Sunday 26 April 2020

Ride To Ruin

This post simultaneously hold some things I've blasted through like there's no tomorrow, and some things that have been, if I'm honest, a bit of a chore.

First up is Theoden, who's been neither. He one of the miniatures I got from Mike and so was pretty much base coated already. This made life a lot easier in terms of getting him finished, but I still wanted to take my time and get him done well and he's one of my favourite characters from the books.

Perhaps this is why he's one of my least favourite characters in the films (at least he is in The Two Towers) because Peter Jackson decided to have him be more bitter and grumpy than I imagined him. It's not a problem for the films, and Bernard Hill does a great job, but he wasn't Theoden as the hero who fights even though he knows he's going to lose until the final film.

In game terms he makes my Rohirrim exponentially better, as pretty much everybody in the army has at least one special rule that kicks in when Theoden's around. This makes him the first name on the team sheet in standard games

The two Warriors of Rohan are actually conversions of archers, as I already had twice as many of them as I did other Warriors. It was a simple case of trimming off bows, a bit of arm swapping, and sticking two spare viking shields on.

The fact that they have quivers is not a problem, as it makes them ideal for use as dismounted Riders. Also, the plain shields and different offer a bit of variety in what will be a quite uniform force.

It was painting these two that felt like a chore and took longer than it should. It might be because the plastic Warriors (and to a lesser extent, the Riders) show their age a bit, and the soft details don't really gel with my lazy painting.

This is potentially an issue with another 20 of them winging their way to me via Ebay as I type...

Another recent Ebay purchase, and at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of speed of painting are these Osgiliath ruins.

They only arrived yesterday, and in that time I've basecoated, washed, drybrushed and based them to completion. Possibly my fastest ever turnaround from purchase to painted...although they were very easy.

I've always fancied picking up this set as I feel they lend a Tolkeinesque feel to what can often be the quite generic terrain of LotR games.

They will be particularly useful when I eventually get round to playing the breaking of the Fellowship scenario from the Armies of Middle Earth book, although I need to paint 24 Uruk-Hai Scouts and build Amon Hen itself, but I'm getting there.

The sprue has a couple of oddities on it. The first being this piece which feels like a bit of a filler in terms of terrain. It certainly won't count as cover and is only a tiny bit of difficult ground.

The other oddity is the One Ring - in plastic. I've no idea what GW intended it to be used for, but when I've painted it I'll use it for popping over Frodo when he puts the Ring on (even though Gandalf expressly told him not to).

Theoden, the Warriors and the Ruins add up to eight models painted, although I haven't painted the Ring so that's six acquired. However, I did chop up a damaged Rider to convert the Warriors, so he counters the unpainted Ring.

Although I'm making headway, as I said, I've got a chunk of Warriors of Rohan heading my way, and possibly more if my Ebay adventures bear more fruit, so I'd better get cracking.

Acquired: 121
Painted: 132

Thursday 23 April 2020

He's Not Welcome

Back to Middle Earth today with what was, until today, my last unpainted model for my Isengard force...for now.

Grima son of Galmod, aka 'Wormtongue'.

I'm really pleased with how I've painted him as he has the potential to be very dull. So I've taken more care than usual with highlighting and shading, and used brown rather than black on the cloak's collar to add a bit of subtle variation.

I'm also genuinely pleased with his face, I think it might be one of the best I've done.

In game, Grima isn't a combat piece. Instead he deploys with the enemy and messes with their ability to use might to do heroic things, which means he adds something very different to Isengard's arsenal.

Acquired: 116
Painted: 124

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Holy Cow!

I recieved the kind gift from a friend of some 40mm bases which has enabled me to finish off my Children of the Fields starter cast with some Mast Beasts.

These are mystical constructs of bones and robes made by the Crow King to harvest the lives of those that threaten Winterly. They also imply that the Crow King is a fan of The Time Bandits.

It seems odd that the Mast Beasts are treated as large creatures in 7TV (hence the need for 40mm bases), given that they are not particularly bigger than any other 28mm. I've explained this to myself by assuming that when they a spinning around with their sickles, they take up more space.

They are one of the easiest paint jobs I've ever done. I went with red robes, rather than the more conventional black, because I thought this might form a visual link with my cultists, which aren't based in the same madder as the rest of the Children of the Fields.

