Sunday, January 20, 2013

Avast matey! Corsair Reaver conversions

Ahoy! It here be time for another update from the halls of Karningul, savvy?

With the obligatory pirate-speak out of the way.... I have toyed with the idea of adding a Corsair contingent to my Haradrim army for quite some time. Dalamyr has pulled his weight many a time, and the idea of throwing in some xbows to increase my ranged damage and reduce ranged deaths was super tempting, but the notion of the squishy D3 units that I would need to pick up to offset them did not (yes, I know technically this changed under the new warbrokens scheme).

The hasharin fleetmaster and his motley crew. Note the dashing chapeau on the bloke second from the right.  Made up from some cardstock and a spot of modeling clay

Unlike Tiberius, I have no great love for throwing weapons. They are a handy asset, but I have been unimpressed with their effectiveness as a primary means of damage dealing - especially when you trade off defense for them (see wood elves). However, since obtaining the new Harad/Umbar sourcebooks last summer, I now have another option - in what I'm pretty sure is the only official profile that has no model (and no plans to create one?): the Corsair Reaver.

I have seen a number of conversions for Corsair Reavers, typically consisting of taking the shield troops  and either sticking a weapon under the shield, or cutting off the shield arm and attaching a weapon hand. This leads to two problems: 1) you have maybe three poses in your force (since one of the shield corsairs has his shield tucked into his body and is not conducive to swapping out), and 2) you can only use 1/3 of your box of corsairs, requiring multiple boxes to make even a halfway decent group (a very expensive prospect at the current rates for a single sprue).

Forcing roll-offs with elves, multiple attacks, and now on equal footing with Haradrim in terms of armor (yay profile boosts!), these guys are significantly more viable than their knife throwing counterparts.
Craftsmen of Karningul, it's time to take the converting skills up a notch (or three)!

Thankfully, I recently acquired the spare parts from the new plastic Easterling Kataphrakt sprue - along with a number of warg rider weapons from my bits pile. So I had an assortment of swords to work with. It took a bit of creativity, but in the end I managed to come up with a decent conversion for 10/12 poses! If I really wanted to, I could come up with something for the last two, but I'm really not a fan of the constipated archer or the lunging spearman models, so I was okay with letting those go.

L-R: Archer, spearman, another archer. I sorta missed it in the photo, but I used the speartip to make a hatchet for  the reaver on the right. The center reaver got a boarding axe made from some cardboard and a bit of brass rod.

I know technically corsair reavers don't have spears, but a boarding pike seemed
like a suitable weapon  for these crazed blokes

using some of my experience sculpting warg fur for my hill trolls, I decided to give this guy a bit of a queue. Because nothing says "freakishly scary pirate" like a carefully unkempt hairstyle!

"But what about the archer quivers?" I hear you ask. Just hollowed them out, and used them for sheathes! 

The whole crew so far. A few poses are still WIP at this point. 

I'm really happy with the way the conversions came out, and in the few test games I've gotten in so far, they  performed very well. There is nothing quite like halting a charging mounted KoDA in its tracks (repeatedly) or beating back an Uruk pike block. I'm really looking forward to forcing elves and heroes to roll off. ;)

next on the agenda for these guys, finding a paint scheme that I like. So far my Corsairs have been a bit eclectic. I figure, these guys have been roaming the seas, pillaging and thieving. They wear whatever they can get their hands on - which sometimes means the clothing of wealthy Gondorians or it's fiefdoms.

Although before we get there, my sculptors tell me things about some new ideas they are floating for Serpent Guard conversions, maybe it's time to head inland...


  1. Excellent work, Zorro - be sure to tell the craftsman at Karningul that the boys at the How are feeling inspired by their work, :)

    And those Reavers are nasty in combat, in case anyone was wondering, :P

  2. I look forward to seeing these done. I've got a box of them I need to do to crew my ship!

  3. Reavers are a particularly nasty piece of work - experience as the teacher on that one. But in the defense of throwing weapons, these weapons should always be to augment your force's ranged damage, not become the dependency of the army - why I only equip 1/3 of my Wood Elves with them and even fewer of my Dwarves with them. Throwing daggers are great, but aren't reliable enough to become the crux of a force.

    1. As a Rohan player, I think this is also where Rohan players tend to go wrong as well. I have seen battle reports online where a commander will give all of his infantry throwing weapons, and he ends up paying 9 points (more than a hunter orc, more than a Serpent Guard, on-par with an uruk scout w/ shield, etc.) for a unit that is only F3/D5/S3. It's a waste of points for the majority of the guys you buy them for.

      They are a tactical option, but not a sure-fire killing option. A lot like archery... *Insert tangent about not trusting archery for anything in a given game* ;-)