Sunday, March 23, 2014

'Realisations' ... and 'Rationalisations'...

Here follows a long ramble, grab a cuppa, and take a seat...

Well that was the summer that was, and coincides here in NZ, with Winter in the Northern hemisphere, for Curt's Analogue Hobbies Winter painting challenge...

I entered, just to be involved, but knew I was kidding myself that I was going to amass any points...

If it hadn't been for the timing of my few meagre entries with the bonus themed rounds I would have scored bugger all!

I started off well, or at least prepared well, and had a whole load prep'd and primed ready for the go, including stuff for Flames of War, Empire of the Dead and other bits and bobs, including The Hobbit dwarfs which were supposed to be completed for last years event!

But the wheels kinda came off early... I had a pretty naff game of FOW early December last year, which had me questioning myself as to whether I was going to bother to play the game anymore at all...

So when the Challenge kicked off, my enthusiasm to paint FOW stuff, was pretty much rock bottom... but I forced myself onwards, simply out of a sake of completeness...

I managed to complete a set of five Plastic Soldier 15mm Panzer IV F2s... for the Vehicle round.


A Begliet Tank escort platoon got half done, as did a sFH18 Howitzer battery... they are still annoyingly taking up space on my table... staring me down, taunting me; "finish us!"...

I also managed to get a few bits and bobs done for Empire of the Dead, and entries being timed for the themed bonus rounds.., the Villains:

A vampire in humanoid bat form, the sculpt inspired, I presume, from a scene from the Gary Oldman Dracula movie.

And also...

...the hound of the Baskervilles... who's a nice doggy?

And finally...

Alluring, sensual?

... a conversion! My mate Brett bought me the figure, a Hasslefree pole dancer, for a fun birthday present (better than a bottle of wine!) a year ago or so, but I never got round to doing anything with it. Mostly because I had no idea what to do with it! Then I found the Empire of the Dead game, and the idea of converting her into a naked Vampiric Consort was too much to resist, so I cut the base off the pole and added a blade to make an ancient spear, and painted her as pale as I could manage.

Ahem, yes , well... eye popping no doubt!?

I think she makes for a rather alluring character! Perhaps her nakedness is a little OTT for the Victorian setting, but she is meant to be an Anti-Hero after all, and if the old Hammer Horror films were anything to go by, it seemed there was always just about any excuse to get their kit off! ;-) Which of course is why I watched them, as a teenager ;-)

Nice bum too!  ;-)

Next up... the Non-Combatants;


...Mrs Hudson, or as I like how Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes character refers to her as; 'Nanny'. 

"Tea Mr Shifter?" - so who remembers the PG Tips Chimps?

But if anyone who has followed my blog recently may have guessed, things took a different tack about half way into the Challenge; the recent Hobbit movies have had my whole family excited to be enjoying Middle-Earth again, and a re-visit to Hobbiton (the now fully developed movie set in Matamata) seemed to crystalise this.

On top this, my young son was motivated to start reading the novel, The Lord of Rings, and in so doing, then wanted to play through the scenarios in order, through the GW LOTR 'Journey books'.

This for me has been almost a complete, yet much looked for, turn around, and has switched my gaming focus, to play games with him. He turned 10 middle of last year, and seems to have hit that 'golden age' where gaming with Dad is cool and his physical and mental faculties now mean, he can reach the gaming table, he can be trusted to handle the models carefully, respectfully without busting them, and is mentally well up on the play (though still learning the tactics of the game, much like me!), including creating his own army lists for other LOTR scenario games he's coming up with...

I have long loved LOTR but had few local opponents and so, have often collected other rule-sets and figures in the hopes of playing games with local adult folks... but in some way I feel I have been chasing my own tail a bit in this respect ...

And thus I feel I have had one of those epiphany-like moments, and jumped up and down in the shower crying Eureka!, whilst being mindful not to slip on the soap...

So having found I have come full circle, in my hobby, I have decided to focus back on my main love; Lord of the Rings, though now called, The Hobbit, SBG. With my son being 10, I figure I have six years ahead of me where we can enjoy gaming together, until either girls become more interesting or exam studies become more important, or both; life gets hectic at 16!

