Tuesday, 2 July 2019

A Brief Pause in Production

You may have noticed that my gaming output, and therefore my blogging, has dropped off a little over the last couple of weeks. There are a few reasons for this, but I will only be discussing one of them here today. This is a good news/bad news post that will explain why the drop off occurred.

Good news because, finally, after almost exactly a year, I landed myself a new job. I will hopefully be able to stop struggling to pay the bills and actually gain a new purpose in life. So far, it has been a good first three weeks or so on the whole, although, like with all new jobs, there have been moments of self doubt as my skillset hasn't matched what might be required. This will come in time and I am looking forward to applying myself to improving my lot in life.

The bad news is that my painting and hobby stuff will probably have to go on hold for a little while as I adjust to my new lifestyle. I will be working quite a few weekends over the coming months in addition to my normal working week as there is a massive project rolling out. For me, this will involve lots of foreign travel to our offices overseas. This is a new experience for me and will amount to quite a challenge as I try to arrange cover for the kids whilst I am away.

I don't have much more to add to this post other than that I am slowly moving forward with my life after so many kicks in the teeth over the last few years. Things are so much better than a year ago; there have been a few downers recently that I won't go into here but overall I think things are beginning to look better for me at the moment. Hopefully the momentum will continue and I can look forward to a happier and more secure life at least for the next few years.

Unfortunately my hobby will suffer for a little while, but hopefully that will pick up a little in time too. I have a few gaming invites coming up (D&D and Pendragon with my usual Wednesday Nighters), so have a few things to look forward to.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Fomorians, Ushabti and Wolfen

My Other Fantasy Army Factions (Prepped and/or Undercoated)

There are not so many figures in each of these factions, so I will run through what I have prepped and undercoated so far for each of the three armies; Fomorians, Ushabti, Wolfen.

As mentioned previously these will appear as allies to the other LotR factions when used in my own universe battles. I like the idea of some strangeness appearing on the tabletop upon occasion to spice things up a bit.




Metal:

29 Fomorian warriors
2 Ushabti
14 Wolfen warriors

It would be nice to spring these forces onto an unsuspecting opponent and see their reaction. Without knowing points values and so on, the opponent would be likely very wary of attacking these warriors and monsters, which to me seems so much more realistic than the opponent seeing them and saying: "Oh yeah, they are worth twenty points, my three warriors can take one of those down easily".

I like the idea of the unknown on the tabletop - it makes for a more fun game. Obviously I would not set a very unbalanced/overpowered force against an opponent as that would not be fair; just inject an element of doubt and surprise.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

My Lord of the Rings armies

Now that I have finally got nearly all of my Games Workshop Lord of the Rings figures out of their boxes, cut off their sprues, pulled from their blisters, tidied up and, in many cases, undercoated I will stop and take stock of what I have. There are probably one or two figures that I have missed on the lists, but in the scheme of things those few won't make too much difference to the overall numbers.

I divided the figures up into several themed factions and put them away - into the Kaiser Rushforth storage boxes I have had lying around for many years - based on those divisions. They seem to go nicely into the storage boxes except for a few oversized miniatures (mounted warriors with banners and upright lances mainly, but also the cave trolls and Shelob) which I will have to think about.

Now that the vast majority are prepped and undercoated, I am hoping to start to put some paint onto them and thereby get them ready for the tabletop. This will take me a lot of courage going forwards as my eyesight for close work has deteriorated quite badly over the last couple of years (especially two years ago with a brown out episode of my sight whilst driving!). As I still need to do a little more prep work with regards filling gaps with putty and completing the undercoating of the rest of the miniatures, it may be a while before I get around to actually painting anything. However, I am hoping that the warmer weather and therefore clearer, brighter days in the coming months will aid me somewhat in my endeavours.

Here is the final tally of numbers of figures I have per faction...

199 - Gondor
170 - Isengard
163 - Rohan
137 - Easterlings (85) and Harad (52)
73 - Khazad Dum
69 - Random Free Peoples
53 - Moria
10 - Mordor

874 figures in total.

This is quite a shocking number of figures to be honest. Thinking back on the amount of time, effort and money I spent on collecting these, I am wondering whether my efforts could have been spent better elsewhere? Yes, it is my hobby, but whoa, that is a lot! Admittedly I got the majority of these from the DeAgostini monthly (?) Battle Games in Middle Earth magazine and subsequent orders when the run had finished at a knock down price, so saved a pile there. Then I picked up a load of metals and random plastics on the cheap from eBay. There were not too many I actually bought full price from Games Workshop directly, so maybe the cost tally isn't too bad after all?

