Monday, 14 December 2015

The call of the Jagdah

Far from being united the Five Tribes of the Appalathian Plains are a scattered folk, each of them barely considers their neighbors better then the orcs or the Children of the Snake and often they would fight against each other over food or shelter.
They are all respectful of their traditions though, most of them predating the Great Migration, and they honor them for fear of Mighty Or's punishment. 
One of the most important and ancient of these rituals, said to have been instituted by the Great Father Himself, is the Falhl-Jagdah, the Great Hunt, taking place once per year in the vast plains after the Moort-Ur, the widest cycle of the sun. 
Every year members of each tribes select ten participant each, chosen from their most skillful hunter and proudest warriors and give them their finest weapons and gears, consecrating them Rhydd, champions of the Hunt.  
Then the Horn of Anvael, a precious relic of the time of the Alderans, is blown three times to awake Mighty Or and all the Spirits of the Ancestors, so that they can judge the warrior's deeds and choose which champions will prove the greatest, and the Jagdah begins under the eye of the gods.  
The hunters must then find and hunt down one of the greatest beasts of the Plains, often a Shar-khan or a mighty Aurok. To do so they always end up having to team up with members of other tribes and work together, drawing advantage not only from their numbers but especially from their different skills and hunting techniques. 
They will run together and bleed together, many of them will find a gruesome death or will starve in the impossibly wide plains or will end up in enemy territories and become the preys of murderous greyskins or savage monsters from the wild. To survive and succeed they will find out that cooperation is their only hope and bonds stronger than iron are often born from these events, even among members of different tribes.Once the prey is finally killed the few survivors often find out that where once stood an enemy now stands a friend and comrade.
Then Mighty Or smiles down at them because He knows His most important lesson has not been forgotten: 

"United they will prevail, Divided they will fall to darkness"

The second one of my ghurian hunters is finished... Well, almost actually, I still want to improve some areas but these are table top models so I am fine with them not being perfect. I am pretty pleased with the result, though  the tattoo on the face does not fully convince me for some reason…
The plan is to start with around ten of them and have a warband core of hunters, a pack of 5-10 hunting wolves (fenrisian wolves) the wandering King to guide them and a massive beast (I already purchased a Stonehorn) to give them some muscle power!
Then I've got great plans for future expansions, like a rogue regiment of skeletons from the Uplands, Sylvaneth from the Grey Masks Wood, hunting parties form each of the Five Tribes and a group of the mysterious Orar's Brides, converted form witch elves... but one step at a time, first I'll have to complete my ten Blackfeathers!

I started painting the Wandering King as well but I felt discouraged after a couple of layers of Baneblade Brown and now it is lying on my desk waiting for a month long paintjob!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Hornblower finished and issues with greenstuff

Morning everyone

The horn blower is finished. It was a fun ride but it revealed tougher than I thought due to a problem I'm developing with greenstuff which is really starting to worry me a bit... Apparently every time I use it my throat swells as if I had an allergy to it and since I normally do it in the evening after work it disturbs my sleep quite a lot.
I am concerned because, as you will probably imagine, sculpting with GS is such an important part of the hobby for me!
If any of you ever experienced something like that could you please step forward and give me some advice? Is GS as toxic as somebody says (though others strongly deny it) or am I really developing an allergy to it?

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Hornblower

Small update, I'm working on another hunter for my Blackfeathers hunting party, this time a very fitting horn blower! It's not yet finished but I'm almost there...

