Sunday, October 1, 2023

A new army project

At the end of OWAC VI, I have to admit that I was considering building a brand new Cities of Sigmar army. But the visit of the château of Chenonceau last summer, and in particular, the gloomy bedroom of Louise de Lorraine, rekindled the "oldhammer" flame. 

After the assassination of her husband, King Henri III, Louise de Lorraine fell into deep depression, and began to dress in mourning white clothes, being nicknamed the "White Queen". In the château of Chenonceau, she covered the walls of her room with black, only decorated with shovels, cornucopia shedding tears, thorns, and white feathers (in French, "penne", for feather, sounds like "peine", for pain).  

Examples of the symbols of mourning painted on the walls

This gloomy bedroom sparked my imagination, and I started to think about a bretonnian widow, refusing the death of her husband, and going to war with his remains. For nobles dying away from home, there is indeed an ancient ritual, the excarnation, where the body is dismembered prior to boiling in wine or water. The viscera are often buried at the place of death, but the heart and the bones are transported back to the deceased's home. 

I am still unsure about the baron's remains. After his skeleton was brought back from the battlefield, will it be installed on a throne, or lie in a coffin? That will depend on my (limited) conversion skills... What is certain is that it will not rest in peace in the family's vault 💀

As for her husband's heart, the baroness decided to keep it in a jar. And while she opted for white mourning clothes, she ordered her men at arms to wear black.

Source: Würzburg chronicle, by Lorenz Fries [1]

Source: Würzburg chronicle, by Lorenz Fries [2]

The sinister look of the White Lady's army is even exacerbeted by the generalisation of excarnation to ordinary men and creatures fallen on the battlefield. The skulls of the fiercest opponents are displayed as a warning to the enemy, while the remains of fallen soldiers are kept in portable shrines by their comrades, with the promise to lie one day in the Gardens of Mòrr.

And now some colours:

I have picked one of the imperial spearmen designed by the Perrys in the early 90s to make some tests:

  • for the black clothes, I use a basecoat of VGC Heavy Charcoal, highlighted with GW Eshin Grey, and sometimes VMC Light Grey, and darkened with pure black; I have also used GW Stormvermin Fur on the feet of the model;
  • for the skintones, nothing new: basecoat of VGC Heavy Skin Tone, shaded with GW Reikland Fleshshade, a deeper brown from the Andrea Flesh Paint Set (not far from the VMC Dark Fleshtone), VMC Black Red (sometimes mixed with black), highlighted with VGC Heavy Skin Tone and VMC Basic Skin Tone (sometimes with a touch of VGC Bone White). I'm also using some reds and VMC Tan to give some colors to the lips, nose and cheeks, plus thin washes of VMC Violet ink.
  • for the white clothes, I need to do more tests. Here, I have used a mix of P3 Bastion Grey and VMC Neutral Grey, which was way too dark. I then struggled with GW Dawnstone, and VMC Light Grey. Adding GW Grey Seer helped a lot to get a moother result, but I need to find a simpler way to have a clean result;
  • for the leather parts, the basecoast is VMC Chocolate Brown, darkened by adding black to the base, and highlighted with VMC Flat Earth and some VGC Bone White.

You'll recognize on the shield one of the symbols painted in Louise de Lorraine's bedroom.

That's all for the moment!

[1] A characteristic of the Würzburg burial ritual: "to display the corpse in a seated position, it had to be embalmed and impaled with a rod. The heart was also embalmed and inserted into a glass jar. It was present throughout the funeral ceremony. In order to avoid the head of the seated corpse from slumping down, an old servant had to hold it upright throughout the funeral. This servant was carried around with the corpse on the bier". Weiss-Krejci, Estella. (2010). Heart burial in medieval and early post-medieval Central Europe.
[2] "After the deceased prince-bishop had been laid to rest in the cathedral, his heart was brought to Ebrach abbey. This final transfer was performed by the servant who had been in charge of holding the bishop’s head during the funeral: the heart was delivered on a carriage drawn by four horses". Weiss-Krejci, Estella. (2010). Heart burial in medieval and early post-medieval Central Europe


  1. What a genius idea! The test model looks great, this project is going to look awesome!

    1. thanks a lot. It's a starting point. Let's see where it goes.

  2. As always, stunning work. The freehand feather on the shield is outstanding.

  3. Quelle fabuleuse idée ! La chambre de Louise est impressionnante, hâte de voir toute une troupe déclinée sur ce point de départ.

    1. Ah ah merci. Je prévois de combiner ça avec d'autres motifs. Je développerai ça dans un futur post.

  4. Ce nouveau projet semble très prometteur, j'ai hâte de voir ça ! Tes thématiques d'armées sont toujours passionnantes ! Est-ce que ce sera une armée qui se développera dans le cadre du prochain OWAC ? Et, question bête, pourquoi ne pas avoir testé ton schéma de couleur sur un bretonnien ?

    1. Merci. La veuve blanche est bien d'origine bretonnienne, mais elle a épousé un baron de l'Empire. Ce sera bien une armée impériale :) Et oui, ça pourrait alimenter le prochain OWAC...

  5. Great idea. Looking forward to seeing this project progressing!

    1. Thanks Kym! Conversions are progressing on the spearmen. The shooters are more difficult to process.