Finished Grave Guard (Picture Heavy)

I have finally finished the first ten Grave Guard!  I am pretty pleased how they turned out.

First, the Standard Bearer – the unit’s standard bearer with the Banner of the Barrows, in this case indicated with a magic chalice icon.  Next: the unit champion.  He is unfortunately rather hunched forward, so hard to see his detail.  Following the seneschal, the musician, and then a bunch of pictures of the unit comes together.  For these pictures I did find one pattern where they ranked up acceptably, so that’s a welcome surprise.  The Grave Guard are equipped with Great Weapons.  My plan in-game is to run 20-25 Grave Guard plus the Wight King (Battle Standard Bearer) in a 7 by 3 formation.  Not including the BSB that comes to around 320-380 points.

I also took some shots of the “army” as a whole now – everything I have painted up for this force so far this summer.  I plan to add ten more Skeleton Warriors before I leave Ireland.

First two Grave Guard complete

I finally finished the first two Grave Guard.  I have been working on another, secret project that kept me away from painting my Undead.

One reason I am very happy with these two warriors is because they rank up successfully!  Seems rare for anything I build, unfortunately.  I also incorporated both grey and purple as subtle spot colors to further help set the Grave Guard apart from the regular skeleton warriors.

Finished Painting Isabella von Carstein

I painted this model not for my growing Undead army, but for fun and a chance to do something different.  This was the first time I painted a female character model.  I did not want to have the model appear vampiric or undead, so I focused on more of a steam-punk/victorian look.  This is the Isabella von Carstein model in Finecast – my first Finecast model – and since painting I have managed to bend her sword back to a more appropriate straightness.

The pictures were taken without sunlight (for the first five) and with sunlight (for the last four), so I hope the mix of lighting schemes gives a clear enough picture of the finished model’s appearance.

WFB Estalian Army Idea

Inspired by the recent image on Bell of Lost Souls here, I have been thinking about Estalia.

The Monstrous Arcanum book begins with a very cool story of a Tilean city-state, Vedenza, under siege.  The description of the original attackers from Larhgoz, an Estalian principality, got my mind working…

The Estalians brought with them their chivalry, the retainers of Larhgoz and free-lances beguiled by promise of fame and vengeance – a thousand steel-clad knights in heavy plate, bright of armor and dark of heart.  With them mixed Tercio regiments of glaive- and crossbow-armed veterans, and with them all manner of bandit rabble, spurred on by the hunger in their bellies.

I think this could easily be represented by an Empire force: Knightly Orders, halberdiers and crossbowmen.

…long had the King of Larhgoz, Vidar, seventh of his name, had the reputation of a butcher and consorter with fell powers, for with him rode the Mortiara – that forbidden sect of Morr, outcast from their church for their nightmarish heresy – the Strega of the Bone Hills, curses burning on their lips, and bloody packs of Skin Wolves, loping, savage were-creatures as tall as an ogre…

King Vidar could be an Empire General, while the Strega seem to me to be twisted wizards using Amber magic.  As for the Mortiara, I am not sure – what do you think?

(Note: all quotes taken from Monstrous Arcanum by Alan Bligh/Forgeworld; page 7.)

Building Plastic Grave Guard

Recently I purchased a box of the plastic Vampire Counts Grave Guard.  I built the ten with full command and great weapons.  I like the models quite well, but I wanted to write a small post here about difficulties I had putting them together.  So in a way this is a “review” of the plastic Grave Guard, but really I intend it as a “heads up” to others.

I had two noteworthy issues with the models, and one minor one.

First, I had problems with the wrist-hand connections for every model armed with a great weapon.  If equipping the grave guard with two-handed great weapons, there is one arm with the weapon, and a detached hand gripping the upper haft of the weapon; the other arm ends at the wrist.  I had a lot of trouble getting reasonable poses with the great weapons while also creating a realistic or believable wrist bond.  (Example of a believable wrist bond: the end of the arm connects to the wrist of the hand.  Example of an unbelievable wrist bond: the end of the arm connects to the palm of the hand and the great weapon’s haft.)  This problem was related to the second.

