Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Warhammer Empire Handgunners

Here are some pictures of my Warhammer Fantasy Empire Handgunners of the 54th Nuln Gunnery Regiment, 2nd Battalion. The Handgunner unit also has a detachment of Hangunners, and a detachment of Free Company. These pictures were originally posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007.

Empire Handgunners Empire Handgunners Empire Handgunners Empire Handgunners

They turned out okay. Those old plastic handgunner miniatures aren't particularly good. They don't have much detail in the face and some other places. They are painted in the same red and black colors as the rest of my Empire stuff, to represent a detachment from Nuln. I tried to make the skin tones on these figures a little darker than I normally would. I figure all the smoke from firing those blackpowder weapons would make them very dirty.

As part of my color scheme for my Nuln detachment, I came up with a way to distinguish what branch of service a soldier belongs to. This can be determined by the color of the headgear they wear. So the regular infantry, such as this unit of Handgunners, are the "black hats". The militia, like the free company detachment, are "brown hats". Though, since they aren't as strictly regulated as the professional soldiers, they often wear don't wear a hat or just wear whatever they happen to own. The artillery are "red hats". As you can see a few posts back, the artillery crewmen are all wearing red hats. The cavalry will be the "grey hats", which will likely just be their metal helmets. I thought it was a good way to distinguish different types of units, and also add a little visual variety to the army.

As you can see, all of the members of the Free Company detachment have been converted to be carrying some sort of blackpowder weapon. I did this because I want my Nuln detachment Empire army to have a strong gunpowder weapon theme. It is meant to represent a new, experimental type of Empire army detachment which makes heavy use of the gunpowder weapon technology. I want all of the miniatures in the army to represent that. Rules-wise they just count as normal Free Company.

You might also have noticed that there is a guy in that Free Company unit that is wearing a black hat, even though as part of the militia he should be wearing a brown hat. There is a good reason for that. I actually came up with a whole backstory for that guy, just based on the fact that it is an interesting miniature.

He was originally a private in the regular army, serving as a handgunner. In a brutal battle with a band of Orc marauders, his unit was cut to pieces, and his leg was chopped off at the kneee. As the Orc ran down the fleeing remnants of his unit, he somehow managed to remain concious, and tied off his leg to slow the bleeding. In agony and barely clinging to life, he looked up to see the Duke who led the Empire army locked in combat with an Orc champion. The Orc knocked the Duke to the ground as was about to finish him off when the Hangunner fired off a shot. It killed the attacking Orc, and saved the Duke's life. They managed to turn the battle around, and the hangunner miraculously survived, despite the terrible wound he had received.

In recognition of the hangunner's courage and determination, the Duke whose life he had saved awarded him with medals, paid for him to get a nice prosthetic leg, and heaped other gifts upon him (such as that extremely fancy hat). He was, however, discharged honorably from military service, since the regular army did not allow those with missing limbs or similar physical handicaps in their ranks.

The Duke made sure the handgunner lived a relatively comfortable life in his retirement from military service. He found a wife and settled down. Years later, his wife died of the plague. He was very lonely, and began to miss the regimented lifestyle and comradarie of military service. Since he was now old and still physically handicapped, he was not eligible for service in the regular army. So instead he, with a little support from the Duke, managed to raise his own militia unit of Free Company and joined up with a military detachment.

So, out of respect for his prior distinguised service in the regular army, he is allowed to wear his old black hat, despite technically being a non-commissioned officer in the militia.

I kind of like having little backstories like that for some of the models in my armies. It gives the army more personality, and adds to the drama when some of the characters in the battle have a history. If there are any models in your armies that have backstories you came up with that you'd like to share, please leave a comment and tell the world about them. I'd like to know what kinds of stories other people have come up with.

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