Saturday, 22 July 2017

Free Companies of the Gilded Hand - 5

Karol's Cuirassiers

Karol's Cuirassiers can trace their origins back to the first mercantile expeditions that ventured out of Venithya during the Age of Myth. Back then, the Gilded Hand and the other merchant cartels running the city used to recruit the Jawmoon tribesmen from Ghur to escort their caravans. Skilled riders and archers, they ranged ahead of the Venithyan caravans on their sturdy ponies, spotting threats and chasing away raiders and wild creatures. Over the centuries, many Jawmoon clans settled on the plains outside Iridiumspire, the fortress guarding the land approach to Venithya. Staunchingly traditionalist, they only recruited from their tribes in Ghur and continued to trust into their bows and leather jerkins. During the Age of Chaos, as links with Ghur were severed, the Jawmoon Horsemen kept up their numbers as best as they could recruting from the populace of the lands outside Iridiumspire, sallying forth from its gates every time Chaos raiders were spotted. By the time the Realmgate Wars broke, only a handful of true-born Jawmoons remained, amongst them Karol. Still valuing the hit and run tactics of his people, but aware that better equipment was needed if they wanted to bring the fight to the Chaos hordes, he traded bow and leather jerkin for guns and armour provided by the Venithyan forges, turning his clansmen into the Curaissiers. They fought at the forefront of all the expeditions mounted by the Gilded Hand to reclaim long lost commercial routes, winning great renown and hoping to find a way back to their ancestral lands. Years on, Karol still leads his Cuirassiers. Although they have been to Ghur many times, the lands have been so twisted by the Dark Powers that they could not recognise the landmarks their elders told them about. Their quest continues, their allegiance to the Gilded Hand crucial to guarantee a constant supply of armours and guns.

This time, I've decided to tackle Voland's Venators, the Dog of Wars heavy cavalry.

I could have assembled the Empire Knights straight out of the box and use the Compendium warscroll for them, but I couldn't resist the temptation of kitbashing them with the leftovers from the Freeguild Crossbowmen/Handgunners and turning my Knights into Pistoliers. So Karol, the unit's Outrider, got a Reapeter Handgun, while the rest of the units will get all the pistols.

The head and wolf pelt come from the Knights of the White Wolf upgrade sprue. The rest of the unit will instead all wear feathered helms and no pelts. In this way I'm both replicating the difference between Voland and the other Venators, while also giving a nod to the current Outriders wearing jackets above their armour.

The wolf pelt also gave me an area where I could replicate the white of the shields from the original Venators. With the red of the lance tassels turned into the colour of Karol's sleeves and the barding and armour done in glossy black and brass, the original colour scheme was maintained. Finally, I've used the ribbon hanging from the gun to add a touch of yellow and tie Karol to the other Free Companies.
I'll have the rest of the unit ready soon, but meanwhile Karol will see some action in the twisted forests of the Harrowmark.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Free Companies of the Gilded Hand - 4

Fernando's Fancy Fencers

Fernando was born shortly after the Realmgate Wars to a mid-ranking alchemist of the Gilded Hand. His father had grand plans for him and traded many of his discoveries to secure a place as apprentice for his son. But alas, the young Fernando was much more interested in the pleasures that the brothels, drinking and gambling dens of Venithya could offer. It was in these places that he learned the art of fencing and built his reputation as a troublemaker. Kicked out of the Gilded Hand for the many embarassement he brought to them, he joined his companions of debauchery Esteban and Jorge on a successful career as hired sword. As prosperity was returning to Venithya, so did rivalries between wizard and merchant houses and it was easy for the three to find employment either as bodyguards or killers. Soon, they had a following of young men, eager to join them in the lucrative business and in the lavish parties they threw at the Laughing Maiden. The Fancy Fencers were born, yet the older Free Companies still frowned at them. Then Fernando's favourite courtesan mysteriously disappeared. It took the Fancy Fencers months to discover the ring of masked cultist responsible for it. Worse still, their leader was Fernando's father. Bitter about the failure of his son to enter the Giled Hand Inner Circle, he had resolved to claim that place by himself, even if that meant trading his soul to the Chaos Gods. Fernando did not care about gods, but he wanted his vendetta for the young woman his father had taken from him. He waited until they congregated in the palace he had called home and with the help of his companions killed every one of them. The Gilded Hand, freed from the cancer growing within them, set Grundok Ironfrown, the Elder representing the duardin, to reward Fernando and his men. Ever since those days, they proudly wear the bucklers the Runelord forged for them and have gained the respect of all the other Free Companies. But still, those that favour them the most are the wrenches and scoundrels of Venithya, cheering everytime the yellow feathers of the Fancy Fencers and Esteban's piping announce it is time to have a decent party to forget about the darkness outside and within Venithya.

