Saturday 28 March 2015

Bonus time Pygmies and a few Slann!

A bit of another late blog update this week.

 I've had a few Pygmies for a while, and have quite happy with them. The 70 or so little chaps I have formed a nice compact Ally Contigent for the wildly out of control Slann Army collection. I have never gamed with them, but thought they would form a nice addition to the Slann army, and provide more blowpipe armed skirmishers/scouts.

This month I got my yearly bonus from work. So I thought e-bay deserved a little look. While doing some shopping for Slann I came across someone selling 100 Pygmies. How could one resist!? :)

So I bought 100 Pygmies, plus another 12 from others sellers, to add as odd and ends (don't worry, I did'nt spend all my bonus, only a very small part of it!). This now means I have a complete Pygmy Ally Contingent under the 3rd Edition Warhammer Armies book, 143 Pygmies in total, plus a couple of dozen spare. The spare ones will form a minor second Ally Contingent.

I won't get around to painting the Pygmies for a while as I am concentrating on painting Slann, and I am really enjoying paint the Slann again. I have based most of the Pygmies as the person from whom I bought them (Peter Acs, check out his blog here: )  informed me that the previous owner had trimmed off a lot of the tabs, and so had to re-based them with a glue and greenstuff.

Enjoy :)
163 Pygmies.
A full Pygmy Ally contingent made up of:
1 Pygmy Cheiftain, 1 Pygmy Shaman, 1 Pygmy Standard Bearer, 20 Pygmy Impis (+1 Shock Elilte), 80 Pygmy Warriors, 40 Pygmy Braves (Blowpipers), 20 Pygmy Scouts.
1 Pygmy Cheiftain, 1 Pygmy Shaman, 1 Pygmy Standard Bearer, and the 20 Pygmy Impis.
80 Pygmy Warriors, in 4 units of 20 warriors.
The Warriors head-on.
40 Pygmy Braves. Split into 4 units of 10.
20 Pygmy Scouts, in 2 units of 10.
1980's Citadel FS45-1 Large Ant.
I might use this a unit filler for the second group of Pygmies. 
 'Spare Pygmies'. Enough for a dinky second Ally Contingent.

The Citadel C27 Pygmies.
They were slotta based, made in about 1984, were designed by Alan and Michael Perry, and were still available in blister packs for a number of years during the later 1980's. I don't seem to recall them around much post 1990.
They were designed to fit into the Lustrian background as tribal cannibal types which took pot-shots at Slann and other more civilised passers by. In White Dwarf #100 they were given a expanded background as descendants of marooned Space farers, in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay scenario 'Floating Gardens of Bahb-Elon'.
The overall look of the weapons and shields is suggestive of the Zulus, and given the influence of the film 'Zulu' and the historical interest of the Citadel design team of the time, it isn't unlikey.
I am not going to go into the debate on the racial design of the Pygmies. Anyone who has seen the range is well aware of the caricature nature of them.  Needless to say I consider the Pygmies in Lustria to be more South American rather than African, and so I have painted the flesh tone to match.
As for the range, they are fine for what they are and for the time in which they were made, a range of 1980's minatures designed as a cliched group of tribal allies for the Slann/Lustria. Personally the faces always reminded me more of the giant Olmec heads, and are in keeping with the pseudo-Meso American vibe.
There was an interesting discussion sometime ago on the subject of Warhammer Pygmies on the realm of zhu blog:

