I like to be frugal, whether I'm shopping for groceries, pet supplies or hobby goodies. This is why unit fillers in WFB appeals to me. My two Saurus units presently have 20 models each, but I want to expand the units up to 24. Inexpensive solution, take the 8 unpainted models I have and turn them into unit fillers. After sketching out some crude diagrams on post-it notes, I've assembled the first one.
I'm particularly excited about this because when I built my Saurus units years ago, I lost one stupid little lizard leg. I replaced the figure long ago, but I've had this Saurus torso lying around that I couldn't do anything with. Inspiration struck and I cut him down and built up the filler to look like he's emerging from a swamp. As a little nod to 5th edition fantasy, I added an old plastic Skink hiding in the murky water.
The other warrior will be placed on top of the rocks that I built out of bark chips. He's a standard Saurus embellished with a club and head from the Cold One Cavalry box set. I'm hoping the scene gives the impression of the Lizardmen creeping through the jungle about to execute a guerrilla style ambush.
The tricky thing about making unit fillers for Saurus Warriors is that the models' tails stick out and overlap the base behind them. This limits the area you have to model, unless you decide to stick the filler in the front rank of a unit. As I've noted before, this also a problem when modeling a base for a Slann, so be careful Lizardmen fans.
Since we're on the subject of units fillers, I'm compelled to express my thoughts about what I see as common problem with them. I've seen a lot terrain pieces stuck on large bases cavorting around on movement trays (what's the weapon skill of that Citadel Arcane Ruins column?). Don't take offense if you don't have the modeling skills to make a really great diorama, but it seems lazy to slap down a piece of store bought terrain in the middle of a unit and call it a day. Also, if anyone tried to tell me that something like that blocked line of sight, I'd have to smack them with a rolled up White Dwarf. The other issue I have is where large models like ogres or trolls are used as filler in units with smaller models. I have seen some nicely converted Empire-themed ogre-filler, but this concept generally smacks of being lazy in my eyes when nothing was done to make the big model look like it belongs in the unit. For a more in depth discussion of this topic, check out these posts over at The Trading Post and Jungles of Lustria (which was recently featured at the House of Paincakes).
So we don't end this topic on a sour note, here's some examples of unit fillers that I really like. Kuffeh over at The Grump Stunty put together a dwarf pulling along a pony from the Dwarf Miner box (the painted model can be seen here). I also like this Saurus diorama by Iggy Koppa at Jungles of Lustria. He has few more good ones here and here. SpaceCowboy at Dice and Brush has two cool Empire unit fillers that I spotted on his blog: a witch-hunter and his captive and a flagellant pulling a shrine. I like these because they're creative and have a lot of character.
On another note, some time ago I painted the bases for my salamander packs and finished the handlers, but I never got around to posting them. You may already noticed this if you're a loyal one inch warriors reader with a keen eye:
And finally, I picked up the new Saurus Old Blood when it came out on Saturday. I was really geeked about this guy, so I impulsed-purchased it at my closest GW store instead of honoring my frugal Dutch ancestry and getting it somewhere at a discount. Although, I suppose driving the extra 10 miles to save $2 to buy the thing at another store wasn't worth expending the extra time and gas.
Anyways, the miniature is amazing in terms of the level of detail and the intricacy of the sculpt. The tongue sticking through the gnarly set of teeth and the way the tail wraps around the body look great in person. The only thing I don't like about the model is the broken statue on the base - the sculpt was reused from the Saurus cavalry musician's drums, which was already reused on a Temple Guard shield. I hope to get cracking on this guy soon and I have some special plans for him.