Fantasy – Musongo The Wanderer

“What’s the matter girl? Did you not think I would find you, even down here in the bowls of the earth? Did you not think that Our Lord would send someone to keep an eye on you, his Seneschal?”

With her pale hair running over her shoulder, the golden beads glinting in the torchlight and a humourless smile across her face, Musongo the Wanderer stepped over the shattered corpses of undead, her two handed mace swinging across the floor like a broom, sending the shattered bones spinning aside, before coming to rest on her shoulder. She extended her hand to Rhazgra before pulling the younger warrior up with ease, the strength of years as a fighter and traveller making even her commander a simple burden.

She grimaced again. “Do not be so weak Seneschal. One day I may come for your position, just as you came for your predecessor. And on that day I will need you fighting fit and ready for my challenge” She paused, and then her lip curled further into a genuine smile “Although that position does sound like a very boring thing to do – too much planning and commanding, not enough fighting and exploring. Much less interesting than wandering the world to find things that Our Lord might find useful.”

She clapped her hand on Rhazgra’s back, almost driving the air from her lungs, before point her mace up the tunnel. “Come this way – your Disciples lay beyond and they are eager for your successful return…”

As any fan of the blog can see, I am a fan of the Chaos Warriors from Games Workshop. I’ve painted the Underworlds group, I’ve painted both the old and new warriors. I even have a set of cavalry to paint up, although the sight of horses is perhaps slightly concerning. So, you might have guessed that when Games Workshop showed off a rather cool looking Chaos Warrior earlier this year and then announced she was event only, I may have been a touch annoyed.

Cut to a few months later and guess who reappeared on the Games Workshop site? Announced for a Made to Order promotion, and available for only one week, it was my time to bite the bullet and order something from the GW store rather than my local Leodis Games. It happened to fall over my Necromunda weekend, leading to me waking up on my friend’s sofa to see the pre-order up for £21. A little more than you may want to pay but I bit my tongue and bought her, in a large part just because I love the sculpt.

A week after pre-order and she arrived in my hands. Holga Clovenhorn (as this warrior is named) comes in the standard pack for a character sprue, complete with plastic surround inside the cardboard. The sprue itself is slightly tweaked, with thinner gates and careful placing. I should have grabbed a photo but from looking around it seems to be so you could assemble the figure at the event. It also went together in the easy build fashion, with some cool layering work to hide the joins.

And then as I reported in my SITREP post, I took the clippers to the limited edition model. Before you shout Blasphemy, it’s my model and I’ll do what I like. I think if you’re making a Chaos Warband for Age of Sigmar, then sure, the horns are a great touch. However, in my setting of Midgard, I use the Chaos Warrior models to represent the highly skilled fighters of the northern kingdoms beyond the Empire. These guys and girls are often warriors from elsewhere that have travelled north to find a new life free of the Empress’s orders – they aren’t mere puppets of a corrupting set of gods but actually well trained and hardy opponents.

The conversion itself was pretty simple – I cut away most of the horn with my clippers and then tidied up the mess with a mixture of hobby knife, file and even some sandpaper to really break through the material and smooth it down. For the horn stub, this was a touch easier to hide thanks to the character’s long hair. Trimming down most of it, I then worked greenstuff over the gap to cover it before threading it in a way that it looked like an extension of the existing hair piece. I did notice that removing this horn left a void of “dead” space on the model as well as making it look a little less special. However, it does now look closer to all the previous chaos warriors I have.

When painting her, I decided to try out a character with darker skin, using the method on the Games Workshop site. My previous skin paint jobs have been really limited in scope, either using Medium Fleshtone + wash, a base colour and a lighter drybrush or relying on contrast. So this time I decided to really push the boat out and go whole hog. I even added a spot of Druchii Violet in the eye socket to give it some depth (and save me painting eyes).

However, with the rest of her being using a paint style (detailed in earlier posts) that is quite quite dark in tone (I literally cover the armour in black contrast), her dark skin would be lost amongst it. For this reason, I decided to go with white hair – the wrestler Jade from AEW pulls off this look with very vivid bright white hair that is frequently paired with dark clothing, so I looked to her for some inspiration. I ended up going for a few layers – dawnstone over the black undercoat, a layer of wraitbone, black wash for depth and then a highlight pass of wraitbone. This came out with a really nice effect I’m a fan of.

Having done the conversion work on the horns, I’m really happy how my fixes now look after being painted up. The patterning on hair on the right side was perfect to add some golden touches as little pieces in her braid (perhaps inspired by another character I like) and these stand out amongst the white in a pleasing way.

I didn’t go too hard on the shield, just giving it a few details including the nickel oxide eyes and the painted tongue. With the darkened metal, I ran a drybrush of leadbelcher over the top just to make it pop.

You can also see stripes of gold covering the exposed part of her head – this was my attempt to fill the dead space mentioned above. Gold is the shortcut for high ranking characters in my Warriors and having chunks of it always makes you look important. With two stripes along her skin, as well as a golden earring, it makes Musongo look important among the rest.

And speaking of the rest, the most important thing – She looks perfect alongside the first batch of models I painted. With a different pose, she’ll definitely work either as a champion or as some heavy muscle. The new style of painting I tried on her (using extra passes rather than just basecoat + wash) is definitely something I’ll be using more of going forward.

Actually, thinking of her role made me think a touch more about what sort of character she might be and what name would suit her. I eventually settled on her being a rival/ally to the Seneschal – someone powerful enough to be a threat but also useful to butt heads with when it comes to making plans. A two handed maul is a heavy weapon to wield, so naturally she has to be a tough lady. Eventually I settled on her being a Wanderer, someone that would slide in and out of the Seneschal’s story. Looking up wanderer in various languages, I settled upon the Bantu word for Wanderer as it fit the feel for the character. I can already see her as someone who came north and was granted her cursed armour, before venturing off on her own stories. I look forward to weaving her into my tabletop games – if she comes up against the Swordmasters, then she will be a fierce foe.

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