A hobby weekend!

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That is the look of a man who knows how to defend his keep!

This past weekend, I had my friend from Toronto visiting! Mostly, we assembled miniatures, as he had purchased two forgeworld Armageddon Pattern Basilisks, which turned out to be the actual worst kit I’ve ever had the misfortune to work on! Luckily, we powered through and got them done. But, he had been wanting to try a fantasy game, as opposed to 40k or something else futuristic. Thinking to myself that this would be an excellent chance to sell someone else on the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game, the trap was sprung. We did a few demo games, and had a blast, but after watching Return of the King, he asked the question every SBG player dreads…”Shall we do a grand siege?”.

In the past, I found that sieges, especially big ones, had a tendency to take literally 5-6 hours, if you were lucky, to get a proper game done. However, either by me now knowing the rules a lot better then my 13 year old version, or us making an effort to play quickly, we wrapped it up in 2 1/2 hours! We didn’t even bother with points; He simply took all he owned, plus a few of my gondor models to aid him, while I took 6 warbands of assorted Mordor baddies. We also came up with the win conditions on the spot, being that of killing either Gandalf or Gothmog, or me getting 50% of my forces in the walls. In hindsight, the outcome of what was going to play out was obvious, but we still had a blast!

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With roughly 60 defenders to my 100 or so Orcs, it was going to be a bloodbath!
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“Send forth all legions, do not stop the attack until the city is taken”
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The brave defenders await the ladders.
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Charging toward the gate, I realized I didn’t really need the battering ram when I had two Ologs…
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A cool side effect of sitting down to command my forces, was that I couldn’t see this until the gate was broken! 
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I wanted to put a ladder on that tower….really should have measured first.
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Slowly making my way onto the battlements.
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After putting the ladder back up after it being pushed over, my orcs mill about at the bottom, trying to decide who goes first!

In the end, my lack of ladders, only having 4, meant a good deal of my force was doing nothing, while being bottlenecked on the wall. My trolls battered down the gate, but the trolls took up the whole gate and blocked entry for both sides, preventing me from moving in until one side broke, which neither did. I learned that I need far more ladders, I’m thinking 8 at least, and perhaps making or buying 2 siege towers and a proper battering ram. My Catapult reaped a bloody toll, when it hit. In the end, it came down to Gothmog being sniped by Legolas, ending the siege then and there.

But it is interested that it played as well as it did, and I’m looking forward to doing more big battles!

After he left, I primed my Iron Hills Dwarves, using Army Painter Platemail, as I found on my black-primed test mini that I would save a lot of time, and after watching a tutorial online that recommended the spray. I was apprehensive, as the spray tends to go on fairly thick, but the only detail obscured is the spear tips, which I think I can live with.

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I think they’ll look fantastic once completed! Dain on the “rocket sausage” will be the last thing I do, if ever, since I’m not terribly fond of the idea of Dwarven cavalry. But the detail on both him on foot and on piggy are quite stunning!

Until next time, may your dice be blessed by Aule, and farewell.

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To battle, Sons of Durin!

As I mentioned in my last post, I did a joint Forge-World order with a friend recently. Weirdly, and something I didn’t expect, I didn’t actually want anything 40k related at the time, as I felt I had everything my army could possibly use. That left Lord of the Rings. Now, as a massive fan of the book, the Hobbit movies didn’t impress me. It didn’t feel as quality as Lord of the Rings, and felt like a cash-in. However, I did enjoy the Dwarves, as we didn’t see much of them in either the books or the movies of the Trilogy.

GW have over the years, tried their hand at making Dwarves for the SBG, and while some units I think look fantastic, such as the character models, Vault Wardens, and Khazad Guard, the others looked very generically fantasy, very safe and I was never really drawn to them. It was clear that since they only had Gimli and the dwarves at the council of Elrond to draw inspiration from, they hadn’t put as much time into it as Weta did for the films, and it showed in the generic nature of the rank and file models.

