Friday, July 27, 2007

Noblesse oblige, pt. I

As promised, here are the special units included in the army. At this point I have to mention I don't have the pictures of my harpies yet; they will be redone in the near future and it is then that I will shoot proper pictures of them. In the meantime feast your eyes on the following.

Drazhar has always been fully aware of the lack of heavy troops in his host, however the financial burdens that the enlisting of such troops in the army demanded were always impossible to meet. By a very fortunate turn of events, however, Drazhar came unto command of a full regiment of cold one knights.

In one of the battles Drazhar fought after being hired by the house Khaladh, the opposing army's reinforcements included a small contingent of the reptilian cavalry. By a cunning ambush, Yenlui's shades were able to delay the knights to the battlefield just long enough. When the contingent arrived to witness its employer's defeat and its own encirclement by the opposing forces, Drazhar offered the knights a simple deal - fight for him or die. The knights duly chose the former.

These are pure, unconverted, standard GW Dark Elf Cold One Knights models. I was, at the time, unable to get my hands on the splendid dark elf line by Gamezone Minitures, and I'm seriously pondering getting them now, as the quality is, in comparison with GW, unparalleled. Take a look for yourself:

Seriously, GW has a lot to learn - or rather to put into practice - if it wants its mature clientèle back.

Yenlui was not without her own fast attack forces, even before she hired Drazhar. Her troops, however, were composed of two charioteers along with their war machines. Though generally used by Yenlui's tax collectors, the chariots have time and again proved themselves as very capable weapons of war. The combined force of the snarling cold ones and the chariot's own impact, topped by the martial prowess of the charioteers, has seen many a foe put to flight.

Unconverted Dark Elf Chariot model with added polystyrene reins. However, the other chariot is slightly converted, so keep your eyes peeled.

Next week, as the second instalment of the special units coverage, I'll be showing the other chariot, shades and harpies (not done yet, but when you see them you'll see why they need work as well).

Some parishioner announcements... the Cryx Battlegroup faction box has shipped today and I just can't stop fiddling with all the bits and pieces. I have to admit I was skeptical about Warmachine to the very last seconds, but after opening the box and very thoroughly examining the bits my doubts dropped more than Paris Hilton's worth as a human being.

I can't say the same of the uber-hyped P3 paints I've ordered along with the minis... as you might know, good colored metals are something of the Holy Grail of the mini industry. P3 were advertised as being just that, well, I beg to differ. Now, I might be totally wrong here and maybe it's my incompetence as a mini painter talking, but the P3 colored metals (namely Brass Balls, Blighted Gold and Molten Bronze; Rhulic Gold on the other hand turned out slightly better) are not as good as everyone hails them to be. Mind you, I'm not saying they are bad paints, they're just not as great as the ads say. I accept my (huge) margin of error though and will test the paints much more diligently throughout next week.

And what - in the name of Natalia Melnik's long-lost ability to accept points of view beside her own - kind of name is 'Brass Balls' anyway?

The last thing I've purchased is Ziterdes Expert Flock Kit. From the looks of it, it seems a very decent product, if a bit pricey (paid an equivalent to 10 Euros for it...). It consists of, going upwards, fine gravel, a very curious green flock in at least three shades combined and finally tall grass, plus a small bottle of glue. I have always been a big fan of the tall grass thingie and it is my hope that with this kit, topped off with several other bits and pieces, I'll finally be able to do decent bases.

Lastly, thanks for voting in the poll. There are no telling results to speak of yet, but still, I appreciate the feedback. Oh, and thanks to whomever voted for the step-by-guides, I'll try to produce some, not in any foreseeable future though... or maybe...

See you next Friday!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Of mice and men

Another Friday, another update. Today, it's the core units of my druchii force. Also, look to your right and please spare a minute to vote in the poll (you can choose more than one answer).

The backbone of Drazhar's army consists of the three regiments that stayed true to their lord and left Naggarond with him. These include a twenty-strong block of spear-armed infantry, supported by two units of crossbowmen and two units of light cavalry, five-strong each.

The spearmen have served under Drazhar's command for a considerable amount of time, even before they left Naggarond. Their adventures after turning mercenary have only stimulated their combat prowess. In more than one skirmish, their steel-like resolve - honed by whatever means necessary by their commander, Melarna - has turned the battle in Drazhar's favour. Their banner has been used as a symbol denoting envoy and messengers on those rare occasions Drazhar or Yenlui make use of these.

True to the rightly-established tradition of druchii warfare, Drazhar makes extensive use of repeater crossbows in his army. No less than twenty crossbowmen have been assigned to his force in his days in Naggarond, and these left with him as well. Due to some severe monetary circumstances, the army quartermasters denied the crossbowmen their mail tunics, equipping them only with shields and cuirasses for protection. Their commanders, however, have the right to use whatever spoils of war are included in the crossbowmen share of the plunder.

The models are made of dark elf warriors' torsos, heads and arms plus high elf archers' legs. Yes, I'm a sucker for the kneeling legs too, it's a shame GW doesn't make more sprues containing these, or legs in any other pose than advancing for that matter.

I toyed with the idea of substituting the heads for high elf ones as well, but after making some test models I dropped that; the models looked neither properly druchii, nor properly asur, like a weird cross. Too weird for my tastes.

As I was kinda pressed for cash when making these, I decided to add fillers to the units. This allowed me to both, add commanders made from other models than plastic warriors and make two units using a single Dark Elf Warriors box.

