Friday, 29 March 2019

Dol Amroth for Gondor!

As mentioned yesterday, I decided to take a break from the Easterlings and move onto other factions whilst I worried away over what to do with the kataphracts. I decided to go for a quick win by making up a couple of boxes of Knights of Dol Amroth and their leader Prince Imrahil.

However, as per all my quick wins these took a lot longer than I thought they would. Again, I cut the minis off the sprues and did my usual filling the horse halves with Plasticene (didn't bother photographing that stage as I have presented it so many times before). I then added the riders in readiness for undercoating. I decided to go for a very uniform look and tried to get them as identical as possible to make them look like a faceless, remorseless killing machine...

Unfortunately, even though these models are really nice, they are going to be an absolute bitch to try to store - the lances stick out at all angles and are extremely long. They will look fantasic on the battlefield but storing them in my existing boxes will be a nightmare - I do have a couple of pick and pluck foam trays from Kaiser Rushforth (most of my storage boxes are made by KR along with several really Useful boxes for my paints, scenery and tools etc.) that I haven't previously used, so hopefully they will do the trick.

Next up is a suitable leader for the Swan Knights - Prince Imrahil. I think GW used to do a captain, horn blower and banner bearer too, but I was never too keen on their massively tall helmets - just not practical for the battlefield. Prince Imrahil though has his helmet removed so it does not look so goofy. I like the way that you get a foot and mounted version in the blister too...

Again, the mounted mini has a lance that sticks out at a weird angle, so he too will be difficult to house in my storage boxes.

Once painted, I think that these fellas will look awesome and stand out amongst their more sombrely hued Gondor knights brethren. I am so looking forward to getting a unit or two of these out on the tabletop and trying them in a variety of games (Dragon Rampant, Saga and SBG). It will be interesting what stats, traits and skills others have given them.

I have noticed that these photos are becoming a little samey - grey figures on a plain green background. It is just that the area I have put aside for my hobby time is quite limited and I am using what is readily to hand at the moment. Once I have completed this making and basing phase, I am hoping to be able to show off complete factions and units in a better way, and I can hopefully mix things up a bit so that the photos are a little more exciting. I may try to go back to my DSLR camera and try to set up a light box for better shots too.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Legions of Rhun II

I spent nearly two hours on these Kataphracts - there was a lot more to them than I anticpated. The plastic horses were almost there and just needed their two halves glueing together and then basing, but the metal ones were extremely fiddly and needed a lot of patience.

As mentioned in the post yesterday, I still have a lot of procrastinating to do on the plastic warriors that will sit upon the plastic mounts. Should I make a command unit out of them and use any spares to try to create some foot versions or do I just go for six mounted warrior types? I think this is where I add another box set to the wanted list. Anyway, with regards the horses, there are three left and right halves to make up quite a few variants. I tried to make mine all different. Here are the completed horses in all their glory...

Next up were the metal Kataphracts - I already have one box set made up and semi-painted but I also had another box set to build as well as a couple of eBay purchases to make the unit up to a round dozen.

As mentioned above, some of these were extremely fiddly to build; some of the front legs are separate and are quite a bother to get to fit in between body and base. Glue went everywhere, fingers got stuck together, but I think I eventually got there with them. I just hope they don't start to fall apart when I get around to painting them.

The picture above shows the box set of Kataphracts - you get five metal ones in a box but six plastic ones. They are all nice and shiny and ready for an undercoat. There are a few gaps that will need to be green-stuffed to smooth them out, but I will get around to that when I get to actually work on this faction in earnest.

The next picture shows the two eBay purchases. These took a lot of cleaning as the previous owner had just stuck blobs of greenstuff in to stick the legs on. These were a bit of a mess and I had to remove the legs and then scrape them clean to enable me to start again. Luckily the previous owner did not mix the putty very well so it came off relatively easily.

As mentioned in a previous post, I may see how easy it is to convert one or two of these metal figures into command types - I really want a captain armed with a halberd and shield that fights from horseback. I think it would make for a nice conversion even if not legal gaming wise (still haven't checked yet as my rules are boxed up in the garage).

Again, due to numbers, these figures can go a long way towards creating decent sized units for Saga and Dragon Rampant. I am so looking forward to slowly building up these forces in order to maybe first play Battle Companies (rumour has it that there is an updated version due out sometime soon), then move onto some small (500 points?) SBG skirmishes, then perhaps Saga skirmishes and then onto full blown SBG and Dragon Rampant armies.

