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  1. #1

    Default Curis' Normans and Medievals (Imperial Guard July 2018)

    In the lands of the north, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the men of the north lands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale…

    Exploring Citadel Miniatures' pre-slotta ranges is a real journey of discovery and wonder for me. My knowledge of Games Workshop's miniature ranges starts with 1991's Catalogue 1 – which only goes back as far as 1986 and not right to the beginning of Citadel history (1979) as the name suggests. There's a great many pre-1986 miniature ranges I have no awareness of, and so I'd never painted any pre-slotta stuff until I found out about this Gnoll.


    Gnollin the Gnoll.

    This is no ordinary Gnoll – his nasal helm, kite shield and hafted axe mean he's Fantasy Tribes FTG14 Gnorman the Gnoll. I picked him while I was trawling the net for 1980s Citadel Normans to reinforce my army. His giant nose and teeny legs do put me in mind of Noggin the Nog.


    "Hello" said Noggin, cheerfully. "Very pleased to meet you."

    Gnolls in the Warhammer World are described as having ruddy flesh, but I thought that when placed alongside regular Normans he'd work better with green skin to reinforce his inhumanity. As I found out reading Goblin Lee's blog on Gnolls, the Fantasy Tribes Gnolls were later rebranded as C12 Great Goblins, so I can claim the green flesh is goblin rather than botched Gnoll.


    Gnollin with more Normans I've painted since Salute 2017.

    I now have fifteen Norman Sergeants, which allows them to rank up pleasingly in a five-by-three regiment. Though these models have been primarily used in Saga where round bases are king, I do like the 20mm square bases to make them into a neat and imposing regiment.


    Lord Weuere happy to let Gnollin in his shieldwall.

    I really enjoy slipping this little piece of fantasy into my historical force; I want to push that envelope further. Watch this space!
    Last edited by Curis; 07-19-2018 at 03:36 AM.
    My miniatures blog: www.ninjabread.co.uk

  2. #2

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    Decades of exposure to Games Workshop’s marketing materials has conditioned me not to paint individual figures, but regiments, and then armies. There was no stopping at just one Gnorman Gnoll. Gnot on your gnelly. eBay trawling has turned up two more preslotta gems from 1981–3.



    Lord Tisserand with his hawk Antonius, accompanied by two Gnolls.

    Lord Tisserand is a simple conversion of the Wargames Foundry ex-Citadel Normans with the arm from a Black Tree command figure holding a hawk swapped in to make him a regimental champion. I also sculpted on a strap so he could carry a shield while waving around the Bird of Command – but that’s barely worth mentioning as this sentence took longer to type than the strap took to sculpt.

    You can see the original figure as it appeared in White Dwarf 92, with the cliché French names variously inspired by Inspector Clouseau, Rémy Martin cognac, Marie Brizard liquer and maybe ‘Allo ‘Allo characters.



    And just what is the French for “cliché”?

    Why a hawk? Hawks were a symbol of authority in Norman times. The Bayeaux Tapestry initially shows Harold holding a hawk, and switches to showing William holding a hawk when his claim to England’s throne becomes legitimate.

    [/i]

    I might push this idea of animals symbolising command into the realm of fantasy and model a Norman King on a giant hawk or griffon. I am enjoying the blend of historical and fantasy in the same project.



    Lord Tisserand and the Gnolls against Undead Wights.

    All three Gnolls I have painted now are variants of the same figure. In the above image the right-most Gnoll is the unadulterated miniature. The one on the left I converted with an arm and sword from a 1980s Citadel Goblin. The central Gnoll is the resculpted version that appeared in the later C13 range – who has the same body but a new weapon arm and head. Challenge now is how to convert future Gnolls to provide enough variety for a complete Gnorman regiment.
    My miniatures blog: www.ninjabread.co.uk

  3. #3

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    Friar Tuck, legendary tonsured companion of Robin Hood, joins my miniatures collection.



    “Praise the Lord! And pass the tax rebate!”

    Friar Tuck was an impulse purchase whilst acting as Nottingham cultural attaché for visiting family members. Warlord Games (a Nottingham company) have a small range of Heritage Miniatures they’ve slipped into local tourist spots like the the National Justice Museum and Nottingham Tourism Centre. I quite enjoyed making my turbo-nerd purchase in a regular retail outlet – it’s like being able to buy Dungeons & Dragons in the same place as your milk and morning papers.



    “If Curis has seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giant Robin Hood statues.”

    Tuck’s base was originally built up with sand to accommodate the cast-on scenic base. But the original sculpted base features what looks like a little tombstone with FRIAR TUCK engraved on it, which I thought implies he’s the friar that’s just buried Friar Tuck, or alternatively Friar Tuck’s ghost. That was too much narrative for me. So I chopped it off.




