lauantai 18. helmikuuta 2017

War altars revisited

One of the things that I love about the Oldhammer community is it´s ability provide you with new ideas or different angles of a view. In my previous posting I wrote about the war altars in WFB 3rd edition. That article created some discussion both here at my blog and at couple of Oldhammer facebook groups. I was happy to note that at least some of my readers had been inspired by my article and were resurrecting their war altar projects or starting new ones.

Because of that discussion and the feedback I received I felt that there was a need to revisit the concept of war altars and the parts I missed writing that first article.


Thantsant who is the author of a wonderful Somewhere the Tea´s getting cold blog commented my article in the Oldhammer community facebook group telling me that he has built a war altar for his hobgoblin army. He also remembered reading something about hobgoblin war altars in the 3rd edition rule book. I had to take a look and he was right.

In the bestiary at page 221 there are special rules hobgoblins. It says that:
  1. Hobgoblin forces always carry their army standard into battle. This takes the form of a staff or pole bearing a trophy or sign, and is carried in a small wagon drawn by a span of fierce Hobhounds. So long as their standard remains intact, any Mournguls are subject to frenzy. The army standard, its wagon and crew must be included.
  2. The Hobgoblin standard is the symbol of a tribe´s honor. Any enemy engaged in close combat against it is hated by all Mourngul units on the table.
  3. The standard is a potent magic symbol to the Hobgoblin wizards. Totems always have the ability to act as magical reservoir as described under magical standards. All Hobgoblin wizards on that side must surrender half of their magic points before the battle and place them in the standard.
Even if it is called an army standard that resembles a carriage mounted war altar a lot in my opinion.As far as I know the hobgoblins are the only race presented in the original rule book to have this kind of army standard/war altar special rule.

Somewhat sadly the hobgoblin army standard/war altar concept was dropped from the WFB: Armies book. The hobgoblin mercenary contingent can still include a contingent standard bearer who has a option for 100 point magic standard. But the standard is no longer something you have to take nor it is automatically a magical reservoir. In the psychology part for hobgoblins it still says that:
  • The contingent standard is a sacred tribal fetish. As long as the standard remains intact, all hobgoblins are subject to frenzy. Any enemy unit engaged in close combat with the standard bearer will be hated by all hobgoblins.
Even with the similarities with the original rule the new ones are missing the war altar aspect and therefore feel sort of diluted.

Thantsant gave me permission to use his pictures here. Please check out the rest of his hobgoblin force. They even have a baggage train - I might be time to update my baggabe train posting. Or do a similar revisit.

Thantsant´s hobgoblin war altar and it´s guards/crew.

A closer look at the center piece.

Undead Plague Cart

In Oldhammer Finland facebook group it was pointed out that the undead Plague cart has a lot of similarities with war altars.In the WFB: Armies the rules for Undead Plague Cart are these:
  1. Any undead unit with models within 12" of the undead cart may add +1 to the D6 score in the instability test.
  2. The Plague Cart causes fear in living creatures.
  3. The Plague Cart has a movement allowance of 5" and may move over all terrain and through all obstacles except buildings with no penalty; movement through solid walls and in/out of buildings costs half of the cart´s movement for that turn.
  4. The undead cart may be attacked like an ordinary wagon.
Of course the plague cart does not give any psychological bonus but a +1 to instability test is very nice. And the fact that it can move through any terrain without penalty makes it possible for the cart to keep up with the rest of the troops. Losing a plague cart to enemy is not penalized meaning that you can take closer to enemy than you would do with a war altar. In a way plague cart is a war altar for the undead.

A thing of interest is a fact that there is also a different set of rules for a plague cart. They were presented in WD94 with this advertisment.

So somewhere along the way the plague cart has changed from being a randomly appearing or summonable wagon of terror and undead raising that lumbers uncotrollably across the battlefield to a war altar like unit that can be included to your army by spending points. I think both concepts are cool in their own way but the original rules for a plague cart are less war altar like than the newer ones.

As citadel produced a model for plague cart the painted examples of them are a lot more common than war altars.

This is LM`s plague cart deployed with his beautiful undead army.

The creaking cart brings naught but doom and despair. This one is
by Subedai of The Lost and The Damned blog.

Nathan Firth´s plague cat from Oldhammer Melbourne blog.

Orlygg´s plague cart with a spectral driver at Realm of Chaos 80´s blog.

So just a few examples here. This would be a very loooong article if I included all the cart that come up with just googling: plague cart.

Let´s see if I can actually get something painted worth showing here. ´Till next time!

tiistai 14. helmikuuta 2017

War altars in 3rd edition WFB

This article is something I have wanted to do since I wrote about baggage trains a few months ago. I´ve been working on it slowly and now I was able to found myself time to finish this.

War altars are another great element that add character to a 3rd edition WFB army. As the WFB: Armies book tells us they are small portable altars carried onto the battlefield and guarded by religious fanatics. Their presence encourages friendly troops meaning that you get special benefits for troop spychology.