I think that will be it for the Easterlings for a few days whilst I think my way through what I want to do with the plastic box set riders. When I had finished the modelling for today, I went through what I have left to do in the LotR lead and plastic piles (there are still many, many hundreds of non-LotR minis that need some tlc). I have:
  • some Gondor and Dol Amroth cavalry
  • loads of Rohan stuff (dozens more of these to still get through)
  • the Fellowship
  • a few one-off dwarf heroes (I may use these doubles as RPG figures)
  • Shelob
  • some cave trolls
  • and the remainder of the Easterlings.
Most of these should get completed by the end of next week, so I hope the weather improves just a little more so that I can get into the garden and begin undercoating them all.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Legions of Rhun

This faction seems to have spawned a life of its own. What started as just a single box of 20 Easterling Warriors has burgeoned into quite a force to be reckoned with. EBay was my friend for this faction as almost everything bar the initial purchase was from there.

Here is the original photo from two years ago detailing what I had in my faction at that time...

First up are a bunch of metal Easterling warriors armed with halberds and swords. These round out my inital small force of metal minis that can be used as dismounted versions of Kataphracts or just on their own as is. I may even use them as Black Dragon elites as they look slightly different to the plastic Easterling warriors, but I need to find out more about that particular troop type just in case they are too different to be used (I only know them by name at the moment). I will have to think about paint jobs and so forth to differentiate them, but then again the slightly different look and feel to the plastic miniatures may do that anyway.

The next bunch are a set of command figures: a captain, a dismounted Dragon Knight, a banner bearer and a warpriest. I managed to get hold of these in metal before they went to Finecast. There are several other elite/command figures that I missed but I am not a great fan of resin miniatures so will most likely not buy them going forward as I have more than enough to be getting on with. The leader of my little legion will be Khamul - the Ringwraith, supported by any one of the captains or, indeed, the Dragon Knight.

The final part of this army that needed to be prepped was the mounted contingent - plastic and metal kataphracts. I really like these miniatures - they have been firm favourites of mine for a long time. I already have some metal kataphracts prepped and part painted to add them to, and together they make up a couple of decent sized mounted contingents to rub up against my Rohan and Gondor cavalry.

Unfortunately, time ran away with me today and this is as far as I could get with the mounted miniatures. The usual cut off the sprues and filled with Plasticene shot follows...

The plastic horses should be finished tomorrow and I should also hopefully get to work on the metal kataphracts. Hopefully I can also get the plastic riders completed too but there are a lot of decisions to be made as to how I want them to look. There is a drummer and a banner bearer as well as heads and a cape to make up a leader.

I will also look and see how the spare parts (there are lots of them) can go towards creating some decent foot conversions - maybe a drummer, banner bearer and captain in plastic? Also, I may look at converting a metal kataphract into a captain bearing a halberd (if that is possible - I need to check the rules). Also a foot captain (I have three of this particular miniature) can be armed with a spare shield as I have a couple of plastic ones in my bits box to be used. As I said, lots to think about so this force may be a little while longer completing than originally envisaged.

Like with my other factions with several sprues worth of foot troops, these will make for a reasonable sized Dragon Rampant and/or Saga force. It is great that I will be able to use so many of my Lord of the Rings miniatures for alternative wargames, as well as the Adventures in Middle Earth role playing game I picked up a few years back.

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.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019


Saruman's armies of Isengard consisted of orcs, uruks, wargs and evil men. I have orcs, uruks and wargs aplenty (more on those in a later post) but not much in the way of evil men. I missed out on grabbing the Wildmen of Dunland minitaures when they were available but I managed to purchase a box set of the Dunlending Warriors metal miniatures, as well as a Command blister and a blister containing the hero Thrydan Wolfsbane (a GW invention I believe?).

The Dunlending Warriors in my collection will be classed as those evil men, and if I can grab a blister or two of Wildmen then this little faction will be complete. There are four variants of the Wildmen, so if I could round out a unit of 12 from three blisters that would be cool. If required, to make up numbers for a Dunland force in future, I may just proxy some 3rd party miniatures like Gripping Beast's Vikings and/or Anglo-Saxons, as these will work out a heck of a lot cheaper.

In total I have 13 foot warriors and one mounted. Looking at the way in which the box set is laid out variants wise, and how the numbers roll after I add in the blister sets, there are either one or two miniatures of each pose by weapon type...

Apologies for the poor photography - my camera phone is not the greatest at taking photos and the light is a bit off at the moment.

1/2 poses Two handed axemen
1/2 poses One handed axemen with shields
1/2 poses Archers
1/2 Bannerman / captains
1/1 foot and mounted Thrydan Wolfsbane

These make for a tidy little strike force that could work well as an elite unit in an Isengard force for the main SBG or as the core of a Battle Companies unit.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Dwarves of Khazad Dum

The faction I decided to work on today was the Dwarves. As can be seen from the picture below, there were quite a few figures that needed to be made up in readiness for undercoating.

