Tag Archives: CMON

The Mountain’s Men – Part 1

Like many people, I suspect, I have a difficult relationship with George RR Martin’s series, A Song of Ice and Fire. For one thing the name transcends the usual pretentiousness of the fantasy genre to reach for something that sounds downright silly. That aside though old George has a knack for writing the most deeply flawed characters and making them engaging. You find yourself caring deeply about people that, if they were in a lesser series, you wouldn’t give a damn about or would gladly see bumped off as soon as possible. He nails the hard fact, that in real life – and especially in times of war – there are no straightforward “goodies vs baddies” (despite what the news media might like to tell us).

As the characters so the books themselves; Martin’s writing may be compelling but it’s far from perfect. The first novel, A Game of Thrones, still stands for me as amongst the very best the fantasy genre has to offer, but the sequels – despite some really powerful moments – sometimes fail to reach it’s giddy heights. Whole chapters drag by in which next to nothing happens. Pivotal characters appear to be abandoned whilst the misadventures of every peasant in Westeros are paraded before the reader’s glazing eyes. And then of course there are all the high points, the compelling storyline, engaging characters and powerful writing that keeps you hooked whilst George retreats to whatever distant citadel he lurks in whilst he twiddles his thumbs for another decade or so, counting his cash and leaving the rest of us to wonder if he’s ever going to actually finish writing the damn thing.

Then there was the TV show and, in keeping with the theme, it had its up and downs. To begin with at least it was great; they changed things from the books (generally for the worse unfortunately but it was all forgivable in the early days) but the acting top-notch, and on the whole they did wonderful job of drawing the viewer into the world. Those who’ve seen it will recall the wedding held at Kings Landing which was so beautiful even Joffrey got a little choked up. After a while of course it all veered wildly away from the plot of the books and the flaws in the last couple of series are so extensive, and have been described in detail so many times, that they really aren’t worth going over again now. In the end it all came crashing down as the surviving characters smashed their way through the fourth wall to lecture us, the audience, wagging their fingers self-righteously in our faces because we had cheered for the wrong people all along and everything that had happened was somehow our fault.

So yeah, A Song of Ice and Fire is a series which – and I know this is quite a common phenomenon – I will say that I love and then complain about for the next couple of hours.

When it comes to the ASOIAF miniatures game I sat on the fence for quite a while. I loved the Lord of the Rings (both the books and the films) – although admittedly without the uncritical passion of some of my friends – but I never really got into the miniatures games. I’ve painted the odd model here and there but nothing substantial. ASOIAF however captured my interest. In general the miniatures themselves are much better, and that alone should be enough, but I feel – without wanting to indulge in self-psychoanalysis – that there’s more to it than that, I just can’t put my finger on exactly what. The intricate world-building and vast cast of characters of the novels, which at times makes them so dense for the casual reader to approach, is perfect when it comes to creating background for a miniatures game. However as soon as I realised the game was made by CMON I backed off, and stubbornly refused to buy anything for the first few years. Burned once too many by their shenanigans in years gone by I sulked, until a deal too good to resist came along and my resolve crumbled – which brings me to where we are now. I’ve got a bunch of Starks and Lannisters from the original starter set, plus a few extras, so I’m going to start by putting together a couple of little armies, alongside my efforts to work through my other neglected projects. First on the table we have a couple of ruthless rascals from The Mountain’s Men.

There are some pretty damn dastardly scumbags in Westeros but few are quite as unpleasant as Ser Gregor Clegane, often called The Mountain That Rides, or sometimes Tywin Lannister’s Mad Dog. The men that serve under him are known collectively, and unimaginatively, as The Mountain’s Men and are, not to put too fine a point on it, a right bunch of utter bastards. Needless to say my Lannisters won’t be getting their hands dirty when they can call in their bannermen instead so my first step towards raising an army is to bring in a few of these thugs, starting with this unpleasant pair. Butcher’s boys beware! 

Mountains Men ASOIAF Game of Thrones Lannister Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)Mountains Men ASOIAF Game of Thrones Lannister Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)Mountains Men ASOIAF Game of Thrones Lannister Wudugast ConvertOrDie (3)Mountains Men ASOIAF Game of Thrones Lannister Wudugast ConvertOrDie (4)

I really enjoyed painting these two and I’ve already got a few more that I’ve started working on so expect to see more recruits appearing shortly. 


Barbarian Wrath – Part 3

In the depths of the forest a shamaness conducts dark rituals by the light of a ghastly moon…

What land of monsters and heroes would be complete without a few witches, casting curses from twisted groves deep in the wilderness? Of course heroes are in short supply in the world of Hate, but that’s no reason for us to be deprived of witches! 

