Posted by MortiS-the-Lost –
Notlob was already famous amongst his kind when he arrived at the Black Fire Pass. Had he not invented many fiendish engines of war and instruments of torture? Had he not designed and commanded the War Engines that battered down the walls of half the cities in the Badlands? Now Notlob was to apply his creative genius to designing new engines for the defence of the pass.
The Men and Dwarfs didn't know what had hit them when their next assault foundered under a driving storm of huge bolts as large as spears and capable of piercing straight through even the toughest Dwarf armour. Further assaults proved equally fruitless, and eventually the Orcs were left alone, to continue their age-old trades of murdering travellers and plundering merchant convoys.
This is one of 'Notlob's Orcish Bolt-Throwing Engines' from Citadel's 'Regiments Of Renown' series of miniatures. Actually no it's not, not quite - the crew are from 'Notlob's Orcish Bolt-Throwing Engines', but the Bolt Thrower itself is in fact a very similar 'Imperial Dwarf Bolt Thrower' that appears to be a re-sculpt based on the rather plainer looking original.
^ From looking at old Citadel Catalogue pictures, there seems have been at least 2 variants of this Bolt Thrower sold with different crews (images plundered in a raid on www.solegends.com)
I first got hold of the Bolt Thrower back in 2005 in a huge hoard of old Citadel miniatures which also included the Orc crew among many other things. The Crew I painted not long after getting hold of them and they have been used as inept spear-armed Orc guards in my dungeons ever since. The Bolt Thrower itself however I didn't get around to painting until a few days ago, which is why I'm making the post about it now.
The Bolt Thrower was quite battered, slightly mis-cast (it clearly came out of a mold that had gotten a bit torn up in use) and had a rather unusual paint job when I first got hold of it. The rivets had been painted randomly in red, green, blue and yellow in an manner that reminded me of fairground lights (but hey, maybe that was the intended effect). I stripped the model a few years ago and since then it sat in a box with a considerable number of unpainted Citadel Orcs from the same era - that is until about a week ago when I decided I wanted a Bolt Thrower for an up-coming game (I'll probably talk more about that later).
And so I began a bit of restoration/conversion work to get the best out of the model.
First I bent the model back into shape as best I could and filed away the worst of the miscast - I then went about adding feathers to the bolt/spear on the base using Green-Stuff (which not only made it match the bolt loaded into the weapon itself, but also covered up one of the casting defects).
At this stage I also made some minor alterations involving drilling through the holes in the end of the bow arms and filing a slot into the mechanism so I could add a bow-string using a bit of plumb-line. For ease of painting I did not fix the base of the machine to the main mechanism immediately, but I did attach a pin of iron wire at this stage in preparation for finally joining the 2 parts once I was finished painting.
The paint-job was nothing complex - I started (as always) with a black undercoat and then proceeded dry-brush the whole of both parts with P3 Battle Field Brown, followed by P3 Bloodtracker Brown and then Citadel Snakebite Leather. The feathers where painted P3 Jackbone and the washed with Citadel Gryphonne Sepia and then thinned down Citadel Devlan Mud.
To make them stand out from the rest of the wood on the machine I re-painted the shafts of the bolts P3 Beast Hide and washed them with Citadel Devlan Mud. I picked out the bow-string and the coil of rope on the base with an extra highlight of Bubonic Brown and then yet another wash of Citadel Devlan Mud.
I gave all the metal bits a base-coat of Citadel Tin Bitz and the picked out various bits in either Citadel Boltgun Metal washed with yet more Citadel Devlan Mud or P3 Molten Bronze with a wash of Citadel Thrakka Green mixed with Citadel Waaargh Green. My favourite detail on the piece didn't photograph brilliantly no matter how hard I tried, but there's a little goblinoid face on the front of the bow just underneath the head of the bolt - this was picked out with the latter method.
I normally see people paint the loading crank on these bolt throwers as metal, but personally I don't think it looks quite right that way - instead I decided to interpret the detail as a metal handle that has been wrapped with leather or cord; so I painted it Snake-bite Leather and washed it with the ever useful Citadel Devlan Mud.
Once all the paint was dry I added an adhesive felt pad to the bottom, it's not much to look at but it protects any surface the miniature is standing on from being damaged by the metal base - I recommend doing this to any miniatures with metal bases that you can't (or don't want to) mount on plastic bases.
And now for the last paragraph or 2, where I either sum up or ramble on - let's see what happens …
While it's perhaps not the best designed miniature of a Bolt Thrower, this piece does have a certain old Citadel (or if you prefer 'Oldhammer') quirkiness to it that I'm rather fond of. One thing I quite like about this Bolt Thrower is that it's a fairly generic war machine and although I've taken the pictures above of it being crewed by 2 Orcs, it wouldn't look out of place being crewed by Skeletons, Rat-men, Humans or Dwarfs (this version was after all sold as a Dwarven Bolt Thrower) - so it's likely it'll see all kinds of use in my games by various factions. It's first use (the one I painted it for) will be as a small artillery piece atop the wall of a city being attacked by a Dragon in an up-coming 'MortiS Quest' game.
I was considering doing a bit of ramble on the rules for Bolt-Throwers in WFB 3rd and the BECMI D&D rules for them in an issue of Dragon Magazine that I have managed to misplace, but if you've read this far down you've probably suffered enough already. Now if you'll excuse me I need to go tear my house apart looking for that issue of Dragon Magazine so I can use those rules ...
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