There were actually a few extra figures in addition to those featured in the photograph above as I did a bit of eBaying after the photo was taken, to round out the army - Balin needs a lot of warriors to reclaim Moria!

Although I have a Durin and a Dain miniature, I may use them as just ordinary dwarf lords/captains (Ori and Oin?) to go with the more generic dwarf lords in the collection. The reason being, from my (probably very shaky) recollection, is that Durin had died when his people delved too deeply and released the balrog (Durin's Bane) and Dain was busy rebuilding Erebor after the untimely deaths of Thorin's line (Thorin, Fili and Kili) at the Battle of the Five Armies.

Dwarf Lords...

I have quite a few dwarf lords and leaders, perhaps too many to be represented on the tabletop at the same time? As you can see from the top photo, I have some dwarf command, Gimli, Floi Stonehand (?) and a very old Citadel pre-slotta called Thorgrimm (according to the imprint on his base). I have to admit I don't really like that King's Champion and attendant shield/banner bearers, but had bought it at the time to round out the collection. The miniatures were not slotta based which makes me wonder if they were just some old minis GW had lying around not doing anything and some bright spark suggested they be utilised (and therefore make money) as LotR minis.

The second photo shows a few Iron Guard and four dwarf kings. I actually like these miniatures for all their plainness. The less is more approach really worked on these for me and they can be used for any other named dwarf I want them to be if necessary.

Dwarf Warriors...

Whilst I was building the army I discovered that I didn't have that many actual Dwarf Warriors. I have lots of elites and so forth but only a couple of sprues of Rangers and a few metal miniatures. I think a couple of sprues of plastic warriors may be required to round out the force when I can get access to some funds.

The first photo shows off two sprues worth of Dwarf Rangers. Unfortunately, one of the twin axe wielding warriors is sans an axe in his right hand - he was also almost sans hand too, but a nifty bit of work with the plastic glue put that right (I hope). I will have to try to find a similarly shaped axe from my bits box and see if he can be salvaged.

The lower photo shows off the original metal Dwarf Warriors blister sets. I have two each of the ones armed with axes and with bows as well as the Murin and Drar set which I will utilise as their named captains.

Dwarf Elites...

I guess the Iron Guard minis above in the Lords section should have featured in this section but I took the photos before worrying about how I was going to lay out the blog post. I have plenty of Khazad Guard but noticed there was a subtle difference in the posing of two of them with their axes raised over their heads (last two warriors on the right, back row in lower picture). I will have to see if I can eBay those last two poses again so I have two full sets of Khazad Guards.

As can also be seen from the lower picture, I have a Dain and Balin miniature to lead each troop with a spare Balin to be painted or converted slightly to maybe make Ori or Oin? The Thorgrimm mini could double as either one of those two as well.

In addition to the standard troops, I also have Durin and Mardin as well as a ballista with crew. I don't have any Vault Warden teams - shall I get one or two? Not sure yet but will wait and see how the points totals for this army turn out once I have also got a couple of boxes of plastic warriors and how my funds are holding up.

Again, this army is rather large, especially if/when it gets the additional plastic dwarf warriors, so I will try to see if there is a Dragon Rampant and saga army list for them on the web somewhere. If not, I guess I could always create my own when the muse takes me (probably whilst painting I will begin to procrastinate and end up designing armies for several rules sets).

I have decided to add an additional tally to the blog where I will list probable and possible additions to my LotR armies. These numbers will be nowhere near what I originally had envisioned for each faction, but will now just cover the basics required to round out my armies.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Haradrim Raiding party

On Friday I managed to grab three hours and put them to good use. I took all of my Haradrim miniatures and began working on them. Some have already been prepped and are ready for their undercoats - details can be seen in the picture below that I took a couple of years ago when I still had high hopes for my Middle Earth armies.

As you can see, I had a box of Haradrim Raiders and four blisters of figures to work on. The next three hours saw me get out the clippers, files and plastic/Super glues and get them made up. You may also notice a couple of random miniatures in the photo (on the right). These are a couple of minis I thought might come in handy for a Haradrim force. The one on the left is an ancient Citadel Chaos type warrior and the one on the right was a freebie from a magazine or something of Saladin.

I only took a few photos as I was working on them; pretty much only the plastic Haradrim raiders as I wanted a mini-tutorial for myself on how I put them together. First up is a sprue shot of the riders and their equipment...

Now for the actual horses...

I noticed that there are only two variants for each half of the horse. I put them together for test purposes and noticed the typical goofy kicking out leg pose. I decided I would play it safe and go for two of each of the main pose and then do a swap for the other two so I only ended up with the one goofy pose.

