Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lord of the Rings - The Wolves of Isengard

(the above picture was added later to post, as models have been re-varnished from original post, and set on War of the Ring bases)

The wolves of Isengard.

Also known as the Warg Riders; orcs that ride monstrous wolves into battle.
And that roam in packs in the wilds of the north, known then as wild wargs.

Used by Saruman at the battles of the Fords Of Isen, where Theodred, Theoden of Rohans' son, is cut off and killed defending the crossing. A scene only hinted at in the Extended version of the DVD, but wonderfully brought to life in the movie sequence of the pursuit of the peoples of Rohan in their flight from Edoras to Helms Deep.

Sadly despite two layers of brushed on matt varnish, they still have come out somewhat shiny in the photos.

Apparently the movie design team felt that a hyena-like beast with larger front half of the body and smaller rear, would appear more scary than a simple large wolf. Works for me!

These figures were picked up second hand, and had been removed from the sprues and assembled but thankfully not glued, so they could be prepped properly. Some minor damage has been repaired; one had a missing tail which was added using a wire pin and greenstuff sculpted around it to fashion the furry tail.

These figures also required a lot of greenstuff to complete them satisfactorily to the eye. The joint line through the fur on the right side of the neck, and also covering the wargs rear end of its back in fur texture, which was for some reason completely smooth on the models. It took quite a bit of work but worth doing.

I also trimmed away the plastic grass stalks that supported the front raised foot on half the models. It just looked naff, and with three other contact points to the base, was not necessary.

In the game they give the orc forces some hard hitting cavalry, and some much needed maneuverability.

Lord of the Rings - Heroes and Villains

A selection of figures I have recently completed for the Lord of the Rings game.

First up a Barrow Wight. The Wights were ancient kings of men, who were buried in barrows in the ancient way. During the time of the Witch Kings coming to Angmar, he sent evil spirits into the tombs to awaken the long dead kings and raise them to fight in his armies of the north.

Although not in the movies, the hobbits fall prey to the wights as they traverse the south Downs (Hills to the East of the Old Forest) and get lost in the fog and mists. The are captured and taken back into the barrows, where they would have been sacrificed to the dark gods, had not Tom Bombadil come to their rescue.

It is actually here that the hobbits first get ancient swords from the barrows, to help them on their journey, and not as in the movie where Aragorn produces them at Amon Sul, Weathertop, presumably from some hidden store of weapons and provisions of the Rangers of the North?

Not technically a Lord of the Rings figure, but another GW fantasy warhammer one I had painted some time ago, and "tweaked" to bring it up to LOTR standard; switched it to a round base, and repainted the skeletal hands from a greenish hue to the blue/gray colour as the wights in GWs LOTR are depicted.

Next up, last metal Moria Goblin archer figure I found in the lead mountain.

And now on to Radagast the Brown.

Radagast was one of the Istari, the Maiar sent by the Valar, who took human form as wizards to aid the free peoples of Middle-Earth. Radagast became enamored by the living creatures; animals and plants of the world. He was part of the White council who attacked Dol Guldur, and drove Sauron, in the form of the Necromancer from Mirkwood. He was later dismissed out of hand by Saruman during his treachery, as being of little consequence.

Next up; Lurtz.

Lurtz, an Uruk-Hai and leader of the Uruk scouts as sent by Saruman to intercept the party at Amon Hen. A character not named in the books, but given life as a characterful leader of the Uruks in the movies, and after mortally wounding Boromir, is slain in a vicious fight with Aragorn. (the enhanced fight scene from the Extended version of the DVD is worth viewing!)

This model came to me second hand, and had been undercoated black. Closer inspection showed it had not been filed or trimmed first, so the model was stripped, and prep-ed properly before being painted.

And now for that treacherous creature; Gollum!

Here he is perched on a rock eating a fish he has caught from the forbidden pool near the Ithilien rangers hide-out at Henneth Annun, oblivious of the danger he is in.

Originally called Smeagol, one of the "riverfolk" and similar to a hobbit. He kills his friend Deagol, who finds the One Ring in the Great River Anduin. He is shunned by his people and goes and hides in caves in the Misty Mountains, where he lives under the influence of the ring for the next 500 years! Losing the ring which is found by Bilbo, he sets off to try and find his precious, but is found and captured by minions of the Dark Lord Sauron, and under torture, reveals two words; "Shire" & "Baggins". This leads the Black Riders to where they hope to find the Ring.

Gollum escapes (or is released?) from Mordor, and once again sets out to find the Ring for himself. Eventually catching up with the Fellowship, he dogs their trail, until finally caught and subdued by Frodo and Sam in the Emyn Muil. He leads them into Mordor via the pass of Cirth Ungol in the hopes Shelob, a demon in spider form, from the brood of Ungoliant, will catch and kill them. When this finally fails, he catches up with Frodo once more at the Sammath Naur, where in a final fight for the Ring, he takes it from Frodo by biting off his finger! But in his glee at getting the Ring back, (and in the movie, a fight on with Frodo), he stumbles and falls into the lava, and the Ring is ultimately destroyed.

As Gandalf earlier says "Even the very wise cannot see all ends". If it had not been for Gollum, Frodo would have kept the Ring for himself, and subsequently have been captured by the Ringwraiths, dooming Middle-Earth for a Dark Age under Sauron.

Such a small creature, but such a doom laden character throughout the tale!

Finally, turning to the Forces of Light, we have Elrond, Half-Elven. Son of Earendil the Mariner who led the faithful from the fall of Numenor, and Elwing an Elven Princess of Doriath, daughter of Dior and Nimloth. Bearer of one of the three Elven Rings of Power; Vilya. Fought with the elves under the forces of the Last Alliance, when Sauron was struck down, and Isildur took the One Ring. Later, leader of the White Council. Dwelt in Rivendell, also called Imladris.

This figure came to me second hand and absent its sword, which had snapped off at some time in the past. I managed to add a plastic sword taken from one of the plastic Elven warriors from the Last Alliance set. This was initially superglued on but found to be too brittle after it broke off again during routine handling. I later drilled and pinned the sword into place. Luckily both the handle and sword blade took a 1mm drill successfully. Superglue and a tiny amount of greenstuff hid the join.

I am rather pleased with its transformation from broken figure to splendid gaming piece. :-)

For those of you awiting the completion of the Nazgul riding Fellbeast, I have at the last minute decided to added a set of reins to the model using fine fuse wire, but this is going to require a tiny drill (0.5mm) which I am waiting to source from a local manufacturing jeweler.
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