Following on from the general Blood Bowl converting article I published on the NAF Site
, I have written a new article specifically dealing with how to differentiate between the positional players in a team. I got a little carried away and it is over 5000 words so this is just a sample.
Only the introduction and Blitzers have been included, the rest of the article deals with the blockers, throwers/runners, catchers and specialists.
With Blood Bowl tournaments coming back to Warhammer World and accompanying stipulation about using GW models I thought it would be an ideal time to add another article about converting.
One of the great things about playing with tabletop miniatures is the variety in their appearance. Not only are there lots of different companies making teams but you can also convert your players from other sources to make them truly unique. The Blood Bowl world is less serious than GW’s other properties, which opens up even more possibilities.
I have already looked at Blood Bowl specific conversions, in this article I will explore methods of distinguishing the various positions through both conversion and paint scheme.
Why do this?
Some coaches are lucky enough to have a gaming group where everyone knows each other and the make up and skills of the opposing teams is almost as familiar as their own. When facing an unfamiliar opponent the game can be slowed down if the other coach has to continually ask what each model represents. Worse it may ferment bad blood if the opposing coach makes a key error after confusing a ST2 catcher with a ST3 Blitzer and loses the game because of this.
Another advantage of this is that you can take an existing team and with some of the tips below personalise them to your own designs.
I am going to primarily focus on teams that have models of the same race that play in different positons. For some teams each position is a distinct race with clear differences, some key examples are; undead/necros, the 4 chaos teams, lizardmen and the stunty teams. There is some distinction needed with these examples, for instance a Skeleton and Wight, but most of the time they have very obvious differences. If making a Lizardman team you just need small, medium and a large model to represent the Skinks, Saurus and Kroxigor respectively.
The techniques used for distinguishing positionals can still be used in cases where models are of different races. Often they will have roles that are equivalent to certain positions; ghouls as runners or catchers, saurus as blocker or blitzers etc.
The “counts as” rule is something I have long been a huge fan of. If you want a team of steam powered robots then you can have a lot of fun making up the stats and cool rules for them. However you will have to get your opponent’s permission to use them and won’t be able to take them to tournaments. If instead you use the closest equivalent team (say khemri) then you shouldn’t have any issues using them in tournaments or against strangers. Just ensure that it is clear what each model represents, “these robots with the red eyes are tomb guardians, blue eyes are linemen and the large ones on 40mm bases are thro-ras” would be a little silly.
This does open up a lot more scope for all sorts of interesting and wacky conversions.
This Nurgle team was converted from a diverse array of figures. None of these were standard Blood Bowl models, but their key characteristic; heavy armour for warriors, horns for Pestigors etc, make them easy to differentiate from each other.
Positions and categorisation
Back in the 2nd edition days pretty much every player fell into 1 of 5 categories; Blocker, Blitzer, Lineman, Thrower and Catcher. These 5 positions all had clearly defined roles within the team and characteristics associated with them.
With the introduction of 3rd edition there was a deliberate effort to distinguish the teams from each other and the runner, a new player type was added. There were also several unique racial specific players added to some teams. These were generally based on a unit from their respective Warhammer army. This was accompanied by a deliberate redesign of the models to more closely resemble their fantasy equivalents. There are varying opinions on which look was the best and much of that comes down to when someone got into the game. The good thing is it opens up more options and choice and there is certainly not 1 specific way that a Blood Bowl player has to look.
I will go through the main positionals in detail, covering a variety of ways they can be represented.
Model Choice – An easy way to separate the positions from each other is to use models from different units from the equivalent fantasy or sci-fi army. If you already have an army then that is a great basis to start the team. If not it will be cheaper and easier to get spare models or bits from e-bay or other people as most players tend to end up with a few leftover models/bitz here and there.
Colouring/decoration - The 2nd edition boxed set came with a human and orc team, both made up of identical models. The only way to distinguish the positional players was through coloured base rings. This can be incorporated into your team as an extra way of defining the positions. The colours used were; Grey (linemen), Green (Blockers), Red (Blitzers), White (Throwers) and Yellow (Catchers). Decoration is another way to help certain players stand out from the rest of the team.
Poses – The position names are all pretty descriptive of their role on the pitch. Blood Bowl players are not known for their imagination so I can see head coaches telling them to block, blitz, run, catch and throw. If your catchers are catching, runners running, etc. then it makes it much easier to see what they are.
