Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Isle of Blood Sneak Preview

I've been busy the last couple of weeks painting upcoming Warhammer miniature releases for the local Games Workshop store's display case.  I finished a beautiful new Seekers of Slaanesh kit the other day and  meant to post pictures, but then I delivered them to the store before photographing them.

More interesting, however, to Warhammer fans, is the High Elf mage I just finished today from the upcoming Isle of Blood starter box, following in the wake of the new 8th edition rules released earlier this month.  Having had a good look at most of the models in this set, I've got to say that this is one of the highest quality starter sets that GW has produced to date, with exceptional quality sculpts, and is an order of magnitude better than the previous Battle for Skull Pass set.  The set features High Elf and Skaven (rat men) armies and contains everything you need to get started in the Warhammer hobby.  I don't mean to shill for GW, but if you've been thinking of getting into Warhammer, now is a great time to start, with a new edition of the rules hot of the presses and a super-spiffy starter set that is a crazy good deal.

One of the most breathtaking models in the starter set is a High Elf lord on a Griffin mounted on a flying base.  This is a friggin' big model and the detail is superb.  I was asked to paint this one up for display, too, and it broke my heart to turn it down.  The catch was that it had to be turned in by August 10th; since I'm still busy finishing off the kitchen and putting the final touch on a research paper before heading into the field on the 13th, I just didn't think I'd be able to get this model done by the deadline and give the attention that it deserves.

Anyhow, since the Isle of Blood won't be on sale until September, here's a first look at the High Elf mage:

My hat is off to Mark Gruener, manager of the GW Winnipeg store, for recognizing Ulthuan, the ancestral island of the High Elves, which is painted on the orb of the wizard's staff.  This was an easter egg that I thought no one would ever find.  You've got to respect someone who knows the geography of the Warhammer world so well that he recognized a small island painted only a few millimetres in diameter.

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