From the Painting Desk #10 – How Should I Base this Brass Bull?

Not a “proper” update, but something I’m interested in feedback on from you guys

Taking a break from Goblins, I’m going to use this Reaper Bones II Brass (or is it Bronze?) Bull as another opportunity to teach Marouda some basic painting techniques. I’m in two minds on whether to cut it off its Bones base – I probably will remove it as it’s slightly warped, since boiling and then ice watering them doesn’t have a brilliant success rate. If I do that, I’ll replace it with a slate outcrop at a slight angle, as though he’s glaring from (or over) the edge.

Bones Brass Bull on 50x50mm Base

Bones Brass Bull on 50x75mm Base

So anyway – do I base it on the 50x50mm base, or the 50x75mm base? It looks like a 60-65mm base would be ideal, but it’s not on the cards. What it’ll be used for in games will be related to how the basing goes in the end, so I’ll worry about that a little later. The previous Bronze Bull we did from Wargames Foundry went nicely onto a 40x40mm base, but this fellow is a fair bit larger. The 50mm base could be problematic when he makes it into combat with other models, as he hangs over the base on it – could be a problem with pikes and spears!

So… thoughts?


Scotia Grendel Ruined Keep & Ruined Gothic Archway

No figures to show off today. The painting’s been going well, but I’ve got to get out and take some more photos soon. In lieu of anything new, here’s some scenery that I painted a long, long time ago and photographed last year.

Scotia Grendel Ruined Gothic Archway

I bought both of the sets mentioned up top around the same time, but I vastly preferred this entranceway “Ruined Gothic Archway” to the “proper” one that came with the set, so this is the one that I ended up painting up to go with the walls. Much more “Gothic” and since the main game this stuff was used for over the years was 40k…

Rear View of Ruined Gothic Cathedral

Imagine my surprise and pleasure at seeing that the rear of the arch piece was void of all detail whatsoever – just a smooth resin piece from a one-piece pour mold. The base was fine, but I decided that I had to do something about the lack of detail on the upper. I scraped out the stonework with a hobby knife, and did my best to weather and stress the stonework using the tools I had at my disposal in the mid-1990’s. So probably the end of a file and a hammer, by the look of things.

Scotia Grendel Ruined Keep wall sections

As can be expected, these walls from the Ruined Keep have seen a lot of action over the years in no end of configurations. Another of the unpleasant surprises from the Grendel Kit once I opened it was the fact that all of those windows were sealed. As in cast-solid. It took my pin vice, a hobby knife and no small amount of time to cut them all out.

Scotia Grendel Ruined Keep ruined towers

As you can imagine, these “ruined towers” have seen a lot less action. Mostly due to being shorter than a Space Marine in height, so not exactly much of a ruined tower in any of their cases. Three or four steps hardly makes a tower, after all…

Scotia Grendel Ruined Keep with Gothic Archway – “Closed” layout.

Here’s the typical “closed” layout I’ve used in games for the entire set. It really could use some more wall sections to look a bit more reasonable.

Scotia Grendel Ruined Keep with Gothic Archway – “Open” layout.

And here’s the “Open” layout that gets used much more often, as it allows models to move through the ruins while taking cover from their enemies. Now that I’ve been gathering and painting a lot more scenery in the last couple of years, I could do a lot more interesting things with these. For example combining them with the WHFB Gothic Graveyard kit, as well as other things I’ve picked up and painted, like those Confrontation brick walls. I need to get some Hirst Arts molds as well, the Graveyard scenery kit looks promising.

From the Painting Desk #9 – A Week’s End/Weekend LotR Challenge

My week’s end/weekend project – See if I can finish off these figures by Sunday night:

A bunch of half-painted LotR stuff. Hopes are I can get it all finished!

I’ve also posted these in a LotR forum’s monthly army painting challenge pledge thing, because they’re all LotR models, but in reality it’s much more of a continuation of my “get these half-finished suckers completed and off my table” project combined with “painful stuff to paint at work during lunchtimes” (ie: Gondor guys). They just all happen to be LotR models that I’m wanting to get done and out of the way in the next few days. There’s 16 Moria Goblin Archers – 8 of the Goblin Archers are about 70-80% done, with the other 8 needing significantly more work still. 3 Metal Goblin captains almost done, and 3 Goblin Prowlers almost done…

The 7 Gondor war machine crew were started on Sunday so I could work on the most painful parts (blend highlighting the black clothing) at work. They’re now about 80% done, with all the pain in the arse highlighting of black cloth finished today. Just flesh, hilts, hair and belts to go.

