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Wee Free Men

Wee Free Men

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Project Blog by gorram Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

Finally getting round to my Nac Mac Feegle army. Technically for Kings of War but really just an army for the sake of being an army.

This Project is Active


Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 7

I’ve talked the youtube channel Miscast more than once around here. The main thing I love about Trent’s work is that his message is “give it a try, experiment, make mistakes and have fun”. I am painfully aware that I’m a perfectionist who absolutely gets in her own way, I need that kind of encouragement. As discussed at length in my Nightstalkers project, I’m trying to be better about it. I’ve been rewatching everything he’s uploaded recently to try and get me out of a hobby funk and dragging this project out of its hiding spot feels like the next obvious step.

Six years ago, my dad passed away. We had a very strained relationship, and in the final decade of his life had only spoken twice. Families, however, are weird things and each of the siblings picked out things to keep while clearing his home. I was fortunate to snag his collection of Discworld novels, most of which I had given him for birthdays, father’s days and Christmases over the years. Actually, I think my older brother officially got them but he lives on a different continent and they have been in my flat for the last six years. Ssssh, don’t remind him.

Taking time to reread my favourites in the months following my dad’s death, I came upon a germ of an idea. An army that would be just for me. I would create Tiffany Aching and an army of Nac Mac Feegles.

As I’m prone to do, I obsessed over the army for months; took notes on dozens of scraps of paper when ideas came to me, spent hours searching for model lines to suit, etc. I could picture the whole thing in my head. That picture became the problem.

I’m sure I’m not alone in being so intimidated by the thought of the reality of a project not matching what you have in your head that you stall out and do nothing on it. So it was with this one. It became the “one day” project.

I guess now is one day.

The Pln

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 7
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Part of tackling the intimidation factor is going to be breaking the project down to a pln I can follow along and just focus on one bit at a time. I’ll probably jump around as my mood takes me but having a rough pln will hopefully stop me from getting overwhelmed.

The Pln

The loose To Do list I’ve come up with:

  • Read back through the books for research but don’t let this get in the way of actually doing things
  • Write a rough 2k list for Kings of War
    • An army like feegles just makes sense for a mass battle game and I like Kings. The army isn’t going to be built around the list though, the list will be dictated by the models I know I want to put in
    • This will help figuring out how I fit what’s in my head into an actual army and not just a big diorama
    • They are goblin proxies, without any reservations I have known that from the start
  • Figure out the base sizes (this army will be displayed in a glass cabinet so size matters)
  • Plan out the scenic bases (and work out pinning for all the metal minis if necessary)
  • Pick the models I want to go with and work out how many I’m going to need
  • Paint scheme; needs to be effective but quick and easy or I’ll never get through the hundreds of minis needed
  • Convert all the models I need to for various units as best as I can to what I see them in my head
  • Sculpt other units from scratch (this step has multiple steps within it but that’s not current me’s concern)
  • Actually paint it

What are you meant to be?

Tutoring 6
Skill 7
Idea 7
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Let’s be honest, this is not an army that is going to see the table all that often. It is an army I am doing mainly for my own enjoyment and keeping true to elements of the book is important to me.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t want it to be clear to any potential opponents what everything is. Everything is a proxy but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to tell roughly what things are from across the table.

Why goblins though? Well, several reasons.

  1. I knew from the start that Tiffany would be a Giant so it had to be a force that allowed giants.
  2. Feegles are clearly a horde army. There are constraints that I am putting on the army to feel like the feegles from the book. No ranged weapons or cav. A melee horde screams goblins to me.
  3. A quick glance through the goblin range gave me ideas for analogues from the stories.
    1. The wizard? That’s the Gonigal, blowing on his mouse pipes, demoralising the enemy with battle poetry.
    2. Winggit – Hamish on Morag the buzzard.
    3. Rabble and Luggits will both work for general feegles but rabble stat line just doesn’t feel good enough so this will be an army of luggits. I knew I wanted one unit to be special (more on them in the future) so the Grogger’s Lugg Lads horde worked quite nicely for them.
    4. There will be a toad and a cheese

There are other ideas that I’m still fleshing out but this was the starting point. There are also a couple of things that from a list perspective I’d like to include but I’m going to have to go through the novels and the army list to find a way.

This was my starting point and next I turned to the novels themselves. I reread Wee Free Men with a pen in one hand to make notes and underline important bits. For the other novels I had to switch to the audiobooks for unrelated reasons but still managed to get a lot of notes in a little book.

After sitting for a couple of hours with this pile of army notes and the Mantic Companion open, I think I have something I’m happy with. Is it a good list? Not a bloody clue but I also don’t really care. It allows me to include all the characters I want in a way that I think represents the books fairly.

The feegles are too good to be Rabble so everyone became a Luggit. The army builder lets you name units so it makes keeping track of my ideas a lot easier. I’ll address each unit in time in its own post but for those who know the books, this is how things stand as of June 2023.

What are you meant to be?

