martedì 1 novembre 2016

Citadel C32 Slann Spearman (1983)

This is pure vintage, the stuff of legends... the Slann miniatures from the earliest versions of Warhammer! Oh, the feels...

It is a little known fact that the original view of Lustria, Slann and Lizardmen in Warhammer was quite different from the later one.

The current vulgate has the undefined Old Ones creating all races of the Warhammer World, including the Slann. These are a limited edition of super-beings charged with the responsibility to oversee the Great Plan. Unique creatures, virtually immortal, exceedingly powerful in magic, most of the Slann were destroyed in the Great Catastrophe, and the surviving ones keep ruling the Lizardmen of Lustria, also created by the Old Ones as executive minions, and try to keep the Plan of their Masters reaching its completion.

Now, the older version of the legend went like this: in the beginning there were the Old Slann, a spacefaring race who visited the Warhammer Planet and created most races, excluding the Lizardmen who were the original inhabitants of the planet. At the time of the Great Catastrophe, some Slann managed to escape the planet, while others were consumed by the war with the Ruinous Powers: though able to stall them, they entered an unstoppable decline so that, millennia later, they have become a decadent civilization which has forgotten most of the ancient wisdom, and rules over a local empire covering most of Lustria. They are somewhere a mix of Aztecs, Maya and Melniboneans, lost in memories of glory, oblivious of the rise of the other races, living a dreamlike existence of luxury, surrounded by slaves and treasures and ancient secrets of lore and magic. 

God, how I loved the Slann! Everybody did, so much that they figured prominently in the campaigns I played with my group of WFRP in the years 1996-2001. There were Old Slann ghosts, underground crashed spaceships, ancient swords made of mithril-steel alloy, old tomes of power and science, modern Slann wizards trying to recover the old knowledge and secret brotherhoods of Slann scholars trying to defend it from the younger peoples and from the control of a rising priesthood of the snake-god Quesshan. It was, basically, awesome.

So awesome that, when GW decided to retcon the Slann everybody was so bewildered and filled with disbelief that it was even difficult to get angry and address curses at the staff of Nottingham. This, mind me, is usually the reaction of old fans to anything that rapes their old happy memories in order to make it easier to sell products to younger fans.

Few Slann miniatures were ever produced, but they still can be found occasionally on eBay or other platforms for purchasing used vintage stuff. That's how I got my Slann miniature - at an outrageous price, if you compare it to the original one, but still totally worth it, if you ask me.

The first impression of this miniatures was: "It can't be citadel, surely it's a copy". It's not lead, just to begin - it's a darker, harder metal. The base - we are talking of pre-slotta miniatures - is unmarked. And the spear is attached to the helmet, slightly bent and impossible to straighten, a clear glitch.

Turns out it is actually a copy, but an authorized one. The original miniature was issued by Citadel in 1983, as part of the scenario Kremlo the Slann published with the Compendium One. It was the first batch of Slann miniatures, sculpted by the legendary Perry Brothers.
Soon after that time, though, Citadel made an agreement with RAFM, a Canadian company, to cast their miniatures for the North American market. Their production, aside from the lower quality, can be recognized by the unmarked bases.

But you can't be picky if in 2016 you buy on eBay a 1983 Citadel Slann Perry Brothers miniatures, so... let's paint it!

There was actually little canon on the Slann, so I followed my gut feelings. At first I toyed with the idea of painting the upper body green and the lower white, just like a real frog, that until I realized it would look like an actual frog - then I went for pure green. Similarly, unable to decide whether to give the Slann horizontal frog pupils, or vertical reptilian ones, I just left the eyes yellow: I don't like painting eyes anyway. The weapons are a golden/bronze colour, with leather straps and colourful feathers of green turning yellow. Finally, the tail of the helm is a warm feathery white, the same bonewhite I used for the fangs.

I choose a vintage square base, to which I added little decoration as I intend to use this miniature in games.

I had no idea how to paint the shield, so I created my own Imperial device, a yellow disc with a black triangle, representing a pyramid on the sun or, fittingly, a Slann eye (vertical pupil or yellow), a symbol of the all-knowing and all-seeing ruler of the Empire. This is surrounded by a snake biting its own tail, the snake god Quesshan, protector of Lustria, beginning and ending of time. The whole is set on a white field.

I must say this miniature is fantastic - beautiful, detailed, fun to paint. I'll be looking for more of this - woe is my wallet, but long live the Slann!

2 commenti:

  1. Great post.
    It's always good to see the older Slann miniatures and background receiving some love and attention.

    I did'nt realise that the RAFM Slann did'nt have the did'nt have the marking on the base. You are right, that particular sculpt is a little poorly designed.

    Nicely painted Slann. The old pre-slotta Slann are my favourite and fun to paint.