Night Herons of the Black Crown, Part 2
I've been hard at work painting more miniatures for our summer fantasy campaign. Last month I showed off the Night Herons, a group of Chaos Warriors and their mutated champion. Now I've added some lightly armed skirmish troops and cavalry. As before, all of these figures came from that bin-o-lead that Pat and I picked up at Little Wars.
This first batch I'm calling Half-Elf Tribesmen. When I pulled them from the bin, I thought they were just Celts. After priming them, I noticed that they have elf ears -- turns out they are Sidhe Faerie warriors, a line of figures for Alternative Armies "Erin" game based on Celtic mythology.
Regardless, it's neat to see Celtic equipment and imagery on elves, when such decoration is much more common on human barbarians and dwarves in fantasy settings. Alternative Armies figures are typically large (30mm or bigger) and well-detailed. Thus even these 90s-era miniatures scale very well with current fantasy offerings. There was a bit more flash than expected, but it cleaned up fine. I think the leader figure is particularly well done.
The children of men and elves, Half Elves are born without the near-immortal lifespan of their pureborn kin. Pureblood elves call them "Stillborn," as they are considered to be dead already. Their numbers have increased in the past few generations and they have begun separate themselves from men and elves. They are now mostly found in tribes who prefer to establish seasonal lodging in protected canyons adjacent to the grasslands and forests where they do their hunting. Half Elf tribes are disparate in geography, culture and belief.
My savage Half-Elf shaman is a Grenadier Barbarian Shaman. The figure is a human, but you can't see his ears under the horse skull, so he makes a fine Half-Elf shaman. Interestingly, he also has a small medallion on his waist that matches one on a couple of my chaos warrior figures.
Half Elf Shamans perform a vital religious and ceremonial roles for their tribe. It falls to them to take from the beliefs and cultures of men and elves and to create a narrative that will shape the folkways and traditions of the tribe. Though outcasts from both cultures, Half Elfs are not as reticent as purebloods to become involved in the affairs of men, and when war comes, it usually falls to the tribe's shaman to discern which side to support.
Now let's take a look at a pair of vintage Ral Partha cavalry figures that I am calling "Beast-blood Knights." The first is "Perfidion, Knight of the Chaos Lords." He's stock except that I glued a skull (cut from a piece of Space Wolf iconography) to his shield to avoid having to display my poor freehand skills.
The second is a "Champion of Chaos." He was originally sold in a pack containing horse, rider and dismounted rider. Unfortunately, I do not have the dismounted version or the correct horse, but I think his replacement horse looks fine.
The fierce warriors known as Beastbloods are a mix of humans and beastmen. Usually the progeny of a liaison between woman of partial beast blood and a chaos knight, Beastbloods who show promise as warriors are often reclaimed by their father when they reach a sufficient age to join the Black Crown. Many of the strongest and most successful Beastbloods are the sons of the Night Herons.
With a bit of searching, you can see both on this page. However, as far as I can tell, both of these are long out-of-print and are not amongst the Ral Partha figures currently reissued by Iron Wind Metals. They both appear to share the exact same legs section, and as far as I can tell are the only two Ral Partha figures that do, so it was extremely lucky to find both in the same lead bin.
It's no surprise that these figs all painted up pretty fast with my usual prime/base/dip/matte technique. I feel I can confidently recommend buying of any of them if you're into vintage figures. Look for an upcoming post containing a set of notable characters in the service of the Black Crown.
Appendix: Why so many figures in your warband?
Astute Song of Blades & Heroes players will note that I have already far surpassed the standard 300-point Song of Blades & Heroes warband size for the Night Herons. We're using 500 points as the starting point for our campaign warbands, but I'm sure to exceed even that amount. So why keep painting? Well, it's not only because I enjoy it (though I do). This year we are also going to dabble in larger engagements occasionally throughout the campaign. We are planning on trying WarEngine a few times and I'm even becoming intrigued by Kings Of War. More on this as the campaign progresses.
-- Karl, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member