perjantai 18. elokuuta 2017

Thematic Terrain

Time for a quick look at my recently expanded collection of terrain!

The last terrain-related posts I made were some homemade ruins and barricades, right? Well of course not, there was this huge watchtower and all not too long ago! How could you not remember that?
Anyway, this time I haven't built any of these myself, I merely painted them and sat down in awe to marvel at their beauty. Some of them have also made appearances in battle reports and tutorials without any special mentions.

This post is all about those special mentions.

We kick off with a groupshot. This whole bunch is from Momminiaturas, cast resin terrain that I basecoated black before applying a couple of very simple drybrushes and washes to achieve this look.

There's a dwarf stone golem which I play as a Gronti-Duraz (more on that later), two dwarven pillars that I left in two separate pieces on purpose (to simulate ruins/damage), two elven waystone-esque pillars that make great arcane terrain pieces for a game of AoS, two phoenix braziers that I gave blue flames just for that magical tingly feeling and finally the elven altar that made an appearance in the 3rd Beardling tutorial along with the other elven terrain. In addition I have some barrels, strongboxes and urns to be scattered around the battlefield in house ruins, settlements, walls etc.

All in all a nice collection of thematic terrain to add a little flavour to battles when used alongside more commonly seen hills, forests, rocks and rivers.

This golem is just humongous. Made entirely out of solid rock and inscribed with runes of power, this durable giant is going to wreak havoc on the field with its enormous hammer. I basecoated it black, rummaged through my paint storage for fifty shades of grey, grabbed my drybrush and just went to town. The final touch was picking out the runes with Lothern Blue to make them really pop up. Done!

There were no rules to be found for Gronti-Duraz (obviously), so me and one of my regular opponents devised a warscroll for it to be used in our narrative battles. I'll put the warscroll here, available for everyone, but keep in mind that it is purely made up and should not be used against your opponent without his/her total consent. And no, Matched Players, this model does not have a points value.

Pretty tough guy, this one. The aim was not to make him extremely powerful or to perfectly fulfill any particular role in an army, the abilities and stats are meant to make this angry duardin statue feel like and angry duardin statue when played on the battlefield. The buff to saves is mostly useless to shield-bearing Dispossessed units once they get into combat, and the unbinding is done much more cost-effectively by Runelords. However, Gronti-Duraz can take a punch (or twelve) and keep dishing out damage that rends apart whole formations of enemy warriors or severely slows down and bruises an enemy monster that was on its way to do the same to the duardin battleline.

In narrative megabattles this rockbeard is going to be an awe-inspiring sight as it wades into the fray, towering over a sea of warriors!

Finally, there are two MDF Realmgates. They arrived flat in an envelope, I pushed the pieces out, glued them together and applied some colours of my own to personalize them a bit. Quick and easy!
The fiery gate on the right made an appearance in one of the recent battles, scorching a bunch of unfortunate Grots before allowing them to travel through its gaping maw to reappear on the enemy flank. I'd say they are suitably sized for Age of Sigmar scale, acting as some lesser realmgates if nothing else. I'll be sure to involve these peculiar and dangerous ways of transportation in my games more often, they add a whole new layer of optional approaches and tactics to the battle at hand.

That's the end of the terrain gallery for now. Next up, a narrative battle report!

torstai 10. elokuuta 2017

Garrison of the Ironhold

I promised you more duardin content, and here it is!

To celebrate my army's new home, I took a bunch of the newest models I had recently acquired for my Dispossessed along with some older models with poor paintjobs to bring them up to shape. During a handful of evenings a total of 40 Warriors, 24 Slayers, 20 Quarrellers, three artillery pieces, their crews and a Warden King passed through my worktable.

Here they are in all their speed-painted glory!

To kick things off I started with 24 poorly painted Slayers that I've had for ages. I redid their skin and weapons, then brightened up their glorious mohawks and Braveheart-warpaints. Their bases received the very same treatment I use to unify my whole duardin army, I only need to add some tufts of grass to break the rather monotonous appearance of bare mud.