Concerning Feegles

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
Idea 7
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The Nac Mac Feegle, known also as pictsies, a type of fairy folk. They are known for drinking, swearing and fighting, are incredibly strong, brave and are so heavily tattooed with wode that their skin appears blue. They have red hair, wearing kilts and occasionally mouse/bird skulls as helmets. They strike fear into the hearts of all who go against them… or a form of dread at any rate. Feegles are also only six inches tall.

The ones on the Chalk have a fear of words, writing being a tool used to punish feegles by things like lawyers and judges.

There are five books in their sub-series but this is enough information for now. Anything else you need to know, I’ll bring up when it matters. You really should give the series a try though. Wee Free Men is your starting point and even if you’ve never read a Discworld book, it excellent. There, my librarian bit is done.

Picking Models

With Tiffany being a Giant, the feegles had to be in scale to her. The books say they are around one tenth the height of Tiff so after measuring the Mantic giant, that gives us 15-17mm.

In the novels, the feegles don’t use armour. They have large swords, kilts and the occasional rat skull worn as a helmet. Two handed weapon wielding, kilt wearing, 15mm humanoids. Easier said than done.

There are ranges of kilt wearing 15mm models a plenty but most are using shields or had helmets on them. Early on I found this range from Magister Militum and after buying little samples from a couple of different companies, these won out. Size wise here they are compared to a 15mm dwarf from Ral Partha.

Concerning Feegles

What I like about the Magister ones is that they look a little chunkier, more heroically proportioned. Although they are 15mm, for the purposes of this army they are just small creatures in scale with a giant who is normal height human. That sentence made more sense in my head. They had to look good next to Tiffany and not like they didn’t belong together.

Tiff has seen better daysTiff has seen better days

The model range from Magister is extensive however only two unit types work for me; berserkers and warriors with two hand weapons. The berserkers have great feegle poses to them but none of them are kilted. The warriors are kilted but have some metal helmets on three of the five poses. There are both problems I’ll need to deal with; at the scale and volume of the army, things don’t have to be perfect, just to look good en masse at three ft away.

Next up is figuring out the paint scheme.

Concerning Feegles

Paint Test

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
Idea 7
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Painting the wee free men is going to be the bulk of the project but also the most boring. What’s needed is a quick but effective paint scheme for hundreds of minis. Reference images vary bit in hue for the feegles but given we’re working with tiny men, bolder will be better I think. It is about contrast. Not Contrast. Small c contrast. Bloody GW ruining a perfectly useful term.

Paint Test

Time for some testing:

  1. White prime, Contrast neat
  2. White Prime, Contrast thinned
  3. White prime, ink
  4. Zenithal prime, Contrast neat
  5. Zenithal prime, Contrast thinned
  6. Zenithal prime, ink
  7. Black prime, white drybrush, Contrast neat
  8. Black prime, white drybrush, Contrast thinned
  9. Black prime, white drybrush, ink

The photos don’t really do them justice because I can’t be arsed taking photos. It is a paint test, you get the idea.

Even before things were dry the answer was obvious to me. Feegle 9 wins. The Contrast (and I suspect the same would be true for Speed Paints as well) was just too flat. Maybe it is the scale of the minis, maybe it is the choice of blue. I could try more options but I don’t give a hoot. I like 6 and 9 but the drybrushing of the white over the spray can gave a much more consistent result. So here is the result in full:

  • Prime with matt black
  • drybrush Pro Acryl Bold Titanium White to act and a zenithal (too hard to achieve on minis this size with a spray can)
  • Winsor and Newton blue ink over the top

I put an order in for the first load of feegles on Friday so hopefully they should be here in a week or so. Then the fun can truly begin.

And by fun I mean mindless boredom of batch painting hundreds of figures.

A Story in Three Parts

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 4
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Hmm, that’s an odd message. Better check their Facebook pageHmm, that’s an odd message. Better check their Facebook page

Reality Check

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
Idea 5
1 Comment

So after the news about Magister in the last post, it was time to think about what I’m going to do. I placed quite a large order which arrived this morning but had no idea how many more I am going to need to complete the army.

Getting in from work tonight, it was time to get down to some maths.

first up, cut some paper to the size for a regiment base, I did two so had a horde base size toofirst up, cut some paper to the size for a regiment base, I did two so had a horde base size too
covering with a densely packed group,  better to have too many than too few at this stagecovering with a densely packed group, better to have too many than too few at this stage
count between the test orders and this morning's arrival to work out the remaindercount between the test orders and this morning's arrival to work out the remainder

I’m actually pleasantly surprised. I had in my head I was going to have to put in a large order that I couldn’t really afford but having done this tonight I can breathe a sigh of relief. It is only a little over next month’s normal hobby budget to pick up the remaining packs.

I don’t see me ordering extras though I know that KoW can scale up,  even at tournaments. I could second guess the shit out of myself, and I probably will between now and next pay day, but as of this evening, everything will be fine.

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