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The mark of the hunter

Proudest among the Five Tribes the Blackfeathers inhabit the westernmost territories of the Appalathian Plains, their villages and settlements clutched in the shadow of the Bonewall, ultimate barrier between the Plains and the Lands of the Snake.
Due to their proximity with these dead lands and the monstrous creatures and degenerate humans that roam them, the Blackfeathers have become fierce and warlike peoples, constantly fighting against the Children of the Snakes and the other tribes of the plains.
Their territories are for the most part composed by grasslands and wood covered valleys where they find preys in abundance and they can measure their valour against the greatest of the beasts of the plains, the mighty Sharkahn, the stone-horned king of the wilds.
Members of this tribes are identified by their traditional warpaints realised with red ocre from the Brul'Hak, the Blood Mires, and by their custom of adorning thir manes with feathers and bones from the great Black Krakars that nest on top of the Bonewall. To prove their courage and to be accepted as hunters by the tribe, the young warriors have to climb the cursed barrier and steal some feathers from the nest of one of those giant carrion birds, a trial which costs the lives of many who attempt it.
Member of the tribe call themselves the Heirs of Sam-Harr (their name for Or, the Great Father) referring to an ancient legend which tells that their first Alderan, Valdros the Luminant, was born by the union between the God-Father Himself and a mortal woman, named Sumaya.
The current chieftain of the tribe, retaining the title of Vor'Haar (Pathfinder) is Argalyon Blackcloud, a fierce warrior, well known among the tribes for his legendary feats. He is the only warrior who ever ventured upon the Uplands and came back with the Secret of Iron, stolen from the bitter spirits who roams those lands along with Gorthanor, his legendary axe. He alone bested the great beast Magdoroth and ventured on the other side of the Bonewall to defeat the Children of the Snake in their own foul lands.
He is a faithful worshipper of Sam-Harr though his faith has recently been stained by the loss of his woman, Allarah, who was chosen by Orar to become one of his wives and thus had to abandon him to answer the call of the Wanderer King.

Welcome to the first painting update on PINXIT!
Today I present you the first of my Sons of Or, the warband I am working on for AoS as a personal project. 
I wanted to do something rather different from the usual fantasy esthetic we are all used to, one of the main advantages of AoS in my opinion is the freedom it allows in terms of imagery and references, since the Nine Realms are infinite and almost completely unexplored at the moment.
So after toying with some ideas I decided I wanted a native american vibe to my warriors (to some of them at least) since it's something I've never seen done on a fantasy setting before, not that I recall at least. The Irochese/Cherokee esthetic felt quite appropriate for the concept I had in mind for my ghurians, so I experimented with some red ochre tatoos and leathery textures and in the end I'm really pleased by the result (which is slightly less vibrant irl than it is in the pictures).
I even decided to add a touch of Old School, which always feels good, and painted the shaft of his crude mace in red, thought it did not look out of place for a primitive warrior with a taste for blood.
Finally I put a lot of efforts in painting the stone as if it was flint, which has a slightly yellow shade to it instead of regular grey stone.
So that's it, let me know what you think!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Unite the Tribes!

The time of Fulfilment is nigh...
In the fire lit darkness of the Cave of the Alderans ancient petroglyphs tell the Tale of the Forgotten Days, the legend of the fall of the Kingdoms of the Uplands and the First Migration to the Plains. The inscriptions tell of how the Great Father was forced to abandon His children and bow to the might of the Snake, but before leaving He swore the Ancient Promise, that He would have come back and guide the faithfuls to victory and vengeance.
For untold generations the shamans and Boneseers of the tribes have searched the sky for a sign of the Father's return but the power of the snake has always remained ascendant and the Sons of Or suffered and struggled deprived of even the faintest hope.
Then came the Wandering King, Orar they called him, He who comes from the Father, and he released them from their bounds and returned them their pride and faith in the Promise. He came from the Father's kingdom, he told them, and those who will answer his call to war on the Fulfilment's Day, will be invited to come back to Or-Athor with him and will finally see their Ancestors avenged and their enemies choke in blood.
Now powerful storms have descended on the Plains raging as never before. Howling winds blows from the North and the West, beyond the Great Bonewall, and the spirits of the Ancestors grow restless on the Uplands. The Signs have been seen, the Nadrigens have been interrogated and Shamans of the Tribes declared that the Last Great Hunt should begin under the Eye of the Warrior.
Feeling the time for forgiveness finally close at hand, the Wandering King has returned to the Plains to unite the tribes and guide them in another Great Migration to finally reunite with Mighty Or, the Great Father, at the Gates to His realm.

