Thursday, 16 July 2020

The Citadel Guard - A New Mordheim Expedition

I'm not entirely sure when it was that I started getting interested in Citadel Lone Wolf range. I'm not by inclination a fan of pre-slotta miniatures, or a long-time devotee of the Lone Wolf books. But at some point, I looked at Citadel's 1984 Lone Wolf miniatures, and thought they looked cool.


Image from Stuff of Legends.


As these things go, I acquired a couple of the Citadel Guard. Then, perhaps a few months later, a Guard Captain. At some point last year I picked up the Bandit. And then I started formulating the idea of a little warband of the Citadel Guard. I could do a few head swaps perhaps. I could add the Bandit with some other crossbowmen. I could commission John Pickford to sculpt me some heads and shields.




So, at the end of 2019, I'd got a nice little group of miniatures, plus some custom bits to convert them with, all for a game I didn't play, in a different genre to my usual figures. There was a strong possibility that this could be a big hobby white elephant.

But happily, cheetor proposed a new challenge over at Scale Creep. The Mordheim Five-a-Side Challenge was just the motivating factor I needed to get this project up and running.

 
Lone Wolf Citadel Guard illustration by Gary Chalk

It's pretty clear that the Citadel Guardsman sculpted by Alan or Michael Perry was based on the above illustration by Gary Chalk. My main aim was to try and make sure that the band of Guardsmen were broadly visually coherent to the illustration and two actual Citadel Guard sculpts. I could then sort out the Mordheim wargear to fit around the models. I plan to use the warband as Reikland Mercenaries in Mordheim as this seems to fit the idea of a well-trained force.

For the Five-a-side challenge, I selected two heroes and three henchmen from my draft list:
  • Captain with axe and sword
  • Champion with mace and shield (yes, I know shields are a waste of space, but the model is holding one!
  • Warrior with halberd and dagger
  • Warrior with mace and dagger
  • Marksman with crossbow and dagger

L-R: Champion, Captain, Warrior, Warrior, Marksman

The champion and warrior with halberd are unmodified Lone Wolf figures (apart from cutting them off their integral bases). The warrior with the mace is a simple weapon swap on another Lone Wolf figure, whilst the marksman is a Citadel Feudal / Bretonnian crossbowman, selected because of his similarities to the Lone Wolf Bandit I intend to include later on (note, also sculpted by the Perrys).

The captain however was much more of an involved creation! He started life as the infamous Felix Jaegar (star of the Gotrek and Felix novels). The model was sculpted in the early 1990s by Michael Perry, but provided a good base.


I removed the head and both original arms from the elbow down, as well as the sword. He received a new John Pickford head, before I sculpted a whole host of details from the coat of mail to the knee armour. His new axe was spliced from the blade of a Citadel Guard's halberd and a wood elf axe. The sword came from my bits box and might be from a Frostgrave kit. The left hand was from a Mordheim Mercenary / Empire Militia sprue.

After all the converting, the captain looks a suitably fitting leader.

Painting-wise I chose a predominantly blue and yellow scheme, factoring in a bit of dirt and grime to represent these guardsmen having been on patrol for some time!

The whole group.

Someone isn't going to be pleased when they see the state of those cloaks!

Although it was a really minor weapon swap, I really like the nonchalance of the guardsman with his mace on his shoulder. 

The crossbowman hasn't earned the full uniform yet, but hopefully the colours tie him with the rest of the group.

I'm really pleased with how the captain turned out - almost exactly like I imagined.

I really enjoyed painting the folds on his cloak.

I can't wait to get started on the next group from the warband. The next five will probably include another mace/shield champion, a second halberdier, a pair of crossbowmen and perhaps a swordsman (TBC!).

Quite why a detachment of the Citadel Guard have been sent to Mordheim is a complete mystery. They are a disciplined, well trained and well-armed group, quite unlike most of the treasure hunters and bandits the City of the Damned usually attracts. Their polished armour and blue and gold livery hardly blends in. Although other mercenary bands jeeringly refer to the Guard as Yellow Backs (after their mustard-yellow cloaks), it would be a brave leader who decides that his warband should tangle with the veteran soldiers.


 

22 comments:

  1. The Felix conversion is masterful, seamless. Really nice.

    I love these, they really are something special. I was a Lone Wolf fan back in the day, but somehow wasn't aware that Citadel made a LW range until you started working on these. The image of the guardsman brings back memories, love it.