    Friar Tuck in the Monastery of Abingdon.

    The basing style matches my Warhammer Age of Sigmar and Dungeons & Dragons miniatures, and not my Citadel Normans. Tuck is too big to stand alongside the older 1980s Perry sculpts, plus friars are anachronistic in Norman times. But then friars are anachronistic in the classic Robin Hood setting of Richard the Lionheart. I plan to paint some monks/friars/priests that are compatible with my Normans.

    Cool ending tangent fact: – the Friar Tuck action figure from the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves toyline was based on the Star Wars Gamorrean Guard?
    My miniatures blog: www.ninjabread.co.uk

  4. #4

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    Thanks Codsticker! I'm slowly getting the hang of buildings. Thanks mrtn.

    I'm researching and constructing a 28mm Late Imperial Roman army. It's mainly for the thrill of watching a painted collection amass in the display cabinets, though also to serve as an anchor for researching and understanding the period.

    The army will be constructed with the classic Foundry range as the basis. These miniatures are Perry classics. Here's one of the best packs from the range.




    I want to use the Foundry's house style of painting for my army, but not necessarily the garish colour schemes shown above. That commander second in from the left! Red and blue and purple clothes? All at once?! Blerk! No thanks, sensible muted colours please. This is a historical army after all. I've dug up Late Imperial Roman forts, every archaeological find is brown,

    So I dipped into my reference library to find out what shades of brown would have been in vogue circa 400AD, and this colour plate jumps out. Blerk, it's that guy from the Foundry range, resplendent in red tunic with and orbiculi!



    This is Graham Sumner's reconstruction of a soldier as depicted in a Syracusian catacomb painting. The colours are taking from the original painting, so they're authentic. I thought it really surprising. And cool, as the miniature has transformed from generic Roman into a real-life soldier with a name and dress sense.



    This is Maximianus (hurr hurr, "-anus"), and he's my first test model.
    My miniatures blog: www.ninjabread.co.uk

  5. #5

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    Arch-rivals from opposing sides of the Hundred Years’ War. Each of them a talented medieval commander, but with a great respect for the other’s skills and abilities. Presenting two classic Citadel Miniatures – Sir John Chandos and Bertrand du Guesclin.



    English commander Sir John Chandos and French commander Bertrand du Guesclin.

    I like how different the miniatures are to each other. Chandos is depicted as a classic knight in shining armour, with his “sharp pile gules” (a medieval way of saying “upside down red triangle”) heraldry sculpted onto both his tabard and shield. His chainmail coif and fine moustache mark him out as a gentleman. In contrast, du Guesclin with his black Breton eagle is a scruffy bugger with his bare head and loose-fitting straps. Du Guesclin was a low-born brawler who started his career as a marauder, ambushing people in the forests of Brittany. His equipment was reputedly in such poor condition he was sometimes mistaken for a common brigrand rather than a knight. When the pair first met, Chandos lent du Guesclin his own armour and horse, as du Guesclin’s own kit wasn’t nice enough to be seen duelling in.



    Bertand du Guesclin and his retainers surprising men-at-arms of Sir High Calverly on the road to Montmuran, Brittany, 1354.

    The two men clashed on opposing sides of the Battle of Auray in 1364. The French were defeated, and du Guesclin taken prisoner by Chandos. France quickly paid his 40,000 florins ransom as they were keen for him to command an expedition to assist in the Castilian Civil War. Guesclin invited Chandos along with him to Castile, a sign the two men had grown into friends, though Chandos declined.



    Sir John Chandos is harassed by Moorish genitors in the army of Henry Castile at the battle of Nájera, northern Spain, 1367.

    The pair also fought on opposing sides at the Battle of Nájera in 1367. Again the French were defeated and again du Guesclin was taken prisoner by Chandos. Again France were eager to have him back and paid a massive 100,000 francs.



    Chandos and du Guesclin in the crumbling Burgundian ruins of Grenoble.

    The walls of Grenoble in the picture above are from an upcoming Kickstarter from Fogou Models. I’ve been gifted a set to paint ahead of the campaign, and they’ve been an absolute joy to drybrush and weather up. Expect to see a lot more photographs of them in the future.



    Left to right: Biscuit Dude, Alan Horseman, Bertand du Guesclin and Sir John Chandos.

