Back in 2014 I proudly declared I was starting a Late Imperial Roman army, and showed off my first test model. I adhered to the time-honoured tradition of planning an army, buying an army, telling everyone about my plans… then only painting one figure before quietly packing everything away and never mentioning it again. But the hiatus is over! Here is the second finished model – Praeses Lanceas Araneus.
Having painted two Space Pirates, Paradox Zeeman and Nebuli Tsar, for Choose Your Own Adventurers, I wanted to grow my pirate gang. Here’s Trooper Altryn Greymore, otherwise known as Banzai Jones from the Ironclaw Space Pirate range.
Curtis over at Ramshackle did a limited run of figures for Bring Out Your Lead 2016, and I’ve painted one to accompany Clyro Burns. As an event, BOYL focuses on “Oldhammer”, so Curtis sculpted this model holding an old hammer. Ha!
I’ve converted my figure with a new face shaved off a Citadel Judge Dredd Perp – Zuggy Spotz/Crazy Joseph. I then resculpted the hood around the front with putty. This does make me feel a little guilty, but of all people Curtis will understand the need to hack up and convert figures.
Post-Knavecon games of Dragon Rampant have made me feel uncomfortable with my wizard unit – Clyro Burns plus five tiny familiars. This reduced strength unit gets caught in combat, and seeing a tiny familiar taking as much effort to kill as two chunky human-sized models is really odd. I’m planning to reforge the unit at twelve-strong – all twelve being human-sized figures.
Shout out to Curtis for his generosity and community spirit! Check out his shop full of other wonderful nonsense.
Years back I bought loads of ex-Citadel Wargames Foundry Normans and Vikings, with the intention of converting them as Men of Rohan to go alongside my 1980s Citadel Lord of the Rings. The project never materialised. Years later, I’ve dredged up the figures to make a historical Norman force.
The figure’s spear was replaced with a length of brass wire topped with a plastic spear point (which I later switched for a Goff Ork helmet spike). The banner is tomato purée foil cut to shape with a scalpel. To move the figure slightly away from the Viking look, he’s got a Norman kite shield. I later decided to Normanise the figure a little more by sculpting a t-bar onto his helmet. He still has the long hair and trousers that give him a hint of Scandanavia, plus I plumped for a Nordic dragon motif on his shield.
The design and colours are lifted wholesale from a Little Big Men Studios banner (sorry guys, but I’ve bought a load of your Legio X transfers recently so you’ve had some cash off me). The design seems to be a variation on William the Conqueror’s banner, so I’m unsure if they borrowed it too. The design also pops up in Nico’s fabulous Norman army, which has inspired a lot of my own collection.
I had fun researching the shield designs – Normans give you licence to paint everyone as an individual with their own proto-heraldry and colours. The unit champion, Lord Weuere de Hallam, has a pair of entwined griffons on his shield – a variation on the family crest. Here you can also see the mud and blood splats applied liberally on the unit to distract from any irregularities in the sculpting, casting and painting.
The force has had several Saga outings, and I hope to grow it to a fully-painted 6-point force as soon as I can figure out how to paint horses. Can’t have Normans without lots of horses. I do deeply fantasise about having hundreds of troops for Warhammer 3–8E outings, but that’s at least several years off at my current painting rate.
I entered the all Normans I’d finished as of April into the Salute 2017 painting contest. Normally I paint miniatures specially for the contest (like these Algoryn last year), but I just took all the figures I’d got finished from my Saga force and blu-tacked them to a piece of plasticard. To my utter surprise and delight, I won Gold in the Historical Regiment category! I thought with them being painted to be “gaming standard” and also released in 1987 they’d be outclassed by regiments of newly-released plastics painted in NMM. Those Perry sculpts still got it.
I originally mixed together unarmoured archers with armoured sergeants as they were simply all the figures I had finished painting from across my Saga force, and I wanted the biggest mass of troops I could manage. It made me uneasy blending different troop types in the same regiment, but my friend Rob reminded me that was the Warhammer mindset speaking – only able to conceive of rectangles of identically-armed troops. In real life, Dark Age warfare was just a jumbled scrap of dudes with assortments of kit. Reading up on the period I discovered that King Stephen had used the tactic of mixing together archers and dismounted knights at the Battle of Standard Hill in 1138, so what was initially a bulking-out cheat turned out to have good historical grounding.
My second model in this group painting project is the Ventolin Pirate – the one figure I actually had when I started this project!
Nebuli Tsar with a Squat boarding party.
The Adventurer range is full of a great many concepts that weren’t developed further in Warhammer 40,000. The Ventolin Pirate has two pieces of background written about him. The first is “Ventolin”. The second is “Pirate”. Let’s explore each of these in turn.
“Ventolin” is a brand of asthma medication that’s been on sale in England since 1969. However, out of context it does look like the name of a planet / alien species / Imperial Army regiment / pirate warband. Presumably Tim Pollard slipped in the name as a joke as the model has a rebreather helmet. I like to think that Ventolin is actually a conehead alien race, and if I get a second figure I may convert it without its helmet on. There was a lot of scope in the early days of Rogue Trader for this type of humanoid alien race with brightly coloured skin and prosthetic rubber foreheads – just take a look at the Ironclaw Pirate range.
If you go with the “space is an ocean” concept, it must have pirates. Instead of being on boats, these Space Pirates are on board spaceships. Instead of being in sailor garb, they’re in astronaut suits. The model has vacuum-sealed cuffs where armour panels join on his arms and legs. I’ve avoided the stripey trews for this model, and instead he’s painted to match the Furnace Valley Squats for reasons that will become more apparent in future episodes of Choose Your Own Adventurers.
The vacuum-sealed cuffs, rebreather helmet, backpack and studded shoulderpad are reminiscent of the early Rogue Trader Space Marines. I’ve got a theory that this miniature was one of the dozen-or-so rejected Space Marine design attempts that Bob Naismith sculpted before he and Bryan Ansell settled on the LE02 Space Marine.
LE02 Space Marine and Ventolin Pirate.
To evoke a Rogue Trader vibe I added a freehand “GET VENT” on the shoulder pad. The phrase was AJ’s suggestion; others I considered were:
- VENT THIS
- VENTI VIDI VICI
- VENT OUTTA SHAPE
- VENT YOUR ANGER
- VIVE LE VENT
I kept the other shoulderpad free for a Claw Nebula Pirate symbol in the future.
Here’s a list of the other episodes in the group project: