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Thread: Curis' Normans and Medievals

  1. #1

    Curis' Normans and Medievals

    In the lands of the north, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the men of the north lands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale…

    Exploring Citadel Miniatures' pre-slotta ranges is a real journey of discovery and wonder for me. My knowledge of Games Workshop's miniature ranges starts with 1991's Catalogue 1 – which only goes back as far as 1986 and not right to the beginning of Citadel history (1979) as the name suggests. There's a great many pre-1986 miniature ranges I have no awareness of, and so I'd never painted any pre-slotta stuff until I found out about this Gnoll.

    Gnollin the Gnoll.

    This is no ordinary Gnoll – his nasal helm, kite shield and hafted axe mean he's Fantasy Tribes FTG14 Gnorman the Gnoll. I picked him while I was trawling the net for 1980s Citadel Normans to reinforce my army. His giant nose and teeny legs do put me in mind of Noggin the Nog.

    "Hello" said Noggin, cheerfully. "Very pleased to meet you."

    Gnolls in the Warhammer World are described as having ruddy flesh, but I thought that when placed alongside regular Normans he'd work better with green skin to reinforce his inhumanity. As I found out reading Goblin Lee's blog on Gnolls, the Fantasy Tribes Gnolls were later rebranded as C12 Great Goblins, so I can claim the green flesh is goblin rather than botched Gnoll.

    Gnollin with more Normans I've painted since Salute 2017.

    I now have fifteen Norman Sergeants, which allows them to rank up pleasingly in a five-by-three regiment. Though these models have been primarily used in Saga where round bases are king, I do like the 20mm square bases to make them into a neat and imposing regiment.

    Lord Weuere happy to let Gnollin in his shieldwall.

    I really enjoy slipping this little piece of fantasy into my historical force; I want to push that envelope further. Watch this space!

  2. #2

    Re: Curis' Normans and Medievals

    Decades of exposure to Games Workshop’s marketing materials has conditioned me not to paint individual figures, but regiments, and then armies. There was no stopping at just one Gnorman Gnoll. Gnot on your gnelly. eBay trawling has turned up two more preslotta gems from 1981–3.

    Lord Tisserand with his hawk Antonius, accompanied by two Gnolls.

    Lord Tisserand is a simple conversion of the Wargames Foundry ex-Citadel Normans with the arm from a Black Tree command figure holding a hawk swapped in to make him a regimental champion. I also sculpted on a strap so he could carry a shield while waving around the Bird of Command – but that’s barely worth mentioning as this sentence took longer to type than the strap took to sculpt.

    You can see the original figure as it appeared in White Dwarf 92, with the cliché French names variously inspired by Inspector Clouseau, Rémy Martin cognac, Marie Brizard liquer and maybe ‘Allo ‘Allo characters.

    And just what is the French for “cliché”?

    Why a hawk? Hawks were a symbol of authority in Norman times. The Bayeaux Tapestry initially shows Harold holding a hawk, and switches to showing William holding a hawk when his claim to England’s throne becomes legitimate.


    I might push this idea of animals symbolising command into the realm of fantasy and model a Norman King on a giant hawk or griffon. I am enjoying the blend of historical and fantasy in the same project.

    Lord Tisserand and the Gnolls against Undead Wights.

    All three Gnolls I have painted now are variants of the same figure. In the above image the right-most Gnoll is the unadulterated miniature. The one on the left I converted with an arm and sword from a 1980s Citadel Goblin. The central Gnoll is the resculpted version that appeared in the later C13 range – who has the same body but a new weapon arm and head. Challenge now is how to convert future Gnolls to provide enough variety for a complete Gnorman regiment.

  3. #3
    Chapter Master Lost Egg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Wandering in the wilderness...

    Re: Curis' Normans and Medievals

    Great work, I'm loving these blasts from the past Curis, keep it up!

  4. #4

    Re: Curis' Normans and Medievals

    Thanks Lost Egg!

    Friar Tuck, legendary tonsured companion of Robin Hood, joins my miniatures collection.

    “Praise the Lord! And pass the tax rebate!”

