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Defenders of the Tavern – Kings of War Dwarfs

Defenders of the Tavern – Kings of War Dwarfs

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Project Blog by daviedight Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

Having just got back into Kings of War after having the 3rd edition book since launch, I decided to repurpose my old Battle for Skull Pass Dwarfs into something a little more functional. I love the multi basing aspect of KOW, but I like to take it that little bit further and consider how all parts make up the whole. As with my Living Graveyard Undead army, I wanted to make an entire, cohesive scene when my army was on display, but I didn’t just want ‘terrain-style’ bases. So, I started to imagine how these stumpy dudes might spend their time socially, and what might happen if an outsider stumbled upon their watering hole one night and I then imagined a recreation of the kind of scene you face when an out-of-towner enters your pub…Everyone looks.

This Project is Completed

Concept

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Kings of War Dwarfs have always been an army I’ve admired from afar, but never fully embraced. With my return to the game after a few years off, I decided to invest some energy into sprucing up and repurposing my Skull Pass models. Inevitably, Skull Pass models wouldn’t be enough to fulfill this idea, but I love them, and they were where I began the process.
Before we get to the dudes however, let’s start with the spitballing of ideas. I wanted my finished Dwarf army to look impressive when it was displayed, and that meant giving the multi-basing some real thought. I could have gone down the mine route, the stone columns and ruins route or even just a piece of nice battlefield terrain to have them on, but those ideas just weren’t speaking to me. I needed a theme, something fairly original, but still Dwarfy…a brewery? A pub? Now we were getting somewhere… Could I make an army look like it was in a tavern? How could I incorporate cavalry into a bar ffs? Surely pubs would have bar staff, (which Battle for Skull Pass definitely didn’t feature!)

I’d worry about these things later. For now, I needed to consider layout.

Layout

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I started by considering the units I might want in the army. At this point, I only had Skull Pass models, an almost complete box of WFB Dwarf Warriors and an Avatars of War box of Dwarf Berzerkers that I actually won from your good selves almost 10 years ago! I started writing out units, drawing base sizes on paper and considering how they might slot together. I also started looking for tavern terrain for d&d games and found a great set on Amazon for much cheapness.

Tentative beginnings

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By this time, I’d realised that what I had in minis wasn’t going to be enough, so a friend of mine kindly started printing out some One Page Rules riflemen which I would use for my Sharpshooters units.
Once I had them, and had messed around with a few more paper, unit layouts, my tavern furniture arrived. This allowed me to start physically positioning models on the tavern floor to try and see how things would look spacially. Lots of Blu-tac, (Yellow-tac here in Thailand), was used to try and see how things would fit.

In these pictures, you can see me adding some random minis for placement and scaling, and the base areas are numbered as the next step would involve separation of the bases to begin the real work.

Bases, bases, everywhere - Part 1

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With the decision made to go all-in, I started to mess with the layout. I went online shopping for some alternative Dwarf manufacturers, (more on that in the next post), and really started to plan out the army list and options I would want. This was essential because with the ‘jigsaw’ nature of my plan, each unit would have to blend well with the next to make the overall environment work.
Kings of War is great for ‘scalable’ bases sizing, ie a troop is smallest, two troops make a regiment, two regiments make a horde etc. This allowed me to make the largest base a regiment size base, and have several troop size options that could be added to if I wanted to change lists.
After my paper versions, I moved on to using 1mm plasticard. This was very simple to measure and cut, and sturdy enough to let me put lots of minis onto it for the purposes of positioning. I spent a lot of time moving units around, considering their play style, (sharpshooters behind cover, bulwarkers with phalanx and a shield wall etc.) All the while, I was imagining a wooden floored tavern and thinking of how I could pull that off.
I made a sample regiment base using blue modelling foam and scored floorboards and nail holes into it with a biro pen. Once painted up, it looked okay, but my concern was, that with the bar, shelves and furniture all wood, I would end up with a very monochrome looking basing scheme. I didn’t want this to look drab, so I searched for inspiration.

