Sláine: Kiss My Axe!: #1

I painted some Celtic barbarian miniatures from a comic that I love, and then spent an afternoon having them run around hitting the Celtic barbarian miniatures of a friend.

Good times.

After a quick costume change, Sláine prepares to wet his blade with some Drune Lords…

Warlord Games released the Sláine; Kiss My Axe! skirmish miniatures game, based on the 2000AD comic strip, a month or so ago. I like 2000AD and I like Sláine and I like miniature skirmish games, so I decided to get stuck in.

“Tír na Nóg” (Irish for the mythical “The Land of the Young”), where Sláine does his thing.

The setting is loosely based on a fantasy/mythical version of Ireland, with a fair bit of Scotland, Wales, France and England in the mix too. Much of the story is set in a faux Pangea like era, when those geographical areas are connected by land.

Sláine, having so much fun battering the Fomorians that he transformed via Warp Spasm.

Sláine is rogueish Celtic berserker, prone to Hulk-like tansformations in combat: “warp spasms”. They vary in appearance every time, so there isn’t a typical look to a warp out. You can be fairly sure that Sláine will grow in mass and height, but the visual is often far more bizarre than just that.

The transformations are inspired by descriptions in various myths, primarily on Cú Chulainn from the Ulster Cycle of Irish myth, in The Táin:

The first warp-spasm seized Cúchulainn, and made him into a monstrous thing, hideous and shapeless, unheard of. His shanks and his joints, every knuckle and angle and organ from head to foot, shook like a tree in the flood or a reed in the stream. His body made a furious twist inside his skin, so that his feet and shins switched to the rear and his heels and calves switched to the front…
On his head the temple-sinews stretched to the nape of his neck, each mighty, immense, measureless knob as big as the head of a month-old child… he sucked one eye so deep into his head that a wild crane couldn’t probe it onto his cheek out of the depths of his skull; the other eye fell out along his cheek.
His mouth weirdly distorted: his cheek peeled back from his jaws until the gullet appeared, his lungs and his liver flapped in his mouth and throat, his lower jaw struck the upper a lion-killing blow, and fiery flakes large as a ram’s fleece reached his mouth from his throat…
The hair of his head twisted like the tangle of a red thornbush stuck in a gap; if a royal apple tree with all its kingly fruit were shaken above him, scarce an apple would reach the ground but each would be spiked on a bristle of his hair as it stood up on his scalp with rage.

— Thomas Kinsella (translator), The Táin, Oxford University Press, 1969, pp. 150–153


It is also fun to think that even in an era when a vast number of supeheroes have been represented on TV and in cinema, I don’t think that I have seen anything like that described, except in horror movies. One day maybe…

A Weirdstone drives Sláine into a berserk Warp Spasm.

Initially I decided to work on the “Earth Tribes” faction – essentially fantasy celts, and that faction that includes Sláine – from the starter set, while The Bazpaz worked on the “Drunes” for Sláine to rip in half/collect and drink from their skulls etc. I also painted my copy of the resin terrain piece in the box, a corrupt magical locus called a “Weirdstone”.

“Nest”, a trainee druid and regular ally of Sláine on the left and “Ukko”, Sláines constant companion and source of irritation. I thought that “Ukko” was the best thing in the strip when I was a kid.

Like another friend of mine, (I have several buddies. Trust me, I’m as surprised anyone…) I’m consciously trying to be less fussy about the miniatures that I paint. Life is short, and I have many miniatures and games to play.

I still took too long to finish painting these, but anyway, they looked perfectly adequate on the gaming table last weekend. They are finished.
This same attitude applies to my photos, which could be better, but they are good enough. Better to get the figures painted , photographed and played with to an adequate level, than to get bogged down.

Two versions of the main character in the strip, Sláine. The one on the left is wearing the “Hero Harness” (thats “clothes” to you and me) seen in the “Time Killer” and “Sláine the King” storylines from the mid 1980s. The version on the right is dressed as he is seen in the iconic “The Horned God” strip from the very end of the 1980s.

I enjoyed painting these. I don’t often copy colour schemes from fixed sources, but it actually made this process nice and simple, which was a fun change.

I’m currently working on a few more figs from this range, so with a bit of luck I will get them up here soon. I also have a load of recent miniatures, terrain and gaming events that I would love to document here at some point, so who knows what will happen first.

Thanks for reading!


13 Responses

  1. Very cool. I’ve been aware of Slaine for a very long time but never red the strip. Your renditions of the models look pretty awesome. If I wasn’t located on the other side of the world I’d gladly paint some models to be torn apart by such well painted examples! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • *read.
      Stupid phone typing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Azazel!

        Most importantly, I enjoyed painting them the way that I did, and to this level, and photographing them with a similar attitude.
        You are well able to change approach to suit whatever items you are currently working on, for whatever reasons apply, so I ampretty sure that you get where I am coming from.

        As for face to face miniature combat on the other side of the planet, I do have plans to visit friends (gamers) in Australia over the next couple of years. You and I *might* get a game in then perhaps… stranger things have happened.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Brill! I’ll bring some Conan types to BOYL for a Barb-off 🤘😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice – can’t beat a bit of Slaine! I continue to be very tempted by this game, and seeing stuff like this doesn’t help! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I desperately longed for 2000AD toys as a kid and then in my teens I desperately longed for 2000AD miniatures, but was unable to find information about them and back then was pre internet, so gathering info about that sort of thing was very different.

      I picked up and painted some of the Foundry 2000AD and Heroclix, 2000AD (both ranges featured sculptor Tim Prow) figures, and subsequently the various Mongoose iterations of Dredd, but never really got 2000AD gaming off the starting blocks, apart from a few games.

      The current Warlord skirmish offerings look like the complete miniature skirmish package that I have been looking for since I was a kid.

      I’m hopeful that I will finally get some gaming mileage out of Sláine, Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog and the future releases (ABC Warriors are next, in a few years) this time.

      Which may not be the sort of encouragement you *need* Wudugast, but it is probably the encouragement you *want” ;D

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, these are cool. I had seen the minis, but hadn’t seen anyone who had had them in hand. Really nice job on them!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. These turned out fantastically. I’m siphoning no small amount of mojo from these to get my through my drunes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mr S!
      The Bazpaz and I played a couple of small games with the starter box contents, so I am certain that any squaxx into toy soldiers will have a few giggles with them.

      Hopefully the Drunes are not too much effort. You paint more meticulously than I do, but I reckon that as they are mostly hair, straw and reeds that they won’t be too time consuming.

      I’m really interested in seeing your take on Slough Feg, the smelly scamp.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m channelling ‘naked insane homeless man with horns’ for Feg. Though he does have a cave, in fairness.

        You are too modest by far. The Sláines are cracking, and I especially like Nest.

        I’m hoping the power of Contrast paint will aid my quest to paint these lads up before the fall of Western society. I might be cutting it close.

        Liked by 1 person

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