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.


1 comment: