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Subedai’s Fantastical Fighting Forces

Subedai’s Fantastical Fighting Forces

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Project Blog by subedai

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About the Project

Here the avid reader shall find progress updates as I work away on a multitude of armies and forces from the fantasy worlds of Warhammer, Lord of the Rings, Conan, the Cthulhu Mythos, Frostgrave, Oathmark and others.

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Zombie Tide

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Skill 1
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It turned into a bit of a slog towards the end, but I managed to complete my horde of 30 zombies in thrall to the Ghoul Kings for Warhammer Fantasy Battle.

The war dead march againThe war dead march again

A dozen of the figures are metals from The Assault Group that I ordered with their Kickstarter in 2017. Five of the sculpts are now available from their store, while the sixth was an exclusive. They will tie in nicely with my fledgling Empire army, hence I painted some of the zombies up in the state colours of Ostermark and Ostland.

To complete the regiment I dug through my bits box and combined  Citadel plastic zombie heads and arms with bodies from the archers and militia sets. One is using the legs and torso of a Perry Miniatures mercenary, while two do not use any legs since I modelled them to be emerging from the cursed soil of Sylvania.

Dark magic stirs the dead to lifeDark magic stirs the dead to life

Altogether I have a horde of 60 zombies now for my masters of the necromantic arts to call upon. The upcoming Fireforge zombies are looking pretty nice as well, so I might add another unit of them in future. Maybe something for my Salute 2020 shopping list.

Tales From the Crypt

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Skill 2
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I am sticking with the undead forces for Warhammer Fantasy Battle for the time being. Between painting up a horde of zombies I managed to complete a small hunting pack of ten ghouls that I had purchased a while back when dreaming up my Ghoul King’s force.

My existing ghouls consist of the two ranges released in metal in the 90s, while these additions are using the still current plastic set. I never liked them very much but wanted to add variety, and there isn’t much choice in ghouls for mass battle units.

The Ghoul King sends his minions on a huntThe Ghoul King sends his minions on a hunt

After building them I started to like them a lot better. There are a bunch of faces I am not keen on, but by keeping those to a minimum I am quite happy with the pack now. Some of the bodies needed to be glued at an upward angle as they were leaning forward on their bases far too much (a strange practice Citadel employed on a number of regiments at the time, including their skeletons and flagellants), but other than that I did few adjustments.

Ex-Townsfolk on the March

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I’ve had some figures built for a second 30 strong unit of zombies for a while, which I am aiming to complete as part of my Ghoul King’s retinue.

The first ten are now painted, consisting mainly of figures from the Citadel plastic kit, with a few skeleton parts thrown in to make use of my spares and add variety. I also like the little rat scuttling through the mob.

Warhammer Armies – Vampire Counts

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Skill 3
Idea 3
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I’m using Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th Edition as a guide for collecting and painting various forces. Going for a modest 1,000 points still turns out to be quite a few models as I want to start with the rank and file of each army, leaving the fancier and more costly elements for later expansions.

The overall largest faction of painted models in my collection are the Vampire Counts. So rather than forming them into one army I decided to split them into themed sub-factions with the intention of sharing little to no models between them.

The first faction I am considering finished is a force led by a Vampire Count. Himself armed with two sharp blades to revel in carnage, the mundane task of raising and maintaining his undead horde falls to a Necromancer in his service.

The Vampire Lord reclaims his domainThe Vampire Lord reclaims his domain

The skeleton regiments are built from three generations of plastic sets with some extra bits taken from Chaos Marauders. The zombies are a mixture of Citadel metal and plastic figures.

The Vampire Lord is the metal sculpt of Konrad von Carstein, while the Necromancer is the newer plastic kit.

The hunting beasts that have followed the call of their vampiric master are the early plastic wolves with some metal add-ons, a swarm of bats and a flock of giant Fell Bats.

The other two factions I am working on are Ghoul Kings (ghouls, zombies and monsters) and Necromancers (massed ranks of zombies and skeletons). Once they are all assembled, the Old World will tremble before the armies of the dead!

A Half Dozen Dead

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Skill 6
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I’m throwing all skeletons with polearms together into a unit of Grim Reapers for my Oldhammer Undead. The majority will probably wield scythes in the end but I am starting with this motley assortment of blades on a stick.

