January 31, 2014

Angmar Battle Company

I decided not to keep nickle and diming the orcs... Here is my completed battle company of Angmar!

I'll just use the Mordor Battle Companies chart for advancement. I'm planning on a solo game this weekend. It's been a long time since I've had time to do any gaming, but this should go relatively quickly despite the fact I've never played these rules before. By playing solo I can take my time and look things up without annoying my opponent!

I'm thinking I need to build a couple more Battle Company units. The campaign rules can quickly see one side outmatched after a few sessions unless the groups split victories. I already have an Isengard force (3 Uruk-hai with hand weapon and shield, 3 Uruk-Hai with bows) painted from my original foray into LotR. I'll have to sift through my collection and see if I can build a contingent from Rivendell.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I have already set my sights on larger forces. Sorting through my collection, I realized I have a huge 1600+ point Angmar army from the stuff I already have. I can also build an Isengard force without buying anything more than a couple of characters, though I'd like to add some of the OOP Wildmen of Dunland. I actually want to use some of these for my Angmar force as well to represent the Evil Men of Angmar and Rhudaur. In game terms they will be Isengard allies, but in fluff they will be native to the north. The Men of these regions were related to the Men of Dunland so using the models shouldn't be a stretch (I already have a warband of armored Dunlending Warriors destined for the same purpose).

More on this project soon and I'll post the battle report for my game early next week...

January 30, 2014

Orc Warriors 02

This time we've got orcs with serious cleavers!

I am really enjoying painting these models. The last batch of the Battle Company will be finished in a couple of days...

January 28, 2014

Orc Warriors 01

More Orcs...

Painting orcs is fun! Skin tones can be green, grey, brown, or 'flesh'. I kind of wish the shields were flat so I could carry the skull motif from the Widowmaker's shield. On the bright side, these orcs won't look out of place in an Isengard or Mordor army either (yes, my plans are already moving past Battle Company sized forces, but more on that later).

These models are the early metal GW which I think are far superior to the plastic orcs they offer now. Luckily I bought piles of these models when they were first released. I have to scavenge e-bay for more metal - I don't care for the plastic Rangers either and am in the process of hunting down enough metal Rangers for a full warband (if anyone has any metal Rangers of Faramir, Rangers of the North, or Dunedain they'd like to part with, drop me a note).

But enough about nasty Men, more orcs on the way...

January 26, 2014

Zorbag the Widowmaker

The dread captain of my Angmar Battle Company...

Zorbag the Widowmaker is one of my favorite LotR orc models. Garbed in warg hide and wielding a military pick, he just looks like he means business! He's also nearly a head taller than the other orcs in my collection so he stands out among the mob.

I often get questions about painting armor and like most of my techniques, it's dead simple! I drybrush Citadel Leadbelcher over a black undercoat and leave lots of black showing in the shadowed areas. Then I use a wash of black, brown, or blue depending on the effect I want. In this case, I wanted dirty, battered plate so I use Seraphim Sepia. Finally, I go back with Runefang Steel and just highlight the hard edges. The technique result in armor with a lot of tone variation that creates a very realistic look with relatively little effort.

More orcs in a few days...

January 24, 2014

Battle Company of Arnor

Right, so here we are...

Captain Marko Steelknife, four Warriors of Arnor with Spear and Shield, and two Rangers of Arnor.

Having a look through the Battle Companies Gondor list, I've come up with the following...

Arnor Influence Table (D6)

1 - No reinforcements
2 - Warrior of Arnor with Bow (use stats for Warrior of Gondor with Bow)
3 - Warrior of Arnor with Spear and Shield
4 - Ranger of Arnor
5 - Choose
6 - Roll again on table below

1 to 3 - Royal Guard of Fornost (Use stats for Citadel Guard of Gondor)
4 to 6 - Knight of Arnor (Use stats for Knight of Gondor)

Arnor Promotion Table

Warrior of Arnor with Bow - Ranger of Arnor
Warrior of Arnor - Citadel Guard of Arnor
Warrior of Arnor - Knight of Arnor

Rangers of Arnor can only be promoted if they achieve Hero status and should be replaced with a Ranger of the North model...

There are several selections outside of the official lists, but then the whole Arnor force was left out by GW and this adds the possibility of variety. The Warriors with bows and Royal Guard will be metal Warriors of Numenor with the tree emblems removed. For Knights I would probably move completely outside of the GW range and use Perry Normans with conversions to make them blend in better. Gondor Knight would be fine too with modifications to the shield, but I'm currently using all metal models so I'll probably stick with that. It's not perfect, but it works for solo games. The Equipment and Advance tables will stay the same as for Gondor.

