Monday, 7 May 2012

'No Grand Plan' : Warhammer Armies Challenge

Where am I going with my blog? Where am I going with my collection of painted citadel miniatures from the glorious years of the 1980s? Originally I was going to simply build a warband for each of the four Ruinous Powers and play a campaign of Realm of Chaos- but I am afraid I have been totally bitten by the nostalgia bug and have a need to 'expand my horizons'. I am continuously  tempted by other non-chaos miniatures from the same period and feel like more of a challenge.

I am proposing to build over, say the next five years, an army for each of the lists published in Warhammer Armies in 1988 as well as a few extras published elsewhere during the same period. As with my warbands, the miniatures will all be 1985-92 originals and will be painted using original citadel paints. I have given this idea some thought I have organised the armies into a rather irregular list in no particular order. I have some models for nearly all of the armies and spend quite a bit of time of eBay so I have some idea on price and availability. Subsequently, the I have rated each army easy to very challenging based on my experience and my collection.

Dark Elves (easy) - plenty of models on eBay. Plastic regiments did a nice crossbow unit. I have Manhide Manflayer's Dark elves in metals too. Reasonably priced too.

Wood Elves (easy)- I already own plenty of the plastic regiments archers as well as a unit of wardancers and Skarloc's Wood Elf Rangers. Plenty of models on ebay. Quite Cheap.

High Elves (average)- more popular on eBay, therefore more expensive. I don't actually own any High Elf miniatures at the moment but acquiring them will just take a little more expense than their kin.

The Empire (challenging)- Range not really released until the final months of 3rd. The models were really produced for the infant fourth edition. I intend to build these units using the metal fighters models, Lords of Battle etc.

Bretonnia  (challenging)- Lovely sculpts (I have a few archers) by the Perrys. Still very popular on eBay as they are suitable for historical gaming as well. These will cost me a pretty penny when the time comes.

Chaos (easy)- I own plenty of chaos warriors, thugs etc that can be used to build units for this force. Do I take it further and build small mortal armies for each of the four chaos powers? I am completist so, yes!

Orcs (easy)- Plastic regiments did some lovely orc boys, I own wolf riders, metal orc archers and Ruglud's armoured orcs and two man manglers. I practically have an army of these already.

Dwarfs (average)- Two lovely Regiments of Renown boxes are available for about £30 each. I have plenty of war machines already as well as a few crossbows and, of course, the trusty plastic Warhammer regiments.

Slann (very challeging)- Extremely expensive and in limited supplies. I think this will probably be the most difficult force to build. I'd probably try and go for a small force.

Undead (easy)- I already own the Nightmare Legion, Skeleton Horde and a chariot in metal etc. Easy to build thanks to the plastic skeletons. Models very, very plentiful on eBay.

Skaven (easy)- Again, easy and I have plenty of models. Plastic regiments did a basic clan rat.

Norse (average)- The 'missing army list' published in WD107 (which I also own). Again plenty of models available but they tend to be expensive.

Khorne Warband (achieved)

Slaanesh Warband (achieved)

Nurgle Warband (achieved)

Tzeentch Warband (easy)- I have all the models planned and prepared so I just have to paint them up.

Halfling Contingent (average)- Popular models in limited supply. Shouldn't be too difficult to build a contingent though.

Zoat Ally Contingent (very challenging)- When I am a millionaire!!!


I had forgotten to consider daemonic armies, purely made up from daemonic entities (with a few powerful mortals thrown in!) again encompassing the four ruinous powers.

Nurgle (easy) - I own three Great Unclean Ones, 15+ plaguebearers, nurgling bases and a beast of nurgle. I have plenty of nurgle champions too. Just need painting up really!

Slaanesh (easy) - I own a Keeper of Secrets (others are regular on eBay), 20+ daemonettes, a seeker, three fiends and plenty of steeds. Again, like Nurgle just needs a paint up with the addition of a few more fiends and another Keeper.

Khorne (easy) - I own two Bloodthirsters, 20+ bloodletters, 10+ bloodhounds and a juggernaut. Just needs painting with the addition of a few more juggers I think!

Tzeentch (challenging) - I have a single Lord of Change model, 15+ blue horrors, 3 pink horrors, a disc and a flamer. I would need a fair few more pink horrors and more metal flamers (I have only ever seen one on eBay, I bought it) before a force could be constructed.

