Dungeon Crawl Miniatures

Here are another batch of miniatures from the painting shelf of shame that have now been finished. Fantasy games have always run side by side with historical gaming, for me, not long after I discovered historical wargaming in the early 80s I discovered Dungeons and Dragons and then Warhammer. These miniatures were going to be the start of a solo dungeon crawl project to try recreate a bit of that old D&D feeling. I was planning to utilise the very basic rules of the old fighting fantasy books and card decks. I collected a few miniatures and built a few prototype floor plans from foamcore and then…. got distracted.

Anyway a few of these miniatures where already finished, a number just needed basing and the Gnolls where only half painted. The basing on these miniatures was a bit more involved than my normal basing involving a layer of wood filler, green stuff pavers on top of the filler and then a layer of sand acrylic medium painted grey and then dry brushed with cream.

Anyway here are some pictures. All the miniatures are from Alternative Armies apart from the Hill Giant who is a OOP Wizards of the Coast miniature and the hero Cleric who is an original Ral Partha miniature from 1979 who quite frankly shows just what an amazing sculptor Tom Meier is in my humble opinion.

Group Shot




Evil Knight
Hill Giant


Hero Barbarian
Hero Wizard

Hero Cleric

Snow Trolls

Operation ” Finish up” has started by finishing off these Four snow trolls from the painting shelf of shame. I went for an early easy win with these guys as they where 90% finished and only really needed a few small details painted, basing and sealing to be done. They are Ral-parth trolls, sculpted by Bob Olley, and where meant to be part of my Winter Wytch army (see here)

While I was at it I also took a couple photos of some other miniatures I’d already painted for the same army that I found languishing in a box during the re-organization of my wargames room. So we have two Frost giants converted from kids toy Vikings and a barbarian general command base. All these miniatures have now been magnetised and sent to live in a box with My Grand Duchy of the Black wolf Army.

Knights of Wolfsburg

The penultimate unit (for now) for my Grand Duchy of the Black Wolf army the knights of Wolfsburg in their natty green and yellow livery. These are a mix of Conquest Games and Fireforge Games plastic knights. I thought I’d play around with photo taking for these guys staging the scene better and tried some filters in my editor.


Freemen of the Ducal Lands

I’ve added another unit to my ever expanding army. This time we have some Freemen who live on the ducal lands  following the old ways practised by their Black Wolf tribe ancestors as hunters, woodsmen and fishermen. When war comes to the Grand Duchy these men will muster and join the army of the Grand Duchy as scouts, skirmishers and raiders.

This unit is mostly made up of Frostgrave soldiers with a few spare Wargames Factory Viking arms and heads, an old GW Mordhiem miniature and a Warlord games Celtic dog handler.


Black Cloaks – Ducal Guard

Another unit finished for the army this is The Ducal Guard. This one hundred strong heavy cavalry force are made up members of the Grand Duke’s extended family, sons of court nobles and second sons of the various country nobles as such they are the premier unit in the whole grand duchy. Every member of the guard receives a black cloak hence their alternative name, among the general populace, of Black Cloaks. Those members of the guard who distinguish themselves in combat are gifted a black wolf pelt to add to their cloak.

These guys are all Fireforge Teutonic Knights with no conversions apart from cutting down the overly long lances to a more manageable size.




Black Wolf Inn

Having decided to go down the route of two winter based armies I realised I don’t really have any winter terrain. I have two dozen winter trees, the sort that go in model Christmas villages, I picked up in the local garden centre in after Christmas sale and a white cloth other than that nothing. So looking around my box of terrain modelling stuff I found this resin building I had bought for a long defunct Mordhiem project. I had already attempted to ruin it for Mordhiem so I decided to paint it up and winterize it for my new project.

Coaching Inns are common on the roads that cross the Grand Duchy but this has sadly been sacked by barbarian raiders working for the Winter Wytch.



The Grand Dukes Foot Guards

Another unit finished this time the Grand Dukes Foot Guards. The Grand Duke maintains a standing force of 500 footmen half of whom are crossbowmen. The foot guards are responsible for guarding the Grand Duke’s palace and his family during peace time and providing the backbone of the Duchy’s infantry in war time.

Joining criteria for the foot guard are strict candidates must be physically fit, disease free, at least 5’10”, no physical defects and have all their own teeth. As a standing force the foot guards drill constantly when not on guard duty and as a result are able to perform more complicated battlefield manoeuvres and formations than most of the duchy’s foot soldiers.

These miniatures are basically a box of Fireforge Teutonic infantry straight out of the box with one or two head swaps from the Fireforge Templar set for variety.


The Winter Wytch

Having written the background for her I couldn’t resist painting up the miniature I had chosen to represent Isolda even though I should be finishing off more infantry for my Grand duchy army.

This is a resin piece from Mierce miniatures who produces lots of nice but pricey miniatures. I have to admit this miniature cost more than I’d normally shell out but it just seemed to fit my vision of Isolda so well I bit the bullet and went for it. when I came to paint here it dawned on my I didn’t have the foggiest how to paint ice…I’m still not sure I do but I think the paint job works.


Isolda the Winter Wytch

With the my Human fantasy army well started and moving along nicely I thought it was time to start considering their opposition. I want the second army to have more fantastical elements and after a bit of thought this is what I come up with so far.

