Friday, February 15, 2013

Winter is Coming...

If the Lannister forces are mostly straight up Perry models, the Starks are where the real kitbashing takes off. The bulk of my Stark forces - Scots pikemen from Claymore Castings are currently somewhere between old Blighty and California.  In the meantime, here are the beginnings of my Stark forces...

Stark Archers aka "Skirmishers" in Dux Britanniarum
 These are comprised of Fireforge Foot Sergeants, Perry WotR arms and bits, and mostly Gripping Beast Hirdman heads.  I'm generally happy with the effect that they look more primitive than the Lannister "high medieval" aesthetic.  As with Lannister, I will build out eight more of these to use as "levy" in the SAGA translation to Westeros in my first post.

Carrying that forward to the men-at-arms we have:

Stark Men-at-Arms aka "warriors" in DB and SAGA

These are built from Fireforge or Gripping Beast bodies (there's one Perry WotR that's an early prototype), Gripping Beast or Fireforge heads, and mostly Fireforge Templar Knight axe arms plus a couple from Gripping Beast.  Shield shape will be a unifying element across each force with Stark getting these flat topped kite shields. However I may give the pikemen simple round shields. When my Tuetonic foot knights arrive I will likely pop the heads of most of these - and the as yet unbuilt second unit - to add cloaks with bits of fur and wolf pelt to make them more robust and more "northern".  Here are a few close ups of individual models...

Clearly there's more clean up and crack filling to be done.  My purpose was to assemble enough of them to see how they'd look as a group. I'll confess that I'm not feeling like "Voila!" but with the furred cloaks, I believe they'll create the desired impression without looking like they're lifted directly from real history.

On that score, this next batch has more of a challenge. For elite household knights afoot I may use these:

These are Black Tree Designs early HYW period.  In my schema, if the Lannisters, Tyrells and the Baratheons are the wealthiest houses represented by mostly WotR-era dress and armor - roughly 1460's. Stark, Greyjoy and Martel are at the other end of the spectrum towards Crecy/Poitiers in their equipment and look.  The other houses will be somewhere between Otterburn (1380's)and Agincourt (1415).  For Stark, there are not a lot of early HYW models out there besides BTD and Old Glory.  I rule out Foundry because my sense is that they're shorter and thicker than the lines I'm currently using. (I'm open to being persuaded otherwise by any commenter.)  To push their sillouette off of their real historical period I'm giving them kite shields and...

 I remembered I had these old GW Empire Knights of the White Wolf cloaks that I was hoarding to scratch build Mordor Black Guard of Barad-Dur.  I think a few will serve here.  I like these models insofar that their camailed bascinet has the same look as the Darksword miniature approved by GRRM hisself:

DISCLAIMER: I did not paint this model!!!!!
While I'm not a slave to them, these sculpts from Darksword are a useful visual reference for some of my design choices.  

And finally, for now, the first of the four elite cavalry...

Rikard Karstark

Simply a Viking head plopped on a Templar body.  He will either serve as one of the two sub-commanders (i.e. "nobles" in Dux Brit) with Greatjon Umber as the other. Or, he will lead the unit of four shock cavalry that could replace the six elite foot altogether.

I'm not yet completely sold on these conversions, but my sense is that I can see them all coming together once they are based and painted properly.  

The next installment will focus on the two lord commanders...


  1. I really like these ideas. I might consider such kit bashing if i ever do a GOT force.
    'I'm not yet completely sold on these conversions'
    Get some paint on them! I had that once where i thought i ruined a figure with a bad conversion, but i painted him up and it looked much better. A little paint goes a long way. And it's your first try (i guess?)

  2. Really like the Rikard Karstark figure, that is a very effective combination of parts to create a very credible figue. However I think you are treading a very fine line with these conversations and in my opinion some of those Gripping Beast hirdmen heads do not work. The more ornate hirdmen heads do not look like to me, in particular the use of the "spectacle" helmeted head for the one archer. Whereas the other three archers look very good, particularly like the archer second from left with the arming cap. The addition of the cloaks to the Black Tree Knights is very effective.Will you add some form of scratchbuilt chain/cord to the throats of the cloaks?. Like Maxamillian I'm now looking forward to seeing some of your conversions painted up, I think they are going to look very good.

    1. Thank you, MS.

      Actually agree about the spectacle helm - especially on an archer. Having reenacted WotR archers, the last thing an archer would want is obstructed vision.

      As for the chain/cord for the cloaks. I've never attempted something that fine. The cloaks are moulded with little clasp/diadems on the shoulder points. I thought that would suffice.

      Thank you again for the encouragement; it helps with the motivation!

    2. Chain could be tricky but certainly not impossible. I think the biggest problem, as you say, would be the miniscule size of the thing. (IMO, good lighting helps more than magnification, but YMMV)

      I don't know your experience with putty, so apols if this is surplus to requirements, but these two tutorials turned up at the top of the google search page. Pretty good results IMO.

      Cord's probably easier: take two pieces of fairly fine wire (or one doubled over), clamp the ends in two pin vices (or one vice and a pair of good, grippy tweezers), and twist. :)

      All of this, of course, if the fancy takes you. I won't disagree or lose sleep if you leave the cloaks as they are!

  3. I'm warming to the FF sergeants again, although I think the super-action-poses might be a tad more suited to skirmish than the crush of ranked units...
    Got to say, the FF bodies with GB bits also look more than a bit Rohirrim (movie/GW Rohirrim at least) to my eyes. :) I don't know if the spec helm makes that one guy look too vikingish, but I'm not too opposed to it either.
    Everything else looks good, and it's good to see how well the BTD figures look, in themselves and converted up. I'm not sure about the fully mailed arms on a couple of the minis, but that's mainly because I just don't like the look of full mailed arms, myself. :D It's one of the things that made me think twice about the FF knights.

    Speaking of them, I heard the FF horse heads looked a bit wonky, and... that one does look a little gaunt, doesn't it? Not a dealbreaker, just a little surprising.

    1. Thanks, Vyrmis!

      I agree with your comment about the helm but, on balance, it's a trade off I'm willing to make to have Starks look different, more "primitive" than the other houses.

      As for the horse heads, I don't have an eye for horseflesh. There's a discussion on LAF about Claymore Castings' horses but I don't see the problem. A blind spot for me, I'm sure.

    2. I heard about the FF horses in Captain Blood's posts on LAF:

      I've seen the complaints about Claymore horses too: there were similar concerns on Frothers. But apparently they're Ebob horses, and if there's one guy I'd expect to get them right...

  4. Excellent work Wade ... keep it coming!

  5. Those are some great conversions! I especially like the scale-armour, guess that is from the Fireforge sergeants?

    Oh, and mr Karstark is superb!

    1. Thank you, Tomek!

      You're spot on! FF sergeants.

      The Karstark model was not planned, just an in-the-moment inspiration. Funny how that works.

  6. Have you considered incorporating any of First Corps Kingmaker figures into any of the houses you are creating? I'm fairly certain I saw photos of size comparison and they were very much in scale with Perry's HYW figures. There are some interesting figures there with some very interesting pole-arms - assorted flails etc.

    1. Thanks for the reminder about Kingmaker. I looked at them, and forgot them as I focused on Stark and Lannister.

      There are several that are quite interesting across those lines.

      I particularly like some of the Hussites.

  7. Excellent bit of kitbashing there well done!

    Just a headsup but I'm sure I read somewhere in one of the books that kite shields were no longer commonly used in Westeros as they were seen as being old and of antiquated design. Not sure where I read it but thought I would share.

    Keep up the good work!