    That’s one third of the Blandford Warriors painted now! I’m hoping to get all twelve finished for Bring out Your Lead in August – they were last year’s reissue and want to buy this year’s without any lead-guilt. Next up, we’ll be going in to the Hussite Wars.
    My miniatures blog: www.ninjabread.co.uk

  6. #6

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    This is “Biscuit Dude”, and he’s come to fight you with his sock dragon. He’s my first painted miniature of 2018, and it’s exactly thirty years since he was released.



    Rock out with your (dragon) sock out.

    “Biscuit Dude” is a Late Imperial Roman standard bearer, released by Citadel Miniatures in January 1988 as part of the Blandford Warriors range – twelve medieval(ish) characters also appearing in the 1987 Blandford Press book Medieval Warlords.



    The complete Blandford Warriors range, image from Stuff of Legends

    The range is a curious mix of generic fighters like “Teutonic Knight” (top left), and named personalities like “Betrand du Guesclin” (one in from top left). If you’re unfamiliar with medieval history it’s confusing who’s a character and who’s a unit type – Alan Horseman, I am looking at you.

    Looking at the name of the miniature on the flyer, I assumed “Bucellarii of Majorian” was a person, but turns out “bucellarii” (singular: “bucellarius”) is actually a name for the household troops in the Late Roman period. It’s Latin for “biscuit dude” – troops were so named as on campaign they were given their grain ration (or “bucellatum”) in the form of a hard biscuit. This kind of diminutive naming humour is common in the Late Imperial Roman military – the heavily armoured cavalry troops were called “clibanarii” or “little ovens” as it got so hot inside their armour.

    I based the paintjob for my miniature off the Angus McBride colour plate from the Medieval Warlords book.


    Vandal and Moorish pirates flee to their ship after an ambush set up by Biscuit Dude and his seahorse, Seabiscuit.

    The Bucellarius fits really nicely into my fledgling Late Imperial Roman army, as will the two other fifth century Blandford Warriors – “The Warlord Aetius” and “Alan Horseman”. Here’s my mighty army so far, needing a lot of reinforcements before they get that Warhammer Ancient Battles +1 rank bonus.



    The mighty Triumverate of Maximianus, Biscuit Dude and Araneus.

    The complete set of twelve Blandford Warriors miniatures was re-released last summer by Wargames Foundry, so now everyone can own them without paying ridiculous prices on the secondary market.
    My miniatures blog: www.ninjabread.co.uk

  7. #7

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    Saint Augustine arrived in Britian AD 597 to revitalise Christianity. For the next four hundred years, crudely constructed churches like this one appear across the island.



    A humble friar takes a stroll around the Saxon minster at sunset.

    “But Curis,” I hear you cry, “Friars didn’t exist until centuries after the Dark Ages ended. Your inclusion of Friar Tuck in the photograph above is highly anachronistic.” Well, look carefully and you’ll see Doctor Who is also in the photo to sweep your anachronism away. It’s a unique concept for a Doctor Who episode – transporting a medieval friar back a few centuries and committing all sorts of theological faux pas in the Dark Age monastic communities. And by “unique” I mean “rubbish”.



    Obscure early Warhammer druid shown for scale, and perhaps further anachronisms.

    This church was a Salute 2017 purchase from 1st Corps. It’s five hunks of resin that combine to form a solid-looking and (deliberately) wonky building. There’s a lot of mdf terrain on the market, but resin’s ease of assembly and feel of structural heft can’t be beaten. I particularly like the roof being half tiles and half thatch – suggesting the builders couldn’t loot enough tiles from derelict Roman structures. Another nice touch is the plaster crumbling from the exterior to reveal the non-ashlar masonry typical of churches built before the Norman Conquest.


    As a special birthday treat AJ took me to Butt Road – the site of a similarly laid out church built AD 320–340. You can see the curved apse in the left of the photo below and the (modern) blocks of oak marking the position of the church’s internal posts.



    Also enjoying the Late Roman church – a local Essexman passed out drunk on cans of cider.

    My model church has those internal wooden posts as part of the interior detail too. You might remember seeing them already on this blog as I’ve been cheeky and used the half-painted interior as backdrops for Chaos Thugs and Friar Tuck.


    As a pleasing touch, you can take the two portici off the side of the church and combine them into a thatched cottage. This will come in useful for that inevitable point when my regular opponents despair at me trotting out the church for its seventeenth game in a row.



    "Fussake Curis, we’re playing a 6mm science fiction and this cottage is no better than that bloody church."

    Disappointingly, both doors on the kit are have entirely smooth and detail-free planks, which I had to paint the wooden texture onto. It seems at odds with the love and care the sculptor put into the tiles and thatch to skimp on the doors. A minor flaw.

    Such a big piece of terrain is a pain to photograph. In the end I couldn’t resist sticking some goggly eyes on it.



