Cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of… nostalgia?
I’ve finally gotten round to playing Assassin’s Creed 2, four years after all the excitement, and I’ve just completed the part where you take to the skies in Leonardo de Vinci’s flying machine. For some reason, seeing Ezio soaring around on that contraption of wood and sailcloth flicked my memory switch because I remembered these guys from many, many moons ago.
These are the goddamn fothermuckin’ Birdmen of Catrazza, and they come from a glorious time when Games Workshop was good and noble (or I was just much younger and naive). The Birdmen of Catrazza, like all the other Regiments of Renown – and there were plenty – could be found in the Dogs of War army book, which came out way back in 1998. Like many things in the 90’s (Warhammer Quest, Necromunda) it was basically one of the best things GW has ever made, so obviously they’ve never decided to do buggering anything with it since.
The Dogs of War were a mercenary army; you could run them as a full force in their own right, or supplement your existing army with some of these funky sellswords. Playing Dwarfs and fancy some heavy cavalry? Voland’s Venators are at your service. Wish your Chaos Warriors had some long-ranged punch? I’m sure that the Marksmen of Miragliano or Bronzino’s Galloper Guns will help you out, as long as you promise not to sacrifice them to the Dark Gods at the end of the battle. Wish that your Empire army could be helped out a psychotic bishonen elf prince on a venom-puking dragon? Got you covered.
So while I riding this nostalgia high, I thought I’d pick out some of my other favourite Dogs of War regiments and heroes from back in the day. It goes without saying that most of the DoW models are some of the most characterful and unique in the entire GW range; I mean there’s nothing else like the Birdmen of Catrazza. That’s why the Dogs were so awesome; they were a glimpse into exciting and unexplored areas of the WHFB world. Anyway, on with the rambling!
The gentleman in golden armour who looks like the lovechild of Dick Dastardly and a Renaissance-era pimp is Mydas the Mean, the best damn mercenary paymaster in the entire Warhammer world. The massive money chest helped improve the morale of your mercenary units, and Mydas would lose his shit and kick your teeth in if you went near his cash. The portly Arabic fellow by the chest is Sheikh Yadosh, because it was 1998 and it was required by law that at least 50% of GW content had to include awful puns.
Lucrecia Belladonna had all sorts of cool special rules; human mercenaries near her wouldn’t run away because BOOBS, she could give one of your heroes poisoned attacks for the entire game, and she could give another one of your heroes a potion that could buff his stats (or kill him). Oh, and there was a chance that all your opponent’s heroes would start the game with one less Wound, and she was a pretty good spellcaster too. Quite the lady.
There were quite a few Regiments of Renown that showed off the (at the time) new pike rules, but Pirazzo’s Lost Legion were my favourite, probably because of their awesome Conquistador style armour. They could also be built as a mixed unit; the front rank would be armed with crossbows, while the ranks behind were armed with pikes. A perfect mix of shooty and stabby!
Vespero’s Vendetta were a gang of fast, lightly-armoured duellists who were great for wizard and war machine hunting. Not much else to say other than I love these models; Vespero himself is probably one of my favourite GW models of all time. Hmm, I feel the potential for another Warhammer Memories post…
The Cursed Company were actually introduced much later than the other Regiments of Renown, but they’ve been around in the fluff since the early days of WHFB; there was actually a short running series in White Dwarf where they revamped old Regiments of Renown, like Ruglud’s Armoured Orcs and Mengil Manhide’s Manflayers. The Cursed Company take the prize though; they’re an undead unit made up of non-human skeletons, which is awesome beyond words. I love that Goblin drummer skeleton.
I think we can agree that Dwarf Slayers, while not super-good in the actual game, are pretty damn cool. And pirates are always popular, right? So what do you get when you mix the two together? Long Drong’s Slayer Pirates, which is potentially the most FUCKING METAL name for a regiment in the entirety of Warhammer. Rather than the big dorky axes of their landlubber equivalents, the Slayer Pirates beat the shit out of monsters with cutlasses and flintlocks. Glorious. I mean, they’re still Slayers so they’re still awful to use in-game, but aside from that, glorious.
There were other Regiments like Lumpin Croop’s Fighting Cocks (a unit of halfling scouts), Oglah Khan’s Wolfboyz (Mongolian Hobgoblin archers riding giant wolves, fuck yeaaah), and the Giants of Albion (self-explanatory really), but while these units were cool, they didn’t make the same impression on chibi-me as the above.
I hope you GW veterans enjoyed this trip down memory lane, and I hope you whippersnappers learned something new!