Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Muster the Rohirrim

Finally, after several months of on and off work (and if I'm honest about a full month of getting distracted), my current project is done. This is probably the closest I've come to actually painting an army as a single project. The idea was to bring my Rohan army for GW's Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game to a stage where I could call it complete, aside from a few characters. The batch consists of 24 regular 'Warriors of Rohan', 6 'Riders of Rohan' and 3 members of the Royal Guard, with both foot and mounted variants. In charge of all this were two minor characters, Gamling and Hama.

Someone familiar with these figures may notice that a few look slightly different, like the man on the left in the above photo. These were all minor conversions where I cut away the leather armour the figures were wearing and replaced it with chain mail. I am a firm follower of the anti-leather school of thought when it comes to historical arms and armour. Armour quality leather was very expensive and produced equipment dramatically worse than chain mail, the cost of which would have only been slightly greater or possibly even cheaper depending on region. Actual uses of leather armour would usually have focused on either being used in direct tandem with steel (kind of like the harnesses worn by Théoden and Éomer in the films actually) or when it was very readily available. Since its hardly great herds of cattle that the Rohirrim are known for, it would be far more believable for these men to be clad in mail.

And I know, I know "it's just fantasy, why does it matter?" First of all, I'm a huge nerd, so it matters to me. Second of all, Middle-Earth is probably one of the most grounded fantasy settings in popular culture. A lot of people let that slip them by because it doesn't have brutal violence, slurs or sex scenes, but the way the societies are structured, the low level of magic in the setting and the general approach to the way the world is built are very grounded in realism. It isn't 'gritty' but it is realistic once you look past the dragons and wizards.

That and I just think chainmail looks better.

Anyway, enough rambling about historical plausibility. Something I particularly like the look of on these figures was how the use of red for some of the undershirts played out. I was worried using bright red would be a bit too strong, as these are supposed to be Anglo-Saxon style levy, not British red coats. But I think the small amounts of red cloth work well to complement the green cloaks.

I imagine it's not much of a surprise once you look at him, but Gamling was by far the most challenging figure of this lot. Not only is he a character and thus demands extra attention, but the banner had to be free-handed. I'd not had much experience with something like this before, so it was certainly novel (and very stress inducing at first). After I got down to it though I actually found this to be some of the most fun I've had painting in a long while. There aren't a lot of pictures of these two here simply because this post is plenty long enough as it is. There'll probably be a short follow-up post with more pictures to showcase them. Gamling especially is a lovely figure imo.

And here is the full Rohan collection with the new boys included. Note, not everything has been based. Why? Because I'm too lazy, hehe. I'll probably get to it at some point but I have to admit basing is hardly the most riveting thing for me.

Théoden was actually painted for me by my father, several years ago. Or rather, teenage me did a terrible job, and my dad was nice enough to fix some of it. I believe Snowmane was mostly his work. At some point I might have to get my hands on the new Théoden and see if I can do a better job now than then (I jolly well hope I can).

The main thing missing here is Erkenbrand, though I'd also like to get my hands on the newer Éowyn and Éomer sculpts in plastic, as I'd say they look like solid upgrades to the older models. I also wouldn't mind one or two of the Forge Worlds models like Deorwine, but that would fall very far down the priority list.

Anyhow, that brings us to the end of this post. Hope you all enjoyed. Now if you'll excuse me I have to get back to wasting time on video games when I ought to be painting or writing.


Monday, 21 December 2020

Some Scattered Characters

 All right, so in my last post I mentioned that I'd painted up several other Middle Earth figures besides the Nine Riders. I also said I'd make a post about them in the next few days. Now, several weeks later I am making that post. Late as usual I guess.

First off we have what on the webstore GW have dubbed an "Uruk-hai Scout Command". In reality these figures come from three different sets, none of which are in production at the moment. The captain with the cleaver headed bardiche was originally a standalone, while the shaman was part of the original Uruk-hai command set and the other two were commanders for a special War of the Ring unit called Mauhur's Marauders. The history of the models aside, I quite like them. The captain and banner bearer are my favourites out of the four for certain. 