These old metal models are truly works of art. They all look astonishing and some of their faces are actually quite emotional. There is something in their design that the newer Citadel models lack despite being superior in quality otherwise.

Oops, sorry for the shadow here!
These 20 Warriors are Dwarf with Axe -models from em4miniatures, very cheap plastic one-posers that I use as beardlings in my narrative matches (they're about the same height as Battle for Skull Pass GW models but quite a bit thinner). The champion's hammer is from Stormcast Eternal Retributors and the banner came from a Freeguild Greatswords box.

Strapped to their backs are small round shields that also came from em4miniatures, perfect props for hiding that rather obvious injection spot that these fellas have in between their shoulder blades. And shields are always a good choice for unit of Dispossessed Warriors, not to mention that they're a perfect canvas for showing off some clan colours!

Dwarves with Crossbows from the same manufacturer. They make for a cost-effective unit of Quarrellers (which you want to have loads of anyway) and they look the part, they all have quivers of quarrels at their hips and hand axes hanging from their belts behind their backs. With the final addition of the shields I mentioned earlier, these long-bearded thinlings have everything one needs to become a Quarreller in the garrison of Ironhold.

I wasn't a fan of their weapons themselves, though. What kind of crossbow has tiny knobs like that for a bowstave? To fix this, I delved into my bits box and found 20 Repeater Crossbows which I cut apart to build proper prods for their tools of death. Now they are ready to patrol the walls from dusk 'till dawn!

Next up, some firepower. 10 more Thunderers to bring my total up to 34, with a fourth colour to add to my three-coloured duardin army. There's something magical about the combination of purple, silver and gold, don't you think?

I also took three old artillery pieces and repainted them to be worthy of the fortress they protect. A Cannon and two Flame Cannons (the second one is a conversion, obviously) from my entire arsenal of 3 Cannons, 3 Flame Cannons, 1 Grudge Thrower, 1 Organ Gun and a Bolt Thrower.

GW vs Black Hat size comparison. From left to right:
GW BfSP Warrior, Black Hat Dwarf Axeman, GW metal Ironbreaker, GW old plastic Warrior
20 Warriors from Black Hat Miniatures, by the name of Dwarf Town Guard Axemen Regiment. An affordable batch of twenty adorable models, clad in chainmail, swinging axes and brandishing large round shields. They have a bit of an old-Citadel-dwarf -feeling to them, which is pretty much the reason I bought them in the first place. They all have swords strapped to their belts and the champion holds his own aloft. Swords.

I (being a zealous Warhammer lore fan) dislike duardin using swords. Their physical dimension are why they don't use bows or ride on horseback and the same reason applies to using swords, in my mind. Their sword arms are too short. They aren't as swift and deft as aelves (those treacherous, thagging elgi...). They're sturdy and strong, attributes leaning towards the use of hacking and smashing weapons like axes, hammers, maces, mattocks... But at least the swords on these models look like their wielders, short and broad, which makes them easier to use in tight spaces (underground tunnels, dense formations...) and to think of as merely another form of hacking weapons.

Well, it's purely a matter of opinion. Unless you're a longbeard.

Then there's this fellow. You recognize him? You should.
He's none other than Grombrindal the White Dwarf himself, in his White Dwarf Subscription Model 2009 -form!

A truly detailed (and beardy!) model to paint, and a joy to behold. His pose is not threatening or aggressive or anything the newer models most often are. He's calm and tranquil, almost casual. To be fair, if you're an immortal demi-god warrior protector of your race then yeah you have a good reason to act like you don't give a damn. 'Cause you just don't need to.

I already have a Grombrindal model for Age of Sigmar and to differentiate these two models I gave this one a somewhat less grandiose beard. In colour, I mean, not in proportions. This whole model was done in a bit of a hurry along with all the models above, which left his beard look a little messy. I might have to revisit his facial hair with a brush later on to fix it, but for now he makes for an excellent Warden King model to represent Snorri the Ancient, the respected castellant of Kazad-Zul who commands the garrison while Commander Ungrim Ironhelm leads his legions on the field.

