Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Defenders of Makkum: a beginning

For years I have been contemplating how to build an Empire Army. I love the fluff, the models, the rules and the imagery, but I could not find a way to visualize MY contribution to the many wonderfully modeled Empire armies.
Last years Empire army of Dave Taylor was wonderful. It has some built in terrain, a clean cobblestone look and fresh and happy colors; much different then my usual style of dreary and somber. Here's a shot of a unit of Dave's Army

image: davetaylorminiatures.blogspot.com

Check out the army on his blog, its really inspiring. And although I really loved the army, it didn't really help me along in creating my own vision and many projects kept distracting me.
Then I was able to make a trade on the Barterbucket and send my Blood Angels to a good home. In return I received a box with Empire stuff, mostly plain warriors, but also a few knights, some wizards and lots of OOP stuff, plastic and metal. It was a wonderful treat to dig in and I surely feel blessed using the Barter Bucket; it really works.

After a few days I bought the Empire Heraldry book and started thinking about colorschemes... what I want....what do I want?

This is what I want to do

1. I want to build a Middenheim Army, because I like the red/white/blue, also the colours of my native country, The Netherlands.
I like Middenheim because it allows me to add Knights of Ulric, basically sort of Space Wolves of the Fantasy world. I also feel there are options to convert and model wolflike symbols, stealing perhaps from Space Wolf kits.

2. I want the army to have NO dandies. I do not appreciate the fancy look of many models. To me all the fighters should be gruff, ill kempt and violent. Here's a good example of a knight I built last year. I used a Bret horse and legs and a Vampire Counts Blood Knight Torso.

 This guy looks bad ass. Good and bad Knights shouldn't really look that differently-it's the Game of Thrones look into WHFB.

3. I am going to make them defend the Northern City of Makkum, a imaginary city close with the border of Nordland. The real city of Makkum lies in Friesland, a northern province in Holland where my name stems from and where my Grandfathers family is from (it was really IJlst, but that would not work phonetically). It allows me to paint the Friesian flag on many shields, which is a cool one. Here's is that shield, blue, white with red hearts (left one on the horse):

4. All the movement trays will have city terrain on them in a creative way. I bought cobblestone bases from Dragon Forge and plan a few purchases like the new graveyard from GW. I like the idea of fighters defending house to house. The challenge of modeling terrain into the ranks is interesting. All the stonework will be red, like it is in most of the north of Holland.
Because all the city stuff will be in there, I want to make part of the army stand and wait, not moving. The more static units will look like they are looking at the enemy but they are still too far to engage.

5. I want to build an army that has all the stuff I think is cool, I will not worry too much about winning with them.

Many questions remain
-are there decals for Fantasy
-there are some great flag companies out there for historical, whish there were flags and banners for Empire.
-how to magnetize the resin bases.
-advice on how to incorporate city terrain into the movement trays, preferable towering over the models
-I need to collect plenty of models. Anyone interested in trade can drop me a line: mike dot tess at charter dot net. I have a fully painted 40K 1500 pt Ork Army that I would be willing to offer up.

Anyway, this is only the (hopeful) start of something fun. We'll see how it goes. I am building a squad of 20 swordsmen, static and waiting and hope to share those soon.

For fun, I am going to glue all the plastic parts together with the NON toxic plastic cement from Testors. The normal stuff is just plain bad for your health. The non toxic doesn't work as quick, but that might slow me down a bit to think about stuff.



  1. Good luck! I'm starting an Empire army, myself (though I'm ready to embrace the dandy).

    - I could have sworn there were Empire transfers, but now I'm not as sure. You'd think there would be, but I'm not sure I've ever seen them. :/

    - Hit Wargame Accessories (http://www.wargameaccessories.com) and buy their metal squares and superglue them to the bottom of your bases

    - Unit Filler! Scatter those elements throughout your units; it'll cut down on the number of models you have to build and paint and provide the models you do build and paint with a setting. We've got a local player (I wish I could find pictures) who's done this with his Warriors of Chaos: ancient pillars 3-4 times their height tower over his models from within their unit.

  2. Weird, I'm totally doing a Marienburg Empire Army due to my Dutch heritage. I've been meaning to do some historical research into where exactly my Grandparents originally came from; no idea that it wasn't really homogenous there due to the small size geographically.

    Interesting stuff! Keep up on your progress!

  3. Rushputin: wow that idea about making terrain into filler ranks is a great idea. That is what I was looking for...thanks man!

    Vilicate: yeah, I lived in Holland until I was 30, so to me this stuff means a lot. It's fun to implement your history into models. Hope you will enjoy this ride

  4. Being Dutch as well as have a vague family link to Friesland especially, I will be keeping my eye on this project!

    When I first saw the picture of the knight I thought: "wait a second, that looks like it could be a Dutch colour scheme!" Then I saw the title...

    and @ Vilicate: We might be a small country but a) there's a lot of people living here, relatively, and b) with a lot of people here and not that much space per se, it's even more important to forge a regional identity for you community! Also, even though distances and such are far less here than in the States, we adapt our perception of distances accordingly. A one hour drive here is considered 'far'.