Wednesday, January 5, 2011

25mm Old Glory Minute Men and West Wind Militia

This is the first unit of six from Old Glory that will never fight British but rather the minions of the Pumpkin King. The Vampire Wars Sleepy Hollow range provided the inspiration and these will oppose scarecrow armies, headless horsemen, or even zombies.
I didn't paint them as I would for AWI. I chose a darker pallet to just change the tenor of it all, to make you forget that though the game is set in New England and just after the revolution, these are not soldiers for the fledgling government.

In terms of skill, these will rank among the very lowest. They'll be 60 in total and I expect they will often fail fear rolls or succumb to whatever adverse events I can come up with.
There were clearly two sculptors on these Minute Men packs, some have enormous heads like the two on the left, remind me of Dixon Miniatures.

These depicted in this post are in Dark Blue and Brown. On deck is a set in Black and Tan, and another in Dark Brown and Tan. They appear uniformed but I'll be able to mix and match them to make them more dissimilar in appearance. Second wave of 30 has Green, Dull Red and some unyet picked color scheme.

When I unpacked these originally I thought, "oh boy these are terrible" but actually they paint up quite nice. Not as good as Perry nor Eureka but definitely serviceable and evocative. I will have a unit of BOTH Eureka and Perry Militia that I'll paint in traditional AWI attire but for these lowbies I came up with these ragged uniforms. Note: The officer at left has holes in his uniform and is not wearing socks ..bizarre sculpting choice as he's the only one.
West Winds Sleepy Hollow Town Militia. There's 8 in this pack and 6 will be painted to match the respective Minute Man units.  They'll be a class above the minutemen in terms of skill but less than the Heroes and leaders upcoming.

All these will be based on dry dead grass bases to reflect 1) New England Autumn/Winter and 2) the blight of the Evil - however that manifests itself. Thanks for looking - Questions, comments and followers are welcome - much more to come, and soon!


  1. Excellent job, making the most of the moulds and appropriately detailed down to decoration of the bases!

    Now, while the blog is devoted to "your painted miniatures", I hope we'll be allow to enjoy an illustrated report of the "New England Horror" campaign!

  2. Picture No. 4 second figure from the left looks like a Dixon head BECAUSE IT IS A DIXON HEAD. Tsk, tsk on Old Glory for that one.

  3. Heheh This is the "firing" unit but there are others in the other poses too ...

  4. New England (Rhode Island) was a favorite setting of Lovecraft s novellas.
    'The Lurking Fear' is specially propitious to a mini-campaign: Copplestone yetis would make perfect Martense (don't forget the heterochromia!). Crocodile Games ghouls look specially 'Lovecraftian' (Pickman's Model). Regarding other potential encounters, Westwind and BlueMoon are rich sources; the Crocodile Games 'Wendigos' (as 'Bigfeet'?) are debatable (weapon-bearing, thus looking somewhat like GW Beastmen) but their 'abominable snowbeast' and 'howlers' look great. Scarecrow armies... yes, Westwind has some and Foundry just issued a whole 'horde' of them... for us Continental Europeans the idea sounds... odd, this seems to be peculiar to North American folklore?
    Zombies in the (ex-)Colonies and Canada? Great minds think alike, they say...

    Regarding zombies, imho most of 'commercial' zombies miniatures cannot be used in a 18th C. setting, because they are in 'modern' clothes. The solution? To use is 'normal' minis for the period, and to convert (slightly) and *paint* and 'weather' them adequately to reflect their peculiar 'state'. Conversions are minimal: Conversions of miniatures: some scarifications of the body and 'pustules' with a cutter or pin point, degradations of clothes with a nail clipper or wire clipper...
    Painting: the *eyes* are of importance, ringed with black, with black bags circles under; possibly all-white eyes or the 'mad rabbit's red eyes'; waxy skin; fresh blood at themouth; dried blood on the wounds and scars... with an appropriately 'vomitory' Nurglesque painting, pus or bile pustules and spots...
    'Weathering: decades ago I used 'dipping' the finished mini in 'medium oak' matt wood varnish; the excess accumulate in the folds and hollows, at the lower edge of clothes, giving a grotty / shabby look suggesting that the zombies are unable to clean and repair their clothes: but surprisingly for zombies I had the most satisfying results when 'dipping' in such an unlikely mixture as home-made prune juice / roughly filtrated watery puree of dried prunes, intensively honeyned to 'cling' when dry: as always with dipping the 'ink' accumulated in the hollows and at the lower extremities of clothes and weapons, and its 'texture' due to the (barely visible) plant micro-particles gave a 'freshly unearthed' look that no purely liquid ink, paint or varnish would have provided...

    Now, while your blog is devoted to "your painted miniatures", I hope we'll be allowed to enjoy -here or elsewhere- an illustrated 'journal' / periodical report of your "New England Horror" campaign!
    Thanks in advance for sharing!

    Best wishes,

  5. Excellent contribution Jean-Louis - thanks!

    Ya, zombies, I'm thinking, will be tied to whatever witchcraft or dark arts are occurring in the area - supernatural revenge for a witch killing? I'm envisioniong witches raising the dead as a means to stall pursuers or something. as opposed to virus animated Romero-esque mobs: think necromancy. (Kill the witch and the zombies go down). Fantasy zombies a la GW classics will do the trick. Many have primitive weaponry or ones that can be converted to farm implements.

    Taking it all back a century -for Witch hunters, I have in mind those Renegade King Phillips War Pilgrims ( with Solomon Kane-y type leaders. I've been collecting civilians from ECW and 30 Yrs War ranges to complement. I could just as easily set it in Europe I spose but I don't have the inclination to buy buildings for that locale too.

