Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Beorn is a skin changer , a man of great stature, capable of transforming himself at will into a bear form (rather than being forced to by full moons like a werewolf). He is a somewhat aloof character, looking after himself, and not necessarily being on anyone's 'side', much as the Ents started off in LOTR... but he hates orcs so that at least has him leaning towards the good side! 

His pose here is as he is confronted by Gandalf and Bilbo as they leave his house, having over stayed there for the night, seeking shelter from a large black bear-like beast, Beorn himself!

If you haven't managed to see the Ext Ed of The Hobbit - Desolation of Smaug, try and do so , as this is a charming scene that pays credit rather nicely to the novel.

He is quite literally a great bear of a man, and must stand about seven or eight feet tall...

As we find later in the story, Beorn and his skin changer brethren have been hunted down, captured and tortured by Azog and his orcs, in the past, and Beorn bears the scars to show this. The model itself has vivid scars on his rear upper torso, and bears a manacle upon his wrist...

Just to get an idea of scale, Beorn is scaled at 28mm like the rest of GW LOTR/Hobbit range and is mounted on a standard 25mm round base. But when put adjacent a regular orc, you can see how tall he really is!

In the movie he is played by Mikael Persbrandt, a Scandanavian actor, who is a big man which matches the height requirements for the part, and his accent is an excellent touch I think, giving him that 'other worldly feel' in the Middle Earth setting. The additional scenes in the Ext Ed of Hobbit DOS I greatly enjoyed, and found the "Making of" info on the additional disks, very interesting. 

Mikael Persbrandt, as Beorn.
On to the model of Beorn as a Great Bear!

The model, is again, a multi-piece resin model, but went together rather well, with minimal trim required. I think I am getting used to these resin models!

Painting was fairly easy, but I really wanted to try and get the hair tone to match the dark brown, but with high light streaks of grey and blond... I hope I have done him justice.

Back to the Bear, and this was clearly CGI, but various sources were used as inspiration, including looking at prehistoric bears for the shape and bulk... The model itself was an easy job. It was in several pieces that required gluing together and joint filling with greenstuff. 

Then a simple black paint job, drybrushed with dark grey then washed black again. Its produced very subtle contrast which sadly doesn't photograph too well... The claws and facial features were then added, and after varnish, base decoration effected. Oh, that base is a 60mm round, so its quite a big model, towering over a regular man-sized 28mm figure.

He's 28mm scale but about 60mm tall. For all that, the painting was easy.

In the game, he is brute strength nastiness, but at a substantial points costs. I look forward to trying him out and tearing orcs limb from limb...

And to further give an idea of scale, here's Beorn with a rather unlucky orc, who's likely to become lunch very shortly...

These models have been part of my submissions to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, and they must appear there before I can show them on my own blog, hence the delay in them showing here.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas from Middle-Earth!

Well the silly season is well and truly upon us, as Xmas festivities get ready to get into high gear...

December has of course brought us the final installment of the Hobbit movie saga, culminating in The Battle of the Five Armies...


It was with great excitement that the Bowman clan went to the cinema, on Saturday (3D HFR viewing), for what could be the last visit time to Middle-Earth... "Will you follow me one last time?"...

I'm not going spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it, but suffice to say it was the typical Jackson roller-coaster romp in Middle Earth, best summed up by reminding folks its based on The Hobbit... so get yourself along and enjoy the excitement, action, humor and tear jerk moments!

Having enjoyed the movie, we were typically enthused to have a Hobbit themed game and broke out the Goblin set I made quite some time ago now...

We had a go running the Escape from Goblin Town scenario; Flight to Freedom...

This is set just after the Dwarven company has been captured by the Goblins, and are presented to the Goblin King, their weapons stripped from them... So they have to grab their weapons from the token weapon pile and fight their way off the board, assisted by the timely arrival of Gandalf...

We got about half way through the scenario, but the dwarves were finding it seriously tough, as they were fighting mostly unarmed, and trying to thus fight past goblins and the Goblin King, which seemed quite a tall order...

And all the time D6 goblins that are killed can come back on from any board edge as reinforcements each turn! Plus the Scribe can bring on ~D3 if it passes a courage check... So there are always hordes of goblins on the board!

Even Gandalf's arrival, though helpful, did not immediately force the breakout... we'll have to see if we can finish the game this weekend and see how it turns out... Maybe try a few different tactics and see what happens...

In the meantime, number-one son has started his holidays and used his pocket money to go see the movie twice more, so far!

