Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Skaven army takes on a Von Carstein castle

My birthday came up and with my painting station filled with Highborn Aelfs and Grudge of Drong terrain I thought it was high time to buy myself a present at the local GW. I should've worn blinkers... Instead of getting the last few required Aelfs my eyes fell the Skaven releases I missed in the past few years. Pulling my attention back to this force. I hoped to get back to Grudge of Drong, but I have to interrupt with a short sidestep by presenting an overview of my Skaven Army as it stands today, with a bit of style by having them do a fictitious storming of a Von Carstein castle.

A Skaven horde: not the best view for any proud castle owner to wake up to.
My first fully painted Warhammer Fantasy army (somewhere between 3rd and 4th ed.) was a Skaven force. I still have most of those models. A lot of them still have their original old (not very good) paint jobs. I just can't get myself to strip and redo them. I did however take their old boring square bases with flock of and rebased every Skaven model I intend to use the coming few years. That leaves nine old models on their old bases, including the Grey Seer that used to run the army. Also retired to the display cabinet is the proud old army banner I made somewhere in 1991 I think. Not pictured but also retired are 40 painted monopose plastic clanrats from the white plastic Warhammer Fantasy Regiments boxed set and 20 Stormvermin (my larger Advanced Heroquest Skaven used to fill this position in the army.

I love these models, but I can't really use them in my current games. 
But back to the new. The core of my Skaven army is a huge force of Clanrats. I bougth two Island of Blood/Spire of Dawn sets and struck a nice deal on some more clanrats from this set. Then I forced myself to apply a very simple paintjob on a lot of them. Right now I have 149 painted up and based. The release of Age of Sigmar saw a goodbye to the base as an instrument of measuring. I took advantage of this by basing my Skaven on ovals and cavalry bases holding five at a time. That save a lot of time setting them up. Where I play we have returned to measuring from the base again but I have had no complaints about this way of basing so far.

Quick, quick, kill, kill!
An added advantage of basing Skaven in groups on oval bases is that it makes them bunch up a bit more which perfectly fits the nasty bunched up skittering mass of cowards a Skaven Army is.

The older warpfire thrower teams have actually been rebased twice since the release of Age of Sigmar (once from 20x20 to square cavalry base and now to ovals). 
The Screaming Bell makes a great centerpiece to this army and especially the Cracks Call spell tends to worry opponents I play (looking at you 4" movement Stormcast).

Somehow 149 clanrats sound like more then it looks, maybe I should go for double that...(queue batman slapping and yelling 'no' here). 
As I have two full Island of Blood kits I had two warlords to paint. The first one is in the center bottom of this picture. I went for a warpstone armour look and a lot of red. The second one is on the top left(ish) side (by the warpfire throwers). I took of his backpack and replaced his left hand with the extra hand in the Silver Tower set. One of the nice things about Skaven is that you can quite often use human hands to make quick conversions on them.

I love the screaming bell kit. From the blind rat ogre pulling the bell chain to the screaming grey seer on top.
At first I based the musicians in the units on single bases, but I quickly realized this is a bit pointless as they are not quite as important as banners and leaders. So quite a number of them are simply part of the group.

First to the fight Clan Eshin is ready to ambush the first vampire going for this morning's newspaper.
One of my smaller forces are the Eshin Skaven. Deathmaster Snikch has been roving battlefields for decades (only the base is new). He once killed a Giant in one fell charge. Four of the Gutter Runners have been painted recently (after decades on the lead pile), the other six used to run with the Deathmaster in older games. I don't own any Night Runners. If I recall correctly way back when I bought these metal models you simply used the metals for both. I don't really like the look of the current plastic Night Runners so maybe a drunk late night online purchase, but probably no Night Runners for a while, especially as I need a minimum of thirty to make an Eshin formation.

The new Thanqual and Boneripper kit looks awesome (and is most likely very awesome in game).
Brand new in my army is the new Thanquol and Boneripper model. I absolutely love the Gotrek and Felix novels, in large part because of these two. The release of this monument to Skaven megalomania in the end times made me want to own them, but I had so many projects that it took until now before I got one ready for the battlefield.

But the old Thanquol and Boneripper set also looks awesome (and I have Gotrek and Felix somewhere on the lead pile).
It wouldn't do if the big one was the only Thanquol and Boneripper model in my collection. A few years back I picked up the older version with a smaller boneripper second hand. Before painting the big one I had a lot of fun with this more modest combination. In a funny twist of inverted scale creep the older Thanquol is bigger than the newer (Boneripper is another story of course...).

Clan Moulder is represented by monsters and packmasters.
Here is a shot of the two together. I will be using the older Thanquol as a Grey Seer in my army and Boneripper will join my Rat Ogor pack.

Buddy the Hell Pit Abomination and his little friends.
Speaking of Rat Ogors and Clan Moulder. They are represented here with my Hell Pit Abomination 'Buddy'. I had some fun converting two of the Rat Ogors from the Island of Blood set with Warpfire Thrower implants. The Giant Rats are a mix of very ancient metal ones, old plastic ones from a very ugly plastic rat swarm set (that works excellently as separate giant rats) and three from the varying modern Skaven sprues (that are very generous on extra rats (both small and big)).

The trick too make the Island of Blood Rat Ogors not look too mono-pose is a bit of creative converting.
Here is a closer shot of the Rat Ogors with in the background two metal Packmasters (with very old paint jobs) and Throt the Unclean. Also featured is one of the newer packmasters of which I have two.

Clan Skryre and Clan Pestilens feature a mix of old and new in my army.
Lets move on to Pestilens. These are my very old (rebased) Plague Monks, including a very ancient banner and led by Lord Skrolk. I also had four Plague Censer Bearers that I expanded with a quick conversion of a broken metal Plague Monk (left side of the picture). On the right is a much newer Plague Priest that is part of the other build you can make with the Screaming Bell.

The little censer bearer that accompanies Lord Nurglitch is somewhere on my paint tray.
In the center is Plague Lord Nurglitch on his Brood Horror. I impuls bought this model up during a wargaming convention (with borrowed cash) and I have not regretted it since. It would be nice if GW made some warscrolls for these older folks (and also highly unlikely, but still...).

Lord Skrolk's book was the first freehand I was really proud of way back then, and I still like it today.
Here is a bit of a close-up of Lord Skrolk. I would probably do a slightly better paint job on him if I stripped him, but even after more then 25 years I'm still quite satisfied with the freehand on his book. So no acetone for him. Lets move on to our furry little friend from Clan Skryre.

I love the concept of these old poisoned wind globadiers.
I had three poisoned wind globadiers in my old army (two of which where painted). In Age of Sigmar they turn up in units of five. Luckily the old metal models are/where still sold by Games Workshop so I had the chance to add to this unit and paint up the lot to join the older ones (with the orange tubes going to their gas masks).

You can never have enough Warpfire Throwers and Doomwheels, never.
To the left of the Globadiers are my Warpfire Thrower Weapon Teams. Back when I bought the metal ones you had to phone in your orders (internet was not around (yes I'm old)). When I called I was informed that the Warpfire Throwers where being replaced with newer models and the older ones where half price. Being more of a general then an accountant I celebrated this fact by buying four. I'm so happy I'm not an accountant :). The fifth one is from Island of Blood (number six (also IoB) was cut up and used in the Rat Ogor conversions).

My old Jezzail Teams are ready to miss important enemies in the Age of Sigmar.
With the same discount I also got four Warplock Jezzail teams (in stead of two). Number one was in the retired group, the other three are here.

I like these new models, they fit very well with the overall Skaven army look and feel.
Plastic time. Here are two Poisoned Wind Mortar teams. I loved the concept of these in Island of Blood, but I hated the conga-line walk. Using oval bases I could model them as if the front one was loading the mortar.

Ikkit Claw (the Arch-Warlock) is ready to serve as the spill of my Skryre Formations.
Here is a freshly painted Ikit Claw, or the Arch-Warlock as he's called now, standing ready to make my opponents life miserable. Also a quick bit of extra attention on the metal warpfire team in the background, still love these old sculpts.

Banners rule! Every battle I use these two in I secretly take some time to feel proud of these paint jobs.
As you may have noticed my army has two Doomwheels. One made of plastic and one made of metal. I love them both, especially together as the differences in design make the combination look as rag tag as I want my Skaven to look.

You can almost hear this big rat giggle.
The grin of the new driver really captures the old Skaven design ethos in my very humble opinion.

Rattling guns. I picked the red head scarves with white shirts look of the top team in honor of Rambo (John J.).
I remember seeing these Ratling Gun teams and instantly hating them. A few years later I bought them, and now I love them. I guess I'm a bit of a fickle gamer on that account.

The Warp-Grinder Team is cool in concept and fun on the battlefield.
As opposed to the Ratling Guns I instantly loved the Warp-Grinder Weapon Team. Its rules allowing a unit to pop-up from the ground make it especially lovable. I should get more then one of these...let's add it to the 'to-do later' list.

Behind the Warlock is a freehand banner on metal paper, based on the designs in the old Uniforms and Heraldry of the Skaven book.
Here is another quick conversion. I used a Skitarii arm to make this Warlock Engineer slightly different from the other one in my army.

I wonder how far my horde will expand in the next 25 years....
I'll finish off with a quick bit about banners. I still love to make old-school square ones for my units like the yellow banner just above Thanqual here (and the one behind the Warlock Engineer one picture up). I alternate using thick paper and metal paper to make them and go out of my way to convert banner poles to hold the old style banners. One of my pet peeves with Age of Sigmar is Games Workshop's move away from banners in units. Such a pity, on the other handL rules or no rules I will never stop making extra banners, they make the army if you ask me.

Right now I'm concentrating on (temporarily) getting over my Skaven obsession. On my paint tray right now are: a sixth Rat Ogor, Packmaster Skweel Gnawtooth, a unit of twenty Stormvermin (excellent plastic kit!), two Doom Flayers, three Storm Fiends (interesting kit), a Warp Lightning Cannon and two converted Skaven Chieftains with Battle Standards (yeah!). After this lot is finished (they are in varying stages of paint right now) I might just make a quick expansion to Clan Pestilens (the only ones with a battle tome so far). Also still on my want list is Tretch Craventail, a model that I sadly don't have in my force (and that is no longer on sale). Who knows maybe he'll pop up somewhere, he is Skaven after all....

Monday, May 1, 2017

Age of Sigmar terrain abandoned mine shafts for Grudge of Drong

I had a bit less hobby time this weekend as I hosted the first Age of Sigmar tournament my gaming club (Sword Brethren Eindhoven) organised. So no painted High Elves and the Bierlager is still in black undercoat as well. I did however spent my lazy Sunday finishing the build of the two abandoned mine shafts for the first scenario in Grudge of Drong. Here is number one.

It looks like the Dwarves/Duardin/Dispossessed abandoned this shaft halfway through their shift.
The first scenario 'Battle of Grudge Pass' takes place among mines that have been abandoned for richter ore veins further down the rocky valley. The scenario requires four large hills (to be produced). Two rocky fields that I quickly made after the mine shafts. The main material for rocky fields! Yes no everything wins a price for creativity. I did however use the last of my large stones, and I can't remember where I picked these up, so I'll have to keep my eyes out for more.

Making terrain with boulders is one of the easier things in wargaming, just grab some MDF and add boulders*
* to scale to be sure
In the scenario the mine shafts are described as follows:

"There are two abandoned mine shafts on the edges of the pass. These can be represented by a ring of small pebbles about 3" in diameter. Any models which move over these shafts during the battle must roll equal to or under their initiative on one dice or plummet to into the darkness, lost forever!" 

First of pebbles schmebbles! I want my terrain to look cool. Second the placement of the mines on the map in the campaign gives no one a good reason to actually step onto them. So I spent a bit of time pondering this. Finally I decided to make the mines of the 'hole in the ground with some scaffolding variety. This makes it interesting to move (missile) troops onto them to get a nice line of sight.

Nothing gets me in quite as much of a zen-mode in this hobby as terrain building. 
The rule for falling into the mine is interesting but can be altered slightly to make it more attractive ot actually use it in battle. Age of Sigmar lacks initiative but has a Deadly terrain rule (models that charge or run over the terrain roll a D6 and die on a 1). If this rule goes into effect for the mines, a group of archers on the scaffolding get cover and a chance that chargers rushing at them fall into the mine. Now combatants might want to use the old mines for tactical advantage.

If you just start and see what happens you can get some great results (and some dismal failures, but that is what the bottom of the garbage can is for).
To build the mines I cut a couple of MDF bases (completely forgetting that Grudge of Drong actually gives a size indication in the book). I used a plastic wood base from GW as a template and altered course with the jig saw to keep it looking interesting. Next up I used left over bits of polystyrene to create a basic hole in the ground shape. After that I added stones to distract from the 'this is not stone' look of the polystyrene. Next I used a scalpel to cut up the polystyrene some more, then I added (balsa) wooden supports for the scaffolding. After giving the PVA some time to dry I added coffee stirrers to build up the scaffolding itself. I finished up by adding sand to everything that looked flat enough to contain sand.

