I was digging around in my box of assorted figures I have picked up over the years, I came across some old Empire models. I used to play The Empire a long time ago, back in the dark days of 6th edition. Since then I've moved on to my Dwarfs, with a couple of years of Dark Elves thrown in for good measure. With the release of 9th edition not very far away (next year if GW continue their usual release pattern for new editions of Warhammer and 40K), and we can expect allies to be a feature of the game. So, to back up my Dwarfs, I've gone back to the old friendship between the Dwarfs and The Empire. So I've come up with a bit of background and painted up a test model.
The Order of Ulric's Thunder is an Ulrican Knightly Order founded back during the dark days of the Time of the Three Emperors. A group of devout Ulrican noblemen and Knights from across the Empire founded the Order of Ulric's Thunder in order to protect the people of the Empire from its many enemies. They founded a chapter house at Kleinsdorf on the Middenland/Talabecland border and welcomed any follower of Ulric to join their order. Since the restoration of the Empire by Magnus the Pious after the Great War against Chaos, the Order has gone from strength to strength.
In the Imperial Year 2416, a contingent of Knights from the Order led by Grand Master Jurgen von Richthofen rescued several Dwarfen prisoners who had been captured by a band of marauding Orcs in the World's Edge Mountains. Among these was Bjarni Gotreksson, the young son of King Gotrek Alriksson of the Silver Hammer clan of Karaz-a-Karak, along with several other prominent members of the clan. The Knights accompanied the freed Dwarfs back to Karaz-a-Karak, where King Gotrek and Grand Master von Richthofen swore a pact of eternal friendship between the Dwarf Clan and the Order. As the Knights departed Karaz-a-Karak, King Gotrek presented Grand Master von Richthofen with a gift of Dwarf-forged weapons and shields. Ever since then, the Order's Knights and soldiers have carried shields bearing the device of the Silver Hammer clan. Once every ten years, the Order's Grand Master travels with a contingent of Knights and soldiers to Karaz-a-Karak to renew their pact. Jurgen von Richthofen was killed by Orc Warlord Skargit at the Battle for Peak Pass in 2432, fighting alongside his Dwarfen allies. As von Richthofen fell, Bjarni Gotreksson struck the Orc down with a massive blow from his runic axe. All 5 Grand Masters since have continued with the tradition since, including the incumbent, Otto Steinhoffer. A small contingent of Dwarfs currently reside at the Order's headquarters in Kleinsdorf.
The Order's headquarters at Kleinsdorf has grown over time into a large town. The Order consists of a large contingent of Knights, regiments of professional foot soldiers, militia recruited from the townspeople and farmers and artillery. They often march to battle accompanied by Wizards from the Colleges of Magic, Warrior Priests of Ulric and even Engineers from the Imperial Artillery School. Although the Order, it's members and lands are independent of Imperial politics, they have fought side by side with armies from all over the Empire on many occasions, as well as their Dwarfen allies.
So, as a test model, I painted up a Spearman. It's one of the older models, I'm not a big fan of the current Empire State Troops. I think it's the lack of puffy sleeves.