Regular visitors to the The Shell Case will know that a little while ago I decided I wanted a Middenheim warband for Mordheim, but, as I have no real love for the models available, I’d decided to use Freebooter models for the heroes as I had done with my Witch Hunter warband.
So enamoured was I with the models I selected I even wrote some back story, which can be found here. The figurehead of this warband was Count Kaiser von Braun aka Lobo the Old Warhorse. So you can understand my joy when I say that the old bruiser is in my possession.
I love this model. Sculpted back in 2004, it is by no means Freebooter’s newest or most dynamic model such as the Amazonian Totol that I reviewed on the 1st February but that’s fine with me because instead of agility or menace the model exudes strength, wisdom and barely restrained fury. One doesn’t carry a warhammer like that unless they know how to use it…
But as with so many of the best models around, it’s not the overt stuff that makes the model great. It’s all in the details that add to an overall whole. He’s gained a few pounds from age and a tad too much good living – the result of too much time spent away from the campaign trail. His garb is grand enough but it has a patched elbow which suggests leaner times, and over it he wears a padded jacket intended for war. Lobo even has crows feet and a slightly flat, wonky nose that points to more than a few brawls. That’s mad attention to detail. That, FYI, Ian of The Chaps would simply love. He’s a bit like that you know… Even his hair suggests that he’s a little thinner on one side than he’d like to be and so has combed it across to conceal the worst of it at the cost of looking slightly lopsided.
The casting quality that I’ve come to expect from Freebooter is evident as I couldn’t see a single mould line on the model. And I really looked. The only filing I had to do was after I’d clipped the hammer and dagger from their bit of flash but I can’t grumble at that. Not without looking like a fool anyway.
I’ve deliberately not said much about the impish child that Lobo shares a base with partly because it’s creepy and two because, although there’s nothing wrong with it, I don’t think it adds much to the model and I’ll probably give it to Lee of The Chaps for Ludwig von Bomburg – the foppish Marienburger who, between supping wine, shouting and firing drunkenly at nothing with his duelling pistols, is gathering a plethora of men servants around him to be stabbed in his stead.
I think the thing that Freebooter does exceptionally well isn’t the detail, although it is all there – even on this older model – but it’s that every piece of detail adds something to the story. Whether you’re using them for Freebooter’s Fate or something else, the crows feet, the broken nose, the big belly and the hefty warhammer all say something far more profound than ‘Lobo the Old Warhorse’ or ‘Mercenary Captain’. It gives the models a soul and it makes you care about it when it’s on the board which only gets worse as the games go by and the campaign progresses.
And that’s actually a very special quality indeed.