top of page
  • Writer's pictureFreeDwarf

Not Dwarfs from the North !

Neesha stepped gracefully off the edge of the small drop, her lithe body seeming to flow down from the snowy platform to the shore of the frozen lake, all the while she scanned the far shoreline for any sign of an enemy. She could hear the sound of sharkskin armour plates gliding over each other and the swish of furs as her sisters followed her down to the lakeshore as the Ice Naiads advanced to take up their position in the battle line of the Northern Alliance. Despite the bitter cold all the Naiads were barefoot as the cold did not really affect these cold-blooded warrior maidens from the frozen deep, what fur they wore was mainly for decoration and recognition of their places as warriors of Prince Talannar. Armed with Ice Tridents and picks and daggers the Naiads were ready for battle, those that had them, hefting their shields as they sensed that combat was about to ensue. At that moment, with a deafening Roar, a multitude of deformed creatures sped towards them from the low mist that hung over the frozen lake, scuttling on long clawed limbs while their gaping maws were lined with rows of needle-like razor teeth. These corrupted creatures were akin to dogs or wolves but those born of a nightmare, with their furless bodies and bulbous heads, almost human limbs with rending claws they charged fearlessly towards the waiting Naiads.

Neesha and her sisters braced themselves for the attack of these Shadowhounds, pushing their tridents forwards and unfurling small nets. When the Shadowhounds were just in front of the Naiads they cast their nets and thrust forwards with their tridents, those in the second rank thrusting over and between those in the front. This had the effect of breaking up and disrupting the Nightstalkers attack, instead of a single line attacking the Naiads all at once, individual hounds were tangled in the nets and those that were not attacked unsupported along the line becoming easy targets for the longer reaching tridents of the Ice Naiads. With a chorus of yelps and cries the Shadowhound survivors ran back into the mist after their failed assault. The Naiads reorganised their ranks and continued their advance across the frozen water, as they did a large beast came up alongside them, its blind head questing from side to side and its huge claws digging furrows into the ice, the chilling waves emanating from this brutal creature invigorating the Ice Naiads and they brandished their weapons as they took the fight to their foes.


As my dedicated and much appreciated Reader will know, I recently embarked on the painting of a Northern Alliance army, however, as I started with regiments of Dwarf Clansmen for this Northern Alliance Army and given my overweening love for Dwarfs, the project became, shall we say “Diverted” as the regiment of Dwarf Clansmen became two, then it became an entire 2300 point “Northern Free Dwarf” army. That Army is well documented in this blog and I am proud to say in the six Tournaments it has taken part in it has won the best painted army at four of those events, so I must be doing something right.

Anyway I finally decided to get “Back on Track” so to speak with the Northern Alliance, The Army list has already been written and the Background prepared by the Trollette (whose Army this actually is, She bought all the figures as she has long been entranced by the Norse Culture that can easily be adapted to fit in with the Northern Alliance, as will be seen when the names of the Units are seen). So once again I had a template to work too and the models are all to hand, so all I needed to do was to paint them. I had already worked out my basing scheme with the Northern Free Dwarfs and so that units could be interchangeable I continued to use the same scheme for the Northern Alliance.

This means that the prep for each unit is to decide how I am going to have them depicted. On the Cavern Dweller I painted I went for a basic snow over bare rock approach with a slight lift to one side of the base so that the front of the model was raised up to make it easier to position in combat with smaller figures,

the Human Tribesman Horde base saw me experimenting with frozen water effects in the form of a couple of ponds/puddles on the base to see if my acrylic water and “Ice sprinkles” had the effect I sought and once I realised how it worked I decided to expand on this with the Ice Naiad base.

As this was a unit that would make a centrepiece for Trollettes army I envisioned it being on multiple levels, I had done this before with a horde of Free Dwarfs as below but I wanted to have the addition of frozen water on the base to go with the fact that Ice Naiads are aquatic creatures. So, I figured I would have them stepping down a couple of small cliffs to a frozen lake they are about to cross. This was the vision in my mind at least!

The base was a 3mm thick lasercut base from the lovely people at Warbases (link to warbases) who’s faultless service keeps me in MDF and the “superstructure of the base was constructed from XPS foam cut with my hand-held hot wire cutter to form the basis of the cliffs and lakeshore. This was then affixed to the MDF with the liberal application of glue from my trusty Hot Glue Gun.