Next up we have the sons of Elrond: Elladan and Elrohir. No, I don't remember which is which. Looking it up it seems that Elladan is on the left and Elrohir on the right. While it's perfectly thematic for the brothers dress and look more-or-less the same, it does get very confusing, especially when it comes to trying to match their on-foot versions with their mounted versions. In fact, looking now at a reference it seems that I have actually gotten their on-foot versions round the wrong way! So uh, first it's Elladan mounted with Elrohir on foot, then Elrohir mounted with Elladan on foot. Good grief. Perhaps I should have given them different coloured cloaks or something.

Last of all we have the prince of Dol Amroth, Imrahil himself. One of the great heroes of the Battles of the Pelennor and the Morannon, who is sadly left out of just about every adaptation. I've actually gone and done the reverse of what I probably should of, and experimented with painting the leader of the knights of Dol Amroth before painting any of the rank and file. But he was just sitting there on my desk, so what else could I do?

Anyhow, that's the last of what I've got completed at the moment. I have been working on my Rohirrim, but that project is progressing slowly. Being on holiday from uni seems to have led me to spend less time painting rather than more. Ah well, I'll get through them in the end, I always do it seems.

Until then, Merry Christmas to you all!

God bless!

Monday, 16 November 2020

The Nine are Abroad

I've always been a fan of GW's 'character wraiths', where each of the nine Nazgûl are modeled as a distinct character. I've also been frustrated many times at only having five Ringwraiths (the ones that came with the old Weathertop set). I could never justify purchasing the set of nine, only to get rid of five of them. On top of that I would still lack mounted versions, as generic black riders are no longer sold and are a great frustration to track down second-hand.

It seemed sensible enough then, that I should acquire the foot and mounted sets for the character wraiths, which are available to buy new. I was reticent for a while, since six out of the eighteen models were finecast (shudders), but in the end I found myself possessed by a whim and grabbed 'em. And while the finecast resin was a massive pain to work with, I did have a lot of fun painting up these models. It was really fun working to give each wraith a unique look, although I think I have had more than enough of painting black for the foreseeable future.

The Witch King of Angmar
As one of the dreaded finecast models, I was rather worried when it came to this guy. Thankfully he seems to have turned out pretty well outside of his sword, which is a little bendy (somehow I didn't notice until after he'd been painted!).

The Dwimmerlaik

The Tainted
I ended up leaving this guy till last because I thought the glowing effect on the robes would be hard to do. As it turned out all it took was some careful dry-brushing and high-lighting. I'd probably say that he was one of my favourites to paint.

The Dark Marshal

The Shadow Lord

The Undying

Khamûl the Easterling
Sadly, this is probably the worst victim of finecast among the set. His sword might look crooked now, but it's not even half as bad as it was before! I did the best I could, but it's such a thin and fragile piece that I was scared to apply too much pressure for fear of breaking it. What an infernal material to make models out of!
I decided against painting his armour golden/brazen, as I felt this separated him a bit too much from the other Ringwraiths for my liking.

The Knight of Umbar

The Betrayer

Overall, I'm quite happy with how they turned out, though I wish they had all been metal. I certainly intend to try and avoid buying any more finecast models in future, but given that some rather iconic/important models have been done in that material (uruk-hai berserkers, guards of the fountain court, minas tirith commanders, etc.) I may not have much choice in the long run.

Having enjoyed the Ringwraith project so much, I've ordered a number of Rohirrim to round out that part of my collection (short of a couple of characters who were all out of stock on the Australian webstore. Really loving that international sales policy GW...). Outside that and the Ringwraiths, I've painted/finished painting a number of other more miscellaneous Middle-Earth models, so I'll have to get together another post on them in the next few days. See you all then.