My hobby turns 18 – congrats, I guess!

 

Since I last posted, I have more or less gone back to where it all started, with fantasy wargaming. Together with the rest of my club I have been mostly playing A Song of Ice and Fire: The Miniatures Game since it came out, but I have also been collecting several Warhammer armies for Oldhammer, or more exactly, Middlehammer purposes.

Here, then, is my brand new Empire army. First, though, a little history lesson.

I was just a fifteen-year-old boy when I started the hobby. Back in the summer of ’69, pardon, ’01 I was walking around in Brussels with my wallet stuffed with Belgian Francs after passing my third year of high school, when I chanced upon a Games Workshop store with the usual displays of excellently painted models in the window. I thought to myself: “Hey, you can do that too!” and left with the 6th edition starter set and a paint set. From then on, every Saturday I’d take the bus to Brussels, spend my allowance on a blister or two, and be home for supper ogling my new acquisition at the table.

Empire was my first army, and let’s just say I learned a lot by doing things wrong – very wrong. Things like:

  • Thinking that I could wash every colour with black ink, because black is the absence of light, innit? No, it isn’t.
  • Trying to glue a metal Warrior Priest to a plastic base using plastic cement.
  • Using blood red on the back of shields.
  • Painting the inside of a model’s mouth blood red – because it really is!!!
  • Putting a broken pot of plastic cement in a spare GW paint pot, which began to melt, turning into a sort of Nurgle paint pot (and a health hazard, too)
  • Attempting to melt a blocked superglue nozzle by holding it over a flame. A bit of molten plastic fell onto my right index finger, producing a T-shaped scar which I carry to this day.
  • Unsafe cutting, clipping, ruining clothes, licking brushes, and so on, and so forth.

This time around however, I used my eighteen years of experience to produce somewhat better results.

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You already saw my Empire Elector Count on Griffon in a previous blog post, so here are the other characters. From left to right, we have a Captain, a Battle Wizard, the Battle  Standard Bearer, a Warrior Priest and another Captain. Apart from the Wizard these are all Warlord Games models.

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Pikes! Pretty much all Warlord Games models, some with heads from old Empire models for variety, and a few Foundry models such as the one all the way on the right. I’ll be using these as plain Spearmen when playing vanilla Empire, or I could play a Marienburger Empire army using the back-of-the-book list from the 6th edition armybook and use them as Dogs of War Pikemen. I have two 30-strong blocks of them at this point, the other one is just more of the same.

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Halberdiers. I only got 12 halberd-armed Warlord Games halberdiers in my set, so I had to be creative to get a 20-strong unit. The musician and standard bearer add two models, the unit champion is actually Georg Von Frundsberg (what a demotion!), the model all the way on the right is the sleeping guardsman model from Warlord, and there is a unit filler on a 40x40mm base in there. Sorted! I do have 12 more Halberdiers on the way – Warlord was friendly enough to send me another batch of bits – and I can always try to convert some more with old GW bits.

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Handgunners, of course. This unit is almost completely Foundry with just two Warlord models, and I have another comprised entirely of the latter. As you can see here I went for some rather simple colour combinations – the tendency with landsknechts is to paint every little sash and puff and slash and hose and feather a different colour and then stripe it with yet another, but in order not to go mad I went for simple halved or quartered designs of contrasting but not clashing colours. Here and there I did add some stripes, but only sparingly. I think the models still look Landsknechty when ranked up into units.

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I wanted my Greatswords to look more armoured than the other guys, so I used the three arnoured bodies fron the Warlord kit, I also wanted a little bit more uniformity in these guys, so I gave almost all of them plumes on their helmets or hats and painted those a simple white and red.

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I also wanted me some Flagellants, but as the old metal models are hard to come by for a decent price, I went with the different vignette models from Warlord Games and rolled them into one chaotic 20-strong unit. If I do ever find an actual Flagellant unit these will instead serve as Free Company Fighters.

 

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These Knights from Foundry have been lying around in my drawer for years, but have now finally received a coat of paint (and therewith a coat d’arms, ha!). I have just the six models, so in order to buff their size I decided to use a vignette to fill it up for the time being. I’ll get more Knights from Foundry at a later date.  Although I had the greatest fun painting these models up, the riders kept detaching from their horses all the time, due to an imperfect join.

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The last argument of Elector Counts, eh? These Great Cannon are great models from Foundry. Still on the lookout for a Mortar though, and I should have an 18-year-old Helblaster somewhere…

So, what’s in store for this army? Well, as I’m writing this I have just played my first 2000-point battle with it against my friend Jonas’s Skaven. Despite having the worst of luck with the dice I managed a draw, but there was much fun to be had in returning to 6th edition Warhammer.

Another friend is gearing up to start a late medieval Swiss army, meaning I will be able to use my models as landsknechts and play games of Warhammer Ancient Battles and Hail Caesar with them.

At any rate, I have further additions in store for this army. Those extra Halberdiers are nearly done, and then I have some Archers, a 24-strong block of Swordsmen, some Crossbowmen, perhaps more Handgunners… I also have a Steam Tank lying around somewhere!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 18 years of painting, it’s that the painting never stops…

 

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