Monday, September 2, 2019

Best Kept Secrets: Ral Partha Europe, Part 3 - The Chaos Imperium!

Chaos Command Group

Note that these figures are each available separately which is useful if one wants extra drummers, for example. These are part of Ral Partha Europe's Chaos Imperium range. Unlike the Divided Kingdoms range these were Ral Partha's own range and not part of the Crucible Miniatures line.

I'll admit I haven't figured out entirely how I'll incorporate this range, but there are lots of figure variations so it could potentially span many nations and legions, and temples as many I think are useable as Temple Guards or Warrior Priests (and some are sold as such!)

Shock Trooper Pike (b)

There are three Shock Troopers, this one being my favourite. I use this figure as Pijeni from the The Inimitable Forces of Ancient Kai, which I have previously blogged about. I think I would also use him as Temple Guard because the pose is "just right", as Goldilocks would say.

Shock Trooper Pike (a)

This Shock Trooper pose I also quite like. I am using it for a Mu'ugalavyani legion. At least I've started painting a "test" figure red. I haven't quite found a legion for it to proxy, and I might raise an entirely new legion to bolster the Mu'ug forces. 

The third Shock Trooper I like the least:

Shock Trooper Pike (c)

I guess I could see him posed behind a wall of shields like the Persians used to do, perhaps partnered with a crossbowman? Actually, now that is an idea - I'm making this up as I type - I mean, that style of fighting is quite common on Tekumel. Professor Barker was always combining fighting pairs of warriors, particularly for Yan Kor, but not I think exclusively. I like the spear tip as Mu'ugalavyani but could do for other nations as well. I actually just bought some nifty Sassanid pavise shields from Aventine Miniatures:

Sassanid Large Shield/Pavise (Aventine Miniatures)

I had originally thought to use them with either crossbows or in a siege context, or both, really. But this actually works quite well. I can paint them black with a red pattern and they could be part of a combined fighting formation Medium Pikes, paired with crossbows. Now there would typically be a heavy legion also in the mix so maybe that will be the Shock Pikeman (a) figure, or maybe I find something else...)

Chaos Archer (c), with Crossbow 

I've jumped to the Chaos Archers because I just know the crossbowman is the figure to match with the third Shock Trooper pikeman. The other Chaos Archers are shown below:

Chaos Archer (a)

Chaos Archer (b)

I haven't figured out which legion or nation these might belong to yet.

Next up in the Chaos Imperium list are the Chaos Guardsmen. There are four(4) different figures. The same bodies but four different weapon arms. And they can be bought as a set or individually.

Chaos Guardsmen

The weapon choices are two different swords, an axe, and a long-hafted mace. The shields are the weak point for these figures, at least for me. For one, I believe they are moulded on (ugh), and secondly, there are those spikes on the shield. Now Professor Barker does describe some legions as having spiked shields - did he use these figures? 😉 - but personally I would have preferred plain shields - and detached shields, even better!

Chaos Guardsman (a), with sword

Chaos Guardsman (d), with curved sword

Whether a particular unit has a curved sword or scimitar is often mentioned in the legion descriptions so that might help to guide the choice, however, the skull masked helmet is even more prominent a descriptor. Are these Sarku troops? The skull motif isn't exclusively Sarku or Durritlamish though it does feature prominently in their costume.

Chaos Guardsman (b), with axe

Chaos Guardsman (c), with mace

Another thing to consider is that one could cut away the existing weapons, drill out the hand and add a wire pike or spear. The arms are separate so there might be some room to pose them at different angles but, looking closely at the pics, perhaps the axe pose is best as it seems the arm is posed to hold the weapon upright. I haven't splurged on these guys yet and so cannot offer guidance at this time.

Chaos Foot Knights

Sold as a pack of six but also available individually. I haven't considered these figures much before. Perhaps they could be officers if there isn't a legion choice available, or Temple Guards or Warrior Priests. Temple Guard units are mentioned as taking the field, most notably at the Battle of Ry, but I think units of Warrior Priests could also be formed. I think they would be small contingents but I think they could see a place, especially during the Tsolyani Civil War.


Unless one uses these as character figures,  the one with the whip could be a slaver, for example, then one has to invent aridani legions for them to serve. Not that that is a bad idea, of course. Alternatively they could be Temple Guards. As far as nations go, I have been considering Pijena and/or Salarvya. The former is too small - canonically - to field many units, but then in my books, canon is a four letter word. And the latter doesn't have as many aridani warriors as Tsolyanu, for example; it does have some all female units however, so perhaps there is room for more. Again, sold as a pack of six or as singles.

