Monday, March 4, 2013

Serpent Guard conversions

Time for one more (likely final?) update on Harad before next weekend's TMAT GT. My own force is basically complete, and considering that 2 of my other armies (Easterlings and Isengard) are being loaned out and will also make a showing at the tourney, I do have a couple items to touch up to make sure those forces are ready for primetime. Hmm... I wonder if I can earn bonus points if my armies sweep the top slots...

As you have seen from my last few posts (here and here), the last couple months have been a flurry of conversions to add a bunch of new models to my force, including Corsair Reavers and Harad warriors with both bows and spears. The last component in my list is the elite Serpent Guard of harad. For a mere point more than their spear-toting warrior brethren, Serpent Guard get a fight value boost and the "Poisoned Blades" special rule. Both are very handy when you are going to be facing above average fight value, high def armies of KoDAs, Uruks, and Dwarves, or when you need that slight edge over mob armies of orcs or Rohan.

Mad props to JornOvera over on The Last Alliance forum for inspiration. If these turn out half as good as his, I will be crazy happy (seriously, you should check them out!). I am not much of a fan of the GW Serpent Guard models. They have just a bit too much going on for me, so when I saw JornOvera's idea of converting  normal warriors, I was thrilled. Not wanting to completely steal his thunder, I went back to Tolkien's description of the Haradrim for inspiration. When Frodo and Sam get caught in the ranger's ambush of the Mumak, the slain Haradrim that lands near them is described as wearing "a corslet of scales" ala our beloved Easterlings (Hey PJ, I think you got your costumes mixed...). A little careful trimming to remove the old armor, and then a little modeling clay later and voila!

and of course, a little re-posing never goes amiss!

Next, I decided to try my hand at sculpting some cloaks for the models that didn't have them. Seeing as these are a specialized force of haradrim, I wanted to keep their outfits fairly uniform. Also to further distinguish them on the battlefield, I added fur pelts around their necks.

a piece of paper covered in superglue serves as the base, and once that dries and is glued on, you can sculpt away! 

here you can see the paper base and the scale armor. I carved out the hand a little and added a piece of an office staple for the pointing finger 

As much as I loooove the facecloths JornOvera added to his Serpents, I have already done that with my rank-and-file warriors. So I needed something different. Enter inspiration from the Serpent Guard conversions from Paul's Fantasy Miniatures blog. I decided to go with full-face masks (ala the Immortals from 300) rather than his half-face masks.

still missing some detailing, but you get the idea

Paint job was fairly simple. (GW) Scab Red for the pants and inside of the cloak, Tunic, outside of cloak and turbans with a mix of (GW) Chaos Black and (P3) Greatcoat Grey washed with black ink, (Game Color) Dark Flesh for exposed skin, (P3) Battlefield Brown for the spear haft, scabbards and the leg wrappings. (GW) Tin Bitz, (GW) Shining Gold and/or (P3) Pig Iron for the detailing, (GW) desert yellow for the pelt, and the bone speartips got some detailing with (GW) Bleached bone and a green wash.

Still some extra detailing and highlighting to do, but I'm not sure how much of that is going to get done before tourney. My cheapo detail brush is kinda shot. I have decided to make the plunge and try a Winsor & Newton Series 7 detail brush. The more serious painters seem to do nothing but rave about them, and I'm getting tired of trying to coax the $2 craft store brushes into something resembling a point. I found one on Amazon, so we'll see how that works out. Little by little I've been trying to make use of the various paining tips I've heard of (thinning paints, multiple highlights, etc.), and so far they've made a big difference. The one that I've been resisting thusfar is the "use good brushes". We'll see if they live up to the hype. At the very least I know my detailing needs some more practice.  

Unfortunately, most of that is going to have to wait. We are only a few short days away from TMAT GT 2013, and as the tourney organizer, I still have lots of planning to do to get everything in place. In addition to adding a bucket of nuances to the tournament scoring this time, we've also increased our participants by 33% this year! (translation: we pressganged two more people we've been trying to drag to the dark side for a couple years). So by the time I'm done with all of that, it's going to be time to collate tourney info for some recap posts!

Until next week, may the peace of a thousand dragon nests weigh upon your adversaries.



  1. Nice conversions - I'm especially pleased that there are no horns sticking out of backpacks on your Serpent Guard like the GW models have, :P

    And nice work on the masks - looking forward to seeing how those turn out!

  2. Interesting concept on the face masks. Nice job!

  3. Wow, so many ideas for me to steal ;)

    Really like the face-masks and the pelts.

    Quick question in regards of tournies: Is that a rule, that you could get points for the armies you lent out?

    As a person who rarely plays regular games and never plays tournaments, I am just curious how it works.

    1. ha, no. I was joking about the bonus points. You only score points based on how well you perform. This tournament was just a small event with 7-8 friends and I am the tournament director.