[WFB] An Imperial March?

I can’t get that Empire army concept out of my head.

Discussion on the sixth ed. Facebook group, regarding Knights of the White Wolf and their eminent superiority over other, lance-toting members of the cavalry fraternity, has given me a renewed enthusiasm for the Black Bears (look, they both have alliterative, animal-focused nomenclature, they are both renowned for boisterousness and bruiserhood, I think I can sleep easy giving the Black Bears cavalry hammers if I want to).

I’d already totted up the possibilities for Knights, State Troops of a static character (spears and handguns or crossbows; crossbows would mirror my Sylvanians very nicely, handguns would make the point that this is the modern Empire we’re working with) and Kislevites (either a couple of Ungol Horse Archer units or a bigger Gryphon Legion line) out of the Perry range, but there’s a lot more out there.

Poking around Wargames Atlantic’s website (I forget why) has revealed a large box of plastic Halflings; of course, Averland borders the Moot, and thus it is not beyond possibility that a regiment of Halfling Halberdiers (Halfberdiers?) and associated Archers and Huntsmen might be amassed to join the rabble.

I’ve been playing around with the Ogre Mercenaries in TWW2, and of course Ogres are an age-old feature of the Imperial armies; somewhere deep in the pits of my festering mind lurks the long-ago concept for Phat Tum Pot and his Legion of Lard (early-twenties Jonathan was a classy bloke when it came to naming armies). I don’t think I’m going to go all the way in on that name, but I’ve always liked that one Ogre Maneater done up in Empire clobber, and I’d forgotten how much I liked some of the others, especially the Paymaster. Being Citadel they run a bit pricey but one big stubborn oaf won’t kill me.

And of course, there’s something I forgot about the whole affair the last time I mentioned it: the Frostgrave Wizards, whose master/apprentice blister packs lend themselves ideally to a Lord and Hero level caster, or the same caster at different stages in their career. I’m very fond of very many of these models and if I’d gone all in on Fadgrave I’d probably be up to my neck in them by now.

I’ve been rereading the Woffboot Wizards’ Cup posts this week, and thanks to that I have wizards on the brain, so many of the Frostgrave figures have implied narrative potential coming out of their ears. I’m especially fond of the Sonomancer musical magicians, the original Beastcaster pair whose master-figure has turned into a cat fella, the carnivalesque Fatecasters and the sinister, overdressed Spiritualists.

But I think for Warhammer purposes the smart money is on the Astromancers (Heavens magic being the go-to for the Empire), the second generation Thaumaturgists (who’d do very nicely as a pair of level 2s from different, competing colleges) or either variant of the Sigilists, who are suitably bedecked in Scrolls to serve the true purpose of wizzos in an Empire army.

The whole is in grave peril of becoming a right old mess, but I wonder if the shabby black and old gold colourscheme would hold things together where the model ranges fell apart. There’d be some variance, of course, the Halflings in a more rustic brown-and-tawny version with more variety of colours under the surcoats and the Knights all glossied up to proper lacquer, with the State Troops falling somewhere in the middle. It occurs to me now that the wizzos could very well be variants on a theme, in white (well, off-white) and gold. Light wizards, to combat the gathering darkness. I’ve never played Light wizards before.

In battle I see the force advancing in oblique line, detachment by detachment almost; spears, handguns and artillery holding the centre, halfling halberds and bows advancing into the field, ogres taking point a little ahead of them and the knights out in front, racing for first blood.

If I had the capacity to rush out a new army just for Resurrection, this would undoubtedly be it: a muster at Grenzstadt, with the County of Averland, the Order of the Black Bear, the Elders of the Moot, the White College and a passing Ogre who thought “the hell with it” all contributing forces to a ramshackle errand of war; its duty to cross the Black Fire Pass and hold the way out of the Badlands against whatever nonsense the emerging conflict sent its way.

The background is writing itself at the moment, living in my head rent free; bereft of electoral guidance after the Storm of Chaos, a captain of Averland takes matters into his own hands, touring the province and meeting one eccentric character after another: drunken and boisterous knights who could probably command the whole fiasco, enigmatic lady-wizards with whom he shares a Past (TM), a Kislevite boyar who will probably kill him in the morning and, of course, the malodorous runts of the Mootland and their big smelly associate.

I have the Wood Elves to finish. I have over three thousand points of Tomb Kings who have been in the queue for four years. I have chronic pain conditions and can barely hold a brush for ten minutes at a time. I do not have time for this.

… I wonder if I can convince Shiny to paint them for me?

6 thoughts on “[WFB] An Imperial March?

  1. Between the cold weather, your talk of wintery forests, listening to Neurosis’s Burn (*) and earthtone9’s March of the Yeti, and some other thoughts that I can’t remember offhand, I’ve opened the recently excavated Kislev boxes, and pulled enough of them from the ‘unpainted’ box to call 400 points or so (in WHFB6 at least).

    Small units of original lancers and hoss archers, and a bunch of Khador Kossites as kossars. Add a character to aim at 500, and some random extras, and that’s going in the queue.

    It’s about time I came up with some names for this pulk.

    Now what did I do with the snow effect powder?

    *: “You lie in the snow, cold but not dead,
    stare into the sun, long since its last heat.