When the Hobbit movies came out, I was initially very happy with them, despite the changes made, and this was mostly because Weta had finally been able to turn their incredible talent towards Durins Folk, and the culture and style finally gave GW something to work with. The Warriors of Erebor kit, and the Grim Hammers, look awesome, and feel very true to the movie materiel (if not the books, where plate was unheard of, and everyone seemed to wear mail armor). The other two movies didn’t impress me though, and with the game dying out anyway, I didn’t invest in Dwarves at the time. Cue Forge World.

Forge World took over the Middle Earth SBG around a year after the Battle of Five Armies release, and they took the chance to bring out possibly my favorite depiction of dwarves in fiction, Lord Dain Ironfoots Iron Hills warriors. Now, that it a statement I make with some hesitation, as I am NOT a fan of Dwarven cavalry, especially not goats and boars! But the rank and file dwarf, armed with a broad shield and long spear, really captured my imagination. I was delighted when Forge World brought them out, but knew it would be a while before I got any.

I finally got my chance with this order, as with the free shipping over 150, I could really make a solid push to get what I need to play them properly!

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Absolutely crisp, with barely any clean-up. I still washed them, just for good measure.
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A couple bendy spears fixed with a tea-cup of boiling water, and presto, one shieldwall of angry dwarves!

I also got the command. You see very little of the captains in the movie, even in the extended cut, but Weta had done the groundwork, and Forge World took the next step. The banner is seen in the movie, however briefly, and looks fantastic on the model, and has detail embossed on it, which made me very happy! Gamling with his royal standard of Rohan remains unpainted to this day, simply because free-handing that banner is sheer madness!

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Amazing detail on both models!

All in all, I’m very happy with my new Dwarves, and while the plate armor is a definite no-no book-wise, I plan on fielding a force as true to the source material as possible. I’m making an exception for the spears, as they look fantastic, and the Ballista isn’t stretching the idea too much, but I will avoid using the Goat ram-riders, and Dain will be marching on foot! I’ll have placed a second order for another 12 warriors, Dain, and the variant 3-dwarf spear pack. As Dain can now lead 18 models, my captain can lead the rest, and I have a solid little force! I need one ballista to bring it to a competitive level, but that can wait. I have both the Battle of Five Armies and the Battle of Erebor during the war of the ring in mind for this force, and to that end I’ll be converting up an older version of Dain Ironfoot, with his famous red-axe!

Until next time, may Durin watch your back, and Du-Bekar!

The Backlog goes on and on…

It’s been a while since I’ve made a post; I have been quite a busy beaver! My friend and I did a joint Forge World order a while ago, and he came bearing many kits, as he had also been downtown Toronto to Meeplemart, a large gaming store, where he picked up even more stuff to add to our mutual backlog! Among the Forge-World goodies was a surprise.

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My friend decided to get me an Arvus Lighter as a present, an unexpected but altogether welcome gift! The kit is entirely resin, and if I’m not mistaken, an older kit of theirs, from around the Anphellion Project release many, many moons ago. I’d always wanted one, even when their rules left a lot to be desired, and my friend must have remembered me saying so! As with all of the Forge-World kits, I set to work on the usual steps; Wash with dish soap, use boiling water to realign pieces, and in this instance, paint the model in sections so I could do the interior.

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A little bath, to get all that nasty release agent off! I recommend doing this step, even if you feel like you don’t have to; It prevents a lot of headaches down the road.
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After the bath, I cleaned up and trimmed the pieces.
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Before applying the first coats of paint, I assembled what I could into sub assemblies.

The kit wasn’t super easy to work with, and needed some work, but I have had far worse trouble with Forge-World kits then this, so after about an evening, I was ready to prime it. I went with Army Painter Army Green, a nice olive-drabish color I’ve used on all my flyers so far. Fluff-wise I imagine the Arvus is a utility vehicle for the rest of the Squadron, and while it has been retrofitted with Auto-cannons for defense, its mainly a logistical workhorse and impromptu assault craft, so I didn’t want it to be too flashy.

