Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Dwarven Chaos In The 80s And Beyond...

I was discussing my choice of Chaos Dwarves for a retro army recently and it was (correctly) pointed out that there are no Chaos Dwarf army lists in the earlier Warhammer rule sets.

Now, this would mean that I could have a problem as I play 1st, 2nd and 3rd edition rules, all of which are quite different. 3rd ed sees the introduction of the Chaos Dwarves proper, with the weird and wonderful bazookas, swivel guns and mortars, so there is no problem there.

The later editions give the CD army a neo-Babylonian makeover which I really, really do not like, and thus the later additions of even more weirdness just don't need to given a second thought.

So, back to the earlier editions and the fact that no specific lists exist.

When one, actually reads the flavour text for the Dwarven army list in the Forces Of Fantasy expansion  to the 1st ed, it notes that whilst Dwarves are generally considered to be of a neutral alignment, there are in the more out of the way mountainous areas of the 'Old World' enclaves of Dwarves who have turned to the ways of Evil, and in the borders towards the Chaos Wastes, yet more which have thrown in their lot with the Chaos gods.

So, there we have it, there's the precedent for a Chaos themed army...

Now, we have to consider the fact the the majority of the models which were produced, are heavily armoured and in later sets of rules there are limitations on the types of armour etc, which may be used on a figure.

With 1st edition, you see in the lists that there is a simple 'Yes/No' entry under the column headed 'Armour' which makes it a lot easier to build your army. The premise is that  you can decide exactly what grade of armour your troops are wearing, paying the appropriate cost. Obviously the fact that heavier armour has a higher point cost naturally limits how many troops you can field, and thus there is no need to have artificial limits in the form of '0-??' in the army list entries.

So, you can see that with no bending of rules you can legitimately field a Chaos Dwarf army which will perform like the traditional Dwarven army, including (and it states this clearly in the flavour text) a hatred of Goblinoid armies.

The only potential sticking point is the inclusion of some of the interesting war machines such as the bazooka. I personally think that it would be reasonable to treat a bazooka team simply as a bolt thrower, but frankly the army can have 25% of it's troops armed with crossbows, so firepower is hardly an issue when you look at the survivability of even the most basic infantry model.

And so to troops...

Now, I love the old 3rd edition Chaos Dwarf Renegade models which are expensive to come by these days and which are also quite limited in terms of variety.

The Bazooka Teams and Mortar are commonly sold on eBay and you can get them at £8-£15 each which whilst not 'cheap' is offset by the fact that you don't need a lot of them.

My own choice for the majority of models has been the Ewal Dvergar range of figures commissioned from sculptor John Pickford , originally a private commission but made available in limited numbers by Carsten at http://claminiatures.blogspot.dk/p/how-to-get-some.html

They are very similar to the 'classic' models but being multi-part castings you can have a truly individual army with every model different to the next. For example, one pack of crossbowmen can produce 96 variant models... You get the idea.

There are of course other ranges, but the ED range really captures that retro feel and enhances the feel of games using the older rule sets.

My own army has been based around 12 units of 16 models, with a few heroic types. This is more than enough for a 3000 point game. I like the smaller units that typified the games we played as kids. Personally, I always thought units of 12-20 models looked 'just right' and gave a really nice looking game with 10-15 units. Later sets of rules had larger units which just looked clumsy and meant that you were painting for years (or so it felt) just to get the most basic army on the table top.

I'll be regularly updating the blog with progress reports and eye candy, once I begin to paint the army up, so, if this is of interest to you, make sure to check back regularly.

Even if you are not a fantasy fan, I hope that you'll check in anyway to see what my brush has produced. After all, a well painted toy soldier is a joy to behold, regardless of the theme.