A cup of tea always help my inspiration flow, and lo and behold, as I was standing in my kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil I looked down. My kitchen floor is ‘almost’ flagstone style tiles! Flagstone tavern floors were now on the agenda.
I decided that if it was to be a stone floor, I wanted it to have a bit of weight to it, so it was out with the blue modelling foam, and in with 5mm Plaswood. It’s called that in Thailand, but in the UK, I know it as Foamex. It’s a sign making material and great for modelling. I bought an 8’x4’ sheet from a local sign maker for about the equivalent of £20, and started to cut.

By this time, I’d solved my ‘jigsaw’ issue and settled on a perfectly rectangular overall display shape which calmed my OCD tendencies somewhat.

The Plaswood was cut and scored, (again with a biro), and I began some paint tests. I based with TOA primer surfacer grey spray and then stippled darker greys over it with a scrunched up polythene bag. It gave it an almost weathered look which I quite liked. You can see the sample tile I did on these pics, and that tile ended up being the base for the Dwarf Lord on mount.

Bases, bases, everywhere - Part 2

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With my layout somewhat finalised, and the bases now primed, I needed to start with the painting of the flagstones. I’d moved away from wooden floors because I didn’t want things too samey, so I realised I needed to add a few different stone colourations into the mix to keep the floor interesting.

I randomly chose a few greys and stone colours, all Citadel, and started to select areas to differentiate. Once the base coats were down, I used the same crunched up plastic bag stippling technique to make the floors a little more textured. I washed them lightly with Athonian Camoshade Citadel shade and stippled them again. I then pinwashed the lines and cracks with Citadel Nuln oil and Agrax Earthshade respectively. A quick dry brush around the edges and at the meeting points of stones helped things to pop out a little more.
I had pre-glued some of the more permanent furniture in place, so set about getting that painted too. I started by covering all the furniture in Citadel Dheneb Stone, and then went mental with Citadel Contrast Wyldwood. I then dry brushed the surfaces with different, ever-lightening browns until I was happy.
Finally, I used Greenstuff World’s metallic range to pick out the banding around the casks.
All this time, I’m still trying to figure out how I can make animals, the Berzerker Brock Rider units, and now the Earth Elementals,  look at home in a tavern…???

Minis! - Part 1

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So with all this basing going on, I was getting away from the really important part of this project: the army itself!

As I said at the beginning, this started out as a way to repurpose my Battle for Skull Pass WFB minis and to get back into KOW, but it became very apparent, very quickly that I was about 50% shy of the models I would actually need for this project!

*Please note at this stage, I never intended to meet the preferred model count per base, for the game. My group is fine with things like this, as long as rule of cool wins the day, and I intended to make the units cool enough to circumvent any model count issues.* 🙂

I didn’t want every Dwarf to have the same aesthetic, so I looked at lots of different manufacturers. My friend printed me some One Page Rules units that would become Sharpshooters. He also printed some heavily armoured guys with hammers, which ended up being cut off at the wrist, given spears and reattached to be facing forwards. These were to be my Bulwarker regiment with Phalanx, my friends!

I saw and loved the rams and boars that Atlantis Miniatures produced and spent days trawling through Scibors page for very realistic, traditional Dwarfs. I ended up with my Steel Behemoth proxy from there, the Armoured Bear with Canon, and a couple of Drunks who were holding barrels on their shoulders. Atlantis supplied me with my barmaids, Pinky and Bluey, and a couple of cheeky characters who were legging it with barrels under their arms!
All this, coupled with another set of 3D printed Earth Elementals, a Dwarf Lord on Boar, (OPR again), and a few Mantic Artillery pieces and we were cooking!

The next step was to get paint on them all!

 

Painting little dudes and solving beastly problems

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The concept was nailed down, bases were almost finished, furniture and accessories were ready to go, so all that left, was grey minis…lots and lots of grey minis.

Now as I’ve harped on about it several times already, you may remember that this was a Skull Pass model repurposing exercise which meant I already had some models painted from that set: 10 Thunderers, 8 Miners, a canon and 6 Warriors to be precise, which meant I already had the beginnings of a colour scheme. I didn’t want to strip them again, (they’d been through the Dettol twice already since I bought Battle for Skull Pass in 2009), so I decided to take the most dominant colour I’d done so far and make that the main theme. Therefore, the green of the Dwarf Thunderers became the colour that was to appear in some form or other the most.
Dwarf Warriors got the green on their shields, I did the Sharpshooters in multiple shades of green, (I like the ranger look), Berzerkers got some of their loincloths green and the Bulwarkers got green shields too. I even washed the Earth Elemental with a green shade to give them a hint of it before adding green grass tufts between their rock plates.