So that's everything I go from the Children of the Fields Kickstarter painted. I'm going to raid the bits box to add a few things to this cast before I spend more money.

However, I did receive four Crooked Dice miniatures as a birthday gift as the beginning of another small project which will see me revisiting a different Saturday morning cartoon of my youth.

Acquired: 116
Painted: 123

Sunday 19 April 2020

Rough Riders

I've returned to Middle Earth to refight a battle that I lost some time ago as once again I lock swords with the Riders of Rohan.

I've completed six more Riders which had stalled at the horse painting stage back in my last glut of Middle Earth miniatures about a year and a half ago.

Horses always cause me problems.

However, against the odds, just like Rohan at Helm's Deep, I've emerged victorious.

And just to prove that I'm not pretending and just posting the same ones as last time, here's a picture of my Eored, led by Eomer.

I've decided, after finishing these six, that I won't be doing any more batches of Rohirrim as I find them a bit of a chore,  and this was why I was defeated last time. Instead, I'll be doing them in ones and twos inbetween other miniatures.

I've also got the War in Rohan book to dive into, and I'm going to work through the scenarios one by one  building armies to complete each in turn, so there are likely still plenty of Rohirrim to do.

Acquired: 112
Painted: 121

Friday 17 April 2020

Market Day

I'm waiting on some 40mm bases before I can continue with my Children of the Fields cast, and so I thought I'd add some themed scenery: Winterly Market.

This is the Market Mantic Terrain Crate that I got for Christmas. Just like the Treasury set, it's made from a soft plastic, but unlike the treasury it has some quite thin elements like the stall awnings and the cart wheels. These have resisted the hot water trick and refuse to be straightened, which would put me off getting other Terrain Crates with thin parts.

However, the solid bits, like the stalls and the piles of goods (like the pieces from the Treasury, are great.

Moan out the way, despite the slight bend, I had fun with the stalls. I've even sorted my orange issue with a light coverage of the dry paint Ryza Rust to the carrots. It wouldn't work for large areas, but I've gone back and highlighted the pumpkin in the last post.

I can see these being used in 7TV (obviously), possibly Rangers of Shadow Deep, and even Lord of the Rings (although I might need to make The Shire to use them).

The piles of goods are my favourite bits in the set, and I can see them cluttering up all sorts of game boards as scatter terrain.

The barrels aren't from Mantic, but are some leftover Renedra barrels, which have their own issues with the halves not matching up correctly. Sticking them together as a clump reduces how noticeable this issue is.

The horse and cart is probably the most useful piece in the set, once you get past the wonky wheels. Again suitable for all kinds of fantasy and historical settings, I could even potentially use it to tow artillery in Bolt Action.

I suspect that I might need to fashion a range of potential drivers for it.

I've kept the cart separate so that it can also be used as terrain when needed, and can be filled with any of the goods piles, or even mounds of gold.

All in all, it's a cool little set, marred only slightly with the bending issue. However, as scenery, it's not too much of a worry.

I'm counting this as six models (even though the stalls came in several pieces) painted, as the bigger pieces are countered by the smaller ones. There is still a pile of cloth bolts to do, but I wasn't particularly inspired to do them. I've got a little pile of Mantic leftovers I'll add it to.

Acquired: 112
Painted: 115

Yes, I have noticed, but I'm not going to get too excited as my birthday is next week...

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Counting Crows

Folloqung the scarecrows, here's some crows to scare...or perhaps not, as they're led by the Crow King.

The Crow King is a mysterious, ragged adviser to Lady Winterly, who can summon the crows to do his bidding and is the one who constructs the Corn Dolls and Mast Beasts that protect the village.

He also looks a bit like Slash from Guns N Roses.

Obviously, there's no a lot to go on colour wise and so it's not the most exciting paint job, although I am fairly pleased that the dry brushing picked up details well.

I'm less pleased with the crows, as I've struggled to get the detail right on them, so they've ended up a bit scruffy looking.

I am, however, pleased with the arrangement on the bases. Some people have gone for one crow per base, but as the profile is for a Murder of Crows, I definitely wanted more than one per base.

I tried to get a mix of flying and grounded crows, and variety the heights their flying at. The pumpkin was a touch I added to balance out only having two crows on the base. I don't have a proper orange paint at the moment, and my attempt at mixing ended up a bit drab, so I may highlight it when I'm able to get some orange paint from the shops.

