Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Moria Goblins

Lots of goblins, both plastic and metal, in this faction but also some hard-hitting cave trolls. However, due to the nature of the trolls (large multi-part metal kits) I will probably get onto them last as they will require some extra work, such as pinning, to complete them. This is a view of what the original army looked like a couple of years ago all neatly laid out on my gaming mat...

Luckily, all of the plastic goblins had already been processed, so I only needed to prep the metal kits. First up are the elites - goblin prowlers...

Seems like there are only three variants of these miniatures but there are four figures in each blister sold. These will just be thrown in the mix with the other metal goblin warriors and probably used as some form of captains or whatever in Battle Companies as I don't have enough for a full unit of them and probably won't bother making one up unless I get lucky on eBay or GW decided to re-release them in metal at a reasonable price.

Next we have a couple of captains and Gollum - wasn't sure where else to put Gollum, so thought as he spent many years skulking within the Misty Mountains this would be the best place to present him...

To wind their fellow warriors up into a Fury, I also have a goblin drum and drummer set. I like the idea of this miniature to represent those "Drums. Drums in the deep"...

The drummers need some extra warriors, in addition to all of the plastic ones I have, in order to overwhelm any intruders into Moria, so here are a couple of blisters worth of goblin warriors armed either with bows or spears or wicked knives with shields...

And finally, what was, I think, envisioned as the original Goblin King before The Hobbit movies presented their own version. Durburz is GW's own version of the ruler of Goblin Town...

I actually prefer this version to the official one from The Hobbit collection - seems more plausible to me, but that's not to say I dislike the movie version. I have a stack of Goblin Town miniatures from the original The Hobbit starter set stored away somewhere safely. I will most likely get them out once my Lord of the Rings collection has been completed and add them into the mix as extra cannon fodder. Obviously, the more goblins in ones army the better?

As I have quite a few Moria denizens to put on the tabletop, many of them can double-up for use in Dragon Rampant and Saga armies. Again, I will probably have to trawl the internet for specific army lists but I am sure some bright spark out there has already produced some amazing work on them already.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Middle Earth Magic and Mysteries II

The weekend allowed me to take a breather, put loads of the miniatures into their stortage cases away from harm, and to get out and purchase some more superglue to let me continue with my quest this week. I managed to finish off those pesky one-offs that I probably won't have any use for and a few wizards and a mounted Aragorn as Strider.

Here's the stock Free Peoples piccie again - all are now de-blistered (except the Fellowship and Shelob box sets), glued up and, with this post, blogged...

What was left from the previous round of work last Friday were a few one-offs that I may not ever use Gan-buri-gan and Frodo and Arwen on horseback...

However, the mounted Strider from the Warg Attack set will make a very useful addition to my rangers faction for Gondor...

The final few are Gandalf on foot in both his White and Grey guises as well as a Gollum miniature. I have decided to put Gollum into the Moria faction, so he should appear in tomorrow's post...

Seeing both of these on the workbench alongside the Gandalf the White on Shadowfax made me pine after the long oop Gandalf the Grey on horseback - a superb figure that I am going to add to my wish list. This would then allow me to have Gandalf in both of his forms as a foot or mounted miniature. Just need to somehow get hold of a mounted Radagast (did he ever ride a horse?) to round things out. Actually, what about the Blue Wizards? I wonder what miniatures I could use as substitutes for them? Again, would I need them on foot and mounted? Perhaps a trawl of the internet for any (semi-) official pictures of these two "eastern" wizards could lead me to a miniature or two to represent them?

As these figures do not make up any factions by themselves, I will most likely only use them for SBG. I am not sure how they would fit into Battle Companies as generic mages - are there even any rules for this kind of thing either officially or unofficially? I guess the wizards could make up single-based units for Dragon Rampant and perhaps Saga has some (un)official rules for magic wielding units?

Friday, 22 March 2019

Middle Earth Magic and Mysteries

The miniatures I got round to prepping today don't really fit into any other category, so I labelled them the Magic and Mysteries faction of the Free Peoples. Unfortunately I did not have as much time as I usually do to get anywhere near as much work done (and my superglue has now gone a bit claggy and doesn't stick as well so I will need to get a new tube), but progress was still made.

