Free Northern Dwarfs or How My Northern Alliance Army got subverted

As you may or may not know I have a thing about Free Dwarfs :slight_smile: I have built up several armies worth of the little chaps and some of them have even been seen on this forum. I did however decide to have a change for next season and I embarked upon a Northern Alliance Army, That said the first unit I chose to paint for this new army was a Regiment of Dwarf Clansmen to take advantage of the "Ordered March " rule ( this was before I properly read the list and realised that all Infantry can be given the same rule via an aura) I wanted the Clansmen to fit in with the Northern Alliance aesthetic but also be able to sneak them back into a Free Dwarf Army as Ironclad as well.
So initially I scoured my bits box for spare Dwarfs , I managed to gather quite a handful when I noticed that the Clansmen had the option of upgrading to CS(1) with Ice Hammers ! Cool , I stuck a couple of 2 handed Hammer Blokes into the mix so the Unit can be used as either normal Def 5 Clansmen or Def 4 CS(1) Dudes. I then had the idea of Northerning them via big Furry scarfs a La Starks from Game of Thrones , so Out came the Green Stuff and a couple of test models to see if they looked overly dumb

As they were more on the “Wierd” scale than “Dumb” I went with it, things like this do grow on me the more I look and the less I think.
Then I decided to paint one of them to try and decide my Colour scheme, I usually paint my Free Dwarfs with an “earthy” natural color with Brass Armour and dark shades but , as these models were destined to be a part of a new vibrant Northern Alliance army I tried a different more icey and crisp color scheme, like this

As these dwarfs are either going to be Northern or Free and in no way shape or form will they want to be associated with the soft Southern Lackeys of the Pompus Pretender Golloch, I decided that they would need shields that made sure people knew they were not feckless Imperials , Luckily a nice man in Nottingham 3D prints some lovely Wooden Round ( and kite shaped- more of that in the future) Shield that are ideal replacements for the staid and boring Heater shield the Mantic Dwarf come with , so these were dug out of my “these will be useful in the future” pile and painted to match the new scheme.

This having been decided, the new unit were Green Stuffed and then prepped for priming ready to start full scale production

You may notice the inclusion of a GW standard (again from my bits heap) and two Armada Ravens in this picture , this was another wave of inspiration after having seen a Viking Raven banner in one of my Historical Wargames reference books and I thought it would be cool to have a raven flying over the advancing Dwarf infantry on the finished base and a Raven banner leading them into battle , we shall see if that works out soon :wink:
Once they were primed I then proceeded to duplicate the first color scheme on the rest of the models , while waiting for the various coats of paint to dry I set about building a base for them. I had also done something new (for me anyway) in that I took the round bases off the models before I painted them and it was a steep learning curve in so many ways ( I am glad I wear glasses to paint lol) and I will probably be finding small pieces of base in the spare bedroom for a good long time to come.

I tested out the layout of the unit on the bare base (in case anyone is interested the base was made from 5mm XPS foam cut to shape then coated in fine grain wall filler which had been slightly watered down, the Rune stone is a 3D print) and this gave me an idea of making the unit look like it was advancing past the Runestone down the hill to fight. once this was decided the base was textured and then “Snowed” I used AK scenics Snow texture which had been mixed 2-1 with water and then I sprinkled Woodland scenics Snow Scatter over the top to simulate various ages of snow fall, it was an experiment but I had watched a bunch of Youtube tutorials on snow basing and was moderately confident it would look ok. I think I went a bit too snowy on this base , something I have endeavoured to adjust in subsequent efforts.

Once the base was done I then added the Painted Dwarfs and used a bit of brass rod to add the Raven and the Raven Banner I had painted. Also at the last minute I added a Snow Fox from the NA Clansman sprue to tie the unit in with the Northern Alliance theme.