The edges of the cliffs were scored with a semi sharp sculpting tool to create the ragged texture of the stone then the while was textured further but the careful application to the surfaces of a piece of aggregate from the car park of my local Dr’s Surgery, a simple piece of rock that has a lovely flat side to enable me to transfer its texture to the XPS foam with just firm but gentle pressure.

I added a resin crystal cluster to one of the upper surfaces to act as a handle to allow me to move the base without touching the figures, again this was fastened to the XPS with my hot glue gun.

Once this was done, I applied a few pieces of slate and a liberal coating of sand/PVA mix to the upper surfaces of the cliffs and lakeshore with some larger stones at the base of the cliff to represent rubble.

After the sand was dry, I applied a liberal coat of “Modge Podge” to the faces of the cliffs, trying to make sure I worked it into all the cracks and crevices of the deeply scored XPS foam and left this to dry.

Then it was on to the next stage, I sprayed the whole base with Colour Forges Matt Black Primer, of the many primers I have used over the years this has to be one of the best, with a lovely light eating matt black surface. This gives an even finish to the base and allows for dark, natural shadows when painting.

It was a this point that I had a little bit of a meltdown, literally, there must have been a couple of spots the modge podge hadn’t covered and the propellant from the Spray had got in to the XPS and melted it away, leaving a thin coat of Sand/PVA over a void , the only thing I could do was to enlarge the holes in the cliff and pack the void with my acrylic filler and leave it to dry. Luckily after 24 hours the base was as good as new, if a little heavier on one side than the other.

The cliffs were drybrushed with various shades of grey from Army Painter, Vallejo and Foundry with some Sepia, brown and green washes to break up the monotonous grey. The groundwork was Vallejo German medium Camo brown with a lighter bone drybrush just to give it a hint of texture. The crystals were painted with Foundry paints Vivid Blue Triad with extra white highlights and an Army painter Blue Tone Wash.

The water effect was now added using AK scenic Pacific Blue water, as it was done over a black base it looks very dark and ice like, although next time I may paint the edges of the water feature in a light blue to give the appearance of shallower ice, one for the notebook I think, and then the edges were sprinkled with AK scenic “Ice Sparkles” to simulate hoar frost on the surface of the ice, looks ok but probably wont be as heavy handed next time.

The snow is again by AK scenic and is simply called “Snow” , it is an acrylic foam paste with looks like marshmallow when applied, however I mix in a little water and smear it on quite thickly, then I sprinkle a liberal coat of Woodland Scenic “Snow Flock” on top , this then allows me to flatten the “snow” and I can also add things like footprints or small drifts round rocks and features as the mixture is a lot less sticky at this point. I then add Tufts of Dead/Winter grass and Artic Tufts all picked up from my local Hobby store to add interest to the bases. Once this is dry, I can add the models, using superglue and an activator to fix them to the base.

The Actual Naiad colour scheme was born out of the fact that I wanted their weapons to be pale and Icey and so I undercoated from a black to a very dark blue for the bodies and used their fur and ice plates to provide contrast on the models, overall a very basic colour scheme but one that has great effect on the tabletop with all the Icey tridents and shields providing a nice contrast to the dark base and body colour of the Naiads themselves. Needless to say, I am very happy with how this unit has turned out.

I have played a few practise games with the Naiads and I equip the Horde with Hammer of Measured force (always wounds on a 4+ regardless of any modifier) and give them Tundra Fighters and Phalanx to create a unit that is hard to kill in one turn and can regenerate, heal and lifeleech its wounds back in almost every turn with the support of Ice Elementals/Cavern Dweller and an Ice Queen. So far it has proved its worth in the games I play and I just need to get some more units painted up before I can hand the army back to its owner, the ever-patient Trollette. I already have Frostclaws painted up (Stoneclaws in my Northern Free Dwarf Army) and a Horde of Human Tribesmen along with a Cavern Dweller so I think the next units off the painting table will be  Ice Elementals or Pack Hunters, whatever I can fit in alongside my commission painting really.



86 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page