We're all booked in to see BOFA again on Tuesday, this time at the local comfy boutique cinema, only 2D, but nice big comfy seats, large arm rest and you can buy food and drinks inc. alcoholic for the adults, at the attached cafe to take into the showing. Very civilized viewing, with a slice of cake and glass of vino or perhaps a nice dark beer ;)

Continuing the gaming theme, last night was the final gaming session of the year down at the Kapiti Wargames club. Ste kindly offered to venture north to the club to join me for a game, and we settled in to our ongoing Rohan vs Isengard 'campaign'... but not before club announcements and awards... and somewhat surprisingly I was given a little award for helping grow and encourage additional gaming systems at the club... last year I helped introduce them to FoW, and this and last year has been Hobbit/LOTR...  So that was a very nice touch I thought and the  little box of chocies was very welcome. Must say I couldn't have done it without great effort too from Andrew and Ste, both of which have made the lengthy journey each time from Wello for the gaming. Thanks guys!

On with our game, and we rolled off a To the Death, which saw two large blocks of Uruks led by Ugluk and a captain, push through the centre, whilst Lurtz led scouts and orcs against the farmstead. One orc captain and his warg riders held Ste's flank. That flank was challenged by Theodred and his Royal Guard whilst Eomer and his Eored held off the Uruk pike block in the centre and Hama held out in the farm with his warriors.

The game became a retreating/holding action by Hama and Eomer, shooting what they could of the advancing Uruks, whilst Theodred went head to head with the warg riders in an attempt to break through them and come round behind the Uruks to try and catch them in a pincer.

This largely worked, with the orc warg rider captain being slain in turn one by Theodred... but the remainder of the warg riders and a couple of Uruks held up the flanking move for longer than I wanted. Lurtz and his uruks quickly forced the issue at the farm hedge perimeter forcing Hama and his foot troops to withdraw and retreat.

Theodred and his guard eventually fought their way through as Eomer and Hama steadily retreated in the face of the Uruk advance peppering them with spears and arrows, exacting a slow but steady toll....

Eventually as time ran out Theodred broke through but was still a couple of turns from catching the uruks in the rear. Eomer went in for a final what the heck charge too with his Eored, but largely bounced off the uruks...

But Rohan had caused enough casualties over the game to get Ste's uruks to break point, without breaking themselves. They also still had a banner, resulting in final VPs of 7-0 to Rohan.

So long as Rohan has room to maneuver and isn't forced to attack or defend set battlefield points, they can mostly handle the Isengard force, largely by evasion and shooting. The problem comes when they are forced into an early head to head, as in scenarios like 'the High Ground' or 'Hold Ground'.

A very enjoyable game for us both none-the-less, and a nice way to see out the club at the end of the year. Looking forward to getting back to the club next year and maybe squeezing in some games over the festive holiday.

So that just leaves me to wish you all a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year, from Middle Earth!

Radaclaus, or Santagast - Merry Xmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Army of the Dead

"The way is shut!… It was made by those who are dead…and the Dead keep it!"

My submission for the Cold bonus theme round, for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is the Army of the Dead, from the Lord of the Rings, lead by the King of the Dead and his banner bearer.

I felt that you cannot get much colder than the icy chill of death itself so what better than an Army of the Dead!

The Army of the Dead

 There are twenty 28mm miniatures here from GW's Lord of the Rings range, plus the King of the Dead and his Banner bearer., making twenty two in total.

They were also known as the Dead of Dunharrow… men, cursed by Isildur when he called them to his service, at the battle of the Last Alliance, against Sauron in Mordor and on the slopes of Mount Doom. They would not heed his call and fled cowardly into the mountains…

And thus Isildur cursed them, never to rest or find piece until they fulfilled their Oaths.

It is Aragron, last of the bloodline of Isildur, who now stands to command them to his service, and this he must do, to swell the ranks of his forces, to face the might of Sauron once more…

“We Fight!”…


This was my first submission to the Painting Challenge this year, though with it also being an entry for the Bonus theme round "Cold" , it was held, until all themed submission were ready to be displayed together. Consequently, Beorn the Bear, ended up being my first shown entry on the challenge blog. But I'll blog him here once I finish the Man form of Beorn too.

Back to the Dead above, and painting was relatively easy.

Black undercoat was followed by an airbrushing of Vallejo US Flight Lt. Grey . This is a very pale grey, more on "off-white"... and as it dried over the black undercoat, it appeared to take on a greenish hue. Might have just been my eyes or a trick of the light, who knows!

Once dry I picked out the metallic areas in Chainmail silver. Then the Kings golden crown and clasps in Shining Gold. Finally I used some shades of very pale yellows and browns for their hair.

Finally a wash of green, and this was going to make or break the paintjob! I wanted a very translucent shade. I had some left over GW Thraka Green Wash and also got some of their new Coelia Green wash. They are noticeably different colours, the newer shade a much darker tone than the older Thraka colour. 

Having painted Barrow Wights a long time ago I knew how to get the thin wash to work..., although back then it was a blue colour...

I decided to mix the two green colours 1:1, about five drops of each, then added a drop of dish wash liquid, then a drop or two of water... The surfactant property of the soap reduces how much the shade wash 'gathers' producing a more translucent wash effect...

I'm rather pleased how it turned out. Varnish and basing to finish. I kept the basing minimal that reflects there sparse "lodgings"!

For the challenge they should score me 110 points, plus the bonus for the theme round which I think is a further 50pts, making 160 in total :)

In the game the dead are sadly probably not the best troops to go for, and are arguably much less effective than they appear in the movie! They do have high Defence which makes them rather resilient to damage, but have weak strength. The flip side to this is they strike against an enemy's Courage value, not their Defence. This makes them quite useful against low courage foes like Orcs, but less effective against braver troops....

And they still have to move around terrain, when you would imagine it wouldn't affect them ... to my mind they should move freely through all terrain and troops should get no defensive bonuses for defending obstacle etc. against them...

They are also fairly pricey in points costs.

And sadly one aspect of the new warbands rules mean you would struggle to get more than one warband on the table in a regular game as there is only one hero of the Dead - the King, to lead them. There are no 'captains of the dead' to lead other warbands. Real shame. You can lead them with Captains of Dol Amroth, but I think that would look odd!

So in most regular games you would be limited to field the King of the Dead with a warband of 12 models, as an allied Fiefdom to other Gondor troops.

But for all that, they do look cool and no LOTR collection would be complete without them!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Radagast the Brown on Sleigh - WIP

Well my last few nights hobby work and I have finally got this put together...

Its a Resin kit, and needed the usual trimming and scraping and bubble holes filling. Thankfully there weren't too many of these and none in any critical areas.

It's been a bit of a mission to assemble it... the front end on the sleigh required all three sleigh pieces to be heated in hot water and bent to shape. Much trial and error and tweaking and reheating until things worked out.

Radagast himself was in two pieces; main body, and cloak with right-arm, which was not too bad to glue together and the parts lined up well.

The side little terrain bits were easy to trim and assemble...

Of course the last bits were working out how the rabbits went together. There's 4 strands of them which again were a bit of trial and error to see which combos would be the best fit.

I had to trim some pieces of resin from the sprue to shape to join the reigns between each two strands. Fiddly work but its worked out OK, and the joints have then been concealed with a smear of liquid greenstuff over the top.

So finally assembled and ready to be primed. It will be joining my entries for the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge and I feel will make a great entry in the 'comedic' category... :)

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Eomer - Marshall of the Riddermark

Eomer -Marshall of the Riddermark, and nephew to King Theoden of  Rohan.

Info from LOTR WIKI:

Éomer means "one who is famous in terms of horses" (Old English). His name was likely derived from the Anglo-Saxon words "eoh" ("war-horse"), "maer" (famous), and "éadig" ("blessed").

Eomer, riding Firefoot
Éomer, born in TA 2991, of the House of Eorl, was the son of Éomund, a descendant of Éofor, and of Theodwyn, sister of Theoden King. In TA 3002, when Éomer was eleven, Éomund was slain in battle with Orcs. Theodwyn died of grief shortly afterward. Éomund also had a daughter named Éowyn, Éomer's sister. After they were orphaned Théoden adopted them as his own children.

Éomer was third Marshal of the Mark, and was a strong leader of Men. Éomer was faithful to his country, and people. He was honored highly, and prized extensively by the king and was good friends with Théodred, son of Théoden who loved him like a brother.

His éored hunted down the Uruk-hai that had taken Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took as they camped near Fangorn forest, slaying them all. He never saw the Hobbits, as they fled during the battle. Afterwards he met Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas in the plains of Rohan, and he lent them two horses, Arod and Hasufel.

Éomer returned to Edoras and reported on meeting the Ranger and friends and allowing them to go free, a violation of the king's law. Under the poisonous advice of Gríma Wormtongue, he was imprisoned by Théoden, who had grown weak, aged, and suspicious under Saruman the White's influence.

After Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas reunited with Gandalf, the four hastened to Edoras, where Gandalf broke Saruman's influence over Théoden and restored him to health and vitality. Théoden freed Éomer, who offered his sword to Théoden in token of his loyalty. Théoden named Éomer his heir prior to riding away from Edoras to the defense of the Hornburg.

