Evil Knights for Kings of War
Sometimes hobby projects take a life of their own, this is the story of how models I didn’t like turned into a unit that evolved several times and now serves in two different armies.
I’ve been working on a number of Kings of War armies, or rather units for several armies I’m growing organically. My newest army when starting this project was Forces of the Abyss, kick started off the back of playing Vanguard with them. I picked up the Starter Army box for Forces of the Abyss and the unit of Abyssal Horsemen (shown below) included just didn’t work for me, the models seemed flimsy and so I wanted to find something bigger and more to my liking.
I was listening to an old Counter Charge pod cast reviewing the Forces of the Abyss list (so version 2, but still useful background for the new edition) and when the Horsemen came up for discussion, some alternative models were suggested. I looked them up and found the Fire and Ice Bolton Flayed men (shown below) looked really great so decided to pick up a box and see what I could do with them.
The models are pre-built and come with integral large round bases. Interestingly they are all armed with flails (as befits their Game of Thrones house background), shields and big swooshy cloaks. I didn’t decide what to do about the basing right away, but I did want to jump into painting them. My Abyss army was already following a bit of a colour theme (you can see some posts on that here so I knew I wanted to try and follow that. The original idea for my theme came from my Underworld’s warband that I wanted to mess with the colours on a little compared to the standard Khorne colours and so I ended up with what you see below.
The armour on the knights wasn’t as segmented as the Khorne warriors, so I moved the blue tones to the cloth on the horses and the cloaks. I kept the brass to a bare minimum, there’s more leather overall in fact.
As I started painting the models I had to decide what to do about basing. I don’t multi-base for transport and storage reasons, and leaving them on large round bases meant the model count was way too low for the regiment size unit I wanted. Admittedly I only had 4 models at this point, but I knew I wanted more ultimately. So I transferred them to the traditional 25x50mm cavalry bases. It was also around this point that I was reading through the Kings of War supplement Uncharted Empires and started realising I could probably put together a Varangur force with models I already owned. The Mounted Sons of Korgan have almost the same stats as Abyssal Horsemen, so I decided the unit could pull double duty and with this in mind didn’t give the knights lava bases to match the Abyss army, instead they would get a more badlands style base. This will still work for the Abyss army as they will be leading from the front, often in territory other than their own.
Here’s the finished knights then.
The standard bearer was problematic – the flag is a fairly heavy chunk of plastic and kept toppling the model out of my painting handle. It broke off a couple of times during the painting and in the end I had to replace the entire pole with a metal rod. Its super robust now so I’m much happier.
I struggled at this point with how to complete the rest of the unit, so I had a good dig through my “lead pile” and found in my undead an armoured, mounted vampire from the Gamezone range. Although a vampire, the horse isn’t skeletal, the armour isn’t completely out of fit with the knights and the flowing robes certainly work. Applying the same scheme to the model, plus an exciting shade of purple for skin, my demon/Korgan touched warlord is ready.
This brought me up to 5 models, just enough for a troop, but certainly not good enough to space out and pretend its a regiment. Another problem also revealed itself now I had a full rank, the swirling flails and cloaks all got in each other’s way. The models were not designed to be ranked up closely – the 50mm circles plus the Fire and Ice movement tray meant the knights never got near each other in the intended display and gaming use.
So I had another look at the Abyssal horsemen models and decided the horses weren’t too bad, and the legs were ok, what I really didn’t like was the upper bodies, weapons and shields. With a simple kit bash in mind and not wanting to go mad on price, I found the Perry Foot Knights. These guys are really nice (examples below) and you get a lot for your money, far too many in fact for the 3 or so knights I had in mind. I managed to find a single sprue for sale on ebay and decided to get one and see what I could do.
A quick hack job removed the legs and with a bit of careful selection, I had 3 upper bodies ready to fit onto some horses. I also found some spare cloaks to more closely match the other models, but I wasn’t overly happy with the look (its not flapping in the wind like the others) so I only added this to one knight. Below then is the result of my kit bashes.
Now with 8 models I had enough models to reasonably bulk out a regiment, however the cloaks and tails still didn’t play very nice, and I noticed the Vampire sat quite low on his horse as its so stretched out. After talking to some of my local Kings of War players the suggestion was to try more of a wedge formation so the models would tessellate better and could I space out the front rank with perhaps a hunting beast on a base the lord could sit on to raise him up a bit. I had a dig through my lead pile again and found a little hell hound from Reaper Bones. Using a Warbases MDF movement tray I blocked out the rear corners to make the wedge shape and textured/painted it to match the knights.
The results then – my full (well almost) unit.
The front and rear shots above show how they all fit together, but I feel on the angles you get a better sense of how they look on the table, there’s sense of movement to the unit that I really like.
I’m not 100% sold on the Lord’s base solution here, so I might rejig it. I have resisted changing it too much because I can still use him in a troop or even as a hero on his own this way, but we shall see. I have plenty of other things that I need to paint now because now I have this idea to run a Varangur army its rather got in the way of painting Abyssals at this point, I’m really enjoying this colour scheme and how it looks on armour and I have more things that fit this aesthtic planned for my not-so-northern-no-so-barbarian Varangurs.