Chaos Berserkers

Berserker (b), with greatsword

Except for figure (b) with the greatsword, I don't really like these figures. Figure (c) is slightly larger than the others. As always, Your Mileage May Vary. (Aside: what expression is used in Europe?) Maybe I haven't devoted enough time to considering the uses for these figures. Berserker (b) with the flame-shaped blade could perhaps be Vimuhla-related, perhaps?

War Monks

A four (4) figure set this time, available separately per usual. I haven't really considered the first figure, the Bishop of Chaos. A priest of some sort perhaps, possibly with the headdress being altered. 

Bishop of Chaos, War Monk (a)

To be fair, you could cut away the crook, replacing it with a spear or maybe a halberd, and perhaps add a shield. Alternately perhaps that crook is actually some sort of exotic halberd-like polearm? Hmm, maybe I have been dismissing this figure out of hand. In any case, I think maybe as a Temple Guard unit is the route I'll take.

War Monk (b)

War Monk (c)

War Monk (d)

The other War monks could be Warrior Priests, or some sort of Temple Guard unit, or from multiple legions and/or nations. I haven't worked that out yet. The shields are a bit too spikey for my tastes, with the exception of figure (c).

This pretty much covers the Chaos Imperium range available from Ral Partha Europe. The rest of the range are not really either for Tekumel or for formed units. There are the Winged War Demons, which might do as Vorodla, perhaps:

Winged War Demons

Winged Arch Demon

Winged War Demon #3

Winged War Demon #4

Winged War Demons in flight (2)

The latter are available singly as well as a set of two. I think maybe they are the strongest candidates as well. I don't have any of these War Demon figures and so can't really comment otherwise. 

They have other figures that are useful for Tekumel gamers, but they are in other ranges, and I will do a separate post for that. One last figure I should mention from the Chaos Imperium range is the Scorpian Man, possibly of interest to Glorantha gamers...

Shock Lord - Scorpianman

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Best Kept Secrets: Ral Partha Europe, part 2

Irregular Archer #1

Irregular Archer #2

Continuing my look at the Divided Kingdoms range, formerly Crucible, offered by Ral Partha Europe. IMO these figures make great proxies for Tekumel gaming. I manufacture Tekumel miniatures, but with Tsolyanu alone having around 90 legions that task of making all the required (desired?) miniatures myself is plainly impossible. Hence: proxies to the rescue! :-)

In the first part of this Ral Partha Europe piece I skipped over the archers. This is because I haven't spent that much time trying to sort out which legions or nation's forces they might proxy. The closest I've come is for these "Irregular Archers" who are wearing a sort of Brigantine armour. My current thinking is that this could be painted in red and black checks, possibly, to represent the Red Horde of Kilalammu.

Regular Archer #1

Regular Archer #2

These could be part of the same legion, or two different ones, as there are differences in the armour and really it depends upon how uniform you think each particular nation would be. Professor Barker once told me that the Yan koryani were less uniform than the Tsolyani, and suggested that within a gurek each trooper could be wearing differently styled armour. Some might be newer styles, but others might be wearing family heirlooms, that sort of thing. When I commissioned the Yan Koryani figures the way I handled that was by getting three helmet variants made. There were already 2 male and one female pose for each troop type so adding the helmet variations gave nine variants. And there are at least nine troop types, including heavy scale armour and medium armour (in chlen hide cuirass) as well as weapons: overhand cutting, underhand thrust, 2-handed pike or halberd, etc. This means that there are around 80+ Yan Koryani figures. Normally I just add the variation via the helmet variants but latley I have been thinking of mixing scale armour and cuirass in the same units. All of these figures are those wearing the khil, that distinctive Yan Korynai helmet style. Not all Yan Koryani use it, however, and one could argue in favour of mixing other helmet styles in the same gureks. 

But I digress. These Regular Archers could be Yan Koryani, or perhaps Mu'ugalvaynai or Salarvyani. I am leaning toward the latter two nations. But which one...?

Mercenary Berserker Swordsman

Mercenary Berserker Axeman

These have a really wild, ragged look to them. I like all the sculpted faces on the various bits of armour. This is a feature throughout the range that is an added "plus" for me. These figures are obviously less "disciplined legion" and more "wild tribesman". My thinking is Haida Pakalla, maybe, or maybe Ghatoni. The braided hair of the swordsman does say "N'luss" in a way, but think the figure is not large enough to be a proper N'luss. But the hairstyle could be a regional thing and Ghaton is just adjacent to N'lussa. I might end up using them as Ghatoni tribal levy, hillfolk following the army in search of loot. And I might still add the odd figure, differently painted, into my Haida Pakallan pirate crews. My idea for them is for a very mixed lot of savages.

