Wednesday, 29 August 2012

An Easterling Parade

The Easterlings. Mortal men in the service of the Dark Lord Sauron, summoned from the evil kingdoms of the ... I'm going to guess 'the East'.

You might remember them from such memorable scenes as: the bit where Frodo and Sam disguise themselves as a rock.

Easterling swordsmen and halberdiers
"It was the Black Gate of Mordor! It was a pivotal point in the story!"

But the costume designer's work was not in vain, and from that humble beginning sprouted a subset kingdom of LotR miniatures. Fairly nice ones too, so when I was looking for halberdier models that didn't look ... well, bloody ridiculous (seriously, a barefoot Empire soldier?), I went back to the LotR range.

Easterling halberdiers
"Take it easy, Barry, it's just a rock. A rock with two sets of hobbit footprints leading up to it."

I was looking for halberdiers because, back when this was a Dogs of War army, the Paymaster's Bodyguard was so armed. Which means that, yes, I had this model in the centre of the unit (maybe they would get along if they didn't talk politics).

Massive discrepancies in allegiance notwithstanding, I was taken with these metal miniatures. They have the same fine detailing and realistic proportions as the Dogs of War models (unsurprising, as they share the same designers). They have unique weapons, very cool helmets and an overall 'Near East' look that references their historical origins (such as Byzantine), without being so accurate that it becomes a distraction (I'm looking at you, Lorenzo Lupo). And in terms of Dogs of War, their outlandish appearance actually adds to the idea of a heterogeneous mercenary army (if I'd actually planned this out, every regiment would have been from different part of the Warhammer world).

In fact, their armoured 'Kataphrakt' cavalry is much closer to the Empire Knights that I'm desperately trying to proxy ... but I'm trying to behave myself with buying new models (so watch this space from 2016 onwards...)

Easterling swordsmen
"So what if my upper chest is covered with cloth?
That big metal triangle over the crotch is all I care about."

Even by GW standards, the three-man blister packs were expensive. Luckily I was able to trick myself into buying the 20-strong regiment by picking up the occasional blister pack about once a year - so when it finally came time to paint them, I was all set (in your face, parsimonious me!).

But the cost meant that I couldn't have anything go to waste - and of course GW couldn't possibly countenance selling anything other than mixed blisters - so almost half the halberdier regiment is armed with swords. Or, to put it another way, over half the swordsmen regiment is armed with halberds.

So you see what happened there? I've unwittingly uncovered a bit of versatility.

Easterling swordsmen
10 Swordsmen. I feel this strange sense of detachment.

With sufficiently understanding opponents, I now either have a 20-strong unit of swordsmen/halberdiers or a 10-strong detachment of each. Despite being more expensive, the Swordsmen may prove more useful as a full unit, having a higher WS and with those new rules for shields.

I'd rather the Halberdiers didn't have shields (they were moulded on, so I have no choice), as they can't use them in close-combat and don't get that special save, but they would make a good detachment. I can imagine how a supporting unit of 10xS4 attacks would come in handy.

(Yes, these are humans. I have to get excited at the prospect of S4 attacks.)

Easterling halberdiers
10 Halberdiers. I feel this strange sense ... we've already done that one.

The paint job followed the rest of the army: for the bronze armour, Burnished Gold base – Chestnut Ink wash – Burnished Gold drybrush –  Devlan Mud wash. Shadow Grey trousers and Scorched Earth shields. Red Gore for their sashes, neck scarves and ... those bunny ears on their helmets.

And then it came time to paint their eyes - buried very deeply into their helmets so as to be almost unreachable, but still visible enough that they would need to be painted. Because who WOULDN'T enjoy doing that?

A slight departure in the paint job came with their tunics. As this was an elite unit (or would have been, when they were Paymaster's Bodyguard. Now they are a regular unit, and the Republican Guard, who were regular, are now elite Greatswords. Do try and keep up), I wanted them to stand out with white tunics.

Of course 'white' white never looks realistic, so I undercoated Skull White, washed with thinned Shadow Grey to take the edge off, and then drybrushed, and drybrushed, and drybrushed.

Easterling swordsmen
"They're not kilts, Steve. Highlanders wear kilts. These definitely feel like maxi dresses."

Anyway, it think it was worth wearing down my second-best drybrush to a nub, because I quite like the effect. It helps that the models are metal - I don't think the plastic versions would have been so accommodating.

They even come with a command group. No musician available (and I didn't the presence of mind to convert one - you'll just have to imagine that one of the rank and file can make hooting noises), but a captain (with an odd pose of his free hand - I think he's operating a record turntable) and a banner bearer (with banner already attached - happy days).

Easterling command group
In keeping with the 'bull banner' theme, this one depicts a snake.

So that's the eastern contingent, colourfully known as The Blades Of El Haikk, who have joined the Tilean mercenaries for the promise of gold and glory.

And with that, my Dogs of Empire army is complete. So ends Phase 1 of my Great Big Painting Plan - and on schedule for WoffBoot VI.

Gentlemen, I shall see you at the tables.

1 comment:

  1. Bring the pain. Even now, the boyz of Gnashbad da Bad muster in the Border Princes, their choppas set to loot.