Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Morgan’s Free Men

I can always find a use for cheap, expendable troops, and they don’t come much more disposable than the Free Company (which is a pity, as I really like the paint job on these, and under my aesthetic selection criteria, I’m more likely to use them that, for instance, my knights).

Empire free company
It's so embarrassing when you turn up in the same outfit.

The models are put together from the Mordheim sprue, which is still one of the best multi-part plastic kits I’ve used. There are so many options for weapons, heads and poses, and almost any arrangement makes the model look dynamic.

If I had my time again to start an Empire army, I’d get a dozen Militia boxes as the core of Swordsmen, Halberds, Crossbows, Handgunners, Archers and, of course, Free Companies.

Empire free company
Conversion on the left: cutless blade removed to make a 'knuckleduster' and cloth cap 'shaved' off.
I think it makes him look like a Mitchell Brother - not an wholly undesirable effect.

For a metal snob like myself, the discovery that you could convert miniatures easily and effectively with a few snips and a bit of plastic glue was revelatory (no pinning? no green stuff? no losing the top layer of your skin to superglue?).

I didn’t do much in the way of conversions (a few weapon swaps, altering heads so they were all unique), but I liked the possibilities (and got carried away with subsequent regiments – with decidedly mixed effects).

Empire free company
Simple weapon swaps. Left: sword replaced with knife.
Centre: extra blade added to make the axe into a battleaxe.
Right: extra sword, with greatsword on his back - this guy came prepared!

In terms of paint job, I gave them all Blood Red shirts after the ‘Camicie rosse’ volunteer militia of Giuseppe Garibaldi (and it has only just occurred to me that any aficionados of Star Trek will assume I am making a joke about their life-expectancy. That was not intentional. I am a class act.)

They also have Shadow Grey trousers, as does the whole army, in my attempt to create some uniformity. It looks blue in the pictures, but they're not all wearing Levi jeans.

Empire free company
Left: halberd cut down to make an axe.
Right: hair (and ear!) removed, so I covered the mark with a duelling scar.
Centre: continuing the scar idea, I gave him a dead eye (looks mean, and I get to avoid painting an iris!)

The sergeant's head is from the Empire Cannon crew (as is the model with the leather coif and three swords). The bandage around his head is deliberately spotless - I liked the idea that, while the company is filled with scarred brawlers, their leader has a recurring and unspecified head injury that sometimes means he has to sit things out (when facing a hoard of Chaos Warriors, for example).

The expression on his face, combined with the raised cutlass, manages to make him look ferocious and terrified at the same time, which is about the right effect. As a mark of his authority, he gets a red neckerchief made from green stuff.

Empire free company
He led his regiment from behind, he found it less exciting.

10 down, 139 to go!

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