Friday, May 8, 2020

The Nightmare Legion I


Long known to be dead, the famed mercenary Ennio Mordini returned unexpectedly from the grave. He came marching at the head of a silent army of undead warriors: the Nightmare Legion.




The Nightmare Legion RRD2 was released in 1987 and was one of the best of Citadel's Regiments of Renown. No sculptor is listed as their maker but I'm confident in attributing them to Aly Morrison because they bear a strong family resemblance to his other skeletons. The boxed set contained 24 miniatures: Captain Ennio Mordini, his champion Renzo Avanti, a standard bearer, a musician, and 20 troopers.


The Nightmare Legion (also called Mordini's Doomed Legion) has haunted my dreams ever since my older brother bought them when I was a lad. Painting my own set as the centrepiece for a small undead army has been a long term ambition that I've finally realized. It only took me 33 years.

The boxed Regiments of Renown from the mid-1980's remind me of old jazz albums. When you bought a record, you weren't just getting the vinyl, but also a long essay in small font printed on the back of the album. Filled with colourful details, these essays gave listeners a richer sense of the musicians as real people. So it was with these sets... Citadel didn't just give you the lead, but also printed on the back of the all sorts of great material: a long history of the regiment, its stats for Warhammer, its battlecries and other flavourful information. For instance, these aren't just skeletons. They're Italian skeletons.

And not just Italian skeletons, but Italian skeleton mercenaries that returned from the dead after being betrayed in a Machiavellian plot by their onetime employer. 

Here's a better view of Captain Ennio Mordini. Like all the minis in the box, he exhibits splendid details: tattered chainmail, rusted parade armour, and an expressive skull.







Below is the Nightmare Legion's champion, Renzo Avanti...




And here is the standard bearer...




The back of the box tells us that "lacking important things like lungs and vocal cords, the Legion has no battlecry." That's why their musician simply uses a drum...




Of course, I'm not the only one who's been enchanted by Nightmare Legion. Orlygg at Realm of Chaos 80's wrote about how the Legion has "a special place in my wargaming heart" because "it was the first box set that my father ever bought me, from Wonderworld in Bournemouth to be precise, back in 1988." You can also find a lovely set painted by Jeepster at the Stuff of Legends. And I particularly like Gaj's colourful rendition at Warhammer for Adults.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for my next post featuring the soldiers of Mordini's Doomed Legion.



23 comments:

  1. What a blast from the past, remember all the regiments of renown ,and even painted a few for friends. Excellent rendition, and really like your use of rust over the regiment

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    1. Thanks Dave! If you have any pictures of the regiments of renown you painted, please send a link because I'd love to see what you did.

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  2. You live! This is also a set that's long been on my wants list. You've done an excellent job with them.

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  3. Hey! Great to read you again!

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    1. Jaeckel - I love those pics of your Pfeildorf army. It's magnificent when seen en masse. Good luck with your move!

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  4. Oh thank god you're back! Mordini isn't the only thing raised from the grave... And with an excellent post too, character-ful undead. The best kind of undead. I think champion Renzo is my favourite of these here.

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    1. Thanks for the warm welcome back, Allison.

      I know this comment will sound off to some people, but... I can't look at a graffiti penis scrawled on a wall without thinking fondly of your work.

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    2. I'll take what I can get, so thanks! XD

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  5. Glad you're back from the dead!
    I was just wondering about you last week.

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    1. Thanks James. I am very much looking forward to Hot Lead next year, even if we all have to show up wearing Hazmat suits.

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    1. I really like the Chaos Dwarves you did recently. I love it when painters paint the names of their minis on the sides of the bases -- and your calligraphy is beautiful!

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  7. I'm watching UFC right now, but I - ah I just missed a knock out.. but I had to take the time to comment! Do you realize it's 2 years to the month that I've had this page open in my browser with no updates!? What a fitting subject for your return. Truly back from the dead!

    I love it. Renzo is creepier than maybe any other oldhammer piece I've seen. So happy you're back!

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    1. Happy to be back, my friend!
      And you're right - Renzo is a pretty creepy fella. Nothing worse than a skeleton who's smile suggests that he knows something that you don't.

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  8. Good to see you posting again Matt.

    This lot were a fav of mine too back when I first got into the hobby. Just couldn’t save enough pocket money to ever afford them... :(

    Love the colour a you’ve gone with and that rust effect is spot on.

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    1. You have to be sneaky... As a young painter I took some of the spending money my parents gave me for a class trip, and instead of buying t-shirts and crappy souvenirs like my classmates, I put it towards that iconic box of plastic "beaky" Space Marines! I still have some of them XD

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    2. Lol I was terrible at the sneaky game. My sister far excelled my efforts, I always got caught!

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