Three of the figures are from Marauder Miniatures, one Citadel, and one is by Bob Olley I believe. The weedy looking fellow on the left in the first photo is possibly Essex Miniatures. The figure was part of a batch purchase and I wanted to do it justice by fielding it all those decades after its creation. I imagine it portrays an unfortunate young farmhand drafted into a long forgotten war. Another broken sculpt from that purchase had already found its place as part of a terrain piece.

Death Covers the Land

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Skill 6
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When the Winds of Hobby Motivation are waning, the Lore of Death can usually still squeeze the odd beat out of my shrivelled necromantic heart.

As one can never have enough skeletons, I painted up a couple of old metal Marauder and Citadel warriors of bone and two others which were part of a bundle purchase and possibly produced by Grenadier or another long defunct manufacturer.

The Citadel figures are mostly slotta models with one that pre-dates this era. I went with my usual simple colour scheme of mostly black and iron while painting the more ornately armoured fighters with oxidised bronze plate.

The non-Warhammer miniatures of a sword fighter and a crossbowman are based on round bases as I will use them in skirmish games like Frostgrave rather than my Oldhammer Undead army.

A soldier’s weapons drill never diesA soldier’s weapons drill never dies

Keep ‘Em Coming!

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Skill 11
Idea 4
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I finished painting the remaining Night Goblins from the Knightmare Miniatures range so my warband is expanded and as complete as it currently can be. Thinking ahead for Saga, I can field three units of warriors, three trolls (I assume there will be some monster/monstrous creature slot), a shaman/wizard and the warlord.

While looking for any release info or beta rules that might be floating around (no luck there), I did come across a fan made project called A Fantastic Saga. Haven’t tried it, but clearly a lot of work has gone into the expanded rules and fantasy races that are available, so definitely worth checking out. Using the Kobaloi list, I could field my Night Goblins as a 6 points force.

Emboldened by their backup, the goblins charge aheadEmboldened by their backup, the goblins charge ahead

There’s a New Boss in Goblin Town

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Skill 10
Idea 4
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Knightmare Miniatures recently ran a Kickstarter to expand their mostly Kev Adams sculpted Greenskin Wars range. I used that opportunity to pick up the new Doom Goblins and a few more wolf riders and feral goblins.

Alongside the four goblin warriors that I am still working on, the Doom Goblins received a new leader in the shape of this big bruiser carrying a massive morning star. Might makes right in goblin society, so there wasn’t much discussion regarding his role amongst the expanding tribe.

You wanted to see my resume?You wanted to see my resume?

I think Kev Adams is doing some of his best work at the moment with this range so I really need to catch up with my painting. Also still looking forward to Saga Fantasy, although a generic goblin list would probably not do justice to their variety. Thinking about play testing the Doom Goblins as Saxons.

Edit: Since I received a question on my blog about how the horns sticking out of the hood were painted, I thought I’d add my technique here as well (all paints Citadel unless noted):

  1. Paint horns in Balor Brown
  2. Apply wash with Seraphim Sepia
  3. Paint lines from the tips downwards with Army Painter Skeleton Bone
  4. Paint shorter lines from the tips downwards with White Scar, staying within the patterns from previous step
  5. Apply a bit of Agrax Earthshade around the base of the horns and within the inner curves for shading

Blazing Saddles

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Skill 6
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I finished the cavalry arm of my Tomb Kings army for Warhammer Fantasy Battle by adding a second rank to the spear armed skeleton horsemen.

The Master of Horse still commands his riders in deathThe Master of Horse still commands his riders in death

The horses are very old sculpts since GW never saw fit to replace them. For the riders, I mixed up parts from the original plastic skeletons with the Tomb Kings releases. As previously mentioned, I added horse blankets made out of tissue paper to give the models a bit more heft and have the riders stand out from their mounts better.

For future expansions of the army, I have two units of five horse archers each built and primed but first up is a squadron of chariots.

Riding under the gleaming bronze war bannerRiding under the gleaming bronze war banner

The Beasts are Stirring

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Skill 6
Idea 1
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While doing a roll call of my various work in progress armies for Warhammer Fantasy Battle I came across a mostly finished herd of Beastmen Gors that required a few updates. I drybrushed the bases brown where they were grey before and repainted the edges in my now standard Gorthor Brown.