In spite of multiple cleaning there is still sand everywhere. I should've done this outside.
The second mine shaft was build in a slightly different order (sand first, scaffolding later) but getting carried away I forgot to take WIP pictures.

The two halves of the Renedra plastic barrels have a very ugly fit, but that is well compensated by the possibilities they offer for terrain builders (and the reasonable price).   
I had quite a lot of fun maing the simple crane on the first shaft. First off I took a Renedra plastic barrel pushed a paperclip through it and added some random small bits of rock to the top. Then I tied a sisal rope to it. The rope was tied to the top of the beam, covered in PVA and weighted while it dried to make the rope look (more or less) straight).

A scale counterweight made out of rock and sisal rope.
Next I took a stone, tied it up with sisal and tied it to the back of the beam. There is a simple crane that gives this pit a bit of character.

Mine shaft number one, ready to be painted.
I finished up by airbrush black Vallejo primer on the models. Now all that is left is taking a few dabs of paint to it (and maybe spreading a few of the metal Dwarf tools that came with the Ral Partha Europe Dwarves to the finished version.

Mine shaft number two is also ready for paint (in spite of being almost completely forgotten during WIP photography)
I will have to decide on a color first. I guess I'll go for traditional grey rocks, brownish sand and deep greybrown (Dryad Bark) scaffolding. In between painting this terrain I'm going to give over to a short 'squirrel' moment as my chittering horde of Skaven is demanding 'expansion, expansion, quick, quick!' Keeping focus and wargaming, is it even possible?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Scratch building the Grudge of Drong Bierlager

In between taking a brush to my High Elves and giving them a few test rides with the Age of Sigmar ruleset I've been working on the buildings needed for the Grudge of Drong campaign. This campaign is (I just read) notable for being the last to feature cardboard buildings to use with the scenario's. But why use cardboard when you can scratch build. Over the past few weeks I've been learning how not to use my new polystyrene cutting tools by attempting Das Bierlager (my guide to building the buildings is in German, it enhances the appeal of Dwarves immeasurably in my opinion). Here's a quick list of things I've learned the hard way about polystyrene cutting:

  • Make sure the angle between two walls is 90 degrees before cutting the lot, 100+ degree angles lead to very strange geometry (unusable buildings unless you're a great old one).
  • Put the texture on the walls before cutting the 90 degree corners, <1 mm polystyrene is not known as 'the strongest material in the world' for a reason.
  • Don't glue with PVA glue, it dries way too slow, use transparant 'everything' glue (just as with foamboard).
  • Don't push cocktail sticks in neatly cut polystyrene buildings, it makes the walls crack.
  • Check your supply of 1mm cardboard, you may have just used all of it to make tiles for Armageddon buildings...
So there was a bit of a learning curve here. In the end my first building is standing (almost fully) primed and ready for paint. 

Front side of Das Bierlager, I wonder what the top floor is used for...
I diverted from the cardboard GW plans where needed (usually because my talent when it comes to sculpting intricate stonework and pretty details is very limited).

Perhaps the Dwarf in charge of the hall sleeps here, but what self respecting Dwarf would deign to sleep high above ground when there is a cellar available.
The windows on the wooden top floor of the building use two bits of the same Ikea carpet underlay as my Armageddon terrain tiles use. I'm actually almost out and should visit this Swedish Warhammer/AoS terrain store sometime soon.

Top left, proof of the existence of said cellar.
The bars in the bottom right window where added just before gluing the building to the base. I almost forgot this detail.

Considering a huge bunch of fat, bearded guys drinking beer and eating garlic sausage all day, having a big window shaped hole in the top of a beer hall might actually do the air quality a great deal of good. 
And the fourth side of the building. I did forget to put something in the half round top window, I'm going to go for pretending that was the plan all along... Not yet pictured are a few more plastic Renedra barrels I will add later.

Walls for Das Bierlager, the final cut (that actually fit).
Here is a shot of the walls of the building. I textured them using a Greenstuff World textured rolling pin the polystyrene was cut using a hot-wire cutter in combination with my Shifting Lands tools. I cut the angles for the roofing in by hand using a metal ruler and a hobby knife.

