Over the years, I’ve made it my mission to collect a diverse array of fantasy miniatures from a variety of manufacturers and game lines. Because the games we play don’t require any particular set of figures, I’ve been able to pick up pretty much any old miniature, kit or blister pack that caught my interest over the years – safe in the knowledge that eventually it would hit the table in some sort of skirmish battle.
Now I’ve come to a sort of retrospective point. The last five years of collecting, painting and gaming has left me with a huge collection of battlefield-ready fantasy figures. Some are veterans of many campaigns, with unique characters and legendary battlefield exploits. Others haven’t yet tasted the fury of battle and await their first chance at glory.
Here, then is the Warband Project – Part One: my attempt at categorizing and showcasing the many warbands I’ve put onto the battlefield over the last five years of gaming, both in Chicago and now here in Oregon.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Many figures remain carefully packed away in figure cases, awaiting their moment on the battlefield. This particular post also doesn’t include my dwarves and undead collections – both of which have grown to the point where they are armies in their own right, suitable for skirmish gaming or Kings of War-scale mass battles.
Defenders of the Battle-Forge
This warband was inspired by the adventuring crew featured in an old-school AD&D/OSRIC campaign I played years ago. My character, Kjeld the Battle-Priest, explored the wilderlands with a motley band of fighters, treasure-seekers and ne’er-do-wells. Eventually Kjeld attracted a small group of followers, based around his Battle-Forge in a frontier village. He is the bearded guy with the big hammer in this photo, and he’s surrounded by his porters, hirelings and stalwart allies.
Vaxion’s Black-Hearted Brigands
Where there are heroes, there must also be villains. Vaxion is a highwayman by trade and has attracted the dregs of society to his grim cause. These guys are ideal for any scenario where you need some basic bad guys to harass and interdict another player.
Raiders of the Edelmark Sewers
There are … things … lurking in the tunnels and drainpipes beneath the city of Edelmark. This warband is just a snapshot of one such group that took part in an incursion onto the streets of the unsuspecting city. A foul troll leads the way, followed by stinking, chittering ratmen, along with a putrid swamp monster. Who knows what else lurks in the ichor-spattered corridors of the Edelmark catacombs?
Duke Baldric’s Overland Escort
When Duke Baldric makes his months-long circuit to inspect his frontier holdings, he is accompanied by a trusted escort of hard-bitten warriors. Led by Duke Baldric (ahorse, with the winged helm), Sir Hershel and Terfidor the Azure Mage, this warband was originally created for a scenario where they had to escort Duke Baldric across the battlefield. Since then their numbers have grown (or shrank) based on the number of fighters that Duke Baldric was able to muster over the years.
The Cursed Horsemen of Frostvale
In the wind-scoured wastelands of the far north, where snow-frosted trees cling to craggy mountains and men wrap themselves in furs the year round, a band of horsemen sallies forth to raid the barely civilized lands to the south. In their wake, men whisper of a terrible curse that lies heavy upon the warband — and of unspeakable barbarity that grips the fighters in the heat of battle. Woe to those who spy the Cursed Horsemen of Frostvale at the gates of their village of an autumn evening!
These are horsemen of chaos, definitely evil, probably cannibals, who occasionally ally with the Scourge of Longrieve (see below).
Findrel the Navigator and the Moonbeam Company
Findrel (the armored elf in the center with the upraised hand) has been part of my collection for years, but I never had a decent group of elven warriors to send into battle alongside him – until now. The cavalry and infantry figures were commissions from a speedy contract painter and arrived just a few weeks ago. As such, the Moonbeam Company has not taken part in significant battles to date.
The story behind the warband is that they are the crew of a majestic elven sailing ship called the Moonbeam that was abandoned off the coast of Qaarra after a storm many years ago. Since then, they have been investigating reports of a spectral ghost ship glowing in the moonlight, which appears on an ill wind all along the troubled shores of the continent. Will they ever find their way back to their vessel?
Sometimes you just need some orcs or goblins to stand between the adventurers and their goal. Grubb’s Bonecrushers fulfills this role admirably. In my mind, they’re hobgoblins, sort of halfway between orcs and goblins. These are some of the oldest minis in my current collection, having been painted back in 2009 or so. (Hardly ancient, I know, but still….)
The Scourge of Longrieve
After the doom-cloud had swept across Qaarra and the fearful population had been left to quake and mourn, the mysterious Leathern Gate in the northern mountains opened once again, briefly creating a portal between Qaarra and the Wyrdwold. From the grimacing doorway came the Scourge of Longrieve, a band of raiders, cutthroats and foul creatures bent on looting the jewels of Qaarra. They broke like a wave upon the idyllic village of Longrieve, earning their name through senseless butchery and slaughter.
In game terms, this was my attempt to make a true chaos warband for last summer’s SBH campaign. I tossed together a whole bunch of disparate models: a mindflayer, a sorceror, two gnolls, an orc, an anti-paladin, maybe a few others. It was a lot of fun to get them all on the battlefield together.
The Hour of the Rat
When the Clock of Omens strikes thirteen, families know to bar the door and place their heaviest cook-pots atop open drains and sewer pipes. For it is the Hour of the Rat, when the chittering hordes surge from the under-depths, led by fearsome chaos ratmen armored in scavenged mail and plate, and wielding blades of corrupted steel. They visit the surface world to raid for treasure and slaves — but the day may yet come when these ratmen do not slink back into the catacombs at dawn, but instead stay to rule the realm that they have conquered.
This is an old-school Skaven warband composed of some vintage Citadel miniatures. They can easily ally with the Raiders of the Edelmark Sewers or the Scourge of Longrieve for larger scenarios featuring chaos foes.
That’s all for now! I’ll be back soon with the next installment, featuring an assortment of warbands drawn from my undead and dwarf armies, plus some leftover figures that don’t currently have a home.