Also, an “Oldhammer” Orc/Dwarf Bolt Thrower with only the bow arms to go. The lower half is done, and then it’ll need a base.

Hopefully I’ll get all 30 of these finished by the end of the weekend. Here’s to hoping!

Yes, it’s kind of a “nothing” post in that there’s no new cool finished figures here to show off. It’s here to help motivate me to get these suckers done and dusted.

Update 1: 8 Archers and 3 Prowlers completed so far…

Update 2: The other 8 Archers done…

Update 3: The other 8 Archers, the Gondor Warmachine crew and the Goblin captains done – that’s the lot finished! Job’s a good’un!

Undead Cavalry – Conversions

First up, I’m not the one who converted these – I picked them up on eBay from someone who was clearing out a lot of Warhammer stuff, and didn’t realise that they were conversions until much later when I was trying to work out what they were so I could sort out a standard bearer. The torsos, shield arms and heads appear to be from Grave Guard, the horses are the long-serving “Skeleton Army” horses and could have come from almost any kit of the last 25 years, which just leaves the Glaives/Lances and legs. Unarmoured Skeleton Legs could be off any number of kits, and I suspect that the glaives come from another current kit, though I’ve got no idea which one.

As is often the case, when I started painting these guys I had great progress for the first week or so, getting a lot of them done. Unfortunately, I then decided that I should build that standard for the unit to paint at the same time for consistency, at which point the entire project stalled out for 6 months. Last week it was their turn to be finished and gotten off the desk. I’ll sort out the standard bearer later.

Undead Horsemen

They were originally mounted (and I was painting them) on standard 25x50mm GW cav bases, but partway through I decided to cut them off and stick them on 40mm rounds. Makes it easier to call them a larger unit in KoW, and also allows us to use them as (slightly over the top) Oathbreakers/Army of the Dead in LotR SBG.

Side View of the Undead Horsemen

The’re a little plainer than they should be, since I’m still waiting on my cans of matt varnish that I ordered 2 weeks ago. I called the place on Friday and it turned out that they never got ordered because the guy who took my order has been sick (for 2 weeks?) and the other guy didn’t know what the note was about, despite my name and phone number being on it. (Now that’s service!) So he ordered them on Friday and hopefully they’ll have them inside another week or so. Once the varnish is done, I can add some tufts and flock, which will distinguish them from their bases a lot more.

I stuck to the Undead Army Palette that we’re using for these guys – bone, black, red, bronze and steel, with subtle touches of blue-green verdigris where appropriate. As I said, they look a little plain to me right now, but getting some green onto their bases will help a lot.

The Captain’s Shield

This guy’s shield was a real headache for me. The metal spike-shaped brace going right down the middle made the black background incredibly plain looking and making it pretty much impossible to freehand something interesting onto the shield. I thought of halving the shield – red and black but it seemed a bit weak for the unit leader. I then decided to try and incorporate the spike into the design and freehanded a femur snapped in half by the spike but I was unhappy with it. Then inspiration struck, and decided to use it as a nose guard on a helm, with an undead face underneath. While the spike still looks a little big, this worked well enough that I’m happy with the final result.

I’ll show these guys off again later on. Once the standard bearer is built and painted (and they’re all flocked). Until then, these guys are done and can be used in games.

Troops of Gondor: Axemen of Lossarnach

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Axemen of Lossarnach

Axemen of Lossarnach looking like they’re preparing to receive a charge.

Another unit I’ve just finished, these guys were supposed to be one of those projects that takes a week, at the most. That of course was sometime between 6 months and a year ago. I honestly can’t recall since they’ve basically been a half-finished fixture of my painting table for a long time now. One of the big hold-ups that became a mental block (and then a wall) was my plan to convert one of their number into a Standard bearer for Kings of War. It took long enough to settle on a colour scheme for the unit – I went with red to get a look that is distinctive from the Warriors of Minas Tirith, especially as I find the stock GW scheme rather boring, even if it does fit in well with the WoMT.

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Axemen of Lossarnach

The front rank of Halberdiers. Sorry, “Axemen.”

