Sunday, 24 May 2020

Oh Captains, My Captains

I've finally completed all the miniatures I need for the first scenario in my War in Rohan campaign.


Yes, I know they're not actually Captains of Rohan, and are technically Royal Guard, but I intend on using them as Captains because firstly, I already had these models and it saves me spending any more money right now, and the Royal Guard only actually show up in a couple of scenarios, and when they do, they're mounted, so it's nice to get more use out of the models.


I've painted them with a healthy dose of washes, as is my way, and being metal models, they complied. 

Interestingly, however, the one with the sword raised was bought only about 18 months ago, whereas the other I got off Mike and I think is at least 10 years old or more, and the older model had much crisper details, which might stay something about GW possibly needing to revisit moulds.


I actually intend for the Royal Guard to play a much larger role in the campaign than as written as, having reached the films recently, they are present in scenarios such as 'Warg Attack' and 'Fall Back to the Keep' where the War in Rohan book says otherwise. I'll fiddle around with points to make things work, but I want to use them where it makes sense; basically any time Theoden needs protecting.

Having said that, these guys are almost as inept as Eternian Palace Guards given that as Royal Guards they fail to prevent the death of the heir to the throne; seem to be absent as Eomer is beaten up in the  throne room; allow Gandalf (the famous and unwelcome wizard) to approach Theoden armed with his staff; stand by as three strangers beat the shit out of the king's counsellor and other Rohirrim; wander straight into a Warg ambush; allow the king to get stabbed at Helm's Deep and then finally leg it when he's attacked and ultimately killed by the Witch King.

Well done lads!

Fortunately, they are much more effective in game.

I have two more with throwing spears to add, probably for the next scenario as I have a mind to use them as stand ins for some expensive individual characters such as Erkenbrand and Elfhem. However, I'd need to get mounted models before then too.

I now need to turn my attention to some more buidlings.

Acquired: 184
Painted: 188

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

We Will Die For Saruman

Without armour, shields, cavalry or bows? Yes. Yes they will die for Saruman.


These are the Wildmen of Dunland (or Dunlendings) for my Army of the White Hand in the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game, and they represent the final bulk unit required for the first scenario in the War in Rohan campaign.


They are metal models, therefore they are single pose, and there are only four sculpts available. Given that they are meant to represent a ragged horde, there was a risk of them looking too uniform.


Rather than engage with the faff of converting metal models and making a mess of them, I decided to vary the painting within a fairly limited range of colours to create an illusion of variety.


Although this has meant that they look much brighter than in the film (where they were in very dark browns and blacks), it does remove some of the uniformity. I've given them all black sashes, as I thought this might form some form of impromptu uniform, telling the Uruk-Hai which of the 'whiteskins' they shouldn't kill, yet.


I've done a lot of washing with Nuln Oil to give a grubby look, used Typhus Corrosion to dirty up the weapons and kept their hair largely dark to distinguish them from the Rohirrim, whom the Dunlendings call 'strawheads'.


The leader is a viking berserker miniature I recieved for free at Vapnartak one year, who will be standing in for Gorulf Ironhide - a character made up by GW to sell expensive Forge World models.

However, price isn't the reason I'm not buying the official model. It's actually because, not only do I not like the Dunlending range (beyond the Wildmen) because the dont fit my vision of them in the books, but also Gorulf Ironhide just doesn't even look like he belongs in Middle Earth (he's the one at the front).


I'm not saying it's not a good model, but those rippling muscles are more suited to leading Chaos Marauders across the sea from Norsca. Basically, he's just too Warhammer for my tastes.

My berserker has issues too, but he fits better with the Wildmen, which are the only Dunlendings I'll be buying, and has the added bonus of being free - for which I can forgive a lot.

I now only have a couple of Rohan Captains paint and I'll have all the miniatures I need for the first scenario. Along with these, I need another four buildings, and to repaint two I already own.

What is good is that my MESBG painting can now focus on much smaller groups of models. Also, 33 more models painted means I'm back in positive figures:

Acquired: 184
Painted: 186

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Forging Ahead

I've been busy making steady progress in assembling the miniatures needed for the first scenario in the War in Rohan: The Burning of the Westfold.

However, as well as the miniatures, in order to play this scenario I will also need something to burn. Actually, seven somethings.

Here's one...


I'm quite pleased with this little forge, as its largely constructed from stuff I had knocking around the house: coffee stirrers, tongue depressers (don't ask), cardboard and a scouring pad.

I'm particularly chuffed with how the scouring pad has come out as a thatched roof. The corners are a bit neat, so next time I do something like this, I rough it up before painting.