    Too late, the true meaning of Pope Benedict’s final statement becomes clear. “The church is alive.”

    I want to push the modelling on the church further with:

    Adjacent burial ground with Renedra’s plastic gravestones
    Interior detailing, such as an altar, and benches for the clergy
    A base for the piece, to get rid of the awkward grassy lip
    A selection of Dark Age civilians and monks.

    But the piece is finished enough for Dark Age and Early Medieval gaming.
    My miniatures blog: www.ninjabread.co.uk

  8. #8

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    As names for ranges go, “Blandford Warriors” is a little … underwhelming. Rather than conjuring up images of medieval warlords on their bloodthirsty rampages it puts me instantly in mind of the sleepy Dorset village – Blandford. Blandford’s top tourist attraction is a museum with a diorama of the 1731 Great Fire of Blandford. Blandford is a bland name. A dull name. A boring name. This feeling of deep ennui also manifests in the pose of the second miniature I’ve painted – Alan Horseman.



    “This spear has a point. Unlike my life. Sigh”

    Even the name, Alan Horseman, oozes boredom. It’s one of those historical terms, like “Norman Shields”, that doubles as the personal name of a twenty-first century dullard. I imagine it painted on the side of a white van – “Alan Horseman Electrical Contractor”. Of course, the Alans were a tribe of fierce warrior horsemen instrumental in the defeat of Atilla the Hun. Here’s the Angus McBride colour plate from Medieval Warlords of this Alan getting around on his horse and not a Ford Transit



    Alan Horseman of Orleans, on the orders of Aetius, clashes with bacudae on an estate in eastern Brittany, 440s. Sigh.

    Coincidentally the colours Angus chose and I copied match my Late Roman Comitatenses – so I can roll Alan in to that collection. Late Imperial Roman armies relied heavily on barbarian troops (foederati) such as the Alans as their military manpower dwindled in the 4th and 5th centuries. Flavius Aetius let the Alans, originally from North Caucasus, settle in parts of Ancient France in return for providing fighters. It was a clever policy for Rome as it motivated the tribe to fight not out of abstract loyalty to Rome, but in defence of their newly-acquired land and accompanying wealth.



    Late Imperial Romans forming a shield wall in the ruins of the partially demolished Epiacum. Sigh.

    The walls in the above shot are from the excellent Fogou Models, more focus on them in a future blog post!
    Last edited by Curis; 05-10-2018 at 01:49 AM.
    My miniatures blog: www.ninjabread.co.uk

  9. #9

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    With Britannia on the telly, I’m fired up for Roman Britain. The Emperor’s finest stabbing druids has given me the focus to paint these eight Late Imperial Roman spearmen.



    “Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy,” they sang.

    Late Imperial Romans? Late for what? They’d better hurry up and carpe those diems. The Late Imperial period, for me, covers everything from Septimius Severus as Emperor (AD 193–8), the Crisis of the Third Century (AD 235-84), the Barbarian Conspiracy (AD 376–7), the Roman Exit from Britain (AD 410), Flavius Aetius versus Atilla (AD 452), the Fall of the Western Roman Empire (AD 476), and beyond into the time of King Arthur. The army gives me a lot of history to play with and a lot of excuses to visit knee-high ruined walls in the rainy English countryside.




    “Roly poly, roly poly, holy poly poly,” they sang.

    I invented a mythical beast to paint freehand onto the unit’s shields – the ophiosus. It’s a creature with the head of a pig and the body of a snake. The component animals might, based on the altar below, be symbolic of Veteris – thought to be the god of Hadrian’s Wall. If you like you can call the creature a “boar constrictor”.




    An altar found at the Roman fort of Magnae Carvetiorum, with a pig and a snake carved into opposite sides. RIB1805.

    The first shield took several hours to do – from idea through to pencil sketch then freehand painting. The next shields I batch-painted and they took about 45 minutes on average. I experimented with a couple of variations from shield to shield, refining it as I went. The minor variations in design I rationalise along with the different armour styles I’ve mixed together.




    “Derpy merpy, derpy merpy, slurpy merpy merpy,” they sang.

    The miniatures are from Crusader Miniatures, and are satisfying for army building as they’re one piece castings (with separate shields). I worked on them as a batch of eight, imagining them as a contubernium – the smallest organisational unit of the Roman army who all shared a tent or barrack room together. Conveniently it’s also an instantly game legal unit for Saga’s Aetius & Arthur. Eight is enough figures to make me feel like I’m making progress on a significant chunk of infantry, while not causing burn out.




    “Sminky pinky, sminky pinky, sminky pinky pinky,” they sang.