If I add in the allied fantasy contingents to these factions, then the total number soars by an additional 45 miniatures bringing the tally to well over 900 figures! This does not include all of the other figures (fantasy, historical, sci-fi) I have lying around - possibly another 4/500? Oh well, I will be busy up to and well into my retirement!

Friday, 7 June 2019

LotR Easterling/Harad Army

Lord of the Rings Easterling/Harad Army (Prepped and/or Undercoated)

I managed to get a lot of this work done yesterday alongside the Isengard stuff, so an early post today.

I have decided to combine these two factions into one post as I think they ally very well. I will be painting them so that they can be used either separately as Haradrim and Easterlings, or together as some kind of combined force that is tied together with the paint scheme.

These two factions combined make for a great themed army, with the Eeasterlings offering up the heavy infantry and heavy cavalry, whilst the Haradrim offer lightly armed and armoured skirmishers and mounted raiders, as well as some interesting one-offs in the form of half-trolls and hasharin.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the two factions pre-prep...



I did include some EBob Mongols and a couple of other Citadel miniatures I thought might fit in, but have decded now to do away with those in order to streamline the army to just GW LotR products...


This force is made up of the following miniatures...

Plastic:
6 Easterling kataphrakts
42 Easterling warriors
6 Haradrim raiders
36 Haradrim warriors

Metal:
2 Khamul the Ringwraith
12 Easterling kataphracts
8 Easterling heroes (capatins, banners, war priest etc.)
15 Easterling warriors
5 Haradrim heroes
3 Haradrim raiders
2 Half trolls

This gives a total of 137 evil mannish troops, consisting of 85 Easterlings and 52 Haradrim.

I have a short list of figures I would like to add to these factions just to round out a couple of units, but I am also wondering whether it would be possible to add some kind of artillery to the Easterling forces and perhaps scratch build some oliphaunts with riders?

I envisage the Easterlings as being quite advanced in field warfare, so I think artillery wouldn't look out of place - some kind of large siege/warbows, chariots of some kind (I am not keen on using the GW Khandish, but may appropriate the chariots for an Easterling crew) etc.

With regards the oliphaunts in the movies and what GW subsequently produced I am not able to get around their exaggerated size. Not sure if I am misremembering the first time Sam saw oliphaunts in the books, but I recall it as saying that the elephants were actually of a normal size, but due to Sam being practically half the size of a normal man they would appear twice as big. I will stick with my possibly misremembered theory and try to use some toy elephants that scale in and try to scratch build a howdah of some kind on them.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

LotR Isengard Army

Lord of the Rings Isengard Army (Prepped and/or Undercoated)

This is the first of the main evil armies (Moria is only a small army in comparison, so doesn't really count) to be photographed after being as completed as much as can be with the tools and time available.

I decided to incorporate all of my non-Mordor specific orcs into this army to give it a big boost. Unfortunately, I didn't spot that the bolt thrower has an Eye of Sauron motif on the front of it until I was putting the miniatures away again. Oh well, perhaps I will either not use it or just ignore the fact it is on there. Anyway, here is a pre-prep photo of the army; mostly pure Isengard...


And here is the same army prepped and mainly undercoated with the orc additions...


Plastic:
12 Warg riders
51 orcs
23 fighting Uruk Hai
8 Uruk Hai engineers with 2 bombs and 4 ladders
2 berserkers
24 Uruk Hai scouts

Metal:
4 Isengard heroes (Saruman ft&mtd, Sharkey, Grima)
4 Warg rider heroes
14 Dunlending warriors (incl: ft&mtd Thrydan Wolfsbane)
4 orc command
3 Uruk Hai command
3 Uruk Hai crossbows
7 berserkers
3 Uruk Hai scouts
3 Uruk Hai heroes
5 orc crew and 1 ballista

This gives a total of 170 Isengard troops, 6 pieces of siege equipment and 1 piece of artillery, making it a marginally larger army than the Rohan faction but smaller than Gondor.

This army is now more than a match for Rohan, so will make for some interesting match ups later. Although Rohan have the mobility, Isengard has a solid core of well-armoured, hard-hitting troops.

I will most likely pick up a few more Rohan elites (Royal Guard and Outriders) and heroes (the new plastic Theoden, Eowyn and resin Elfhelm and Deorwine) when I have got further along the painting path with these, so will probably also pick up a few extra Uruk-Hai or whatever (maybe a siege ballista?) to round out this particular army.