Saturday, May 31, 2014

Crusader Adventurers III - "Rune Lords"

Most miniature wargaming bloggers tend to mix all of their interests together, but I tend to compartmentalize my stuff.  Furthermore, my other blog, Sea Kings and Horse Warriors, is specifically focused on games and literature from the Dark Ages, so I would rather not mix in my additional interest in fantasy miniatures and the occasional RPG.

Crusader Miniatures are probably my favorite historical line, so it should be no surprise that I would enjoy taking my brush to their fantasy figures as well.  

Crusader Miniatures, all of which are sculpted by Mark Sims, primarily produce historicals from the Ancient era to World War II.  However, the company also puts out a few fantasy, western and pirate packs that might appeal to players of RPG and/or skirmish games

Coming from a primarily historical sculptor, these have a realistic look not usually found in most fantasy PC figures.  The sculpting is clean and uncluttered; weapons are not oversized, female proportions are not exaggerated and their clothing has definite historical precedents. Mold lines are minimal and easily removed.  Sims knows how to design a pose that is both dynamic and easily manufactured with minimal complications.

In addition to fantasy PCs, these models would work well as mercenaries or command figures in a historical game, or as the ubiquitous caravan guards.  The ethnic diversity of the characters is also a nice touch ranging from a possibly Celtic Druid to an East Asian, putting me in mind of the type of characters found in Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear's Mongoliad series.

Crusader Miniatures, Item #CCF003

Reading Recommendation

The Mongoliad Trilogy is collaborative work by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear and a host of other writers. The Series focuses on a fictional holy order, the Shield Brethren, who are rivals to the historical crusading order the Sword Brothers or Livonian Knights. The main characters represent a variety of Western ethnicities and fighting styles.  As the Mongol invasion of Poland and Hungary in 1240 threatens to push further west, the holy order splits into two teams.  One must compete in a brutal gladiatorial tournament held by the invading Mongols while the other group treks across the steppe on a mission to assassinate the Great Khan and halt the Mongol invasion.  

Clearly influenced by RPGs, the series is best described as historical fantasy that does justice to both genres with its inventive use of secret history and conspiratorial mysticism. On the negative side, a long distance quest is a plot device fantasy writers call upon too often, and any collaborative writing project is going to suffer from uneven intervals of differing quality.