Armour/Equipment – Many players have more of less armour depending on their role and it helps to show this on the model, human catchers shouldn’t wear more armour than dwarf blockers for instance. The equipment they carry is another tool and clear way to distinguish players. You can often take it straight from an existing model which makes for a much easier conversion.
I will illustrate each position, starting with a few pics of players from various teams and also using specific models to illustrate key points.
An important factor when converting a team is that the players still gel as a team. Most of the time they will be made from very similar models so obviously fit together. In other cases the team uniform, equipment and colour selection will help tie them to each other.
Without doubt these are the stars of Blood Bowl, they get all the glory on the pitch and are the most common non-lineman positional. If they are not sacking ball carriers they will be punching holes in opposing defences for catchers to run through and occasionally running the ball in for a TD themselves.
Unless you are using star players they should be the flashiest and most impressive models in the team.
Statwise there tends not to be much between blitzers and linemen, usually some extra movement, the block skill and strength access. This means it is often hardest to distinguish between the two. Often a good bet is use the linemen as your starting point and add to it, pick out the fanciest 2 or 4 models (depending on the team) for the blitzers.
If you are using an army then the most elite troops are your best bet, particularly those who form bodyguards for the leaders. They often resemble the basic troops but with better equipment. Even elite cavalry can be used if you can find suitable legs for them.
Champions of the units you used for linemen are good picks since they always look like them but with extra glam. If you really want to go to town then character models can be used, but these tend not to be cheap.
Red is the colour of Blitzers, as it is a strong colour this is a good way of showing that a player is a blitzer. Since blitzers tend to have more decoration then these extra items are ideal to add red to. You can also paint red onto the armour or clothing, adding a red border to shoulder pads or shirt sleeves, maybe a red stripe down the side of their shorts. Even things like checks, swirls or dog tooth patterns can be added to certain armour pieces. Red makes a good colour for tattoos if your team has lots of bare skin on display.
Since they are the fanciest players then adding extra decoration is always a good way to make them stand out. A lot of models have extra bits that you can add to helms or other bits of armour.
If any player is likely to strike a pose then it is the blitzer, if you have the skill then you could model them holding a helm under 1 arm whilst smiling for the camera, waving to the crowd or blowing a kiss to admiring fans.
Failing that action poses such as running or shoulder charging all work well for them. After catchers and runners these are usually the fastest and most active players.
Any bits of armour used by unit champions are ideal for blitzers as these tend to be the fanciest. In terms of armour worn they should be somewhere between linemen and blockers. They would get first choice in protection but are usually faster so shouldn’t look weighed down.
They hit stuff almost as much as blockers and therefore punch daggers and knuckle dusters along with spiky armour pieces suit them too.
Blitzers are really just elite linemen, not only faster but also better at bashing stuff. These blitzers were given much bulkier shoulder pads and their heads had iron jaws added. These are used on champion models. The loin cloths were extra decoration to show their elite status.
It was quite a challenge to differentiate these blitzers from the linemen. The addition of punch daggers and jaw decoration shows off their more "fighty" abilities. Whilst the topknots (all of which are blitzer red) and loin cloths denote their elite status. Subtle things like their player numbers and skins matching their positional colours help as well.
Since blitzers are more active these Amazons were modelled in a running pose, despite all the team being MA6. Them being more combative was shown with the addition of masks, a spiked gauntlet and larger shoulder pads. Little extra details like the tips of their feathers being blitzer red also helps.
These players are all made from bits taken from the Dark Elf army list. They share legs from the corsairs and the linemen use standard spear infantry bodies. Since the blitzers are elites they got bodies from elite dark elf troops, cold one riders with heads and arms from black guard. Not only do they have more elaborately decorated armour but also more of it is painted black with gold edging.
The same bodies are used for these dwarfs, but the blitzers were given heads and shoulder pads from elite iron breakers. They were given gauntlets and punch daggers from the 5th edition Blood Bowl humans to emphasise their role as heavy hitters. One change that could have been made was t paint the blitzers' beards a dark brownish red to match their positional colour like the linemen.
Very similar parts were used on these models which made differentiating the blitzers tough. This was done mainly through poses, the blitzers having much more active positioning of their legs and arms compared to the static linemen. The blitzers were also given heads from the elite tomb guard along with forearm guards and different shoulder pads.
Both players are made from heavily converted daemons but to match the more aggressive role the blitzers are made from bloodletters. Not only are they posed more aggressively, but they also wear more armour and have darker skin.