There are a couple of other Divided Kingdom figures I want ot comment on, but maybe I will do an edit this evening. Tomorrow, I'll comment about the Chaos Imperium range...

Friday, August 30, 2019

Best Kept Secrets: Ral Partha Europe

Pikeman #1

Pikeman #2

Former Crucible range:

Pikemen #1 & #2 – these figures both have heavy armour, but of different styles. They could be combined into a single unit but I have decided to use them as two different, but related Yan Koryani gureks: the Purified City of Krel (#27 IIRC) and its sister unit, whose name I forget (#7). Both are pike units “that fight in phalanx formation”. I am not sure why this has to be stated. Maybe it is just filler text, or maybe some pike units on Tekumel do not fight as a phalanx. Maybe there is a distinction being drawn between pikes used in ECW or 30YW fashion and Macedonian-style pikemen? Anyway, IIRC one unit is stated to be in full plate armour, the other in heavy armour. Both gureks have other troop types of course but I haven't figured those all out yet. Except one has heavy armoured crossbows, for which I think I am going to use the Reaper Crusader Crossbow figures, from the Warlord range.

Swordsman #1

Swordsman #2

Swordsman #1 & #2 – I like these figures a lot, with their demon-faced shields. I am not completely decided who they fight for, however.

Halberdier #1

Halberdier #2

Halberdier #1 & #2 – Again, I haven't decided which Empire these are part of yet. (I'm leaning towards Salarvya currently...)

I should note that I am probably going to end up inventing new legions. I don't have a problem with that. It seems to me that a lot of the existing legions were created to accomodate Barker's players. And some nations seem a bit sparce on the ground; Salarvya, in particular, has few troops compared to the expanse of land it occupies. I suppose a lot of the land could just be wilderness, ownership being more theoretical than actual. Or there could be a ton of Feudal Household troops.

Testudo Spearman #1

Testudo Spearman #2

Testudo Spearman #1 & #2 – I really like the shield these guys have, with the female face on it! The one pose with his arms in the air is no good as they depict it, holding the shield aloft as well. No worry, this is like getting a free shield as I will use it elsewhere. I think these are Salarvyani troops because the face has to be that of the Goddess Shirringayi! I think they fight with the shieldbearers in the front rank who make a Persian style wall of shields, and the other ranks press in behind, hence the overarm pose. This means the shield from the second figure can be used somewhere else. Not sure where yet. A Salarvyani pavise shield perhaps?

Thane Bodyguard #1

Thane Bodyguard #2

Thane Bodyguard  #1 & #2 – They have demon-bladed axes and wear the hide of a great ape over their helmet and armour. I think the apes are the Great White Apes as found on Barsoom. I think they live in the mountains, so these figures perhaps represent Saa Allaqani or Pechani warriors. Not sure which yet. I don't think there is a unit description that matches fully, though 2-handed axes are a Saa Allaqani thing, it seems.

More to follow...

Sunday, August 4, 2019

A Káchor Páh

Created by Printable Scenery.

The tall pieces stand about 3" high,
 and the medium sized ones are about 2".

The smaller sections are about 1" high.

L-to-R: Gringo 40s Maya, Lucid Eye Maxzan, 
Jaguar Tribe, and Wargames Foundry Aztec.

L-to-R: Lucid Eye Jaguar Tribe, Maxzan and 
Gringo 40s Maya.

L-to-R: Lucid Eye Jaguar Tribe and Maxzan.

The ruler shown is 6" long.

The table is 42" in diameter.

The Káchor tribes are described in a single line entry in M.A.R. Barker's novel "The Man of Gold", where their brightly feathered costumes are mentioned. Beyond that we know they live in the Chákan forests and that, as they are apparently clients or tenants of the Temple of Thúmis, they are possibly opposed to their neighbours, the Íto clan.

Because of their description I use Maya and Aztec figures as proxies, which I source from Gringo 40s, Lucid Eye (Jaguar Tribe and Maxzan ranges), Wargames Foundry and Outpost Wargames Services. There may be others out there that I am forgetting. Like: Paymaster Games, for example!

The Maori Pa is designed by Printable Scenery, but as I don't own a 3D printer I used the "Get It Printed" button which took me to Grym Forge here in Canada. I ordered the full palisade set which is what you see arrayed on my table. I forgot about that nifty gate! I'll have to ask about ordering that...

I don't know how I stumbled on it, but as soon as I saw Printable Scenery's Maori Pa I realized it would be perfect for my Káchor tribes. I've changed the name to Páh, which in My Tékumel will be the Káchor word for home or something like that. Note that Pa! actually means "Look!" in Tsolyáni.