Nordburg Militia

First unit for the new army are the Nordburg militia. These aren’t professional soldiers but the local towns folk called up to defend their homeland every man provides their own equipment which gives them a ragtag look and rather dated look. Training is pretty basic meaning they can’t do much beyond form a shieldwall mob and hold ground but when defending their homes and families they can be tenacious fighters. It is normal for one of the baron’s knights to officer the militia in battle.

The majority of this unit is built from Northstar’s Frostgrave soldiers which I thought were perfect for a winter themed army. There are a few spare Wargames factory Vikings and even a spare red box figure in the mix while the officer is a Fireforge Teutonic knight. There are also allsorts of spares from my bits box for heads, weapons and shields.



Jorn Baron of Nordburg

Here we have another (and at the moment last) character for the army Jorn Baron of Nordburg. Jorn is a hard bitten warrior whose barony takes the brunt of the raids and attacks mounted by the northern barbarians, orcs and worse on the grand duchy. I’ve mounted him on his base with one of his loyal Nordburg militia pointing out the direction of the enemy.

Jorn is a another Fireforge knight this time with no conversions. The militia man is a Frostgrave soldier converted to hold a standard and with a head from the Conquest games Norman infantry set. Both are painted in the Nordburg red and white livery. One slight issue is that in my haste to finish this one off I stuck the flag on upside down it should be red at the top …ho hum



Ruztan Flamestaff

Here we have Ruztan Flamestaff court wizard to the grand duke and headmaster of the Wolfsburg College of Mages. Ruztan specializes in fire magic and dresses accordingly. Despite his advancing age his mind is as sharp as a razor as is his tongue.

I wanted to represent Ruztan in battle carried aloft on a magical pillar of flame. The pillar of flame was scratch built out of pink foam, green stuff and cotton wool. I’m not sure if it quite worked out how I had imagined it would but it works I think. Ruztan is an old Ral Partha miniature there are a lot of nice miniatures hidden around the Ral Partha Europe website.




Udolf Baron of Wolfsburg

Next up for my army characters Udolf, Duke Adelhelm’s eldest son, baron of Wolfsburg. This is another Fireforge knight with a GW head, on an unknown metal horse from my bits box, the two wolfhounds are from warlord games

Udolf is young, handsome and vain who prefers to spend his time hunting (both animals and damsels), drinking and fighting to the more boring pursuits of ruling a barony. Udolf is an excellent swordsmen and popular with his soldiers as he likes to be in the thick of the fighting.  Udolf is seen here with his favourite hunting dogs Odo and Ulu who accompany him everywhere even into battle.


The Grand Duke Adelhelm

So the first miniatures up for my new army are the character models I actually painted these guys up before Christmas when I hit a 20mm ancients painters block. I should point out something I’ve always fancied trying out was a winter themed army so I thought I’d have a go hence this whole army is going to have snow bases. First up the Grand Duke Adelhelm. Both miniatures are Fireforge Templars but Adelhelm has a games workshop wolf cloak and plastic head.

Duke  Adelhelm is not a young man but he still leads his army and fights to protect his people. Adelhelm welds a magic blade called Zerstörer according to legend the first grand duke was lead to the location of the blade by a forest spirit during the war against the orcs during the creation of the grand duchy. Accompanying the Grand duke is a bodyguard holding his banner.




The Grand Duchy of the Black Wolf

The first army I’m working on for my fantasy project is the Grand Duchy of the Black Wolf a rather generic human army with a medieval culture based in the north of the Border Kingdoms region of Generica. I find it always helps me if I come up with a bit of background for fantasy/imagi-nation armies I’m painting so here it is.


The History of the Grand Duchy begins in the far south during one of the Kingdom of Armorica’s many dynastic civil wars. Duke Bergnar had backed the wrong claimant to the throne, and as the civil war neared it’s end, his enemies closed in on his lands. Realizing that to stand and fight meant certain death the Duke gathered up his people and fled north into the border kingdoms in search of a new home.

For two years the duke and his followers slowly moved north. The southern Border Kingdoms had no desire to make an enemy of the new king of Armorica while other realms had no desire to allow a powerful Armorican warlord and his warriors to enter their lands. So the duke and his followers were moved on again and again, sometimes in peace, sometimes with armed aggression. Their numbers where slowly whittled away (including the dukes own wife) until the ragtag band of Armorican refugees entered the lands of the Nordvolk Black Wolf tribe.

The Black Wolf tribe had problems of their own. Their lands had been invaded by an orc horde months before and despite ferocious resistance, by the Nordvolk, they had been pushed back with heavy loses to the far south of their lands. Their chieftain had been killed in battle and his daughter, the princess Brunhild, was preparing her people for a  futile last stand when the Amoricans arrived.

The two desperate groups realised their was no gain in fighting each other. Instead Brunhild offered the Duke land for him and his followers in return for aid against the orcs. The Duke gratefully accepted.  The war that followed is the basis for many a folktale, legend and bard song in the Grand Duchy today. The arrival of the Armoricans turned the tide of the war their heavy cavalry and powerful crossbows giving the humans the edge against the orcs. Legends say that in the final battle Duke Bergnar and Princess Brunhild fought back to back atop a mound of Orcish dead and it was there they fell in love.

With the war over the Duke and the Princess united their two peoples by a marriage alliance and the lands of the Black wolf tribe became The Grand Duchy of the Black Wolf. Over time the two human groups became intermingled to the point where every family can point to Amorican and Nordvolk ancestors and the duchy’s culture is a unique mix of southern and northern.