Hate Barbarian Wudugast Chaos CMON Witch (1)Hate Barbarian Wudugast Chaos CMON Witch (2)

I’m surprised by how easy to paint this lady turned out to be. I’ve been wanting to tackle her and I thought she’d be a good candidate for Fembruary but she’s very fiddly and highly detailed so I thought she might turn into a bit of a struggle. To my surprise though I raced through her in no time flat – perhaps some kind of magic was afoot…


Barbarian Wrath – Part 2

Fear not, the barbarians from the game Hate that I showed previously were not a flash in the pan, a project begun and just as quickly forgotten. In fact here’s another ugly individual now. 

Barbarian Hate CMON Chaos Wudugast ConvertOrDie Warhammer (1)Barbarian Hate CMON Chaos Wudugast ConvertOrDie Warhammer (2)Barbarian Hate CMON Chaos Wudugast ConvertOrDie Warhammer (3)

Surely someone not to be messed with! 


Barbarian Wrath – Part 1

It took me quite a while to get on board with the game Hate. Just the name is a bit off-putting and the promotional material around the game seemed to be trying really hard to be “shocking” and “edgy” and, like a teenage Satanist, wasn’t really pulling it off half as well as they imagine. 

Plus it’s designed and produced by CMON and a decade or so ago I grew so heartily sick of their business practices that I swore I’d never buy anything from them again (although they do produce some very cool looking stuff these days and sometimes it’s hard not to be tempted).

Finally,  and this was the clincher, it was exclusive to kickstarter. Like being nagged in a lift this annoyed me on a number of levels. For one thing it seemed like a blatant attempt to drive sales, and only lead to copies selling for a small fortune on ebay. For another it meant I couldn’t actually buy the damn thing anyway, as I didn’t discover it until long after the kickstarter was all over, and I certainly wasn’t about to rob a bank just to pay some chancer on ebay. It also meant that there was no hope of them ever producing any more expansions, which is a shame because here’s the thing – the miniatures are bloody brilliant. 

I’ve liked Adrian Smith’s artwork, upon which the game is based, for a long time, particularly the work he did for the Warriors of Chaos back in WHFB. The models for Hate reminded me very much of the Chaos worshipping savages of Warhammer, the Drune Kelts of Confrontation and all the other savage barbarians I’ve loved over the years. No matter how much I wanted to dislike the whole thing on principle the quality of the models kept drawing me back. At the same time the hobby hero known far and wide as the Imperial Rebel Ork kept telling me how good it was. Thus it was inevitable that when I spotted a good deal from a guy living not far from me I cracked. 

Hate

The world in which Hate is set is a grim and savage one, based on the “Chronicles of Hate” graphic novel in which the Earth Mother has been broken and imprisoned, the sun is gone and blood-thirsty cannibals war over a lightless, dying world. As I have a bit of a soft-spot for hordes of savage barbarians it was inevitable that this would appeal to me. Take a look at  this nasty-looking thug for instance.

Barbarian Chaos Hate Wudugast CMON (1)Barbarian Chaos Hate Wudugast CMON (2)

Most of them, like this guy, are clearly very evil.

Barbarian Chaos Hate Wudugast CMON (3)Barbarian Chaos Hate Wudugast CMON (4)

This chap however could almost look heroic – if he wasn’t carrying around so many people’s heads that is…

Barbarian Chaos Hate Wudugast CMON (1)Barbarian Chaos Hate Wudugast CMON (2)Barbarian Chaos Hate Wudugast CMON (3)

At first I wasn’t entirely sure who these next guys are. The book tends to emphasise implication and interpretation over clear explanations, which I like but which sometimes leaves you having to guess and fill in the blanks for yourself more than we’re used to. My understanding however is that these are troglodyte creatures, living in the depths beneath the earth, bestial and without technology to a degree that makes them almost like zombies.

Hate Art Cavemen 2Hate Art Cavemen 1

The kickstarter goes into a little more depth, explaining that “The clay men slept for centuries. Encased in mud, deep in the earth. Once a proud race of men, they now return from their living grave. Much diminished as humans, they now only crave flesh”. So they’re basically zombies then. No need to be coy about it, zombie cavemen sound pretty damn awesome to me!

Clayman Hate Wudugast CMON (1)Clayman Hate Wudugast CMON (2)

The box comes absolutely jammed to the brim with miniatures so expect to see lots and lots of nasty, barbaric individuals appearing over the coming months as I work my way through them.