Ready to cut some angles in (and also to show of that I've not quite mastered the art of pressing a texture into polystyrene. 
For the final assembly I used transparant hobby glue and a pins to stick the sides together. The roof was made using a leftover package for Earl Grey tea (as I was out of cardboard). This I followed up with a trip to the hobby store to replenish my cardboard supply. In all my enthusiasm about finally assembling my first building (after multiple failed tries) I forgot to take some in between photo's.

Adding shingles is a great test of ones sanity. Low quality television playing in the background is a must.
The roof shingles where individually cut. Most people use strips to put them on, but I like the effect of single tiles slightly better. It gives me chance to space them a bit more irregularly. I do cut my shingles from strips before separation (it helps me hold on to what remains of my sanity while producing them).

While I was busy slapping myself on the back for a job almost completed I suddenly remembered I had to make a top floor for this building. I decided on cardboard and in my rush to create something suitable forgot all the basic rules of working with cardboard (leave a strip for glueing and try to make the entire shape out of one piece that folds together). Luckily I'm rather used to my own foolish mistakes.

Adding the top floor while forgetting all the basics about working with cardboard.
I just pinned the seperate sides to a leftover bit of polystyrene cut to size. Next I removed redundant roof tiles and stuck the top on the bottom building.

Not shown: needles holding the top floor in place.
 After this I added a cardboard roof followed by tiles and dressed the entire top floor in coffee stirrers and some thicker strips of wood. This is where the carpet underlay came in to play as well.

Dressing it up tends to work wonders on making it look slightly more believable.
And here is a few from the other side of the building.

I later added a door, as with many other parts of this project, I forgot to take pictures.
I added a door (cardboard, wood and folded paper clip for door handles) and followed up (after allowing some time to dry) by airbrushing black Vallejo primer on the inside of the building. Then I started on the base. I always use 3mm MDF for my terrain bases. Assuming you don't get it too wet it doesn't warp, is nice and solid and (with power tools is very easy to cut to shape and sand down). As I had the texture roller available anyway and the size wasn't too monstrous I decided to use some greenstuff to make a cobblestone base.

A bit decadent: using green stuff to cover a terrain base.
I learned how not to do that in a few ways before i had the above result and decided it was good enough. Excess greenstuff was carefully removed from the sides and I glued the building in place without waiting for it to cure. And here is where I ended up (and started this blog post).

The original building had a back door here. I liked the look of a wall better. I also suspect dwarves would have a back door in the basement. 
Next up adding a bit more primer and giving this building a splash of paint. In the meantime I've also started on the abandoned mine shafts needed for mission one. I've been pondering the look and feel of these for a while and finally decided just to start gluing materials to a base to see if my chaotic plans have some basis in reality. Here is a WIP shot of that project.

The start of two abandoned mine shafts. I'm already tallying up the first mistakes I made on this project, but I still suspect it will look ok when finished. 
Expect a long rambling story about these mine shafts soon, also some words on the Great Eagles that arrived (and are in the process of being painted) and a very special project that has something to do with a Jadeberry orchard and the ruins of a burned down farm...

Monday, April 24, 2017

Second hand high-elves join me for the Grudge of Drong

With the first game of Armageddon behind me and the first Age of Sigmar tournament I've organised in our region coming up, I decided to put a bit more focus on my High Elves for the Grudge of Drong. Getting every single model in the original armies poses a challenge as Games Workshop has silently canceled a large part of the plastic High Elf line. Luckily I had some models in the plastic/resin/lead pile in the shed. So let's start with some finished models.

Quite a satisfying addition to my glittering High Elf/Aelf Highborn force.
The chariot in the center is a truly ancient piece that I should post to the Oldhammer community on Facebook (note to self, don't forget to do that). I painted the chariot and its riders a few years back, but the horses where languishing in the unfinished box as my love for the project left just before finishing it. I channeled some of my enthusiasm for the Grudge project to quickly finish the four of these. For some reason I have a fifth horse from this set left over, I put that one in the bits box.

I love this ancient model, and after about thirty years on the lead-pile it is finally assembled, painted and based.
In my humble opinion this model embodies everything that was cool about wargaming in the eighties. It is very dynamic and has a full cast of characters on board (warrior, wizard, archer in addition to the guy driving the chariot). As opposed to the later plastic chariots this one seems to speed over the battlefield. All in all I'm quite satisfied that I finally finished and based it. It is a proud part of my display cabinet.