In this selection are one-off figures that I got with the De Agostini Battle Games in Middle Earth magazine that was published between 2002 and 2006 ish. They could make up parts of those other armies that I either just didn't get around to collecting or didn't want to use in my gaming, but to be honest, I will just keep them aside until such a time as I may get to use them. They will be nice as just painting projects to be called upon if I hit any dry patches in my other factions.

In this selection are a number of hobbits, Tom Bombadil, King of the Dead, a few wizards and a Woses leader (Gan-Buri-Gan?). However, due to the aforementioned superglue incident I couldn't finish off any multi-part minatures as the glue just wasn't instantaneously tacky enough to allow arms/weapons etc, to catch straight away, but just enough that it would bind my fingers to whatever I was holding. The glue is fine for basing but nothing else at present.

First up is a gaggle of really obscure miniatures gaming wise. Not sure how I will use these to be honest - King of the Dunharrow Dead and Tom Bombadil. As I don't have any other LotR undead (other than a couple of Ring Wraiths) to make up an army he could double up as a barrow wight maybe? Tom Bombadil can only really be a painting project as the only stats I have seen for him are a bit vague - I will try to paint him as per the description in the books though and see if I can use him in a scenario or two, but without Goldberry I am not sure I'd want to (although perhaps my Lady Galadriel figure could double-up as Goldberry?).

I then got onto a few of the hobbits I have lying around. Farmer Maggot along with Grip, Wolf and fang helping Bilbo keep an appointment. I have some Fellowship set Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin miniatures already prepped, so these can go right alongside them. If I recall correctly, GW have re-released the hobbit Shirriffs etc. - if they are in metal, I may pick some up when I get some spare cash to create a little Shireling army to fight against some goblins and wargs etc. and maybe some Dunlanders and various ruffians with Sharky and Worm?

The final picture is of Gandalf the White on Shadowfax. It's funny how I can't get used to Gandalf being the White; I always see him as being the Grey even though he appears in more pages of the trilogy as the White. I think a lot of it may be due to the fact that I prefer the Fellowship journey and small skirmishes more than big set piece battles that tend to occur later in the books. It may also be due to the fact he is the Grey in The Hobbit too? I don't know really - does anyone else out there think the same way as I do?

I still have a Gollum and Gan-buri-gan figure to complete and several more wizardly figures to add to the blog, but these will have to wait until I can get to the shops and grab some superglue tomorrow. Hopefully I can get the rest of them completed over the weekend (although I am busy this weekend as it is a friend's 50th birthday and a lot of us are out to celebrate).

Next week I  have one or two smaller factions (Moria) to complete and then I am onto the larger armies of Rhun, Rohan and Gondor (although I think all of Gondor's figures have been prepped). I think my Isengard orcs and wargs are completed too, but I will need to check. Lots more to do but I have made great in-roads so far over the last week or two by chipping away at the lead and plastic mountain for an hour or so here and an hour or so there.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

An Alliance of Men and Elves

Today saw the turn of some odds and ends figures that don't fit into my main Third Age armies - variously referred to as Free Peoples these figures can aid and abet any faction that needs a little rounding out, especially the wizards. There are also some Second Age miniatures - I don't ordinarily play Second Age as the figure availability is a bit limited, but as I have a few minis from those factions I guess I could make up a few warbands and one or two Battle Companies?

With regards using the figures for Third Age games, I guess that the Numenorians, at a push, could be classed as one of the Mannish fiefdoms of Gondor and the Elves are timeless, so no worries there. My eldest son plays elves, so I may very well just pass them all over to him if he has any gaps in his collection.

I will be using the above picture a few times over the next couple of blog entries to show the starting point for each minor faction. As can be seen, there are wizards, hobbits, Numenoreans, elves and a number of one-offs to add a bit of interest to the gaming table.

Anyway, onto the figures I prepped this morning, here are the Numenoreans. I only have the plastic swordsmen (plus Elendil and Isildur in metal already made up), so they will make a small but none-the-less interesting faction to play in smaller skirmish games.

