With the start of the new year, I figured it was time to formally introduce the world to my newest army and current project: The Kharadrong Raiders. No, I didn't spell their name wrong. This post will cover their conception as an army, the initial round of photography and finally the background lore I've whipped up for them.
Putting the Pieces Together
So, what are the Kharadrong Raiders? The Kharadrong Raiders are obviously my take on the Kharadon Overlords. When this army was first previewed last April, I was torn. A year prior I had been working on a Dispossessed force during the PMP's Budget of Sigmar Contest and I desperately shared my desire for a dwarven airship. Jokingly I said during a Warhammer Weekly: "Make it happen GW!" Little did I realize that we would have not only a Dwarven airship,but an entire faction a little over a year later. But as I said, I was torn. Despite wanting this army so badly, there was something to be desired with their aesthetic. Don't get me wrong, I like metal. I'm a dwarf player, of course I do. But I also like beards and a little bit of skin. I wanted a connection to more traditional dwarves and Barak Thryng seemed like such a rejection of this (given that is is like 1% of the total KO population). So I was on the fence and the Monopoly-man head of Brokk just pushed me over the edge with initially rejecting the army.
Then I felt a little bit guilty, as one might anticipate given my prior intense desire for an army just like this. I mean, how often does GW deliver just what someone asks for?1 So, I sat down and tried to figure out how I could remedy this and make these guys work. I had also long been interested in a Fyreslayers project, and as I mused on what this could look like, Sigmar's inspiration struck! What if I reimagined what Long Drong's Slayers might look like if they were modernized and brought into the current AOS aesthetic. For those who don't know Long Drong's Slayers, Long Drong was a slayer pirate who captained his own ship and led a Dogs of War mercenary company in the Old World. I realized this project allowed all the pieces to fit together! I could do my Airship fleet of KO, have the hair I was looking for even with closed faced helms (because of the Slayer mohawks), and I could have definite ties/homages to the Old World while still being firmly seated in the Mortal Realms. I could even do a Aqysh-based force with orange glow effects (which I had been experimenting on with the Phoenix Temple models).
The only challenge standing in the way of this project was cost. Fyreslayer mohawks are understandably in-demand on the secondary market, which meant that I was going to likely have to buy a whole host of Fyreslayer boxes. I lucked out when I found out that 14 mohawks came per box of 10 Vulkites. That said, to make a base 10 infantry troops for my army, we're talking about $105 MSRP retail. So I mused on it for a week or so. It was such an awesome concept that I realized I also couldn't not do it. So, I tightened my belt and got to work with an initial test model last May.
Things came together better than I could have imagined. The mohawks weren't difficult to line up. Weapon conversions were pretty much snip and glue. The Bases weren't difficult to produce. And the color scheme popped! Thus I committed to the project and pulled the trigger my new army....
I've designed the project to come together in multiple flights and I use events to plan my projects. The first event on the docket was Holy Havok, the team event put on in Chicago at the beginning of November of each year. The Holy events, put on by @Holy Hammer Hern and the Holy Hammer club differ from standard tournaments in that they have a more narrative focus (not unlike RAW in the U.K.) and the Holy events are the premier Hobby events in the U.S. Steve's tables are lovingly assembled and customized to the various mortal realms. This event was a highly competitive hobby environment and the perfect place to premier the Kharadrong. My co-host @Vincent Venturella rose to the challenge and assembled his own force to pair with mine. I'll cover this event and the results of that event in a later post.
Assembling A Sky Fleet
So I set about finishing the first round of models. Here are the results of these first models:
In the midst of this work, I experienced a setback. Literally days after I completed my second full unit, the GHB2017 dropped with the "adjustments" to Thunderers which made my unit (that I had converted to all have different poses) unplayable. It wasn't just that they got their power adjusted down; the unit I had painted was literally illegal under the new rules. The changes also threw into question the competitive viability of the whole project. To see this thing through, I would be hobbying on it for the entire year and there was a chance I would be taking a sub-par army to these events. The prospect was less than enticing and I considered scrapping the whole project. Luckily, I didn't. I loved the concept of this enough that I resolved to see it through, even if it was sub-optimal in competitive play. The silver lining was that Fyreslayers under the new system were highly competitive and their aesthetic was baked into my forces. The allies system dovetailed perfectly with the hybrid lists I was already considering. If the KO thing was a dud, I could always redirect my work to pure Fyreslayers.
