Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Jon's Tomb Kings of the Woods

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the Tomb Kings, but what I'm an even bigger fan of are cool Tomb Kings counts as armies and conversions. Jon has absolutely nailed that here with his Tomb Kings army using Sylvaneth rules. Every unit is a characterful conversion and the overall effect is amazing.

Without further ado, here's Jon to talk about his army himself!

Tyler: What first drew you to the idea of doing a Tomb King army but using another army’s rules?

Jon: First of all, their amazing aesthetic. I have a soft spot for Egypt and its mythology, so any chance I have to enjoy it, I’ll take it. Also, being able to access a variety of rules with the same models. I suspected that after the end of The World that Was, the Tomb Kings might not be updated in the same way as other armies. So, I wanted to have the opportunity to play with TK, while still having access to the rules of a new and more updated army. That’s why, at the beginning, the big models were magnetised to their bases so I could change them from, for example, being a Treelord to a Bone Giant, or from Alarielle to Lady Olynder. Two models for the price of one, more or less.

Tyler: Do you have a history with the Tomb Kings before this?

Jon: Oh, yes. I still remember how yellow that 6th edition battletome looked in the Warhammer shop. As I mentioned, I really like the aesthetic, so add some skeletons and mummies I can play with and you have a big win. However, I don’t have that much experience playing with them. When I started collecting I couldn’t afford to buy a lot of things as I was still in my teens. I did stare at the amazing pictures for hours, thinking what I would do if I had those miniatures and reading through the lore. In time, I was able to afford more models and play some games, but that was also when I took some time off the hobby.

Tyler: Were the Sylvaneth always your first choice or did you go through several ideas?

Jon: When I think of a project like this, I either start from a general concept or idea and then I find an army that allows me to adapt it; or I look into what I like from an army and try to make it my own. With Sylvaneth it was their play style and what their range of miniatures could allow me to achieve.

Originally, my first choice was Warriors of Chaos back in Warhammer Fantasy. I had been out of the hobby for a couple of years, just looking at what was going on from time to time and getting my favourite army books, so I decided to get back into it during the End Times. My initial concept was a Lord of Change that was controlling a Tomb King army, twisting them to Tzeentch's image. That concept persisted when I got into Age of Sigmar, this time with Disciples of Tzeentch. I thought it made the most sense as they already have that Egyptian style with the new Acolytes, for example. However, because I’m a hobby butterfly, that quickly shifted to Sylvaneth due to Alarielle and after a few hiccups -almost being Hedonites of Slaanesh-, that’s where it stayed.

Tyler: How did you decide which units to use as what?

Jon: Most of the time, when I look at any miniature there is a voice in my head that gives me ideas to turn it into something Tomb Kings-like. Sometimes is looking at how certain bits could be used, other times is about how a model already has an interestingly enough aesthetic.

For the Sylvaneth, it was a mix of trying to respect the original concept while being true to my vision. The treelords were an easy choice as they made sense as some type of colossus, particularly because I was using my old Lord of Change conversion. Then, the infantry allowed me to combine both armies in a more explicit way. Narratively, Spite Revenants and Tree Revenants are the broken remains of soldiers that have been given a body of ‘heka stone’, with the former coming back full of rage.

The Dryads were a problem. The first concept was using skeleton warriors covered in sand with Dryad arms to create some kind of Sand Wraiths. It wasn’t a great success. I believe that if I had used bicarbonate of soda, they might have looked better, instead of some weird shaped croquettes. I will have to try again in the future, maybe mixing some Nighthaunt. For the time being, it’s regular Dryads with some palm leaves from an old GW kit to make them feel as if they were from the desert. Boring, I know, but they are mostly summoning units and cannon fodder so they don’t tend to last long on the board. However, both Branchwraiths are inspired by Apophas’ artwork. One of them is actually Apophas, while the other one is a spectre made of sand with some Isharann Tidecaster parts.

Another model made with lots of sand is my Treelord Ancient. It gets some inspiration from Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy, though taking advantage of the amazing Eidolon of Mathlann to create the image of a flying statue followed by a wave of sand. Not the easiest thing to transport, but I think it has a striking silhouette that makes sense.

Finally, we have Settrek the Imperishable Wrath. Why, I hear you ask. Why not? It was a fun experiment to challenge myself and to see how other Warhammer races could adapt the Tomb King aesthetic.

Tyler: Your Tomb Queen is particularly inspired. Can you tell us a bit about how you made that, from conception to being finished?

