A Clash of Kings Part 2 - Gooseberries - Who Would Have Thought?
by, 07-06-2012 at 06:57 AM (1153 Views)
Welcome to part two of my project log. The difficult thinking part out of the way, itís time to get over last monthís indecision and start my journey towards next Februaryís tournament.
I was recently asked which hobby project I was most proud of and was a little lost for words. My mind went blank. I couldnít think of anything Iíd ever done, and then the perfect answer came to me. This one. Clash of Kings has given me the chance to do something a bit special, and Iíve got the time to make the effort. Iím not going to throw this together at the last moment for the sake of getting a game in, Iím going to go about it more carefully. Hence the length of last monthís post. Hence the amount of waffle it contained. Iím doing it again aren't IÖ?
Unboxing - Decimators
Without a finalised list, I wanted to start with a unit guaranteed to be in my army, and I knew that Iíd have at least one troop of these guys. Blunderbusses are cool. So what do you get?
The basis for these is five Dwarf Ironwatch sprues. To ĎAbyssaliseí them, there are four heads, six helmet extensions, and ten guns. Five of these are complete sets of arms in two different poses, and the other five are separate barrels. Every piece is exceptionally detailed and characterful, with helms depicting dragons, skulls, and all manner of strange paraphernalia. They are a very simple way to completely change the look of the plastics and give the Abyssal Dwarf army its own feel. The sprue itself, although economical, has a surprising number of combinations, especially when you consider that the parts are interchangeable with the full range of plastic Dwarfs.
The metal components have few mould lines, and the few chunky bits of flash were simple to remove. The majority of the excess metal is attached to parts that are unseen on the finished model, such as the bottom of the heads and the shoulder joints, to avoid unsightly flat areas where itís been removed.
At this point I must warn you that the Abyssal Dwarf army in its current form requires some rudimentary modelling skill. Before assembly parts of the heads and shoulders on the plastic dwarfs need to be cut down to accommodate the metal accessories. This is nothing major, but expect to spend a little extra time to get them looking their best. After assembly I used some putty to fill the gaps between the joins, but again, this was nothing too complex. I didnít have to sculpt anything, merely had to brush on some liquid green stuff and smooth it down to hide the joins.
Unboxing - Immortal Guard
As I said before, Iím looking for Immortal Guard to be the core of my army. However, they are a little expensive for my budget, and so I will be combining Immortal Guard and Blacksoul figures for mine. Oneís attention is generally drawn to the head of a model, and these are the same in both regiments so I will differentiate between the two with my paint scheme instead. I will not be assembling the Immortal Guard at this point Ė I'll wait until I have some Blacksouls and get kitbashing. This is what the set contains:
The starting point is two sprues of Ironclad command and two of Shieldbreakers to provide enough legs for the metal torsos. With clever use of parts, I can actually get more than ten figures from the set. The metal components are: eight torsos, four of each pose; ten heads; two helmet tops; a standard pole; and thirteen shield/banner icons. Even with just two torsos there are plenty of options. The armour and helms have intricate, ornate detail, and like the Decimators the beasts sculpted onto the shield icons and helmets give a strong character to the Abyssal Dwarfs. After a quick dry-fit, it seems that a bit of putty will be required fitting the metal torsos to the plastic legs, depending on the combination, but Iím sure it will be nothing too difficult. At first I was a little unsure about the price compared to the Blacksouls kit, but having seen the number of chunky metal pieces you get it makes a lot more sense Ė this is well worth the money, as is the whole army set.
Unboxing - Katsuchan Rocket Launcher
What a gorgeous piece this is. Itís as if the rockets are being launched through the skull of one of the great beasts of the Abyss. Here are the components:
The war engine itself is based on an Undead Balefire Catapult, with Dwarf Cannon crew. There is a faceplate for the machine, as well as a rocket, two big spiky hubcaps, and new heads for the crew. I canít tell you how nice the design is. Once the new book is out and Iíve had some siege games, I might have to pick up a few more copies of these components to mount on siege towers, rams etc. My one gripe is that one of the crew has just the one pose and heís holding a shell. Not a problem when heís firing a cannon, but for this war engine I would prefer for him to be holding a rocket instead. However, as I said, I will have more than enough spare parts from the Immortals to make a new crew member.
The Decimators are done! You may remember that I wanted to try something different, and go for a light colour scheme. Well it took a couple of attempts, but I got to something Iím happy with. If youíve seen my Forgefathers, youíll know that I have a thing for painting short people yellow. However, with the background that Iím formulating, my dwarfs think rather a lot of themselves and therefore need ornate, golden armour, but I thought that may clash with the yellow. Looking at the other armies where Iíve used gold or bronze, it also seems far too warm a colour for an evil army. I wanted something colder and dirtier. The answer? Tin Bitz, drybrushed up to silver, with a couple of coats of sepia wash. I was very impressed with the results Ė gold without using gold. The mustard colour was built up from ochre to yellow, and then again given a sepia wash. With the two main colours out of the way, I used light, earthy browns to pick out belts, boots, pouches and gloves, and painted all the beards white so theyíd really stand out. Finally, I picked out the eyes and crests on the helmets in Warlock Purple. Although this is barely noticeable on the Decimators, it will feature much more on some of the other units in the army. Itís a nice contrast colour for the yellow, and itís about time I found a use for it!
Overall a very simple scheme, but thatís a good thing. I have a deadline to complete this army, and if I can achieve good results in a short amount of time it makes my life a lot easier. It means Iím less likely to get bored while painting and Iíll have more time to focus on other aspects of the army, including getting some playtesting in!
As I said last month, Iím going to be multi-basing this army, for many reasons. As such, I didnít attach the miniatures to their bases before painting. In fact, I didnít use the normal bases at all. There have been comments flying around about various companies that make unit bases, but none that Iíve seen are a: customisable enough, and b: cheap enough. It seemed the only solution was to make my own.
First step was to purchase some 2mm MDF cut to the right sizes, i.e. 40mm x 100mm for a the Decimators. I laid out the assembled models onto the base to see where they would fit and marked the positions. At this point I decided to reduce the model count of the unit and only have eight models per base. The whole piece looked less crammed, the figures ranked up easier, and it gave me the freedom to put scenery in the gaps. The leftover parts will make conversions a lot easier too. The beauty of Kings of War is that doing this makes no difference in the game.
Once I had the positions marked up, I used a 16mm drill bit to cut holes for the bases of the models to slot into, and then glued another piece of MDF to the bottom. If anyoneís seen the unit bases sold by PK-PRO, the result was similar but at a fraction of the cost. Iíd estimate that this base cost about 25p (and half an hour in the workshop, but whatís time when youíre having funÖ and playing with power toolsÖ).
I said I was going to mount some sort of damage counter into the base, but in my haste to get the unit finished I forgot. Luckily, having fewer models on the base has left a convenient space at the back, enough room for a couple of dice. Perfect!
When it comes to decorating the bases, Iíve gone for simple drybrushed sand to represent bare earth. I will then accessorise with rocks and dead grass and trees to give the impression that the presence of the Abyssal creatures taints everything nearby. I also used the piles of bones left over from some Skeleton sprues. For the trees, I scoured the garden for suitable looking foliage and returned with a few twigs and twisted bits of ivy, but it didnít quite work. Then I found it: the gooseberry bush. The lower branches had died and been affected by some sort of grey and yellow growth. Looked rather awesome. You were waiting for the title to make sense werenít you? Results below:
Until Next Time
So, I hope youíve learnt something today. With luck it will even have been from this postÖ What are your thoughts on my progress so far? Comments and questions are welcome below.