    Feel the freeze burn skin, salt your open wounds,
    a burning desire clears your eyes, a willful air fills your lungs…”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those Kossites have a lot going for them. I didn’t paint most of my Khador stuff myself but I *did* do those and they were some of the most fun humies I’ve worked on.

      On Fri, 7 Jan 2022, 21:00 Malediction dot Games, wrote:



      1. While I did paint a Khador army for the first ETC, way back around 2010ish, I never did use kossites in that army. That army was all manowars, spearmen, greylords, and comedy objective markers. Vlad was the caster, so I made a banner with the Dead And Loving It film poster on it, and a croquet set to go with the demolition corps manowars and their mallets.

        On the other hand, as well as using them as kossars, I also converted a small unit, using just the rifle armed ones (plus some widowmakers), into streltzi. Chaos marauder axes (instead of short halberds) and heads, and one with a triangle hanging from his axe, as a musician…


      2. In WWII, the soviet tanks would be drab green, and if they didn’t have anything more permanent, they’d use whitewash to paint white in the winter, as camo. That’d chip and wear away, and you get this distinctive look of white tanks with patchy green showing through.

        So, on the armoured stuff in that army, I’d spray it classic Khador red, then apply marmite, then spray it white, and wash off the marmite, to get that sort of effect. Some of the warjacks do look a bit… blancmangey… But, they have a certain charm.


  2. I tried getting into the Empire once.

    The Empire was actually one of the leading candidates for my First Warhammer Army for a while. I got a copy of the White Dwarf issue covering the 7th Edition Empire releases, at around the same time I was first going through a Swashbuckling Musket-era phase, so I was immediately intrigued by these musket toting men with their flintlock Gatling Guns and steam powered tanks and rocket launchers. The relative modernity also went away to bridging the gap between Warhammer and myself during my ‘All Science Fiction All The Time’ period.

    Then events conspired to lead me on a different path.

    But it was Shakespeare that did it. I’ve been a low-key thespian since around half-way through High School, so around the same time I managed to rescue a couple of Empire army books I clicked to the Elizabethan era style of The Empire settled on the idea of a Shakespearean Empire army, with characters lifted straight from the plays. It quickly became an obsession for a while.

    Unfortunately not long after the dream ended up crashing and burning when I ran into an impasse about colour schemes. It turns out all the colour schemes I like are already attached to Empire territories whose concept and themes I don’t like. Then after much head-banging (not the good kind) I decided that rooting an army in an existing GW territory was for chumps, but was still left with a dearth of available colour schemes I like and no real room in the Empire to drop my own state province in, so I was eventually forced to put a pin in it.

    I revisited the concept some time last year, but in addition to the above problems, I finally got my first ‘smoke from ears’ moment when I tried to really get to grips with the Core unit choices – and all those permutations of State Troops, Militia, detachments and the combinations thereof – for the first time. I eventually settled on a spread of base regiments that was sure to put Halberdiers front and centre where they nominally belong, but I’ve still yet to make heads or tails out of what detachments to pair with them besides a band of Swordsmen for each big block of Halberdiers or Spearmen. I know Free Companies are a thing, but I just don’t feel right depending on irregular troops who can’t be trusted to be readily available at any time my realm might be threatened. Far better to have a larger body of dependable professional troops that I can count on to be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.

    But I digress. Here’s wishing your Imperial adventure fares better!


    1. I remember your post to this effect! Funny that it should be the dawn of seventh edition, as that’s when I last attempted an Empire force. I don’t entirely recall why (did I want some suitably thematic opponents for my Sylvanians?), although I do recall what happened to the army (I painted up a solid thousand or so points of state troops and then swapped them for my comrade Edd’s Dark Elves, although why HE was giving THOSE up I no longer recall).

      Regarding the “rivet counter” phenomenon (I know you didn’t say that HERE but you said it THERE and it makes the point) I think you’re bang on the mark. The Empire, with its roots firmly in the Perry-sculpted Citadel-produced historical ranges of yesteryear, has a lot of “historical accuracy” in its makeup, underneath all the halflings and ogres and increasingly ludicrous war engines. Scrape all that away and you have an army of fifteenth century Landsknechts designed by and for the “refighting the Battle of Osnabruck using the historically documented forces in a diceless sim that will produce the historical result seven times out of ten” kind of collector and player.

      There is space in the cracks, I think, to add your own territories to a lot of the Warhammer World, but if you paint your Empire lads red and white people are going to say they’re from Talabheim no matter what. It’s interesting that I only came back to the impulse after TWW2 and Resurrection experiences in which the “canonical” Warhammer World is writ more large than usual.

      Believe it or not, I am with you on the matter of Detachments. It seems Off to me that irregulars and auxiliaries are sufficiently well drilled or accustomed to authority to make use of the rule, and I would keep it firmly in the hands of state troops for the most part (a slight fudge for the archers, maybe, but only because of that halfling kit). Mind you, I also think the rule works much better in the fourth edition Empire book, where it’s a nice clean improvement to discipline via the spreading of hero leadership across clusters of units, instead of the flow-breaking rigmarole of the later books. As a bonus, Swordsmen don’t so clearly outclass the other choices in fourth/fifth edition either, so there’s a better incentive to abide by the assertions of the background. I do like it when the things you’re “supposed” to take are actually, you know, decent in the rules; it speaks to me of principles aligned in productive harmony, no bad thing at all.

      My thanks for the well wishes. I really mean it though: I do NOT have the time or the resources for this.


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