Wednesday, 6 June 2012

From Guards to Greatswords

Do not be deceived. These warriors may resemble Ricco’s Republican Guard, the toughest pike unit in Tilea, but they are actually a work-in-progress for Empire Greatswords.

Ricco’s Republican Guard
Swords sold separately
This part of my project to turn a 5th Edition Dogs of War army into an 8th Edition Empire army (albeit a mercenary one). Pikes will become spears, light cavalry will become pistoliers, the paymaster will become a warrior priest (switching spiritual incentives for material ones). I hope to have them ready  in time for MidWoffBoot ’12. (Yes, you may tremble.)

Given this lot already resemble an elite unit in full plate armour, Greatswords are the obvious choice. I’m still working on how I can convert their pikes into plausible great weapons (replacing them with the big swords from the Mordheim sprue was one thought – but I don’t have enough of them, and the ‘legs braced’ stance of all the models suggests it would look weird with anything other than a polearm).

In the meantime, I thought I’d celebrate by completely changing their colour scheme (this may be a common thread in a lot of my projects). I really wasn’t happy with this paint job and, as such, these poor pikemen haven’t been featuring in any of my army lists drafts.

Here’s an insight into my battle strategy: while some generals will pick a flavour theme and follow it, others will choose an army that exploits the rules to best effect. After some debate internal I’ve realised that I generally favour units based on how happy I am with how they look. The more satisfying the paint job, the more likely they are to see table time. As a stratagem this is, quite obviously, insane.

I’ve nothing against the sculpts. Like a lot of the Dogs of War range (assuming we can overlook Golfag’s Ogres), the miniatures are really well done: characterful, great level of detail and, unusual for GW humans, with proportional heads, hands and weapons.

All right, I’ve got something against the sculpts. Those pikes were an absolute bugger to attach: difficult to superglue directly on, and too small to pin. By the time they were assembled, I had already had enough of them and just wanted them out of the way. It also didn’t help that they were the last unit in a paint-an-army-in-a-week endeavour.

Ricco’s Republican Guard
Sorry boys, Daddy doesn't love ya.
They’re also a hassle to arrange. Their poses of pikes-pointing-forwards looks lovely and dramatic, but they tend to jab into each other. The arrangement you see is pretty much the only way they will rank up (unlike the other pikemen units, who have different poses for the ranks – the back ranks hold their spears vertical in an admirable nod to heath & safety).

To get a ‘burnished armour’ effect, I just covered the whole model in Burnished Gold, washed with chestnut ink and drybushed to finish (you’ll notice that even the musician has bronze shoes and tights – must be comfy). The effect looks far too gold, and tends to blend into the flesh tones of their faces. It’s a shame, as there is some great ‘lobstering’ detail on the armour that I think could really be made to stand out. I’m going for a darker undercoat with lighter drybrushing, and see what that does.

The other problem is their colour scheme (bronze armour and pink-red finishes) is the same as my other pikeman unit – The Alcatani Fellowship. This was fine when they were the only two units in the army (I really don’t think ahead), but for the polyglot collection of a mercenary army, I’m looking for more distinction. Since I happen to like The Alcatani Fellowship more, so they get to keep their colours.

So bid farewell to Ricco’s Republican Guard: The Fighting C-3POs!

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