Saturday, 21 February 2015

Shén Prefer Pink!

Top: some sketches of potential additional Shén shield variants.
Bottom: some metal blanks cut from bits of scrap metal found in a drawer.

Last week, or rather, the week before, I sent off twenty shields to be molded and cast. Of those, four were variant Shén shields and one was a Vrayáni slinger's shield. The rest were generic fantasy shields. The sculptor charged me - IIRC - some $40US each for those shields; not much it seems, until work out that the total is $800US! Still not as bad as the Yán Koryáni head-swaps which were only £10 each; that total came closer to £800!

Anyway, while compiling the information about the various Shén mercenary units in my last post I was again faced with a rather large number of units. My initial intent was that the four variant shields - plus the existing design - should be sufficient to use for any Shén unit or warrior one might want. Typing out that information I began to think there might be a need for some more variants. Or if not a need exactly, maybe a "preference". Also I realized that there were additional weapons that are not accounted for: a mace, a battle axe and a short one-handed pole axe.

But I don't have the wherewithal to pay for more variants so my thinking is to try an make them myself.

I started with some sketches - see the top picture above. It should be noted that there is a canon shield design that was not part of the initial commission. That is a sort of hooked shield which otherwise is triangular in shape. At the time I think it was thought the shape might be too hard to make. The other day, however, I stumbled upon the curved metal bit shown in the second picture. It's used in picture framing to hold the picture in place within the frame. A bit from the back of an old Dell computer supplied some metal as well. :-)

As far as weapons go, my thinking is either to do it completely from scratch or make use of the existing weapons to use as blanks. The Ahoggyá mace, for example. I did a bit of cutting and drilling today. Tomorrow I'm going to try my hand with the greenstuff. Not that I've actually done this before or anything like that. :-)

But what's this about Shén preferring pink? Actually a tiny bit misleading, but catchy I thought. While doing my research I happened to glance at the painting guide in the back of the Shén army book. I hadn't really given it much of a look over before as I have always been more interested in the mercenary units and they are all listed in the army book for the nation they serve. Looking at the list I quickly noticed that some of the armour, kilt or trim colours were listed as "pink". Also some of the shields have pink on them. I like it! The Prussian army of the 1700's had several units with pink trousers and vests, as did the Hessians. They make for a very nice looking unit, especially with the dark blue uniform coats. The Shén, with their gleaming black scales, could look quite nice in pink!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Shén - on sale now!

Painted by Shadowking

Painted by Akársh

Lord Freshsháyu hiTurukén

All our Shén figures are currently on sale:

60% off to Tékumel Club members;
50% off to non-members.

The Shén serve as mercenaries in all of the Five Empires. The unit details are shown below, taken from published sources. The current shield design is based upon an illustration of a Shén in Salarvyáni service at the Battle of Rý. The shield variants are an attempt to accommodate the somewhat vague descriptions given for the other legions. The current shield design can, of course, still be used in many cases if desired. Only a few actually specify "round" shields, for example, and most are not illustrated.

Shén in the service of Tsolyánu:

The Splendour of Shényu; 4th Imperial Shén Auxiliary Heavy Infantry
Kérdu: Mrgág Ss-shrsá;
Based: Béy Sý, now mostly in the West;
Arms: Shén axe-swords, shields*, heavy halberds, full armour, crossbow pistols (2 cohorts);
Strength: 18 cohorts;
Notes: Most Shén who come to Tsolyánu to make money join this legion and serve for varying periods.
 * accompanying illustration shows shield variant: Tek-35a.

The Legion of Gr-gá the Egg Layer; 5th Imperial Shén Auxiliary Heavy Infantry
Kérdu: Gr-gá, Noble of Shényu;
Based: Khirgár;
Arms: Shén axe-swords, shields*, heavy halberds, full armour, crossbow pistols (2 cohorts);
Strength: 12 cohorts;
Notes: This legion was started recently by an up-start Shén rebel who had to flee Shényu. Other Shén legions refuse to fight beside it. It has attracted very tough troops, however.
 * accompanying illustration shows shield variant: Tek-35a.

The Legion of the City of Chrí; 7th Imperial Shén Auxiliary Heavy Infantry
Kérdu: Lord Freshsháyu hiTurukén, a human officer;
Based: Úrmish, but now posted to Thri’íl;
Arms: Pikes, long swords, large shields, heavy armour, crossbow pistols (3 cohorts);
Strength: 7 cohorts, one in training in Úrmish;
Notes: This legion was started by a rich noble who likes the Shén and even dresses in armour which is made to resemble a Shén. The Shén tolerate him. A mediocre and undependable legion.