Consequently, I have enjoyed a major clear out of the Lead / Plastic mountain, seeing SYW,  ACW , Naps, Ancient Celts, Saxons, and rule-books and supplements, and other bits and bobs sold off through Trademe (NZ's ebay), and thus winging their way off all round the country.

It has been like a breath of fresh air blowing through my games room... and relieved me of pangs of guilt and stress; wondering if I'd ever be able to paint all the figures I have amassed... More to follow as I get really ruthless, and start looking through all those boxes, shelves and cupboards...

With these newly liquidated funds realised, it has allowed me to source and order up on gaps in my LOTR collection, sourcing models via trademe, ebay and facebook groups, that have gone out of production, or likely to do so shortly... Or direct from GW where the items have become mail order only...

I had always hoped to field vast armies of my own to play Black Powder and Hail Caesar, but, whilst I genuinely like those rule-sets, I think the reality of me ever getting such armies painted seems to get more remote, the older I get, as time passes by, and the Lead mountain continues to grow... I hit 44 earlier in the month, and have already noticed a slight yet gradual decline in my insight, which kinda terrified me as to how many good painting years I have left in me...???

This again put me in mind of a wonderful quote from Gandalf; "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

So Gandalf, how much time do I have left....?

Is this the 'Wargamers Mid Life Crisis' ??? Maybe I need to get out and ride my Harley more instead of worrying about it all!? ;-)

But, not to give up on the BP and HC rule-sets, I am going  to use my LOTR troops for mass battles using these rules. I set up the Yahoo Group 'Hail Caesar-Fantasy' (originally named 'Hail Sauron'; far more catchy, but changed in case of copyright issues - I now wonder whether "Fair Use" would have allowed me to leave it Hail Sauron?) originally for this purpose, but have then done little with it. About time I changed that...

I have also decided to stick with the 'Pirates' gaming, as I find that tremendous light-hearted fun, and with Empire of the Dead, as I like the sinister setting of the game. I have all the models I need to play either game system, so its just a matter of getting them painted too, and making some more terrain...

In truth I think my gaming is very much motivated by good movies, I obviously love the LOTR / Hobbit stuff, then there's the on going Pirates of the Caribbean saga, and also the Sherlock Holmes movies and other Gothic Horror/VSF/Steampunk stories to inspire some fun gaming...

So that was my "Eureka!" moment, and where my head is currently at...

Now,  back to the painting challenge, and the focus switched to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit...

Chris and I initially had some fun playing through a couple of the missions in the Fall of the Necromancer supplement, as this was themed very well with the recent The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug movie, and I ended up painting up 4 Castellans of Dol Guldur to play some of these missions;

Castellans of Dol Guldur

Castellans of Dol Guldur - I love these figures. I have another 4 I could paint, but think 8 might be too much for a regular SBG game? I had bought this many when I was going to use them in WOTR (GWs War of the Ring Battle game), which had minimum company sizes of 8 figures for infantry... but that game has fallen by the wayside...

I also managed to get some work done on the The Hobbit dwarves and got Balin done for the themed Hero Round;

  Balin - the brains behind the Company?

Throughout this whole time, I have had various terrain interludes which have already been documented in prior blog posts.

Then it was time to crack on with terrain and models I needed to complete to continue our Fellowship of the Ring campaign...

This got the LOTR Casualty figures done;

 Frodo, after being bitten by beastly Shelob!

And Shelob, just for scale! She's truly monstrous!

Battle Report

And then also the set of Paralyzed hobbits from the Fog on the Barrow Downs set...

Again with a pair of ghostly Barrow Wights! Eek! ;-)

Battle Report

I was just about to put the following forward for the "Last Stand" bonus themed round , but cocked up the closing date for entries submissions, so missed my chance... Ah well, no worries, at least I have been painting something for my son and I to enjoy gaming together shortly...

Noro Lim Asfaloth!
So finally this weekend, too late for the challenge, I put the finishing touches to the "Last Stand" entry; Flight to the Ford, from the Fellowship of the Ring:

I loved the Ringwraith flying wedge formation scene, chasing down Arwen from the movie, I found it a moving sequence...particularly as Arwen urges Asfaloth on; 'Noro Lim' (Ride on!)

Confrontation at the Ford of Bruinen.
"Give us the Halfling, She-elf"
"Come and claim him, if you want him!"