For a larger force, I'm looking at two units of Warriors of Arnor and one of Rangers of Arnor with suitable Heroes to make a 500-600 point force. With the addition of Elladan and Elrohir and an extra Ranger of the North or two it will be easy to escalate to 750-1000 points! I can always add more points with allies from the Shire, Rivendell, and the Grey Havens...

But first, on to Angmar!

January 21, 2014

The Rangers of Arnor

The last two models for my LotR Battle Companies force...

I thought it was worth showing the second guy from the back to show the effect of the weathering powders as I am really quite taken with the effect. These models are metal Rangers of Gondor, but the garb is the same.

January 19, 2014

The Warriors of Arnor

Here are the core of my LotR Battle Companies force, four Warriors of Arnor with spear and shield...

They have been painted in the same manner as their Captain. I was put off building a larger force for a while because there are only three poses available, but I didn't realize they have separate right arms until recently. Each arm is in a different position so by simply mixing the arms you get nine different models. By varying the angle of these you can create even more variation. Finally you can substitute arms from the plastic Warriors of Gondor or Rohirrim as well with a little effort. I am now intent on collecting enough models to field two full squads (12 models each) for the 'normal' LotR Battle Game, but I'm going to do that slowly. I may see what I can find on e-bay before dropping $15 for three models, but with the way GW seems to be dropping the range I might go ahead and make the investment before they are gone. Luckily I own all of the old metal characters (the King, the Seer, and the Standard Bearer) that are no longer available from GW.

On to the Rangers of Arnor!

January 17, 2014

Captain Marko Steelknife

When starting a new project I normally dive in with the rank and file, but heroes are the focus of LotR Battle Companies so I thought I'd start with my Captain of Arnor, Marko Steelknife.

I used Citadel paints and shades - I'll post a full list if anyone is interested when I put up the warriors. The mud on the cloak and boots was done with Doc O'Brien's Weathering Powders, first Dirty Brown and then Gritty Yellow. I've found these powders are easier to control than dry brushing these effects with paint. I sprayed the model with matte varnish to seal in the powders and finally touched up all of the metal with gloss varnish.

Next up... Warriors of Arnor!

January 13, 2014

The Ruin of Arnor

I have hundreds of Games Workshop Lord of the Rings models and really have never painted very many beyond the Fellowship and a handful of Uruk-Hai and Nazgul. I'm not really interested in playing games with the characters from the movie, but I think Middle Earth has awesome gaming possibilities outside of the trilogy events. It's a shame the Games Workshop seems to have dropped support for these games (even the new Hobbit range for the Desolation of Smaug got little in the way of support beyond ads for a handful of new models). Most of the core armies are still available, but many packs of models are no longer available outside of e-bay.

Sifting through the mountain of lead and plastic, I stumbled on two packs of Warriors of Arnor. I have always loved the background of this lost realm and the thought of the Witch King leading the army of Angmar. The out of print Ruins of Arnor details both armies (the lists appeared in modified versions in later publications, Kingdoms of Men and Moria & Angmar, but I like the first version better).

Now I'm not really looking at painting hundreds of models for this game. In fact to start out I'm only going to build some forces for the Lord of the Rings Battle Company rules. These are true skirmish games with six to twelve models per side where you are expected to name each model and track their experience. There are no 'official' rules for Arnor and Angmar and the fan-made lists I've found online aren't really any better than I can do myself. As this will be a purely solo project for the time being, I'm not too worried about following a list.

That said, I think the Gondor Battle Company will work as a basis for Arnor. The starting force consists of two warriors with spear and shield, three warriors with sword and shield, and two warriors with bows. I replaced two swordsmen with more spearmen because the list in Ruins of Arnor lists spears as the only option for rank and file warriors. The point costs are identical so I don't think that's unreasonable. The third swordsman is my captain (I have a cool Arnor Captain model with sword and shield). I replaced the two archers with Rangers of the North - again the point costs are the same so this should work ok for me. The models I'm using are actually Faramir's Rangers (because that's what I have), but there is no appreciable difference with the models as far as I'm concerned. As the force gains reinforcements and advancements, I may make substitutions more appropriate to the north.

My starting Angmar force will simply use the Mordor list consisting of two orcs with bows, three orcs with two-handed weapons, four orcs with hand weapons and shields, and two orcs with spears. I swapped a spear for and extra hand weapon because I only had two orcs with spears. One of the orcs armed with a hand weapon and shield will be my captain for this force. I might swap some Warriors of Dunland for the orcs with two-handed weapons (The army of Angmar was made up of evil men as well as orcs and sources describe them as similar to Dunlendings). I might need to juggle the points a bit. Again, reinforcements might vary from the Mordor list, but I'll probably make these up as I go along...

