Right, sooo I have a little problem when it comes to modeling minis. I see a fantastic mini and think to myself, “He needs a better pose, more dynamic, more guns, more bling and just… more!” I can’t just open a box and put together minis from stock anymore. It’s a problem I’ve developed over my many years in the hobby. What I love the most, however, about putting together war gaming minis, is having a good idea behind it. The best way to differentiate your army from anyone else’s is a really solid theme. It makes your army look unique and well.. awesome!. Now this can be purely colour choice or it could involve a little conversion work.
Over the course of the next few articles, I will be showing you how to choose a theme and stick to it. I’ll cover the simple stuff like colour choice and basing themes, as well as the little extra details that will just push your theme from “Yeaaaaaaah that’s pretty good…” to “Mind. Blown!!!”
When starting out on a new theme, you want to look at how each decision will affect the army as a whole as opposed to each individual mini. For example, I chose to take my Skorne force and go with the polar opposite of a standard one (bad dum tshhh). Most Skorne armies are desert based. Makes sense, Skorne are from a desert nation. So, when I chose to do an Arctic tundra basing scheme, I had to see how this would affect the entire army. This amounted to small changes to the infantry, solos and casters and some more drastic changes to the warbeasts. More on that later.
Now, once you’ve chosen your theme it’s time for a test figure. This will help you decide on how the whole force will look and work out some of the defining features of your army. When doing test figures I tend to use a caster or solo as opposed to an infantry mini. The reason for this is they’re more fun to paint, have more detail and by choosing a commander, they will hopefully show up most of the challenges you’ll face throughout your infantry. My test figure?
XERXIS MOTHER F&%£@R!!!
Some considerations with my arctic Skorne:
1. It’s cold!
Bit of a no brainer but this allowed me to do some subtle sculpting to help to tie them in to the tundra landscape. Adding a fur lining to the skirt and wrapping them up in some heavy scarves helps to reinforce the sense of cold and really sell the theme. This also gave me somewhere the snow could catch and by having the minis interact with the base, it makes the snow that little bit more believable.
2. It’s windy!
This was a little less obvious but leads to some major considerations. Many of Skorne’s troops and even beasts, wear sashimono. These back banners look great but would be largely impractical in a blizzard. The solution? Lose ‘em. The windy concept however let’s me have some fun with the flowy bits I have left. By modeling the scarves and hoods to blow in the breeze, you can create some really dynamic minis.
3. It’s remote!
This was my final consideration and this is one that mainly influenced my colour scheme. The armour is primarily black with steel highlights and red accents. The dark colours contrast well against the snow and the battered, slightly rusted steel tone gives them that remote, tribal feel. A little low on resources they use what they have to hand. This gave me the bright idea to have all my Immortals and Ancestral Guardians carved out of ice.
Applying these changes to all of my infantry was not entirely necessary. Paingiver Bloodrunners for example, have most of their faces covered anyway and the addition of a heavy fur lining would slow down the otherwise nimble ninjas. These were left largely as they were and just painted to match the scheme with the addition of some environmental effects.
The Nihilators were a challenge. Almost completely naked barring a loincloth and skirt, they’d simply freeze. Now adding big heavy bear furs was my first thought, but again ruins the nimble quality these beserkers have about them. Similarly they do delight in pain so I chose to leave them bare chested but added heavy hakama style pants. Simple addition, yet it ties them into their snowy environment without losing the feel of the original unit. Little bit of tribal war paint to distinguish them from their saner brethren and they’re done.