The Military of the Grand Duchy

At it’s creation the Amoricans brought southern feudalism to the Duchy and this is the mainstay of the Duchy’s army. The Duke set up five Baronies each one based around a fortified town and surrounding land. These where named in the Nordvolk language






The baron of each of these towns had to provide 25% of his taxes to the Duke and supply a military force for the defence of his barony and the grand duchy. The barony of Wolfsburg is unusual as the baron of Wolfsburg is the chosen heir to the grand duke.

Under Duchy law each Baron must provide one hundred armoured heavy cavalry around 30-50% are minor nobles, called knights, given land in the barony in return for military service and the remainder are up made of mercenaries or the barons personal retinue of family and hangers on. Each heavy cavalry man is, by law, supposed to have two good horses, a mail coat, helmet, lance, shield and sword. though many carry other personal weaponry or add additional armour or even horse barding depend on their wealth.

The Baron is also responsible for providing five hundred “trained” infantry equipment is set down in law as padded/leather armour, sword or long knife, helmet, spear and shield or crossbow. The percentage of crossbowmen to spearmen is left to each baron but 40% crossbow 60% spearmen is common. These infantry come from a variety of sources some are locally recruited men, others mercenaries and a significant number are often heredity career soldiers with sons following fathers into the barons service.

The final military force available to the baron is the militia every able body man in the barons land is eligible, by law, to serve in the militia. The Barons tend to avoid calling out the militia except in emergencies as they are usually poorly equipped, poorly trained and not very enthusiastic. Some baronies militia are better than others those of Nordburg on the wild northern frontier find themselves frequently being called upon to help fight off Nordvolk barbarians, orcs and worse. While the militia of the grand duchies capital  Wolfsburg are known for being well trained and equipped. Militia equipment is set down as a spear, knife and shield or knife and crossbow to be provided by the baron. In reality the militia turn out in a ragtag of personal equipment ranging from metal armour, helmets, swords and polearms to clubs and hunting spears depending on the wealth of the individual militia man.

The second force available to the duke are the freemen.  When the Grand Duchy was formed many of the original Black Wolf barbarians had no desire to move to the new towns or become feudal vassals as such under the guidance of Brunhild the Duke created the Ducal free lands a large area of land between the baronies that was to be left as wilderness for those of his subjects who wished to carry on a more traditional lifestyle of logging, fishing and hunting.

The Duke though had no desire to allow these freemen to go untaxed so freemen are required to buy a ducal licence each year to fish, cut lumber or hunt. To enforce this and police the Ducal lands the duke created the Land Rangers. These are a paid force of around five hundred rangers, trackers and scouts based in small groups at fortified watch posts whose job it is to patrol the Ducal lands, rooting out bandits, checking on licences and enforcing the dukes laws among the many scattered homesteads, hamlets, coaching inns and logging camps.

The Land Rangers  other task is to summon and officer the freemen during wartime. This rural militia are have a number of uses as scouts, skirmishers and raiders well equipped with powerful hunting bows, spears and axes the freemen will often perform hit and run attacks on enemy supply lines, camps and patrols before melting back into the woods and wild land.

The final armed force in the Grand Duchy is the Ducal guard consisting of one hundred elite heavy cavalry and five hundred well trained infantry. Men from all over the Grand Duchy (and beyond) volunteer for service in the Ducal guard but only the best are accepted. They are well trained and full equipped in metal armour.

Over the years grand dukes have also been known to hire mercenaries from all over Generica during times of war these aren’t always human and are often specialists like dwarven sappers or elf hippogriff riders.

Finally no army in Generica can afford to ignore the arcane arts the grand duchy is no exception. During the reign of the third grand duke a College of Magic was created by the grand dukes court mage Kallen Thunderstaff.  The college still exists today with the grand dukes court mage also acting as the colleges head master. The college allows the grand duke to deploy a number of mages to support his armed forces.






Fantasy Gaming in Generica

I’ve always been a fantasy gamer. Not long after I discovered wargaming, I discovered D&D, and then I discovered early 80s Citadel Miniatures and I was hooked. I’m probably not alone if  I say my main fantasy influences are JRR Tolkien, early Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer. Given that, I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise, that I like my fantasy pretty main stream, derivative  and dare I say generic. I like my dwarfs to be grumpy and loyal, my Elves haughty and otherworldly and my orcs evil and smelly.

This year I really want to get back into a bit of Fantasy painting, modelling and maybe even some gaming. After some thought I’ve settled on two rule sets both are very sand boxy giving me the core rules with plenty of ways to customise my forces and let my imagination run riot.

First up is Songs of Blades and Heroes by Ganesha games that caters for skirmishes between small warbands and the other is Legions of Battle by Crusader publishing for fighting big battles. The first is a popular ruleset the second most people have probably never heard of.

I decided I needed a fantasy setting to set my gaming in so last Sunday afternoon I sketched out a map of my fantasy setting Generica.


Generica is so named because, well, its a generic fantasy world I doubt there will be anything new or original in Generica but expect plenty of ideas cribbed from Tolkien, D&D, the Warhammer Old World and maybe the odd bit of Conan and Cthulhu Mythos.

Right now Generica is a map and a few ideas floating around in my brain but its a starting place for me to flesh out and build armies to fight across. I already have my first two armies planned out in my head and hopefully I’ll post more on that soon.