Fortresses of Marienburg

Posted by  | Wednesday, March 14, 2012  at 6:00 PM  

To battle out urban skirmishes in a post-medieval fantasy environment properly you need to have lots of battlements!

Fortresses dominate the landscape of the worlds greatest port. Across the islands of Marienburg you can expect to see the torch-lit ramparts of the city walls. Overlooking bridges are gargoyle decorated parapets atop foreboding towers. Lagoons lie in the shadow of grisly gatehouses and weather-beaten keeps used as watch-station barracks.

The lions share of modelling magic you will see on Liber Malefic comes courtesy of Carl 'Scenery Bloke' Merrell. Carl guests incognito by the name 'Shanks' on Tom's Boring Mordheim Forum.

Once the Marienburg gaming table was completely assembled I had promised to upload some decent shots. But when do you stop adding extra features to an already generously proportioned gaming set up? I am having real trouble drawing the line. And it has become a struggle to prioritise other hobby activity. Already I have begun work on incorporating tasteful terrain releases from Games Workshop. This was a natural progression because Carl cleverly began splicing leftover sections from GW releases into his custom builds to enhance the look. I furnished our turf wars with a humble watchtower before moving on to an elaborate addition; the Garden of Morr set with crypts aplenty was the perfect accompaniment to Carl's graveyard scenery including an grand mausoleum. Here amongst tombstones, gangs battled in style for buried spoils at Deedsveld Cemetery in the Porters Wall district (you can actually see the graveyard on the Great Map).

Tempting me to indulge my inner-geek next was a 'Skullvane Manse' going on sale. Instead of succumbing to the temptation of the Astromancer's Lair, I began assembling the 'Wonder of the Age' better known as my Marienburg Land Ship because it ought to help smugglers get around! There is an awful lot of illicit cargo passing through the Unterdock.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. There are more photographs being uploaded to the City of Secret Deals gallery on the community forum. The evolving South Dock (Suiddock) gaming table also showcases buildings which feature in the 'Mutiny in Marienburg' campaign setting as encampments. In the MiM campaign, I have redefined encampments. Clear rules will express the way (that deeds to) encampments can be acquired by committing skulduggery through waterfront happenings & achievements, and later contested by Heroes & Henchmen during maritime campaign scenarios.

Speaking of heroic new villains and gangland scenarios, it must be time I started sharing my pelagic concepts for warbands with the wider community.

Difficult customers

Posted by  | Tuesday, March 13, 2012  at 7:20 PM  

A major visual update is about to appear on Liber Malefic. Before it materialises let us pause for a moment of melancholic introspection. Three non-human factions featured in the Border Town Burning supplement. Each of these warbands offers fascinating campaign possibilities based on outstanding contributions from the gaming community; The Restless Dead is a spectral force of creatures summoned from beyond the grave by a Liche. Fire Dwarfs are corrupted Dawi spawned from the shame of a proud elder race. Maneaters are tribe-less wayfarers severed from their ties to ogre herds.

Wanderlust drives Maneaters to all four corners of the Warhammer map. In the latest migration the muscle comes to Marienburg! Ogres come to Marienburg seeking coin and conflict. Least witless of brutes find themselves employed by hostelries as bouncers on the waterfronts. Mindless savages enter the underworld pits to fight as bait in the arena.

Ogre Captain conversion painted by Werekin

When we developed the wilderness supplement I had the pleasure of playing lots of games with and against ogres whilst editing various material that formed the warband list. I was busy modelling and painting other projects at the time. At some point afterwards I took the opportunity to fulfil an ambition from my childhood. Painting up ogres! :)

One of my objectives was for my Ogre warband to comprise of extraordinary Citadel miniatures new and old. I really love the new Forge World miniatures for Warhammer too. I collect a few of these. In the photograph above supplied by Bob Whetton you can see what I have done to the Ogre Thunderlord (thanks to sculptor Daniel Cockersell he's normally supposed to be riding a Rhinox!)

My earliest fascination with these ghastly creatures must be playing Heroquest. I fondly recall collecting the expansions for the board game which included fine detailed Citadel miniatures. At the same time I was procuring Warhammer warriors cast using lead but the character of some of those shonky old multi-part plastics struck a chord with me.

Design-wise everything has gone full circle. Metal miniatures are no longer being produced by Games Workshop since 2011 in favour of Citadel finecast plastic kits. Not a million miles from the plastic sprues of 'Against The Ogre Horde' produced yesteryear. Less difficult customers will concede to an improvement in quality! From a modellers perspective there is an unusual challenge involved when working on a dated miniature and hopefully this gives some indication to how bad my backlog is.

Delving through my collection of favourite sculpts I quickly realised that ogre heads from my Heroquest miniatures are the same size as they are from the Warhammer army plastic boxed sets. Bodies have grown bigger but heads have stayed the same. Well, all except Forgeworld's Thunderlord (he is huge!) which currently acts as my Ogre Captain. The same 'pinhead' phenomenon applies to the recent Fimir warriors from Forge World. The new bodies are brutishly muscular yet the same head look correct.

Looking on the forums on Board Game Geek nobody seems to know who was responsible for sculpting the ogres for the Games Workshop's joint-venture with MB Games! Research rewarded me with a fascinating image from an announcement of the prototypes. The finished released for these two warriors don't look much different.

I've managed to import my oldest (and fondest!) miniatures to represent the Youngbloods and Half-growns in the warband. Youngbloods are ogre calves so for these I used the fat-bellied plastics from Against The Ogre Horde, to which I've customised them with gut plates of course!

Ogre Youngblood conversion painted by Werekin

Half-growns are described by Black Library novelist Robert Earl in his outstanding story 'Wild Kingdoms' from Adventures of Florin and Lorenzo as the runts of ogre society. For these malformed unfortunates I used some of the classic metal miniatures from the Citadel Marauder range.

There are so many stand-out sculpts from the MM ranges that I'd love to be able to game with. It's fortunate I've been able to include some. More pictures for these will be added for the rest of this warband at some stage when I get them photographed.