Monday, August 11, 2008

Headless

"No one knows exactly how the senses work on these mutant abominations. Do they sense the world only through touch and feeling? Or do they see with some inner vision? Whatever the answer, these relatively strong creatures are fairly enduring and do mild damage to their foes. They tend to carry goods with them."
—Ultima V guidebook

"The product of a wizard's failed experiments, these wretched creatures somehow manage to sense the location of their quarry and strike with unnatural accuracy. Do not fall prey to pity, for the headless would as soon strangle you with his bare hands as accept your mercy." —UltimaVI guidebook

Outside of the Ultima series the headless monsters are rather uncommon in contemporary fantasy writings. I'm rather fond of the concept of such a monster, which is discussed quite a bit in ancient and medieval literature. The ancient Roman writer, Pliny the Elder, first wrote of the creatures (Pliny the Elder, Historia naturalis V.8.46). The latin name for these beings was Blemmyae (Blemmye, singular). These "historic" monsters were described as having no head, but they did have a face planted in their chest. Check out the article on Blemmyes on Wikipedia.

Finding an appropriate wargame miniature to represent the headless was a bit of a task. The ancient germans, celts, greeks and vikings are written to have often fought in the nude. Consequently, there are quite alot of models available, but these all have shields, belts, and scabards molded on the bodies. I found the manufacturer, Bronze Age Miniatures. In their 28mm generics line are some nudes intended to be used as armatures for further scultping. A quick snip of the head and filing the shoulders will create excellent headless. 

For my Ultima scenario I finally settled on using the Neanderthal Warrior models from Pulp Miniatures. These are great guys because they have wonderfully animated poses and come with clubs. I have long been meaning to get Pulp's Ice Age Predators, and Bigfoot models, so this set has convinced me to finally make an order.

Update: I painted up some headless monsters here.

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