Fog on the Barrow-Downs

Another old post I felt was worth reblogging (as I continue to repair the blog) – This one shows off GW’s rather lovely LotR Barrow-Wights. If you like the look of the top two photos be sure and click through for the latter two photos taken by Marouda where the lighting just works perfectly for them!

Azazel's Bitz Box.

I’ve had a blister of two GW Barrow-Wights in one of my figure boxes for the better part of a decade, and no real priority to get them painted, until the recent painting challenge over at www.one-ring.co.uk gave me a prod to get them started and finished. I was originally going to paint them in a dull, slightly bluish-grey, quite similar to the GW examples when I came upon TheBucklandBrewer’s excellent renditions, I decided to draw direct inspiration from his luminous deep blue scheme and od something similar, though my figures have a more turquise shade to them, as well as a “drier” or “dustier” look, which I thought would look good, and make mine look at least a little different (though I did also steal his light-sourced base idea as well – but didn’t pull it off nearly as well!)

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings SBG Barrow-Wights

The Barrow-Wight figures. After taking these pictures I realised…

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The Black Rider – Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar

Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl

The Black Rider flung back his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set. The red fires shone between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter.
Old fool!” he said. “Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!” And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.
– Gandalf’s encounter with The Witch-King of Angmar in The Return of the King, The Siege of Gondor
Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl
This model of The Witch King was one of the many that sat around half-painted for a measure of years before finally seeing completion at the end of one of my occasional bouts of focused “Just finish that effing thing!” a couple of months ago. With the chaos that has been happening lately, it took sometime to be photographed, and time again before being cropped, and now, finally posted. These were actually the photos I was working on when I noticed the hard drive beginning to fail a couple of weeks ago, as they weren’t saving first time and easily.
Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl
 As with the others that I’ve painted previously, I’ve taken some liberties – the Witch-King’s steed here is dark brown rather than black, and I’ve also added the beaten copper to the horse’s icon, both in an attempt to add some visual interest to what could have been a more accurate, but far more boring paint job. Similarly, I’ve used weathering powders mixed with matte varnish to add a dirty effect to the bottom hem of his robes.
Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl
This leaves me with 5 more “basic” mounted Nazgûl to paint in order to represent The Nine in games of SBG and whatnot, though naturally, I have a couple of mounted extras – because that happens when you buy large collections on eBay, plus the foot versions, and a fell beast or two, and also most (all?) of the “Named Character” versions of the Nazgûl that Games Workshop came out with late in the SBG’s pre-Hobbit life, because BUY THESE MODELS. To be fair, though, they’re overall a nice batch of models and as any regular reader of this blog knows by now, owning unnecessary models is kinda my thing.
Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl
 Obviously, this rather proud king has uses in any official LotR games, particularly the Strategy Battle Game, but he’ll also serve in the Undead Army for Kings of War (as a Vampire Lord) until such a time as my Mordor Army has sufficient figures painted to be up and running independently of the rather generic Undead force. (His not-quite-finished self can be seen in those pics, too!)
Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl

Harad Abrakhân Guard

Harad Abrakhân Guard, Harad Abrakhan Guard, Haradrim, Sounthrons, Lord of the Rings, Citadel

“He wondered what the man’s name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace…”
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Book 4 Ch. 3 “Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit”

Harad Abrakhân Guard, Harad Abrakhan Guard, Haradrim, Sounthrons, Lord of the Rings, Citadel

Harad Abrakhân Guard, Harad Abrakhan Guard, Haradrim, Sounthrons, Lord of the Rings, Citadel

Amongst my many projects that are theoretically on the go at any given time are usually a bunch of “one at a time”-type things, where I have randomly gotten enthusiastic about a model or even a unit from an army that I haven’t really even begun on, and started painting them. These Harad Abrakhân Guard are an example of that. They took me about 6 months, on and off to get painted – mostly because I’m easily distracted and small amounts of indecision on how to paint an accoutrement can result in literally months of delay before getting back to a model.

Harad Abrakhân Guard, Harad Abrakhan Guard, Haradrim, Sounthrons, Lord of the Rings, Citadel

Harad Abrakhân Guard, Harad Abrakhan Guard, Haradrim, Sounthrons, Lord of the Rings, Citadel

The colour scheme was pretty simple. I wanted to avoid the purple and turquoise seen in GW’s scheme entirely, and instead go for black with a splash of bright red on the sash. I think black keffiyeh/shemaghs always look sharp, so again, that was a no-brainer for me. A bit of gold retained for bling, and the clothing looks pretty good. I painted the flesh tones in a light brown tone, similar to people of Lebanese and Jordanian descent that I work with, since unlike GW until just a couple of years ago, I don’t think everyone in the world has caucasian skin pigmentation. My Tallarn (if I ever finish them) have similar skin colouration to my Haradrim. (I get the TE Lawrence/SAS reference, but I prefer the Bedouin one for them.)

As with a lot of the LotR metal range, these figures do suffer a bit from GW’s “three poses only!” policy, but mixed together in a unit they still manage to look decent.

Finally, the Kings of War-oriented unit shots. Until I get a lot more Haradrim painted – which won’t be anytime soon – these guys will get shoved into one KoW force or another as a unit of some sort of elite humans who hit hard but have light armour. I may also be able to use them as proxies for something in games of SAGA – Crescent and the Cross. Honestly, I haven’t looked hard at that since I’ve got very little Crusade-Era stuff painted right now.

But hey – these guys are done, and I think they turned out pretty well, so it’s all good!