I have had the mounted Arwen with Frodo figure for quite some time, but it had languished for some time in the lead mountain as its more a scenario or diorama piece than a gaming piece for the most part. Likewise, the mounted wraiths have been in my collection for a long time; an ebay win, but the motivation to paint up all the mounted wraiths was always fairly low priority - how often would you field 9 in a game?

But playing through the FotR scenarios in order, tied in nicely with the theme of the last bonus round for Curts challenge. So that was motivation enough! So ten figures to paint and a Ford Section to make.

I made the Ford section to match my existing river pieces, rather than the rocky film location...

Then right at the last minute I managed to source the discontinued mounted Witchking model, on rearing horse, via Facebook Wargames buy trade sell group, and it winged its way over to me from Australia...

TheWitchKing was the last piece to finish off...

So I ended up with ten mounted wraiths, but that's cool as it makes it possible to pose the two shots; "The chase", and "The last stand".

So that was my challenge for 2013/14...

And a complete, yet very welcome,  turn around in gaming and painting motivation!

Last night we also had a rather large, and ongoing, Helms Deep re-fight utilising the wall sections I made, and resin gateway set, on long time loan from mate Mike...

Helms Deep

We played all last night till 11pm, and have had another hour this morning, and hope to finish this afternoon...

So tonight, its the Battle report for Flight to the Ford... report to follow...

Thanks for reading!


  1. Cracking stuff, shame the Last Stand didn't make it to the challenge, it's a great idea. Glad that the LotR flame has been rekindled- there's a lot of gaming to be had in Middle Earth.

    1. Thanks barks. Its true there are so many differing forces to enjoying painting up, and their appropriate terrain features to make... I could stay in MiddleEarth forever quite happily...

  2. Like you Scott, I always come back to Middle Earth. I'm looking forward to my son being old enough to play, although. I have managed more games of LOTR this year than in 2013 already! In terms of copyright on names, Marvel comics have a character called Sauron too so I'm sure it's free to use.

    1. Yeah, keeping it in the family ,as such, its been a good year so far with my son... in fact he's just about worn me out in gaming this weekend, the Helms Deep battle we started took all day to finish today too; he of course brought on Gandalf and the Cavalry from the flank and the Ents from behind me! It was at that point my casualties stopped recycling...
      Interesting point on the Sauron issue, I never knew Marvel had a personality with the same name! Is the Marvel one at all similar to the Tolkien one?

    2. Marvel's Sauron is a mutant (I think) who can turn into a pterosaur type monster who sucks energy from people.

    3. Fascinating, thanks for the link. :-)

  3. Cracking work Scott, I look forward to the journey through middle earth

    1. Thanks Andrew, I hope you enjoy the ride :-)

  4. It still a fair bit of stuff paint Scott. But motivation is what makes us painted and can agree often watching a film or something can completely change what your working on hobbywise for a good few months.

    1. Thanks Simon :-) Yes I often feel I am led by the nose with a good movie... ;-)

  5. Some stellar entries there mate - well done indeed. You also seemed to be everywhere around the blogosphere with an encouraging word for your fellow competitors too. Well done on all of it mate.

    Great to hear of a passion reinvigorated and there is nothing better than gaming at home with your own kids. My own lad is 13 now so I have 3 years to go until that dreaded 16 point!

    PS Let me know if you want to start diminishing that stock of lovely 15mm WW2 stuff you have :-)

    1. Thanks Paul, and well done yourself too, a fine show indeed.

      Agreed, I was chatting with mate Brett yesterday and he found the same when his son hit 10, things seems to change up a gear in their domestic gaming together...

      We're going to see if we can arrange an LOTR father and son doubles game together... as Brett has a fair bit of good guys collected, but it could also end up sons vs fathers, depending on what the boys want to do... invariably the boys want to play the good guys while fathers play the bad guys... that always seems the way eh? ;-)

      I think the mass of WWII stuff will stay as display pieces for the time being, I have a hard time parting with stuff I have painted... yet I can't help look at it now, as it probably represents 18-24 months of painting time that I can't help wonder how much of of the LOTR leadpile I could have reduced in that time! Grrr....

  6. Well done that man and some cracking entries. Such a shame you didn't get the Last Stand done in time, but it happens to us all as I look at the unfitted units still sitting on the desk!

