Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Empire

The Empire are my current project. I have been working on them in earnest this year (well, as earnestly as I ever get, really) and they have already been to 2 tournaments. So far they have been performing quite well, and I like the combination of flexibility and competitiveness I can get from them, along with peoples’ positive reactions regarding the lack of toughness in the list (read: good composition scores).

I never really intended to collect an Empire army. A friend and I had reached a happy point where between us we had every army (including Dogs of War and Chaos Dwarfs), with no overlap whatsoever. This was not an important arrangement; just an amusing one.

Dogs of War?
However, a couple of years ago, I really started to fear for the future of my rather neglected Dogs of War army. Games Workshop didn’t appear to be giving them any love at all, the models were increasingly scarce, and the option to field mercenaries in other lists began to disappear. I feared the army was in danger of disappearing entirely.

Rather than face the prospect of being left with an unusable army, I decided that my Dogs of War could be used as Empire with only a few tweaks. With that in mind, I started to purchase certain empire troops to bolster my forces and give me a viable army using the Empire list.

Undead in Waiting
My ambitions for this army have changed a couple of times. My colour scheme was decided based on a friend’s Vampire Counts army, which consists of converted Empire models, wearing purple and black. I liked the idea of an opposing force of Empire troops (presumably from where his undead legions originally came), dressed in the same livery, but with white instead of black (you can put the colour change down to the vagaries of necromancy, or a fit of vanity on the part of his Vampire). The armies would be arch-rivals, with a constant pattern of battles (and his pilfering all my corpses).

Life-challenged Empire Swordsmen
Something a little fresher. Zombies!!
I still like this idea, however I am yet to paint even a single Empire Swordsman, so our armies do not exactly look like mirrors of each other despite the colour scheme I chose. A large part of the reason for this was that another friend managed to spot one of the Middenland army boxes produced as part of the Storm of Chaos campaign. It was forgotten on the shelf of shop, with its price having dropped rather appealingly over the years. Being a sucker for cheap deals, I purchased it straight away, and promptly fell for the Teutogen Guard models included in the box. I think these guys are great models, and it’s a real pity you can’t still get them. Have a look at the prices on EBay and you will see I am not the only one that thinks so.

All Things White and Furry
The Middenland acquisition changed my focus somewhat and I became enamoured of the idea of an army built around White Wolf Knights, Teutogen Guard, and other hairy men. Thus was born the army in its current form. I have not abandoned my plans to make a mirror of the undead, but those plans have taken a back seat for now.

The plan for this army at the moment is to base it around white-furred animals, with each unit having its own “totem” animal, or mascot. Obviously for the White Wolf Knights (and for the Teutogen Guard, who are effectively the same thing on foot), this animal is a White Wolf. For Leopold’s Leopard Company (and my Knights Panther), their animal is a Snow Leopard. Beorg’s Bearmen will shift to Polar Bears. I’m not sure how far this scheme will go, but for the moment I like it.

In keeping with this theme, I have obtained a couple of Priests of Ulric (no Sigmar here). I also spotted the Canis Wolfborn model online and desperately wanted the doggy to lead my army, so I ordered one of those too.

By now this is comfortably the most themed army I have constructed and I am still enjoying the novelty. As such, it continues to grow…

The army as a whole. Except for the Pistoliers, who were hiding in my cabinet. In plain sight
My Templar of the Knights of the White Wolf, with his furry friend. If I had known the Space Marine on top was all one part with the wolf when I was ordering the figure, I might have reconsidered my plans. I'm glad I didn't but turning him into a knight was a lot of work.
No Lightning Claws here. Just manly axes...
Some of my Teutogen Guard, including their furry unit filler. The guy with them was built from plastic components. I will talk about this another time.
Leopold's Snow Leopard Company
30 Knights of the White Wolf. OK, so I may have gone a little overboard, but there are only 10 more to be painted. I promise
My other characters. Note that they all have beards. Very important, being beardy in this list...
Voland's Venators have been given a new lease of life as generic Knights. That's my BSB on the end
... And finally, for those who don't realise quite how stupendously huge the doggy is, here is a comparison. Yes, that is a Knight next to him - not a Halfling on a barded dog.

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