The Horde of Hŕk-ss, the Eater of Eggs; 9th Imperial Shén Auxiliary Heavy Infantry
Kérdu: Hŕk-ss, a Shén from Xáx;
Based: Sokátis;
Arms: Long spears, maces, large round shields, heavy armour, crossbow pistols (4 cohorts);
Strength: 13 cohorts.
Notes: A Shén mercenary band which has settled in the Empire and which now serves the Imperium.

Shén in the service of Yán Kór:

Baron Áld has been gathering mercenaries for some time secretly. These were recruited via Mu’ugalavyá.

The Horde of the Egg-Eaters of Ss-kü
Ochür: ?  Ss-kü?
Based: Yán Kór City;
Arms: Shén axe-swords, shields, heavy armour, heavy long spears, some crossbow pistols;
Strength: 4000;
Notes: The commander is a Shén mercenary who has seen service in several human wars and armies.

The Victors of Rá
Ochür: Hsú Ssí;
Based: Ke’ér;
Arms: Shén axe-swords, shields, heavy armour, heavy long spears;
Strength: 3000;
Notes: Another Shén mercenary legion but one from an Egg Group which is hostile to the Egg-Eaters of Ss-kü.

Shén in the service of Mu’ugalavyá:

Information upon the deployment of Mu'ugalavyáni forces can be found here:

The Legions of the First Palace

Legion XI: "Pride of Xáx"
Hakkúmish: Ss-qâ Hs;
Based: Technically at Ssa'átis, but now with Legion VI, "Exhalted Flame" of the Third Palace;
Arms: Shén axe-swords, large shields, heavy armour, heavy halberds, some crossbow pistols;
Strength: 4000;
Notes: This legion is raised from the "Nest of Xáx" and is composed entirely of Shén from that region. 

The Legions of the Second Palace

Legion XIII: "Egg-Destroyers"
Hakkúmish: Grg-Msâ Sh'r`r, Prince of Mmatugúal;
Based: Technically at Ssa'átis, but now with Legion IV, "Rise to Strike" of the Second Palace;
Arms: Shén axe-swords, large shields, heavy armour, one-handed battleaxes, some crossbow pistols;
Strength: 5000;
Notes: This is an excellent unit, officered by a fierce princeling of the Shén enclave of Mmatugúal. 

The Legions of the Third Palace

Legion IX: "Iridescent Egg"
Hakkúmish: Fr-Ssâ-Chì;
Based: Technically at Ssa'átis, but now with Legion II, "Ornament of the Empire" of the Third Palace, near Ch'óchi;
Arms: Shén axe-swords, medium shields, heavy armour, short one-handed pole-axes, some crossbow pistols;
Strength: 3000;
Notes: These troops are maintained by Lord Ka'élish Krá as part of his entourage. Most of these Shén are from Shényu itself and are thus excellent warriors. 

The Legions of the Fourth Palace

Legion XI: "Head-Breaker"
Hakkúmish: Dr-Ss-Hrrá;
Based: Ssa'átis;
Arms: Shén axe-swords, medium shields, heavy armour, short one-handed pole-axes, some crossbow pistols;
Strength: 5000;
Notes: This legion is under the personal command of a collegue of Prince Herekúnish Ketláino. It operates as an auxiliary to Legion IV, "The Maroon Battalion" of Mighty Ssa'átis

Shén in the service of Salarvyá:

to follow...

Friday, 2 January 2015

**** 2015 - the Year of Tékumel! ****

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of "The Empire of the Petal Throne" by TSR. The creation of M.A.R. Barker, it had me hooked as soon as I saw it!

2015 - the Year of Tékumel!

As many of you are aware, our catalogue has a lot of holes in it in the form of "Not Available" or "Coming Soon" figures. It is my intent to bring all those into production during 2015. The model I intend to use is the same sale that I did with the Sapphire Kirtle figures. That is, 50% off to non-members and 60% off to members. But, as you know, that didn't go so well with some "technical difficulties" - to put it nicely - throwing a spanner in the works, so to speak. So - the first step is to get that situation resolved. This I hope to do early this month. Note that some of the figures damaged will take longer to repair as they actually have to be repaired by the sculptor but the majority of the figures can be fixed up fairly easily.

Once I have clean castings on hand I will put that that initial sale on again for any newcomers and send out the shipments to those who have been so patiently waiting. Once this is resolved to everybody's satisfaction I intend to offer the Shen for the same sale price. And following that, the intent is to work through the backlog of Yan Koryani until all of our old figures plus all those un-released figures are in production.

Note that we also have new figures in production. The sculpting of the Legion of the Red Devastation is well advanced and the casting for the initial Swamp Folk figures is under way. Note that I will not be able to put the Swamp Folk on for the same sort of sale as the others just because the production is so onerous.

Anyhow, those are the plans as they stand now. Comments and suggestions welcome, as always.

Best Regards and Happy New Years,

Howard Fielding
The Tekumel Project

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Excellent Travelling Journal: a new fanzine for The Empire of the Petal Throne!

Simply Superb...

Over at Grognardia, James Maliszewski has been very busy working on a new fanzine for The Empire of the Petal Throne. It is called The Excellent Travelling Journal and is available in print form only. The Empire of the Petal Throne, the first roleplaying game set on M.A.R. Barker's world of Tékumel, will be 40 years old next year, so his timing is impeccable. I've seen an advance copy and it is "simply superb"! :-)

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Get Your Free Figure!

Did you contribute to any of Dark Fable's previous three Egyptian Indiegogo campaigns? If so, don't miss out on your free reward figure!

Contribute now! :-)

22 days to go and lots of cool stretch goals left to unlock...

And, yes, I am a contributor. I think this range offers a great many figures that are perfect for Tekumel!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Putting together a Command Platform...

Far Eastern "Community Building" by Sarissa Precision

Actually these go together so easily that you hardly need any input from me. I just wanted to touch on some things I've encountered.

1) The building is designed so the roof comes off, but in doing so they designed it so that the walls were intended to be glued to the platform. Of course, I want the platform but then would like the option of using it for its original purpose - and I still want the lift off roof. To do this I have to leave the holes in the floor. No problem there, as I am intending to have rugs and daises (and people) covering the surface anyway. The problem is going to be with the walls of the structure which are pretty flimsy, being very open. My solution is take the triangular cutouts from these same walls and glue them in the four corners - top and bottom - to act as bracing for the structure. I will then just have to build a box to keep it in to make sure it doesn't get bashed about.

2) I am going to glue the platform in place but I want to finish the base before I do that. If I were just using it as a command platform just set up for the battle I would do the base as normal for my bases. But I want to use it for its original purpose and I am thinking it might work well with our upcoming Swamp Folk. And guess where they prefer to live? My current thinking is to put tufts of grasses around the perimeter and slightly under the platform but to otherwise to the base in irregular areas of sand. If I then use black or black/blue or black/green for the inside part of the base I might be able to make it look like its in shadow and also leave the possibility that the ground is swampy. Or is that expecting too much?

3) The other thing I am considering is whether to paint the platform or not. I have an idea to paint it a blue suitable for Tsolyánu and perhaps weather it a bit. Or should I leave it the "natural" wood?

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Command Stands

A Command Stand any Imperial Prince would be proud to own!

I short time ago I was made aware of some new laser-cut MDF buildings from a UK company called Sarissa Precision. They make a number of very nice buildings, carts and wagons, boats and bridges, but what really caught my eye was their range of "Far East" buildings.

When I first saw them on the Shadowkings blog it immediately occurred to me that the platforms might serve as command stands. So after some consideration I ordered the large Community Building. I knew it was going to be big but what attracted me to it over the others was that it had three steps up instead of two and the steps were wider and were placed front and back.

And it is quite large! The platform measures 6" x 12" if not exactly then very close to it. Is that too big? There are a couple of smaller village houses to choose from, some of which are on tall stilts (which I think rules them out) and some which are L-shaped rather than rectangular. There is a low rectangular style, with the two steps mentioned above. This might be a possible, smaller alternative. There appears to only be a single set of steps.

Myself, for the main field army - led by an Imperial Prince or High General - I think that the larger platform works pretty well. It will accommodate not just the Prince and his aides and generals but also possibly the large war drums that are used. And there is room to have the offensive and defensive magical contingents flanking on either end.

The smaller platform might be an option for a smaller force - or if your table size creates limitations.

I had intended to eventually produce a command stand but I was thinking of getting one made from resin. Or resin and metal bits. I envisioned it having carved wooden supports and totems or stelae and being decorated by many banners. (The irregular finish to the ends of this platform are a minor thing I don't like - I think the platform would be better finished.) I think the commander and his sub-generals would stand or sit on daises or piles of rugs to delineate their respective statuses. There would perhaps be scribes and slaves in attendance, or standing near at the ready. Also runners and junior officers. These would perhaps be at the foot of the stairs as would a contingent of bodyguards. Perhaps tapestries would be suspended between the posts along the edge of the platform? Or banners draped over the edge?

I think it has the potential to make a really nice display piece! :-)

What I am going to look into is getting some accessories made that could be used to dress it up a bit. And I'm going to order a smaller version to make a better comparison.