    1. Thanks Michael. You put out some pretty stellar entries yourself, and got a lot of my votes for the themed rounds too! Yep! I hope to get round to finishing them off eventually, just to get them off the painting table, because if I move them off there I know there will never get done...

  7. Congrats on you fine entries. I missed the Empire of the Dead figures - very nicely done. Best, Dean

  8. Great entrys and I like that last stand pursuit collection.
    Great stuff.

  9. Don't count on Chris bailing out on the gaming at 16 mate. My son only really discovered it for himself about 12 months ago and turns 18 in August. Yet he's seen me doing it and been offered plenty of opportunities as he grew. Just enjoy the NOW and cherish every game with him.

    1. Thanks for that Millsy! I sincerely hope his interesting in LOTR continues through his life, I think I have sowed the seed well enough! Its something we'll always share together. And that, come girlfriend(s?) then wife, and career, he'll still find time for an odd game with his old man now and then...

  10. Excellent stuff, Scott !
    It's a pity that Arven didn't make it to the Last Stand Round. But an eye-cather anyway.


  11. Great post Scott.

    First I agree there is nothing like a clear out, I have been slowly doing this and now my only real lead pile is Napoleonics, I think I will sell off my ancients, as it just does not grab me.

    It is great that you get to play with your son, mine is 21 and although we did do a bit of LoTR when he was much younger, but it has been impossible to get him interested, but a couple of weekends ago he was home for the weekend and we actually got in a game of CoC which I think he actually enjoyed.

    My challenge was not too bad, the only hing I did not get started which I had hoped to was EoD, I have yet to order any figures but it is on my list. Your blog has been my inspiration for this.

    I was sort of stumped for the last bonus round, but your idea was great. I wish I thought of it as it is one of my favourite scenes in the movie and it makes a great vignette. I just love how she turns around when she crosses the river.

    Anyway all the best.


    1. I think most gamers are struck by two issues, the period butterfly curse, and the oooh shiny curse, both of which leading to inordinate amounts of purchasing - and the realisation finally dawns - there will probably never be time to paint it all - unless we live to be as old as the Numenorians!

      Good to hear you got some gaming in with your son, I hope ours continues as long as possible...

      You did some great work on your challenge, most impressive!

      Thanks again John.

  12. Enjoy your middle earth adventures and look forward to following your progress.


    1. Thanks Chris, I hope to get Flight to the Ford played and reported this week... the Hounds are Sauron are progressing well, and I made a start on my Watcher game board...

  13. You have doe exactly what I ought to do and ha a clear out. I respect your discipline and determination (neither of which are particularly well developed characteristics of mine) and also think that if I was forced to choose just one wargaming subject then Lord of the Rings has enough potential to be it. Oh and it's your fault I have just assembled all the Fog on the Barrow downs figures from eBay! Now I need to make a barrow!

    1. It certainly is a good period/setting and I think has enough variety, with the differing races and human factions Tolkien detailed, to appeal to both fantasy and ancients players alike... LOL, good to hear, I look forward to seeing your barrow!

  14. Late to the party as usual... Great post Scott and I'm delighted that you got you mojo back (and with your son no less). I have had the same thoughts as yourself and so endeavour to pick projects that are modest and can be pulled out to be replayed on an annual basis. I may commission others to paint armies for me but otherwise I think those days are past. If it can't be fleshed out in 60 or so figures per side then I'm not interested as time is of the essence.

    BTW I'm loving all your subsequent LOTR posts. If we ever holiday in your fair land (not beyond the pale) I will definitely be looking you up for a game.

    1. Thanks Curt, nice to know there are others on the same wavelength...

      Cool thanks :-) You will always be warmly welcomed down here!
      PS - am reminded I still need to get a cowboy to you!

    2. Don't sweat it. Of course I'll love to see him whenever he winds his way to Canada but there is no rush at all.

  15. Just saw this post and just wanted to say I think it is really good. That is fantastic that your son is your gaming partner and you have revitalized your interest in your favorite game. I also think that using Hail (Sauron) Caeser for fantasy is a great idea. I thought I had seen that somewhere before.

    1. Thanks for you kind words Sean, much appreciated. :-)


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