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Priming done! I also found 2 Taurox Autocannons, and primed them too. Haven’t actually found a place to put them though!

I did a simple job on the inside of the crew compartment, as you won’t be able to see most of it, I focused on what is easily visible; the decking on the floor and the ceiling lights. Once that was done I assembled the kit, then did the cockpit. I found that the cockpit sits tightly without glue, so I have left it unglued for now until I decide that I’m done.

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I went very heavy on weathering, I wanted this to look very weather-beaten and worn out, as befits the nature of the vehicle.
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Simple red wing panels tie the Arvus into the overall livery of the Squadron I’ve made.

While it is now in a game-able state, I hesitate to call it done! It still needs a lot of touching up and detailing, but I can hammer at that when I feel like it. I’m very chuffed with the kit, and it was a fantastic gift from a very good friend, and will look amazing on the tabletop and in my display cabinet! I have even lucked out on the gaming front; While in previous editions it was fairly lacklustre, its new rules make it quite a threat, dropping via deep-strike, deploying its cargo, then presumably going out in a blaze of glory. This might allow me to drop my Scions into melta range turn-2!

Anyways, I’ll see you guys in the next one, and Ave Imperator!

Into the Mines!

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Not the best paint job, but they’ll do for a demo game!

So its been a while! I’ve found myself with more time off, and the Clubhouse is letting me run a demo game for the Middle Earth SBG! I’ve always found the easiest and most fun scenario to learn with is Balin’s Tomb, from the fellowship, as you get your heroes fighting impossible odds, and almost every basic rule gets covered! I’ve long had the Fellowship set, back from the Mines of Moria release, but the models are frankly not great, full of soft detail that is both difficult to highlight and shade easily. A much better painter can make the sculpts work, but I can’t do them as well, so I decided to just bang them out in a sitting, so I could carry on!

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“You have my sword!” I painted this years ago, and it shows. I just tidied it up and tried to make it look less terrible. I failed. But, I have many poses of Aragorn, so this will do in a pinch!
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“You have my bow!” A bit better here, I painted this today and it shows, its a lot cleaner and tidy. Still a terrible sculpt though, and I look forward to doing a better Legolas model.
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“And my Axe!” Not a bad job here, could be better but looks like a good Gimli to me!
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“If this is truly the will of the council, Gondor will see it done.” I love Boromir, and this is actually the best of the models in the set. Didn’t do it justice but I’m very happy with it.
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“I will help you bear this burden.” Not a terrible sculpt, but my hamfisted earlier painting left a lot to be desired. Like Aragorn, I just tidied him up a bit.

This leaves just the Hobbits, a difficult task but it will prepare me for the masses of goblins required for the scenario!

For those who are hoping for some 40k content, my Clubhouse is starting a Kill-Team Campaign, and I’ll be posting batreps from that. As well, my friends are coming up for a game, a 3000pt slugmatch, which I’ll be sure to take many pictures of!

Until next time, may the grace of the Valar protect you!

 

Theoden rides to war!

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“Ride for ruin, and the worlds ending!” I hope I even slightly did the sculpt justice.

I know I said I was going to work on Khamul, but I haven’t yet figured out a way to make the mask look convincing! And since the Theoden model was so tempting, I decided to get it out of the way to encourage me to keep up with my Rohan backlog.

I primed in grey, which made the layer of ulthuan grey go on fairly well, and it is a convincing white I think, and the rest of the paints went on easily. The armor proved to be a challenge. Most of my paints are Army Painter, and I lacked something darker then the barding, which I did in oak brown, but not being black. A mix of matte black and oak brown in a 1-2 ratio did the trick! On one hand it might be hard to replicate, but since Theoden wears such bespoke heirloom armor I figured it was worth it. The gold inlay took a fair bit of time with my shaky hands, but I painted late at night when my nerves are typically at their best!