Finally, after almost one month, I can call the Wandering King done!
It has been a really difficult project, probably it would have been easier to sculpt it from scratch, but to see him done and finished is a great satisfaction!
As always there are a lot of things that I'd love to add, ideas remained undeveloped and some bits which I am not too happy with, but there comes a moment when one has to stop and just be able to consider his job done at this point. The King is just one member of a warband I am planning to build around him, and since my hobby time is limited lately I really need to progress with the rest of the band and on other projects as well.

Now, about the whole project:
the idea of building a primitive warband for Age of Sigmar came to me when I first heard about the background of the setting... The theme of the avenger-god coming back to the lands of his worshippers after centuries of abandonment was, to me, very interesting and full of possibilities! 
Of course I soon found out that GW was not handling the story in the way I would, so I decided to give a go to the idea I first had when I read the fluff in the wd: a band of hunters of the mortal realm of Ghur guided by a sort of Prometheus version of a Stormcast, a forgotten warrior of the heavens whose rebellious behavior made him an outcast and a renegade.
The story of the campaign will revolve around the deeds of the Wandering King who is trying to guide his mortal followers to the Realmgate of Azyr, deep in the lands of their enemies, to open it and finally unleash the fury of the stormcast legions upon Ghur. His "army" will consist of the mortal tribes he united (hunters and primitive warriors who forgot the secret to forge weapons and fight almost as the beasts they hunt in the Plains) and shaggy beasts of the wilds who bowed to his titanic will.
He is not a glorious hero though, the long year spent as an outcast made him a desperate and brutal individual, whose only ambition is to regain the favor of his God and bring His punishment upon his enemies. He believes that the time is right but he acts without Sigmar's (Or's) consent and his actions will risk to compromise the God-King's plans for his coming Age of vengeance.

I have interesting plans for developing my warband, and I know it will require time and energies before it's done, but I am confident that with a bit of patience and possibly some help and support from you guys, I will take this project to his rightful finale before the end of next year!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Almost there!

Good evening!

I am very close to complete the sculpting on the Aurok and the Wanderer King!
This project seems to be infinite but I think it's turning out pretty nice... The hoofs were sculpted to resemble the ones of the Ogre Stonehorn (which will be another addition to the warband as soon as I get some tribesmen done) as I am trying to tie it to the rest of the beasts of the planes, like if they had a similar evolution or something.
Now it's just a matter of finishing the rear of the beast and adding some details, like the reins (I might go with a more savage approach and have the knight grabbing the Aurok's crest because I'm not very comfortable with the idea of reins on what is essentially a prehistoric bull... Suggestions?

Monday, 16 November 2015

The might of the Aurok

Good Morning!
Today I present you another work in progress of the huge conversion I'm working on for my Sons of Or... The Wanderer King has found a kindred spirit: the mighty Aurok, prince of the plains!

"Among the great beasts of the Appalathian plains the mighty Aurok is second only to the great Stanehorn and the hunters of the Five Tribes consider it one of the fiercest preys and honour him as a powerful and warlike spirit, the embodiment of the wrath of Or.
Since time immemorial the tribesmen have worshipped these creatures and depicted them in hunting scenes on the walls of their caves as the legends tell that during the Forgotten Days the Alderans, the great Ancestors, managed to establish a friendship with Bael-El, king of the Auroks, and ride his children in battle against the Snake.
Ancient prophecies tell that the Dahel-Yurd'Aurok, "He who is friend with the Aurok" will one day come to liberate the people of the plains and lead them to war against their enemies. Many tales identify this mighty hero with Or Himself, but others suggest that it will be a chieftain from one of the Five Tribes, born under great omens.
Whatever the truth might be, few of the hunters of the last generation managed to kill an Aurok, let alone ride him, and the ones who did shows the trophies of that endavour with great pride."

