Monday, 15 August 2016

Chaos Snakemen of Quetzalcoatl.

Sometime over the last 30 odd years of collecting I bought some of the C27 Chaos Snakemen range produced by Citadel in the 1980's. Now I never did anything with them, despite always liking the miniatures, until about three years ago. I bought a few more, by then making 16, and then painted them up to be a stand-in proxy for a Fimir ally contingent for my Dark Elves.

Earlier this year I decided that I did'nt like my slotta based, late 1980's Dark Elf army, and switched to collecting a pre-slotta Dark Elf army. This left the Snakemen a little redundant. So I decided to paint strip them, and use them as a core for a solely Snakeman Chaos army.

Now as I mentioned the Snakemen never had any rules made for them, and never had any background written for them. That was until Chaz Elliot (who designed them) was interviewed on the 'Funky Wenis Rodeo' blog, here:

Although there were no rules given, Chaz Elliot stated that the Snakemen were a failed gentic breeding programme of the Slann (the Slann did a lot of that sort of thing, and ever seemed to get it right!). The Snakemen escaped and fled to the frozen north, close to the Chaos wastes it would seem. There they plot their revenge on the Slann.

Now all this got me thinking. As an owner of a large Slann army, and someone who is interested in the 1st to 3rd Edition Slann era background, I liked the idea of an enemy of the Slann. I did'nt like the idea of my Snakemen stuck in the frozen north of what must be by definition of their flight from the Slann, to be the New World (the fantasy equivelent of North America). The concept of probably cold blooded Snakemen in the snow seemed a bit wrong. Also, if the Snakemen were planning to attack the Slann, they probably should be a bit closer to them.

Considering all this, and also that I wanted to give them a New World and different flavour, I decide to base them in a fantasy American South West. I would go for a non-African desert look, adding some model Cactii I have from an old kit. I also thought that given that humans are mentioned as being in the New World, I would add a couple of the 1980's Citadel Native American miniatures for use as Chaos Sorcerers/Shamans.

Painting wise, I wanted to keep the South West American theme by painting the Snakemen up in Rattle Snake colouration. I have tried this before, and I did'nt really crack it, and again when I tried it I did'nt really get on with it. It also did'nt quite look right. So, given that the Snakemen are serpents, and are adversaries of the Slann, I decided to paint them up in the colour of the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl. This both linked into the Slann and the Aztec myths of the returning God Quetzalcoatl, who will return to the civilisation from whence he fled to have revenge on being forced into exile. The Aztecs (strictly speaking they were called the 'Mexica'), came from supposed mythical 'Aztlan', which was meant to be in the American South West/Mexican North West area, in common with the other Chichimec peoples. So to me it adds another layer of connection.

Finally this left what rules to use. If I had acces to unlimited numbers of Snakemen perhaps using them as Beastmen would have been logical. However, despite collecting 32 of them, it would only make a couple of core regiment at best. I would have to pad out the army with other stuff, and I though that would dilute the concept too much.

In the Warhammer Armies Chaos army list, this left Minotaurs, Chaos Thugs, Mauraders, and Warriors as options. The Minotaurs did'nt have the option for shields, which many of the miniatures have, and Chaos Thugs were too weak and had the same lack of number problem that using them as Beastmen had. Marauders, whilst a good idea, have a minimum unit size of 10, which would lead to a three regiment army, and again they did'nt seem to have that battlefield presence to me.

So I opted to use them as Chaos Warrior Proxies. This means that the army will be small, and expensive in points (74 points per model!!) but I felt that it represents the Snakemen well. To me they look the equal of any Warrior of Chaos, and with 32, I can have 20 Chaos Warriors from the list, and 10 from a Chaos Ally Contingent. Of course, at 74 points per model, plus heroes, sorcerers, magical weapon, etc, I might not be able to use more than 25 Chaos Warrior Snakemen in a 3,000 point army. Finally, despite being supplied 25mm Square bases, and 25mm being the suggested size of Chaos Warriors, I opted for 40mm bases. This is because it think that the Snakemen look better on 40mm bases, and too cramped on the 25mm bases.

