Monday, 7 April 2014

They Have A [something] Troll

I'm a great fan of including a large monster or similar model in armies, especially smaller, warband-size ones. Not only does a suitably impressive model make for a cool centre-piece (and arrow-magnet, if you're lucky), but it also breaks up the outline of the army and gives it (to my mind, at least) a much more pleasing aesthetic. I've had Shaolin gangs with yeti, Sinbad gangs with djinn, even a VSF Mexican army with Cabrakan!

It comes, therefore, as no surprise that I felt the urge to include something... chunky in the crew of the Usurper.

The obvious choice was a troll of some kind – definitely in keeping with the (still nominally) Tolkien stylings of the force – but my ship simply isn't large enough to accommodate a full-size troll! I thought then of the half-trolls and troll-men that Tolkien mentions at the Pelennor Fields, but wasn't overly keen on the official GW models. I considered doing something with one of the Abrakhan Guard figures, but while they're chunky, they're more fat than tall. So, I did what I always do when faced with a need like this: looked to plastic pre-paints!

While pre-paints are usually pretty rubbish, many of the larger models have great potential – all they need is a bit of cleaning and a neater paint-job.

I found this chap in the D&D Dungeon Command range, and picked him up for a couple of quid. His paint-job was all over the place (literally – a good centimetre off in parts), and his right arm was a discernible distance from his torso, but, by and large, not bad for the money.

First thing I did was slice him off his base. Some pre-paints have a foot peg, others are just glued on. This guy was the latter, and I haven't quite got the measure of my new scalpel, so he lost a couple of toes. Whoops.

Next, I clipped off the axe as it was too cartoony, and I wanted something a little more in keeping with the rest of the force. Cue a spot of drilling and the insertion of a boarding pike. The pike is a little on the weedy side compared to the big guy, but I quite like what it says about him: it's a human-sized pike that he's wielding in one hand, so he's clearly strong, and armed with something the crew has lying around, but it's something other than a huge bludgeon, which suggests some kind of intelligence and ability – much more compelling than the bestial trolls of the LOTR movies, and much more in keeping with the troll-man schtick I was after.

Finally, the green-stuffing – rejoining his arm and torso and filling in a small crack on the back of his knee. I took advantage of the spare green stuff to place a small blob under each foot before supergluing him to the new base. I'm told this gives a rock-solid bond, which is useful given the relatively top-heavy model. I did the same for a small rock I pulled out of the garden. A little larger than I was initially after, but it had a mostly flat bottom, which was too convenient to overlook!

Here, then, is the big guy for my Corsair crew. He's currently unnamed (suggestions?), though I'm considering Maugor – 'tough warrior' in the Black Speech. He stands twice as tall as a man, so he might actually be a full-fledged troll, rather than a half-troll. Still, he's big and will fit in with the rest of my crew, which is all I really care about.

In Lion Rampant terms, I'll be fielding this guy on his own as a full unit of Fierce Foot – fast, unpredictable, aggressive. Disco.

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