This project is taking a long while to complete, and it's more a challange to myself than many other I've been working on lately... Not much because of the scale of it, which is indeed something I'm not used to, but more for the fact that I don't quite like the esthetic of Stormcasts as gw presented them and I really struggled at the beginning to find out what to do with them. In the end, as you are probably noticing from previous posts, I decided to give AoS a try but do it my way, moving aside from the "canonic" bg of the main narrative and detailing what, to me, could be much more intersting than what they are pulling out: the life and people of the realms, their costumes and habits, their point of view on the "War in the Heavens" and their deeds and roles in it.
I realise it's still too vague by now, but trust me, the project is entertaining me a lot and you will soon see where I am heading to, as soon as I'll manage to finish this big guy and move on with the rest of my warband.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The lands of the Sons of Or

Sometimes nothing feels better than drawing a nice old style map. It should probably remind me of my good old days of rolepraying innocence, but I realised that, after playing wfrp for a lifetime (more than 15 years) I never drew a map of a world of my conception before!
It was a horrific revelations which hit me hard a couple of months ago, when I was talking to an old friend of mine in Turin. It didn't feel right, maps are a very important part of the hobby in my opinion, so I put myself to work following the example of good man Tolkien and decided to just use a couple of black ink pens and a red biro... It was easier and more enjoyable than I thought, so here I present you with The Lands of the Sons of Or:

These are the hunting territories of the confederate tribes of the Sons of Or.
In the distant past, at the dawn of the Days of the Snake, five great heroes, known in legends as the Alderans, the Great Ancestros, led the people of the Uplands into a great migration toward the western plains to escape the devastation brought by the cursed Children of the Snake upon their ancient kingdoms.
During the past centuries, the Five Tribes managed to expel their enemies outside the limits of the Appalathian Plains to the lands of the west, beyond the great Bonewall and secure these vast territories from the Greyskins from the northern badlands.
Far from being free from dangers, the Plains are now an immense hunting ground for the descendants of the Ancestors, where they wage constant war against their enemies trying to preserve their right to prey on the great beasts that roam the land.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Sons of Or

Good evening,

Tonight another update for my ongoing project...

The Blackfeathers
The Twelve Whelps
The Yellow Crows
The Grey Masks
The Highfires

Since time immemorial the Five Tribes have lived and hunted in the vast Plains, each of them the proud descendant of one of the five nations of the Uplands, where none ventures anymore and the spirit of the Ancestors roam restless. Deep and rooted are the differences between them, but they all worship the Great Father Or the Uniter and although they often battle each other for food or shelter once per year they gather to honour  their most ancient and respected tradition, the Great Hunt, said to be introduced by Or himself during the Forgotten Days.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The Wanderer King

Good Morning!

Today I wanted to show you a very early wip of something I've been working on in secret for a while... I won't unveil too much of the aims of the project until I can show you something more fleshed up so you will get the whole picture and will finally understand the abyss  of my madness.

Now get ready to know the sorrow-born fury of the Wanderer King!

Orar the Exiled, the Wanderer King, the First Shepherd, He who hunts in the Storm

