It’s been a while since I posted anything « Confrontation » related here, in the meantime I persisted in my personnal crusade to keep that wonderful game alive and throw some paints on the pile of unpainted Rackham minis I have at home.
As a result, here are some pictures of a small (but growing) Dirz warband centered around a « Technomancien » (crazy scientist) and the henchmen (and weird beasts) protecting his lab.
Kayl Kartan’s lab
Just as Azaël’s attendants (do you want to know more?), I started this project to be able to lend a warband to a friend. This helps me with motivation, allows me to interpret some of my friends ideas to fuel my inspiration and brings more people to the table so that we can play together. What we could call a « win-win hobby situation ».
My friend wanted a Dirz warband, which is very nice because I own quite a few of these and love the minis. On top of that, they are my Griffins arch-ennemies, so it is a great opportunities for fun narrative games.
She chose Dirz after I told her a bit about their lore and she liked the whole « crazy scientists » side of it. The « Dirz » are alchemists and wizards, using dark magic and forbidden knowledge to create armies of monstrous bio-engineered clones to rule Aarklash. They are also a very religious people (being originally citizens of the Akkylannian Empire, but of the seditious heritics kind) and their ultimate goal is to create a « perfect being » to serve as a vessel for their God (Arh-Tolth) to reincarnate, more on that later…
A former seditious rebellion, the followers of Dirz are now a well organized and complex society. A dark Empire able to raise large scale armies to threaten even the most powerful Nations of Arklaash. The « traditional » colour scheme for them is full of black, dark green and rich purple, giving them a kind of dark and grandiose feel. I did not want to go that way though…
The warband is focused on a scientist and is made of the clones he created in his underground lab to protect him and his work from unfriendly raids. I decided they should look like a medical team. They would wear white and light green/light blue medical looking gown (depending on their « rank »). This allowed me to reverse the usual colour scheme and renounce the usual « users of the dark arts wear dark colours » mantra. It was also a great opportunity to work with colours I do not often use and try to paint minis with low contrast.
I was a little more conservative with the skin tones and kept the usual « pale and not so healthy » skin. Since Dirz labs are hidden in underground facilities, I thought it was the best way to go. As for the robes, the skin tones should vary though: lesser clones should be paler and look sicker, more elaborate clones should look more « human » and « true borns » (the Dirz society is ruled by « true borns » ie real humans) should look more healthy (eventhough, since they live underground, they would not get a nice tan).
The last thing I changed from the « traditional » colour scheme are the metalic parts. There are lots of metalics on Dirz clones (bio-tech hybrids are kind of their thing). Usually they are painted using dark (and often rusted) metal. For me this derives from their foes propaganda. They are perceived as heretics and mad scientists, so their tools must be dirty and scary, as servent of the Light, on the other hand, should carry silver blades to battle. That feels odd though. They are master cloners and bio-engineers, so I think they would know how to clean their tools and avoid killing their « patient » on the operating table. They sure are crazy but they are good at what they do. So I went for a very light silver tone, almost « chrome ».
The bases are resin temple bases from Dragon Forge. I wanted something that looked like the paving of an hospital, only a little more worn out and their Temple bases did the trick nicely. I find with little work, uniform bases really do wonders to make a warband or army coherent.
Well, you know enough about my general thinking, so here are the minis I completed so far.
Kayl Kartan is the leader of the warband and, as it is often the case in Confrontation, a powerful wizard. Lorewise he is one of the most sadistic, creative and powerful « Technomancien » there is. I find the sculpt very expressive, the old mad scientist at his best, looking down on his « patient ». By the way, before you ask, yes, it is a weird looking hair drier he has strapped to his belt (right side). Do you think this killer hairstyle is achieved without proper care?
In game the « Technomanciens » (Dirz wizards) are powerful dark magic users with loads of nice spells to enhance their warriors. Though he is a pure breed wizard (there is a warrior-mage class in Confrontation) he can throw quite a punch thanks to these nice claws you see on his back.
The paintjob is in line with the rest of the warband: white medical robes and chrome metalics. As a « true-born », his skin is more « natural » than the clones but still pretty pale. All in all it is a quite simple work. I am still hesitating on adding blood slaters on his robes, but for now I feel that he is scarier clean than dirty.
The sweet Kitty
This cute « cat » is one of Kayl Kartan lab products. The « tigers » of Dirz are « pets » used to protect their vast desertic Empire from intruders. They scout the wasteland for preys and thus keep the undergound labs safe from intrusion. I like the idea that Kayl kept one of these beast in his lab, petting it like an inoffensive cat just before releasing it on defective clones or unworthy prisonners.
In game the tigers are as tough as they look. They are fast brutal killers ready to jump at the throat of any isolated foe and they will sustain heavy wounds before going down. Sweet kitties indeed…
I tried to keep the paintjob coherent with the rest of the warband while giving the tiger a more « organic » feel. I spent a little more time on his skin than on the other guys to add some nuance to it. Since there is not much more to paint than skin on that beast, it deserved some variations. The chitinous « bones » were a good way to add green parts to the mix (thus reinforcing the unity of the warband), only I used a dark and shiny green to differenciate it from the green robes of the clones and Kayl’s gloves.
Meet the alpha and beta clones (temporary names), Kayl Kartan personnal sentries and aides. These are basic Dirz « soldiers », short lived clones mass produced in the Technomanciens’ labs. They are the backbone of every Dirz warband.
In game these are not impressive warriors, your usual « trooper » from any game. I gave my friend some close combat equipped ones (with a choice of different weapons) and some crossbows equipped ones to give her some tactical options. Not impressive warriors I said… True but as always with Dirz, things may not be what they seem. All Dirz warriors have a « mutagen » ability allowing you to boost their stats in game. This allows you to make a killing machine into an unstoppable berserk but also allow some rank trooper to survive far longer than they should, so these clones pose more threat to their foes than standard troopers usually do.
Their paintjob is the « standard » of the warband (the first test mini was a clone): pale and sick looking skin, pale green robes, chrome metalics. As I wanted gaming minis I opted for time efficient recipes (ask if you want, I’ll be glad to share them). In the end I think they worked out well enough. It allowed me to bring the warband to a playable size in little time and still have nice looking minis. The robes are clearly the parts I spent more time one, they are not perfect, but it was good practice.
The warband will receive reinforcements soon. Kayl Kartan still needs some muscles to protect him and will make himself a pair of clones bodyguards fit for that job: two Keratis warriors. He should be flanked by a priest (Vicar) and a « leisure » slave (red servant) as well, to get a full retinue.
I’ll then add one of his really impressive monstruous creation (a Dasyatis clone), to give the warband some real punch on the battlefield. And maybe one day a scout or two, in charge of raiding the desert above his lab to fetch him samples for his experiment (maybe a Skoryze warrior and a Biopsist, we’ll see).
Well that’s all for folks. Hope you liked what you read, see you soon.
Banner picture, Confrontation art, pictures labelled « Rackham studio » and the picture of the medical team were stolen on the internet. The pictures of the minis are my own.