When it comes to the tally, I counted the crows as eight when they came in, so I'm counting them as eight going out, with the Crow King making it nine painted today.

Acquired: 112
Painted: 109

Tuesday 14 April 2020

Get Arf Moy Laaaand!

This is the first batch of my actial Children of the Fields miniatures, and they take the concept of fields somewhat literally: Mister Mangel and the Corn Dolls (sounds like a dodgy West Country band).

The Corn Dolls are scarecrows animated by the sinister Crow King to guard the borders of the Winterley Estate, keeping away those that aren't local.

The models were fun to do, as I wanted to have them all different, despite the fact there are only two sculpts. The arms are separate, allowing for some pose variation, and if I'd been thinking straight, I would have swapped the arms on the second pair.

Despite being specifically for Children of the Fields, the Corn Dolls are potentially quite versatile. Not only would they suit games where they were pitted against the Scooby Gang, but they're also perfect for representing the scarecrows that appeared in the Doctor Who episode Family of Blood.

Mister Mangel is the guardian and protector of Little Lord Winterly, the heir to the estate. Although this sounds somewhat paternal, it appears he's being protected so that he can meet a gruesome fate in the future.

The model was an absolute doddle to paint as the details are so crisp, the wah did almost all the work. It's a fairly unconventional sculpt for a character model, however, I've also seen this used as a piece of scenery.

I decided to go with cornfield bases and not match the cultists for a few reasons. Firstly, cornfields suit scarecrows. Secondly, the cultists are generic, for use in a variety of settings, whereas these aren't. Finally, I'd bought the tufts fir something else and decided not to use them, so I wanted to get some use out of them.

I'm really pleased with how these five have turned out, I'm also really pleased to have hit triple figures on models painted this year.

Acquired: 112
Painted: 100

Next up: some crows for them to scare.

Monday 13 April 2020

Equal Rites

As I move on to pastures new, I've set myself the eminently achievable goal of completing my 7TV Children of the Fields cast, most of which I picked up during Crooked Dice's first Kickstarter campaign.

First up are these two female cultists.

I actually picked these up only a few weeks ago, using the voucher I won at Board in Brum. I wanted to add some 'man' power to my occult cast and I'm never overly keen on using duplicate models.

I've painted them in exactly the same way I did the original cultists, that is, very simply. I think I commented when I first painted the occult starter set that I really like the simplicity of these models.

The other thing I like, and this is true across the Crooked Dice range, is that these are female miniatures which avoid the somewhat cringeworthy tendency in our hobby to over-sexualise the female form. These two are simply going about their nefarious business without feeling the need to bend over suggestively or wear significantly less clothes than the men.

Cultists are an extremely useful resource for a wargame, as they fit in all sorts of settings, from modern and pulp, through Call of Cthulhu and Victoriana to medieval fantasy. In fact, in my cult there's only the two with guns that wouldn't fit in all those genres.

In terms of Children of the Fields, the community of Winterly is some sort of nature cult, with a touch Satanism thrown in (think The Wicker Man meets The Devil Rides Out), and as such almost all of my cultists fit right in. The only ones I wouldn't use for this cast are the one with the SMG and the High Priest, as the cult leader, Yvonne de Vries, is female, and in my version is played by Sigourney Weaver (back right of the photo).

I'm planning to get all of my Children of the Fields painted over the coming days, including the characters Mr Mangel and the Crow King, four scarecrows (or 'Corn Dolls'), two Mast Beasts, a murder of crows, and the ferocious one-eyed beast, Old Shuck. I'm tempted to also do a little pastoral terrain to go with them.

For now, however, that's two done.

Acquired: 112
Painted: 95

Sunday 12 April 2020

The Tower of Tor Varden

From the chronicles of Brother Rendall...

After the encounter at the bridge, my companions and I, with the aid of the scroll Garvin had found, were able to slip past a couple of other hobgoblin patrols and reach the imposing edifice of Tor Varden. There were no guards posted outside, and very little indication of anyone inside. Then a muffled scream came from somewhere in the tower. It was a sign both good and ill. There was at least one man alive in Tor Varden, but we might already be too late to save him. We would need to move fast.