I chose Red for two reasons – since the unit is considered an Elite unit in the GW SBG (despite the background talking of the men of Lossarnach being farmers and such) – and obviously these guys aren’t dressed as a levy of farmers, in their fine plate over the chain. The second is because I’m reserving Blue for the substantial number of Dol Amroth guys I’ll have when the army is finished, and Green for the small “Arnor” contingent, who will either be renamed for another of the Third Age Fiefdoms when not used in scenario play, or will be a “made up” unit of WoMT guard that represents their former kinsmen by wearing their traditional uniform. I might do something in Yellow/Mustard, but I’m not really a fan of that colour as a unit colour on models for whatever reason. It works for me more as an accent. So while I’ve been reliably informed this week by someone who has a pretty thorough knowledge of Tolkien that red probably wouldn’t have been used by Gondorians, I’m going with a combination of artistic licence, the rule of cool (I think they look good) and the fact that they were already painted(!)

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Axemen of Lossarnach

The Second Rank. Are these guys starting to look like some kind of dance party?

I did briefly consider using some form of Tartan for the sashes on these guys, but with the Clansmen of Lamedor also in my painting queue, I decided that I’ve already got enough figures to make me sick of painting Tartan without starting here. Now take a good look at the next picture.

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Axemen of Lossarnach

Okay, it’s *definitely* looking like some kind of traditional dance party now…

Did you look? The red line on the under-surcoat of the leftmost guy being thicker than the others really does bother me for some reason. Did you even notice it?

Anyway, with the upcoming KoW rules having done away with Standards and Musicians in units as things that have their own rules (since in 1E they were overpriced and pretty much just cancelled each other out) and now just going with “model them however you like”, It helped to motivate me to just get these guys off the paint desk and onto the gaming table. I might do a standard bearer for them sometime down the line, but it’s not a priority for the moment.

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Axemen of Lossarnach

The Men of Lossarnach pose from the front. Spiky!

Oh, and the reason that the second and third ranks don’t have any static flock/grass on their bases is simple. I ran out of Matt Varnish, so they’ve got a coat of satin for the time being while I wait for a couple of new cans of anti-shine I ordered to come in. The front rank was finished first, and got some of the Matt before it expired.

I’ll try to get a whole-army shot featuring the Gondor units I’ve shown off so far sometime soon. I’m working on some unit leaders for the WoMT Spear and Bowmen that I’m really struggling to get done, and I really want to get those finished first, so hopefully we’ll have the army shots soon.

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Axemen of Lossarnach

The opposite flank of the Axemen.

 Another unit done! Hooray!



Moria Goblins with Spears.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings SBG, Middle Earth SBG, Moria Goblins

Nothing too exciting today – but since I’m showing off what I finish… and this week I’ve finished this unit of Moria Goblins from GW’s LotR games. I’m working to finish the sword & shield armed batch now. I just need to find their shields, or even some replacement shields since the original ones got lost in a move…

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings SBG, Middle Earth SBG, Moria Goblins

I’m really taking this desk-clearing, model-finishing thing seriously this year, I’m rather happy to say. Results!

Undead Archers – Harlequin Miniatures & Bones Fillers

Another small unit for Kings of War. Undead archers. Something I’d not even thought of until Marouda told me in no uncertain terms that she wanted some archers for her undead army, so I painted these suckers up.

Black Tree Design Skeleton Archers

Harlequin Miniatures Skeleton Archers

Black Tree Design Skeleton Archers

Harlequin Miniatures Skeleton Archers. Again.


The stars of this little show are obviously the single blister worth of Harlequin Miniatures Skeleton archers that I had sitting around from the early 1990s. The company either changed their name or sold most of their stuff to Black Tree Design years ago now. Not that it matters here. These figures are definitely on the very chunky, very heroic side of things, but they’re also very nice sculpts, and while they lack the fine detail of something like the Otherworld Skeletons or WGF’s plastics, there are no worries that these guys will easily break from normal game handling. They’re still available, it seems, but with just the three sculpts in the range, there’s little point in trying to make an entire unit or expand this one using them. For me at least in this day of easily available and reasonably-priced HIPS models, metals are great for individual sculpts and character, but I’ve largely moved beyond buying multiples of the same sculpt to make up units – at least when I can avoid it.

Skeleton Archer Troop for Kings of War

Other angle of the Skeleton Archer unit.

The Reaper Miniatures here are the Skeletal Archer figures from the 1st Bones campaign, and like the others that I’ve shown are good for roleplayers, kids, and unit filler. As usual, I’ve put the nice figures up front so the Bones aren’t as noticable. I also gave the unit early-1990’s style “redwood” bows, which both give the figures a splash of colour (it fits in with the army scheme) and draws the eye away a little from bad Reaper sculpts.