The commanders are the bolt thrower commander and the corsair champion #1, respectively. On the former, I sawed out the scroll he was holding in his right hand and swapped it for a shield. The latter is unconverted.
The cavalry under Drazhar's command is also a very welcome addition to the army, serving as its eyes and ears. They can stay in the field for days on end, scouting out both the countryside and enemy troop movements. On the battlefield they fulfill an equally subtle role, harrying the flanks, disrupting reinforcements, chasing down fleeing or withdrawing units and even kidnapping designated individuals should the need arise.

Model-wise, these are dark elf warriors' upper portions plus glade rider legs. I was also very happy with the then-new wood elf horses, as they look just SO much better.

The other unit is almost identical to the one pictured, the only difference is the color of the wraps on spear shafts - brown as opposed to green; for easy game reference.

Yenlui was not without a helping hand in the military as well. her forces, however, were oriented more towards raiding and pillaging than open battle. Hence, her house's standing force consisted of corsairs and scouts.

These are just unconverted dark elf corsairs. Alright, the standard bearer is made out of and ordinary rank-and-file corsair with an arm swapped for the cold one knights' banner arm. The banner is usually fielded as the Soul Shadows Standard, hence the lack of decorative whatnots on it. The other unit has a musician instead.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Exquisite evil

As a first installment of the dark elf army presentation, I'd like to show you the characters.

Drazhar Urien-Rakarth is the army general. Ruthless, cunning and possessed of a morbid sense of humor, he guides the druchii mercenaries with dreadful precision, his dragon mount Kadrasull adding to Drazhar's own considerable prowess at causing destruction.

Born into a rich and influential clan, Drazhar was forced to abandon the courtly ways of the druchii nobility (which he had held in very low esteem anyway) after slaying a rival house's heir in a duel in the main street of Naggarond. He took his arms, armor and whatever wealth he could carry, and rode off to begin a new life as a sell-sword in the harsh, barren tundra of Naggaroth. He did not go alone, however. A trait unheard of among the dark elves, Drazhar's sympathetic and respectful attitude towards the soldiers under his command assured an almost idolizing trust from his charges. No less than three regiments of city infantry, with the welcome addition of a small band of light cavalry, followed Drazhar out of the relative safety of the druchii capital.

The model itself is made of Malus Darkblade with the torso and the left arm replaced by that of the Executioners horn blower. After seeing Imrik the Dragonlord with his imposing blowhorn, I decided this is an excellent idea for a dragon-mounted character. The original draich blade was replaced by that of the Executioners' champion. I've also added some minor bits and pieces to his panoply, like the bundled crossbow from the chariot kit.

The dragon is an unconverted wood elf forest dragon, the original edition. In my opinion the best dragon model made for Warhammer.

The base will definitely be redone, as I seem to have put too much faith in the Vallejo Still Water compound... To make a long story short, it really does not live up to the level of standard Acrylicos Vallejo made its name on. Or I just can't work with it. Both are possible.

Yenlui Khaladh the High Sorceress is Drazhar's current employer and, as the rumors go, love interest. She is a very wealthy descendant of a family much older than Drazhar's, but notably having less in the way of a standing army. After forsaking the city for the sake of fortified manor in the coastal wilderness, Yenlui faced the inevitability of hiring additional military troops to bolster her limited bodyguard. Drazhar's force was chosen, again as the rumors go, for both the economic and more private reasons...

The model is a slightly converted Vth edition Morathi. I changed her staff's headpiece to something more bearable and that's it.

Karir the beastmaster is a long-standing employee of the house Khaladh. Equally apt in the sword as well as the whip, he is a robust, quiet and grim individual. Older than Drazhar and Yenlui, he has seen many battles and raids and often his experience comes very much in handy during a skirmish. He is possessed of bravery bordering on insane abandon, battling a jousting combat a hundred feet above the field or charging a war machine emplacement on his own being just two of numerous feats he is capable of. He takes to the battlefield atop one of his favored mounts - a dark pegasus.

The model is a manticore rider with the head replaced by a shouting head from the Dark Elf Warriors kit. Also, I've replaced the odd-looking spear with a cold one knight's lance. To make Karir stand out more, I sculpted a fur coat collar and fur lining on his bracer.

The pegasus is an unconverted Vth edition dark pegasus model. Much, much better than the current dark pegasus atop which Morathi is plucked if you ask me.

The Manticore Knight is a very mysterious, masked warrior who joined the force one fateful night. Nobody knows his identity except Karir and he's not telling. The two seem to have a curious bond and can sometimes be heard conversing late into the night. Drazhar is very suspicious of the Manticore Knight motives and agenda, but the latter - along with his ill-tempered mount - has demonstrated to be a very welcome addition to the force. He is clearly some sort of renegade, just like Drazhar. Wherever his loyalties an agendas lie,
his presence can tip the balance of the battle and his skill in combat is second to none.

The model is a slightly modified rank-and-file cold one knight. I filed down his saddle, spread his legs a bit (ehehehehe... spread...) and swapped his lance tip for a warriors' spear one. The manticore is unconverted.

Let there be Draz!

Hello and welcome to my weblog. What you'll find here are my attempts at miniature painting and modeling, mainly in, but not restricted to, the Games Workshop's version of this wonderful hobby.

I've been involved in the mini business for eight or nine years now. Throughout that time, I have assembled three Warhammer Fantasy armies, several assorted minis by other manufacturers and I'm currently aiming at the Hordes game system by Privateer Press.

I'm definitely more of a painter and modeler than I am a gamer, mainly due to the unnecessary complication, ambiguity and rules lawyering of the core Warhammer Fantasy rules set.

As far as this weblog goes, the "rules" are: comment in proper English (no leetspeak please!) with the observation of the basic proprieties. I will try to update once a week, most probably on weekends or Fridays.

First set of minis that I'd like to share with you will comprise of my dark elf army.

Enjoy your stay here!