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...

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