Wednesday, 8 March 2017

CXIX. The Cult of Vvolos: Iulia Docta-Sophosse

We got to the warband's leader, the necromancer Iulia Docta-Sophosse herself.

Iulia Docta-Sophosse and Ikorid the Apprentice.
When designing the look of Iulia, I wanted her and Ikorid to share certain visual cues. They are a wizard and her apprentice, and the idea was that this relationship should be immediately apparent. I went with robed figures for both, but the wizard needed to look more impressive. That's why she has bigger, branchier horns and more clutter on her staff. She also happens to be physically larger. The robes are both yellow, but the wizard's has a patterned trim. The same pattern can be seen on the rondel hanging from Ikorid's horn - it's present but much less prominent. I toyed with the idea to give Ikorid a small book but I found there was not enough space for it on the miniature. Adding it would actually take away from its effectiveness. Therefore I decided it was better to leave it out.

Iulia is a humpbacked hag of unknown age. In the hierarchy of the Cult she does not rank too high. Her band of undead minions is small and her House not very influential. However, she harbours an ambition become a member of the council that rules the kingdom. Vvolos demands gold and souls as sacrifice. Like many other necromancers, Iulia sets off on expeditions of looting and raiding to procure what her daemonic patron wants. But she also seeks knowledge for herself, and prestige and wealth that come with success.
Iulia hopes her expeditions will help her advance through the ranks of the Cult of Vvolos, all the way to the top. Her apprentice seems to be plotting something. Nothing out of the ordinary in that society; it does not worry her. But it might soon be time to get rid of him and find a fresh one again... 
The open spell-tome offered chance for freehand, even though it ended up partially obscured by the antlers. I put a devil on one page and illuminated text on the other.
Since I started from a metal Lord Skrolk, I had a lot of cutting and filing to do. The rat face, feet and tail had to go. I also got rid of the censer from the staff and a few minor details here and there. 
When I got rid of all the unwanted metal I had to resculpt some things. Since it was mostly robes I could do most of it with Milliput. I put a plastic bell where the censer used to be.
Finally, I added Blightking antlers on the head and then coated the whole figure with watered-down liquid green stuff to even out the texture.

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I'm a big fan of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles. Just last week I finished writing a paper about it for one of my classes. Researching and writing about it made me appreciate the novel even more, but it was a pretty stressful process. I decided to celebrate its completion with a quick and relaxed paintjob inspired by the book.

"A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame. Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog." 
 (The Hound of the Baskervilles by A.C. Doyle, Chapter 14)

This is Bargest. He is a large, black, reanimated dog; a fitting pet for a necromancer. To make the beast even more frightening, Iulia treats its mouth and eyes with a luminous preparation of phosphorus that gives it the appearance of a phantom hell hound. The model is a Canine Remains from first edition era of Malifaux. No converting was needed. I simulated a phosphorescent substance on his eyes and mouth. I hope the effect is at least somewhat visible in these photos.
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I'm coming quite close to completing this warband. Since I intend to use it for a future Frostgrave campaign I'm making more models than necessary to start, so that I can have later hires ready for use when the time comes to expand. This is the starting warband I have in mind:

  • Wizard (Summoner)
  • Apprentice
  • 3 Thugs
  • 2 Archers
  • Man at Arms
  • Crossbowman
  • Hound
  • + an Imp and a Minor Demon because my Wizard can summon them with spells.

What I have so far are the Wizard (Iulia), Apprentice (Ikorid), the Archers (Albrecht and Ieronymus), Man at Arms (Kettelhelm), Crossbowman (Wilhelm), Hound (Bargest) and a summonable Imp (Okko). I just need another demon and three lowly Thugs to have my starting 10 crewmen + 2 summonables.
As you've seen I already have a Knight, Templar and Barbarian for later in the campaign. I'm planning to add a couple more characters to that at some point.

For the roles of Thugs I'll cast a trio of low-ranking cultists of Vvolos. Skaven Plague Monks will do great as conversion material. I found them on ebay for a really affordable price and they arrived recently. They are currently waiting for their turn under the knife and green stuff in the company of a future Ranger.
The warband's background and the setting are gradually getting fleshed out as I go along. I'm revealing bit by bit as things fall into place in my head. I'll probably go back later and write it as a short text for the warband's own page on the blog.


  1. Great looking converts. Big bravo!

  2. I love that you used the illustration from the Devil's Bible.

  3. Fantastic job!, when a picture of the hole warband?... Also, I would really like to know how you did the forest background.

    1. Thanks! I'll make a group photo when I'll have the whole starting warband. At this point I'm only three models away from meeting that goal, so probably soon.

      Since I've been asked about the background a lot I'll write a short article about how I made it. Stay tuned.

  4. sweet! i really want to see more, are there any larger scale, greater daemons planned

    1. Thanks! No Greater Daemons. I'll need a Major Demon further down the road for possible summoning, but it won't be that huge. If you're interested in a bit larger creatures I have plans for a giant and a couple trolls. I'll need them as monsters for scenarios.

  5. I really like how you've re-purposed the Skaven warlock. I did likewise for my Chaos INQ28 warband's leader.

    The hound is so cool too - the subtle fae-fire in it's eyes and mouth are just right.

    1. Thanks!

      Skrolk can be relatively simply be de-ratted. Good conversion potential on that one. Do you have photos of yours somewhere? I'd like to see how you did it.

    2. Sure, it's no-where nearly as lovely as yours, but I was happy with him at the time. (Didn't realise I'd completed him over 5 years ago though! O_o)

  6. You have brought me on an idea! I have a spare skaven plague priest from the screaming bell, but without the head. And i would like to use a necromancer for silver tower but i have no model. Now I know what to do with the plague priest, maybe he will get a flagellants head!

  7. Sweet conversion, Ana. The freehand on the book is outstanding.

  8. Really wonderful work. Freehand on the book is indeed outstanding as Finch said.

  9. Brilliant conversions and painting. Great stuff.