Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Road To Cavalry

They got horses, don't they? What do you mean they're not Reiksguard Knights of the Empire?

Riders of Rohan
"Just keep cool and look imperious. No-one will notice."

Not quite as tenuous as my Pistoliers, the second half of my Riders of Rohan box set are proxies for Reiksguard Knights. Their slender spears are representing the mighty lances; those bronze horse caps count as full barding. Their shields still count for shields.

Look, it made a lot more sense when the Dogs of War list had medium cavalry as an option.

Riders of Rohan
"Should I mention that I've still got a bow on my back?"
"Don't complicate things, Stibbins."

Once you've looked past the fact that half of them are carrying swords and axes, the models are pretty good. Nice detailing on the armour and cavalry gear; realistic sizes to the steeds and weapons; dyamnic galloping poses.

Riders of Rohan
"Charging down a sheer slope in the second move felt a bit ... unrealistic."
"Wait until you see the elephants in the third one."

The LotR models don't come with musicians, so I had to fashion one from a metal Rohan Royal Guard. His spear was unattached (though his fancy shield was molded on, or else I would have confiscated it for the captain), so all I had to do was chop down a spare High Elf trumpet.

Riders of Rohan
Rataplan! Rataplan!

The standard bearer was another metal model: Gamling the Royal Standard Bearer. In the books, he had a reasonably important role in the armies of Rohan; although in the films he was just another one of those guys who fought like a chump, just to show how awesome Aragron, Legolas and Gimli were.

Riders of Rohan
The banner is metal, the rider is metal, the horse is metal...
This guy took a couple of magnets to hold him down.

He was chosen because of my dislike of fashioning paper banners, so I picked the one model who came with his own metal banner. I discovered that having a fold right in the centre of the flag really didn't help me to paint a sigil on it. I had the idea of an elegant, Celtic-style horse stencil (the kind you get on chalk hills), but had to settle on the army's bull-symbol in Bleached Bone (for an army of mercenaries, there really is a lot of uniformity in their banners).

Riders of Rohan
The 'P' stands for 'Picadors'.
Or maybe 'Ponies', whichever sounds tougher.

As with the other cavalry, they were undercoated in Chaos Black to speed up the armour drybrushing and give the horseflesh a darker texture. Shadow Grey for the sleeves and trousers. For the horses, Bestial Brown with heavy Brown Ink (Chaos Black manes and tails, to distinguish them from the all-brown archer cavalry). To make them seem more elite than the horse archers, the scraps of armour were Burnished Gold, and the cloaks Dark Angels Green.

The only model not to have a cloak, in fact, was the leader of the cavalry. I'd chosen the Éomer model, which seemed like an obvious pick, and he looks sort-of commanding. Although without his cloak, he does come across as diminished, and not in-keeping with the unit colour scheme; neither of which was ideal.

Riders of Rohan
I don't care if you are the Third Marshal of the Riddermark - put on your cloak or you'll catch cold.

I tried adding some Dark Angels Green to the swirls on his armour, but that didn't really do much. So I had a go at making a cloak from Green Stuff (I prefer using it to smooth and fill, rather than sculpt from nothing). The final result did end up clinging to the saddle a bit, but I also managed to get it suitably flappy, and with a hardening coat of superglue over the top, it was ready to go.

Riders of Rohan
"Damnit Jim, I'm a medium cavalryman, not a Knight Perceptor!"

I'm not as enamoured with this unit as I am with the infantry units in the army, even before they started pretending to have more armour. But the new Empire army book seems to encourge the use of knights by making them cheaper and more ubiquitous, so I guess we'll see how they work out on the table (maybe sporting a Post-It note, with "THESE ARE KNIGHTS" written on it).

Tally ho.


  1. I got a couple of good results in banner making, back in the day when I did this, by using the heavy metal foil from the top of a fancy bottle of wine. It takes paint well, you can mould it dynamically and you get a free fancy bottle of wine out of the deal. Some GW chappie recommended it on an 'Eavy Metal page, which dates both it and me rather. It certainly beat my previous attempts, which used cocktail sticks and blu tack.

    1. Hmmm, I'll give that a try. The tip I remember from 'Eavy Metal was to use the foil from a tomato purée tube (I never tried it, as tomato purée is much harder to dispose of than wine).

      Either that, or they gave you a sheet of banners to photocopy. I still have banners proudly showing my colouring-in-book efforts.