The start of our Skirmsh campaign was approaching fast, so I only painted the five models I needed for my warband. The other five are right now on the painting desk, but I'll spare them to you.

As I did for the Venithyan Marksmen, I've replicated the colour scheme of the original Regiment of Renown, Vespero's Vendetta. Since they had no feathers I was free to choose the colour for them and, once again used yellow. This way the Fancy Fencers remain distinct, as a regiment of mercenaries should be, while still showing their alligiance to the Gilded Hand.

Meanwhile, I've also started working on my next Free Company, Karol's Cuirassiers. I'll have them ready soon, especially since my warband has already grown and I wnat to add some cavalry.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Sal's Ford Connection - 4

Grabbing and Chasing

***File J85-Vox/Pic Capture--SOURCE: Classified--SECURITAS: Adeptus Maxima-INQ:Quintus Severus***

My Lord, as you orderded I haven't conducted any direct investigation into the movements of the Scuttlers but rather continued my under-cover engagement with the Cult of the Divine Illumination. However, rumours reached us that a load of unknown origin had appeared, from one cycle to the other, in Sump Crawl and that it was the infamous cargo of the Scuttlers. Magister Silas immediately mustered a raiding party and we moved into the area. As we approached, Brother Thomas was sniped at from extreme range.

Merkzy Banda and the Skinnymen were also converging on the area, moving on the upper levels. The Van Saars let loose a few granades and halted the Merkzy Banda's advance.

As if a silent pact had been signed, the Cult concentrated their fire on the Merkzy Banda. It's not the first time I saw that happening, established gangs dealing with pretentious newcomers before sorting their own rivalries. Some Brother went down, both to return and inaccurate friendly fire from those behind them.

The Skinnymen continued to rain grenades on the Merkzy Banda closer to the stash. As the cloacked outsiders finally legged it, a close-range fire-fight broke between the Cult and the Skinnymen. It looked as if we were having the upper hand, but then Newton Heat sprung up after getting a glancing hit and put his power sword to good use.

Magister Silas saw there was no point in continuing the engagement and instead ordered to follow the Merkzy Banda. Battered as they were, chances were we could relieve them of some of the caches they had managed to steal. We quickly caught up with them and Brother Thomas, although still shacken by the hit he'd taken, pinned a few forcing them to drop their cargo.

We rushed to grab what we could, but the superior weapons of the few remaining Merkzy Banda stopped us from reaching them and claiming the rest of the loot.

Magister Silas took the little loot me managed to recover to the Cult's base, claming it was nothing more than techscrap. I suspect he was keeping something hidden from the rest of us. I shall look into this, even if it means infiltrating the Magister's private quartes. Agent LVC, end of report.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Free Companies of the Gilded Hand - 3

Slowly, but work on the Free Companies of the Gilded Hand is going ahead. Hopefully, I'll have enough models painted for the starting warband I'll take to a Skirmish campaign set in Warboss Kurgan's very own Harrowmark. This time around, I've been working on some close quarter fighters, the duellists and reckless thrill-seekers known as...

Fernando's Fancy Fencers

The plan for them was to replicate the look and feel of the classic Vespero's Vendetta.

Ufortunately, I had used almost all the left arms with daggers I had on other models. The other problem I faced was the lack of male heads with long, flowing hair in my bits box. The heads with feathered hats from the Freeguild Crossbowmen and Guard, however, screamed 'fancy-dressed rogue' as much as long hairs and I settled for them. The head from the Feeguild General also has a skull nested on the hat's brim, so I've managed to give a tribute to Vespero's Death Mask without having to go into more extensive conversion work.
To replace the daggers I thought that bucklers would be equally appreciated by professional duellists. Not to mention that, game-wise, they will avoid confusion between Freeguild Guards with Militia Weapons or Sword and Shield. I had plenty of bucklers from the Duardin Thunderers set, and they worked just perfectly on the Freeguild range. As you can see, I didn't remove the duardin runes from the bucklers. Well, there'll be an explanation for this once the Fancy Fencers are painted and given their bit of back story.

The bodies are from the Freeguild Crossbowmen command group, the only three bodies to come without the left arm in that kit, and the unarmoured ones from the Freeguild Guard. Since the original Vespero's Vendetta had no command group, I felt free to give them a piper rather than a drummer as stated in the Freeguild Guard warscroll. It makes much more sense for a bunch of wealthy young men seeking the best pleasures Venithya has to offer to ease their days with some merry tune than to march at the sound of drums, doesn't it?

The last thing left to do was to give them mantles. In the original models and rules, the mantles were used as shields, thus they were rather long and wrapped around the left arm. Since my Fancy Fencers have bucklers, there was no need for the mantles to be long, so I kept them short.
I've just realised this is the first time I took WIP pictures just before priming my models, showing that I base them during the building stages. I do this as I see bases as part of the models and prefer to paint them alongside the rest. The other thing is, I keep my bases very simple (just some sea sand and slate chips) and in neutral colours to match as many gaming tables as possible. Who knows, one day, if I decide to experiment with some more scenic bases I might try and paint the bases separately.

The Sal's Ford Connection - 3

Of rescuers and creepers

***File J84-Vox/Pic Capture--SOURCE: Classified--SECURITAS: Adeptus Maxima-INQ:Quintus Severus***

My Lord, I have to report some serious developments from Mancunius Dome. It seems that not only the Scuttlers are moving, but that colleagues of yours have taken an interest in the area. But let me proceed with order. After the Span Yarders' attack against the Cult of the Divine Illumination, Magister Silas' managed, I don't know how, to locate the captured members of the Cult in Rank Oats, on the way to the Pit. The Span Yarders had put up a well patrolled perimeter.

We approached in two groups, taking what little cover the crumbling manufactorum walls could offer. Two of us mugged a first sentinel, while Deacon Steven freed Brother Peter.

The two moved forward, preparing to fall on the sentinel watching Nobody from his back. We duck back into cover, and from there shot down the Span Yarder patrolling the walkway above.

That was the signal for Deacon Steven. He bathed the other sentinel in prometheum, finished him off with his knife and freed Nobody. But the commotion was too much and Span Yarder reinforcements moved in, their boltguns blazing.

Steven and Peter went down but managed to crawl in cover. Nobody, with typical Ratskin's skill, legged it putting as much distance between him and the pursuers as he could.

We also started to backtrack, bolt fire raining on us from the gantries above.

Then we found we'd been surrounded as the Span Yarders' leader and his personal bodyguard emerged from a derelict hab-block along our escape route.

Yago summoned his wyrd-fire and blasted the bodyguard, but he left himself open to the leader charge. He must have had some sort of anti-wyrd, psy-weaponry because Yago turned into a bubbling idiot and we were overcome by an unnatural dread and had to fall back.

[ADDENDA: This is indeed Inquisitor Faziel. What in the Emperor's Name is he looking for in Mancunius Dome? INQ QS]

Nobody was still pursued, but he spotted a safe path around a huge industrial vehicle. Magister Silas immediately followed the Ratskin.

The Span Yarders couldn't catch him but in running after him they gave us wounded a chance to sneak away safely.

My Lord, I'm sure the Span Yarder leader is an Inquisitor. I've seen the effects of your gear, and the ones he was carrying did exactly the same. How am I to act if we run into him again? Please instruct me. There's more I'm worried about and on which I'll need your orders. It seems that, as the Skinnymen and Merkzy Banda met to exchange prisoners, they then clashed over some pieces of discarded tech scattered in the area.

That would be nothing special in Mancunius Dome, if it was not that the Skinnymen, even if having the upper hand, had to retreat as, apaarently, they were attacked by shadowy figures moving on spider-like mechanical limbs.

These can only be the Scuttlers. They are moving, my Lord, but it is still not clear if they've the permission of Pa'smond Massoonan to operate in the Sulfured Quays. Agent LVC, end of report.