Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Fighting Fantasy Characters (Warbands Part 5)

My love of Fighting Fantasy has been evident in quite a few posts now and this one takes it a little further - using some of the illustrations from the Trolltooth Wars novel by Russ Nicholson and some of the text which I recently re-read, I've created a small warband based upon the main characters of the story. Firstly I had to source the miniatures and as you can see from the photo, they are a combination of Citadel and Otherworld Miniatures. Can you guess who's who though?:

Our intrepid adventurers assemble in the town square, ready to adventure. From left to right we have; the Mantrapper, Gareth Yaztromo, Nicodemus, Chadda Blackmane, beast of burden and the Chervah

Walking across the town bridge, heading into the unknown. But not just walking; also pointing, waving or loading weapons or just testing out their lanterns or raising dead spells.
Approaching the entrance to Firetop Mountain, our adventurers decide to investigate to see whether the layout is the same of yore. They turn to page 42.
Exploring the dungeon rooms, the adventurers take it in turns to lead and incessantly re-arrange themselves into different positions within the group. The lantern is working and casts some long shadows. Nicodemus' spell takes an age to raise a full zombie. The mule waits by the entrance.

They feel like they are being watched from above as they admire the not so carefully placed dungeon scenery

With the adventuring done, they all retire back to the studio for a quick photo-session, ensuring they show their best sides and line up in a roughly symmetrical way. "Most important character in the center" - they hear the photographer bark at them. The Mantrapper being not best pleased at being the symmetrically opposite of the mule.

So the individuals, first up; Garth Yaztromo.

A slither of descriptive text in the novel provides an insight into his age, beard and attire ie. a slightly faded red cloak.  From the illustrations and other Fighting Fantasy references, he of course has his familiar, Vermithrax the crow; which is a plastic bit (unsure from where) that has been added to the base here. An Otherworld Miniature wizard was acquired as the sculpt seemed to perfectly match the description; in fact I'm sure it was pretty much sculpted to be Yaztromo; the face, beard and garments all allude to the images of him from the books. Therefore an easy choice of miniature and a straightforward paint scheme. I used several thin glazes of red over a flesh colour to create the faded robe effect and a little bit of osl from the lantern. I also had this illustration from the cover of Shadowmaster (the third and final book in the Trolltooth Wars trilogy) to help me out with the colour red and blue colour scheme:

Some other reference images I found that helped inspire me:

For this warband to work in the Frostgrave format, I needed a wizard and apprentice and decided that the Otherworld model I chose for Yaztromo had a slight apprentice like feel to it, i.e, just not as powerful and dynamic as the next model I wanted to use (even though he's not in the Trolltooth Wars). A peer of Yaztromo - yes Nicodemus:

 Now this Mordheim model (actually named Nicodemus itself) has been on my painting wish-list for some time, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to paint him up. I decided to keep the rising zombie from a previous aborted project as I can imagine Nicodemus being powerful enough to control the dark magics without them affecting him. Although it could be imagined that he does appear to have a slightly darkish side from this iconic illustration of him from the City of Thieves:

I think there is more than a passing resemblance in the miniature and in the drawing. Obviously the illustration came first. To add to this dark side I imagined for Nicodemus, I decided to paint him monochromatically which also provided a contrast with the slightly more garish attire of Yaztromo and the rest of the warband. The grey tones also provide a nice contrast with the yellowing, fetid zombie rising from the floor.

Next up is Chadda Blackmane.

I spent some time contemplating which model to use for this brooding character; in the novel he is described as knightly; armoured, broad-shouldered and stocky, with the usual courtly and garish outfit. Obviously he has dark skin and jet-black hair which I could paint onto any model... But in the end I plumped for the old Valten model- perhaps not the most appropriately dressed for the role of Darkmane, but certainly dynamic and heroic in pose and with a mane of hair waiting to be blackened by my paintbrush. Also again, a model I have long since wanted to paint. I like dynamic poses. I went for the fashionably quintessential blue and white striped trousers and strong complementary greens and reds to make him feel quite well dressed. I was tempted to add some insignia to his garments, but decided it would be too difficult and may clutter the model too.

The Mantrapper is described as an elegantly dressed gent, but a lethal, strpping swordsman.
I again returned to Otherworld Miniatures and found a bard which had a moustache, some nice robes and a foppish hat. I removed his lute and added a greenstuffed knapsack to his back to indicate that he is a mercenary and likes to collect gold and jewels (this is certainly referenced in the book and his greed is his demise). In lieu of not painting patterns onto Blackmane, I decided that the Mantrapper must be even more elegant, hence the diamond/stripe pattern on his strides and the circular motifs on his jacket. I went for nicely polished, jet black boots (working with a bit of gloss varnish here) and a light, plain neckerchief.

The Chervah was the most problematic model as his description in the text and from the illustrations is pretty clear.
 I should have taken some time to sculpt a head onto a goblinoid figure, but was starting to flag on this project and decided to choose a model, paint it and move on. I delved into my Citadel lead pile and found an old goblin, with moustache and decided that some garidh colours would help define him as a courtly man-servant. Given the inclination I would have sculpted some pointy shoes, a large, round head and some ruffs too.

Finally to complete the group of adventurers (and even through it's not mentioned in the story) I felt that they needed a beast of burden to carry all the assortment of weapons, provisions, spellbooks etc as they wandered around adventuring.
This model is another Otherworld sculpt and fitted in perfectly with the group. I imagine the Chervah to be in control of the mule. I did a little bit of research on colour and pattern choices for the mules coat and decided that a reddish tanned colour contrasting with an off-white underbelly would do the trick:

I'm currently reading the subsequent novels to the Trolltooth Wars; Demonslayer has Gan the smith's apprentice as a pivotal character, so he may well make an appreance in the future to add to this band of Fighting Fantasy adventurers...

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