Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Le Coq #1

Phew! Moving through these blog posts at the moment! Don't worry, it will slow down as I run out of stuff that is done.

But I'd like to share a project that is almost complete, a project that I have had immense fun doing and which has won me one award (for which I am eternally grateful). It is my human Blood Bowl team, done with a Bretonnian theme, called Le Coq.

The idea for this team came as I was trying to work out what I would run at the very first Southern Shrike Bowl, waaaay back in 2008 (well, the design process was even further back, sometime in late '07 I think). I wanted to do something special, my old faithful Drakwald Ravens not being up to my current painting standards, and I've always liked the idea of a Bretonnian Blood Bowl team.

I didn't want to mess with the human roster at all, I just wanted a human team with a Bretonnian theme, so I set about working out how best to accomplish it. My bitz box is extensive, if ancient, but it did furnish me with a number of knight pieces that got the ball rolling, and the three knights were the first models to grace the team, subbing in as blitzers in the roster. I then figured I would use the plastic GW commoners boxed set to build the remainder. A few hand swaps and weapon snips would sort out a decent team.

So without much ado I started the painting process. This was a point in time when I was starting to get back into painting a bit more seriously. I had spent roughly seven years 'in the wilderness' after resigning from GW in 2000 and hadn't painted an awful lot, but I had built my skills back up a bit in the preceding 12 months and felt ready to run with something a bit new - NMM (non-metallic metals).

The prototype knight used 'steel' and a 'gold' NMM effects which, after a lot of online research, turned out OK. The steel was done using a Codex Grey base with Scorched Brown/Black shading and Fortress Grey/White (and maybe a touch of blue) highlights. The gold was mainly Golden Yellow and then sucessively darker brown shading and white highlighting.

The team colours (because, of course, the metals are 'only' the base) were suitably common Bretonnian colours - red and white, with yellow as a trim colour where required.

Here's the prototype (apologies for the small pic):

Felling pretty confident at this stage I worked through the other two knights and, while the gold NMM ended up a little bit inconsistent, overall I was extremely happy with the way they turned out:

It was at about this point that I started worrying about the trifling issue of a name. This was perhaps the hardest part of the process and took some doing. I usually ruminate on a team and a name kinda just pops up at some point. With this team, it didn't. I tentatively went with The Quest, but it just never sat well.

Nevertheless, the painting continued and the commoners started popping off my desk.

The thrower:

The catchers:

The linemen (sorry, these are the only decent pictures I have:

Unfortunately I don't have a whole-of-team shot, but you can get the gist from the pics above. Overall the team was coming along brilliantly.

But I then started to plan for the Shrike Bowl and realised I wanted an ogre in my team. Now just think for a moment. How the hell do you do an ogre for a Bretonnian team?

I considered doing a mounted knight, but it just didn't fit the Blood Bowl thing, so it had to be an ogre. With a little bit of searching I found one I liked with the requisit flair that such a beast would have to have. But some conversion would also be necessary. Here he is before painting...

Really it was just a hand swap and some work the ensure he was slightly Bretonnian-ised. Then it was down to painting. He needed to be a focal point for the team, so the skin, I decided, was extremely important, especially given that the amount of metal on this model was relatively small. I think I succeeded:

That rounded out the squad at 12 figures:

3 blitzers (knights)
1 thrower
2 catchers
1 ogre
5 linemen

This is a fairly standard human team for me (sometimes sans ogre).

But the name still wasn't right. But as the tournament approached, my brother (a nasty little piece of work named One Eye) decided to use the grudge match system devised for the SSB to challenge me. His descriptive post on AusBowl didn't inspire me, per se, but I had this image of a Bretonnian noble posting a soap box in a busy Imperial market and declaring his intention to take up the challenge. And as I did this I, somehow, knew what the name would be...

Sir Breton de White Acre, coach of the team, had chosen a name of great tenacity and viciousness, based off a creature that his people used in sporting fights that showcased its aggression and sheer survival instinct - the Rooster! Of course, translated into Bretonnian this ended up as le Coq and, thus, was the team born.

My subsequent answer to the challenge was a scene with Sor Breton posting his soapbox and, after announcing his team's glorious and well thought out name, being laughed off the podium and not understanding why! Damn that Brimperial dialect, gets you into all sorts of trouble!

On the night before the tournament I had one last flash of inspiration and added this as a turn marker:

The team's performance at SSB08 was, to be frank, pretty dismal. I think I ended with two wins a draw and three losses, which probably wasn't surprising given I hadn't played properly for sopme years. But I had fun and the team, as previously noted, won best painted on the day, netting me one of the first Crystal Cups.

Since then I have had the team in mothballs, fielding the Red Breasts (amazons) in '09 and the Bloodz (orcs) this year. I do love the team though and I hope to field them at the upcoming AusBowl, where I have been (to my surprise) picked as a member of the SA Steelballs state team (there may be a race clash with another team member, so I might need to switch to a new wood elf team - if so, look out for le Coq again at SSB11).

With this in mind I have a couple of additions planned. The first is another knight to round out the compliment of four blitzers. Second is a series of counters. The cheerleader will remain as my turn counter, but I've already done a bunch of reroll markers using Bretonnian shields propped up against barrels, buckets (with orc heads) or similar. I also have a score counter which, though cock-less at present, will hopefully have a rooster standing atop a set of barrels (the team mascot - "Doodle").

Last, but definitely not least, is a star player. Now, think of the most appropriate star for a Bretonnian-based team...

...then forget him, Griff is not on my list. No, instead, Helmut Wulff is where I went. But rather than the chainsaw wielding loony we all know and love, I am picturing a sword-wielding knight, "Sir Henri de Lupe", as an appropriate proxy.

Pics to come as these bits develop.

So that's where I'm at. I hope you enjoyed the team development story to date and, with any luck, I'll see you at the AusBowl or SSB one year (I may even, partner-permitting, make it out to EucBowl or something at some stage).

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