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!