Beastmen are a constant threat to hamlets and villages throughout the EmpireBeastmen are a constant threat to hamlets and villages throughout the Empire

I also found that I was one warrior short since I intend to use the previous leader of the herd as a Wargor in the 1,000 points force. Since I had a spare model from the Marauder Miniatures MB09 Beastmen Regiment with a missing double handed club, I converted that figure by giving it an axe and shield from the plastic Citadel Chaos Marauders. About half of the other Gors also received shields from that set, as none of the regiment was equipped with any.

Some of the Beastmen had previously been converted to wielding two hand weapons, while the remaining ones were now given shields from the Ungors plastic set.

The Tomb Kings Ride to War

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Having recently picked up more infantry for my Tomb Kings I felt it was time to continue painting the already built and primed forces that are making up a 1,000 point core army using Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th Edition.

I don’t enjoy painting undead horses much more than life ones hence I had kept back the cavalry and chariots. The first five of a ten strong regiment of horsemen with thrusting spears are now finally done and I’ll keep working away on the second half interspersed with other projects.

The vanguard rides outThe vanguard rides out

I’m using some overarm thrusting spears for the unit to add variety and indicate that they are not fighting as knights with lances. The musician carries a metal horn in snake form that was part of an early version of the Khemrian infantry. I also equipped the horses with black saddle cloths made from tissue paper to give a heavier feel to the models and prevent the bone-on-bone look.

Skeletal hooves will trample all enemies into the dustSkeletal hooves will trample all enemies into the dust

Fire and Brimstone

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Skill 8
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I have finished another four of the medieval demons produced by Antediluvian Miniatures. This lot is carrying handgonnes, a sort of cannon on a stick that originated as early as the 13th century. In game terms, where appropriate blackpowder weapons might be missing, I’ll use the crossbow rules to represent them.

Hellish firepowerHellish firepower

First Blood

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Skill 10
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We had our initial clash of arms playing Frostgrave in a Warhammer Old World setting. My mate picked Night Goblins with a Summoner while I took the Undead lead by a Necromancer. Wanting to familiarise ourselves with the core rules, we played a simple scenario with six treasures up for grabs. We also chose our spells without the need for additional templates or figures to represent them, so they were mostly direct damage or buffs.

The Night Goblins deployed in a horde in the left corner of the 3×3 table while I split my forces up into a group lead by the wizard and a second with the apprentice. While the Night Goblins initially swarmed over the first treasure pile, I sent my two thugs to search one each and attempt to carry it to safety.

A squig hound guarding the lootA squig hound guarding the loot

The first major skirmish erupted when a group lead by my apprentice clashed with goblin fighters in a house ruin containing more treasure. With an infantryman dispatched through a fireball from afar and a second being cut down by a lowly goblin thug, I lost this fight and any hope of a win.

The scramble for the ladderThe scramble for the ladder

While one of my thugs escaped with a treasure undisturbed off the Eastern board edge, the second was threatened by the slavering squig. I managed to intercept it at the last moment with a man-at-arms, but failed to kill it. Shortly after, the Night Goblin apprentice blew up its own squig with a fireball, presumably to roast it in preparation for the victory banquet.

With just yards to go, my second thuggish zombie was brought down by a flurry of arrows, dropping its treasure token.

The Night Goblins now had control of the table, and my skeleton’s charge against the apprentice failed to wound him. Shortly after it was smashed to pieces, and my surviving Necromancer decided to slink away into the darkness.

The Night Goblins rule the fieldThe Night Goblins rule the field

With a final treasure score of 5:1 for the Night Goblins and a kill ratio of 6:2, I failed to capitalise on my early gains and positioning. Already being outnumbered, delegating two thugs to treasure carrying duty from the start was probably not a good decision in hindsight, though I very nearly got away with a second treasure while the goblins had secured none thus far. I had expected the main combat to swing my way, but the loss of an infantryman at the last moment through magic and the quick defeat of the second destroyed my main fighting force.

Frostgrave is definitely a very killy system, fittingly reminiscent of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. A high attack roll will not only often win the combat but also directly cause a maximum amount of damage, and it is quite possible to lose soldiers through a single strike or spell. Especially with consistent rolls of 20. Thanks, blue die of death.

Welcome to Mordgrave

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Skill 8
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This week will see me dusting off my copy of Frostgrave to finally have a game. A mate and I are planning on getting a campaign going, hopefully recruiting along the way.

