what I will focus on in the next couple of months. I will try to post pictures of the progress and the finished result in July!

Saturday 25 May 2019

The Jaghar

As usual I periods of intense activity and long breaks, so it might not surprise you too much if I come up with another update, the third in just a week (must be a personal record)...
I found myself with a spare few hours before taking my flight back home so I decided to give my King a suitable companion: a dangerous Jaghar, the beasts known as the Princes of the Plains.

I know, I know, a Sabertooth is a bit of a cliché for Ghur, but since I first laid eye upon the Griph-hounds kit I have wanted to make something similar with them.
The name Jaghar is not as obvious as it could might at first sight. I imagine the Five Tribes to speak a very degenerated form of Reikspiel, the mythical language of the World-that-Was, which is basically medieval german... In my few years of german studies I picked up a few words that were very useful in my long career as a DM for WFRP and I thought it would be cool if all the names of places and animals of the plains were basically very primitive german words.
The word for Hunter in german is, as most of you probably know, Jäger, which I just twisted into Jaghar, the hunters of Ghur.
The conversion itself was pretty simple. I used the Griph-hound of the Lord Castellant as a base, just got rid of all the harnesses and proceed to resculpt the neck and muzzle. It took only a few hours but I 
am happy that my Wandere King is now accompanied by a suitable Prince!

And with that I shall park my sculpting tools for a while, now it's time to paint the King and his (un)friendly companion!

Friday 24 May 2019

The Wanderer King - finished conversion

Very quick post just to show you guys the final result on the Wanderer King.

As you can see all I did was changing the shoulder pad to the one with the snarling lion. I was undecided until the last minute as some people raised a very good point about the eagle being an appropriate choice for a native american themed warrior, but in the end I simply prefer the silhouette of the model this way and I think it does not detract from the overall atmosphere of the model.
I also added some trophies to the spear shaft to reinforce the shamanic aura and finally tidied up the last few areas I was not too happy about.
I can say that I am very close to be 100% happy with how this turned up, which I can almost never say about any of my conversions!
I am truly excited to start painting this guy, hopefully in the next few weeks.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

The Wanderer King 2.0

Hi all!

Just wanted to share my last conversion: the Wanderer King is reborn!

This was an extensive conversion, representing my outcast Stormcast Lord worshipped as a demigod by the inhabitants of the Appalathian Plains.

Orar is his name, the Son of Or, and in the legends of the Five Tribes he used to be a favourite among the children of the God-King until he disobeyed his commands and returned to his ancient lands to rescue his long forgotten people from the coils of the Four-Headed Snake.
Now he is a wanderer, forced to roam the plains of Ghur like a prophet, teaching ancient secrets of fire and steel to those who are brave and faithful. He is the Keeper of the Promise, returned to this world challenging the divine decree to spread words of hope and redemption, to tell his people that the time of Fulfilment is close at hand and Or will soon return to cleanse the lands with the untamed power of the celestial storms.

I am particularly proud of this conversion, which took quite a long tome to complete and presented some interesting challenges, like sculpting the cloak and adding lots of intricate details while still make it easy to paint. 
The idea was to transform the Stormcast aesthetic into something more primal and savage but still clearly recognisable. This particular warrior of Sigmar has spent decades wandering in Ghur, incapable of returning to Azyr and was thus forced to make do with the resources of this savage lands. His armour plates are interwoven with animal hides and leather, claws and fangs of dangerous beasts adorn his figure. I wanted to give the impression of a shamanic warrior, pulling together aspects of the civilised azyrite culture with the raw and crude garments of the rest of my Sons of Or.
Big inspiration for the model came of course from the mythological figure of Odin, who often roamed the lands of Midgard dressed as a humble wanderer, his true powers only visible to those with faith and keen eyes.

The model is not yet 100% finished. The shoulder pad with the eagle is just temporary, I am waiting for the more iconic snarling lion one to come in the post. I am also likely going to do a bit more work on his weapon, perhaps hanging some more trophies and bones to the shaft as befits a shaman of his calibre.

The pictures are admittedly not the best but I will take more before starting with the painting.

Monday 6 May 2019

Wild men and Untamed Beasts

I had great plans for this bank holiday weekend.

The time had come to ride my bike again, bask in sunshine and hang out with friends. Of course none of this happened since I caught an awful cold and I spent most of the time sneezing in bed alongside a pile of used tissues.

It's not all that bad though as I at least had time to go back to some sculpting and painting.
Yesterday I saw the preview of the new chaos warband for Warcry: the Untamed Beasts and the idea of chaotic savages of the wilderness of Ghur awoke the inspiration to keep going with my Sons of Or.

The new Untamed Beasts fro Warcry are chaotic tribes of the Ghurian Wilderness. Image courtesy of Games Workshop Ltd.

So long story short, here you have another warrior of the Appalachian Tribes

It is again a pretty simple conversion from the golden kit of the Kairic Acolytes with a collection of bits from savage looking bits from a variety of kits (bonesplitters, beastmen Ungor and chaos blood reavers) with some green stuff to enhance the savage and wild aesthetic of the tribes.

Though I am a very slow painter the Sons of Or are a project I am very fond of, dating back to the very first days of AoS, and I still try to find the time to keep working on them and make them a playable warband. Sooner or later I will find the courage to go back to my Wanderer King and do him justice.

Here is the warband as it stands now:

Saturday 20 April 2019

A few hours later

I managed to find some time to paint! Here is the result (still WIP)

As you can see I decided to keep it really simple, which was the plan from the beginning. These are not  garish nomads or bizarre warlocks but no-nonsense fighters of the highlands. Their colour scheme should convey practicality and robustness, so I went for a very simple palette of cream, browns and dirty blue. For the metal I went for a very slight oxide tinge, obtained with multiple washes of Rhinox Hide and Mourning Brown.

It was very nice, easy and refreshing to paint a model in such a way, using many techniques developed in the past, especially on my old Bretonnian army.
The only part that doesn't photograph too well is the shield, where I used a very light drybrush that the light of my desk lamp make look a bit messy. I think in real life it looks better (and slightly yellower) than in the pictures.
Only heraldry and base to go now!