Back to My True Passion – Dwarves

I have such a tendency to disappear for months on end. My last stint was well over 2 years away and between my last post and this one it’s been an incredible amount of time!

Many of you may not know this, but I was first introduced to wargaming after a lucky chance upon a Games Workshop store. I can’t remember where it was – somewhere in London, but I recall my parents showing my brother and I around. I fell in love with the Dwarves (Dwarfs? Duardin?) and picked up a bunch of blisters with the old metal models (longbeards, ironbreakers, thunderers a daemon slayer, slayers and a catapult + crew).

I actually still own all of the models, the majority of which are unpainted! I started off by painting the daemon slayer and couldn’t believe how much I hated my lack of talent. Try as I may, I just couldn’t replicate the ‘Games Workshop’ style of painting (and I’m talking well before the ‘Eavy Metal team here.

As a result, I found myself losing interest fast. Back then, the models were cheaper (by A LOT) and so my mum would pick me up a bunch of random boxes that took my fancy. Skeleton horsemen, Skaven, Chaos Warriors to name just a few. I had such a huge collection of grey plastic that in total, the cost these days would translate to well over £8000.

Every time I started a new project, I grew frustrated at my lack of painting skills and lost interest. This pattern went on for years, right up until 2014. I saw the new Dwarf models from Games Workshop and fell in love with them (well, the Ironbreakers at least). I then set about purchasing a few boxes (£30 for 10?!) and took to my painting station again – a station that has been upgraded time and again over the years.

I dedicated a few months to getting these guys done, including purchasing models from other manufacturers and converting a few particular models:

After 15 solid years of painting, I was finally satisfied with the results, so then what?

Age of Sigmar dropped.

Goodbye to my rank and file units, toodles to my structured formations. Now don’t get me wrong, I did try to get in to it. My son and I often battled over a 6×4 table, his Greenskins vs my Dwarves. It’s actually great fun, but at the back of my mind I longed to have the World That Was back. It was a world that I grew up with and I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet.

Instead of giving up, I created some matching scenery to complement both my models and our gaming table/ dinner table:

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I’m a massive fan of realism and so set about creating a set that I could be proud of. The hill-type things are tree bark, the walls are from an old set, the towers are made of clay and the trees are small hand-crafted branches flocked to realism.

I spent a couple more months playing Age of Sigmar and trying to say that the board was in the Realm of Life – the closest thing to the Old World in my opinion, but still the idea wouldn’t gel.

And that’s when it hit me. I felt like a traitor of sorts, but one that needed a way to find a balance again and so I turned to Kings of War. People told me that it was a simplified version of Warhammer FB, or a cheap take on the genre, but in reality it’s a very well thought-out game that can be fun and exciting in equal measure.

At this point, I looked at my dwarf army and their little square bases and thought fantastic – a few movement trays and we’re sorted. But then I saw the Dwarves from Mom Miniatures. Oh lord do they look good. So realistic, with great proportions and a gritty, natural look.

I picked up 20 for 20 (euros) and had them shipped out to my new home in the Mediterranean. I scrapped the shields as they were oddly shaped and non-symmetric. I did the same for the weapons as the handles are as thick as legs and hardly the most realistic. I then went about converting each and every model (painstaking!), but the end of it, I had 20 dwarves with spears. My original intention was to use them as Bulwarkers (a spear + shield wielding unit in Kings of War), but after careful consideration they became my Ironguard (the equivalent of Ironbreakers for general purposes).

I picked up another 20 dwarves (16 of which are in the same pose, albeit with different helmets and armour). From the total 40, I had 8 models that I simply didn’t want to use as their pose was completely different to the regimented look that I was after (not that dissimilar to the Dwarf army in the final Hobbit film).

You will spot the ‘differently-posed’ dwarf in the photo below; now acting as my cannon crew (flame cannon for game purposes).

My main concern was to ensure that my army matched, after all I think that OCD runs in my family and I like uniformity. I now have 30 Dwarves (20 with spears and shields and 10 acting as rangers – an AMAZING unit in Kings of War).

I also bought the Dwarf Hero/ Lord from the aforementioned company, as well as a cannon barrel from somewhere in Poland before cutting a few pieces from a 40K scenery box to act as the cannon’s frame/ housing.

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And there they are ^^. A very small army as far as Kings of War is concerned, but just enough to be played with enjoyably. I’ll be adding more to them as time goes by and although their colour scheme is similar to my Games Workshop Dwarves (+ the extra models in the army), I opted for a more realistic feel this time around. I love the whole look and feel of a phalanx, so larger shields were a must for me. They were hand made because I couldn’t find anywhere online that did similar. You might notice that the bases match the scenery, as well as them being ‘multi-based’ for simplicity. Kings of War works with damage, as opposed to wounds. The more that you accumulate the greater the chance that the unit will break and so single bases aren’t necessary – but not discouraged.

So where do things stand now? Well Age of Sigmar is no longer on the cards, nor is WFB. My son and I now enjoy a game of Kings of War at least once per weekend. I’m really hoping that they improve their special items in the next edition as I was always a fan of hero-building.

I’m more of a collector/ painter by nature, so don’t expect this blog to explode with KoW related chats, but I really should visit it more often.

Thanks for your time!

73rd

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