Morgan's Fantasy Warriors Blog # 1

Morgan's Fantasy Warriors Blog # 1

Hello! Please join me as I create an army apiece of orcs and dwarves for the classic game Fantasy Warriors, by Nick Lund. Long ago when the world was young*, I was reading a review for the game and was quite smitten by the idea of it. Specifically, of getting 102 miniatures all at once, at a time when I had rarely even seen gaming figures in-person, let alone owned any. I’ve painted loads of gaming miniatures since then, but have never forgotten the early days of poring over a few smuggled copies of Dragon, specifically to look at all the miniatures. So, with that as my basis, I have decided to finally paint those old plastic Fantasy Warriors armies that, while fairly humble by overall hobby standards, seemed impossibly luxurious in my youth. So, time to dive in!

I acquired the 51 orcs and 51 dwarves (17 apiece of three different poses) required to create the example 1,000 point army lists given in the rulebook. Additionally, I got extra shields so that every model can have one. The original boxed game only came with enough for half the figures to have shields. I don’t like this, as I am planning on using shield-color to differentiate units of troops, and perhaps even to identify some of the individual character models. Back in the hazy mists of time, people might have made spare shields from buttons and thumbtacks but I will go the professional route of buying actual spares. Otherwise, I am sticking with only what came in the box. I thought about buying metal command figures and heroes but that seemed wrong for this project. However, if I like the game, maybe I’ll get some all-metal armies of other factions in the game. For the orcs and dwarves however, an all-plastic budget army just seems more sporting in some strange way.

A word on game balance. Most games these days (and Fantasy Warriors is no exception) use a “points” system to “buy” armies from a list of troops. Elite troops cost more points than ordinary ones. This way, even if one player has more figures, the games can still be reasonably fair.  However, our 1,000 point armies both had to be made from 51 figures, despite orcs being noticeably worse warriors than dwarves. Hence, the game designers gave the orcs in these suggested armies lots of upgrades, and five expensive heroes instead of two. Fair enough. In order to hit 1,000 points, each unit of troops in both armies has a Leader and a Champion, as well as a Standard Bearer for all the non-archer units. My plan at this time, is to have all the models carry a shield slung over their back as if they’re marching. Leader’s, however, will carry their shield up front to be readily identified on the table. Champions will be denoted by a figure who carries a different weapon than all other models in their unit. While these weapon variations will have no impact in terms of the game rules, it will make it easy to tell who’s in charge. And it’s plausible enough to imagine our champions as an officer with a sword leading a block of spearman, who comes to the rescue of his men if an enemy breaks past the bristling spearheads. Or a seasoned old archer sheltering within a shieldwall, picking out vulnerable targets in the chaos of a melee. My Standard Bearers will be fairly simple conversions. I plan on tripling the length of a few spears with plastic rod, and adding homemade paper flags.

The sum total of seven assorted Individuals will be harder to model however. My dwarves aren’t too bad off. All they need is a Warchief and a Battle Leader. I’ll do a simple weapon swap between two different plastic dwarves to give me one dwarf leaning on a great-axe, and one dwarf waving a spear. These unique models will be readily identifiable among the masses. My orcs, on the other hand, need a Warchief, Wizard, Soothsayer, Hero, and Battle Leader. To begin with, one orc with a spear will be converted to a Wizard with a staff. I’ll probably just carve the sword off of an orc to create a Soothsayer. Perhaps all my spare chopped up weapons will allow me to convert an orc archer into a dual-wielding Hero, while another orc spearman can be given a greataxe to become a Battle Leader. But what of my orc Warchief? Decisions, decisions... Maybe I’ll have to find a few spare parts for customization that come from outside the main 102 models.

In order to ensure I actually have the correct proportions of axemen/spearmen/whatever to make all my conversions work, I laid out the figures on my trusty old painting table and laid out the figures in their respective sized units. I figured out to make my dwarf collection work out, the big unit has to be great-axes while the two smaller assault units have to be spearmen. The orcs will also have one big unit of spearmen, and a slightly smaller unit of swordsmen for backup. No choices to be made vis-a-vis the crossbowmen and archers. 

So that’s it for now. Now I need to start filing, sanding, and gluing!

*1992 A.D. 

The Orcish forces assemble…

The Dwarves are ready to meet them…

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