When putting the horses together I decided to do my usual and fill the body cavities with Plasticene. I always do this for cavalry miniatures now as it gives them an extra gramme or two of heft. Not a lot in the scheme of things but it can make a bit of difference on the gaming table as they tend to be just that little tiny bit more stable.

I decided not to do a full army photo as I will save that until I come to paint them, so I can get a before and after shot. Also, I was at a loss as to what to do with the extra bows, quivers and spear arm. For now I have plonked them in my bits box in a separate see through zip-lock bag I had lying around. They may come in handy later on for some conversions.

Now for the procrastination bit. I have decided to be good with this army and only contemplate buying one more box of Haradrim Raiders (when I have the spare money) so I have a round dozen plastic mounted troops. I have plenty of everything else, so unless I am lucky and spot some eBay or trade show bargains of Harad metal miniatures I will leave the force at that.

I have plenty of troops to make a great raiding force; 36 warriors, 8 mounted raiders, a few heroes and a couple of half-trolls. I will have to sit down and work out the points values as I complete the force. I may paint up 2/3 of the foot troops for normal SBG and the other 1/3 as a Battle Companies force, and utilise my two non-GW minis as captains of that force.

As I have quite a few minis in this faction it might also be numerous enough to be used for any future games of Dragon Rampant or Saga I may wish to partake in. When ready, I will trawl the internet to see if anyone has made up any faction specific Dragon Rampant or Saga forces and then calculate a force that can be made up from the miniatures I already have. If I need any further additional miniatures for this particular army at a later date, I can hopefully ask for a box or whatever for Christmas or hopefully have a job by then in order to buy them myself.

Monday will hopefully see me doing the same for another faction. Which faction will I choose? Decisions, decisions :-)

Saturday, 16 March 2019

An Update on my Lord of the Rings hobby

This post is as a thank you to Springinsfeld for spurring me on with his suggestion to try to get in half an hour a day of gaming related work, even if it is just planning.

On Monday this week I pulled out all of the boxes, cartons, blisters and bags that contained my Lord of the Rings miniatures and began to put them into army themed piles. I then put them back into those self-same boxes, cartons, blisters and bags again. However, this time they were collected by army (rather than by type of packaging) and this gave me a much better insight into what needed to be done with the miniatures I have in my collection.

Before I went on my gaming hiatus, I had high-faluting' plans for each army that would have involved me paying out many hundreds of pounds to complete them to my requirements. When I looked at them again with my long term unemployed person's eyes I saw them differently. Yes, there are a few gaps I would like to fill, but for now I have many hundreds of miniatures to keep me busy; prepping, gluing, undercoating, painting, basing and finally playing with. I can always add to the armies as I paint them on an ongoing basis as and when I get a few quid spare (or for birthday/Christmas presents). What with Games Workshop's renewed interest and support of the game, most of the minis should still be available in a few years' time.

The pile of boxes has stood in front of my main book shelf in the lounge right in the way of everything. I did this on purpose to spur me into action. I will only put them back whence they came when the miniatures have been taken out of their packaging, cut off their sprues etc., cleaned up and put into proper figure storage boxes (luckilly I have several of these available that I have collected over the years).

This un-boxing and re-boxing took me the best part of three or four hours. It seems like a long time but there was a lot of sorting to do and every time I saw something that made me go "Ooh, I forgot I had them" the procrastinator in me kicked in as I imagined how to build the force further around those particular troops. I had to kick those thoughts into touch and just get on with the job.

Tuesday saw me looking at the miniatures in a different way. I was to look at each army, see what I had and work out some quick wins to get them prepped. So, I sorted out three or four of them that will get my attention first. These were the smaller forces I have been collecting, so will be quicker to prep and then subsequently paint and get onto the gaming table.

The armies I will be looking at first, in no particular order, will be the Haradrim, Dwarfs, Dunlendings, Isengard Uruk Hai and some eBob Mongols I will use as Easterling mercenaries. The Mongols were easy as I only have 10 footmen and 6 cavalry for my force. These have already been glued up, undercoated and painting is underway (although I will change their colour scheme when I get round to painting them proper). I decided to build an army a day, so these will be the subjects of my next few posts.

Unfortunately, the way real life goes I only got a little bit of time on Friday (couldn't do anything on Wednesday and Thursday) to start on the task ahead, but I used it wisely. I managed to get the Haradrim prepped for proper storage. This will be the subject of my next post.

So, in total I worked on my hobby for about 6 hours this week before I actually got down to doing any actual work on the miniatures. I also spent a good three hours on the Haradrim stuff, so 9 hours in total over the week is pretty good - more than I have done in almost two years! The writing of these blog posts also take a little time, but I won't include these details in my calculations.