Enjoy :)
The C27 Snakemen range.
Only five miniatures were sculpted, but they are lovely models. The armour and details on them are wonderful, and still stand up to modern sculpted miniatures today in my view.
As an aside, as someone who is left handed, I am pleased to say three of the five Snakemen are left handed.
Quetzalcoatl, the god of the Aztecs (and other Meso-Americans) who was set to return to claim what was his (taken from the Aztec Codex Telleriano-Remensis).
I took the green and yellow-ish colour for the Snakemen paint scheme.
Snakemen in the desert, near an ancient Snakeman monolith.
S'Sirron Fangthrane.
I decided to keep the old bronze armour colour from when I painted the snakemen previously. I opted for the Quetzalcoatl colours, but toned down the yellow to a darker tone.
Side view, with cactii!
Higgat Dwarf Slicer.
He has a lovely armoured breastplate with a fanged face on it. It is similar in design to the faces on the Chaos Battering Ram, which I think Chaz Elliot also designed.
Rear view.
To keep some red from Quetzalcoatl in the codex, I painted the shield red.
Another, smaller cactii is on the base.
S'lararent Slintered Fang.
Rear view.
Snakemen ambush Slann in the furthest northern desert reaches of the Slann Empire.
The rest of the Snakemen.
Army leader, S'lon Life Smasher.
I have slightly re-postioned his tail and leg...
...and added a bow and sheath of arrows.
The idea is to equip him with a bow and a 'Hail of Doom' arrow. Nasty suprise for someone! :)
Snakemen Standard bearers.
Another Snakeman standard bearer.
If I expand the army, he might become the army standard bearer.
Left hand side view.
The conversion uses a broken Saranth Elf Mangler with a straightened Elf Horn (which looked snake-like) placed where the halberd/double handed weapon blade was.
Two Native American Chaos Sorcerers/Shamans.
I wanted to add these to save converting (for now) some Snakemen into Chaos Sorcerers wearing Chaos Armour. Also I wanted to emphsis the American South West/New World feel of the army.
Both miniatures are 1980's Citadel miniatures. On the left is the C07 Ranger range 'Scout'. On the right is Citadel C03 Cleric 'Sacred Bull', both based on 25mm bases.
Snakemen, mint in blister.
I have'nt had the heart to open them yet.

Next week, more Snakemen!!!


  1. Extremely intersting repurposing Lee !
    I really like this horizon broadening take on them and I agree counting them as elite warriors suits them well.
    I'm fond of your conversions, true to the sculpts and just enough to add variety.

    1. Thank you JB.
      I was looking at the Chaos lists and thought that Chaos Warrior proxies would be the best option. Glad you like the conversions, I did try to keep them in line with the original sculpts.

      I had a look at the Snakemen on your blog, and really like them. I now plan to paint my army Commander as an Albino as well. :)

  2. Some cool stuff here, very nice Lee :D I have a few converted snakemen, it feels like a guilty pleasure, but they look so darn good that it is well justified ;)

    Chaz seemed quite taken by the idea of cold blooded creatures choosing a cold climate - too hardcore to care, I believe he put it :D to me it indicates a skaven-like dedication to building lots of tunnels, but with greater emphasis on central heating...

    1. Thank you, glad you like them.
      It does feel a little wrong to convert a few of them as they are great miniatures, but I'm trying to keep it in tone with the original sculpts.

      That's a good point. Good idea having the Snakemen living in heated tunnels. I think I'll keep with the current basing though as it makes an interesting look and bit of backstory. They can be a raiding army which has headed south to reek revenge on the Slann.

  3. Lee this project is brilliant! I love the Southwestern inspiration! These models would fit in perfectly with my own fluff. ;)Well done.

    1. Thank you, glad you like the Southwestern idea. I thought it fits nicely with the idea of them raiding the Slann.
      Also, it makes a change to try out a different basing look. I can recommend the Snakemen miniatures, they are great sculpts.

  4. My Snakemen do not include any Citadel models and fit ok onto 25mm bases so will be used as beastmen. if i were doing what you are aiming for i think i would order 100 snakemen from the Cthulu range sold by Forlorne Hope and use them as 25mm based basic troops (Lizardman profile) and use the 40mm guys as Troglodyte equivalents.

    1. I have'nt seen you Snakemen, I will take a look if they are on your Google+ blog. I could'nt find the Snakemen on Forlorne Hope's website.

      Going for the Beastman option, and on 25mm bases is a good way to go, but I wanted to stick with the Citadel Snakemen, and when assembling the models I thought they looked better on the 40mm bases.

      Lizardman/Troglodytes are a logical choice, but I wanted a proxy army for them that was more suited to a smaller elite army, given I only have 32 of them.

  5. Yarrghh! These are great, Lee! The idea of having them as denizens of a Southwestern American desert setting is brilliant! Very Robert E. Howard, I think. Your paint jobs look great. I have loved these minis for many years. The first Warhammer figures I ever bought were a pack of 5 skaven and a pack of two of these fellows. I still have them, and plan to work them into beastman units. I've also considered mixing my Ral Partha Greater Trogs in with them to create an elite reptilian beastman unit. Your conversions are inspired and have given me a few ideas. It's sad that, as you point out, these wonderful, characterful creatures were dropped from the Warhammer mythos. They would at the very least made handsome allied contingents for Slann, Chaos, Dark Elf or maybe even Nipponese armies. Anyway, great work. I'm looking forward to seeing more of these fellows.

    1. Thank you Mr Mouse, glad you like the idea and the conversions. I had never considered the Robert E. Howard aspect.

      I went for the Southwestern American look, partly as a to link with the Slann, because it seemed a different thing to do, and because I have a passing interest in the American Southwest. I have a pair of Converse in a Native American/Apache pattern which got me thinking on it.

      Adding them to, or using them as part of, a Beastmen army is a logically good idea. Using them as an allied contigent, especially to the Dark Elves, is a 'New World' theme too. I did orginally use them as a stand-in Fimir Ally contingent to my Dark Elves.

      I wanted to make them an army of their own, and did'nt have enough for an all Beastman option. Having them as an elite sounds a great idea, and will be good to see.