I looked up the current AoS stats for a chariot and had to laugh. It will probably be an under-performing embarrassment on the battlefield unless the enemy is so scared by the model that it gets more attention then it deserves.
I had the eight archers to the left still on sprue in one of the 'ignore this I will never paint it and selling it will not work'-boxes (I know, long label). 

These archers look a lot better painted then I expected. I'd almost wish for more of these old plastics.
As I needed them for 'Grudge' I cleaned them up and gave them a fast paint job with the grey/white coming from an airbrush. Seeing them painted I have to admit that I actually rather like them in all their static appeal. 

Just like the archers these spearmen hold up well, even next to modern plastics.
The spearman where from the same sprue. I think these are from 1992. No airbrush was needed to give these a quick paint job. One of the things that is rather pleasant about eighties and nineties plastic is the lack of detail in the form of pouches, straps, flags, etc. You can quickly block in basic colors, wash, drybrush or highlight and be done with it. This is a plus when painting large blobs of infantry. 

S'un Th'an, wizard of the highest order and inventor of the sun-tan spell.
The wizard in the center was also hanging around the shed after I failed to be satisfied by the galaxy paint job on the horse. It started out with purple and black only. After adding some orange and blue to it I rather liked it, finished the wizard (skin color is a bit darker than intended but I'll just assume he has a sun-tan spell) and I like it. 

The horse was stolen from Tyrion (the High Elf, not the Lannister).
Only after finishing the model I discovered that the horse actually belongs to another High Elf: Tyrion. The model is looking at me accusingly from the painting table right now. Luckily I had some ugly Bretonnians around So I'm converting a horse to put Tyrion on right now. My painting table is currently covered in metal Sword Masters and five metal Dragon Princess (I have another one ready to assemble and two upper bodies lacking legs, but I think five will do). 

Assembly line painting of Sword Masters and (old) Dragon Prince horses. 

These Dragon Prince models (and the current ones) are so overly covered in details that I'm genuinely stumped as to how to paint them. I went for 'when in doubt go for steel' solution to armour painting.
I got a message that my order of Great Eagles is on the way. In the meantime I managed to buy a second hand plastic Repeater Bolt Thrower to complement my two metal ones. That gave me a chance to convert an extra crew member as one of the metal crew members has gone missing.

My third repeater bolt thrower and the new plastic crew.
Through second hand sites I managed to get enough High Elf archers to fill out the requirements for Grudge of Drong. Most of the second hand ones were covered in ultra thick layers of paint.

Second hand miniatures in bad need of paint stripper.
I snapped the models apart where possible (luckily the previous owner used superglue).

I feel like a Vandal.
And followed up with a bath in Biostrip-20 getting the models mostly clean.

Goop! It's what's for dinner!
I then spent a rather unpleasant time gluing the old models back together again. The remains of superglue make it harder to use plastic glue and these models are not very good from a quality point of view. On the plus side I got a few old metal models along with the second hand plastic ones. And here are 22 (or 23) extra archers with banners, musicians and leaders so I can assemble two units of 15 (and for later games 1 whopping big unit of 30).

Stripped and reassembled.
The spearman are a bit more problematic. I sourced 16 old spearman but the models seem to have suffered from inverse scale creep. Their predecessors and their followups are both bigger and scale well together, but the 16 2002 spearmen look like a bit of a failed investment for now.

The spearman to the right (left of the archer) suffers from an off sort of inverse scale creep. (left to right: Island of Blood/Spire of Dawn Lothern Seaguard/Spireguard (2010), High-Elf Spearman (1992), High Elf Warrior (2001/2002), High-Elf Archer (2002).
Luckily I accidentally bought 20 Spireguard (Lother Sea Guard) from the Spire of Dawn set (miscommunication can be positive). These come without the command set which means I have 40 of the 48 required spearmen. I think a solution for the final 8 will present itself (maybe an extra sprue from Spire of Dawn or perhaps I'll get lucky and I'll find some more of the '92 spearmen online). That leaves me 1 Elf Lord on steed, 1 Battle Banner carrier on steed and 7 Dragon Princess short of the full army. I think that will be easily solved. But lets paint the current lot first before wasting more cash on bare metal and plastic.