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Turning to the Dark Side a Little


For the past two years my predominant Tournament Army has been the Mighty Free Dwarfs, romping around the UK and Spanish Tournament scene on their angry Badgers, they have gained quite a lot of success along the way including my first ever tournament win. Their conception, build and exploits have been the subject of this Blog for the past three Years nearly, however, the steadfast fan of the Blog will have noted the brief inclusion of the Free Dwarfs of Bowland’s mortal enemies, the Hellforged Legion of Brass. These Naughty cousins of the free Dwarfs were painted during the “Lava Base Era” brought about by Rusty Shackleford’s amazing Abyssal Dwarf Army which spawned a brief flurry of similar Abyssal Dwarf Armies in sycophantic emulation. However these Abyssal Dwarfs have languished in the shadow of their Free Dwarf stablemates since their completion.

With the looming of the new Season and the advent of the Big Red Book changes the little chaps of the Abyssal Dwarf army have been crying out for a revamp and maybe a little more “air time” for the coming Year, so a feasibility study was conducted by the Trolls at Chez Troll to see if the Abyssal Dwarfs could be transferred to be a Tier one army for the Dojo (please bear in mind this has bugger all to do with the Tier system made up by the KoW intelligentsia or the categories imposed on armies by YouTube celebs or even the esoteric method of deciding what is “meta” by the current batch of KoW Nazis, this Tier system is my own invention and consists of a complicated algorithm based on what I fancy painting at the time and whichever Army I have had an idea for that can’t wait)

Stage one was initiated by the Trolls, the Army was moved to a higher shelf in the Army cabinet from where it could be seen on a daily basis, they also dug through the “pending” pile to find all the bits and pieces that I had collected since the initial painting of the army under the pretext of “this will look cool on the bases of my abyssal dwarfs if I ever rebase and tart them up”, this in itself was no small task as these items would need to be sorted from the plethora of others picked up for all the other armies and filed under “later”. This monumental task was completed in time for the new MDF bases to arrive from Charlie Foxtrot models.

So now the Project could go full steam ahead, I don’t put a massive amount of effort into the basing of my Kings of War armies, two much Faff on the bases makes them awkward to move around on the table and too delicate once they are there, it also results in an army that is not robust enough for travel without expensive cases and as there is a trip to Spain in the future for a Tournament this is a consideration. The lack of Tournaments with Soft scores means, as long as my bases are finished, don’t look too shabby and have some interesting bits stuck on them then they are suitable. There appears to be a trend for bases to be extravagant as possible developing, this may look good visually but always leads to issues on the tabletop in the real world. I am also quite old school concerning models, if they have bases attached I will leave them on and glue them to the bases, nothing is worse than spending all your free time at a tournament repairing your multibases. I then simply sand the base and paint it my chosen colour, nice and simple and with the addition of some tufts and bit, quite effective. Don’t paint the edge of your bases black, it looks contrived and artificial on the table (unless of course your bases are black to begin with).


Example of a pre finished base ready for Blacksouls to be added

Some of the bits and pieces accumulated included some impaled bodies of Elves, Dwarfs and humans on spikes and frames which I felt fit with the Cruel character of the Abyssal Dwarfs a lot so I decided that there would be at least one of these on each of the bases for the army, they will add a gruesome aspect to what would otherwise be a plain base and give me the opportunity to paint some different looking models while I revamp the army. The other items I had picked up were some crystal stacks that had been on sale at North Star Miniatures and once they are repainted they look good on the bases for Abyssal Dwarfs and , incidentally, for Northern Alliance and Free Dwarfs lol. Coupled with some of the “Dead” dwarfs off the normal Dwarf frame and some spare weapons, heads and shield and, of course, the ubiquitous slate pieces, along with some interesting tufts I expect the bases to be visually pleasing without an immense amount of effort. This is the Way, well it is at Chez Troll anyway. But the number of Best Painted Army trophies on the Shelf do attest to the success of this method over the Years.



Impaled wretches Bought to go on the Multibases

I had also decided to include as many Mantic models in my army as possible due to the increasing trend at bigger events to reward higher percentages of mantic models in an army, as the Abyssal Dwarfs is one of the more established ranges that Mantic has produced this should enable me to get access to models for pretty much everything I wanted to put into the army, in fact some of the basic models had been given a re-release in the form of the excellent Blacksouls/Decimators sprues and these also give great opportunities for conversion work to make any models not supported ( which is really just Character models and special characters) These will, of course, feature in a Blog of their own soon.

I had also picked up some of the cross over models such as the Slavedriver on foot and the Slavedriver in Chariot as I had originally planned to ease my Ratkin slaves into the world by using Ratkin as allies for the Abyssal Dwarfs until I had painted sufficient to split them off as their own army, however the vocal minority that exist only to advocate their own agendas have put paid to that with the majority of Tournament Organisers in the UK buckling and not allowing the optional use of Allies in their Tournaments for fear of displeasing a small group of players with loud Keyboards. Looks like the reverse option will have to take place, I will need to use the Abyssal Dwarfs to fill in space in the Ratkin Slave Army until I have painted enough furry Warriors to take their place in the ranks. “Exasperated sigh”

What to actually put in the Army? I am limited by the models I already have of course but, luckily for me, I was quite profligate in my purchases when I originally bought the army. So I shall have a quick run down of what I have available to put into the Army.


BlackSouls – about a Horde and a half of these little chaps, some of the older models, some converted from Imperial Dwarfs ( recent converts?) and some of the lovely shiny new sprues, all mixed together to make a horde and a half.

Decimators – Two Regiments or one horde of the new plastic Decimators…..nice

Mutated Mastiff Hunting Packs – Two regiments made up of the Mastiffs from the new Blacksouls Sprue

Abyssal Halfbreeds – Two Regiments and two troops of these weird Dwarf Centaurs

Lesser Obsidian Golems – Two Hordes and a Regiment of massive Volcanic Glass Constructs

Greater Obsidian Golem – 75mmx75mm of face smashing nice.

Angkor Mortars – Three ! this is the Magic Number !

G’Rog Mortar – one for fun

DragonFire Teams – two because I like the models

Abyssal Grotesques – Two Hordes and a Champion.

Hexcasters – Three ! because this is the magic number lol

Iron Casters – two

Overmaster on Great Winged Halfbreed - one

Overmasters on foot – Three ! Still the Magic Number

Halfbreed Champions – Two

Gargoyles – Three Troops – because? you guessed it !!

Bazuzu – because he is fun.

So the first task on the “To Do” list for the new Project will be to decide what to put in the Army. As most of the Tournaments that matter are at the 2300 point level this will be the points value the initial list will be made to, once this core army is tested, approved and finally built, it can be tweaked with further developments based on tournament feedback and game experience and even adjusted up or down to fit in with points for some of the more esoteric events that seem to spring up.

So now all I have to do is get to grips with the Mantic Companion App thingy, but that, as they say is another story….


A selection of Work in Progress models for the New Look HellForged Legion


This is the first in a short series documenting the revival of my old Abyssal Dwarf Army in preparation for the 2023 Kings of War Season


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