So I pushed through and here is what I came up with:
Now I needed a story to launch these pirate slayers into the AOS world. This is what I've initially come up with:
Kharadrong’s Raiders are a mercenary band made up of the remnants of the Grimharaz Lodge, who’ve recently retaken their ancestral hold of Barak-Zharr. Their name is honorific of an ancient mythical hero, Long Drong, who similarly led a band of slayer mercenary pirates on sailing vessels to plunder and to victory. As a Dogs of War force, the Kharadrong’s Raiders have found common cause with Trapjaw’s Barnyard Busters in the mutual pursuit of gold and glory.
The origin of the Kharadrong’s Raiders is a long and tragic story. Decades ago, the Grimharaz lodge came under assault by Tzeentch daemon hordes in what would later become known as the War of the Wyrdquartz. While many of the lodges held their ground, Grimharaz was at the heart of the conflict and sustained heavy losses. Despite the intervention of Kharadron Overlord fleets, the lodge’s hold of Barak-Zharr was lost under the press of daemon flesh. The remnants of Grimharaz, now homeless and hopeless, disseminated amongst the Baraks of the Kharadon Overlords and picked up work where they could find it while the Grimharaz’s Runefather, Zharrik, went into a self imposed exile.
For years the remnants of the Grimharaz lodge toiled amongst the Overlords, and many served aboard Overlord vessels as mercenaries. Over time, the sons of Grimharaz adopted the means and methods of the Kharadron. They learned to sail the aethersphere under the skilled guidance of Zilfin navigators and distill the essence of aethergold from the Khemists of Urbaz. Despite their exile amongst the Overlords, the Runeson Thrundrik never forgot the halls of Barak-Zharr. Thrundrik and his trusted brother-in-arms Varag set about re-gathering the lodge with the goal of reclaiming Barak-Zharr. Even in these early stages of re-formation, Thrundrik saw that many of the younger generation had assimilated to the ways of the Overlords, while the older longbeards held strong to the ancient traditions of the lodge. To help bridge this division, Thrundrik sought out Runefather Zharrik and reunited the lodge under Zharrik, knowing full well that the tension between the new and the old could not be maintained indefinitely. But the unity held and the combined arms of young and old, aethermatics and ur-gold runes side by side, retook Barak-Zharr.
Years have passed and the lodge persists amidst the tensions. New and old have found an odd peace in the firescorched halls of Barak-Zharr as ancient stoneworks have been restored and aethergold furnaces installed. The Grimharaz lodge has found unlikely allies with a neighboring Ironjawz warband led by Trapjaw but the take is good and the Orruks (or at least their lust for gold) is trustworthy enough.
Recently, Thrundrik has caught wind of large remaining deposits of Wyrdquartz nearby and has sent a joint force led by his brother-in-arms Varag and Trapjaw to investigate. It was Tzeentch’s desire for Wyrdquartz that led to the loss of the Hold the last time around and Thrundrik refuses to let it happen again. He hopes that Varag and Trapjaw can get in front of this situation and maybe even make some profit while doing so.
With everything else in place and putting the final touches on my last couple units, I needed to finally bring the legendary Barak-Zharr to life. I spent most of the month of October hobbying away on my board for Holy Havok. Ultimately, I think things came together fairly well, but I'll let you judge.
And the rest of the finished units in the first round of models:
I hope you enjoyed this introduction to my current passion project. In future posts, I'll provide some behind the scenes glimpses while various stuff was WIP, as well as detailing Vince and I's Holy Havok 2017 experience, and I, of course, have new additions to this force I've completed in the meantime. I mean, Holy Wars 2018 is indeed coming next month!
1: In no way do I actually think that GW designed the KO for me or at my suggestion. The timing is simply humorous.