Rather than setting the story in Felstad, we’ll be drawing on the background of the Old World however, so it is more akin to Mordheim with wizards and various fantasy races. As gangs, I am therefore drawing on my existing Warhammer Fantasy Battle armies without having to paint everything from scratch. For the first gaming session I put together Night Goblins, Dwarfs and Undead, only needing to finish painting a shaman and warrior of their respective armies which had been long overdue anyway.

Old enemies clashOld enemies clash

While there are no different racial characteristics and stats in Frostgrave, I selected the war bands to reflect some of their archetypes. The Dwarfs are fewer in numbers but with better equipment and stats due to their troop types.

Enchanter, Apprentice, Marksman, Knight, Man-at-Arms and ThugEnchanter, Apprentice, Marksman, Knight, Man-at-Arms and Thug

For the Night Goblins I am mainly using the Kev Adams sculpts by Knightmare Miniatures, reinforced by some Citadel figures from my Warhammer Fantasy Battle army.

Witch, Apprentice, Infantryman, Man-at-Arms, War Hound, Archers and ThugsWitch, Apprentice, Infantryman, Man-at-Arms, War Hound, Archers and Thugs

The Undead are raised from my Warhammer 3rd Edition forces, with zombies representing thugs and skeletons other troop types.

Necromancer, Apprentice, Men-at-Arms, Infantrymen and ThugsNecromancer, Apprentice, Men-at-Arms, Infantrymen and Thugs

How these work as gangs in Frostgrave, we’ll find out. A drawback of using “soldiers” from other armies is the lack of figures representing certain character classes like thieves, but with a bit of artistic licence and kit bashing I could add them where needed. In any case I would want to stick with classes to fit a certain fantasy race, and where that is the case, miniatures will also be easier to find.

Imps, Goats & Rocket Cats

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Skill 7
Idea 4
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The Middle Ages were strange times and I am sure as hell glad not to have lived through them. In fact, I am surprised how anyone could have lived through them.

Alongside their medieval demonic legions, Antediluvian Miniatures also created other obscure entities from the illuminated manuscripts of yesteryear.

[Benny Hill theme tune playing][Benny Hill theme tune playing]

The imp is a miniature devil of sorts, hence I painted him in a diabolical red.

The black goat that walks like a man seemed like an even easier colour choice, but I decided to add some white markings for interest, and because they give it a slightly skeletal look. I did do a lot of image research on black goats that day.

The rocket cat, which really is an incendiary cat that was supposed to light fires in besieged towns, was painted pure black to act as a contrast to the bright tongue of fire and pot on its back. Also, a black cat seemed to fit with the theme, and I was feeling too lazy to paint patterns on such a small figure.

Medieval Demons

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Skill 7
Idea 6
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I pledged for the Medieval Demons by Antediluvian Miniatures in 2017 and just made a start by painting up the first group. The sculpts are crisp and the white metal castings are very clean so I highly recommend this range.

Based on drawings of demons in medieval manuscripts, I intend to field these as the retinue of a powerful Daemon Prince of Tzeentch using Saga 2 rules or against actual historical fighters of the era.

With their faces leering from various body parts, colourful skin tons and bird like features, such medieval depictions of the forces of hell must have had a big influence on the Changer of the Ways in Warhammer lore.

The Ringwraiths Gather

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Skill 10
Idea 4
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I’ve been carrying on with painting some individual models for The Lord of The Rings, currently concentrating on the forces of Mordor. The models are from the Citadel Miniatures and Mithril Miniatures ranges.

Edit: Adding a description of the painting process and paints used that I wrote up in reply to a comment.

Starting with a black base coat, I used three greys (GW’s Skavenblight Dinge, Eshin Grey, Mechanicus Standard Grey) for successive highlighting, all thinned down a bit to be somewhat transluscent and applied to raised areas. With the first two paints I would apply more than a single layer in places where I want to work the highlight up so it becomes more solidly grey. Then I put a wash of Nuln Oil over the top, applying it several times where I wanted to darken down the grey highlights more.

I pretty much always work up from a black base coat rather than shade down if I want to portray black. I often use dark blues up to blueish greys as highlights, but for the Nazgûl I didn’t want that impression of colour.

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