AoS28 – The Dark Age of Sigmar – is going strong, and there have been so many great examples of dark fantasy miniatures submitted to the Facebook group, the TGA forum and on Twitter and Instagram that it is getting hard to keep track of them all.
But because the concept is still very new it is difficult to explain what makes a miniature suitable for AoS28. In the original post I described the three main characteristics (character, conversion and grimdark), but until more warbands are finished it is hard to show, rather than just tell what this looks like. However there are a few hobbyists that have been making dark fantasy miniatures for a while and I asked them to explain their approach to dark fantasy in general and the idea of AoS28 in the future.
Only a couple of these miniatures were created specifically for AoS28, a lot were created for The Silver Tower. But AoS28 is a style and I think that these miniatures show that style: they are all painted in different ways but they are all a bit darker than the models you see on the box. They are all converted, they all look like they have been personalised – removing bits you don’t like and adding other bits. And even though sometimes the paintwork is quite abstract, they look realistic to me, like real monsters rather than toys.
As I said in my article about Blanchitsu there is no one way to paint, no correct style or correct technique, but thinking outside of the box always has interesting results.
Individual character, dark and dangerous – portraying the underbelly of the Nine Realms whilst all the heroic big battles goes on all around – the scope of AOS as opposed to Mordheim is the joy of this – it’s so much more expansive and you can draw influences from a much more wider field than just what’s in the codicii. The downtrodden and pathetic – those malformed and racked with maladies that are cast out from cities and farmsteads – those with plague, scrofula, palsy, and the old hag’s curse – those that live in the shadows, forests and darkwalds living as bandits and cutthroats.
I wouldn’t wish people to get to hung up on the grimdark thing either – it’s just a shorthand way of saying not too overdone and gaudy but more realistic and characterful in that grimey medieval way. People always associate my work with the gothic but it would just leave me with half a palette – you got to inject a huge dash of the baroque as well – it’s not just austere and grim – it can be deliciously decorative, which works so well for vampires, Stormcasts or just about anything else really. The scope is wider than the Old World or Mordheim – and if I dare say it the scope is wider than Inq28 – maybe because this is new it just seems that way.
For me INQ28 or Blanchitsu (and now AoS28) if you will is more about expression freed from the boundaries that rules provide. It is about making miniatures and painting them free of all of the normal ‘rules’ for doing so. Funny then that these projects of mine are for AoS and WHQ right? Well you’re not wrong in thinking that but as you can see from my selection, and if you browse deeper in my blog is that the expression is grimdark, Realm of Chaosy, Blanchitsu if you will. Playing with and against these is dependent on all involved accepting the miniatures for what they represent. But all of that rule talk is boring! It is an endless discussion but these are my 5 Norwegian kroner for what it is worth in that matter.
My warband here is deeply inspired by the contents of Liber Chaotica Tzeentch. Several of my miniatures are based on the sketches in that very book and then drawn to life in tortured and strained flesh. In addition my projects tell of a hapless soul who strive to divine the true path of Change. Hurvald. He is represented in multiple places as that is him down one potential rabbit hole that has played out. Be it to spawndom or daemonhood. And that’s quite representative of my tzeentch ventures. An endless amount of possible rabbit holes to explore. So no, I am not done yet.
As for Age of Sigmar, well I love it! It has thrown all walls and boundaries away and breathed life into what was stale and boring! I cannot wait to see the canon develop along with new factions, as well as the fanmade stuff such as on DAoS. For me I’ll continue to explore facets of Change and see where that takes me. The newest WHQ looks very interesting to convert up in my style and I really like all of the new bird headed animals the stormcast has as well. Problem is.. Too many ideas, not enough time!
Helge Wilhelm Dahl
I’ve always been more interested in Sci-fi than fantasy. In my experience science fiction universes have a darker atmosphere than fantasy universes. Earlier I’ve always painted and converted miniatures for Warhammer 40k and Inq28. But when I converted and painted the miniatures from Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower, I realised that a fantasy world can be as dark and interesting as a Sci-Fi world. There are a lot of nice miniatures in the Silver Tower box, like the Gaunt Summoner and the Tzaangors. These miniatures didn’t need much converting before I liked them. But some of the models in the box look too cartoony for my taste.
The Grot Scuttlings are the worst miniatures in the box. I didn’t find a way to change them to my liking, so I had to swap the models for something else. I decided to make Human Scuttlings instead. The thought behind these characters was the same as the Grot Scuttlings; poor creatures being trapped in the Silver Tower for too long, until the powers of Tzeentch changed them into unrecognisable freaks. I used Skaven bodies and human heads from Empire and Bretania kits to make them. Another type of miniatures I decided to change was the Horrors. For blue horrors I decided to use the old metal Pink Horrors. I like the old versions a lot better than the new ones. I based the Pink Horrors on the ones from the box, changing their faces and swapping arms and tentacles to make them different from one another (the models you get in the box are duplicates).
I haven’t painted a model straight out of the box in a long time. I really enjoy converting models. And AoS28 makes it easier to make AoS models in my own style. I’m looking forward to explore the dark world of AoS28 by making new Warbands and Characters.
What I like most about the hobby is that it helps everyone to become an artist. You don’t have to be great at painting or sculpting to take part in it, because the groundwork is already done. You just have to be creative and let your imagination go crazy.
I love the art. I look at the artwork in the codices and art books and try capturing the essence of it in miniature form. With this warband for example, I looked a lot at the old Realm of Chaos Books, Ian Millers art and the 15th century painter Hieronymus Bosch (surreal, hellish and pathetic, which is what chaos is to me) and I wanted to bring that into AoS. I get tired quickly of working on large armies. Working on small warbands and individual characters, that’s where my heart is, the rewards for me is to convert and build minis, second is to paint them and third is to game with them, in that order.
When I build a miniature, most of the time I have a vision or idea of how I want it to look like, so I search my bits boxes for the bit that most resembles my vision. Posing is among the most important parts of a model in my opinion. A cool pose makes or breaks the mini for me, I love the oldhammer minis for that very reason, they are often understated and on the relaxed end of the spectrum. I generally prefer calm, or striding poses that show character rather than action filled, mid swing ones, it leaves room for me to imagine what that mighty swing would look like, It always looks cooler in my head.
I often try on maybe ten to twenty different heads on a miniature before I settle on a particular one. I put the arms in different poses as well, just in case I stumble on to something that might inspire me further. When I can’t find the bit I want for a certain project, I sculpt it, I don’t use any third party bits, I would rather try to sculpt it myself, besides, there’s probably a seam that needs to be covered with green stuff anyway.
I’m sure there are a bunch of great artists I have missed out, and there are a lot more examples of AoS28 appearing every day. But perhaps the best examples of the goal of this project can be found in Inq28 (which is just AoS28 in space). Inq28 has a real wealth of amazing models and there are too many examples to showcase here, but these links are some favourites:
Mikko’s Voodoo Forest is a beautiful dark fantasy project
The Pilgrym by Iron Sleet et al is the pinnacle of Inq28, what would the AoS28 version of this be like?
The Swamp of Axxos is an Inq28 project, the dark style seems particularly inspirational for fantasy
Outgarde (by lots of people, seen here on The Convertorum) has a lot in common with AoS28, bringing low fantasy to 40k.
If you have any more suggestions, please post in the comments.