Decades of exposure to Games Workshop’s marketing materials has conditioned me not to paint individual figures, but regiments, and then armies. There was no stopping at just one Gnorman Gnoll. Gnot on your gnelly. eBay trawling has turned up two more preslotta gems from 1981–3.
In the lands of the north, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the men of the north lands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale…
Exploring Citadel Miniatures’ pre-slotta ranges is a real journey of discovery and wonder for me. My knowledge of Games Workshop‘s miniature ranges starts with 1991’s Catalogue 1 – which only goes back as far as 1986 and not right to the beginning of Citadel history (1979) as the name suggests. There’s a great many pre-1986 miniature ranges I have no awareness of, and so I’d never painted any pre-slotta stuff until I found out about this Gnoll.
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.
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.
I’m researching and constructing a 28mm Late Imperial Roman army. It’s mainly for the thrill of watching a painted collection amass in the display cabinets, though also to serve as an anchor for researching and understanding the period.
The army will be constructed with the classic Foundry range as the basis. These miniatures are Perry classics. Here’s one of the best packs from the range.
I want to use the Foundry’s house style of painting for my army, but not necessarily the garish colour schemes shown above. That commander second in from the left! Red and blue and purple clothes? All at once?! Blerk! No thanks, sensible muted colours please. This is a historical army after all. I’ve dug up Late Imperial Roman forts, every archaeological find is brown,
So I dipped into my reference library to find out what shades of brown would have been in vogue circa 400AD, and this colour plate jumps out. Blerk, it’s that guy from the Foundry range, resplendent in red tunic with and orbiculi!
This is Graham Sumner’s reconstruction of a soldier as depicted in a Syracusian catacomb painting. The colours are taking from the original painting, so they’re authentic. I thought it really surprising. And cool, as the miniature has transformed from generic Roman into a real-life soldier with a name and dress sense.
This is Maximianus (hurr hurr, “-anus”), and he’s my first test model.