February 21, 2014

Fellowship Friday - Samwise Gamgee

Sam has always been one of my favorites and I think this model does a great job at capturing the film version of the character...

February 19, 2014

The Tainted

Without a doubt, The Tainted is my favorite of the 'named' Nazgul models (I also really like all of the original 'Riders in Black' minis - I have them painted around here somewhere so I should get photos of them too...). I love the hunched figure on the horse. I opted to paint the horse dark brown to add a second spot of color to the model. As with the shade from a few posts back, this model was harder to paint that I anticipated. It took lots of layers, several washes, and a few more layers to get the effect I wanted.

It seems to be the opinion of the SBG community that The Tainted is the least effective Nazgul model in the game and often hinders your own side more than that of the enemy! Oh, well... I plan to use him in my Angmar army anyway. I also have The Dwimmerlaik and The Witch-king so between the three of these wraiths I should be able to find a combination I like!

February 16, 2014

Warriors of Arnor

Here is my first full warband, led by Marko Steelknife.

I am really happy with the way the unit turned out. I know some people were put off my the helmet wreaths, but I like these models far more than the Gondor infantry. I have enough models to build two more 12-model units, but I'm going to mix in some other stuff. I will probably paint one more unit identical to this one and then change the color scheme or add extra details to the third unit and call them the Guard of Fornost or some such thing. I am working on expanding my Rangers of Arnor to twelve (waiting on five reinforcement models I bought on eBay) and plan on painting the Beregond model as their captain.

I'm still working on the February Challenge for The One Ring forum and hope to have the rest of my wargs finished by the end of the week. I have no idea how long I will be able to maintain the level of output I've had on this project so far, but as long as I'm excited about painting I'm going to keep at it!

February 15, 2014

The Shade of Angmar

One of the cool things about the Angmar army list is the ability to include Shades, Barrow Wights, and Spectres. I plan to paint some of all three of the undead minions of the Witch-king, but kicking off first is an evil Shade...

This is one of my favorite models from the LotR range. It was actually a lot harder to paint than I anticipated. I'm not sure my photos captured all of the tones in the model, but there are purples, blues, grays and white and used more blending than I normally bother with. Any way, it was fun and offered a change of pace from the orcs and wargs.

I really need to get back on my Arnor army because they are growing hopelessly outnumbered rather quickly, but the bad guys are just so much fun! I'm up to 428 points and can quickly be at 500 with the addition of a few Spectres for the Shade to lead. Again, I'm not really painting to a set limit or army list at the moment, but it's still fun to keep track of...

February 14, 2014

Fellowship Friday - Frodo Baggins

I painted the Fellowship way back when they first came out, but I never really bothered to take good photos of them. Since I've gotten back into the LotR Strategy Battle Game, I thought I'd post them... one per week, every Friday (way to milk it, Harrison).

I'm going to post roughly in the order the characters are introduced, lumping the hobbits in together...

February 11, 2014

Warg Chieftain - Part Two

Done and Dusted!

Even though I didn't like the older versions of the Warg models, I did like their color scheme so I opted to mimic it for my pack. I am very pleased with how this turned out. It is hard to tell it is a conversion (and that's the goal)! I'm going to start on the pack next and they will be painted in a similar manner, though their manes will be a bit darker to make sure there is no mistaking the big dog. I probably won't post more pics until the mob is finished, but I have other LotR minis on the table as well so some of those should be up in a few days.

February 9, 2014

Warg Chieftain - Part One

Over at The One Ring I'm taking part in the February Hobby Challenge and I'm going to paint up a Warg Chieftain and four Wild Wargs. However, I HATE the old plastic LotR Wild Wargs - only two poses and I just don't like the style. The old metal models with riders look better, but sadly they were ONLY produced with riders so no joy there. I'm going to build my unit from the Hobbit Fell Wargs. The plastic kit comes with six different poses and separate heads means much more variation. I also like the style of the monsters better.

Now this brought another small dilemma. I wanted to have a Warg Chieftain to lead the pack, but the official GW model is of the 'breed' I'm not fond of. If the original plastic set had the variations of the later I might suffer through because I DO like the Warg Chieftain. This required me to convert a Warg Chieftain from the Fell Warg kit to match the rest of the models. Certainly I could have just painted the model different enough to stand out, but where's the fun in that? Besides the chance to add a unique character model to your army is always worth the effort!

Diving into the kit, I didn't immediately see a simple solution. I wanted to mount the model in a similar pose to the GW version, climbing up onto some rocks. Not only would this be dramatic, but it would raise the leader above the rest of the pack. None of the models really fit the bill so it was time to start tinkering. I cat all of the parts away from the sprue and begin to try different pieces on a base with some loose stones. After a while I came up with the perfect solution.

One of the models springing forward had a separate right paw. I realized by cutting a small notch in the rear leg I could increase the height of the pose. I needed another front paw that looked to bearing weight...

This running model had the perfect limb which I amputated and then carefully carved away the rear paw which was touching the front leg.

It took some further fiddling and sorting through my pile of stones to find the most natural fit, but finally I have ended up with this...

All I needed was a minimal amount of greenstuff and I can see some more work needs to be done with a file, but I think this worked out great and I can't wait to paint it! Finished shots in a couple of days...

February 7, 2014

More Orcs!

Did I mention painting orcs is fun?

Now that the rank and file are out of the way (though I do have enough metal models to build a third warband), I'm going to paint up some of the stranger creatures haunting the north...

I'm not working from points lists or what might be best in the game. My collection includes...

