When I moved to Canada in the late 90s, the North American Grand Tournament scene was just picking up. By 2003/2004, I joined in on the fun but wanted to field an underdog force. I was never a fan of “Herohammer’ and liked playing with large units. Thus, I embarked on a quest to build an Empire army that looked like a real army while able to win tournaments. And win it did. Multiple Best General, Best Overall and assorted top places in about a dozen Grand Tournament of that era.
The army is painted in the colours of the city of Bogenhafen, complete with grape symbols on their shields. Bogenhafen definitely isn’t a mainstream part of the Warhammer World but I really liked the purple and white colour scheme. The high contrast fits well with the poofy style of the Empire army of this era and – importantly – was fairly easy to paint. I have added a few units over the years to complete the “whole book” – my usual objective for Warhammer armies – but the bulk is from the 2004 era. I am still adding special characters and other heroes since the original force only had a simple General on foot and a Level 1 Wizard as characters. All in, this is just over 500 doughty warriors for Sigmar!
The army originally didn’t have much in the way of special characters – or any characters – but I am slowly adding those. I have just about every Empire model ever released by Games Workshop so eventually this page will feature Karl Franz and his Electors and champions. For now, this section is limited to Valten and the Huntmarshal of the Empire Markus Wulfhart.
More conventional leadership is provided by a large groups of heroes that can be used as Captains or Generals as needed. A few of them wield mighty battle standards including one featuring a simple decal of the early era and a newer model with the Griffon Standard.
State Troops are the core of the Imperial Army. These are all done up as big blocks of infantry. I used the original single-part models from the old starter box plus a whole lot of plastic kits of that era. The poofy look is long gone now, but I just loved the pseudo-renaissance style. The bulk of any Imperial Army are its valiant foot soldiers. Not as fancy as other units, but these guys can hold ground and look good doing it. The main force includes a large formation of 40 Halberdiers, two units of 30 Spearmen and a unit of 30 Swordsmen. The banners are pretty simple and will one day see some additions (one day… famous last words of a miniature painter…).
Ranged support is provided by 40 Handgunners that are usually fielded in smaller detachments and a unit of 21 Crowsbowmen. A small detachment of 10 Archers finishes the State Troop contingent.
Joining them are 25 Free Company – often in detachments especially back when detachments of 5 were allowed as perfect re-directors – and some Huntsmen.
Last, but definitely not least, we have a unit of 20 Greatswords to form the elite center in the middle of the imperial battleline. These are old models that – while monopose – fit in much better with the style of my army than the modern models.
Cavalry: While the mounted glory is mostly reserved for the mighty Knights, the State Troops include some cavalry options as well. Two units of Pistoliers provide a fast flanking force while a unit of Outriders can shoot most smaller enemies to bits.
Knightly orders were mostly support units in my tournament days so these are small formations. Still, at least the Reiksguard can make a solid center unit if fielded as a single group.
The Knights of the White Wolf are converted from metal Chaos Knights to give them a bit more bulk compared to the pretty weedy Empire plastic kit. The Knights of the Blazing Sun are quite old metal model with custom shields (green-stuff molds of the sun icon).
The old Borgio the Besieger model can serve as a generic Grand Master while two warrior priests accompany the mounted host in the form of Ar-Ulric for the Wolves and Luthor Huss for the regular knights. Finally an old school Battle Standard Bearer just in case (never needed but quick to paint)/
Church of Sigmar
This part of the Imperial Army was mostly introduced in later army books and is the most underrepresented part of my force. Still adding to it. Six Warrior Priests, including the old Volkmar model on foot which can be used as an Arch Lector if needed, see to the spiritual needs of the army while a Witch Hunter keeps the devil away.
A large block of 42 Flagellants have joined the Bogenhafen Army. The unit filler is converted from the old War Altar model. A smaller group of 12 old school Flagellants are also available (this was part of my original tournament army before the plastic kit became available).
The Colleges of Magic support the Imperial Army. These are almost all side projects. My original army just had a single generic wizard (level 1 to carry a scroll). Back then you could select your lore before each battle and magic just wasn’t particularly critical for my play style.
Over time, I am slowly adding a wizard for each of the 8 Colleges of Magic. So far we have Jade (Life), Amethyst (Death), Amber (Beast), Gold (Metal), Grey (Shadows) and the “generic” Battle Wizard based on the blind augur model from Mordheim that was my original wizard model for the tournament circuit. The little familiars used to represent my available dispel scrolls.
The Imperial Army can field massed artillery that can rival even the Dwarven siege trains in destructive power. Six Master Engineers supervise the artillery train. They wield a variety of specialized weapons including three guns from the old War Wagon kit.
A wide array of artillery pieces can blast any opposition to pieces. This includes two Great Cannons, two Mortars, two Helblaster Volley Guns, and a later addition of a Helstorm Rocket Battery.
At this point, the army can cover most list configurations even in the more recent army books – demise of the Old World aside. Still, there remains a pile of units to finish that I am slowly grinding through. The “to-do” pile are all the newer releases including all configurations of griffons – Karl Franz, Lord on Griffon, Demi-Griff Knights, Bruckner on his Demi-Griffon, etc. – and the newer “wheels” based on the Luminark and War Altar kits. Add all the special characters, a Rocket Battery and some flyers. Finally, I have a large unit of Imperial Ogres whose poofy sleeves just ache to be added to this army. Lots of stuff still to do!