    Congratulations for getting to the end of this post. As a special reward, let me tell you about a marvellously named woman. She discovered another altar dedicated to Veteris, and her name was “Miss Fanny Bacon”.
    My miniatures blog: www.ninjabread.co.uk

  10. #10

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    If you’re into Czech action cinema you might already know Jan Žižka as the titular hero of the upcoming Jan Žižka film from director Petr Jákl – the man famous for films such as Pterodactyl and Born Into Shit. If you’re not, lemme walk you through this trio of classic 1988 Citadel Miniatures.



    Left to right: Taborite Infantryman, Jan Žižka and Teutonic Knight.

    Who are these miniatures? Welcome to my history lesson. A wise man once said, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” And I don’t want you, dear reader, to be doomed to fighting in a series of 15th century Eastern European wars.

    Teutonic Knight (1412)

    The Teutonic Knight was, for many years, the Holy Grail for Blandford Warrior collectors. Wargames Foundry had quietly reissued the other eleven Blandford Warriors across a couple of blister packs, making Teutonic Knight the rarest. Luckily they brought him back in to production at Bring Out Your Lead 2017, so we johnny-come-latelies can be completists.



    A literal white knight.



    Teutonic knight attacked by Lithuanian horse-archers at the Battle of Tannenberg, 1410.

    At the start of the 15th century the Teutonic Grand Order had turned its crusading ire on the Baltic peoples, and invaded Greater Poland. Against these Catholic invaders the Kingdom of Poland allied with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and crushed them at the Battle of Tannenburg in 1410. A certain man was (probably) at that battle, and (maybe) got his left eye stabbed out of his face by the knights. This man was …

    Jan Žižka

    The cover star of the Medieval Warlords book. The Medieval Warlord. Angus McBride paints two colour pictures of him while medieval warlord Gaiseric, with his own whole chapter, gets none! Jan Žižka is sculpted as he would have appeared in 1423, after he lost his right eye to an arrow while besieging the castle of Rábí, and holding the famous fist-shaped mace he used in battle despite being totally blind.



    “No one’s ever really disabled so long as he has courage.” – Chip Chase



    Jan Žižka enters Prague with his Orebite Warriors, 1421.

    Jan Žižka was one of the greatest military leaders of all time. He was never defeated in battle. He invented the war wagon – the earliest form of tank warfare. He stood against the power of the Catholic Church and served as an inspiration for the Reformation a century later. After he died he asked to be flayed and have his skin used as a drum so he could continue to lead his followers into battle. What more can a man achieve in his life? (Fighting a Pterodactlyl?)
    Dirty advertisement. Ninjabread continues below.

    Who did Jan Žižka lead into battle? It was people like…

    Taborite Infantryman

    The Pope as the antichrist, attended by a large number of whores. The Pope celebrating mass, served by the devil, while an entourage of demons stand around the altar. These vivid religiously-charged images were served up by the Taborites, unhappy with the corruption of the medieval Catholic church, and wanting to spread their ideas to the illiterate peasant masses. For battle they decorated their shields similarly, like this tiny peasant behind earthworks squaring up to the Catholic knight – presumably evoking a David-and-Goliath narrative with the peasant’s sling and relative size of the combatants.



    The shield design is based on the design of a surviving pavise at the National Museum of Prague.



    Taborite war wagons await the attack of Sigismund’s Hungarian horsemen, outside Kutna Hora, 1421, Eastern Bohemia.

    The Taborites were named after their fortified city in Bohemia, which was in turn named after the Mount Tabor of Biblical fame. They were a radical sub-faction of the larger anti-Catholic movement, the medieval equivalent of anarcho-communists who wanted to share everything they had – to the point where they even practised free love. Jan Žižka led them into battle numerous times against the Emperor Sigismund, but eventually found their theology (and perhaps their free love) too radical, and he parted ways to found the less hardline Oberite faction.



    Pictured left to right: Alan Horseman, Biscuit Dude, Taborite Infantryman, Jan Žižka, Teutonic Knight, Sir John Chandos and Bertrand du Guesclin. Not pictured: Sir-Not-Appearing-In-This-Blog.

    That’s seven of the twelve Blandford Warriors painted. I almost included Vlad Dracula with this lot, as he was a member of the Ordo Draconis that Emperor Sigismund founded to stamp on people like Jan Žižka. At times like this I love history; it’s like the Marvel Cinematic Universe – a shared reality with potential for crossover events.

    Coming soon to Ninjabread – Big Trouble in Little Tang Dynasty.

    More of my miniatures at: http://www.ninjabread.co.uk
    My miniatures blog: www.ninjabread.co.uk

 

 
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