Thursday, October 19, 2017

Vengeance of the Lichemaster: Wizard Monks and the Mechanical Warrior




The next chapter in our tour through The Vengeance of the Lichemaster (1986) is a visit to the wizard monks of La Maisontaal. The Warhammer campaign written by Rick Priestly tells us that in addition to the Abbot Bagrian (featured last week), the monastery has five power magic users. 

Anyone looking to conjure up some Citadel wizards for an old-school scenario is spoiled for choice. One of the first, best and most under-used ranges in Citadel's early "C-Series" were the ranges of miniatures dedicated to various AD&D character classes: C03 clerics, C04 thieves, C07 rangers and (of course) C02 wizards. Most of the miniatures in these ranges were the work of the incomparable Bob Naismith, who has perhaps the most versatility of any of Citadel's classic sculptors. Unfortunately, as Warhammer 3rd edition (1987) shifted away from role-playing to focus exclusively on battles regulated by Warhammer Armies (1988), this deep fund of individualized characters was shunted to the side.

Well, Venegeance of the Lichemaster gave me an excuse to trawl through my old collection of wizards and pick some of my favourites for La Maisontaal.



First up is the C02 Wizard "Hansat" (aka "Mergrey Calchoner" from The Tragedy of McDeath) sculpted in 1985 by Aly Morrison. He's the only miniature specifically indicated as a wizard-monk for The Vengeance of the Lichemaster by the advert in the Spring Journal 86. I love this figure -- his bald head, unassuming dress and air of authority always reminded me of "Ogion the Silent", the wise mage from Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea (1968).



This is the C02 Wizard "Casslin Spellweaver" sculpted by Aly Morrison (1987). With this miniature, you can see the colour scheme I applied for these wizard monks. Vengeance of the Lichemaster tells us that mages of the god Taal generally wear red, so I made this the primary colour. But I also wanted to connect these wizard-monks to the monk side of the equation, so I painted their cowls/hoods in the homespun brown that I used for the habits of the regular brothers (which I'll show off in my next post).



Here is the C02 Wizard "Skrole" released in 1987 and sculpted (I presume) by Aly Morrison (Although I can't find any direct attribution to Morrison, the face and robes are distinctively in his style). This miniature is the perfect encapsulation of the harried apprentice. Originally, I wanted to paint him as somewhat fresh-faced, but sometimes the brush has a will of its own, and he came out as something more sinister. The circles under his eyes suggest that he has been spending some late nights reading books that ought not to be read.



This is the C02 Wizard "Spell Master" released in 1985. I'm not sure who the sculptor is, but I would guess either Aly Morrison or Bob Naismith. In any case, this seemingly simple figure has some charming touches. I love the way he arches backward from his hips, giving even more power to his pointing hand.



Now this miniature is a bit of a mystery. I call him "Le Grand Sorcier" for lack of any official designation. He appeared under that name in Dave Andrew's iconic Bretonnian Army on page 62 of Warhammer Armies (1988). And his tab indicates that he's a Citadel sculpt. But I have been completely unable to trace the miniature to any catalog or listing on The Stuff of Legends. If you have any insights about this miniature's provenance or sculptor, please leave a comment!

By the way, on this miniature, you can clearly make out the crescent moon medallion that I tried to incorporate into all these wizard monks (including Bagrian) in order to tie them all together and associate them with the nature god Taal.

The final elements for the wizard monks of La Maisontaal are their magical treasures: the Mechanical Warrior that the abbot has constructed and the Black Ark of the Covenant that he stole in order to give life to his metal man. Unfortunately, the Citadel design team did not designate special miniatures for this either, which was a sadly missed opportunity to do something fun. However, if you look carefully at the sheet of paper counters supplied for Vengeance of the Lichemaster, however, you can see what the illustrator Tony Ackland had in mind:


Yes, the Mechanical Warrior is quite Dalek-like, although the gunstick (aka Dalek machine gun) seems to be missing.



In any case, I decided to go my own way for the Mechanical Warrior and used a converted version of "Jackbot B", which was one of the Bots released by Citadel in 1986 for the Paranoia role-playing game. This design seemed to be both brawny and goofy, which is more or less what the situation calls for.



And to portray the Black Ark of the Convenant, the casket of warpstone that can activate the Mechanical Warrior, I chose one of Citadel's C39 Treasure Chests (1984). I love this range because they are the only miniatures that I'm aware of that were sculpted by game designer and scribe Rick Priestly. With its hawk heads (or are they hieracosphinxes?), this particular chest reminded me of the cherubim on biblical ark. 

Rick Priestly as a scribe from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (1986)

18 comments:

  1. Oh man nice changes ups from the originals! I didn't not know that about the treasure chests. You learn something new everyday in the Oldhammer community. ;)

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  2. Lovely job, wonderful minis, I love Casslin Spellweaver, so impressive...

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  3. This is a magnificent work, all well tied-in and coherent, I love it all. The Black Ark is so great, the effects on it are wondrous!

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  4. What a masterpiece oldhammer work!You're real master mate!

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  5. I really love the warmth each miniature exudes - when I see these painted in such a way, it transports me back to the early 80s. Keep them coming!

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  6. These look superb, great work on the robes

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  7. Great choice of miniatures and very interesting colour pattern for the monks. I always assumed Taal priests to be wearing greens and browns and greys...

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    1. So did I! But that's what it says in the Citadel Journal.
      Frankly, I suspect that in 1986, Rick Priestly knew he wanted a god named Taal, but he hadn't yet figured out that Taal was a nature god.

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  8. Lovely work! I built the monestary and did something similar a while back: http://port-imperiale.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/the-heroic-defenders-of-la-maisontaal.html

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    1. Oh Evo, your stuff is so beautiful. And I'm so glad you made the Mechanical Warrior as a true Dalek. HARDCORE.

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  9. Thanks everyone for the kind words! I'm glad you like these fellas.

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  10. Every time I read one of your posts I'm introduced to models I knew nothing about and now must have. I'm wondering if any of these are in the ones that Foundry has been re-releasing. I particularly like the wizard who is leaning back. He's casting a spell Gangsta style!

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  11. Late to the party here, but wow! Great set, and they fit their role nicely. My previous comment about the Adeptus Mechanicum still stands; I see the books of lore gave the hazard stripes as well :D

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  12. Great looking figures. Thanks for sharing them with us.

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  13. These are wonderful efforts. Especially like the bloke leaning back to cast his spell. Bet he has a bit of an attitude to go with thay swagger!

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