After this unit was finished I sort of got carried away with the Northern Dwarf Theme :rofl: I painted a Frostclaw Rider as a Champion, he is currently NA only but I fervently hope he will be “Free” in the not too distant future

I also painted a FrostFang Lord but with a difference - I added a Dwarf Rider to the Frostfang so it could be used as a Dwarf Lord on Large Beast as well , Clever huh :wink:

I then sat and pondered what to do next , I have painted some Northern Alliance Tribesmen - honestly I have - but I then hit on the idea of using more of my spare Dwarf models to make a second Regiment of Ironclad Clansmen and modelling the base so it could be matched to the first one as a horde ! Genius ! so I painted another unit and used the second Raven you saw to tie it into the theme

The base is matched to the first so a horde of Ironclad Clansmen can be fielded in my Free Dwarf Army , but the basing won’t match the rest of my Earthy toned Free Dwarfs I hear you cry ! No problem ! I will continue to paint my Surplus Dwarfs and Mastiffs and Brock Riders with a snowy theme so they can be used in my Northern Allia… Oh :smirk: Nevermind I am sure the Northern Alliance will turn up someday :rofl: :joy: :wink:


Fantastic stuff! :heart:

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that’s a beautiful looking army, the mix of northern alliance and free dwarfs looks great. I hope they’ve all wrapped up warm


That is magnificent. Best way to paint a Northern Dwarf army.

NA would be better off with more dwarf units if you ask me.


They look great, superb stuff. Also heck the Imperials :triumph:


Heck yeah these look awesome!
I love (and share) your philosophy of “this is what’s available and this is how I’m going to adapt it to make it truly mine”.
Execution looks great too.


Gorgeous stuff! I had seen a few pictures of these on floating around on FB and saved them in an “inspiration” folder, and I am very glad to see more of these units here on the forum. These are looking very, very good! The icy weapons pop, and I really like the layering look overall, especially combined with the round shields. That’s a very simple swap but gives these units a lot of character. Just… tons and tons of good things to say about these units.

Having apparently built up multiple Free Dwarf armies… could you “sell” me on playing Free Dwarfs? I picked up a few bundles of dwarf minis second hand. I like the concept of nomadic dwarfs, but it just feels like the Free Dwarfs lose out on so much (giving up Headstrong on most things; no Sharpshooters; no Organ Guns; no Ironguard; no Juggernaut suits; no Steel Behemoth). They lose out on a lot of powerful units, and in exchange a few units are made regular and some other units get Pathfinder.

Those changes aren’t nothing, but from my outsider perspective (and having never even faced either in the game), it seems like their identity as an army is mostly defined by their of lack of options. If the Free Dwarfs got alternatives (Wind Eles to aid them on their travels; Fire Eles freed from the Imperial Forges and help them forge stuff out in the wilds; or some other unique option) there would be a more interesting choice to be made between Free and Imperial, but right now I am just struggling to see why someone would pick Free Dwarves, other than a for fluff reasons.

Enough blabbering from me for now. Keep up the great work!


Steel behemoth, though.
Also sharpshooters and headstrong.


Great stuff Bob - awesome as always and the info behind it is helpful.

@TastyBagel pathfinder is huge on units like the brock riders that hit on 4+ and only have tc1.

Getting scout on shieldbreakers (coupled with the upcoming Ordered March change) plus rangers mean free dwarfs can get lots of board control their Imperial cousins can’t.

Pack master! Getting vicious on p1 shooting that always hits on 4 plus (and you can get lots and lots of it as you don’t have 2/3 steel Behemoth to buy!) can really hurt.



But I would be shocked if Free Dwarfs don’t get Frostclaws in about two weeks time. Like, straight up stunned.


Oh yeah, that has to be a gimme.

Always forget about Craggoth when looking at the list as it’s an upgrade to the Titan, rather than a standalone hero option


I ran the big dude at a tournament in late Sept and he was so much fun. People freak out when a weird last drop Greater Earth slams up a flank and becomes a problem in Turn 1. Sadly he’s probably the first thing I drop to make room for birds … but you know, maybe not? Craggster didn’t win my games but he pressured in a way Dwarfs kind of don’t. (I guess until we have bird hordes that can threaten in Turn 1-2 :stuck_out_tongue: )


Yup it was confirmed in the MUP this week that the Free Dwarfs are getting the Frostclaws when they were talking CoK with Felix


Yes Craggoth is a big "Go To " in larger points games , the ability to put Pathfinder and an artifact on Regiments of Brock Riders is the absolute Bomb !
See below for my version of Craggoth and Banick and also a link to my Free Dwarf Blog where I wax lyrical about how good they are and sometimes mention other KoW stuff too


Glorious :face_holding_back_tears: