Saturday, 30 June 2018

Tor Megiddo: Oil & Blood, Part 1

The Purebred

Roughly a month ago, Saul (aka Warboss Kurgan) suggested we play a campaign as a sequel to the Tor Megiddo event game to which he contributed last year. Needless to say, we were all extremely hyped at the idea of following up on the footsteps of such a great project. The challenge, of course, is to come up with models and a story that, while being our own, fit in the setting and athmosphere created by Alexander Winberg and brought to life by everybody involved in the original event.
For me, this meant binging on the whole Mad Max series and poring over all the pictures of the gangs participating in the game. I quickly realised that, as much as I liked the various mutants and twisted cyber-altered loons featuring in the original cast, my heart realy beats for the more human barbarians scraping a living on Tor Megiddo. At the same time, I was drawn to the aestethic of Wez and the Humungus' pack from the Road Warrior.

This quickly evolved in the idea of one of the Yaike Yaike tribes being able to avoid mutations by following the teachings of a tech-wytche expert in biology. The wytche preaches that the tribe can achieve salvation by purifying their flesh. This requires sacrificing newborn muties to a twisted version of the God Emperor, keeping females under lock in a fortified rad-shelter and, if mutations occur later in life, amputation and crude cyber replacements. The wytche also sanctions who can mate within the tribe, ensuring that only the stronger and healthier of its members carry any offspring. With this basic outline for my tribe in mind, I got some Khorne Bloodbound models, Genestealer Cults upgrades and assorted bits from our box and started converting. Here are the first members of the Purebred.

The Warleader

As the spiritual leader and keeper of the flesh of the Purebred, the tech-wytche is too precious to be risked on raids out in the wasteland. This is why he (or she, I haven't decided yet!) leaves such matters to the alpha male of the tribe. The Exalted Deathbringer with Impaling Spear was the perfect model to represent the peak of careful human breeding. The only actual conversions on him are the removal of all obvious Chaos iconography from the armour and the replacement of the spear head with the chainblade from a Sentinel and of the orc skull dangling from it with a scrap-tech fetish made out of a Space Marine Auspex. Then, instead of the khornate gut plate, I placed a holster, a canteen (both from Cadian kits), a pouch with grenade (Genestealer Cult Upgrades) and stick grenades (Goliath) around his waist. I also attached a holstered shotgun (from the old Space Marine Scout Bikers) to his back.

For painting, I kept to a palette of black, mustard, beige and dull metal, with some touches of red on the armour plates. The skin was painted in a darker tone than the one I normally use since I've reasoned that, when spending your life in an irradiated desert, even if you can avoid mutation, you will at least be sunbeaten.

The Tribesman

I decided to use the Bloodreavers as bases for all my tribesmen, giving them heads from the Genestealer Cult Upgrades with sculpted hair. The first one I did has a shotgun (again from the old Scout Marine Bikers) and a combat knife (Tactical Marines). Finally, I sculpted fur to cover the khornate symbols on the model and added pouches, grenades and a canteen (Cadian again).

The colour scheme follows exactly the same pattern used for the warleader.

I'm also really pleased that the Cadian accessories include an empty knife sheath. It sits so well with the combat knife carried in the tribesman's hand!

The Rider

This model was originally not planned, but as I rummaged through the bits box the head and tail of the classic Necromunda Ash Wastes mutant horse jumped at me, together with a horse body from the Chaos Marauder Raiders and a baggage/backpack from some Gorkamorka model. Too good bits to pass them by!

Legs from an Empire Knight, grenades from the Genestealer cult upgrades, the Vox Operator torso and an autogun from the Forgeworld Renegade Militia completed the model, which was again painted in the same palette as the others, although with almost no black. The horse scales gave me the opportunity to add some drab green as a spot colour.

The Rider fits perfectly with the Tor Megiddo aestethic, but obviously not with that of the Purebred. That's why I am developing his story as a wandering mercenary, a kind of twisted, cruel version of Max Rockatansky.

The Sandhound

This was yet another unplanned model that screamed to be included. I had a headless Chaos Warhound after converting a Chaos Spawn and in the bits box I found a Drakespawn head. A touch of greenstuff to reconstruct the missing fur on the breastbone and I had a mutant dog to act as the companion of one of the tribesmen.

I applied the same colours I used for the Rider's mount and kept the fur black so that the model fits with all the others.

The fluff for all of them is still pretty basic, as I am developing it slowly, while we flash out the storyline for our upcoming campaing. By the time I finish the four tribesmen currently on my desk, it will be much more developed.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Thy Soul to Keep, Part 11

The Dead Shall Bar the Way

Pieter van Toorn had lost count of the days passed since An'sec misteriously left him for dead. He had tried to return to W├Ârtbad, only to find himself lost in the Harrowmark. He had started to wonder if he had died and his soul had been trapped for ever in that dreaded wood spanning 10,000 leagues in all directions. Then, one morning, he stumbled upon Karol. The Cuirassier had been searching for him. Even stranger, he had been sent by Kalyustar. Pieter kept trying to make sense of the wizard's actions as Karol led them toward Leechminster and from there to the Soulbridge Realmgate. With An'sec gone, Kalyustar seemed to have turned away from the dark path. Yet, the Witch Hunter could not bring himself to trust him. Only by trial, he could be sure that Kalyustar was free from taint.

Thick, dark clouds run over the pale Harrowmark sun as they reached the outskirts of Leechminster.

The Soulbridge was on sight when a cluth of Deadwalkers emerged from the woods, shambling towards them.

The two men felt the chilling touch of a dark shadow passing over the forest and lingering behind a crumbling mausoleum. The forest was filled with moans and creaks, deadwalkers emerging everywhere around them.

Pieter and Karol opened fire at the nearest Deadwalkers and barged past them to slam into the next. Suddenly, they were surrounded by the shambling undead.
"Split!" ordered van Toorn as single swipe of his Zweihander decapitated three zombies.
"Whatever is controlling them is behind the mausoleum, we must cut its ways out!"

Karol slashed another undead down, trumpled over the last one and made it through a copse, only to find his way barred by more zombies.

Skeletal hands erupted from the ground around Pieter, grabbing his legs as another wave fell on him.

More Deadwalkers emerged from the woods. Behind them, a stooped figure surrounded by a nimbus of amethyst light left the shelter of the mausoleum. They lurched towards Karol.

Pieter hacked at the zombies and skeletal hands still grabbing at his ankles. But more zombies were coming.

The largest group of zombies reached Karol and dragged him down from his saddle. Cackling madly, the Necromancer slammed his staff on the Curassier chest.

Pieter saw the man fell. "He fought valiantly, Sigmar will surely rescue his soul".
With this words on his lips, the Witch Hunter barged through the zombies barring his way and made it for the Soulbridge.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Free Companies of the Gilded Hand - 9

Aurelian's Aurpards

The Aurpards were founded in the Age of Myth by the first Venithyan merchants that joined their resources to establish the Gilded Hand cartel. They were the only company to include both the red and yellow of the Gilded Hand heraldry on their own shields and were known as the Gilded Guard. At that time, aurpards, pack felids that prowled the gold-rich Glimmerpeak, posed the gratest threat to the Venithyan convoys on the first leg of their land journey to the Mercurial Gate. It became customary for the Gilded Guard to don the striped pelts of the beasts they killed during their journeys and to depict the aurpard on their shields and helm crests, thus earning them a new name among the Venithyan populace. Expert pikemen, they remained the foremost Free Company as the Gilded Hand turned into an alchemist guild. Through the Age of Chaos, the Realmgate Wars and the Season of War, they continued to unflinchingly serve their masters and to protect Venithya. Their current captain, Aurelian, has reintroduced the practice for parties of recruits to kill an aurpard before they can formally join the Company. Having to work together to separate the beast from the pack, corner and skewer it on their pikes, they develop a spirit of camaraderie the like of which is not seen among other Free Companies. Rightly proud of their skills and heritage, the Aurpards have recently been claimed by Lord Captain Rodrik as his personal bodyguard. Ever since, Aurelian has proven to be an excellent second-in-command and many in Venithya are sure he will succeed the hoary veteran at the head of the city armies.

Aurelian's Aurpards are the last human Free Company I'd planned and wanted to be a tribute to the pikemen introduced in the Dogs of War Army Book. There were many pikemen companies, but I've always favoured Leopold's Leopards, in no small part because of the great illustration that featured in their profile page.

On the other side, I found that the original models didn't quite capture the feeling of that illustration, in particular the nobility conveyed by the helms and their crests.

So, my objective was to have models that more closely reembled the fighters in the picture. To achieve that, I had avoided using the armoured Freeguild Guard bodies for my other companies. Once combined with the Empire Knights' arms, helms, shields and pelts, I had exactly what I wanted!

For Aurelian himself I used the last head from the Freeguild General, the one with the helm sculpted as a felid head with a laurel. I also wanted his pike to look slightly different, so I combined the Empire Knight banner bearer arm with the pike from the really old Unded Chariot (think it was a 1992 model!).

The musician and banner bearer required some additional work to give them armoured left arms with weapons, which I made by combining Empire Militia and Knight of the White Wolf arms with spare blades from the Freeguildguard. The banner bearer has a machete-like blade, which was a way to link to Leopold's original model.

As always, I tried to give a tribute to the colour scheme of the original models, hence the white trousers. However, since I kept copper or gold armour for my heroes, the Aurpards were given a dull iron armour. As always, the red and yellow tie the models with the other Free Companies, but they are more prominent on them as the oldest Venithyan Free Company.

For the pelts, since I'm not good enough of a painter to do leopard spots, I went for an easier striped pattern. And I have to say, I'm rather pleased of how they actually turned out!

And with them, my time with Freeguild is over! This project started with the release of Age of Sigmar and the Empire Batallion going on Last Chance to Buy. It feels right that it finishes before the second edition comes out.
But do not be fooled, I'm not done with the Free Companies! There are still non-human Regiments of Renown that I want to replicate!