At the Battle of the Hornburg, he and his éored drove the orcs and Dunlendings of Saruman into the walls of the Glittering Caves and in the Huorn forest, where they were killed. One of the main defences that Éomer was involved in was the defence of the gate where he, Aragorn, and a small band of men left through a small door at the side of the Hornburg and led an assault on the forces attempting to break the gates of the Hornburg. After this attack Éomer and Aragorn attempted to return through the door when Éomer was jumped upon by several orcs who had laid low during the assault though Éomer was saved by Gimli who had secretly followed him out to the gate.

Afterwards he rode with Théoden, Aragorn, and Gandalf when they went to Isengard, where they confronted a trapped and defeated Saruman. Éomer then rode with his king to the defense of Gondor, leading the first éored in the charge against the forces of Mordor besieging the city.

In the year TA 3019 at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Théoden was fatally crushed by his horse, Snowmane, after being thrown by the Witch King's Fell Beast. Éomer became King of the Mark upon his death. Following the battle, Éomer and his men went back to Edoras to attend to affairs of the kingdom, returning later to bear the body of Théoden back to his home for burial.

Eomer at the coronation
Éomer King at Aragorn's coronation
Éomer renewed the Oath of Eorl with Aragorn after Aragorn had been crowned King Elessar of the Reunited Kingdom, and Éomer had been crowned King of Rohan, swearing everlasting friendship between Rohan and Gondor (and legalizing Cirion's grant of Calenardhon to the Éothéod.)

He became known as Éomer Éadig, or "the Blessed", because during his reign Rohan recovered from the hurts of the War and became a rich and fruitful land again.

Éomer had met Lothíriel, daughter of Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth during his stay in Gondor, and they were wed. She bore him a son Elfwine, who succeeded his father, after Éomer's death in the year FO 63.

Éomer's sword was called Gúthwinë (Old English battle-friend). He also used a spear. In the movie Return of the King, Éomer also wields a bow during the fight with the mumakil. Also, in the Return of the King he is shown wielding a shield while fighting dismounted at the Black Gate.

Eomer, dismounted.

In the Lord of the Rings film trilogy by Peter Jackson, Éomer is exiled by Gríma Wormtongue before meeting Aragorn, and is an outcast until he arrives at Helm's Deep, summoned by Gandalf. In this sense, his character has been combined with the character of Erkenbrand, who, in the book, is the one with whom Gandalf returns to Helm's Deep. At the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in the third film, Éomer kills the Chief of the mumakil riders. Éomer was played by New Zealand actor Karl Urban.

In terms of painting, I decided to tone down the colour of the leather armour as I feel the GW crew painted it much too bright, virtually red. Perhaps they were trying to make the figure stand out more so on the table top, but it was too much for my liking so I used Foundry 6A as a base and highlighted with 6B.

I feel the way the model has come out is more in keeping with how the armour looks in the movie...

Karl Urban, as Eomer.

In game terms, Eomer can be fielded in two forms, a medium level hero as the Marshall of the Riddermark, and an upgraded more powerful version entitled the Knight of the Pelennor, for which GW produced a separate model. But frankly, I really dislike the pose of that model... I am not a big fan of the 'sideways' pose for heroes in general, especially if you're on a horse and supposed to be charging headlong leading your men forward... and in the this case the horse also looks like its about to sit down!

So I will stick with the above model, which I think is a wonderfully dynamic pose, and simply tell my opponent which version he is pointed for and represents in the game.

So finally I have Eomer, or as a certain Yorkshireman refers to him; the "B*stard of the Riddermark", to lead my Eored. I hope he enjoys every success, crushing foul orcs ands uruks under his horses hooves, clearing their blight from the lands of the Riddermark!


This model will be the last I complete before the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge commences on the 5th December, and as such was my last chance to clear the decks of outstanding work before the 3 month painting madness begins, so between then and now, I'll continue trimming, preping and undercoating - busy assembling Radagast on sleigh... I have decided this will be a wonderful entry for the 'Comedic' round of scoring...

Friday, November 28, 2014

To the Death ... LOTR Four player doubles fun...

Last night, four of us gathered for a game of Lord of the Rings... with Bryan, Ste and Roly joining me for some Middle-Earth fun...

We played the game as a 2 vs 2, 500pts per player, with Bryan leading his Rivendell Elves, and Ste bringing his Uruk force. I added Mordor for myself alongside Ste, and put on 500pts of Gondor for Roly to command, alongside Bryan's Elves.

Bryan had Glorfindel and Gildor leading his two warbands on foot.
Ste had Lurtz and an uruk captain leading two blocks of Uruk warriors, with a warg mounted orc captain leading some warg riders.

For Mordor, I had a full power Generic Wraith on horse, Grishnahk and a warg mounted Shaman leading the orc soldiery.
Boromir and Beregong led the Warriors of Minas Tirith on foot, with Damrod leading a small group of rangers, for Roly.