Next is a bunch of Elf Warriors armed with elven blades and bows. These could make for a powerful Battle Company if painted to represent a more modern (i.e. Third Age) depiction of high Elves.

I have 16 of these elves as well as a handful of leaders. Some are purely Second Age like Gil Galad, but Elrond, Glorfindel and Legolas (plus the few others in my collection) could be used in either age.

Looking at these minis now, I can't wait to get them undercoated and ready to take a lick of paint. There is still another set or two of miniatures in this "faction" to complete tomorrow and maybe Monday - these are the more one-offs and magical types. Another interesting bunch but I doubt they will be used that much in my gaming.

Over the last week or so I have made great inroads into prepping my Lord of the Rings collection for a long summer of painting (hopefully). I still have many dozens of miniatures to prep, but over the coming week or two these should all get to the same stage as the figures you have seen in the last few blog entries.

I have been putting aside an hour or two each day, whilst I can, to make sure that this work happens. I am feeling more positive about my hobby at the moment - long may that continue. Once all the figures have been prepped, they will be ready for the undercoating, I then just need to wait until I get a few warm, dry and sunny days so I can get out into the garden and get the spray cans out. I reckon it should take a lot less time to do the spraying than it did to do the prepping so, with a bit of luck, the next stage will only take maybe a week rather than the two or three weeks that this stage looks like it will take. That said, some of the multi-part figures may require a bit of green stuff to smooth out some of the joins and holes, so a few miniatures may get left behind until that phase can be completed too - they can be done on those days between spraying if the weather is not kind to me.

Obviously, as I get to each stage I will photograph the results of my work. I will probably go faction by faction again until it comes to the actual painting. I will then most likely do them warband at a time so that I can chop and change what I paint to stop me getting bored, fatigued or burned out trying to paint say 72 Gondorian soldiers that look almost identical all in one go.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

The Fighting Uruk Hai

Following along the same theme as yesterday's post about the Dunlendings, here are a few more of Saruman's hard-hitting forces - the Fighting Uruk Hai. This is a photo of the force before I completed all of the preparation. Some had been done before I got onto this second round of work, so I will only be showing the ones I have worked on today.

The Dunlendings were completed yesterday; the warg riders have already been prepped; for the orcs see below for a few more details. So, that just leaves the Uruk Hai for this part of the Isengard army.

First up are the Uruk Hai Scouts. I forgot that the box set I had contained 24 of the plastic warriors so that brought a smile to my face as I had more than I thought. The blister contained 3 metal Uruk Hai scouts, so along with a few Uruk Hai heroes (2 poses of Lurtz - with bow and cleaver/shield - and one of Ugluk (I think?)) that brings my total to 30 scouts.

As I had already made up loads of the plastic Uruk Hai warriors, it was now down to me to prep their command. For this small part of the force I found that I had a blister of crossbow armed uruks and a command blister that included a captain and banner bearer.

Finally, they needed a charismatic and powerful leader; enter Saruman. I had already prepped Saruman and Grima on foot, so this time it was the turn of Saruman on horseback. I also have a copy of Saruman in his guise as Sharky from when he terrorised the hobbit folk whilst Scouring the Shire.

As can be seen from the photos of many of these multi-part metal miniatures there are lots of areas where a spot of green stuff will come in handy to fill a few gaps. This will be done when I get round to the final preparation and undercoating of each faction before painting.

I have lots of orc miniatures that I was going to originally use as part of a Mordor force alongside my Easterlings and Haradrim, but now I think I will concentrate on them just being Isengard lackeys. So, unless any miniatures are obviously meant to depict Mordor troops, all my orcs etc. will be Isengarders. Obviously they can double up as either, so if I decide to create a Mordor force in the future then the orcs and maybe the warg riders can perform in either role as per their whim. This does leave me with the dilemma of banner and shield sigils - the White Hand or "<" of Saruman/Curunir or should it be the Eye of Mordor?

Whilst looking over my largest evil force I noticed that there would be more than enough figures to make up either Dragon Rampant or Saga forces. Again I will have to check the numbers and whether anyone has already made up what I am looking for on the internet. Obviously there will also be enough here to give Rohan a run for its money either as full on SBG army or at the smaller Battle Companies scale.