Wednesday, 28 August 2013

XXXI. Noise. Horns. Underworld.

I'm back and it's time to present the newest set of minis I'll be making. There were originally two ideas I had to choose between, both involving grotesque creatures that emerged from underneath the earth:


Stray branch of humankind. Deformed inbred creeps who normally live deep in subterranean caves and have no dealings with the world above the ground. However, for some reason they have now emerged from the darkness and started attacking their Homo sapiens relatives. Their leader is the huge levitating Mother, the one they all descended from. 

The main inspiration for the concept were the Wendol from The 13th Warrior / Eaters of the Dead. And possibly ants, a bit.

The faction would consist mainly of a horde of misshapen Troglodytes (The Hobbit Goblin Warriors are perfect for the role; no converting needed and you get close to 20 in a box), perhaps a shaman of some kind, and the Mother- a scratchbuilt monstrosity in the image of the most famous piece of Paleolithic art: the Venus of Willendorf. 


The heathen ancestors who emerged from the underworld in these terrible times to drag their descendants back down with them. Flocks of beast-headed revenants hung with big noisy bells, led by the Four Horse-men of Hades.

Their design based on figures from Croatian traditional carnivals (note that very similar costumes appear all across Europe which almost certainly means they are related), the faction would include a number of beast-headed bell-ringing footsoldiers, Grandfather and Grandmother, a hobby horse, possibly a devil and a bear with handler...
Most of the characters can be made from a box of Nurgle Plaguebearers. And I already have Confrontation Scavengers of Acheron for the remaining three Horse-men.  

I decided to go with option #2 because it seems more interesting- it involves a lot of design and sculpting. That doesn't mean the troglodytes won't get made. They'll just have to wait for their turn.

*  *  *

So, having made up my mind I proceeded to make my first footsoldier revenant. 


Zvončari, nap'hanci, buše, didi... the inspiration came from them. Ever since I first saw them as a little girl, I've been fascinated by the horrific carnival bell-ringers. They are groups of men, their faces typically covered with grotesque horned masks and their torsos with fleece or animal pelts, who wear large bells hung from their bodies. In their hands they usually carry clubs, sticks or similar instruments. They move as a scary noisy horde, sometimes chasing innocent bystanders around and smearing their faces with char or throwing them into deep snow.

Nap'hanci as a museum exhibit.

Nap'hanci in their "natural habitat", accompanied by a crude hobby horse.
According to scholars the bell ringers are of dual nature. On one hand they are seen as ancestoral figures, which is supported by some of their names, the fact they are accompanied by grandfather and grandmother figures, as well as their terrifying appearance and behavior which points to apotropaeic magic. 

Nap'hanec with a pitchfork.

On the other hand, their acts, such as hitting people with ash-filled stockings, dances and songs for better crops, clubs they wield (phalic symbol, possibly) and obscene jokes performed by characters which accompany them all point to a form of fertility magic.

Zvončar, his face revealed. In his right hand he's holding his headgear and in the left an ash-filled stocking. Around 1930.
Zvončar's back; note the bigass bells. Around 1930.
I actually found etnographic footage of zvončari from 1931:



I've shown a bit of this months ago, actually:

What I wanted to do here was make the creatures the traditional costumes represent come to life. I want them to look rotten since they are a sort of undead. The word nap'hanec actually means something like swolen/bloated/blown up one, and the clothing of that costume is filled up with straw. It's pretty cool then that the Plaguebearer sculpts have that bloated belly and weird bulges all over the place. 

The different types of scary headgear are to be translated into actual scary heads.  One or more bells of some sort is a must. The weapons are be clubs, scythes, sickles, pitchforks. Details such as parts of their skulls visible, ropes and sacks will appear throughout the faction (they can be found on first Horse-man as well). As for the paintjob I intend to have them in different shades of sickly green and grey/off white, with black fur. 


And finally, after all this rambling, the actual miniature. The fellow is still a WIP, but you can get the idea. Apart from the horns, which come from Goblin King's sceptre, I sculpted the entire head myself. The weapon is from Skaven Clanrat sprue. 

If this was Warhammer, he would make a fine Pestigor. Do they even exist anymore these days?


  1. Very interesting and original concept! Is this going to be a new crew or just a new sub-group for your existing crew?

    1. Thanks! They are a new crew/faction. They are monsters who attack vilages, or are encountered by the Countess and the Doctor in the wilderness.

  2. Very cool. It will be interesting to see this faction develop. Question: Is the head supposed to be a mask, or is it part of the creature's body?

    1. Thank you Gary! It's the creature's actual head, not a mask.

  3. Awesome stuff! Love the inspiration and the miniature came out great, too. Particularly like the long neck and the nails in the head :)

    Can't wait to see more of this gang.

    1. Yes, the nails are an excellent detail, forgot to mention that. Were they also sculpted or did you use pins or something like that?

    2. They're pins. I love pins, useful for lots of things: great nails, essential for building houses, also good for tiny mushrooms (as you'll see pretty soon).

  4. I love what you have done and the unique inspiration.

  5. That is perfectly terrifying.

  6. Interesting ideas, that figure would fit in very well with Nurgle forces...


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