Drunk Dwarfs of Karaz Valdahaz

It was my first Adepticon in 2012, and I was sitting in the Warhammer Fantasy hall. Since I had never been before, I made sure I left my Saturday open so I would have plenty of time to visit the vendor hall. Plus the championship just sounded a bit too cutthroat for my tastes.  If you have been to Adepticon, you know that is a mistake - there is little to nothing to do if you aren't in a tournament, and the vendor hall is small enough to visit between tournament rounds if you aren't a slow player.

One thing I did notice was the amount of drinking going on.  This was the first convention I had been to that allowed alcohol.  I even saw one guy with a corny keg in a suitcase.  Since brewing beer is another of my hobbies, I couldn't help but think that it would be cool to bring my own beer.

I was extremely impressed with a lot of the armies I saw there, but one in particular just knocked my socks off.  Brandon Palmer of GMM Studios was debuting his Monty Python themed Ogre army - Munchy Gutsmen and the Holy Gristle.  Like all of Brandon's stuff, it was fantastic.  However the thing at the time that I noticed most of all wasn't the beautifully painted models, nor the awesome castle as the backdrop for the display board - but the cart that he had it all mounted on to transport it.
And he just keeps upping his game.
So these different ideas were all floating around my head as I sat there.  Warhammer.  Beer.  Display Carts.  I brew beer and play warhammer.  If I had a cart then I could easily bring a keg of beer. Dwarfs are famous for drinking beer.  I like the way dwarfs play in warhammer, but haven't liked the static models that much.  Dwarfs drinking beer.  Drunk dwarfs.  Beer on a cart.  Drunk Dwarfs with cold beer on tap.

Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself - that is the finished army and display in my basement just before Adepticon 2013!  (For full details on how I made the cart - check out my post here)  The runes on the front of the cart spell Karaz Valdahaz in Klinkarhun, the runic alphabet of the Warhammer dwarfs.  This translates to "Mountain Brewery".  (I had forgotten and actually had to go and find a site that showed the runes and common words).

Like my better projects, once I got the initial idea it didn't take me long to start coming up with ideas for it.  First every unit had to be tied to beer or drinking.  So of course I would have to find as many drunk dwarf figures as I could.

Dwarfs are all about war machines.  The grudge thrower was their catapult - so why not throw kegs of beer?  I couldn't go into battle without a trusty cannon for taking out monsters - so make it beer powered!  An organ fueled by kegs of beer!

Dwarfs also like 'normal' shooting - and I preferred black powder over crossbows - but how about using beer bottles as guns?  Hammerers were a main, powerful unit - what better hammers than beer cans?  What better armor than beer cans (that ended up not being used).

For the anvil of doom why not make the brew pot of doom instead?   Another interesting unit were miners (because of the underground advancement rule, allowing them to show up on any board edge later in the game).  Nothing fit for them until I thought of switching one letter - and they became minors - all with fake id's trying to get into this party.  Add in a beer powered gyrocoptor and I was about ready to go!

It took me a little while, a lot of research, and I never did add up the receipts for all the miniatures I ordered from any manufacturer I could find to get everything together.  And for once I still have some of the work in progress pictures.

Steam Cannon / cannon conversion, with barrels and wire for hoses
the grudge thrower just needed barrels
the gyrocoptor got barrels under the skids, some new engine parts, hoses, and eventually a steam blast from the gun
Hammer test - the can is green stuff, the label just a reduction of a can label from the web
the organ gun was a set of four barrels, with hoses going to each gun barrel.  I made the shelf from craft sticks to hold the barrel piece (it came pre-painted)
Thunderer, still needing work.  The beer bottles were bought from doll house supply sites - and ended up about $3 a piece.  As you can see it took some work to be able to fit them into the mini (mainly carving out the space for the bottle).
One thing I found while looking for drunk dwarfs was the "Sister Sledgehammerers Maidens" "fantasy football" team by Warlord Games. (and it wasn't until writing this five years later that I realized that it is the same company where I bought my roman and celtic historical minis from).

Specifically in the team were the Line Maidens sculpts - they didn't so much block their opponents as 'distract' them.

Well, when you get a bunch of drunks together, especially where there are young women and lots of beer - it just seemed natural for a wet t-shirt contest to break out.  A quick table out of craft sticks and then pin the for female dwarfs on it, and I was off (ok, way off).
Line Maidens or Dancing girls
These weren't enough though.  I went through all the other metal dwarfs I had acquired, and using the regimental bases (4 models wide) I set up appropriate models to go in front of and behind them.
even found a guy to pour the beer.
These are carefully and intentionally posed.  The shy fellow on the far left is blushing and waving as the girl is blowing him a kiss.  Others in the front are cheering them on.  The guy on the barrel on the right is pouring out a beer - right above the girl holding her breasts together as it splashes on them.
I had fun with these
One of my favorites is the second from the right in the back - I didn't even have to convert him - just proper positioning and he is about two seconds from getting slapped as he reaches for the dancers ass.

And now fully painted
I really had fun with the dancing girls & wet t-shirt contest.
so much character in them
I ended up using wooden dowels instead of green stuff for the beer cans on the Hammerers. Scouring the web for various beer labels, these were simply printed out and glued on.
The minors were fun.  I used the bodies from Dwarf Seekers by Avatars of War.  Since they are under age, I didn't want them to have beards yet, so used human heads (mainly from GW Free Company sprues).  Liquid green-stuff was used to smooth over their skin a bit for the t-shirts.  The beer logos are again color printouts of logos I found on the web, as well as the fake id's they are carrying (there are not a lot of pictures of fake id's on the internet - if you look closely though you can see both McLovin' and Agent Mulder).  These young dwarfs aren't yet old enough to drink, and just want to sneak in to the party.
As it seems to happen, a new army book came out while I was playing this army.  The book added a couple of new units, including IronDrakes.  These heavily armed warriors carried mini flame cannons - and while I didn't want to buy them, I did want to include them in my army.  So instead I used Mantic Forge Father Stormrage Veterans, and gave them the guns which I got cheap off of eBay.  I then added beer cans as fuel tanks on their backs.

The thunderers that I showed in progress now painted up.  In general most of the faces are hidden to make room for the bottle.

I really love the organ gun.  It was one of the first pieces to use the Armorcast Cinematic Effects - these are actually venom blasts - but painted up to look like beer foam.

The cannon / steam cannon conversion also got a cinematic effect - though I trimmed off all the sharp pieces of shrapnel - as the beer power wouldn't explode quite so violently.  The beer foam/cannonball are actually on a pin, so it can be removed for transport.  The figure firing the canon is also magnetized, so can come off if appropriate.

BOOM - hur hur hur
Like the WIP in progress shot, the grudge thrower was an amazingly simple conversion, but that fit the theme very well.  I made sure to have really crappy beer on the labels for the kegs - the dwarfs wouldn't waste the good stuff on their foes after all.

Change the bolt on the bolt thrower to a bottle

I used a (very) old citadel paint cap to make the brew pot of doom.  The beer and flames are valejo gel paint effects painted appropriately.  I ended up putting too much in the pot, so it shrunk down as it dried - leaving a better effect for the boiling beer than I expected.

I really liked the old gyrocoptor - especially after adding a keg and hooking it up to the steam gun. However I could not use it effectively in the game.  Instead of just putting it aside however, I turned it into a turn counter.  Some double sided tape attached the base to an MDF circle I cut out, and then made sets of beer cans for the turn numbers.  It easily rotates around on the brass rod.
Beer one
Beer three
beer five
I ended up using the same Scibor mini for both the BSB and the Lord on Shield bearers, but I never tended to field them in the same army, so it worked ok.

beer rune smith

I made this slayer for a campaign, but it never went past the third round

An engineer, with his own version of the beer helmet

A second engineer when I needed one.

Dwarf lord on Shield Bearers.  Yes, it is the BSB, but also the anvil guards from the Brew Pot of Doom.

From the back

When the new gyrobomber came out, I really liked it.  Beautiful kit - you have to give GW credit for making plastic kits that go together very well.  I replaced the air bladders with kegs.

The army probably did better than any other Warhammer army I had played - and I played it more than any other, right up until I stopped playing completely.

At their first tournament, the 2013 Seige at the Tower in Columbus Ohio on January 5, 2013 I won Best Painted Army. Nothing to show, but $70 in gift certificates to the Guard Tower, which I used to get a bolt thrower and a copy of Flash Point.

At the 2013 Cincycon WFB Tournament on March 2nd, I again won best painted (out of 18 people). This one came with a large beer glass, a copy of the just released Daemon book, and a Garden of Mor scenery kit (close to $100 in prizes). Not bad. I got my score for the Adepticon primer as well, and my score tied with the winner (but sportsmanship was the tie breaker - and he beat me by 3 pts there). Also had the same score as the overall winner, who had the highest score for painting, sportsmanship and game play. Yeah he kicked butt.

So I take the dwarfs, with the beer tap working, to the big one - Adepticon. First thing was the 1000 pt "How You Use It" tournament - and without the display I win Tourney's Choice for half the army. (A mantic skeleton & catapult box, a box of gnoblars, and a pair of crystals (scenery) from Armorcast for the prizes). For the 5 round, 2 day championship, I had a lot of people coming by, bringing their friends, all telling me how much they loved my army and display. Unfortunately not quite enough to get a majority of votes, and did not get the big prize.

At Origins 2013, they dwarfs won Best Painted - unfortunately the awards for this never came in :-(

In October 2013, at the first annual Legendary Games Faire, the dwarfs won the Players Choice, getting a $50 gift certificate (which I'm saving for the new dwarf book rumored to be coming out soon) and engraved glass

Buckeye Battles 2014 - won Best Theme for the team tournament with my son - a team of lizardmen and dwarfs in search of the fabled golden hops!

Unfortunately, the day before we headed up for the tournament, my wife asked me to trim some of the neighbors bushes that were over our back fence.  The work didn't take long - but what I didn't know at the time was half of what I cut down was Poison Ivy.  During the team tournament I wasn't feeling well and kept getting worse as the day wore on, then the next morning my eye was almost swollen shut and I looked like I had been blessed by Grandfather Nurgle, and felt it too.  So my army was set up, the keg was working, but I went and withdrew from the tournament and spent the next few hours trying to find an urgent care.

Eventually I did find one, and they prescribed some steroids - which I then had to find a Kroger to get filled - but once I started taking them I immediately felt better.

I took a little nap, then headed back to the tournament to see how my sons were doing.  The ringer offered to play me for fun, and we had a good game.  Then Jeff came by and actually put me back in the tournament - giving me an average score for the first game to keep my pairings appropriate (which he then dropped for the final scores).  So I got in most of the games, and people enjoyed the beer.

Unfortunately, many people had already submitted their favorite army votes before finding out that I was back in the running, but event so I  tied for third in the voting for Player's Choice.  Disappointing, but understandable.  Also Brandon Palmer had actually come to Buckeye that year - so realistically I didn't stand a chance anyway.

After that I was pretty much done with Warhammer.  I played in a few more tournaments, including getting invited for a second time to the Path to Glory tournament in Columbus, which I believe was the last time I was to play Warhammer, because even though I did the best with this army, I had started playing a lot more Kings of War, and enjoyed the game much more.

So the dwarfs were put in their bin to rest.  They didn't convert well to Kings of War.

Until my oldest son suggested we do a team tournament at Adepticon - my drunk dwarfs and his nature army.

Some of the stuff directly translated, but the gyrobomber did not. I repurposed the model, taking off the main rotor and adding a drill from an old sprue (I think it was from the miners).  I then added two cannons (left over from the Mantic canon/organ gun) for a bit more firepower, and tank treads from a tank sprue I had gotten in my swag bag at Adepticon the previous year.  The kegs also got labels, and a new base with the mud from the treads.  And thus was my steel behemoth born.

A couple of years before, Wyrd was selling their Nightmare Whiskey Golem at Gencon.  Of course I had to pick one up, and it hadn't been used (except as a giant for a mega battle), so I based him to match the army, and he became a Greater Earth Elemental.

For my son't allied Nature list, he took appropriate drunk / beer themed units as well.  First were two druids - both from Privateer Press, and both drunk

Then two hordes of water beer elementals.  One the light lager

the other a darker ale

The elementals actually managed to match the two home brewed beers I made for the occasion pretty well, considering they were painted before I'd kegged the beer.

He also converted a regiment of forest shamblers to be Hop Elementals

The final team army on display

Team Drunk Dwarf, with their beer horn
Unfortunately the display did not survive the drive home afterward (all the brewery equipment breaking off) - so for now the dwarfs are back in storage.

Because it is all fun and games . . .