The Witch-king, mounted and on foot
Dimmerlaik, mounted and on foot
The Tainted, mounted and on foot

Orc Captain and 12 Orc Warriors (PAINTED)
Orc Captain and 12 Orc Warriors (PAINTED)
Orc Captain and 12 Orc Warriors

Buhrdur and 2 Cave Trolls

Shade and 8 Spectres (models from the Army of the Dead)
6 Barrow Wights (wouldn't use all of these in one game, but might paint them all)

Isengard Allies (will actually be Evil Men of Angmar and Rhudaur)
Thrydan Wolfsbane (probably change his name) and 10 Warriors of Dunland
Dunlending Captain and 10 Wildmen of Dunland
Dunlending Captain and 10 WIldmen of Dunland

Moria Allies
Warg Chieftain and 10 Wild Wargs
Bat Swarm

I have lots of other stuff like Uruk-hai (both Isengard and Mordor versions), more Nazgul including one mounted on a fell beast, lots of goblins, etc. but the models above are the ones I want to paint specifically for Angmar. One of the cool things about the evil armies in LotR is that many of the models work for Angmar, Isengard, and Mordor and can be themed for any of these with the right additions.

February 5, 2014

Muzug Murderkin

Another orc hero for my Angmar LotR army...

Possibly not a very Tolkienesque last name, but I like it...

February 2, 2014

Ruins of Arnor - The Rescue

A Hero finds himself separated from his main force and under attack from the enemy. As his foes seek to cut him down, his companions race to his rescue. This opportunity is too much for the attacker to pass up, providing they can slay the Hero without too much loss...

That's the intro from The Rescue, the first scenario in the Battle Companies rule book. Arnor lost the roll off so Captain Marko Steelknife would be placed in the center of the board with just two of his men as Zorbag the Widowmaker and his entire warband descended on them. The rest of Steelknife's company would enter from the opposite table edge on the first turn, but the hunters of Angmar would have a great head start. Angmar wins if they manage to drag down Steelknife. Arnor wins if they can keep the Captain alive long enough to take out 50% of the orcs.

It was pure dumb luck that the orcs ended up one inch short of being able to reach the soldiers of Arnor on their initial charge. I placed Steelknife and his guards a couple of inches from dead center and placed the orcs exactly eighteen inches from the edge as the scenario allows. It turns out they were seven inches apart. Had the orcs been able to make contact on turn one, this might have been over very quickly!

On Arnor's turn, Captain Steelknife vaulted the wall (rolling a 'six' meaning he suffered no movement penalty for crossing the obstacle). His men followed with less agility but managed to stumble across, securing a strong position to prevent a quick pursuit and maybe buy time for the reinforcements who moved six inches onto the table.

On turn two three orcs charge the defenders at the wall while Zorbag directs the rest around the gap to the right of the Arnor soldiers. The spearmen manage to hold off the attackers, but fail to cause any wounds. Captain Steelknife is joined by two more Warriors of Arnor and a pair of Rangers of a Arnor struggle up a cliff to gain a vantage point for their bows.

By turn three the soldiers of Arnor managed to form a strong defensive line and the orc horde surged nearer! The Rangers of Arnor reached the summit of the cliff. The orc archers tucked in behind the wall loosed a couple of arrows at the Rangers, but failed to hit. This would actually be the case for the entire game. Neither side caused any wounds with arrows!

The orcs crash into the Arnor line and a struggle ensues which lasts for the rest of the game. The Heroes went toe to toe for six turns with neither able to gain total advantage even though Zorbag often had the support of one or two more orcs. Both Heroes were forced to spend all of their Might and Fate points and Zorbag suffered one of his two Wounds. In the end, the Defense Value of the Warriors of Arnor (6) made them the equivalent of LotR Space Marines and the orcs failed to cause a single casualty! Meanwhile, the men averaged one kill per turn.

Zorbag managed to escape with a much reduced warband (the game ended after half of the orcs went down)...

... and Captain Marko Steelknife led all of his men home.

The post game phase was quick for Angmar. Zorbag gained 2 Experince Points and his warband gained 2 Influence Points, neither of which is enough to spend on upgrades. It wasn't all bad for Angmar, two of their casualties would miss the next game, but none of their losses were permanent. Captain Steelknife gained 6 Experince Points and rolled a '1' on the Advancement Chart, granting him a +1 Fight Characteristic, raising it to 6! One of the Warriors earned a promotion and I rerolled Royal Guard of Fornost... I'll have to paint up a new model with trim on his tunic and gold accents on his armor to make him stand out! The warband also gained four Influence Points so I spent one to roll for reinforcements... A '3' meant another Warrior of Arnor, but I decided to spend the forth Influence Point for  a +1 to make it a Ranger of Arnor.

Final observations... Warriors of Arnor are tough! Even the orcs with double handed weapons were no match for their high Defense. In larger games Angmar's trolls and spectres will go a long way to evening the scales (and I will be scrambling for help on Arnor's side since the Spearmen were hardly overwhelming against the orcs). Had the orcs been able to swarm a couple soldiers alone, they could have overwhelmed them... Arnor scored the victory when they were able to consolidate their force. The archers were also ineffective on both sides. The orcs were just hapless and the Rangers were unable to beat the gamut of 'to hit', beat the cover, AND cause a wound. Part of that comes from only having two shooters on each side... In larger games I am sure they will be more effective.

Anyway this was a lot of fun and a great way to learn the rules! Lots more LotR stuff on the painting table...