Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Pikes – they're like a spear, man

Alctani Fellowship
“SPARTANS! TONIGHT WE DINE IN … where have we got vouchers for? Pizza Express?

The Alcatani Fellowship, the poor man’s pikemen of Tilea. A natty combination of classic Greek helmets, late-medieval body armour and rather skinny jeans.

Alctani Fellowship
"What are we - the anti-aircraft part of the regiment?"

Despite their status as cannon-fodder (their stats were comparable to Goblins) – or perhaps because of it – there is a really impressive variety of models. Including command models, I counted 20 different versions.

Alctani Fellowship
Plate armour pole dancing is a very specialised fetish.

"Hey, let's do that thing where
we all hold our axes in exactly the same way."

Now, I realise that lots of these poses are just ‘man holding pike’, but at a time when Beorg Bearstruck and the Bearmen of Urslo were considered acceptable variance, the Perry Brothers really out-did themselves to make each one different:

  • Some plumes are horsehair, some are bristles.
  • Helmets are open, Corinthian-style or carried under the arm
  • Arms are covered with plate or chainmail
  • Breastplates are differentiated with rondels and straps.
  • Not to mention all the stances and poses are individual - not just a bunch of lazy head swaps.

Alctani Fellowship
I have no idea how an enemy is supposed to go base-to-base with these.
But if my guys flee before combat in every battle, I'll have no problems.

And here’s a nice touch that seems obvious, but almost never happens: when the pikemen have their short swords drawn, their scabbards are modelled as being empty. You can see this in the front rank models, where the huge spear clearly isn’t enough of a weapon.

Alctani Fellowship
“If they gets past twelve feet of sharpened wood, they still have to face Mr. Stabby.”

Speed and uniformity were the priorities when I originally painted these, so they got my usual treatment for bronze (White primer – Burnished Gold base – Chestnut Ink wash – Burnished Gold drybrush).

I bronzed them up with a Devlan Mud wash, but didn’t give them the full Republican Guard treatment, as my drybrushing isn't neat and I knew I'd end up messing up other finished areas.

To get the 'rusty chaimmail' look, I just put several coats of Chestnut Ink on a White Primer base, which seemed to do the trick. The plumes and scabbards are Red Gore (damn you, camera – they are NOT pink!) and the trousers are Shadow Grey.

Alctani Fellowship
“What’s your name?”
“Don’t tell him, pike!”
“Christ, it’s going to be a long campaign.”

I think every model in the regiment is an excellent piece of modelling, so it’s strange that I really didn’t like the command group. The captain, Rodrigo Delmonte – with his eyepatch, battle hammer and long hair – looks completely out of sync with the rest of them. As for the musician, my dress code draws the line at puffy tabards.

Yeah, those Berserkers of Khorne are really quaking.

The standard bearer does look perfectly fine, so he made the cut. I swapped the top of the standard from a winding snake to a bull’s head (taken from Morglum Necksnapper's back banners), as I once had a notion of calling the regiment ‘The Toreadors’. In keeping with that, the banner (which took me ages to get around to, as I hate painting the damn things) is the icon of a red bull.

Alctani Fellowship
Other super-caffeinated beverages are available.

To lead this regiment, I used a converted Lorenzo Lupo (I also have an unconverted one as army general). His gladius was removed and replaced with a huge battleaxe, his head was repositioned so he is looking sideways (which also makes the swish of his cloak more dramatic), and the plume of his helmet turned forwards, so it matches the regiment. Same paint scheme as the regiment, with a Skull White cloak (washed with thinned Shadow Grey) to make him stand out.

Lorenzo Lupo
“Father of a murdered son, husband of a murdered wife, owner of a mangled accent.”

So that’s The Alcatani Fellowship, who are facing employment difficulties and so will be freelancing as Empire Spearmen until further notice.

Alctani Fellowship
“I tell you buddy, this far from the fighting, we got ourselves a sweet deal.”
“Rulebook, page 5: Models Are Removed From The Back Rank.”


  1. So, do you still have the unused leader and musician? Might they feature later in the army? They are ripe for conversion: musican -> engineer; leader -> warrior priest, perhaps...

    1. No. I bought this regiment back when you could actually specify which models you wanted, without having to buy them in a batch, or take pot luck.

      It was a golden age of mail order...