But enough of my woes - at least I've had the joy of playing an exciting game of 3rd ed. remotely. Turn 2 is up and once more brought brilliantly to life by the inimitable Gaj!
In fact my lengthy tactical considerations and increasingly desperate attempts to woo the Dice Gods, who for some reason seem rather displeased with me, have also contributed somewhat to the dearth of progress on my Slann Cold One Riders.
However, I can take comfort in the fact that I'm back in the swing of things and the labour of love that these frog men and their stinky mounts have become is finished - apart from some jungly bits to add to the bases at some point in the future...
As you may have noticed I've added a few Aztec bits and bobs to this glorious remnant of the flower of the Imperial Slann Armies of Mazdamundi. Many thanks go to Lead Asbestos and Mason of the LAF for supplying various feathers and other accoutrements. Extra special thanks must also go to Lead Asbestos for flogging me loads of Aztec minis who will eventually become a subjugated tribe in thrall to the Gurgyll Greenwake's private army.
I went with the classic green skin for these Imperial Bull Slann - no multi-coloured Venom tribe peasants here! A small(ish) selection of blues, reds, yellows and whites were used to pick out the large amounts of detail and decoration on these minis - almost as fiddly as the Perry Samurai I painted a couple of years ago!
Just to rewind a little, in case you haven't been following my Magnificent Sven thread on the LAF, here's how the Cold One mounts came together.
First off, ever since seeing this image in the Armies book, I wanted my Cold One Riders to look like this -
This particular mini is also featured along with some of the other miniatures in Paul Benson's collection in WD98.
So I took the plunge and decided to sculpt jaguar pelts for all five Cold Ones...
Obviously well prepared with pen (for rolling out the miliput), talcum powder to stop it sticking and a selection of blades, pen nibs and stippling brushes for adding texture, I managed to come up with these -
From here I applied a base coat - a classic blue for the lizard's hides
It was at this point that some of the more honest contributors on the LAF confirmed my worst fears that there was definitely something slightly ursine about my jaguar heads - some might say Teddy Bear-ish... So with a few swipes of the modelling knife their ears were reduced and made more pointy and a hasty jaguar pattern applied -
On to the characters that make up this little unit, which I think deserves a little Regiments of Renown style narrative.
Huit-Thabotyl sat up and blinked his large jet-black eyes, which felt as though they were bulging slightly more than usual. With a world weary croak, the Bull Slann heaved himself to his feet and stumbled over to the great mound of scale and muscle that was his slumbering riding beast. Ignoring the shooting pains that stabbed at his temples and the backs of his eyes, the Slann fumbled for one of the flasks that hung about his saddle. The stopper resisted momentarily, but soon enough the soothing warmth of Takilya, a particularly potent brew made from the sap of the finest Spine trees, was coursing down Huit-Thabotyl's voluminous throat.
As the pain receded and his mind was freed from the fog of sobriety, Huit-Thabotyl reflected on the events of the past week. Loud and long had been the fanfares that accompanied the equally long and colourful column of soldiery that had left the Imperial capital of Cotec, with Mazdamuni, himself's blessings. Such had been the multitude of hues and colours, and so great had been the gaiety of the crowds that thronged the Imperial highway, that Ziiii-Thuap, the irredescent Mosquito God would have looked on with envious eyes.
Off they had marched, Spawn Band and Totem Warrior alike, to see off the pathetic incursions of the Dryskins. All had gone well until they had reached the first village that had been plundered by the invaders. The temple shrines had been desecrated and this along with the lack of any survivors shook many of the Spawn Bands to the core. Discipline became a concern within the ranks. Then the invaders struck - not with sword but with a terrible wasting sickness that spread like wild fire through the Slann encampment.
The few survivors of the plague were hastily formed into scouting parties and sent to track down the Humans who had wrought such destruction on the Emperor's finest - many did not return. Those who did spoke of wild apes who were capable of great violence and although a number of skirmishes were won, the Slann ranks were becoming even more dangerously depleted.
The final straw came when the sickness reached the high command. With General Gotta-lotta Bottyl incapacitated the command structure of the Imperial army crumbled. The remnants of the spawn bands melted away into the jungles while the various castes of totem warriors threw their lives away in desperate attacks on the enemy, as honour dictated.
Others, however, went renegade. Huit-Thabotyl had never been one to shirk his duty or walk away from a fight. Nor was he one to squander his life for the abstract notion of honour. Thus it came to be that he and his unit of Cold One Riders did not return to camp as normal after their patrol had been completed. Thus it came to be that Huit-Thabotyl's services were enlisted by the renegade captain, Gurgyll Greenwake. Thus it came to be that a cohort of Imperial cavalry became man-hunters...
Huit-Thabotyl - Leader of 'Botyl's Throttlers (A very rough Norse translation of the Slann - Riders of the Great Beasts, Closers and Openers of throats and keepers of the Golden Hibiscus)
I picked a rather fetching Death's Head motif for his shield design from some of the copious painting guides for historical Aztec forces - you'll see it repeated on the standard and standard bearer's shield too -
Nuathen-Petyl - a strange character from Northern Lustria, chosen to be Standard Bearer for his fortitude and bloody-mindedness. Although the rest of the unit don't often understand his "quaint" Northern dialect, he is well respected for his martial abilities.
Pican-Mixtli - a trooper with a sweet tooth...
Popoca-Fez - terrible singer, dancer and gambler. Quite good at lancing humans though...
And finally - Getmicoatl - the unit's "joker"... and sole possessor of a coat - obviously a South Lustrian and not used to subtropical temperatures.
So what's next?
Well I'm really keen to tackle some of the many lizardmen I've acquired for this project - particularly Karnac's Lizardmen Raiders. However, I'm still missing the champion -
Also I have now received the minis my fellow LAF'er,TheBinman, has sent me by way of a small painting commission (doesn't that sound grand!). These chaps, including a couple of Elves, a Gnome and a Snotling, will be my priority for the next week or two - more on which later, including the rather nice couple of minis I've received in payment...