As per rules the war altars are carried around by 2-5 religious fanatics called altar guards. They defend the altar with their lives and are immune to all psychology and rout test while within 6" of the altar. Carrying the altar reduced the altar guards movement by half.

There are two nice bonuses that come with a war altar. First, all friendly troop within 12" of the war altar receive +1 bonus to their hand-to-hand combat resolution score. The other benefit is that all friendly troops within 12" of the altar receive +2 bonus to their leadership, up to the maximum of LD10.

But losing a war altar can be a disaster. If a war altar is captured or desecrated all friendly troop within 12" must make an immediate rout test.

Some armeies may mount their war altar on a wagon. A wagon mounted war altar is treated as a wagon but retains it´s psychological effects.

In the WFB: Armies book there are four armies that can field a war altar. They are dark elves, chaos, bretonnia and slann.  In this posting I want to present material regarding war altars for all those four armies. I´ve included only such projects that are clearly for 3rd edition WFB so newer concepts like cauldron of blood and war altar of Sigmar are out.

I´ve looked for both complete sets and WIP projects. And as with the baggage train compendium almost all are not my projects. I´ve added a link to owners blog or site when I´ve managed to find one. Please let me know if you want you pic or blog or whatever added. Or if you don´t like you picture used here.

Dark Elves

Goblin Lee disected the pro´s and con´s for a dark elf war altar in his blog.
This is my list that differs a bit from his:

Psychological bonuses
Chance to take magical standard and/or instrument

Slow movement

I don´t think that altar guards having both hatred and frenzy is a problem as the war altar rules state that altar guards are immune all psychology and rout test while within 6" of the altar. Please let me know if you think that my intepretation of the rules is wrong.

Even though it is in WIP stage I wanted to have Willmark´s war altar here as the first one to be presented because of the resemlance between to picture in WFB: Armies and the scratch build altar. Progress of this project and rest of Willmark´s dark elf force can be followed on Oldhammer forum.

This is a war altar/cauldron of blood by Pahvivalmiste. The cauldron itself is scratch build and altar guards are midhammer witch elves. Check out Pahvivalmiste´s gorgeous dark elf army here.

My own humble dark elf war altar project is in a really early WIP stage. The idol itself is painted and I´ve started working on the altar guards but there is still a long way to go.


Psychological bonuses
Heavy armor gives some endurance
Increased mobility and combat ability if mounted on carriage
Chance to take a 100 points magic standard

Normal humans as altar guards are pretty weak in combat
Slow without carriage

Perhaps the grand mother of all chaos war altars. War altar of Nurgle by Ivan Bartleet from WD125.

Wheel of Pain - War altar of Chaos by Bluey Zarzov. For more pictures chech out his blog.

This one is by Asslesman. Presented in this thread at Oldhammer forum.


Psychological bonuses
Heavy armor and optional shield gives good protection
Optional halberds boost combat ability
Chance to take a magic standard
Increased mobility and combat ability if mounted on carriage

Normal humans as altar guards are pretty weak in combat
Slow without carriage, superslow if using shield too.

The Round Table of Bretonnia site has this war altar. Another picture on the site.

A very nice carriage mounted war altar by Warhamster. His Bretonnian collection is presented on Oldhammer forum.


Psychological bonuses
Warrior priests as altar guards (WS4, S4, T4, A2)
Chance to take a 100 points magic standard
Chance to be placed on litter

Only shields for protection
Just four altar guards

Again I shall refer to Goblin Lee´s blog. And as with dark elves I don´t fully agree with the frenzy rule here. But again - let me know what you think.

Goblin Lee´s Slann war altar on a litter. Carried by lobotomized humans and guarded by warrior priests. Very nice!

 Hope that you enjoyed reading and perhaps got some inspiration to your army building.

lauantai 28. tammikuuta 2017

Demon idol for war altar

Just a quick update on my dark elf war altar project. I haven´t have much time to paint lately but I´ve managed to complete the altar piece. My vision was of an idol of a demon or some dark god fastened on a crude platform. I imagined the religious fanatics chopping off a part of a larger statue to be carried around in the battle field.
  I was aiming for a patinated bronze look. The idol was basecoated with black. The first layer after that was done with a mix of 1/3 of stegadon scale green and 2/3 black. That was higlighted with 50/50 mix of stegadon scale green and gaussblaster green. Final effects were painted with nihilakh oxide. Never done that before but I´m happy with the result.

The platform is made of some 6mm wide lolly stick that were cut to roughly same lenght. Sticks were glued together and painted black. Then I highlighted them with various shades of gray. I added a bit of blue to the mix and last higlight were drybrushed with very light gray.

The rope is just a piece of cord I dug out from wifey´s sewing stuff box. It´s color was a bit too light for my liking so I gave it a wash of agrax earthshade. Still thinking about giving it another wash and perhaps a light drybrush after that.