Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Dilemma, Of Some Weight!

Some of Phil's Mu'ugalavyani, from our photo inventory of his miniatures;
The crossbow unit is in the yellow tunics, on the right.

Bob Charette's "Chaos" figures, Ral Partha circa 1995; left to right,
 02-104a "Warrior", 02-107 "Pikeman", 02-105a "Bowman"

Legion I of the First Palace, "Victorious in Vimuhla";
twenty years' worth of production runs seen here;
pikes from North Star in the UK, and very, very sharp!!!
This is a dilemma some thirty years in the making; it goes back to 1982, when Phil asked me to paint up some of his stock of Mu'ugalavyani heavy infantry pikemen for him, but as a conversion to a crossbow unit. The unit is one of the ones from the Second Palace - I'm sorry, I don't recall which one at the moment, and I'll have to look it up for you - and Phil wanted them for the "Fortress Chalukolumel" mini-campaign he wanted to run as a part of our game sessions with him in the original Thursday Night Group.

He provided the figures, weapons, and color scheme, and I provided the time, paint, and skill. The top photo shows the figures in their original box - Phil used cigar boxes he got from the shop where he got his Swisher Sweets to store his miniatures.

I have the First of the First in my collection, built up to full strength over the years, with fifty figures or pikemen; they are seen in the bottom picture, armed with the deadly North Star wire pikes. These pikes are real weapons - they have lovely leaf points with needle-sharp tips, and will draw blood if one is not respectful when handling the troops.

I also have over fifty of Bob Charette's sculpts for Ral Partha, the 02-107 "Chaos Pikemen"; these were inspired by the many drawings that Tekumel artist Craig Smith - who did the drawings for the first three of the "Armies of Tekumel" books - provided to Ral Partha at the request of renowned sculptor Tom Meier. (Note 1) I also have some of the matching 02-104a heavy infanty axemen from the "Chaos Warriors" set, and also some of the matching 02-105a archers from the "Chaos Bowmen" set. The former is relatively easy to find, but the latter set is very rare and hard to get! (Note 2)

So, here's my dilemma:

Part the First: I received some 75 more of the Mu'ugalavayni heavy pike from a old friend, and I am not sure who I should paint them up as. I have First of the First already done, and my initial thought was to paint them up as the crossbow unit so the Red Hats would have a few more missile troops in my little army; I'd like to fight out the "Chalukolumel" mini campaign at some point, as Phil spent so much time setting it all up for us. However, I'd also like to have my own legion, the non-Imperial - we're Bednjallan, actually - Legion of the All-Consuming Flame, so we can fight out my own adventures; we're a heavy infantry pike unit, with some attached small units.


Part the Second: Seeing as I also have the "Chaos" figures, with a lot of them already in Vimuhla color schemes - taken from Phil's own paint schemes - it occurred to me to leave the Red Hats alone, and use these troopers as my legion; heck, a lot of them are already painted!


Part the Third: My original thought, from decades ago, had been to use the "Chaos" figures for Ghatoni, as they look the part with their beaked helmets. I had used some spare Mu'ugalavyani to make a few back in the day, but now that The Tekumel Project has Ghatoni armored Serudla, this issue has come back to the fore. Howard, bless him, mentioned that he wants to do real Ghatoni at some point, as part of his wonderful miniatures line...


My thought is to paint up the heavy pikemen as the crossbow unit, as per Phil's command; paint up the "Chaos" figures as my legion, per Phil; and wait patiently for the Ghatoni from Howard, so I have the best possible figures for my games.

Comments? Ideas? Thoughts? Suggestions?

(Note 1: As a historical side note,  a Tekumel fan claimed some time back on the Tekumel Yahoo group that these figures were part of 'a secret line of Tekumel figures' made by Ral Partha in order to avoid paying Prof. Barker any royalties. He claimed that most of the Ral Partha figures of elves and some twenty other figures had been sculpted from Prof. Barker's designs, and in effect were 'stolen designs'. This person also made these same claims in a communication directly to Prof. Barker, which led to a thorough investigation of the claims; they were proved false, and both the ex-Ral Partha and current Iron Wind staff was not amused. Oddly enough, this same person was more then willing to sell these supposely 'illegal' and/or 'pirated' figures to Tekumel fans, which Prof. Barker was very - and I mean very - unhappy with.)

(Note 2: Catalog numbers are from my internal database of both my and the Professor's figures; I use the original manufacturers' catalog numbers as the basis for these, with notations as needed. The figures marked with additional letters were originally sold as multi-figure packs.)