Rich Dando of the Warlord Web Team loves nothing better than taking some of our expertly sculpted models home in the evening, unpacking them onto his hobby desk, and subjecting them to major surgery – chopping-up anything and everything that he can get his hands on, and converting them into all sorts of bizarre creations…
We recently showed-off the first stages of his all-Feral Freeborn army for Beyond the Gates of Antares – incase you missed the original article, it can be found here.
Rich: When collecting a force, it doesn’t always evolve in a linear fashion – there are often de-tours, re-workings, and models being replaced as better, more fitting ones reveal themselves… so you’ll notice that some models I showed previously may have been subbed-out in favour of newer (even WACKIER!) creations… this is all part of the process for me, as new ideas reveal themselves.
So – we’re three months on from the original article – what’s new? Well – all sorts, really!
Always keen to find new donor models to work with, I delved further through the Warlord product range and uncovered some different models to serve as units in the army (with a little chop here, and a little chop there, of course!)
I took a few comparison photos – showing the original, untouched model to one side, and the chopped model on the other;
The first batch (of three) came from the Savage Core range of Cro-Magnon miniatures. These lovely models were sculpted by none other than our very own Steve Saleh (who happens to have sculpted the Freeborn range as well – so there are a number of aesthetic elements/nuances in common between these and the official Mhagris models – huzzah!)
…and the final three models together
Next – CELTS IN SPAAAAAAAAACE! On the hunt for more Feral-looking models, I stumbled upon the Celt Warhound Packmaster model, who happens to be wearing a fur cloak… out came the clippers and the hobby knife…
I added some of our Celt Female Warriors to the mix as well – lopping-off various arms here-and-there, replacing them with Mag Guns and severed-heads a-plenty!
For those who haven’t read-into the backstory of my force… the Feral Squads in the army are juveniles in the society – handed weapons at an early age, and sent out to hunt. They must earn the respect of the tribal society by slaying foes – be it killing animals for sustinence, or killing the enemy in battle…
Though they are issued weapons very early, they are not trained or given any guidance on how to use them… so I just couldn’t resist converting one of our Celt Fanatic models – drafted into the ranks of the Ferals, to be swinging a Mag Gun like a club!
I then took the anatomical head (as in… not the severed one!) from the Celt Standard Bearer’s remains, and put it onto one of the Mhagris models, replacing his hand with that taken from Kai Lek Atastrin – and another trio of Headhunters are nearly ready for a fight!
For a long time, I agonised over exactly how to model the X-Launchers for the Ferals… originally, I’d modelled them straight from the blister – mounted on the floor in a static form.
I must’ve pondered over a thousand ideas, to the point that I was fed-up with thinking any longer… so I grabbed some more X-Launchers and set-about executing the simplest and most obvious solution – mount it hand-held…
The natives don’t have their own means of creating (or for that matter – maintaining) weapons of the current age used by the likes of the Algoryn or Concord forces – so they salvage, scavenge, and steal what they can.
Some of their number have tried to reverse-engineer discovered technology, and so they are starting to develop a primitive understanding of some basic aspects of tech – but they are many generations behind many of their co-inhabitants of Antarean space.
X-Launchers seen amongst their forces are a little-seen model adapted by the Freeborn Vardos – a lighter firing mechanism and overhaul of the internal workings of the weapon have given a lighter chassis – meaning that the unit can be carried by a strong male – who is then typically accompanied to battle by an ammo carrier, and often a third – a target-spotter.
The simplest and most obvious solutions are often the best… and this really works, I think. I then took the Ammo Crate and mounted it upon the loader’s back, which will then be Grey-stuffed into a sack… one team were also lucky to be accompanied to battle by a third crewman – a targeter with a pilfered targeting device.
There are some models I’ve not converted (Shock! Horror!) – but have simply drafted into the force from other ranges that Warlord produce…
For example – I took the Zombie Mistress model from the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game – this model fits into the army nicely, and will really add to the backstory!
Whilst on the topic of Judge Dredd miniatures – When it came to modelling Targeter Probes, I tinkered with a few ideas (from using the standard Concord Probes, using the backpacks from the Judge Dredd Holocaust suit, chopping-up the Bat Burglar to create some sort of Bat-type-creature) and have never been fully happy with the ideas…
That was… until I uncovered the Judge Fire Spirit Form model, and mounted it onto flying stands… to represent the Spirits of the Dead… slain Feral warriors who died in previous battles… who now follow their comrades around to protect them from the enemy….
On much the same theme – I then pinched some of the skulls from the Wargames Factory Skeletons sprue to represent Buddy Drones – they’ll be differenciated by their paintschemes (perhaps having different coloured warpaint to represent each buddy drone type?