That's that for now, I'll keep painting here on the side while progressing my other endeavors such as the 4th part of the Beardling tutorial, a new narrative battle report and some terrain pieces. Until then!

tiistai 1. elokuuta 2017

Behold the Ironhold

According to my latest account I own well over 300 Dispossessed Duardin models. Such a mighty throng of dawi needs a place to sleep, feast and live in, doesn't it? It needs a home.

Well, after a bit of research I found a very promising estate for just such use from a company called Ziterdes. The price was decent but the property was in dire need of renovation and caring inhabitants. It arrived in the mail two weeks ago, I painted it up in two days and my mountain folk moved in immediately. The housewarming party can begin!

Behold the impregnable Kazad-Zul, the home of my duardin, also known as the Ironhold to some uncivilized races that do not speak khazalid. This mighty fortress guards the passage to the vast underground deeps, housing an entire bustling city hidden away from sight. Networks of halls and tunnels crisscross between different districts where thousands upon thousands of dawi live their day-to-day lives, safe in the knowledge that none who would do them harm can ever break past the formidable defenses of this mountain hold.

Please, step inside and we'll take a closer look at this humble dwelling!

This bird's eye view shows the layout of the Ironhold pretty comprehensively. The fortress is surrounded by steep mountainsides and high walls, leaving visitors only a single route inside: the slightly winding causeway. Any would-be invaders will find it tiresome to march all the way to the road and then up, all the while under a constant fusillade of shots, bolts and boulders that the defenders rain upon them as they approach.

Of course, some inventive warlord might construct ladders and siege towers to assail the walls directly. Better bring loads and loads of both then, as many of them will wither away under Ironhold's vigorous cannon-fire. Any lucky climbers that reach the battlements will be given a congratulatory high-five. In the face. With an axe.

Survivors will be struck again.

Out in the back there's a bastion big enough to house a Grudge Thrower or an Organ Gun, accompanied by some Quarrelers to keep the backyard clean of any unwanted quests.

The causeway is wide enough for 4-5 men to walk abreast, winding slightly towards the gate from the side of the mountain. Both towers next to the gate have a good field of view on the road, allowing a Flame Cannon or two to loom over the entrance and immolate intruders. The slopes uphill from the road also allow for a unit of sentries to be deployed in case of an attack, like a small unit of Irondrakes or Thunderers to provide additional missile-fire coverage around the fortress.

The gate itself is rune-carved and sturdy, wide enough for two man-sized creatures to enter simultaneously (on 20mm square bases, that is...), should they be allowed inside in the first place. With the courtyard full of elite duardin warriors in the event of a siege, the gatecrashers will find themselves in a textbook example of a bottleneck: 1-2 of their warriors squashing through the gate to stumble into 4 Ironbreakers or Hammerers waiting to welcome them with their hammers.

Even worse for the attacker if the weather forecast promised bullet showers with a risk of arrowstorms for the day of invasion.

The courtyard has loads of space for the stunted folk. Any arriving wagons can be turned around easily and their goods can be unloaded to be delivered into the stronghold, while visitors may marvel at the intricate metalworks and masonry until (and if) they're allowed to enter the deeps.

The battlements are sufficiently wide for war machines to be deployed all along the length of the wall, with ranks of Quarrellers and Cogsmiths to back them up in battering the foe before it reaches the gates.

At the foot of the towering walls heaps of bleached bones can be seen, the skeletal remains of those who have tried to take Kazad-Zul in the past. Such is the cruel fate that awaits those who would dare similar attempts in the future.

That's what the home of my dawi looks like! I've been working through several units of Warriors, Thunderers, Quarrelers and artillery lately to bring them to shape, brightening up old paintjobs, fixing mistakes, unifying colours and adding whole new units to the force. In other words, I've been dusting off my Dispossessed to make them look worthy of their new hold and to defend it if situation so demands.

Be prepared for more Duardin content in the near future, the garrison of Ironhold marches out on a parade!