Now, for some reason Games Workshop (and just about everyone else who have painted Warriors of Arnor) decided to paint the tunics, banners, and shields green. While there is little information on Arnor, I'm pretty sure there is mention of the flag being black. Even the artwork in The Ruin of Arnor depicts this...

I suppose the reason for the change is that the powers that be wanted the Warriors of Arnor to stand out from the Warriors of Gondor. It probably also makes for a better spectacle on the table, especially when fighting against the minions of the Witch King who are also likely garbed in black. I've decided to follow the green paint scheme for the reasons I just outlined and to make them instantly recognizable to other LotR gamers.

I will post WIP pics as I finish models. IF I actually get through both forces I will think about expanding to small (500 point?) armies. I have most of the models I need for Angmar, but I'd have to buy a few more models for Arnor. Shifting forward in time (after the fall of Arnor and the departure of the Witch King) gives me the opportunity to field a young Aragorn when he was still kicking around as a ranger. We'll see how it goes...

January 10, 2014

Donnybrook Available to Pre-order!

Donnybrook has finally gone up for pre order today. Shipping should be before 31 January. The following text appears with the special offer price (£24.50) in the shop.

Donnybrook is a fast and fun skirmish game which is easy to pick up and full of period flavour. The book is 110 pages of rich colour with 186 beautiful photographs, maps, original artwork, seven scenarios, example game in comic strip format, period primer for numerous conflicts, faction guides/force builder, points system and comes with a satin finish full colour A4 QRS. In is soft cover and perfect bound. The book also contains a force roster sheet template.

The book will revert to its normal price of £27.00 ex postage when it goes on general release at the end of January 2014 so this is a chance to be first in the queue and get a discount too!

The book will not be available at shows until February earliest. Trade orders will go out after the pre orders.

Those placing advanced orders with Le Roi Soliel will receive the books when Bob gets his delivery which will be as soon as we can ship 'em!

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Whew! 2013 was a busy year. One of the cool things about maintaining a blog for your hobby is the ability to look back and see what you accomplished in the year...

The year stated strong adding King William, the Duke of Schomberg, one battalion of Dutch foot, three squadrons of Danish horse, and some Dutch Grenadiers to my 1690 project in the first two months!

In March I was lured away by Warhammer 40k, both adding models to my Red Scorpions and painting a few Rogue Trader era Ultramarines. March also saw the release of the Quindia Studios flags for the GNW Russians.

April and May were all over the place, but work was going on behind the scenes...

My painting slowed to a crawl in June as we revealed the finished cover for Donnybrook and the launch of the new League of Augsburg blog. These projects took up much of my free time during the second half of the year. Donnybrook is off to the printer and the LoA blog has grown like gangbusters so both were well worth the time.

In July and August I only managed to paint the Duke of Wurttemberg and one Huguenot regiment.

September saw the release of more GNW flags, this time for the Swedes, some artillery for my Williamites, a squadron of Huguenot horse, and a few models painted in greyscale for a vague 1920's project I have rattling around in my brain.

The rest of the year was spent hard at work on finishing Donnybrook and I only managed a handful of models including my first Jacobite unit of Irish dragoons.

In some ways a disappointing year for painting. In 2012, I painted TWO 2,000+ point armies for Warhammer 40k (A Tale of One Gamer) AND eight battalions of foot and two squadrons for my 1690 project.


So bravely on to 2014! Donnybrook will be available in a few weeks (with a pre-order deal going up any day now).  My projects going forward will likely to continue to be a mess of periods and genres, but I WILL finish the last two Huguenot foot regiments to round out my Williamite army. The models are selected and on the painting table. The Jacobites WILL be started in a serious way very shortly. Barry and I are planning on going to Historicon this year to run some BLB and Donnybrook games if we can manage it. I have it in mind to paint some Warhammer Fantasy stuff too... I don't like the current rules, but there are rumors of another release and a major overhaul this year. Similar to my goal with A Tale of One Gamer in 2012, I have piles of unpainted Empire (remember this post from 2011?) and Goblin models tucked away. There will be another book later this year, though we are undecided as to exactly what is next... there might even be TWO books as we have one well over half finished. There will be more flags available from Quindia Studios, including some sheets designed for the factions of Donnybrook. The LoA blog should continue to roll along nicely and I will try to maintain a more regular schedule here as well.

I am sure that regardless of my plans, something strange will spark my interest and I will toddle off in another direction... say... where did I put those 10mm Copplestones?

Happy New Year!