Thursday, 2 August 2012

Gold and Glory

My armies have never had very good standards (boom-tisch!) but back when this was a Dogs of war army, it would be unthinkable not to have a Paymaster (who, in addition to holding the coffers, fights like a hero, carries a big flag and allows Break Tests to be re-rolled – so I think I can see the direction they were going with this one).

Lord of the Rings Boromir and Bilbo
Guys Who Went Nuts Over The One Ring Society: founder members.

The original rules also allowed the Paymaster to be accompanied by an account-like figure called a Moneylender – his stats were poor, but he allowed some boosts to the Paymaster’s abilities.

My first thought (and I use the word ‘thought’ advisedly) was to place both Paymaster and Moneylender on the same 40mm base. I could create a nice little scene with a model paychest, and it would act as a unit filler for the Paymaster’s Bodyguard. There were a number of glaring obvious problems with this:
  • Unit fillers are meant to linger at the back of the regiment, bulking them out and being easily removable when it takes a lot of casualties. Not with two distinct characters standing front n’ centre.
  • What happens if they leave the unit? Or if only one of them wants to?
  • What happens if one of them gets killed?
  • How do you determine where attacks are directed?
  • What, no Stomp attacks?

Lord of the Rings Boromir and Bilbo
"I can't take it anymore, Felix, I'm cracking up. Everything you do irritates me.
And when you're not here, the things I know you're gonna do when you come in irritate me." 

Some, or all, of these problems became apparent in their very first outing. The simplest solution became to swap them out for a spare model that had been previously removed as a casualty. Which raises the question: why bother having it at all?

Switching to an Empire army provided an elegant solution: rip them off the platform, give them their individual bases and forget the whole thing happened.

Battle Standard

For both models, I went with more LotR range, as the scale and the detailing matched the Regiments of Renown models.

The Battle Standard is the “Boromir, Captain of the White Tower” model (otherwise known as “Two Towers, Extended Edition Cameo” model) – largely based on the impressive flag that came pre-modelled with him.

Lord of the Rings Boromir
One does not simply glue one's sword to a banner.

The colour scheme was well-established by this point: Burnished Gold armour (with a subsequent Devlan Mud wash to bring it into bronze), Red Gore cloth and Shadow Grey trousers. For the cloak, I repeated the technique from the Spearman captin: Skull White, washed with thinned Shadow Grey and drybrushed Skull White. He gets a golden sword too, on account of being special.

Lord of the Rings Boromir
If his performance on the table matches Sean Bean's career
 ... well, he's going to die.

The banner was a Chaos Black base with the not-quite coverage of Skull White (I deliberately put it on thin, so it wouldn’t look ‘A4 paper white). Not being artistic enough for a pretty banner, I went for a simple icon of a bull’s head (that I was able to repeat across the whole army). I think it comes out well, rather looking like my only option.

And my Tilean army has its standard, borne by Captain Fagiolo.

Warrior Priest

… now in my defence, as a Moneylender, Bilbo Baggins seemed a perfect fit: diminutive stature, natty little suit, book under his arm (the Red Book of Westmarch, acting as an accounts ledger) and holding a tiny piece of shiny metal (probably a penny or something).

Lord of the Rings Bilbo
In cinemas this December. And again the year after. And then again after that.

Aside the from the fact that the model was teeny-tiny (smaller than any goblin I’ve painted), the paint job was straightforward: Red Gore weskit, Bleached Bone cravat, Shadow Grey lapels and cuffs and Codex Grey suit (then washed with thinned Black Ink and drybrushed Codex Grey). The hair was Skull White, discoloured with thinned Codex Grey.

Lord of the Rings Bilbo
"It's all tax-deductible, I'm fairly incorruptible."

Weighing in at twice the size of this wee hobbit is the mighty Pay Chest – the only reason this army goes to war. The chest is a plastic shot locker from the Empire Cannon kit (the only reason, I believe, that I bought the box set), some chain wrapped around it (supplied from a Christmas cracker) and the final link manacled around Bilbo’s ankle (just to make sure he doesn’t lose the coffers). Shining Gold for the fixtures and Desert Yellow for the wood, washed with Brown or Chestnut Ink to age it up.

Lord of the Rings Bilbo
I haven't seen a chest that impressive since Barb Wire.

So this shall be my Warrior Priest – perhaps serving less of the ‘warrior’ (since he appears to lack any armour or even weapons) and more of the ‘priest’ (albeit offering more temporal incentives). I see him acting as the role of a ‘battle auditor’: keeping an eye on his regiment’s performance (and therefore encouraging them to act with Hatred)

He will also be able to offer a number of inducements during battle:
  1. "Performance-related bonus!"
    In the press of the fighting, the Paymaster offers extra wages for every enemy slain. Re-roll to wound.
  2. "You break it, you bought it!"
    The Paymaster decides that all damaged equipment will be docked from pay. All soldiers immediately strive even harder to stay in one piece and gain 5+ ward vs. close combat wounds.
  3. "Cook the books!"
    A sudden fear of auditing leads to the Paymaster setting fire to all receipts and ledgers. The unit gains Flaming attacks, enemy models in base contact takes S4 hit (S5 if Undead or Daemon, who are more vulnerable to Insolvency).
My army now has its funding – thanks National Lottery!

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