"There once was a great king in the eastern lands, above the uplands were none ventures anymore and the spirits of the Ancestors roam restless. He was said to be a great hunter and a wise chieftain and that was during the Forgotten Days, before the coming of the Snake. 
So wise and brave the king was that mighty Or, the Great Father invited him in his halls, granted him great gifts and chose him to lead His hosts during the Day of Fulfilment, when the Ancient Promise will be finally kept and the faithfuls will be saved and will enter the Realm of Or-Athor.
The king was filled with the Father's divine essence and abandoned the path which leads to darkness to walk the one toward eternity in the company of the greatest Ancestors, awaiting the day of his foretold return when the vengeance of mighty Or would finally be unleashed upon the Childrens of the Snake.
But long years passed and the Snake was still ascendant and the king was looking at his proud descendants suffering between its coils. Many times he prayed the Father to let him help them, to feel compassion, to give them hope that he was indeed coming back for them... But the time was not right and mighty Or could not listen to the king's praise and dismissed him with tears in His eyes.
The king loved his father but like all men he loved his children more and couldn't bring himself to abandon them. Eventually he turned his back on mighty Or's commandment and decided to return to his ancient lands to reassure his troubled kins that the Fulfilment was close at hand and that they had not been left behind.
Like a burning star he descended from the heavens among his lost children, bringing them hope and the long forgotten gift of fire, to cast back the shadows they slipped in during his absence. He taught our ancestors how to wage war and fend for themselves and he led them toward the Broken Lands to the Great Plains which were free from taint and where they could hunt and survive.
But the Great Father eventually found out of his disobedience and great was His rage! In His fury he cursed the king's name and commanded the gate to His celestial realm to be shut once again, banishing the king from Or-Athor and condemning him to walk again on the path to darkness and death in company of the people he disobeyed Him for.
Since then, the Wanderer King travels through the vast plains and the deep valleys, through highlands and deep oceans, restless like the lone spirits who walk with him. As a warrior god he fights against the enemies of his own heirs, trying to preserve us until the Fulfilment, hoping that this day the Father might forgive him and call him back among the ranks of his celestial warriors before the final battle against the Children of the Snake."

Orar the Wanderer King is still very much a wip but hopefully it will be the start of a very interesting project I've been toying with since AoS came out... In later posts I will clarify my objectives and my view of AoS, which is really controversial, but by now I will leave you with this little tease of what is down the pipe... He is definitely not alone.


"But now such spectredom so throngs the air
That none knows how to dodge it, none knows where.
Though one day greet us with a rational gleam,
The night entangles us in webs of dream.
We come back happy from the fields of spring-
And a bird croaks. Croaks what? Some evil thing.
Enmeshed in superstition night and morn,
It forms and shows itself and comes to warn.
And we, so scared, stand without friend or kin,
And the door creaks-and nobody comes in."

J.W.Goethe, Faust

Welcome to PINXIT, my first blog
of madness and miniature painting addiction!

For who amongst you does not know me, my name is Matteo Gallo, I am an italian hobbist (hobbyst? hobbit?) with some 15 years of experience with miniature painting, sculpting and converting. I am also fully addicted to greenstuff and plastic glue sniffing (don't try that at home though, go find some cinnamon instead) and I have been working on so many failed modelling projects along the years that I don't know how my enthusiasm keeps being so high.
Basically mine is a story of frustrated goals, unfulfilled oaths and half finished armies, I am sure many of you will relate to that, but the future looks bright, there are piles of new minis in my shelf and tons of projects in my heads! In an ideal world this blog will follow my progresses while I work my way through all of them, from beginning to completion, and you will be all invited to share my glorious attempt to reach modelling perfection.
The reality is that you will find me struggling to keep motivated and you will rage against me when I will unexpectedly abandon my creations halfway through after months of work for no reason at all! Maybe in one of my next posts I will try to make a list of all my present and future ideas for armies, new sculpts and conversions, just to give you an idea of how hopeless my situation is, but enthusiasm has never been so high and I am starting this ride with the very best of intentions, that much I assure you!
So, what makes my blog different from many others around the web?
Nothing... nothing at all. My vision is to try to pour all the character and atmosphere of artworks and well written pieces of narrative into my work and I share this goal with many talented people around the world.
Just that this is MY take on it, my point of view influenced by the same masters we all know and respect: John Blanche, Ian Miller, Karl Kopinski, Adrian Smith, the Perry Brothers, Brian Nelson and many many others who made this hobby great with passion and intelligence.
I just want to add my voice to the choir.

So stay with me, follow me if you want and, please, help me to achieve at least some of the goals I will vow to reach. As Edward Norton tells his followers in Fight Club, don't let me convince you of what I will say tomorrow, because I know exactly what it will be! Just don't try to chop my balls off, I still kind of need them...