Monday, 23 January 2017

Guardian Brutes - WIP

So having decided on an Ancient Greek-themed Herd Army with a stylised Minotaur head symbol it was pretty obvious that I was going to need to have a decent-sized Minotaur unit as a centre-piece to the army. Here's an introduction to that unit as a work progresses on them.

In Kings of War, Minotaurs are represented by the Guardian Brutes entry:
 (image from

Lots of attacks, that hit pretty hard on the charge and a solid defence.
I'd decided a Horde would be the best option here for a centre-piece unit and so I'd need to find some miniatures worthy of this stat-line.

There are a large number of Minotaur miniatures out there in the market place, from GW's massive, steroid pumped, gym-monkeys (not to my taste), to the more realistically proportioned, but still beef-caked offerings from Mierce Miniatures.
Rather than run through all the various options that are out there, I'll simply piggy-back on the hard work of others and direct anyone interested in the different Minotaur options to the sterling work done by the 9th Age crew:

However, having sent you all off on a wild-goose chase (wild-bull chase??) I should probably point out that I've not actually used any of the Minotaurs in that list for my own unit!
A lot of them felt too feral and were too covered in rags and scraps for the cream of the Mykretenae Herd. Those at the upper reaches of the heirarchy of the Brutocracy would need to be equipped in a more fitting manner...

So having searched around for something more in line with my Ancient Greek them I came across the following option as part of the D&D minatures pre-paint line.
The D&D Miniatures—Savage Encounters: Savage Minotaur
(image from

For a pre-paint the scuplting quality isn't too bad. The style and armour had a much more classical feel to it that I felt could be enhanced with a new paint job. Finally, with both arms being free of the body it would be much easier to convert as required.
After further though and perusal of the miniature, the pose itself with the body twisted around toward the left arm leant itself very nicely towards that hoplite feel I thought. I just needed to find appropriate weaponry and shields and I thought I could make a half-decent job of this unit.

Weaponry was pretty easy to do. As with my Tribal Longhorns I wanted swords to be primarily the order of the day. Therefore I raided, borrowed and traded for a few Warhammer Ogre Kingdoms arms and swords holding hands.
 (image from:

Removing the open right hand of the Savage Minotaur and replacing with a sword was easy enough, but with a couple of the miniatures I've replaced the whole arm, just to give a bit more variety to the unit.

Shields were another matter however. These guys needed hoplite shields and the ones from the Victrix kit were simply way too small. They looked like bucklers, not Defence 5+ battering rams!
After considering trying to get something like some buttons at the right size, I was clearly running out of ideas. But then the obvious finally struck me.
Look to a different scale...
And sure enough the good people at Irregular Miniatures ( not only did a range of 54mm Greek Hoplites, but you could also buy the hoplite shields separately!
I duly ordered a bunch up and much to my delight they fitted perfectly.

So with 6 D&D Savage Minotaurs and a bunch of swords, shields I was ready to go.
However, given that I was basically using the same miniature half a dozen times in the same unit, I also decided to do a few head swaps which will hopefully break this up a bit. I like uniform in my units, but these are supposed to be Guardian Brutes not clones.

But without further ado, here are the first 2 out of 6 Guardian Brutes pretty much done and dusted.

Guardian Brute 1 

Guardian Brute 1 also shows off the shield design that will appear on all of the Brutes hoplons. they come from the Forgeworld Minotaurs Space Marine transfer sheet that I picked up some years ago for this project.
(image from
 Guardian Brutes 1 & 2

Guardian Brute 2 (on the left above) also has a head swap. This head was taken from the Zenit Miniatures Uro figure with new horns added (a miniature that might well make an appearance elsewhere in this army... ;) )


Obviously they are only tacked in place at the moment. I'm waiting to get them all painted up before gluing any to the bases yet. This will itself be an endless joy due to plastic models with quite small hooves for feet and heavy metal shields for maximum top-heaviness...
 My plan is to have 5 Brutes across the front, with slightly overlapping shields to give that hoplite phalanx look. The sixth model will be a Standard Bearer who will then stand behind this shield wall

So, there we have it. The start of the Guardian Brutes of the Brutocracy.
More to follow!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Tribal Longhorns: Troops Beta & Gamma

There's been a rather long hiatus in terms of progress with the Brutocracy. I shall freely admit to having had my head turned by other armies (Forces of Nature and Twilight Kin to name but two). However despite this negligible progress on the Herd front, I have made the rather rash decision to take the Brutocracy to my first ever KoW tournament (Tides of War in Bristol).
This gives me a mere 3 and a half weeks now to get the rest of the army painted up...

Thankfully however, I have made some headway in this regard and plan to continue to update this blog with my progress over the next few weeks of frantic painting as I complete units.