    But all that is for a later time. I do like the Foundry scarecrows and will have a bunch. I'm not yet sure how I'm going to categorize them - individually super heroic requiring special skills or equipment to put down or fodder and ranked up into units, some combination of both? I kinda like the idea of putting them in roaming mobs with a necromantic leader controlling them.

    Lots of ideas floating around un-solidified just yet ... Thanks again for your input ..!

  6. (Sorry if it's a duplicate-it seems my 1st attempt to post this failed: if a duplicate, delete 'defintively' [leaves no trace] the excess.

    Animated Scarecrows?
    This seems peculiar to the USA -and an idea I'm specially not at ease with, given my preference for 'rationalist' explanations (re. my Dec.1O comment on TMP or my December 12, 2010 3:18 PM comment on my own blog).

    While any gaming requires "a willing suspension of disbelief", I have the greatest difficulties with the so-called 'undeads' -perhaps because I've been for some 45 year in Biology. To be able to move and attack (otherwise, where would be the fun?) they need functional muscles, thus a functional circulatory system and heart, lungs to re-oxygenate the blood, a digestive system ans a liver to feed the muscles; a nervous system to command the muscles, a sensory system to spot and follow the preys, a central nervous system -decaying maybe, but still operational to coordinate the whole… The whole in rather bad state (specially for the 'slow moving / clumpsy' "undeads" of the Romero school) and probably wearing away -no hope of a very long survival). So, sorry, their 'humanity' may be dead, but their body is still alive, NOT a *corpse*. That's why I favor the 'Matheson model': a highly contagious disease transmitted by the bite. Once bitten the victim turns to a 'ghoul' (Hellsing OVA), 'zombie' (?) (Resident Evil), 'possessed' ([REC]) or 'vampire' (I'm a legend), name this as you will according to your cultural background, but it's all the same. The incubation period may vary with the importance of the bite and maybe the infectious strain, but is generally short enough for the 'transformation' to appear during an average game session.

    [ Btw, all the 'creatures of flesh' -'ghouls' or 'zombies'- CAN be killed: if beheaded, the body falls and is immobile; they will not survive for long a severe wound in the heart / lugs area, &c... What gives the impression of quasi-invulnerability / immortality is that they ignore pain and have lost any reflex of self-preservation: when such a creature, after you deprived it of its arms and legs (yes, like the Black Knight in 'Holy Grail'!) keeps crawling toward you on its four stumps to bite and eat you, you cannot but panic and wonder if and how you could get rid of it!]

  7. Animated Scarecrows?
    I'm at ease with a 'flesh golem' such as Frankenstein's creature: a complete body with brain, heart, lugs... 'reanimated' with electricity: typical Sci-Fi using 19th C. science, in the same way as VSF players use 'Aether Wind' to travel from Earth to Mars.

    But a 'twigs and straw' animated golem... this indeed *requires* a supernatural intervention - a very powerful one: the 'puppet-master' has to 'tape' energy somewhere (twigs and straw require kilocalories to move), to provide the sensory input, to 'delegate' some minimal form of 'intelligence' to coordinate the actions, even if only reflexes and stereotyped behavioral sequences, to play the part of the general nervous system to have the limbs obey the orders of the (micro-)brain....
    The simplest explication (and the one, I think, complying best to Ockham's Law) is to suppose that the scarecrow is 'inhabited' and animated by a captive ghost, spirit, imp, immaterial extra-terrestrial... (in the same ways as the statue of a deity can move -to crush sacrilegious intruders- when the deity embodies him/her/itself in the sculpture).

    Wargaming-wise, scarecrows are probably harder to 'kill' than ghouls or zombies (the 'spirits' embodied in them being 'diffuse', not concentrated in a peculiar point that would become specially vulnerable?), but easier to disable -they are not *that* solid- so the overall effect may be identical?

    A peculiar problem with scarecrows is their potential flammability: of course their creator may have tried to make them, if not fireproof, at least less flammable? On the other hand the captive, enslaved, immaterial being inhabiting a scarecrow can hope to be free if its material jail is reduced to ashes, so may fight this 'fireproofing' at the opportune moment?

    An interesting question is: 'What becomes of his various 'controlled' creatures, ghouls, zombies, scarecrows... when their controller is killed? -or simply disabled / unconscious? (You'll ask: and when he sleeps? Well, either he has colleagues / apprentices to maintain the control, or he carefully put his creatures "off" before going to bed).

    The answer varies with the type of controlled creature:
    - with relatively fast and smart "ghouls" (I use the Hellsing nomenclature) they simply become more feral, attacking / biting / eating any human within reach, friend or foe; they may even attack ghouls of other 'packs' (a *great* idea in '30 days of night' was to give vampires the social structure and behavior of a pack of wolves);
    - for "traditional /'true' zombies" -slow and moronic, clumsy flesh automatons- it can be diced individually: most will carry on what they were doing (if it was 'fighting', now it's at random, see the ghouls above); a few will move at random, scaring horses and disordering units they interpenetrate, but not fighting, except -but probably not, even in self-defense; a few will fall in total apathy.
    - for scarecrows inhabited by immaterial captives, it's simple, their prisoners escape and each scarecrow is now a very ordinary, normal, immobile scarecrow.

    An ancillary question: what happens if the 'controller' is severely distracted -stunned for an instant by the physiological shock of a severe wound, engaged in personal hand-to-hand combat, in rout with pursuers still in contact or still within, say, pistol range? I think he is at risk to losing control of some of his 'creatures': dice for each of them, for those now out of control see above. When the 'controller' regains his nerves and his mo longer disturbed, he can try to regain control -again dice, probably easy with zombies than with ghouls, impossible for scarecrows the evaded 'spirit' will not get back to its jail.