Small Scenics: Uruk-Hai Siege Bombs and Ladders

Uruk-Hai Siege Ladders and Siege Bombs

Another quick one today, and a follow-up of sorts to a similar post from last year. – My Apologies to those people who got hit with the draft of this the other day – I accidentally hit “Publish” instead of “Save Draft”. 😡

At some stage during our long, hot, dry March this year, I found two separate zip-lock bags stuffed with ladders from Citadel’s Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai Siege Troops set. One of them also had several of the bombs in it. Given that I find summer weather a great time for spraying and terrain, large and small, it was time to get the bloody things done. So I did.

Uruk-Hai Siege Ladders and Siege Bombs

The job (I hesitate to call it a “project”) was on the wrong side of tedious, mostly because my OCD forced me to clean the mould lines off each and every one of the ladders, so I sat out on the concrete outside the War Room and listened to some podcasts for an hour or so while doing so. Then it was spray time for the ladders, followed by drybrush-a-rama the following day, and then a couple of coats of varnish. I’ve got no idea how or when I’d ever use so many ladders, but regardless, they’re done and dusted now and I don’t need to worry about them ever again outside of gaming with them. Maybe this coming summer I’ll finally paint up my Mighty Fortress(es)?

Ow! My Eyeball! ME-61 Throne of Sauron (without Sauron!)

Yeah, so I haven’t been blogging for awhile now. It happens around this time of year – from September to the start of December work really heats up. This year, I’ve pretty much been working every day at work, after work, on days off and on the weekends for the past few weeks – so I’m tired as <pick your profanity> right now.

What I did manage to do for the first month or so was keep on painting, if not blogging or taking many photos, or being active online. This is one of the things I managed to finish. The Reaper Bones pillars I worked on in October were in many ways a lead-in to this model, which I’ve painted for Tarmor, from the Dragons of Lancasm blog. At this point it’s actually been painted for… well, over a month. 6 weeks perhaps? I dunno. We don’t manage to catch up often due to work and conflicting schedules, and so hobby things tend to go between via some mutual friends, and with work the way it’s been I’ve seen less of them lately, and kept forgetting to pass it on when I have…

Almost every time I see this model, the above Simpsons quote pops into my head.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

Dating from about 1985, This model is something of a rare breed these days – something I’ve painted for someone else, which is pretty much something I never do anymore. I just don’t have the time these days, and I have way too many models of my own – and I certainly don’t need the money that I used to get for commissions back in the 90’s anymore.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

When I first saw the model, my initial thoughts were to do it in what I guess is a pretty “traditional” manner – painting the spine in bone, and firey red-orange bodies and tentacles crawling around the red eye. After a bit of quick reflection, I visualised pretty much the exact scheme I’ve actually painted it in. The spine and ribs sculpted out of a dark green marble, while ethereal spirits writhe around the eye of Sauron, which sucks the light from the creatures around it – providing a nice contrast, and an ersatz eye socket effect.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

 

As the ethereals and the throne itself create a rather cold feel, the warm colours of the eye – the redness of the iris and the yellowed eyeball – create a nice contrast that makes The Eye of Sauron really stand out.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

While basing is an important thing to consider, there was a kind of dichotomy at play here. I used a rolled-edge base as I wanted the throne to be raised up a little to represent its importance and also to protect the model – old lead chips easily. At the same time, I wanted the floor to be rather understated and generic – both so the model can be used in different settings and also so the actual throne remains the complete focus to the eye. To this end, I went with a simple texture on a rather dull grey. It will fit into dungeons and the like, or also outside if needed, with only a slight greenish tinge/glow to where the floor meets the edges of the ethereals.

Now I just need to get the thing across town to him…

 

Three of Nine – Citadel Miniatures Mounted Nazgûl

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

These three models were painted some time ago, around 2005 – give or take a few years, and long before blogging was a thing to me. They’ve recently been drafted into Marouda’s Kings of War Undead force as Soul Reaver Cavalry – that is to say Vampiric Cavalry, which seems about as reasonable an approximation of Nazgûl as you can get within the Army list. These three represent a “troop” of Vampire Knights, which would ordinarily be made of 5 models. Works well enough for me!

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

So while the models are old, and their paint is old, what’s new is that I’ve gotten some custom-cut MDF and been able to make a unit base for them, in much the same way as I did with the Swarms that I painted recently. I think it makes them look quite nice, and certainly looks better than having them blu-taced down to a bare piece of MDF. I don’t believe I’ve shown these models before, so it’s all good.

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

For now, the Nazgûl will reside in the Undead Army, but at some stage they’ll be split off into their own Mordor force – When I have enough Mordor models painted to field them as a smallish army in their own right.

Gondor Army Showcase – July 2016

This is essentially a “State of the Army” post, showing off all of the completed elements of my Gondor Army at present, which I’ve been properly working on over the last two or so years, with a bigger focus during the last 6 months and the painting challenge that I keep harping on about. Models that aren’t yet completed are missing from the photos, so things like the Cavalry units that are part-painted will have to wait for an update down the line. While I don’t intend to buy any more Gondor models, with the possible exception of any new heroes that GW might release or the odd figure to “clean up” and finalise a more difficult unit (Men at Arms of Dol Amroth, Warriors of Arnor etc) I’ve got all of the models for this army in my possession. I just need to paint them!

The army is nominally set up as a Kings of War force, but obviously can be used in LotR SBG, or with a few tweaks in War of the Ring (those bloody bases!) We’ve even used a small number of them in SAGA. Most Minas Tirith/Gondor models generally aren’t very exciting at all as individuals, even with a decent amount of work put into them, but they do have a nice effect ranked up en masse.

I’m not up for a lot of typing right now, so I think I’ll go with more of a “show, don’t tell” for the rest of this post.