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A terrible picture for showing off, but a cool pose that all the Morannon Orcs will see thundering at them!
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The detail on the shield was hard, but worth it.

I did the foot model at the same time; This is good because in the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game a model can either dismount or have the mount shot out from under them, and you need a model for both occasions! Luckily Snowmane( His horses name) will usually run away so I don’t need a third model for that, since Theoden is molded on and would be tricky.

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I actually really enjoyed painting the foot model, almost as much as painting the mounted version!
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I chose to use the helmeted head, to contrast with my old, helm-less model that I’ll use at Helms Deep.
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My suspicions that a wash would work really well on the sharp detail was correct, and made the scale mail really pop!

All in all, really happy with it. It is weird, once I stopped trying to compare my painting with everyone else’s and painted simply for the joy of it, it has stopped being a chore, and is now something I look forward to! If now I could conquer my hobby butterfly tendencies I might get something done. Sure, it won’t win any awards, but it looks good on the tabletop and in front of my Riders of Rohan will look sharp!

Until next time, Forth Eorlingas my fellow hobbits!

 

A Sword Day! A Red Day! Ere the sun Rises!

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DEAAAAAATHHHH! I will not apologize for my excitement!

Today was a good day. Theoden’s riders rode through the night to my local gaming store,(although, local for me in my rural area means an hour and a bit, roughly!) The Giddy Goblin in Hanover, Ontario, and delivered the Pelennor Fields box-set! Unfortunately, in a situation happening globally, demand has outstripped supply, and while most GW locations have received their Armies of the Lord of the Rings rule-books, the Goblin, as a local retailer, didn’t get theirs on time. But, that barely dampened my enthusiasm, as seeing Lord of the Rings kits on shelves again was a day I never thought I’d see! I did buy a box of Haradrim Raiders on a whim, as I didn’t have any.

Most of the box has been seen before, and if your anything like me, has been thoroughly spoiled on Youtube anyway. But like everyone else, the detail on the Theoden miniature floored me. The pictures, painting in the typical GW style, don’t do it justice, and make it a bit too “bright”, if you know what I mean. This isn’t a slight on them at all, after all I paint like an Ork on seventy-five cups of coffee. But the realistic scale of the model takes to a more subtle approach.

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A bit too stark, if you ask me!

In the flesh however, it looks amazing, and feels true to WETA’s original vision.

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A really dynamic and action filled pose!
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The detail on the barding and shield is crisp, and should take well to a wash!

Even the foot model looks amazing!

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Don’t have Theoden with a helmet and a shield, so this is a nice addition.
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They even put the double-fuller on the sword! Never seen that on the metal models I think!
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The shield is, again, gorgeous.

I’m really happy with it, and its a great return to Middle Earth, after almost 10 years without a release(barring the hobbit stuff). Once my rules arrive I’m going to play a few games, see how the game it-self has held up. The rest of the contents are things everyone has seen before, and since I already had a Witch King on Fell-Beast, I’m going to try my hand at converting my new kit into Khamul the Easterling, one of the named Nazgul. I’ll post as soon as I make progress on that front. I do need to pick up a can or two of primer to basecoat my models, so painting will take a bit to get started.

And, as I need a Lord of the Rings based send-off, Forth Eorlingas!

 

I am the Law and the Lash!

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Just a quick little update today, work really kicked my butt and drained my hobby reserves, but the next few days should be fruitful, and I will post quite a bit in the following few days. But, as you can see, I got the old 1995 era Commissar painted up!

A nice easy model, but with amazing detail and sharp features that took to a wash well. Have to say, easily one of my favorite Commissar models now! Really shows just how good these old sculpts are.

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The air of menace this model has is great, you wouldn’t want to retreat before this guy!

Alas, this will be the last 40k stuff for a little while. With Pelennor Fields dropping tomorrow, and my club giving me a chance to run a demo game, I’m going to be busy painting and building mostly Middle Earth miniatures in preparation.

Until next time, Ave Imperator!