Continuing my series of postings in which I am doing an inspection parade of every army in my wargaming collection, we turn away from historical Napoleonics, and move into the realms of fantasy.
The figures in this small Warhammer Empire army were the first I ever painted after I returned to the wargaming hobby in the mid-1990s. Like many gamers, I had dropped the hobby in my early 20s because of increasing family and job commitments. But when my young son became (temporarily) interested in wargaming, I became intrigued again myself.
While my son’s futuristic Wahammer 40K Space Marines didn’t really do it for me, accompanying him to the Games Workshop store I spotted the Warhammer Fantasy Battles range for the first time. The Empire figures in particular struck my eye, what with their flamboyant renaissance landsknecht look. So I splashed out on my first box of figures for many a year, and took them home to paint.
Here was the result. This regiment of Averland infantry was the first unit that I had ever painted since my early 20s. This was also the first time I ever used ink, something that didn’t exist when I had last painted model soldiers. The ink gave them depth, especially the faces and the yellow parts of the uniforms.
The figures in the above pictures are the Carroburg ‘Great Swords’ (no doubt named that on account of their blooming great swords). I recall I was relatively new to the internet at this time, and so searching for the flags and uniform colours for the various state armies of the Empire was my first experience of online research. Yes, fantasy can involve as much research as anything historical!
The figures in the above Nordland crossbow unit were an absolute pain to assemble. Whilst all the other figures up till now had been plastic, these had metal arms and weapons that you had to glue to the plastic bodies. And would those very heavy metal arms stay stuck? No way! Even now, I occasionally have to re-attach the odd arm that has fallen off.
I had the same problem with these Talabecland hand-gunners. Nowadays, of course, I know all about drilling in pins to secure such fragile joints, but back then I only knew how to assemble straight out of the box.
I love the Warhammer artillery. The huge ornate cannon, and the intricately diabolical multi-barrel organ gun are terrific. These infernal machines look as though they have just stepped out of a Leonardo da Vinci sketchbook. And one of the organ-gunners even looks like him!
This is the only cavalry unit in my small army. These renaissance-style figures opened up the possibilities for all sorts of decoration, especially the embroidery of the horses’ barding. My efforts were pretty crude, but I think still give a good overall effect if you don’t look too closely. Nowadays I probably would’ve used some of the many lovely decals that weren’t round back then.
Games Workshop do hugely character-filled figures for their generals, as can be seen here in with Marius Leitdorf (Elector Count of Averland) and his fearsome battle standard bearer. In fact, the detail is so intense that sometimes it is hard to see the human being beneath it all! The flag was a printout from some website or another.
So, that’s it … my Empire army. Painted last century, and only ever been on a tabletop once so far as I can recall.