We rolled off for mission and got To the Death, so a straight up fight ensued.

Deployment as below.

We didn't have long to play with it being a weeknight evening, so all deployed forward to get into the scrap quickly...

There was enough terrain to make the game interesting, without it over impeding game play, the ruins providing an object for the warg riders to make a flanking move around, as the rest of the battle lines formed up, with the rangers holding a small wood on the opposite flank.

And thus battle was quickly joined...

The evil force won initial priority and charged headlong in to the fight, with the Warg riders commencing their flanking move. Boromir was lashed by a Sap Will from the wraith and lost 2 of his 3 Will points... Whilst Lurtz found himself targeted by an Immobilize from Gildor, but shrugged it off...

The Orc shaman channelled Fury...

Initial bow fire from the Elves and Rangers was ineffective, and melee commenced...

A steady toll started to wrack up the casualties, though with the shamans fury saved some orcs and Grishnakh.

The combats raged back and forth with holes appearing in the lines. Boromir was the typical combat beast in the centre, blasting through the evil lines...

But with the warg riders threatening to envelope the good guys left flank, the elves and men there started to pull back trying to form a battle line between the ruin and woods...

Grishnahk found himself fighting Glorfindel... not the best place to be, especially when both sides roll a 6 and Glorfindel wins on Fight Skill, but the 2 wounds he received were saved by the Shamans Fury!

Elsewhere Lurtz suffered another immobilse from Gildor, and was slain, though this only seemed to enrage the surrounding uruks who then cut down several elves...

The wraith hit Boromir with a Transfix, on a 6 , but with his last will point Boromir rolled a 6 too to resist it! Shaking his ethereal head in disbelief the wraith then charged a lone WoMT to try and get involved in the fights too...

The rangers closed in, looking to pick off supporting uruk pikemen and managed to drop a couple...

Boromir, having broken right through the evil lines, was thus then surrounded and trapped there by orcs and uruks!

Grishnahk was still looking at the glowing elf lord, and nervously looked sideways to the wraith who obliged with a 4 dice Transfix on Glorfindel, getting a 6, but who then resisted with 3 dice and used a point of might to boost a 5 to a 6 and resist the spell!

By now the warg riders were breaking round the flank and back of the retreating WoMT and Elf line starting to threaten their rear...

With time drawing to a close, the final combats were fought with Grishnakh again surviving the Elves attention to the cost of a Fate point, Fury saves keeping him alive...

Despite being surrounded Boromir triumphed again and slew more orcs for the fun of it...

The wraith charged in against the same WoMT as last turn, and killed the brave warrior.

The remaining melees were resolved and the game concluded.

Final positions...

A quick tally up of VPs, found neither side yet broken, neither commander (Boromir or Wraith) wounded or slain, and both sides each having 1 banner... resulting in a 1 - 1 Draw.

With the game being a draw, we had a fun little fight off between Boromir and the Wraith, with Boromir winning, but failing to wound the wraith...

We only had time for 3 turns. Ste, coming to chez-moi for the first time, got a little lost, with me living a bit out in the wop-wops, and upon arrival enjoyed introductions and chat too, so we didn't get started till 8pm, with a 10pm finish scheduled.

But no matter, we all enjoyed the game none the less, and some spicy snacks from wifeypoos were a nice accompaniment.

The game was left in one of those poised positions, as both sides ponder on what might have befallen next... The evil right flank looked to be doing well against the faltering good left. The Uruks on the flank were pretty much even with the elves there, but the rangers were approaching... and Boromir was still loose in the evil backfield, though now with no Will remaining and at risk of Transfix and being surrounded by the orcs and wraith. If I could get the wraith in too, the wraiths high courage would hopefully have nullified Boromirs Horn of Gondor...

But who knows, we can ponder the ifs, buts and maybes forever...

I always enjoy these sort of doubles games as they are always great light hearted fun... looking forward to another adventure in Middle-Earth.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The City...of Osgiliath... has been reclaimed... for Gondor!

Boromir, Captain of the White Tower , and bearer of the Banner of Minas Tirith!

Boromir was the mightiest warrior of Gondor at the time of the events leading up to the War of the Ring.

There is a lengthy document about him at LOTR wiki:  http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Boromir . Well worth a read for those interested...

This is the model version of Boromir bearing the banner of Minas Tirith, which is inspired by scenes from the Extended Edition of the Two Towers, a wonderfully inspiring scene, that shows Boromir's valorous past.

It contrasts with the option to field him in the game without the banner, that I painted a little while ago...http://scottswargaming.blogspot.co.nz/2014/08/boromir-captain-of-white-tower.html

The model now appears to be unavailable from GW, but does still show up on ebay and other tradegroups on the web.