Jon: Thank you, I’m really proud of how she turned up. When I first saw Alarielle I fell in love with that model and I said to myself that I was going to turn her into a Tomb Queen. So, my first option was to convert the original model, adding new things, instead of using Lady Olynder. However, as I had to move houses twice and other life commitments, it took me quite a while to start working on her. By the time I was settled and with enough time, a new lady had come to town.

The Nigthaunt range is brilliant at making you believe that they are ethereal flying blankets ready to take your soul and none other represents that better than Lady Olynder. Her pose was the first thing that made me want to work on that model. She has a very regal presence and I thought it was perfect to represent what I was looking for. I already had the amour cut and ready to be used on the original Alarielle, I just needed to find a head for her. My first choice was inspired by the amazing Khalida conversion by Will Hahn and I was going to use a Dark Elf Sorceress’ head. I thought that the contrast between her body language and a face full of expression could work really well. An ethereal figure eternally cursed to scream in rage. However, I then remember the Isharann Tidecaster. Her face was so peaceful, perfect to represent a death mask, so I ended up choosing her. The headpiece was also great to add some Melusai snakes as a crown. Finally, I used Lady Olynder’s headpiece to be part of the armour as it made her feel more TK while having a unique style.

The massive sphinx she is riding is the way it is due to a series of (un)fortunate events. I first bought Alarielle when I was in Spain, cut some bits, built part of the scarab and then left it to one side as I realised it wouldn’t fit in my bag. So, I prepared it to be sent and when I finally got it I found out I didn’t pack the head. Yei. As I wasn’t sure where I had left that section of the model, and I wasn’t going back to Spain any time soon, I decided to improvise. If everything had gone according to plan, my idea was to modify the original head so it looked more like a scarabaeus. I think using the Necrosphinx makes it more of a character, rather than a pet or mount. I decided to use some spare claws so it had a different set of weapons to my Durthu and to tie it in to the headpiece it was wearing.

Tyler: Do you have any future plans for this army?

Jon: I’ve completed a second Durthu and I will be repainting some of the earlier models as I feel I’ve improved since I first started with this project. I have some ideas for future models but I’m also waiting to see what awaits the Sylvaneth on Broken Realms. It’s one of those armies that would really benefit from some changes. Additionally, there is another army that allows you to include Sylvaneth units as part of their faction: Cities of Sigmar Settra.

CoS has loads of models and it definitely gives you that freedom to do whatever you want and set your own narrative. I like the idea of human soldiers being led by mummy overlords, with both infantry and chariots but also heka-stone constructs and even bone made warmachines. Furthermore, thanks to Glutos Orscollion, now Settra could have access to a big enough chariot to carry his entire list of titles. Well, maybe not all of them.

Another ‘TK meets another army’ was with Kharadron Overlords but I wasn’t very happy with the paint job, so I might change a few things and try to have another go. The best thing is that they could still be part of CoS, which makes me feel that no model is truly lost.

Tyler: Any plans for other cool concept armies like this?

Jon: Unfortunately, too many. I had to decide not to go ahead with an Ind inspired Seraphon with living gold idols as Slaan and Mumak of Harad as Dread Saurians, or I wouldn’t have time for all the others. At the moment, I’m working on a small project of Folk horror Lumineth Realm Lords that takes some inspiration from the Basque mythology, which I was a big fan of when I was in school. So, basically, spooky Lumineth that have been sent to Shyish to battle Nagash but they got lost in a strange forest where time flows differently and they have made some pacts with local creatures so they could survive.

The other big thing I’m working on is a weird angels/biblical angels inspired Host Arcanum. I blame Super Smash Bros’ video where they introduced Sephiroth, particularly his god form, and Bayonetta. Archaon is inspired by Safer Sephiroth, though with a different looking head as Sigvald’s wasn’t big enough, and Kairos by the Ophanim.

I really like to build low count armies because it allows me to move from one project to another quite fast; I enjoy converting and coming up with my own narrative more than painting. When in doubt, go for an Order faction, build 1500 points of big things and then add Gotrek!

Tyler: Any final thoughts?

Jon: Settra does not serve and everything must be turned into Tomb Kings. If you are thinking about starting doing some conversions or kit bashing, remember, even a ‘simple’ head swap can look amazing. One step at a time and as much as you feel comfortable with. Also, allow yourself to make happy little accidents that you can learn from.

If you want to follow me for Warhammer only content you can do so on Instagram @Izotzuhure.warhammer. If you don't mind what I'm talking about, you can find me on twitter @Izotzuhure.

A big thank you again to Jon for taking the time to share his army and talk a bit about what went into it. I highly recommend checking out his Twitter and Instagram for even more crazy army ideas, like his awesome Sons of Behemat army pictured above.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

No comments:

Post a Comment