The Story of Isolda the Winter Wytch

Yseult is the goddess of cold, snow, ice and winter know by several names such as the Frost Maiden, Snow Queen or Lady of Ice. Just like a snow covered winter landscape Yseult is beautiful and dangerous. Yseult is a goddess whose power grows and wains, more than most gods, during the months of winter she is at the height of her power yet as spring arrives her power dwindles until during the summer she is weak and barely acknowledged. For a being as vain and self centred as Yseult this is a source of constant frustration and displeasure. Unlike her mother, the Goddess Gaia, Yseult is not a creator god. While many gods have the power create races to worship them Yseult has had to subtlety manipulate the creations of the other gods of Generica to find worshipers and servants. Yseult’s manipulations have, over the eons, given rise to the frost giants, ice trolls, great snow bears and the winter wargs. Most of all though Yesult desires human worshippers and it was this desire that led Yseult to adopt a new born, half human baby, abandoned in the dark woods of Northern Generica .

Isolda’s mother, Berta, was one of several children of the chief of the Grey Seal Nordvolk tribe whose lands occupied the southern shores of the Coldflow Sea. As a daughter of a chief Berta’s main value to her father was through marriage to one of his nobles. It was and easy marriage to arrange, to the son of a noble called Rolf, as Berta was a comely lass. It was this beauty and a fascination with the ways of humans that attracted Isolda’s father.

Isolda’s father was an elf, one of a tribe of wood elves left behind after the retreat of the Elven Empire, whose peoples land bordered the Grey Seal’s land to the west. When Berta was out in the woods around her village collecting wood or berries he would watch her, watching turned to talking and talking turned to illicit night time dalliances. Elves are, however, flighty creatures and intense passion can go as quickly as it comes and so it was with Isolda’s farther.

Months latter is became obvious that Berta was with child, and while embarrassing, it wasn’t terminal to the arranged marriage. Nordvolk are pragmatic people and it was easy for Berta’s father to pass it off as an engaged couple not being able to wait until their wedding night. The child would be brought up as Rolf’s child and no one need know the truth.

The night Isolda was born it was mid winter and legend says a blizzard blew hard outside. When Isolda was born her Elven features were clear for all to see and those around Berta were horrified.  Nordvolk superstition came to the fore and a wise woman present at the birth claimed that if the babe died at the hands of a Grey Seal it would bring down a curse on the whole tribe. In the end a plan was hatched Isolda would be taken deep into the woods by her grandfather and left to the fate of the gods. Meanwhile all those present at the birth would swear the baby was still born and Berta and Rolf would marry, as planned, and the whole incident would never be spoken about again.

As Isolda’s  Grandfather abandoned her in a snow covered forest glad he was satisfied that wild animals, or the cold, would see the baby dead by morning. Yseult had other ideas she heard the baby crying in the snow, turned her gaze upon her and smiled, here was a opportunity. So it was that in the morning Isolda was alive and well. Huddled between the warm fur of a pack of winter wargs suckling milk from a giant female warg.

Yseult than sent an ancient female Ice Troll hag to retrieve the baby and raise her as her own. The first eighteen years of Isolda’s life where spent traveling the north with her troll foster mother being schooled in the ways of magic, learning about the goddess Yseult and staying with the different followers of the Snow Queen. By her eighteenth birthday Isolda could speak the languages of the ice trolls and frost giants, command packs of winter wargs and had a control over magic that would put an aging mage lord to shame.

For Isolda’s eighteenth birthday followers of Yseult, from all over Generica, gathered on the sacred ground of the Iceclaw Glacier far to the north of the Coldflow Sea. There the goddess Yseult appeared before her followers and proclaimed Isolde as her adopted daughter and gave her the title of Winter Wytch.

The following winter  Isolda returned to the land of the Grey Seal tribe at the head of an army, of Frost giants and Ice Trolls, and slaughtered her grandfather, mother and other relatives and proclaimed herself queen of the Grey Seals and renaming the tribe the Eisvolk (ice people). Isolda’s revenge was not yet done however and her father’s people were next to feel the biting cold of the Winter Wytch’s wrath. The elves were massacred in their forest home and their souls trapped there for eternity as punishment.

That was over 300 years ago and the Winter Wytch lives still. Her domain is a land of constant winter. The highlands of her southern border are home to packs of winter wargs and bands of Ice trolls. Along the coastline to the north live her human barbarian followers totally devoted to their queen. To the east is the great lone mountain named Ice Fang where Jarl Olaf Frostbeard rules the largest tribe of Frost giants in all Generica. Her western border is home to the Frigid Forest a permanently snow covered land haunted by the undead elves that were her distant kin.

Time has changed Isolda physically to. where once there was an attractive half eleven girl now there is a creature more ice than flesh and larger than any human. The Winter Wytch sends here followers our every winter to raid and conqueror the neighbouring realms but just like her goddess mother her conquests are only ever temporary and melt away with the coming of spring to the north.

Finally though It appears the Winter Wytch has discovered a powerful artefact they will allow her to bring about permeant winter to Generica. Isolda will do anything to possess this artefact and it’s power even if it means bring war down on the whole of the north Generica.

That’s it for now I’m working on a part two that will explain how the Grand Duchy of the Black Wolf and the armies of the Winter Wytch end up coming to blows next.

Nordburg Knights

Next unit up for the army of the grand duchy are the Nordburg heavy cavalry. Made up of Noble knights with feudal obligations and men-at-arms who are non noble paid soldiers. The heavy cavalry are the grand duchy’s elite soldiers and the battle winners. Like the militia the heavy cavalry provide their own equipment so can vary in appearance they also tend to create their own livery using the colours of their barony.

These guys are a mixture of Fireforge and Conquest games knights which I think fit pretty well together. The parts from both sets are pretty interchangeable even the heads use the same fixing method which gives more options for modelling.


One final picture of the whole Nordburg contingent under their baron. next up is painting up the Grand Duke’s guards both foot and mounted.