First up are the other two troops of Tribal Longhorns.

Nothing much to say about these guys in terms of miniature, modelling and paint colour choices that I haven't already covered in the previous post about the Alpha Troop.
(GW Gor miniatures with Maxmini heads)

First up is Beta Troop.

On setting this unit up for the pics I noticed  the longhorn on the very left had lost his sword (good job it wasn't his shield he'd lost. That would be unforgivable for a hoplite!) Hence the hasty, unpainted replacement. The presence of such a shocking piece of grey plastic has thankfully now been rectified.

 And also completed now is Gamma Troop.

Gamma Troop is currently only 7 strong compared with Alpha and Beta Troops and this was initially down to the models that I had available. There is space to add another Longhorn in the rear right of the unit, next to the one with the raised shield and I have rustled up a couple of spare miniatures. At some point Gamma Troop will get an additional reinforcement (FNG ;) ).

Also you can see that Gamma Troop includes the banner bearer for the Longhorns and that initially I was going to paint the banners a deep red, to match the main spot colour of the rest of the army.
However I am now contemplating whether to try something a bit different for my banners and paint them up in the style of Ancient Greek black figure pottery. 
Something akin to this:
(image taken from

I have a dim and distant memory of somebody using this technique for the banners of their converted Amazon army (possible a Warhammer Wood Elf one?) but can no longer find the link for it.

Banners like this, however, would be a significant step up for my limited artistic skills and would very much be a long term plan. Right now I just need to get the army painted up! :p

More updates should follow soon as stuff hits the painting tables!

Friday, 4 March 2016

Tribal Longhorns: Troop Alpha

First forays into multi-basing

After displaying in the first post the Tribal Spears that I worked on a fair while ago whilst this army was in its WFB incarnation, I felt it about time to show the next unit for the Brutocracy. 
This unit is one of the 'new breed' that I've worked on since taking up KoW and as such takes advantage of the unit basing.

The unit is question is a Troop of Tribal Longhorns. Hard hitting with the ability to take a punch, several troops of them will form the backbone of my army and so I wanted something that reflected this miniature-wise. 
(Image from

Given the number of miniatures I intended to use across the army, the base figure needed to be pretty easy to get hold of in large numbers without being too costly. I also wanted them to be pretty hefty looking thus befitting their CS1 and TC1. Finally they'd need to be readily adaptable to match my Ancient Greek theme but also have a clear element of beastliness about them.
The answer for the base miniature seemed pretty obvious - GW Gors. They ticked all of the boxes above and through a judicious eBay purchase I was able to pick up 30 of them that were already built and undercoated (yay timesaving!)

The main question though was how to bring them into line with my army's look and theme. The answer came to me relatively quickly. A head swap. Whereas the lesser members of the Brutocracy, the Tribal Spears, were human-bodied and beast-headed, the Tribal Longhorns would be the opposite.

I got to work removing the goat heads from my new Longhorns and started trialling different options. Initially I planned to use GW Chaos Marauder heads, trimming the horns off to create a more Corinthian looking helmet:
(Image from

However, these heads turned out to be too small for the Gors beefy frame. I certainly didn't want my Tribal Longhorns to be pinheads, not when they were supposed to be the cream of the herd!

It was clear therefore that I'd need to look further afield for some Greek-style helmets of a large enough size to fit my now headless Longhorns. 
Having purchased from them in the past, I seemed to recall Maxmini producing something of this ilk that I'd seen people using on Space Marines. If it fitted a Space Marine it would surely be big enough for a GW Gor model. 
(Image from:

After a bit of searching on t'internet I managed to come across some pics that gave me a decent idea of scale and I took the plunge, ordering enough to equip all my planned Troops. 
It was with baited breath that I awaited their arrival, unpacked them and finally got to blue-tac one in place... It worked! The scale was just about spot on for what I was after, much to my relief.

One thing I didn't like though, was the large crests. These Longhorns are not ones for unnecessary frippary and the majority of them were summarily snipped off. I did however keep enough of the transverse crested ones untrimmed so that each Troop could have an easily identifiable leader model.

With the bodies and heads in place, it was a simple matter of adding on some plastic hoplite shields, leftover from the Victrix Hoplites box I'd part used on the Tribal Spears unit. The same Veni Vidi Vici transfers would also help tie the army together. 
The only other changes made, were to try and equip all the Longhorns with swords, which just seemed more fitting for an Ancient-Greek theme than big axes and the like.

So, here you have it, Tribal Longhorns Troop 1:

Paint-scheme was easy to come up with and is clearly inspired by the Spartan 300 look. Red cloth, black hair/fur, skintone flesh and bronze metal across the board. 
I set them up in a slight arrowhead formation, with the leader commanding from the relative safety of the rear.