I sourced the model this way, thanks to a great deal from Tom Candlin - Many thanks Tom!

I must admit, whilst I wanted the model for my collection, and for gaming purposes, I was dreading painting it, due to the banner. I have found I can paint most things in terms of miniatures, but free hand artwork, especially at this scale for banner and shields etc., is not my strong suit! Most concerning was the fine black waving lines at the end of the banner tips...

The banner of Minas Tirith

Quite some time ago, a mate of mine Chris, had a go at painting the model and struck on the idea of using a Fine tip technical ink pen. He got it all done, looking good, then applied varnish, and the ink instantly smeared across the banner! In frustration he stripped the model and started again, and I think tried a different varnish or method of applying, but the same thing happened again... a which point I believe he gave up!

So memories of that were in my mind.

But I knew I wouldn't be able to pull off those waving lines free hand with a brush... so a technical pen seemed the only option...

So I put out some queries to the various painting forums on facebook and google+... I was recommended a Zig Millenium 0.2mm black ink pen. I ordered one of these from Amazon.

The figure from Tom was stripped and painting commenced, following the style of the previous Boromir on foot model. Then work on the banner commenced. I tried to copy the painted example from GW as best as I could, and would say I have managed a reasonable representation of the tree and the icons down the side of the flag, adjacent the pole. Then out came the pen for the black wiggly line pattern. It felt a bit like cheating not using a brush, but what the heck, sometimes needs must.

Again it's not a perfect copy, but it gives a recognisable representation, I hope you'll agree!

And of course the banner has two sides so  I had to repeat my efforts on the other side too.

Finally came the time to varnish. I normally varnish my metal models with a DIY Polyurethane Gloss varnish first, then use a brush on Vallejo Matt Acrylic over that. I decided I'd grab an old spare model  and draw two test lines on it and test the two varnishes on that first. The Vallejo acrylic matt immediately dissolved the ink leaving a black smear to be wiped off. Whereas the polyurethane gloss, went straight on with no problem! For some reason I expected the result to be the opposite way around but I am glad it matched my normal procedure.

So varnishing turned out to be no issue thankfully...

The great man once again... For Gondor!

In the game, The Banner counts as a banner normally, giving troops within 3" a reroll to melee combat but also increases their Fight skill by +1, so for WoMT from 3 to 4, and Boromir's from 6 to 7. Nor does he suffer the combat penalty due to the encumberance of the banner. But he may not benefit from a shield, nor a lance if mounted while he carries the banner.

It could well provide a focal point of power in the Gondor line, but at an additional 50pts this has to be considered, as its worth 5 regular Warriors of Minas Tirith...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Gorbag and Grishnákh... the two faces of Stephen Ure.

Two nefarious Orc Captains to add to my growing Mordor Forces, Grobag and Grishnákh.

I have had both these figures lurking in the lead pile for a long time, and it was about time they got some paint. I also decided to upgrade the models by giving them a shield each. Again , these were cast in Milliput from Instant Mold, copies of Morannon orc shields, upgrading them both from D5 to D6, at a point cost of 5pts, well worth it I think.



From Wiki:
"Is Saruman the master or the Great Eye? We should go back at once to Lugbúrz."

Grishnákh was an Orc captain from Barad-dûr in the service of Sauron in the Third Age, who led a host of Mordor Orcs to join Saruman's Uruk-hai soldiers who were taking Merry and Pippin across the plain of Rohan to Isengard, in The Two Towers.

Grishnákh is described in the book as "a short crook-legged creature, very broad and with long arms that hung almost to the ground" and as having a voice that was soft but evil-sounding.

Grishnákh's plans for the two captives, Merry and Pippin, were in conflict with Uglúk's orders to deliver them to Saruman unharmed. Grishnákh wanted to take them northward to the east-bank of the Great River where a Nazgûl atop a Fell beast would take them to Barad-dûr. After Uglúk refused his plan, Grishnákh slipped away while the Orcs and Uruk-hai argued amongst each other. Grishnákh soon returned with other Orcs like himself, Orcs with drooping arms and shields with the red eye painted on them.

Grishnákh was somehow aware of the existence of the One Ring (having been implied to have participated in the torture of Gollum), and suspected the two Hobbits of possessing it. When the Orcs holding the two Hobbits were attacked by the banished Éomer's Rohirrim, Grishnákh used the distraction to search the Hobbits for the Ring. Pippin tried to negotiate with Grishnákh, asking for himself and Merry to be freed in exchange for information about the Ring, but instead Grishnákh tried to carry them away. When it seemed a Rohirrim rider had discovered him, Grishnákh drew his sword to kill the Hobbits lest they be rescued or escape, but before he could act he was shot in the hand by a Rohirrim arrow and dropped the sword, at which point he tried to run but was ridden down and run through with a Rohirrim spear.