Again – they’re spirit-beings – floating skulls, covered in flames/ghostly whisps (which are currently being added in the form of Liquid Green Stuff)
I’ve replaced my original Sky Raiders (shown in the original article) when I spotted a toy… a particularly famous jetbike type vehicle from a movie called ‘Space Battles’ or… ‘Planet Scuffles’… or some such nonsense…
I’ve been working on an initial squadron of three… the other two will have the stowage sacks removed to give model variety… hmm – those stowage sacks might come in useful later…
I was then challenged by Daz (of our Dispatch team) to make use of a miscast Judge Dredd Banshee Interceptor which we had in the warehouse…
Not one to turn down a challenge, I quickly lashed-on some wings from the plastic C3M4, and added pilots and weapon mounts from the official Striker model… the weapons are magnetised so that I can swap-them-out depending upon need…
Finally for today… the mighty Urrghok!
I’ve been wondering how to represent the stats of the M4 type Combat Drone in my force… how do I represent something quite so potent and powerful in such a low-tech environment?
The solution came when I uncovered an Elephant model… it’s roughly the right size… I then discovered a toy dragon named ‘Grump’ from a certain Pixar movie, whose head looked perfect… definitely not elephant, but not recognisable as any other creature drawn from reality…
The head proved a little fat for the body, but – with a little Grey Stuff, he simply has a fat neck/double-chin… I also added an Ankylosaurus-like tail-club and a fat tail to further disguise the original donor elephant model…
At this stage, I still need to add;
– Grey Stuff toes (two per foot) to further hide the elephant resemblance
– two Feral riders (perhaps sat upon furs?) firing weapons
– Stowage (I might try to pinch the sack from the sides of the Jetbikes mentioned earlier in the article.)
In terms of game-play… the main gun (whichever one I choose to take) is represented by the Urrghok being angered (prodded and poked) by his handlers – causing it to spit a gobfull of digestive liquids upon the enemy units…
For it’s secondary weapon – that’s where the riders come in…. the Plasma Light Support’s multiple shots are represented by the riders firing shots from on top atop the creature.
The Urrghok – A primitive and unintelligent species which vaguely resemble what we know as a Mammoth or Elephant-like creature. These great lumbering masses of muscle are put to work by the Ferals. With one single large eye, perfectly evolved through generations of adaptation to the environment, they can see through the spore-choked air, and through the dark surroundings of the planet’s surface beneath the many canopies above.
Urrghok have evolved to feed through osmosis – absorbing the nutrients from the great clouds of spores and seeds from all of the vegetation – the dense atmosphere is filtered through great vents in their thick leathery hides – vaguely similar to the gills of a modern-day fish.
These slow and usually peaceful/dosile creatures are goaded into battle by teams of Feral handlers armed with plasma-mauls (not dissimilar to what we know as ‘cattle-prods’) – who are tasked with guiding, steering, and persuading the creature to the battlefield – and purposefully angering them with the intention of causing them to launch great gobfulls of their highly corrosive acidic digestive fluids onto the enemy troops and equipment
*Okay, so since writing the fluff, they’ve evolved a second eye, okay?!*
A Second Beastie!
There’s been an image stuck in my head for a while… an image that I just can’t shake… the image of an Urrghok angrily bucking in defiance – his head reeled back, roaring, surrounded by Feral handlers armed with Electro Lashes and Electro Mauls, trying to keep him under control.
So – equipped with the same Elephant body as I’d used for the original Urrghok, I set-about undertaking some surgical re-posing… chopping-off and re-posing three of his legs, carefully carving-open his mouth and sculpting a tongue and individual teeth… creating a weighted tail so that he’d stand on his hind legs…
He’s far from finished – I still need to;
– ‘Flesh-out’ his tail with Grey Stuff to hide the metal components
– Add more riders and stowage onto his back
– Add a gum and teeth to his upper jaw
– Add tusks/canine teeth to his lower jaw
– Attach his head
– Carve-off his current eyes, and replace them with more aggressive-looking ones
– Add lengths of chain in various places
– Lots more Grey Stuffing to hide conversion scars
At the moment, both Urrghoks look a little plain due to the large expanses of flesh… I’m going to be adding riders, stowage, chains and perhaps furs as well – to both hide the conversion scars and to add interest to the models.
Here’s a quick shot as a size comparison – pictured with a ‘standard’ Feral trooper.
In the background you’ll see one of the other current projects – creating the battlefields of their homeworld. I picked-up three pleated funnels and a Citrus Fruit Squeezer from a cookware shop recently… the funnels will make for interesting roofs for the Feral huts – and the Citrus Squeezer makes for an interesting Objective Marker – a power-crystal perhaps… or maybe the central structure from some huge ‘space plant’
What next? Well… my hobby desk constantly gathers all manner of bits-and-pieces, models from all of the Warlord ranges, and various interesting items of packaging which might prove useful… perhaps a break from miniatures, and maybe I’ll ponder more about the Ferals’ home world? Stay tuned!
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