For awhile now, I have considered making a new Gondorian army. I’ve got one, made with the official Games Workshop figures, but it has several drawbacks. First, they are mostly Minas Tirth forces, and while they are great figures, they don’t completely match my vision. Also, with their silver and black colour scheme, I just don’t find them much fun to paint. Finally, the range is limited, both in terms of types of troops, but also poses. I wanted something where I had more freedom to create figures…
Recently, Fireforge released a new box of multi-part Almughavars (Spanish infantry of the late Reconquista period). These guys were almost a perfect match for my vision of Gondorian infantry, so I ordered a box. When I assembled the first one, I liked everything about it except the shield choices. Instead, I gave it a shield from the Oathmark Dwarf Infantry box. This weekend, I got busy painting.
I tried to paint the first one as a Minas Tirith soldier but became frustrated with my inability to paint a white tree. So, I gave up, and had a think. My favourite part of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields has always been the Knights of Dol Amroth, and I do really like Games Workshop’s miniatures of those. Why not paint these guys up as the ‘seven hundreds of men-at-arms’ that Prince Imrahil brought along with his knights to the siege of Minas Tirith?
This allowed me to paint with their striking blue and white colour scheme, but left me in some doubts about the shield. I was sure I couldn’t paint a ‘swan-ship’, and I had my doubts about even managing a swan. I did a little internet research and stumbled across this drawing of Lohengrin, the Swan Knight.
[I’ve got a good knowledge of Arthurian legend, but I must admit, I didn’t recognize the name. This sent me off on a long tangent, and added a couple things to my reading list, but I digress.]
I loved the design on the shield and thought I might be able to paint a version. In the end, I gave it my own twist, painting it as an 8-pointed star with the top point being the head of a swan. It took a lot of work, but eventually I got it looking pretty good (if I do say so myself). After that, the rest of the paint job was easy. I was so enthused by it, I immediately assembled and painted another one!
I then added an archer as well. This is made from the Fireforge Folk Rabble box with a head from the Almughavars box and a quiver from my bits box.
I was extremely pleased to see that these guys size-up almost perfectly with the Games Workshop Knights of Dol Amroth which I’ve already got.
So, now I’m planning a multi-system force! My first goal is to paint the 8 swordsmen, 8 spearmen, and 8 archers that are required for almost every Gondorian scenario in the Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game. Then, I want to increase each of those units to 12 so that they are ready to go when the new version of Lion Rampant is released later this year. From there, I can hopefully expand the force for games of Oathmark.
What pleases me most about this is knowing that I can easily build other troops or specialist units to add to the army using these guys as the basis. Of course, my enthusiasm for a specific project rarely lasts for a whole army… but we’ll see!