Saturday, September 17, 2016

Dark Passage: The Pirate Lords of Háida Pakála

GW Tryanid Carnifex heads

GW Tyranid Hive Tyrant heads

GW Lizardmen Bastiladon (L) 
and Tyranid Exocrine (R) heads

GW Tyranid Tyrannofex (L) and Hive Crone (R) heads

GW Tyranid Tyrannofex heads 
(single variant shown twice)

GW Imperial War Manticore heads

GW High Elf Flamespyre Phoenix heads

GW Lizardmen Stegadon heads

Recently I started working on something I have been thinking of doing for a while. That is, taking bits from existing plastic kits and using them to make faction specific conversions to my Khmer galley and war canoe models. The intent was, and still is, to get proper Khmer and Cham prow and stern posts done. That is just taking a little longer than I had hoped. Still on "the list" though!

Anyway, a little while ago I picked up the heads shown below, sold as bits from a couple of ebay sellers. Given that I only needed the heads, why should I buy the whole kit?!

I have both full versions and cut-down hulls for both the galleys and war canoe models. The galley is 12" long and the war canoe 8".

Full and cut-down galleys

Looking at the bits available, I thought different ones would be suitable for various factions. One faction I am particularly interested in is the Pirate Lords of Háida Pakála. I particularly like the idea of using the GW Tyranid heads with the Háida Pakálan warships. My second choice would be to use them with the Tsolei Islander vessels, but I have found an alternative for them.

Below are the various heads shown blue tacked onto the galley and war canoe hulls. The idea of course would be to use greenstuff (or similar) to build up the hulls to suit. I think that the Tryranid heads make quite fearsome figureheads. Just the sort of thing the Pirate Lords would want!

Exocrine head on a war canoe

Two different Hive Tyrant heads 
on the war canoe

Carnifex head (variant 1)

Carnifex head (variant 2) - note poison sacks!

Carnifex head (variant 3)

Carnifex head (variant 3) 
shown from a different angle

Tyrannofex head shown on galley

Hive Crone head on galley

Hive Crone head on cut-down galley

Tyrannofex head 
shown on cut-down galley

Tyrannofex head variant
on cut-down galley

I mentioned the Islands of Tsolei. My thinking with these is to use GW Lizardmen heads. I've shown the Stegadon heads below, attached to cut-down galleys. I'm also thinking that Saurus Warrior and Temple Guard heads might suffice for the war canoes but don't yet have any to test the idea.

Stegadon head variants
on cut-down galley

Lastly, I think that the War Manticore and Phoenix heads are well suited for use in more civilized navies. So I am assigning them to the Tsolyáni navy.

War Manticore head variants
on cut-down galley

Phoenix head on full galley

In the next part, I'll describe some of the wilder ideas I have for these vessels for use with my Dark Passage naval skirmish rules.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Best Kept Secrets: Black Tree Designs' Fantasy Saracens

HM1230 - Saracen Elite Guards

Black Tree Design is having a sale, which has prompted me to post this in a bit of a rush.

Extended until Sept 11th, 2016. 

Historical and Fantasy Infantry 50% off. 
Giant Monsters 30% off. 
Doctor Who 30% off.

Why the rush?

Because I believe that Black Tree Designs' Fantasy Saracens make excellent proxy Salarvyáni, that's why! And if you agree, you might want to take advantage of the sale...

The figures are scaled slightly larger than our own, but not overly so IMO. I'm not sure how well they fit weapon and armour-wise with the army book descriptions. My book has gone on walkabout and is currently "lost" - possibly forever. A replacement is being sourced. Until then all I can say is "They look good to me"! 

They are bearded. Check. The poses are nicely varied. Check. The weapons are suitable. Check. The armour is suitably exotic, as are the shields. Check. (and we have variant shields available if required...)

The Palace Guards, shown below, appear to have an interesting "push-knife and shield" combination. See the detail pictures. One could use them that way or snip the blade off and use a regular shield.

HM1233 - Saracen Palace Guards

Shield Detail

Detail: Push-knife or plug?

HM1228 - Saracen Slave Guards

...with buckler.

The so-called "Slave Guards" need not actually be slaves for our purposes, merely lower class troops. Light infantry spearmen as were at the Battle of Ry, if memory serves.

The command packs have flags, which are coincidentally not bad for Salarvyáni. I'm afraid I botched the pics and put the standard bearers in the wrong packs. Keeping that in mind, the banner from pack HM1229 (shown broken in the bottom pic) has Arabic writing on it and so will need either substitution or conversion.

I found some Games Workshop Dark Elf bits on ebay that I thought worked well, and are shown below.

HM1229 - Saracen Command II

HM1233 - Saracen Command III

...with Dark Elf banner.

...other Dark Elf weapons.

Lastly, as I am going on about Salarvyáni I ought to remind you of these Scotia Grendel axemen. I may have blogged about these guys before. They get checks for beards, and nice variety of poses. The weapons would be ridiculously over-sized in metal, but made from chlén hide would not be as heavy as they look!

Scotia Grendel's "Men of the East"

Credit where credit is due: I did not paint the Serqu trooper in the pics above. He was done by one of Eureka's in-house painters IIRC. Name unknown.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Black Hoods of Lord Hrú'ú

I've been putting together a box of Frostgrave cultists to act as "Black Hoods" - agents for the Temple of  Hrú'ú.

I have to say that this set is really nice! So far I've put together four with crossbows and four with 2-handed mauls. Also a guy with a 2-handed sword from the other Frostgrave set. This guy I'm converting so he is pointing with his left hand. There is also a guy with a lantern (which also comes from the first Frostgrave box). There are twenty figures in the box. I am using the fully hooded heads and there are just enough to do that, although they are not all the same style. That is fine though, as Lord  Hrú'ú likes a bit (a lot!) of variety! The plan is to do two guys standing on guard, but not with the spears that came in the box...I am going to look at using Shen halberds. 

I am very impressed by this set. It even comes with some nice thin round bases. There are four body poses: standing, running forward, action right and action left. The main failing I can see is that the left arms all have hands which are not in a gripping pose. I would like to do some two weapon guys and will have to do some converting to get that. Not sure if I'm going to give these guys shields. I want a couple of more boxes though! 

The plan is to paint them black and purple. Black hoods - hence the name - with purple face masks. Oh, the other failing is that they are wearing baggy pantaloons. This may or may not be an issue to you. Myself, I am past bothering about little details like that. There are so many anomalies in the canon that one just has to "go with the flow" and work with what you've got.