The Winged Kingdom of Aves

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Army Consist

Element Description of Troops
1xBehemoth (Gen) The Fabled Diatryma and the King
2xBehemoth Great Owlbears
4xKnights The Ostrich Knights
1xRider The Cockatrice Riders
3xBeasts The Giant Emperor Penguins
2xSpears The Defenders of the Ducky
2xWarband The Duckband
2xShooters The Stone-Thrower Ducks
1xMagician The Poultrymancer
4xHordes The Chickens
Stronghold The Aerie of Aves

As a child, the King of Aves had dreamed of the wonderment of flight. As his kingdom came increasingly under attack by neighboring territories, and he watched his father struggle against the marauding hordes of undead, beasts, dragons and goblins, he swore to himself that his Kingdom would command the most amazing army of winged birds to crush its enemies.

So, when the Grand Vizier brought him the Djinn bottle, he thought his prayers had been answered. Summoning the great spirit, he hastily blurted out his wish for a mythical army of birds. The Djinn smiled, and was true to his word.

Originally painted up as a 24-point HOTT army, I took the opportunity of expanding it to 48 points, both to have an additional loaner army and to use as a loaner for the 36-point "HOTT Wax" tournaments in Dayton.

The Fabled Diatryma and the King [1xBehemoth (Gen)]

When the King finally decided to take to the field and lead his armies as General, he asked his conjurers to summon him a mount worthy of his stature. He dreamed of the tales of ancient birds of epochs past, whose size and savagery were unmatched in this world.

The bird model is a 25mm figure from Copplestone, based on the ancient dinosaur Diatryma. In this scale, it's absolutely immense, easily twice the size of the original dinosaur. The rider is another Mirliton figure, with a lance made from a quilter's basting needle.

Great Owlbears [2xBehemoth]

Fabled giant birds of unparalleled size and ferocity these Owlbears may be, but they probably weren't the sort of creature the King had in mind. Powerful but tempermental, they're kept in check by the shaman whom they serve.

I have to admit that the idea to put shaman figures in front of the towering Owlbears was blatantly stolen from an Innuit "Fantasy Rules!" army I saw online once. Still, they seemed appropriate.

The Owlbears themselves are both from Reaper Minis, one of the shaman is a Meshwesh Infantry from Old Glory and the other is a Tupi general from Gladiator. Both had to be extensively clipped, bent, and molded in order to get them to mimic (roughly) the poses on the Owlbears.

The Ostrich Knights [4xKnights]

Knights atop steeds of giant birds, swift and strong, to crash into my enemies and tear their ranks asunder. Proof indeed that perhaps one should be more concerned with describing one's wish than with its intended effect.

This was really where it all began. I found the Ostriches at Cold Wars from an unknown manufacturer (they were selling bins of various 25mm animals, Ibix, Ostrich, etc.) The instant I saw them, I thought "Ostrich riding Knights." The rider figures were leftover Mirlitin Condotta and Teutonic Orders figures who had their legs spread by being pounded onto a metal pipe.


The Cockatrice Riders [1xRider]

Not to be outdone by the concept of an impetuous charge of Avian Knights, the King wished for even more exotic bird riders, fabled mythical beasts with strange and unusual powers.

"Like the ability to petrify with their very gaze?"

The cockatrice themselves are from a Reaper pack, the riders are the same Mirliton Hungarian figures used in my Condotta army. They have been painted in the fashion of stoneleer cockatrice from the original EverQuest.

The Giant Emperor Penguins [3xBeasts]

Finally, I want to command of a horde of fanatically loyal birds, giant birds, from the farthest corners of the globe, with which to tear my enemies to pieces. They should be intelligent, and able to coordinate as a group, but with a regal or noble bearing.

If the Ostriches started things, then the penguins made the army a necessity. The penguins are all from Copplestone miniatures and were an essential component of the army.

What more can one say? They're penguins.

The Defenders of the Ducky [2xSpears]

Merecenary troops from the Grand Ducky of Orange were recently added to the forces of Aves. They came on their own when they heard of the plight of their winged bretheren. Though they long ago lost the ability to fly, their skills with blade, sling, and polearm are the stuff of legend.

These figures were armed with halbards/pole-arms, but given that they're armored in the fashion of Macedonian Pikemen, I opted to make them Spears. I suppose they could double for Blades instead.

The figures are all from the Chariot fantasy line, and they're great figures to paint as well as being a very unique subject matter. Highly recommended. The shield devices were painted by hand, and yes the ducks speak French.

The Duckband [2xWarband]

More Ducks, this time masters of the sickle-blade. Known for their ferocious assaults and tenacious attitude, these have been classified as Warband rather than Blade, though again they could double as Blade in a pinch.

The Stone-Thrower Ducks [2xShooters]

The last of the Ducks, these sling-armed warriors were the main reason I acquired the figures. Having a few stands of Shooters can really make the difference, and slinging Ducks were something I just couldn't turn down.

The Poultrymancer [1xMagician]

Is he a chicken who dreamed of being a man, or a man who dreamed of being a chicken? Worse yet, is he some horrible abomination of nature trapped in the ill-defined grey zone between the two species? The world may never know ... but whichever it is, when the Blackcock of Doom comes calling, it's the chicken side that takes over.

I wanted to expand with a Magician element, and I had a flightless bird army without chickens. It really wasn't a difficult equation to figure out.

The Poultrymancer himself is a modification of a Reaper familiar figure. His cockatrice familiar was out of a Ral Partha leftovers bin. The Blackcock of Doom (my marker to know that he's rolled a "1" and is one step away from being turned into a chicken) is another Hovel chicken, held to the base with rare-earth magnets.

The Chickens [4xHordes]

What would any good Poultrymancer be without his hordes of devoted chickens to assail his enemies? I mean, really, if you're going to have a Poultrymancer, you simply have to have chickens to go with him.

These figures were all Hovel chickens. Probably a little big for 15mm, but perfectly suited for this situation. I debated using 25mm chickens instead, but the docile, diminutive look seems to suite these hordes better.

The Aerie of Aves [Stronghold]

The Stronghold went through several iterations during the design process. Initially I wanted to make a birdcage (every good bird army should have a few "Birds in a Gilded Cage", and because of their long-standing rivalry with the Amazons of Northwyld, I wanted the captives to be giant Amazon women.) In the end, however, I was unable to find a dollhouse birdcage in the right scale which was to my liking. Though I could probably have scratch-built something, I'm not sure it would have ended up looking that good.

So, I finally decided on an Eagle's Aerie, set high upon a rock outcropping and overlooking the battlefield. The nest was a tremendous pain, built out of broom straw and putty. The outcropping itself turned out good, but needed a few more jutting spots to put scrub or small trees/weeds.

One of the captives is from the Foundry nymphs pack, the other is from a Ral Partha "slaver and slaves" blister pack. The ladder and the figure climbing to the nest are both Essex.

I loved the idea that, since nobody in the army can actually fly, the nest had to be converted into a prison. Yet another example of the tremendous inefficiency of acting before thinking. I also liked the idea of the lovesick jailor risking life and limb to climb to the nest to try and woo the captives. (If you can't tell, that's a bouquet of flowers that he's got in his hand.) Poor, hopeless romantic.

The relationship was, of course, doomed from the start. Ironically, he gained distinction for being the only member of the army to actually learn to fly.

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This page was last updated on February 5th, 2008 at 03:07 PM