 Puff, Umpopo, and Ugh.
The Umpopo miniature is very, very fragile where the spear head meets the hand, and are well known for breaking off. Most of mine break,  and have either been repaired or had the spear replaced with a different spear similar to the old one.
 Bongo, Agh, and Chieftain.
 Standard Bearer, and Shaman.
 Og, and Arg.
Alligator Warriors.
I had two spare of these miniatures and so reassigned these two to the Spawn bands. With that, I could paint them in non-uniform colours and give them more of an individual feel to them.
Lep'nluni and Potzalco.
Lobotmised human Slaves. 
Left is solid based slave, right is slotta slave from the 1987 release. 
I am going to put these in theSpwan Band units as unit fillers.
Four Slann replacements for Jungle Braves/Scout units.
I removed the converted musicans from the Jungle Brave as I did'nt see the point in having musicans in the units. So I replaced them with uncoverted miniatures. The blowpiper is a replacement for a miniature in a scout who had an axe and did'nt have a blowpipe.
Left to right: Naxlatl, Akabylk, Mixtecas, and Lep'nluni.
Citadel C22 Creatures 'Chaos Demon'.
I normally don't like two headed things, but I have always liked this model, and only mamanged to buy it very recently. I especally like the way the two heads look slightly different. The miniature is unsual in that it has no arms, its legs seems to be its arms, and the feets are more like hands. It also seems to have to female looking breasts hanging down from underneath.
From the same C22 range, a solid based Basilisk. 
I think he looks quite cute, and with propably end up with the Slann Cold One Warhounds.

Next weeks update will be the third in my series of anaylses of 3rd Edition Warhammer Armies army lists; the Wood Elves. 
Apart from that I hope to be painting more Slann, on which I will update the week after.


  1. "So I bought 100 pygmies..." Sort of thing you don't hear every day. Lovely collection of minis and the perfect addition to your Slann horde. I really like the pygmy line. That lot must be worth a mint. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Not only is it something you don't hear every day, but also not something you see on e-bay everyday, so I thought I could'nt let the opportunity pass.
      Glad you like them, they do look great all lined up, and will look good when I paint them and add them to the Slann army.

  2. This is proving to be one of THE great armies, Lee. Not a single great fig eligible from that range has been failed to be included (from what I can see) either in the core Slann force or the ally contingent. Superbly well done!

    1. Thank you,
      it is shaping up to be a big army and it's been a grand sized project so far. My aim is to finally get the whole army painted this year, including the Pygmies and the solid based Lizardmen, including the Regiment of Renown.

      I have tried to get every Slann miniature included in the army, and have all of the released Slann and Pygmies. I also have three unreleased Slann and am keeping an eye out for any other unreleased Slann. It's been fun collecting, painting, and gaming with the army. :)

  3. Lovely, can't wait to see them all painted. They couldn't have gone to a better home.:)

    Also, in my defence, it was the owner before me who committed the sacrilege of cutting off the tabs on their bases!

    1. Cool, although I won't be painting them up for a few months as I am working my way through the Slann at the moment.

      I'll amend the blog and you will be free from the social stigma of tab removal! LOL :) Thank you for selling them, it's going to be great fun painting up an entire Ally Contingent, and they looked awesome on the painting table.

  4. Whoa. That is a lot of Pygmies, can't wait to see them in full battle colours. Olmec heads... interesting observation! Cheers for the blog-plug.

    1. Yes, it's a lot of Pygmies, and it's only now I realise I have to paint them all!

      No worries, always happy to plug your Blog.

      I was looking at the faces of the Pygmies and thought that they looked more like the Olmecs heads than African. There is the Afro-American idea that the Olmecs might have been Africans, but research has proved that to be not true. I've always considered the Pygmies to be pseudo-Meso American and realised that the Olmecs fitted with that idea, as the Slann are more Aztec/Maya.

    2. Just came back to this post from Bearded Quails journey into all things Pygmy here and here, if you haven't read these already.

      Thanks for mentioning the Olmecs, it's not part of the African Diaspora narrative that I'd come across before, and it is really interesting. I'm not sure that it isn't "true" - but from what I have read, there doesn't look like there is any genetic evidence to support it (which doesn't mean there wasn't contact of a purely cultural or trading nature). However, in the early-mid 80s it could have part of a wider 'alternative history' that informed the thinking around Lustria.

      IIRC, the 80s Cartoon Mysterious Cities of Gold cast the Olmecs as aliens as well, which with Warhammers Alien African, suggests there might well be a crossover afro-alien-olmec historical theory out there. Zecharia Stitchins Lost Realms seems to cover the same ground, but it post-dates Warhammers Pygmys. More digging is required!

      Bet you haven't finished painting them yet!