The next question to ask is 'where do I start?' Having spent some time focusing of three of the four powers I feel like exploring the world of painting citadels a little further. I want to paint a bit of this and a bit of that. My collection is vast and I would like to paint some real classics (which I hope readers of this blog would like to see) rather than get bogged down army building. To contradict myself (something I do regularly), I also want armies to play with (either with other players face to face or over Skype) so I need to be a little focused on what I am doing rather than just paint away merrily.

I plan to paint small units and characters- these do not have to be in the same army- and flit between what I have. I am going to start with Undead and Orcs and probably flirt with my daemonic legions too. If you remember so time ago a posted a little page about Warhammer Fantasy Regiments and even painted up my first orc. All I can say is I was bitten by that particular bug too and have been working away secretly on my forbidden models (what would the dark powers of chaos say about that!) while working on the Bob Olley beastmen.

Let's have a look at a WIP of my first unit. Ten orc boys with full command.

Obviously, there is still a little work to do before they are complete. And there is the banner to think about. Hopefully by the end of this week these greenskins will be based and I shall be moving on to something else.

Here are a few close ups...

A classic and iconic miniature if ever there was one. The orc leader painted up in the opening pages of the 3rd Edition Rulebook. This is a recent purchase for me and I have wanted this model for over 25 years. Just needs a few lowlights adding here and there on the armour.

Cheeky standard bearer. I always preferred my orcs this way. Gangly, sneaky and cruel but with a comic splash. Lovely character, unlike the boring brutes of today.

A champion (still needs a shield) from the days when a command unit would have four models. Actually, I am surprised this wasn't re-introduced in 8th as it would have required the player to by additional models for all of their units.

Finally, another characterful model, this time the musician complete with gong. For those that are interested, this was the second orc I ever painted one morning as my son watched Show Me Show Me and the Numberjacks on Cbeebies!

Right, I am off to finish off these orcs and sort through my mountain of lead and ancient plastic sprues. Once the orcs are done what shall I tackle next?

Any suggestions?



  1. Wow - big project! Looking forward to seeing how your Orc army progresses. Good idea as well to set your ideas out like this - I'm probably in a similar position with regards to my collection - lots of bits of warbands for most of the warhammer factions, but I haven't really thought about what I'm going to do with it all!

    I reckon you'll be needing some good guys next - Dwarfs or Wood Elves?

    Another afterthought - having amassed just about enough Hobgoblins for an ally contingent for my growing Orc and Goblin horde, have you considered these nelected Goblinoids at all? I just wish there had been some kind of cavalry option produced for them - seems strange for a nomadic Steppe inhabiting tribal people not to have any horse or wolf cavalry...

    I always liked the Old Worlder mercenary contingent that was mentioned in the old Army book - Tileans and Estalians and the like. Not many minis produced specifically for them again unfortunately.

  2. What an exciting project! Looking forward to following your progress.

  3. I started the same project in about 1988! I'm still going and can safely say I can field almost every list in the book except Nippon using citadel or marauder of the same time period, at least 3000 pts of the actual armies less of the Merck an allies. However they are not all painted even after all this time and that my friend is the big challenge, we'll that and stopping myself expanding the collection even more.

  4. An interesting turn in your plans. Good luck for your new über project then.
    And regarding: "[...]I have wanted this model for over 25 years."

  5. Good luck with that! Will be amazing to see your collection of classic figures grow. I'm struggling to even manage a single army of Skaven at the moment!

  6. A mighty task indeed. I've set for myself the goal of collecting Orc, Human, Chaos, Undead and Dwarf armies to use with the 3rd edition rules, plus Halfling and Skaven allied contingents. I'm doing okay on the collecting, it's the painting that's really tough, of course. I also daydream of Slaan and Fimir warbands, but those will be mighty expensive, so I consign them, for now, to distant horizons.

    Per the Slaan: I don't know if you're aware, or if you care to mix other manufacturers in with your Citadel stuff, but Reaper made a number of very interesting Slaan knock-offs that still turn up cheap on ebay, including a pack of very pretty Aztec influenced frog warriors in comparable scale to the old Citadel Slaan figures, and a great Shaman with a removable dragon-skull mask...might be a useful resource...

    Anyway, Good Luck with your project! Looking forward to watching your progress!

  7. Sounds like a really fun project. I'm surprised there are not more blogs around that talk about playing with older editions of GW games. I have fond memories of this period, as it was when I was into GW games. Good luck with the project.

  8. Subconsciously I think I've been trying to do what you've set out in a more formal way! My trouble is I also appreciate good miniature from wherever they come from, not just the 80's. My Dark Elves are pretty much 'current' for example. Anyways I look forward to seeing your progress! Good luck from me too!