Saturday, June 16, 2018

Mordheim Undead Gang

To all you with projects languishing for years on your workbench, I offer hope, for if I can finish my projects, so can you! I'm one of the worst offenders when it comes to open projects, and here's more proof of both my failings and how I'm overcoming them. I started my Mordheim undead gang so long ago I can't remember exactly, but it was some time between 2005 and 2007, well over a decade ago!

Mordheim Undead Gang

I played my first game with these at Kublacon 2018 and Sean over at Sean's Wargames Corner made a great after action report.

As I was making up the gang I was mildly surprised that while the vampire has four special rules (not counting the standard "leader" rules)  but his real supernatural abilities were expressed more in his raw stat numbers. In the game I played he was, in truth, a terror, and people around me with more Mordheim experience than I have confirmed a fearsome reputation precedes him. His minions were taken out in the course of the game but I found myself unconcerned, and as they dropped I had the Vampire charge straight into the fray and assault the opposing leader, shrugging off an assault to his rear and executing his agenda, winning in the end. Not alone, though, but with some strong flanking help from the neighbor possessed gang in this multi-player game.

Reaper Matthias the Twisted, Vampire
I shared the vampire in an earlier post. I realize I probably should have painted his base edge brown for consistency, but for the figure on his own black is more appropriate, and that's the call I made. All I would add is that I have several other vampires yet-to-be-painted that that would also work well in Mordheim, including a standard Mordheim one, a Mordheim courtesan one, and a Warhammer Lamia. Given all the undead figures I have yet to paint, it's not unlikely I'll have enough to make a second gang, should friends and I want to play them against each other.
Mordheim Necromancer

This is a stock Mordheim necromancer. All of these figures were painted over white primer, which is one reason I know they were started in 2007 or before, because in 2007 I joined the cult of black Dupli-Color. While the white probably hindered more than it helped, especially with a gritty undead gang, it did let me experiment with building the leather clothing of the necromancer and gravedigger mostly with washes, glazes and weathering. On the necromancer, the wear on the edges of the leather are actual wear, and rubbed the washes off a little to expose the white. I did an iridescent effect on the skulls, like mother of pearl.

Reaper Gravedigger
Reaper humans are too tall, IMO, to mix in generally with Mordheim figures, but the vampire and gravedigger are conscious exceptions as they fit right in towering over their fellows. The gravedigger in particular is better off for being very tall and slender. Did some OSL here per the demands of the figure, but was restrained about it to suit my own preference for how I want him to look on the tabletop.
Mordheim Dregs: L-R Reaper Monkey, Metal Magic Hunchback, Mordheim Dreg, Reaper Gravedigger
The stock Mordheim dregs are great. Here's one of them, second from the right, and the other is still to go. Can you confirm these are Perry figures? All these years I thought they were, and with older figures, I can spot the Perry style anywhere but the Mordheim figures are their most naturalistic, and show fewer of the signature Perry idiosyncrasies. The Mordheim figures such as the mercenary gangs were the best they ever did for the Warhammer side of things, sort of their swan song. Why I can't recall or tell for sure, though, was there were other great sculptors working at the time such as Juan Diaz.

Along with those I found several other figures from other manufacturers I had to say yes to, and wound up with more than rules allow in a single gang. The monkey is from a Reaper familiars pack, and putting him in this gang fulfills its purpose of existence. It and Mordheim were inexorably brought together. A friend pointed out my Mordheim building needed more fish. I hope I've delivered the fish here! The second from the left is by Metal Magic, purchased from Mega Miniatures when they held the license. He has a minor conversion so he's holding a scratch-made cleaver. Later I got a second copy of this figure to use in D&D, and I thought I had shared him on this blog many years ago, but a quick search hasn't turned him up. Took new pictures of him in a recent photo shoot, though, and have a lot of D&D to share coming up.

Mordheim Zombies: L-R Dwarf, Sister of Sigmar, Marienburg Mercenary
These Mordheim zombies are great, aren't they? These were a later mail-order addition to the range, and I might have got them around the time Games Workshop were making a round of their signature bad decisions, and closing the doors on Mordheim. I recall at the time I was thinking these are Juan Diaz figures, but can't find immediate confirmation here on the web and can't recall if I read that or was guessing. As with the dregs I'd be grateful if you know and could confirm. In addition to these two I have the witchhunter and the dog still to go, and for whatever reasons I passed over the elf and the guy with the wide-brimmed hat. I found a blog post by a fellow painter if you're interested in seeing them all.

Self-consciously, I added a wink to my boyhood self with these zombies.  In a post showing some of my early figures I talked of the pressure I felt as a young painter to use all three primaries plus green. Well... here you are, all three primaries plus green! :D This was funny to me because the scheme overall is so heavy with browns and neutrals, and I wasn't trying to add contrast as seeing what I could get away with in weathering the strong colors down to where they would blend and not break the overall scheme. The figures themselves all but demanded I do this, though, because Sisters of Sigmar and Marienburgers have defined colors, in this case red, yellow blue (and I'm follow cannon except where there is a good reason to break with it). Once I'd committed there it wasn't a stretch for me to decide to go all out and give the dwarf a strong green.

The dwarf has a great hanging eyeball effect I liked so much I later duplicated it with greenstuff on a D&D zombie. For the sister, I used some Walking Dead stills as reference, and that made all the difference in me getting the Sister just right. An awesome sculpt like this demanded some extra investment, and the colors I found using the Photoshop eyedropper were more mauve/murray base than what one might typically think of as zombie flesh colors, and then blue touches to add a death-like cold cast. The eyes have an orange cast.

Reaper Ghouls and Ghast
At the time I suppose I was choosing between these, the Morley 1990s ghouls, the later Paul Muller ones and the official Mordheim ones. I think these may have been new or newish at the time, they were released in '05, and they're by Ben Siens. I don't remember if I had feelings about the official Mordheim ones but for whatever reason, I passed over them. I found a good picture of some painted ones here, if you're interested: I'm pretty happy with mine, though. The hair, hunched poses and gruesome visages full of teeth helped clinch the win for these. Ghouls can't earn experience points, so no chance of one of the standard ghouls having "talent" and becoming a hero, which would have been a cool possible entry path to use the larger ghast model. Maybe I'll make a special character for him, and of course I'll use him as a ghoul if I need a third one. Using Tamiya Gloss Red for blood on the snacking one was the final step I did before taking the pictures, and it was satisfying in a cherry-on-top way. Also, did you notice the one minor modification I made to the stock models?
Reaper Hellhounds
Last up are these Reaper hellhounds, or dire wolves, in Mordheim game terms. I was and am thinking of them as black dogs of yore like the barghest rather than wolves. these are by Jason Wiebe and the release date isn't mentioned on the site. For these and all the Reaper figs I followed a laborious basing procedure, cutting the top surface out of the base, trimming the sides of the thick Reaper bases, and embedding the one in the other. In summary, it feels great to polish these off and put them in the case, and be fully prepared for classic games of Mordheim, with figures if not with terrain. Between now and when I'm ready to host games here in San Diego I'll probably have a few opportunities to play with friends up north, as I did at Kublacon this year, and best of all this is one more project crossed off my unfinished list of shame!

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