Monday, October 17, 2016

Building a Better: Tomb Herald

Ever since I started collecting Tomb Kings back in 2011 I have wanted to make a Herald on a chariot model, being particularly inspired by the old special character Nekaph. Now, five years later and with that unit not even having rules in Age of Sigmar anymore, I have finally gotten around to building it.

With a break between painting projects I decided now was a good time to flex my sculpting and converting muscles and finally take a crack at my herald on chariot model. There was one Tomb Guard body from the Warsphinx kit that I knew I wanted to use. In fact, it's pose was one of the main things that inspired me back in 2011. It looks like it would be in the perfect pose to be gripping the chariot rail and raising its weapon above its head. There wasn't much conversion work on the body. All I had to do was cut his right arm a bit to reposition it pointing down more. The head is also from the Warsphinx kit, with the beard coming from the champion's head from the Necropolis Knights kit. I also cut the tassels hanging from his headdress to have them facing the other direction to make sense with the fact that he would be moving forward.

Another inspiration for this project was an illustration of a Tomb Herald from the 8th Edition Army Book. He had a scale half cloak thing and I really like the look of important it gave him. I had previously sculpted a cape onto a Space Marine for a commission so I had a little bit of practice with it. I wanted it to be blowing back since he would be in a chariot. I used a piece of white poster tac to prop up the greenstuff sheet while it dried and hold its shape. This is a really good technique for sculpting any type of cloth that sits away from the body. Luckily I didn't have to worry too much about the texture of the greenstuff cloth since I would be covering it with scale mail.

I did the scales in chunks. I sculpted about three to four rows at a time then would let it cure fully before going back the next day. All I did was lay down a strip of greenstuff on top of the cloth then cut lines in it where each scale would be. I then formed the bottom of each one into a point to match the scales that Tomb Guard already have on them. It wasn't particularly hard, but takes a bit of time and patience. The hardest thing is making sure you don't accidentally crush the scales you've already done with your fingers while doing the next row, hence why I only did about three or four rows at a time. It took me about a week's worth of evenings to get the whole thing done, but I am really happy with how it came out.

Next I started on the chariot. I knew it had to be fancier then a standard chariot, but didn't want it to rival Pharakh's since his should be the fanciest. I was inspired by a picture from the End Times: Nagash book. In one of the army composition pages where there are a bunch of little illustrations there was a king on a chariot who had a cool design on the chariot body. Mine doesn't really look like that one, but it follows some of the same ideas. I decided to use one of the chariot front plates, but change it up a bit. I carved off the big central skull and instead sculpted a lower jaw and rib cage from the top skull. I also put a strip of greenstuff down the side at this point with the intention of doing some little skulls along it.

Which is exactly what I did. After sculpting a ton of skull icons for Pharakh I pretty much have the formula down, so these went by quickly. I still had a ton of empty space on the side though to deal with. I didn't have a real concrete plan going into sculpting this part, but after a bit of experimentation I decided to do a Necropolis Knight snake. This actually worked out really well, since the snake's curving body and cobra hood fill up the space perfectly. Being Tomb Kings this of course had to be a skeleton snake. I'm really happy with how this design came out and am really looking forward to painting it. So much gold forthcoming.

I then had to duplicate it on the other side. I waited for everything to dry so I wouldn't crush anything with my fingers. It's always hard getting a design like this to be symmetrical on both sides, but I think I came pretty close. I also added a bunch of little decretive skulls up near the rib cage on the front to take up more space. These will probably get painted like gems just like the skulls down the sides will be.

Now it was time to test fit everything so far. You can see I sculpted a skull on his left vambrace. I did this to match one he already had on his right vambrace. I also added scythes to the wheels. This is something the Settra model comes with, but I opted not to use when I converted mine for Pharakh. This was primarily due to ranking up issues back in 8th Ed, but not that it's no longer an issue I figured I would give it a go. The blades were originally too long, so I cut out a section in the middle of them to shorten them a bit. Luckily everything still lined up after doing this. The banner is from a few different kits. I knew I wanted a banner, but didn't want it to be the same as the banner that my Herald on foot has or be as plain as a normal unit banner. I had seen Alexander Nygård do something similar and liked how it looked. The banner top is actually the bladed tail from the Warsphinx kit cut down a bit. I had given my Necrosphinx the scorpion tail, so had this bit extra. The pole is from the spear hafts from the Warsphinx's Tomb Guard since I like the distinctive segmented look the newer Tomb Kings poles have. The bit of cloth is from the chariot's banner pole. I wanted to make sure there was something that denoted direction on it.