The back of the forge leaves a little to be desired, with a noticeable gap and a slight lean at the far end. I might add some bits and pieces round the sides, and maybe even put a rough patch on the gap, as if the blacksmith hasn't had time to fix it properly.


At the heart of the building is Mantic's Blacksmith's Forge Terrain Crate, adding so nice details to draw the eye away from the roughness of my building.

Once again, I had warping issues which refused to be totally fixed by hot water, particularly on the gorge itself, so I'm glad it's largely hidden. After the issues I faced with the market set, I'm now in a position of being quite unlikely to spend more money on Mantic Terrain, when I can probably get better quality elsewhere.

However, the smaller bits are really nice and make and add some much needed to detail to what could be a dull piece, and overall I'm delighted with it. It will work in Rohan and all sorts of fantasy settings, such as Rangers of Shadow Deep. What's more, should I ever play Saga again, I can use it there too.


Speaking of being delighted, do you remember these chaps from the last post, and the fact that I wasn't happy with them?

Well, I've recently been watching some live streams from Zorpazorp Gaming, who have a ton of Middle Earth related content on YouTube, and saw a suggestion to use GW's Typhus Corrosion technical paint on Uruk-Hai armour. And so I tried it.


It's really dulled down the metal and made it more grimy, and I'm much happier with it. So much so that I now want to go back to these and add a few more details like white hand insignia.

I'm not sure I'm going to do the same with the rest of my Uruk-Hai, as I was happy with them and it serves to make identifying the different types on the board easier.

Despite the fact that when I bought the Mantic Forge I counted it as six models, given that it wason last year's tally, I'm only calling this one model, as it is only one model. This is set against two character models that have arrived and the tally has stayed rather stable - althoughimm now at the end of the birthday money and so I'll start making headway again soon.

Acquired: 184
Painted: 173

Friday, 8 May 2020

A Ruined And Terrible Form Of Life

Sometimes, quantity is better than quality. Or so I keep telling myself with my latest offering: 24 Uruk-Hai Scouts.


I've been extremely slapdash in getting these done because I didn't want to spend weeks on lots of trying to be original with different shades of brown and black. I also didn't want to hit a painting block by taking too long over models that are not very exciting to paint.


It's not that they are bad models, but even though there are 12 slightly different sculpts, they are very samey. What's more, each of those 12 sculpts has at least one point on the model where the detail is lost, whether it's faces, hands or legs.


Therefore, I decided just to get them done as quickly as possible, but 24 of them still took time, particularly as there is far more armour on them than the light armour of the profile would suggest. In fact, they're only finished now because I was able to paint whilst listening to Andy Serkis reading The Hobbit over 10 hours yesterday.


However, done they are, and I now have all the necessary models for some iconic scenes from the films, such as the breaking of the Fellowship at Amon Hen, or Eomer's confrontation with Ugluk and Grishnakh under the eaves of Fangorn.

I also now only have just over a dozen models to paint (and five houses to make) to be ready for the first scenario in War in Rohan: The Burning of the Westfold, and all those that lie before me are metal models, which should be more enjoyable to paint.

In terms of painting numbers, getting another 24 painted more than offsets the 12 Wildmen of Dunland that arrived in the post (I've only got couple more birthday purchases to arrive, honest).

Acquired: 182
Painted: 172

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Workhorses of Rohan

After saying I wasn't going to do any more batch painting of Lord of the Rings, I've gone and batch painted 16 Warriors of Rohan.


I felt the need to do this because, despite all the fuss and glamour of the Riders, the majority of scenarios in War in Rohan feature footsloogers. Even those with Riders will need Warriors as dismounts.


I've done 16 to bring my total up to the 24 needed for the first scenario. This meant painting four more archers. Unfortunately, these are exactly the same as the four I've already done as there's not much you can do to individualise them.


This is not the case with the seven spearmen I needed as I've been able to swap weapons around to ensure no two of them are exactly the same. This is added to by mixing the shields up between those models that are similar.


With the five armed with hand weapons I raided a couple of unused Riders, and this has led me to having a slightly higher number of axes in the force. Given that the Warriors are only Strength 3, a bit more 'piercing strike' might help against tougher targets.

Normally, painting 16 models would be a source of celebration for my painting tally. However, I bought these as part of a lot of 20 off ebay (the others will be done primarily as dismounts). In addition, I've also bought 24 Uruk-Hai Scouts and 5 Warg Riders with birthday money...and there's more on the way.

I looks like batch painting is back in my life if I'm going to keep my head above water.

Acquired: 170
Painted: 148

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