Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas From The Wilderness of Alcovia

As the festivities continue to grow out of control in Alcovia, merry-makers all gather 'round a local scribe for the traditional dictation of their holiday letters to Grandfather Frost.

Each boisterous fellow pays a few coins to have a man of words scribble down his wishes. This is a good time of year for learned men in Alcovia and much fun is had by all as the crowd gathered around the scribe jokes and jibes at one another, plying the scribe with more drinks in an attempt to make his pen flow more freely for their money.

It is also tradition that each man tries to outdo his fellows in a show of generosity, good cheer and outright bravado. Boasts are made, challenges issued, and good-natured violence and physicality often erupt from these boisterous endeavors. It is considered bad form to take any real offense or do any lasting or serious harm at these times and those that do are not only damned to ill holiday tidings but likely a good thrashing and loss of face among their peers.

These evening events often end in song and somber merriment with Kuzaki loves songs and ballads of derring do. The scribes generally pick this time to slip out, protected by a few well-payed and loyal local men who will let no harm come to a man of such good cheer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Inspirational Music

Looking for things to listen to while modelling and painting, I came across this one that I particularly like for both the powerful sound and the collection of images. I have found many others with plenty of images but they tend to be set to rock music, which is also pretty darned cool...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Making Due

When I got the idea for this project, I hadn't yet purchased a single miniature. I hadn't decided yet what angle I wanted to take and so had held off. Once I had decided on a direction, I then had to wait for the budget to allow for a good sized purchase to kick things off.

I've managed to make a few purchases, but there has been a Holiday season freeze on new toys until after Christmas. Pretty much any new minis I buy during the holiday season get put on hold and magically appear in my stocking Christmas morning. I'm not mean enough to make my kids wait for their goodies while I get to open a steady stream of small envelopes and packages.

There is still plenty of planning to do, but I wanted to get my hands in it. The chance to do just this was presented by some Essex Seljuq Turks that were handed down to me by a buddy from the regular group. I really had no immediate use for them when he gave them to me, so they went into the collection of stuff to find a use for, and I have.

The plan is to convert the Turks into nice Tartar or Cossack looking fellows to stand in for some of the various horse tribes of the Alcovian Steppes. I've found this to be a lot easier than I had planned and even came up with a few elements to add in to make these minis and their imagi-culture fit into my imagi-nation.

The bulk of this conversion has been focused on either obscuring, subduing, or covering up the more Persian elements of the original figures. Adding putty over the turbans has proven most effective and I've managed to shape this into several styles of fuzzy hats. On many of the round shields I have added "wolf tail" trophies, something that will be worked into their imagi-culture. When I've ended up with excess putty, I have shaped it into pelts draped over the horses backs.

Other figures have had a bit more done to them such as added the Slavic style lacing across the chest to give the appearance of something other than a robe. Others have had fuzzy goat or sheep skin vests sculpted on. On figures with shields that were a little too "medieval" looking, I sculpted on shield skirts that are supposed to be made of an animal pelt. This has helped to disguise the shield shapes and make them look more like decorated round shields.

Once I've got them presentable, I'll show off the conversions. I've included pictures of the original figures above so you can see where I started from.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Alcovian War Elephant?

I have this idea for Alcovia having war elephants. I know it's a crazy idea for a Balkan nation to have such a thing, but this is an imagi-nation. While exploring this idea, I focused on the later Mogul war elephants. their armored bodies and gun powder weapons were a suitable starting place for an Alcovian war elephant.

The images I found online for armored elephants were very cool and I had an image of such a creature decked out in Orthodox icons and other images from eastern Christian religion. This would effectively make the war elephants not only amazing pieces of art, but also mobile inspiration altars full of religious imagery. I can see them being crewed by loyal Alcovians, hand-picked by King Ullo to carry his muskets and swivel guns into battle, charging into the masses of native steppe horsemen in the name of bringing unity and order to a wild land.

Above is a quick sketch illustrating my impression of what an Alcovian war elephant might look like.

For a miniature, I figure I'll start with any one of several armored elephant miniatures from various Mogul lines. Chances are, I'll use a few different ones for variety. I'll convert these by added flat placards for the addition of icons. Other holy symbols and such can be added to taste. To protect the mahout, I am considering adding a sort of halo around the top of the elephant's head. I've seen similar on some Mogul war elephants, but mine will be done to resemble the golden halos frequently seen over or around the heads of saints in statues and art.