Friday, 12 February 2016

An Undead Samurai

Every now and then I do something that really surprises me!
I am working on a veteran squad for my Rogue Trader era Imperial Guard, trying to maintain the focus on those. As well as that I am working on Epic Death Guard Terminators as a backup. The painting backlog is quite formidable, so I am trying hard to be disciplined and focus my energy in the right place to get my armies finished before starting the next one.
So I reach into my draw and grab a mail order packet that was shoved up the back, thinking "I wonder what is in here?".
A few hours (and one episode of the Eye of Horus podcast) later I have a painted undead samurai standard bearer for my old lead undead army. I still don't really know how it happened, but I'm happy that it did!
One of the biggest surprises for me though is the fact that it's on a round base!
I haven't played a single game of Age of Sigmar, or even talked about it to anyone. But I have downloaded the rules for it, and I think I actually like the look of it (which puts me at odds with pretty much everyone else on the planet!). Well, I don't like the fact that the Warhammer world is dead, and all my carefully crafted narratives died with it, but if you overlook that little fact then it appears to be a reasonable system.
As a game it seems like it will be easy to learn, and as it relies on synergies to create powerful units it will also be fairly hard to master (for an infrequent player like me at least). A lot of the criticism seems to be that there aren't points values, but to be honest I'm not to fussed by that, as I enjoy scenario based gaming. The players agree on a rough number of total wounds each, and if you dramatically outnumber your opponent then they get perks. If someone rocks up with an army composed entirely of vampire lords on zombie dragons you politely show them the door. Simple. There are fan based points systems too (such as this one), meaning that people can play in tournaments. I'm not a huge fan but understand that the community has a fair bit of momentum to overcome from 30ish years of warhammer with point costs.
I was planning to base these models so I could use them in games of WH3rd, thinking that me and my mates might play some games of it. But WH3rd really is a fairly complex beast, and as I mature, and have less time available to devote to the hobby, I am starting to see value in simpler things.

But back to this model. According to The Stuff of Legends it is one of the C18 Citadel Undead Samurai released in 1985. Back then models were all named. This chap iswas called Ne.
I painted the entire model brown first, and worked my way up from there. I tried to stick to a fairly limited palette of warm tones, so mixed some rusty oranges and yellows, added some red details, and painted the armour black. I left the clothing largely brown, and added some white to the sashimono (back banner) as a contrast.
One of the other things that I am trying to do, is limit my use of pre-purchased colours, and mix more of my own from primaries. I am finding this quite liberating.

I gave the whole model a healthy wash of brown ink (Citadel's Agrax Earthshade) and picked out some highlights once it was dry.

For the base I glued some sand to the round slotta base (using white pva glue), painted it dark grey, drybrushed it grey, and then did a final drybrush with light green (Underhive Ash). Which is how I paint all of my bases these days. The intent is that one day I will have a gaming table and terrain in that colour, so all the models I have will match it.

I added a couple of tufts of dead grass, and took some blurry phone pictures.
I'm not 100% sold on the base. It is a bit rushed, and is the weakest link. The pva glue wasn't completely dry when I painted the sand, and there was some loss of detail from that. Plus my Underhive Ash has dried out, and I need to add water to it to get some to stick to the brush, meaning that my drubrushing paint isn't dry, and is a pain to drybrush with. I might clean the base right off, and have another go at it. Given that I will be basing over 100 models for this army like this it's worth my while trying to get a result that I'm happy with.

My next challenge is in deciding what rules to use to represent my Undead Samurai unit. I have nearly collected all of them, and have a couple of double ups, so should be able to field a unit of twenty. I initially thought that I could use them as some sort of elite armoured skeletons, like tomb guard or grave guard, as I imagine them to be fairly proficient swordsmencorpses. But if I field them as regular skeletons or zombies I can improve them with other units, like standing them near the corpse cart, having necromancers replenish their losses more easily etc. My old corpse cart is pulled by a zombie oxen, which seems appropriate for a feudal Japanese influence, so I might field them as zombies initially and reserve the right to change what I do down the track (especially as a new Death book is about to be released so rules may change a little). Skeletons are a bit more useful than zombies without buffs though, so I might make them skeletons and add them to a Deathrattle Horde formation. But who knows really. I will paint the unit up, and worry about rules later.

But for now, the repainting of the army is officially underway. Much to my surprise.

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