Banick Kholearm & Craggoth
The Living Legend characters of Banick Kholearm and Craggoth first appeared on my radar in the Mantic Summer campaign book the Edge of the Abyss, in this first incarnation they are separate entities , Kholearm is a disgraced Dwarf Ranger who had led his entire regiment into an Orc ambush while on a scouting patrol and as a consequence had been consigned to work in the Coal Mines under the Halpi Mountains. Craggoth is a Greater Earth Elemental that was working in the mines as a Heavy lifter. The pair become companions after the Abyssal Dwarfs invaded and drove the Free Dwarfs out of the Halpi Mountains when, during the fighting in the Mines Kholearm "Found Craggoth surrounded by foes in a cavern lit by blue crystals. Gripping his drill once more, the pair fought alongside each other and have since become unlikely companions."
This narrative stuck with me as I prepared my Dwarf army in the early days , I used Craggoth in a couple of games but never Banick Kholearm and I bought the Mantic Greater Earth Elemental Model with a view to using it as Craggoth. However I never got round to putting the model together and , like so many others, it languished in the "to do" pile.
Fast Forward a Year or so to the release of the Third edition of Kings of War and the creation of the Themed Free Dwarf List. This list followed the Narrative from the Edge of the Abyss book and introduced the idea that the refugees from the Abyssal Dwarf conquest of the Halpi Mountains had now settled , albeit grudgingly, in the Dwarf Empire of King Golloch. These Dwarfs inhabited old, abandoned Holds and were looked on with disdain by the Imperial Dwarfs, a feeling that is reciprocated.
The Narrative timeline has been continued for Banick Kholearm and Craggoth as described in the Uncharted Empires entry for the Free Dwarfs " The two formed a bond as brothers in arms, fighting as heroes throughout the war " it then describes how the Magical energy which powers Craggoth starts to fail and that Kholearm travels across the Dwarf Empire in an attempt to restore him, however none would help him apart from a Free Dwarf Warsmith who " was able to augment Craggoth's failing energy with a powerful furnace and the Elementals limbs were reinforced with mechanical joints" it also mentions that Kholearm was given the knowledge to maintain Craggoth and they now fight "side by side to protect each other"
This additional background caused me to revisit the idea of Craggoth and Kholearm, also the fact that , instead of two seperate Living Legends, the Craggoth & Kholearm was now an Upgrade available to a Greater Earth Elemental. Still unique but more storyful and appealing.
I decided that Banick Kholearm had resumed his Ranger armament to fit in more with the Kholearm & Craggoth upgrade gaining the Scout Rule (the old incarnation had Vanguard - same rule different name ) and that the Fireball ability reflected the furnace supplementing Craggoths power, the inspiring (self) rule also gave me the idea of basing both the models on the same base to represent the upgrade.
With these ideas forming I dug out my old Greater Earth Elemental Model and some plastic Dwarf sprues and went to work.
As I had decided that, in my army at least, Banick Kholearm had abandoned the Drill from his mine punishment and had reverted back to his Ranger days ( both for the Scout ability on the upgrade and to fit in with the idea that the Free Dwarfs of Bowland live mostly above ground in the Forest of Bowland) so I needed to create a look consistent with my existing Ranger troops and Regiment and also distinct enough that it was obvious that this was a veteran of many conflicts. I used parts from an Ironwatch Sprue and an Artillery Crew sprue with some green stuff hood detail added.
I thought this model was suitably "Venerable" enough to depict a veteran Ranger that has seen many conflicts. I painted him in the same colour scheme as my existing rangers to provide cohesion across the army
When it came to putting together the Greater Earth Elemental to create Craggoth , I needed to have an idea in my mind of what I wanted him to look like , the main changes would be a furnace, Mechanical reinforcements and chimney stacks. I had an idea of using chopped up paperclips , miliput and green stuff to make a kind of splint on Craggoths arms , similar to medical supports I had seen as a child in the seventies.
Initially I used Miliput to make large bands around the limbs I wanted to have supported , I used Miliput because I had a lot and its cheaper than Green stuff , an important consideration for me !
I tried to make the bands as smooth and square as I could as they would be painted to represent Iron and so needed to be angular and stiff looking, my experience with sculpting is very limited and it took a long time to achieve an effect I was happy with, also I had to be careful about not obscuring too much of the detail on the model.
After the Milliput had dried I then used a pair of pliers to trim large paperclips down to lengths that could be futher trimmed to fit between the band and were straight enough looking , although not perfect as I did want a fractionally "ramshackle" look to the end result.
I also used Miliput to add the barrel of a furnace and two crude chimneys to the main body of the Elemental at the same time , these would allow me to add detail work using green stuff to gain the archaic feel I was after. The green stuff detail was a real test of my crude sculpting skills and took a lot longer than I anticipated as I had to wait for each part to cure before doing the next one so I didn't obliterate any detail with my fat, clumsy fingers.
Finally , once all the componenets were sculpted , assembled, gaps filled and cured I was ready to start painting the Craggoth model.
As I already had two Hordes of Earth Elementals in my army I wanted to paint Craggoth to match , so he is basically undercoated with black acyrlic spray from Halfords and then the majority of his surface area is drybrushed with Foundry Charcoal Black Triad and Foundry Arctic Grey Triad which nicely shades black through greys to white , he was then given a Nuln Oil wash to consolidate the base. the Crystals were painted in Foundry Teal , triad with a final edge highlight of white. Then all the crystals were given a Turquose Glaze ( ancient GW pot I have had for always )
The Metal work was painted in Cote d Arms Gunmetal and then highlighted with Vallejo Steel and GW Mithril Silver , the metal detail was painted in Vallejo Tinny Tin ,then Vallejo Brassy Brass followed by Vallejo Brass highlights before all the metal work was washed in Agrax Earthshade.
The furnace fires were painted in GW reds and Yellows before being given a wash of GW Red ink ( think its Plasma red but so old the label is indistinguishable)
Craggoths eyes were painted the same Foundry Teal as the crystal to make them seem to glow.
Kholearm was placed on a 3d printed rock to make him stand out and posed to look like he is directing Craggoth to attack. The base is finished in Sand painted Traditional Burnt Sienna , drybrused and washed with Agrax Earthshade and tufts added. All given a liberal coat of Testors Dullcoate.
So now Craggoth and Kholearm are 3rd Edition ready and able to join the ranks of the Dwarfs of Bowland.