Once I was happy with the positioning of the Herald it was time to sculpt the hand. I had decided to add reins on this, just like on Pharakh, but still wanted the Herald to be gripping the chariot rail. To make it all work I decided that he would be holding the reins against the rail. The reins them selves are just made out of thin strips of plasticard. I cut these to length and wrapped one end around the yoke, and the glued the other ends to the rail. I then made a little loop of plasticard to be the end of the reins and drooped those over the back of the rail inside of the chariot. 

To actually sculpt the hand was a bit of a challenge, especially since it is a skeleton hand. First I made the basic shape of the hand, then I started cutting the bone shapes into it. I ended up making the hand progressively smaller as I went, but I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I sculpted a bit of bandages over where the wrist is to try and his the join between the Herald and the hand. The Herald will be painted seperately from the chariot while the hand is sculpted onto the chariot, so the two aren't actually glued together yet. The true test will be how good it looks once everything is painted. You can also see his weapon here, a spear. Originally I was going to make a flail of skulls, but the angle of the wrist was a bit odd for that. I also don't have the parts on hand for that. I thought having him look like he was about to chuck this spear fit more with the idea of ancient heroes too. Historically spears were used a lot, and would have been used even by heroes like this. I feel it also works well with him gripping the rail since it looks like he is shifting his weight getting ready to throw it. I might still switch it out for a flail before I paint it, but probably not. I'm going to paint the spear suitably fancy with marble and gold and maybe a bit of freehand.

When it came to the horses I didn't want to do a ton of converting. I played with the idea of giving them scale mail like the herald, but I want him to sit somewhere between how fancy my king is and my standard chariots. Instead I decided to insert a hieroglyph plate into their heads. This is something I got from a bit of artwork in the 8th Ed Army Book, it's also similar to something I did on the side of my constructs pulling Pharakh's chariot, so I had a bit of an idea on what to do. I got the hieroglyph plate from a Tomb Guard's sword.

This was extremely fiddly. You can see the plate in the middle of this picture, it's very, very tiny. I then took a Dremmel and cut out a hole in the horses head for it, then carefully glued it in place. After this was done I decided to put a bit of greenstuff around it just to tidy up the edges.

The last thing I did was add a bit more cloth to the banner. I got these from a spare Tomb Guard banner that I had already cut up for something else.

That was it! I glued the horses to the base, which requires a bit of pinning, and then test fit everything together with white poster tac. You can also see that I added a little decretive element to the skull on the front of the yoke. This is a spare bit form the Necrosphinx kit.

I'm really happy with how it all came out and am definitely looking forward to painting him. At the moment I am working on a small commission and my Necrosphinx, but the Herald will be next after that.

The model will be painted in three parts. The Herald himself, the chariot, and the horses along with the base. I'm not sure yet on what order I will do this in.

Here you can see a close up on the hand again. You can also see where I extended the beard on him a bit so it looks like it is attached to his jaw with a bit of metal. This will most likely be painted gold. I also added a little skull clasp to where the reins attach to the yoke.

This guy makes me want to paint even more of my chariots for Adepticon, but they take quite awhile to paint, so we'll see if that actually happens. Between the Necrosphinx and the Herald I may not have a whole lot of painting time left before Adepticon.

In game I will use him as a Tomb King on Royal Chariot, but in friendly games I also have a set of rules I made for him.

These will be included in the unofficial Tomb Kings Battletome I am working on, along with rules for other units that were dropped in AoS like the Hierotitan and the Khemric Titan. I released a version of this earlier on Twitter and Facebook, but have since refined them with the help of the team I put together for the Battletome. A lot of the credit goes to Thomas Lyons of Warhammer Weekly fame for helping me refine it. As you can see I included both the option for a spear or a flail since I couldn't decide how I wanted to arm my own model.

It will probably be awhile before I get around to painting him since the Necrosphinx is such a large model and that's what I'm currently working on, but I'll have a post up here for the finished model as well once it's done.

Be sure to watch the video below for a 360 degree video of the model. The music is once again provided by Adam Harvey, you can follow him on his Facebook page and listen to some more of his music on his Youtube channel.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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