Sunday, 13 April 2014

Making Mahud

Recently, me and a friend decided to create small, Lord of the Rings theme forces to play Lion Rampant, a new set of medieval wargaming rules, set to publish later this year in the Osprey Wargames series. After thinking it over, I decided on Far Harad for two reasons. First, I will be able to reuse all of the figures for the Glaurung campaign. Second, I liked the variety of troop types available: half-trolls, camel riders, lightly infantry, and, in theory, a Mumak.

There was only one problem with my selection. Assembling a Far Harad force of any size, using the official GW figures is tough. Not only are they expensive, but there are only three different basic infantry figures available.

So, first I sketched out what the core of my raiding force would contain:
3 Camel Riders
3 Half Trolls
18 Light Infantry

The good news was that I already owned 1 Camel Rider and 2 Half Trolls. So, I splashed a little cash and bought 2 more Camel Riders, another pack of Half Trolls, and one pack of 3 infantry. Those 3 infantry would serve as my sergeants, each leading a squad of five men. Then I turned my thoughts to acquiring the other 15 infantry.

I was pretty sure I wanted plastics, and the closest plastic figures to the Far Harad figures in look are Perry Miniatures plastic Sudanese (which isn’t that surprising since the Perry’s also sculpted the GW figures).

To my eyes, the warriors of the Mahud (as GW have named the people of Far Harad), have two distinguishing features, their wicker neck decorations and their large wicker shields. It is my desire to keep this as the common element of the force.

This morning I set to work on my first models. I started with the camel rider, because he was an easy little conversion. This figure came wielding a blow-pipe. I’m sorry, but I just don’t think the blow-pipe is really a war weapon. I discarded the arm and replaced it with a Sudanese spear arm. The consistent sculpting means it looks perfect.

Then I set about the harder work. I assembled a couple of Sudanese, using only the bald heads and the bare-chested torsos. I rolled a little noodle of green-stuff, which I wrapped around their necks, and did my best to texture. Hopefully, when I paint them, that texture will show through and make them look at least similar to the GW models.

For shields, I gave them Zulu shields from the plastic kit from Warlord Games. The only downside to this, is that most of the shields in the box are attached to forearms. For one figure, I was able to use a free shield and glue it straight to his Sudanese arm. For the other, I had to construct a shoulder out of green-stuff to fill the gap between the torso and the forearm. This is stretching my sculpting to the limit, but it doesn’t seem to have turned out too badly.

So far, I’m happy with my work, but the ultimate test will come when they are painted...