As the paint began to flow, I was still concerned about how I could satisfactorily have animals in my tavern. Also, the nature of the Earth Elementals meant that they had part of a log attached to their foot to raise their leg, and also my Ram mounts that were to be Berzerker Brock had baseplates attached to a couple of the rearing up goats.  That meant I was going to need to find a way to blend or camouflage the point where those bases met the flagstone floors. It took a day or two, but it finally dawned on me…straw! Anything that wasn’t a Dwarf, could have been bedding down in an annex of the tavern. Almost like a stable, or a cellar that might also have barrels of booze in it.
That was decided then, I could disguise the floor connection points of some of these models by having them standing in straw, and at the same time, it provided a visual aid for why they were where they were. I got busy cutting the bristles off a floor brush and started to PVA them to the bases.
I finally had all the components in place, I was happy with the overall look, and once I’d painted up a couple of bar maids, Pinky and Bluey, a few tavern drunks and even some tankards of ale to scatter about the place I was ready to stick it all together…

Almost there…

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Here you can see the first units coming together in situ, and start to get an idea of what the overall piece will look like.

One of my favourite units has to be the Bar-zerkers, as these are the guys I’d expect to be the rowdiest bunch of punks in the place!

The back line shows my regiment of Bulwarkers and horde of Shieldbreakers with Bluey the barmaid still serving as the fight is about to kick off. Then nearer the front you can see the regiment of Riflemen and the troops of Sharpshooters who’ve flipped the tables and chairs to use as cover. Finally in this batch, you can see the individuals of the army. They’re all fairly self explanatory I would think, but here you go anyway: Dwarf Lord on Large Beast, Berzerker Lord, Warsmith, Army Standard Bearer, Dwarf Lord and Stone Priest.

The grand reveal

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The grand reveal

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Here we have it folks, in all its glory: The Dwarven Defenders of the Tavern! Some poor sod opened the door on this rowdy pack of miniature mentalists and they’re about to get told it’s time for a fight!

In the front few rows, we see a horde of Iron Guard alongside Pinky the barmaid at their service

 

The grand reveal

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Skill 6
Idea 6
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Here we have it folks, in all its glory: The Dwarven Defenders of the Tavern! Some poor sod opened the door on this rowdy pack of miniature mentalists and they’re about to get told it’s time for a fight!

In the front few rows, we see a horde of Iron Guard alongside Pinky the barmaid at their service

 

The grand reveal

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
Idea 7
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Here we have it folks, in all its glory: The Dwarven Defenders of the Tavern! Some poor sod opened the door on this rowdy pack of miniature mentalists and they’re about to get told it’s time for a fight!

In the front few rows, we see a horde of Iron Guard alongside Pinky the barmaid at their service. In front of them, the troops of Sharpshooters and Mastiff Hunting packs. Behind the bar at the back, we have a horde of Shieldbreakers being served by Pinky’s twin sister, Bluey.
As we move right we start to get away from the drinking area and into the stall for the artillery and the animals. Two Organ guns and an Ironbelcher canon are ready to support my Steel (but mostly wooden) Behemoth at the back.
On the far right, back to front, we have the ram mount regiment of Berzerker Brocks, (they will be named the Ram Raiders), and in front of them, a troop of hogs to serve as S second unit of Brocks. In front of the ~Brock, no surprise here, the Rocks! A horde of Earth Elementals.
Finally, guarding the entrance as all good boys do, are the troops of Mastiff Hunting Packs.
So, that about sums this project up, and I hope you like what I’ve done.

P.S. The Dwarfs are for Ben, The furries are for Free, and the mould lines are for Gerry 😉

The grand reveal - Part 1

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Skill 7
Idea 7
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Here we have it folks, in all its glory: The Dwarven Defenders of the Tavern! Some poor sod opened the door on this rowdy pack of miniature mentalists and they’re about to get told it’s time for a fight!

In the front few rows, we see a horde of Iron Guard alongside Pinky the barmaid at their service

 

The last few

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
Idea 7
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