Wormtail's nefarious past proved useful to our goal, as he was able to silently pick the lock to the tower allowing Lord Venkh and Lady Shevarith to completely surprise the occupants of the tower.

The scene that greeted them was a gruesome one. Whatever the room once was, it had been completely transformed into a horrific workshop. The scattered furniture was covered in animal parts. In the centre of the room was a table, upon which lay a disgusting inanimate abberation, stitched together from the corpses of beasts and men. A hobgoblin shaman gibbered and muttered next to it, performing some foul and unholy rite. We could only presume he sought to infuse some sort of blasphemous half life into it.

Knowing the rite needed to be stopped, my master burst into the room like a thunderbolt, striking one of the shaman's guards dead before it could even respond.

Troughton and Garvin combined to bring the other one down, but not before the doughty Troughton had taken a stinging blow to the head.

The rest of us swarmed into the room, desperate to prevent the ritual reaching completion. I could sense the dark energies coalescing above the stitched-together monstrosity.

Just as the shaman's screams reached their feverish peak, he was silenced by a blow from my master's axe, and the foul corruption drained from the room. The ritual had been stopped.

However, there was no time to rest on our laurels, as the rest of the tower was surely stirring at the sounds of battle.

Lady Shevarith ordered Wormtail to dart forward and scout out the next room.

The door swung open to reveal some kind of storage room filled with boxes, barrels, crates, and hobgoblins!

Wormtail quickly ducked to one side, allowing his mistress to send a stinging bolt of magical energy through the doorway, crumbling one of the sloping shapes within.

Again, Venkh, Garvin and Troughton surged forwards, surrounding and bringing down another of the foul creatures. However, through the door I saw yet more rushing towards my master's unguarded back

I should not have worried. He spun round with lightning speed, bringing his mighty axe up in a fluid motion which caught the charging creature under the chin an split its head clean in two.

Shevarith lead the attack on the final creature in the room, bringing it down with a rain of blows, whilst the rest of us searched the room for clues as to what had happened here.

I found a scrawled note which seemed to be the feverish ramblings of a mad man, raving about the 'coming of the shadow knight'. I took no note of them and returned to our mission.

Wormtail was more fortunate, however, locating an enchanted philtre of fairy dust and passing it to his arcane mistress who would doubtless know how to make good use of it.

Poor old Nardol was struggling to keep up with our hectic progress, and puffed along behind us through the tower.

Eager to press on, my lord opened the door to the next chamber, revealing what must have been the tower's armoury, as the walls were lined with racks of weapons and armour.

To our dismay, four hobgoblin had availed themselves of these weapons and stood between us and the upper levels.

Seemingly having learnt something from the way Shevarith and Wormtail worked together, Master Venkh uncharacteristically stood to one side to allow Garvin to let fly an arrow through the doorway. Has aim was true and there was a gurgling yelp from a hobgoblin that was taken through the throat.

Then my lord's impetuous nature took over, trampling over one creature that sought to bar the doorway and barrelling on, ignoring barbed arrows flying towards him and ploughing into one of the archers, dropping it swiftly with furious hacks.

He then charged the last of the creatures, like a man possessed, but met his match in fury, as the desperate hobgoblin hacked back at him beating my lord back.

He was joined by Garvin and Troughton, but I have never seen such a furious defence as the hobgoblin put up. Clearly tiring from the wound he had taken earlier, Troughton was sent crashing into a pile of armour and lay still. Fortunately just unconscious.

Whilst this was happening, I was searching the room (I had assumed that there was no way a single hobgoblin could best my master and two companions). However, beneath a sword I found some fury leaves, the presence of which might go a long way to explain the desperate battle unfolding behind me.

Lady Shevarith has similarly assumed that the hobgoblin would be no match for Lord Venkh and had laid her hands on the tower captain's log, an item which would be of great value should we return to safety.

With Shevarith and I otherwise engaged, Wormtail watching the stairs fir attack from above, and Nardol lagging behind, it was left to my master and Garvin to finish off the frenzied hobgoblin.

I thought at one point that my master had fallen, but he had simply rolled with the enemy's blow. I uttered an incarnation of healing to aid him in his struggle and he seemed reinvigorated, clambering to his feet and finally cutting down his berserk opponent.

Pausing only to catch our breaths, patch our wounds, wake poor Troyghton, and wait for Nardol to catch up, we began to ascend the stairs to the beacon...