Tuesday, 14 August 2012

On Your Marksmen…

They dress like Tileans, shoot like Dark Elves and steal like drunken students ... what is there not to love about The Marksmen of Miragliano?

Marksmen of Miragliano
We're known as the Oculus Tauri ... because our general is pretentious.

The last of my Perry Brothers-sculpted Regiment of Renown is my favourite. Fluff-wise, it's a nice idea to feature a band of expert sharpshooters among the Dogs of War regiments. And on the tabletop, 20 x S4 shots at BS4 certainly came in handy (this was prior to the 8th edition, when you'd have to hunt around for a hillside to shoot in two ranks).

All this has changed as they've been co-opted into the Empire army - now they're just regular crossbowmen, probably with an unnecessary command group. All that remains are the sculpts.

Marksmen of Miragliano
The Marksmen Brothers: Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, Gummo and ... Karl?

But what sculpts! Even compared to the Republican Guard and Alcatani Fellowship, these are another level in terms of detail and individuality. There are 14 distinct models, with barely a headswap among them: some are in chainmail, some wear breastplates; some have shoes, some have boots; not to mention the variety of caps, pot helms, fur hats, feathered hats, bald heads and bandaged heads.

The backstory of the Marksmen is that, to earn a place in the regiment, each crossbowman must shoot a bolt through a gold coin at 300 paces. Sure enough, each model sports a gold coin with a hole in the centre (usually worn on the hat, although some went down the body piercing route).

Marksmen of Miragliano
"Yes, the ring through the nose looks stupid, but you don't want to know about my first choice."

The command group actually looks as if they belong to the regiment, which is a pleasant rarity. Given that I went with a fairly large unit, I happy about the drummer as a musician (to my thinking, drums are for heavy infantry, horns and trumpets are for cavalry and skirmishers). The standard bearer got the usual 'bull icon' glyph, with a bolt through the bull's eye, and the regiment's initials 'OT' in the corner (note: after many tries, I realised I would never get the 'O' to look italicised).

Marksmen of Miragliano
The banner is wavy, that is why the bolt looks crooked.
My painting is beyond reproach. How dare you.

The already-established colour scheme was straightforward enough: Red Gore for the cloth, Shadow Grey for the trousers (and again for the fur, highlighted Skull White), Burnished Gold breastplates and a mix of Scorched Earth, Snakebite Leather and Desert Grey for the bits and pieces.

A final word about the detailing: there was so much here that was above and beyond what was necessary, which made them a joy to paint. From spare boots and flasks, to looted silverware and poached pheasants, it really made them seem like a band of mercenaries on campaign. And I'll hand over to George Bernard Shaw to back me up here...
"You can always tell an old soldier by the inside of his holsters and cartridge boxes. The young ones carry pistols and cartridges; the old ones, grub."
Marksmen of Miragliano
Hare, knife in boot, extra flask, spare boots, wood chopper, bag of loot, spare shoes, pheasant.

With my other three units, these bring my total missile troops to 45. That's probably more that I need for small-scale battles, so I don't know how much table time the whole regiment will see. But I'd like to get some of them into play - it wouldn't be the same wi'out a bit a bullseye.

Marksmen of Miragliano
"You've won a pair of binoculars, a tea set, a food mixer and a 22” colour

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