The skin tone is not the best match to the movie character, but I went from the painted example on GW site:

GW Grishnahk

In the game Grishnákh has the same profile as a regular orc captain, but has an additional Might point, taking him up to 3.



From Wiki:
Gorbag was an Orc captain of Cirith Ungol, originally from Minas Morgul.

After Shelob paralyzed Frodo Baggins, an Orc patrol led by Gorbag and Shagrat came across his cocooned body, taking him back to Cirith Ungol where they planned to torture him. While sifting through Frodo's belongings, a dispute began between the two captains after Shagrat claimed ownership of Frodo's Mithril vest, which escalated into a vicious fight all over the fortress between Morgul Orcs and Black Uruks. Gorbag survived much of the fight but was eventually killed by Sam.

Tolkien's first ideal name for Gorbag was Yagúl, as told to the History of Middle-Earth: part 4, Sauron Defeated.

In the live-action film, Gorbag and Shagrat have a major role reversal. In the book, Shagrat informs Gorbag of the nature of Shelob's venom and how it functions, whereas Gorbag assumes this role in the film and explains it to his fellows upon finding Frodo. Also, Shagrat is the one to claim the vest for himself, while Gorbag insists it be taken to Sauron. After the fight, Shagrat flees to the Black Gate with the mithril shirt while the wounded Gorbag is left for dead in the tower. He was in fact still alive and was about to torture Frodo when Samwise Gamgee impales him from behind. He was portrayed by Stephen Ure, the same actor who played Grishnákh in the previous film.

Again, in the game Gorbag has the same profile as a regular orc captain, but has an additional Might point, taking him up to 3.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Send me not from your side , my Lord...

Grima Wormtongue... Chief 'Advisor' to King Theoden of Rohan...., and henchman of Saruman!

From Wiki:
"Gríma, son of Gálmód, was at first a faithful servant, but he eventually fell in league with Saruman, and from then on worked to weaken Théoden and his kingdom through lies and persuasion.
Tolkien describes him as "a wizened figure of a man, with a pale wise face, and heavy lidded eyes", with a "long pale tongue".
He was widely disliked in Edoras; everyone except Théoden called him "Wormtongue" for his abuse of others. Gandalf repeatedly compares him to a snake:
The wise speak only of what they know, Gríma son of Gálmód. A witless worm have you become. Therefore be silent, and keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I have not passed through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a serving-man till the lightning falls.
—Gandalf, The Two Towers
See, Théoden, here is a snake! To slay it would be just. But it was not always as it now is. Once it was a man, and it did you service in its fashion.
—Gandalf, The Two Towers
It is implied that Saruman had promised him Éowyn, the king's niece, as a reward for his services. Her brother Éomer accused him of "watching her under his lids and haunting her steps". His schemes were foiled when Gandalf the White and his companions arrived at Edoras, and convinced the king that he was not as weak as his adviser had made him seem. Upon Théoden's restoration, "many things which men had missed" were found locked in Gríma's trunk, including the king's sword, Herugrim. Théoden decided to go forth to battle at the Fords of Isen, and Gríma was given a choice: prove his loyalty and ride into battle with the king, or ride into exile. Choosing the latter, he went to Saruman at Orthanc. Following the confrontation between Saruman and Gandalf, Gríma mistakenly threw the palantír of Orthanc at the Rohirrim accompanying Gandalf, or possibly at Saruman himself, and so permitted its capture by Pippin.

The Return of the King[edit]

Gríma accompanied Saruman to the Shire, where Saruman sought revenge for his defeat at Orthanc in petty tyranny over the Hobbits. During this time, Saruman shortened his nickname to "Worm". When Saruman was overthrown by a hobbit rebellion and ordered to leave, Frodo Baggins implored Gríma not to follow him, and even offered him food and shelter. Saruman countered by revealing to the Hobbits that Gríma had murdered and possibly eaten Lotho Sackville-Baggins, a kinsman of Frodo; whereupon Gríma killed Saruman and was shot by Hobbit archers.

Unfinished Tales[edit]

Gríma played a major role in the back-story to The Lord of the Rings, prior to his first appearance in The Two Towers. In Unfinished Tales Tolkien writes that on the 20th of September in T.A. 3018 Gríma was captured by theNazgûl in the fields of the Rohirrim, while on his way to Isengard to inform Saruman of Gandalf's arrival at Edoras, and divulged what he knew of Saruman's plans to the Nazgûl, specifically his interest in the Shire, and its location. Gríma was set free, and the Nazgûl set out immediately for the Shire. In another version within the same chapter, this role is given to the squint-eyed southerner that the hobbits encounter at Bree.[4]
In the same book, Tolkien intimates that Gríma may have given Théoden "subtle poisons" that caused him to age at an accelerated pace. This idea is exploited in film versions."