The second problem I had was with ranking.  As with the skeleton warriors before them, my grave guard do not rank up very well at all, their two-handed axes and short glaives touching the models in front of them.  This occurred in part because of the wrist-connection issue (see above), and it happened despite of my efforts to model them with ranking in mind.

Now, I am no master-modeler, and I believe someone with more experience and dedication could work through these issues.  But if or when I get another box of grave guard I will be taking special care with both of these issues.

Finally, the minor issue with the plastic Grave Guard is the weakness of their spine-joint, which connects the multi-part, fairly heavy torso/arms/head/weapon with the single-piece, glued-to-the-base legs.  This join is fairly small, but a lot of the model’s weight and pose depends on it.

So, those complaints now vented, I think the pauldrons and two-handed axes make this set worth it by themselves.  Just take your time putting them together, and be precise with the ranking!

Wight King Standard Bearer

Finished the Wight King Standard Bearer for the army.  Again, the direct lighting really “yellowed” the pictures.  Still, I hope you are able to see the model well enough.

This is the Finecast Wight King Standard Bearer model for Vampire Counts.  I added the large kite shield from the Skeleton Warriors kit, and painted the model in the same ways as I have the rest of the force so far.  I chose a grail-like icon for the banner because 1) I felt confident I could tackle the icon, 2) I don’t like overly-busy banners, and 3) I wanted to tie the force to Bretonnia somehow.

Finished Skeleton Warriors Regiment

The Wight army continues!  Last night I finished the first ten skeleton warriors, and with some sun this morning I tried to take decent photos.  They are not so great, but hopefully you can still see the models clearly.  This unit marks a lot of firsts for me:

• First use of new paints

• First use of Citadel spray paint

• First use of static grass

• First use of Citadel glues

• First Vampire Counts unit

The biggest problem with this unit is that I did not pay enough attention when building them, and they do not rank up very well.  I am hoping with another 10 or so Skeletons added to the unit I can assuage this effect a bit.  And a movement tray…

I used a lot of washing and drybrushing, and I think these models reward those techniques.  I am thinking about buying another set before too long.  Next painting project: Wight Standard Bearer.

Four Finished Wights

Except for a hard coat finish, these four models are done: the Wight King, skeleton warriors champion and two basic skeletons.

The method I used to paint the skeleton bone was very easy but also very effective.  The models were spray-undercoated with Chaos Black; then a base of Rakarth Flesh was applied.  Over this I washed Agrax Earthshade, which I find to be an all-purpose wash.  Otherwise the skeletons are painted to match the Wight King – Macragge Blue armor washed with watered down Sybarite Green; Averland Sunset cloth glazed with Bloodletter, etc.  I am pleased with the result, and also the speed I was able to complete these new models.  I also very much liked the textured paint – Lustrian Undergrowth – for the bases.  Nevermore gluing and then painting over loose sand!

Wights in Dublin

So, I’m in Dublin for the summer.  I brought no hobby stuff over, so I am enjoying the process of buying everything new – new brushes, new paints, new models.  I couldn’t resist the Wight King model, and that’s led me to some Skeleton Warriors….so I guess this is becoming an all-Wight Sorcerous Pact for my Bretonnian Army.

Here are some pictures of the nearly-finished Wight King, using the new paints!  Also, a look at the undercoated Skeletons, and a few shots I took at the GW store – they have some nice tables here, and I especially liked the Ent in the woods (can you see him?) and the large Ork bastion structure.  Check it out.

Bretonnian Bowmen

First progress in a while; finished my first three Bretonnian peasant bowmen.  I tried a new technique on the faces using two tones, and I am very pleased with the results.  I am not sure if it comes through in the pictures: Elf flesh and Dwarf flesh.  A big improvement.

29 more (and eight defensive stake bases) to go!