Halflings were always my preferred Dungeons and Dragons race when I was a a youth, but I never felt drawn to play them in Blood Bowl. I guess I was never a fan of all the kitchenware on their models. I can get behind them being a joke team, but I’d still like them to look like a…well…sports team.
Going back to the beginning, like most gamers of my generation, some of my earliest experiences with fantasy were the classic Rankin Bass Lord of the Rings movies, The Hobbit and Return of the King. The ‘Samwise the Strong’ sequence at the beginning of Return of the King was the first memory I have of a literary character invoking an emotion in me. The idea of this meek, diminutive individual rising up to punch above his weight class resonated.
It wasn’t too much longer after that, when my father brought home the Dungeons and Dragons basic box on a whim. The above Jeff Dee illustration solidified my idea of the heroic halfling and remains one of my favorite D&D pieces ever.
Eventually, January 1988 came around and with it the Halfling Defender subclass in dragon Magazine #129. Above is the Jim Holloway (RIP) piece featured for the article, and this issue of Dragon Magazine became my most used throughout the rest of AD&D 1e’s lifespan. Now, I had actual mechanics to run the sort of small hero I had been building on my own.
It wasn’t too much longer after this, I started to fall into Games Workshop gaming. GW had a fun tongue in cheek approach to fantasy with its Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Rogue Trader, so I had to adjust to halflings being the incompetent faction, but it was ok. I had sorta grown some and was into the punk scene at the time so the cockney bootboy orcs and the mohawked wardancer and slayers were plenty to capture my imagination in the twisted worlds of GW.
Eventually, ‘heroic’ halflings came to The Old World in the form of Lumpin Croop’s Fighting Cocks. This was a Dog of War Regiment of Renown unit that generals could draft into their armies. Still, halflings remained jokes on the Blood Bowl pitch, which was and is my main GW game. It doesn’t bother me too much, there does need to be a lower tier and it makes sense. However, they are known to be a pretty strong damage inflicting team in tournament play if you have the right treeman combination with ’em. Despite that damage potential, I was never really drawn to the models.
When the Blitz Bowl team was released and early game results had them performing very well, I figured now was the time to finally paint up a squad of these stoutfoots for the pitch. I don’t mind if Halflings wind up the dominant team in the game. It would be a bit jarring to be honest, but I would use the squad as sort of the ‘training’ team for new players and maybe not really use them in leagues or tournaments. Let them be a sort of in-game joke. They’re so dominant at the game, but can’t commit to a full schedule…it gets in the way of their meals.
Anyway, onto the team. In a nod to the ‘Fighting Cocks’ name, I’ve gone with ‘Sporting Cocks’. I don’t follow the MLS Kansas City team, but they already rock ‘Sporting’ so with my meager paint talents it would be easy to repurpose that for this team. I figure I may as well go with the colors too, as I haven’t done a team in this color scheme. I also passed on putting the team numbers on shoulder pads this time, but went simple and on the jersey where maybe a soccer team’s logo would go.
Where possible, I tried to use the halfling head option that would most unify the team. In this case that generally meant…kitchenware. I picture the Hefty (center above) as the team captain. The only ‘serious’ player trying to keep everyone else in line…and taking knocks while doing it. I cut off the strainer from the top of another player’s head and put it in his hand as if he’s holding his helmet…but also good for smacking opponents with.
There’s also a head with a squirrel that’s pretty popular, but I didn’t want him on this squad. If i were killing out a full BB team with the treemen and dryads and their birds, squirrels, faeries and such everywhere, then probably. For only six models though I wanted to create as much cohesion on the squad as possible. Plus, the model with the ferret has no choice but to carry his pet onto the pitch and I just love the goofy grin he has. He’s so proud of bringing sneaking his furry friend past the coach and refs…I don’t wanna take that away from him by another player with a squirrel.
Following my BzB standard of all teams, the team coin and marker were painted up in generic, worn brass.
So, that’s the Halfling team then. Probably the only time I’ll ever paint Halfling models for a GW game. What’s that you say? They can now be included on the human roster? I guess I’ll be revisiting The Moot for another recruitment drive in the near future…