Where did that one come from?

I've been asked a few times how I get my ideas and themes for armies.  If you ask my son Jon he says I get all my good ideas from him, and honestly he is to credit (or to blame) for the start of a lot of them.

When it comes to miniatures games, I just don't have a lot of interest in the 'standard' armies and their background.  For as long as I played Warhammer, I rarely read the fluff in the books, and just didn't want to do any type of variation of standard armies.  This lead to the majority of the armies I did build (and the ones I like to show off because of the themes):

I have done some other armies, but they are, to me, just plain vanilla.  My first undead army (the only one which I no longer have, having given/sold all my minis for it to my son, who has repainted some of them, and others are in his friends armies (I do enjoy spotting one of my old conversions once in a while)), my Ogre army (the Fire Eaters - no real conversions, they just all had the same tattoos) and my current Abyssal Dwarf army (The Black Forges of Deiw) - no real theme beyond the volcanic basing.

So it has been five years since I've done a new themed army.  Why so long?  Two main reasons.  The first is I run so many more events than I actually play in, it just hasn't felt like it was worth the effort to make a new army that would only be used a couple of times a year.  One of the driving forces are having people comment and remember my army, and the chance that I could win the "General's Choice" award with it as the players favorite.  I will never win best painted in a large competition simply because I don't have the painting skills (nor talent) to compete with some of the truly fantastic painters out there.  However my themes seem to be memorable enough that people like and remember them.  I have seen so many beautiful armies, the majority of which I can't remember because at the end of the day, there was nothing original about them.  So mine aren't quite as beautifully done, but people do remember them.

The second, and larger, reason, is I simply haven't been inspired.  I've spent most of my hobby time building and painting demo armies, with occasional new units for my one tournament army.  I haven't had any idea that has excited me to do.  When I get (or steal) an idea, then something clicks in my head, and it just seems to explode with ideas.

For the UGPS - the original idea was to make an army as random as possible.  The themes were either going to be a circus, or the concept of "going postal".  Postal won (as you can tell), which is good because I later saw a really nice circus themed goblin army.  I knew I wanted a lot of fanatics, artillery and magic (really, I was feeling like I was such a crappy player at that point that I wanted to take as much of the game play OUT of my hands as possible).   Once I got started, I just kept coming up with more ideas to theme units.  Philatelists (stamp collectors) - goblins with stamps for shields.  UPS Boyz (all in brown, with their knees showing).  Snail Mail (using snail shells).  Pony Express (wolf riders).  And adding packages / letters everywhere I could think of.

When I decided to do the Grateful Undead, it was based on something my son had talked about.  When he was in high school, he was a band geek (all three of my boys were).  He had the idea of doing a warhammer army that was all musicians.  He has always been an undead player (Vampire Counts in WFB, Undead in KoW), and so started talking to me about his idea.  Mixing musicians and undead made me suggest to him do a Grateful Dead theme - which he thought was stupid.  I later resurrected it and made the army myself - looking up Grateful Dead iconography - Dancing Teddy Bears, Dancing Skeletons in Top Hats, Skeletons with Roses, Groupies, Roadies.  I have never been a huge fan of the band, but had a lot of fun doing that army (and it is the one WFB army that is almost fully compatible with KoW (the Dancing Bears (played as dire wolves) need to be rebased to be regiments of werewolves (so from 5 25x50 bases to a 120 x 40 multibase)).

I rebuilt the UGPS to add orcs after an edition change.  It was on a forum that someone asked for suggestions on how to theme goblin squig hoppers for a planned goblin pirate army.  The idea came to me of goblins riding sharks - and of thinking that I was indeed jumping the shark with my themes.  I don't remember who it was asking about it, but he didn't care for my idea.  But once it sparked, it rapidly caught fire in my head, and I just started coming up with themed units.  Savage Orcs pumping iron.  Boar Boyz on Jet Ski's.  The enormous Arachnarok Spider as a giant lobster.  A giant as Ariel, the little mermaid.  Pamela Sue Anderson from Baywatch on her watchtower.  Goblin spider riders riding crabs.  The one idea that I never was able to due (I tried a few things that didn't work) was goblins surfers, with the surf boards all having the space wolves logo on them (i.e. wolf riders).  They would all be doing a tube ride - I could never get the water effects to work to make the tube at the time, so it never got done.

For the Drunk Dwarfs once I got the idea at Adepticon, all sorts of units just sprung to mind, from the Minors to the beer powered war engines.

So what is this big wall of text leading to anyway?  Well my son has been suggesting themes to me for the past few years, but nothing caught my attention until a few weeks ago.  He had made the suggestion before of doing a cthulhu themed army.  One of the requirements I am putting on myself is for it to be at least a 90% Mantic model army.  With the new release of the Nameless for Deadzone, it finally seemed possible.  And ideas started to come.  And thus I have started working on the Trident Realms of R'yleh.

Of course it needed Cthulhu in it.  Reaper makes a great bones one, and it is only $30!  This would be the centerpiece, and the only non-mantic model in the army.  Being so gigantic, of course it would be a coral giant.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
painted version from the reaper web site
Size comparison - Cthulhu and Thuul Mythican
 Thuuls were a must, of course.  They are just tiny little cthuluhus - and add Wings of Honeymaze to a Mythican (an idea I stole from Kara Brown) you really have a tiny cthulhu.

Thuul Mythican
 Having played Abyssal Dwarfs for so long, I had to have some of the high defense units in the army - placoderms and gigas.  The new nameless ogres seemed a natural for gigas, and hard guards from dreadball would be my placoderms.
nameless ogre
dreadball Hard Guards

Mantic is putting out a big creature to fill the strider role in Deadzone for the army - the bathomite - so why not use these for Wyrm Riders?  I am thinking of using assassins as the riders, as I'll need to cover up the weapon mount on their back.


There are two models that have actual guns - the gunslinger and rifleman - so they would be my naiad heartpiercers.
The new resin flying needle drones would fit for the flying unit - the riverguard.

needle drone
Of course I had to have a Kraken - is there any Trident Realm player that doesn't want to "Release the Kraken"during their games.  The new Goliath was a big monster that would fit that role.

I've played against Eckter the special character, and originally thought about using the actual sculpt for him, but he just didn't fit the theme.  The Blight however looked suitably armored for a DE 6+ character, so he will fill that role.
The blight
I posted the list, and it was suggested that I needed more inspiring, so I added a naiad envoy - and while going through my dreadball figures, I found Irsala, who fits the theme perfectly.


Right now I have a 2250 pt list, that I can trim to 2000 or so.  If I need to add, I figures I can use Inkers and Scuttlers for tidal swarms

So I've started collecting the miniatures.  The most difficult is getting the dreadball hard guards, simply because you can't get them separately, only as part of a team.  Right now I'm up to 18 out of 28 need for PMC for a hoard (with 3 teams on order - so 12 more).  I've got 4 riflemen and gunslingers (so need 3 more of each - which I'll get with my Star Saga wave 2 - but do I want to keep those for star saga?).  I just ordered the Bathomites (4) and blight.  Three troops of thuul are on order (needing 28 for PMC) and I have the mythican and Irsala.  The Goliath doesn't come out until the end of the month though.  I do need to place a new order with Shogun for magnetic bases and trays - no matter how many of these I try to stock up on, I never have what I need when I start a new project.

Of course it will need a themed display board - the sunken ruins of R'yleh would be good.  I'm thinking of trying to use water effects to actually give each base some clear water depth - which will also help as a final anchor for the mines - but we'll see what I can come up with.

I plan to post updates as I build this army, if you want to follow with the creative process.

Because it is all fun and games . . .