    3. Thank you for the links. I had read the first article, but was not aware of the second.

      The Olmec theory, was that they were descended from Africans, was proposed from looking at the facial features of Giant Olmec heads, and was popularised by some African-American groups.
      However it was pointed out that the scaling up the heads fitted with the locals facial features. Also that the local Meso-American natives DNA was typical of pre-Columbian Amrerica, and so disproved the idea.

      That does'nt discount the idea of pre-1492 contact from Africa. I read an article (I can't recall where, but it was from a reputable source) that sailors from North East Africa, from the Phocenians and New Kingdom Eygptian onwards, may have been to the Americas. So the cultural and trading links may have been present.
      I'll look into Zecharia Stitchins writings, thank you.

      Personally I think that the Warhammer designers just created Lustria as a generic jungle with lots of 'lost world' types taken from fiction and Von Daniken's writings. I don't think they had a plan, just an collection of sources and ideas which evolved overtime.
      The of the Pygmy-Alien-Olmec- African, all linked in together nicely in the Von Daniken-eqsue explaination. They then later expanded it more tongue in cheek in the Floating Gardens scenario, to give the Pygmies more of an interesting background and depth to their civilisation, and to suggest a lot more space alien influences to the Warhammer World. It also may have been to move them into the realm of a West Indian paraody and away from any accustion of racism (?).

      You're also right, in one other respect to the Pygmies. I have'nt painted them all yet! I have been on other projects, but with great synchronicity I was looking at them monday and thinking I need to finish off them and all the Slann soon. :)

    4. I do concur that there probably wasn't much of a fixed plan with any of the early Warhammer background, just a lot of loose strands that got woven together. Likewise I don't think Floating Gardens was a deliberate attempt to make the Pygmies less controversial, rather than just Basils approach at the time, and as you say informed by West Indian and Commonwealth ideas, although not making a direct cricketing reference was a bit of a googly imho!

      I've now read read Ivan Van Sertimas They Came Before Columbus which I think is the main text on the pre-Colombian African-Olmec theory. There is also a video of him (recorded in London in 1980) which is worth a listen / watch. Egyptian contact with South America is certainly interesting, as it gives narrative to coincidences like Olmec Sphinx and all that pyramid building.

      One thing about having the Warhammer Pygmies as Olmecs is that their weapons, shields and costume seem to strongly reference the material culture of the Zulu people, rather than what we'd traditionally think of as South American weaponry and armour such as the Atlatl that Graeme Davis recently blogged about. Not that I'm going to suggest converting them all! Perhaps using some Olmec graphic devices on shields etc.

      Looking forward to seeing the full army.

    5. Funnily enough I am just about to start painting up the whole Pygmy army, and have painted up a few the other night. I am am just finishing off the Secrets of the Third Reich British for the next update.

      Interesting links. Whilst there are plenty of ideas and some evidence for Africans, and many others peoples, visiting the Americas before Columbus, I'm not convinced by Ivan Van Aertimas, the idea of the Olmecs being Africans, the 'Sphinxs' (actually called the El Azuzul Twins', or the Pyramid building theory.

      As for the miniatures, I think they were just a combination of Zulu's and blowpipe wielding Amazonian Indians, put in the Lustria setting as generic natives. That's probably why they have African spears and shields.

      I won't paint any Olmec symbols on them, but might paint them different colours. My main approach is to paint warpaint on the faces in the style of Amazonian Indians, linking them in with the South American Jungle theme, and (literally) masking the caricture nature of the faces a little.

  5. And I thought I had a lot of Pygmies with 90! At least they are easy to paint. I've also had to make repairs to a lot of broken spears, moulding new spearheads where lost. I have also converted most of the standard bearers into normal spearmen. Next project it to mount some on Runequest Demi-Birds (like a small Culchan).

    1. 90 is a pretty impressive total of Pygmies! And you are right, they are easy to paint. I did paint up some of the Pygmies on a blog post here in case you missed it:

      Ifound that a lot of the psear break, the spear staffs are a little too slender. I replaced the broken spears with trimmed down Aztec spears from Outpost games.

      I like the idea of using the Demi-birds as alternative Culchan.I might steal that idea if you don't mind, as I have a couple of spare Demi-birds.