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    1. Thanks cheetor! The Felix conversion only really came about later in the process when I decided I wanted a more imposing leader. I spent a long time looking through catalogues of earlier figures, but Felix was the perfect base model.

      The Lone Wolf range is at that transition point from pre-slotta to slotta, meaning that the sculpt quality is pretty high - comparable with slotta based figures from the mid to late 1980s. Plus they're Perry sculpts :)

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  2. Excellent, as always.

    You manage to capture the feel of the illustrations and original minis perfectly and still make the end result seem modern and vibrant.

    The Felix Jaeger conversion is particularly nice too.

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    1. Thanks Carmine! Funnily enough I saw a lovely unit of these in bright 1980s style blue and yellow only yesterday. The colour scheme was almost identical, but was undeniably more old school with it's saturated colours. I suppose that a slightly more muted scheme with a bit of weathering is more modern - it's an interesting balancing act. I had originally planned for brighter yellow cloaks, but I'm pleased I went for the more mustard tones.

      Glad you like the new incarnation of Felix!

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    2. Also, I just noticed that the mini pulling its hood back in the catalogue image could have survived into the old Citadel fantasy wizards, as it looks amazingly like one from that same range.

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    3. Yes, I agree. I think the same is true of Vordak. Citadel certainly had form in terms of reworking a model with a new head or weapon on an old body!

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  3. They're an awesome bunch! Loving the Felix conversion! :3

    Personally, I adored the Lone Wolf series when I was a teen (not as much as the Fighting Fantasy series though) and read through the lot. I still love the illustrations of Gary Chalk too (who has now done the artwork for the Burrows & Badgers game)! ^^

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    1. Thanks Gretchin :)

      Perhaps I need to take a deeper dive into the Lone Wolf books?!

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  4. These are incredible. I have vague plans for a Lone Wolf project (and have a pile of lead sitting above my computer for exactly that purpose) - are you going to give these guys some Giak or Drakkarim opponents? Led by a Gourgaz?

    I was about to sit down and design a Giak Mordheim list but sadly the current competition on the Facebook is Warhammer-setting only.

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    1. Thanks! Honestly, the other races from Lone Wolf don't really resonate with me, so I don't think I'll be making an in-world opposing warband. At least that's the current thinking*

      *always subject to change ;)

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  5. These are great! I've never heard of the Lone Wolf stuff before. The conversion work is excellent, and they look good as a unit. I particularly like the cloaks. Top work!

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    1. Thanks Toby! I think the Lone Wolf stuff is pretty obscure - I'm not sure how long it was in production for, but given that the range dates from 1984 and Citadel switched to slotta based miniatures in 1985, I don't think it was that long. The cloaks are my favorite bit too ;)

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  6. Excellent conversions as always. Despite their disciplined nature they have real swagger.

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    1. Thanks very much! I think these have a real cocksure attitude indeed! They don't look as if they should be messed with.

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  7. A range of minis I've never seen before and you've gone and made the additions look like they were part of the casting!

    Great work sir as ever and those yellows are so good!

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    1. Thanks so much Dai! There's lots of good stuff in amongst the pre-slotta ranges, if you can get past grainy photos or line drawings in the catalogues!

      Glad you like the conversions & paint :)

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  8. I could words such as 'fantastic', 'amazing', 'awesome' and some others, but all of them would be such an understatement. It's not only the result. It's the fact that you saw the final outcome even when you had almost nothing. You got the heads and shields. You saw a f&#%ing Felix and you knew you had the right mini. Oh, sir. I'll go find some words to throw at you! :D

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    1. I think that the best projects are perhaps those that start with a single figure that you then broaden out into a group with conversions. Thanks very much!

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  9. Lovely conversions and paint, as ever! Like you, I'm not generally a huge fan of the pre-slotta era, but there are occasionally diamonds in there, like those guards. Nice work!

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    1. Thanks Evo. It's definitely worth keeping tabs on pre-slotta stuff - I keep seeing those diamonds that are just crying out for a slotta base and a nice paintjob!

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  10. That's some top shelf (half) band here, I honestly didn't know the range at all but it's fun to see the variants of more famous models, the captain is obvisouly a killer conversion but the rest fits so nicely with it I just can hope to see the secodn half soon enough !

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    1. I've literally just finished the last bit of greenstuff on the next quintet! Hopefully you won't have to wait too long to see them! Cheers :)

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