One troop down, three more to go...

Friday, 26 February 2016

Tribal Spears Regiment

Bringing an old unit up to date

The Brutocracy of Mykretenae started off life as a WFB Beastmen army.
Full of enthusiasm and ideas about a Graeco-Spartan themed army and the availability of new plastic Hoplites from Immortal Miniatures and Victrix I picked up a box of each to form the backbone of the army.

The plastics themselves were lovely, scaled well and had enough components to allow me to customise them to a more beastly aspect.

I obviously wanted to keep the hoplite shield as an iconic piece of kit that would give the unit a common look, one I'd hope to replicate across the army as a whole.
So with the bodies and legs in one piece and the shield arm set in stone, the main options therefore to turn them into beasts were the heads and the weapon arms.

After a bit of playing around with several options it was clear that Ungor heads were a pretty good match up for the (slightly smaller scale) Hoplite bodies.
Finding spear arms that fitted the miniature scale-wise and looked sufficiently beastly proved to be a bit more tricky. The original arms that came with the Hoplites looked a bit weedy for the scale-creep I'm used to but lots of other WFB options were waaaay over-sized for the torso.
That was until I came across the spear arms for the Island of Blood Skaven. It was perfect. Scale was sufficiently large to look imposing, but not too big. The blades of the spears had a nice variety and looked suitably brutal, to emphasise the beastly nature of the army. They even had a small patch of fur on the arm to further 'beastify' them!
(Here's a decent view of the arm on a Skaven...
(picture taken from

So after a judicious amount of bits purchasing and swapping and bargaining I managed to get together enough heads and arms for the unit.

When it came to painting I wanted to ensure it didn't look too uniform. The armour and especially the hoplite shields would give the unit the feel of solid ranks that I wanted, but I still wanted it to have the appearance of a unit of beasts.
Starting out like as an Ungor unit, I also wanted them to have a lowly look and so I mixed up the skin colours across the unit, hopefully giving it that beastly 'mongrel' feel. Greys, off-whites and browns all mixed together.

After painting up the first few test models, it became clear that the Hoplite shields needed some decoration on them. Free-hand in any decent fashion is way beyond my skills as a painter, so I needed transfers. I looked around for all sorts and eventually came across Veni Vidi Vici's line of Ancient transfers. (
A quick browse through and I saw the transfer design for Tanit, a Phoenician God and it looked spot on.

For a start they were red, like the classic Spartan lambda beloved of films and recreations of Spartan Hoplites. They were the right scale at 25mm and by turning them upside down, they even had a look of a stylised aspect of a bull's head. Perfect for an army being led by Minotaurs!

Still a number of them to add to this unit, but here they are in place on the front rank:

So there you have it. One Regiment of Tribal Spears.
In game I often give them the Diadem of Dragonkind to represent them using throwing spears (plus I like to have a breath weapon somewhere!)

NB - These were based up for use in WFB originally and so are on individual bases. It's my intention to rebase these onto a unit base. I want to rank them up a bit more tightly, possibly adding some more models to the unit (I know, going over and above the model count is not usual!) and making it a bit more dynamic looking.
I just need to find time to cut 25+ models of perfectly good individual bases... :/

The Rise of the Brutocracy

After the fallout of the demise of 'The Other Game' (which we shall not mention again on this site) several other members of the Oxford Gaming Club ( decided to take the plunge and give Kings of War by Mantic a try. I tentatively joined in...

At first I'll admit to being sceptical, but over the course of a number of games it's very much won me round. There's been plenty of e-ink spilled over the merits of KoW as a game, and whilst it's not for everyone, I would heartily recommend it. However this blog isn't really here to talk comparative rules.

One of the exciting things I've found about KoW is the modelling and painting opportunities that it has opened up for me. All of a sudden, dormant miniatures from half-started and long-forgotten armies are being dusted down across the land and it's no exception at Laribold Towers.
With pretty much all unit entries in an army being usable, stuff that haven't seen the light of day for years and now able to get their moment in the sun on the table once again.
Combine this with the flexibility on model-use from any manufacturer and the possibilities that multi-basing brings up and it's breathed a new lease of life into my painting, modelling and gaming.

So the main focus of this blog is about that. My rekindled adventures in painting (with maybe the odd game thrown in for good measure).

I'll primarily be posting about the resurgence of my Ancient Greek-themed Herd army, the Brutocracy of Mykretenae which is what's currently on my painting desk, but other forces including Brotherhood, Salamanders and Twilight Kin (amongst others) may muscle in on occasions.

So, without further ado... here's a first preview of a Tribal Spearman: