Mike Demana's Gaming Pages


Centaurs of the Spiral Tower

This is another army specifically painted up for Hordes of the Things (HOTT) rules. I'd been collecting 15mm Centaur miniatures for awhile, but until a friend sold me some of his unpainted ones, I didn't have enough for a full army. About the time I finally had enough Centaurs, I was enjoying playing another of my HOTT armies: The Wolfpack. The speedy Wolfpack has only 3 troop types: Riders (orcs on wolves), Beasts (wolves without riders) and a Hero. I wanted to make sure the Centaurs weren't merely a carbon copy of The Wolfpack. Of course, the bow armed Centaurs would have to be classified as Riders -- there was no getting around that. However, I felt using the ones with lances, axes or swords as Knights would give the army a different feel. Throw in a Magician and a Hero and it would definitely play differently.

Then I wondered what would happen if I played against an army that was composed mainly of troops who operate in difficult terrain? My Riders, Knights, Magician and Hero wouldn't want anything to do with that. So, would we have a boring "stand off?" Since the #1 reason I play HOTT is for fun, the last thing I wanted was to set myself up for a progression of boring games. Or one where a player is forced into doing something stupid (like moving troops into or out of the terrain when they shouldn't) just to make it interesting. So, I did some thinking of the background of my Centaur army. I postulated they were a steppe culture -- much like the Scythians who raided the Ancient Greeks or the Huns of popular history. So, I figured they would capture humans in their raids. The most physically fit of these would be given a chance to win back their freedom by fighting for the Centaurs in battle, and bringing them the head of an enemy. These human slave Headhunters would be inspired and impetuous troops. Thus, I could classify them as Warband...who thrive in terrain! So, my Headhunters would be my terrain shock troops, and allow me to contest at least part of the woods or steep hills on the battlefield.

The miniatures I collected for this army are (I believe) old 15mm Grenadier miniatures (except the humans, who are Scythians from Falcon UK). They are large and somewhat plain, with not a huge variety of poses. So, I wanted to dress them up as much as I could. I decided to model them again on the Ancient Scythians, who wore patterned clothing. So, virtually every strap, quiver or piece of cloth was given a colorful pattern. The result was much better than I'd anticipated. I was grateful to receive lots of positive comments on the look of the army. And they performed quite well, as can be read in my battle report of January 2007's HOTT Wax 36AP tournament!

Centaur Riders

Centaur Knights

Centaur Hero

Centaur Magician

Head-hunting Scythian Slaves (Warband)

Centaur Stronghold

This section of the stronghold represents the spiraling palisade towers that the Centaurs build as their strongholds. No steps, of course, for horsey hooves! Instead, ramps slope around and around, with the palisade area getting progressive taller. I used rounded craft sticks for the palisades. I lined them up next to each other and drew a diagonal line to mark where each needed to be cut to form the slope. With an X-acto knife, I cut them to individual lengths and trimmed the points. Thick craft foam was cut in layers and epoxied into place to give the sloping ramps between the walls. This was covered over with Liquitex modeling paste to give it an earthen appearance.

The skulls atop the palisade are actually beads a friend of mine bought from a craft or fabric store (unfortunately, I forget which one he said). All in all the stronghold turned out fairly well. Not the best HOTT stronghold ever created, but one that I had no need to feel ashamed of placing on the tabletop...


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