    Friar Tuck was an impulse purchase whilst acting as Nottingham cultural attaché for visiting family members. Warlord Games (a Nottingham company) have a small range of Heritage Miniatures they’ve slipped into local tourist spots like the the National Justice Museum and Nottingham Tourism Centre. I quite enjoyed making my turbo-nerd purchase in a regular retail outlet – it’s like being able to buy Dungeons & Dragons in the same place as your milk and morning papers.

    “If Curis has seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giant Robin Hood statues.”

    Tuck’s base was originally built up with sand to accommodate the cast-on scenic base. But the original sculpted base features what looks like a little tombstone with FRIAR TUCK engraved on it, which I thought implies he’s the friar that’s just buried Friar Tuck, or alternatively Friar Tuck’s ghost. That was too much narrative for me. So I chopped it off.

    Friar Tuck in the Monastery of Abingdon.

    The basing style matches my Warhammer Age of Sigmar and Dungeons & Dragons miniatures, and not my Citadel Normans. Tuck is too big to stand alongside the older 1980s Perry sculpts, plus friars are anachronistic in Norman times. But then friars are anachronistic in the classic Robin Hood setting of Richard the Lionheart. I plan to paint some monks/friars/priests that are compatible with my Normans.

    Cool ending tangent fact: – the Friar Tuck action figure from the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves toyline was based on the Star Wars Gamorrean Guard?

  5. #5

    Re: Curis' Normans and Medievals

    Saint Augustine arrived in Britian AD 597 to revitalise Christianity. For the next four hundred years, crudely constructed churches like this one appear across the island.

    A humble friar takes a stroll around the Saxon minster at sunset.

    “But Curis,” I hear you cry, “Friars didn’t exist until centuries after the Dark Ages ended. Your inclusion of Friar Tuck in the photograph above is highly anachronistic.” Well, look carefully and you’ll see Doctor Who is also in the photo to sweep your anachronism away. It’s a unique concept for a Doctor Who episode – transporting a medieval friar back a few centuries and committing all sorts of theological faux pas in the Dark Age monastic communities. And by “unique” I mean “rubbish”.

    Obscure early Warhammer druid shown for scale, and perhaps further anachronisms.

    This church was a Salute 2017 purchase from 1st Corps. It’s five hunks of resin that combine to form a solid-looking and (deliberately) wonky building. There’s a lot of mdf terrain on the market, but resin’s ease of assembly and feel of structural heft can’t be beaten. I particularly like the roof being half tiles and half thatch – suggesting the builders couldn’t loot enough tiles from derelict Roman structures. Another nice touch is the plaster crumbling from the exterior to reveal the non-ashlar masonry typical of churches built before the Norman Conquest.

    As a special birthday treat AJ took me to Butt Road – the site of a similarly laid out church built AD 320–340. You can see the curved apse in the left of the photo below and the (modern) blocks of oak marking the position of the church’s internal posts.

    Also enjoying the Late Roman church – a local Essexman passed out drunk on cans of cider.

    My model church has those internal wooden posts as part of the interior detail too. You might remember seeing them already on this blog as I’ve been cheeky and used the half-painted interior as backdrops for Chaos Thugs and Friar Tuck.

    As a pleasing touch, you can take the two portici off the side of the church and combine them into a thatched cottage. This will come in useful for that inevitable point when my regular opponents despair at me trotting out the church for its seventeenth game in a row.

    "Fussake Curis, we’re playing a 6mm science fiction and this cottage is no better than that bloody church."

    Disappointingly, both doors on the kit are have entirely smooth and detail-free planks, which I had to paint the wooden texture onto. It seems at odds with the love and care the sculptor put into the tiles and thatch to skimp on the doors. A minor flaw.

    Such a big piece of terrain is a pain to photograph. In the end I couldn’t resist sticking some goggly eyes on it.

    Too late, the true meaning of Pope Benedict’s final statement becomes clear. “The church is alive.”

    I want to push the modelling on the church further with:

    Adjacent burial ground with Renedra’s plastic gravestones
    Interior detailing, such as an altar, and benches for the clergy
    A base for the piece, to get rid of the awkward grassy lip
    A selection of Dark Age civilians and monks.

    But the piece is finished enough for Dark Age and Early Medieval gaming.

  6. #6
    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    'stachehammer: Age of SigMo

    Re: Curis' Normans and Medievals

    Awesome stuff Curis- I really like the subtle weathering of the church.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty
    What the Modsticker said.

  7. #7

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