Games Workshop, only ever did a single foot version of the model, yet in the game he can be given a horse...

Given that his use in the game is to follow around the battlefield the good heroes, forcing them to waste more Might points due to his presence, he needs to keep up with them, especially if they are mounted Rohan heroes like Eomer Theoden or Erkenbrand, against whom he most suitably themed.

So Grima, needs a horse, and the obvious choice is a horse from a Rider of Rohan...

I saw this conversion done of the One Ring forum, or Great British Hobbit League, I cant remember which, but either way it inspired me to give it a go.

Grima's 'legs' and lower robes are cut away up to his belt on the foot model, leaving the folded robes to the sides. A Rider of Rohan is then cut in half at the waist and the legs of this piece added to Grima's upper half. It takes a bit of trimming to get the look right, then fill the gaps with greenstuff to blend the joint. Mount the rider on his horse and paint it up...

And there you go... quite a neat little conversion, and it has inspired me to have a go on another similar job, only this time mounting the new plastic Radagast model from the Escape from Goblin town boxed set. Again another conversion I saw done on the forums... resourceful lot these LOTR gamers!

I had already started this model, so couldn't have it count towards the painting challenge, so it needed to be done and cleared away for the start of that, in December. I have a couple of other models too to finish off, on the table, that are also half done so I should have them done and sorted by then.


Another little point of interest...

I have often bemoaned GW in recent years for various reasons; their pricing and supply issues causing me the most concerns... but one thing I can't take away from them, is good customer service...

As part of my trimming and prep-ing work for the challenge, I was working on a box of Riders of Rohan, that I have had sitting in my 'stash' for many years... To be honest I can't remember where or when I bought them now, and of course a receipt was long since lost...

...typically enough, I clip the last horse of six from the sprue to be trimmed and notice one side of it is miscast; no front hoof and slightly melted looking mouth... curses what to do. I tried fixing the problem myself using Instant Mold to copy the hoof and head from another horse. I got the hoof done OK but couldn't get the head right ... so I decided to try my luck with GW - I sent them a picture of the miscast piece, explained the situation; had it for ages and no receipt, but could they send me a replacement piece, I just needed half a horse... they may have one lying round in a bits box or something?

Mis-cast horse

I am pleased to say they were straight onto it, and no, they didn't send me half a horse, they sent me a whole new box of 6 Riders of Rohan!

Lets just say that made my day, so thanks to GW for great Customer Service!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It's that time of year again...

... and summer is just around the corner here, so that means its Curt's Annual Analogue Hobbies Winter Painting Challenge!

I must admit, this year I feel rather pumped for it, and feel I have my painting mojo well and truly back :)

Since the switch back to LOTR as my primary gaming interest, my paintbrushes haven't stopped working. And of course the current Hobbit movies are enthusing my interest in the period even more...

I have had a massive sell off this year, and continue to do so... getting rid of models and rules that I am no longer interested in playing or pursuing any further... these funds have liberated LOTR figures to fill gaps in my collections and further add to my LOTR forces...

Unlike most games where you decide, OK I'll play that game and I'll collect that army for it... LOTR has me well and truly by the short and curlies and that means I want everything for it! And its a fairly pricey product range to boot, thanks to GW pricing, hence the sell off! My favorite UK based suppliers have been helping out with supplies alongside and in addition to a friendly network or 'spies, agents and collaborators'! You know who you are and have my heart felt thanks, with Facebook tradegroups often coming to the rescue for those hard to find discontinued models...

So with good ol' Curt continuing to widen the allowed figures for the painting challenge, I'm raring to go to get a load more LOTR stuff painted, much of which has sat trimmed and undercoated for some years now, from back when I was going to build armies for WOTR, and try out the rules with these prep'd and based figures...

So these have been pulled out of the 'lead pile' and placed alongside more recently trimmed and prep'd figures...

Trimmed , Prep'd and undercoated

So I have, ready to go 24 Corsairs, 24 Morannon Orcs, 24 Dwarf Warriors, 12 Riders of Rohan, 6 Knights of Gondor and 22 Army of the dead inc. Banner and King!
Corsairs, Morannons and Dwarfs

If I get this lot done in the allotted time I'll impress myself! This is probably beyond my abilities in the time available but I'll give it a red hot shot, and see how far I get.

Army of the Dead

Riders of Rohan

Knights of Gondor
So raring to go here and I wish to extend the best of luck to my fellow competitiors!
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