Monday, August 26, 2019

Mordheim 2019: Sisters of Sigmar warband

Holy Convent of the Order of Merciful Sisters of Sigmar.

I never played Mordheim when it was released in 1999. I was a teenager and had only taken up the miniature wargaming hobby with my two brothers a few years earlier with Warhammer 40,000 and Gorkamorka. While I did not have sufficient funds to delve into another game at the time, I spent a lot of time reading White Dwarf with a keen eye on Mordheim. It was the game that showed me that the Warhammer Fantasy setting was more than just the sum of its influences, managing to rise above genre stereotypes and create something unique. A lot of this was due to the fantastic artwork associated with the game, injecting an otherworldly weirdness to everything with knightly owls and bipedal fish. That was a time when all of the imagery in GW’s books did not have to have a miniature counterpart, and it seemed like the artists had more freedom to illustrate whatever captured their imaginations, building up a world around the characters they drew, not only the characters themselves. If a world feels lived in, it helps give the whole endeavor a sense of believability and realism (even within the realm of the fantastical). Throughout the past 20 years since Mordheim was released, my approach to the hobby has changed and has moved more and more towards trying to make believable and realistic characters, something that I wanted to apply to the Sisters of Sigmar warband.

The Sisters of Sigmar venture into the ruins of the City of the Damned.

When Mordheim was released, Games Workshop had very few female models, so the inclusion of a warband comprising of only female models was a big step for Games Workshop. With that said, the original models have not aged very well. They have a very caricatured Warrior-nun aesthetic, complete with metal belly plates, accentuating the breasts, and heavy robes. Furthermore, their poses are awkward, with most holding their oversized weapons aloft in one hand and a raised fist for the other. For my redesign of the Sisters of Sigmar, I wanted to tone these elements down, giving them functional clothing and reasonable poses. They would not have survived for 20 years in the City of the Damned without pragmatism.

Two Sisters and Augur Domina Antioch.

I used a wide variety of different models, both male and female, as a basis for each of the members of my warband, using green stuff to differentiate them. Two were created from the new plastic Necromunda warbands, specifically Cawdor and Delaque. The charging female warrior in the Eyes of the Nine warband for Night Vault was the starting point of one of the Sister Superior models. Another Sister Superior was built using Pious Vorne from Blackstone Fortress, due to her convincing armor. The third Sister Superior was created from one of the original Sisters of Sigmar models (the Matriarch to be specific), with special effort taken to remedy the ridiculous breastplate. The warband’s Augur was converted rather quickly from the new Genestealer Cultist Locus model. With a lot of effort, the Jenetia Krole Character Series model was repurposed into the Matriarch for the warband. Whenever possible, I tried to minimize any overtly sexualized elements of the models, such as removing “boob” plate, as I felt it did not reflect a zealous warrior convent. I also used green stuff to add wrinkles and scars to many of the sisters’ faces, trying to make the warriors look older and battle worn, rather than young recruits. Finally, the warband was completed by adding an emissary of the town of Kurzewield, built and painted by Nicholas Tregidgo (k0rdhal), who would function as a hired sword for the warband.

Matriarch Josephine Muhenje and two other Sisters.

I put a lot of effort into building better warhammers for the models. Virtually no Games Workshop model has a reasonable looking warhammer, all of them being laughably huge compared to historical examples of similar weapons. Because of this, I largely built the models’ weapons from scratch, using small pieces of plastic, brass tubing, and green stuff. I am really happy with the smaller weapons, feeling that they allow the focus of the model to stay on the warriors themselves rather than their weapons. I think this is an important consideration for any model, since the trials and tribulations of the depicted warrior are more interesting than the tools they use for war.

A mercenary out of Kurzewield, built and painted by Nicholas Tregidgo (k0rdhal), next to Sister Constance Oni.

The entire Sisters of Sigmar warband for Mordheim 2019.

I am really happy with how my Sisters of Sigmar warband finally came together, thinking that each model looks like an interesting hero in their own right. Although the Mordheim 2019 event has come and gone, I still want to continue adding models to the warband. Before that however, I plan on touching up some of the paint work on a few of the sisters. Time got away from me leading up to the event and I was only able to paint a few of the sisters in a preliminary way. I want to get all of the models up to the same standard, so they look like a coherent group of pious warrior women. Perhaps by that time, the new Sisters of Battle models will be released, and I will have new models to work with to craft followers of Sigmar!

- Adam Wier

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