Squad: March – Personal Round-Up.

I haven’t posted in a few days. I needed a break after a month of daily posts. So now I’m back, and here’s my own personal Squad: March round-up. I managed to complete five squads, based on needing to finish various numbers of models. I had another squad almost finished, but getting sick put the kibosh on that, as well as another that I’d hoped to finish, as well as two others I did a little bit of work on. I guess I’ll have plenty to work on for the next Squad Month in June.

Shagrat, Mordor Black Uruk Commander, Mordor Black Uruk-Hai Banner, Mordor Uruk-Hai - Lord of the Rings: SBG

Space Ork Boyz Mob

Uruk-Hai Berserkers of Isengard - Lord of the Rings: SBG

Flesh Tearers Space Marines Assault Squad

DUST Tactics: Axis Gorilla Kampfaffen, Marcus, Reaper Bones 80001 Ape-X

Space Ork Boyz Mob

In the end, the squads I ended up painting being almost a case of squad-based neglected models as well. A bunch of the ones I’m hoping to knock out next Squad-month also fit that bill.

I’ll post up a Squad:March community round-up with everyone else’s models shortly. Hopefully I don’t forget anyone’s stuff. 😮

Shagrat, Mordor Black Uruk Commander and Mordor Uruk Banner – Lord of the Rings: SBG

Shagrat, Mordor Black Uruk Commander and Mordor Uruk Banner - Lord of the Rings: SBG

Convoluted enough post title for you? It should actually be worse, since the character of Shagrat should really be called Gorbag if we were going by their actions in the books, and then they should both be Black Uruks of Mordor, and – you know what? Never mind all that for now. Let’s just talk about the toy soldiers instead.

So, Shagrat is the one with the heavy armour, shield and sword. He’s also the one pointing, with Frodo’s Mithril shirt. Waitwat? Well, when GW initially released Gorbag and Shagrat (that sounds so dodgy, doesn’t it?) they were doing figures based very much off the films, and so Shagrat got the coat and a pointing pose – probably telling his underlings to kill Gorbag, come to think of it. Later on, when GW changed their focus from being more about the films to being more about selling wargames figures for wargaming, they decided that Shagrat didn’t look war-ish enough, and kitted him out with what they decided was Black Uruk Captain’s gear. No idea why their painted version of him is blonde, though. That’s just weird.

Shagrat, Mordor Black Uruk Commander and Mordor Uruk Banner - Lord of the Rings: SBG

The other model here is a regular Black Uruk, which I had too many dupes of and so converted into a banner bearer using one of the spare plastic banners from either the Chaos Beastmen or Marauders (I’ve got both in the same storage tub). The skulls are pretty oversized, but then I’d say they’re clearly not from humans, and must be from …Half-Trolls. Or something. Not human, though, right?

Shagrat, Mordor Black Uruk Commander, Mordor Black Uruk-Hai Banner, Mordor Uruk-Hai - Lord of the Rings: SBG

These three were painted pretty much alongside the rest of the Black Uruks for the most part, just separated out a little at the end and completed last so they could have their little extra bits picked out nicely enough. Two commanders and a banner is probably command overkill, and while I’d like to get that last figure from “Mordor Uruk-Hai 2” blister, I don’t know if I can face painting any more of these guys. Even though they’d be a good idea, thematically…

Mordor Black Uruk-Hai – Lord of the Rings: SBG (Squad: March ’18)

Mordor Black Uruk-Hai - Lord of the Rings: SBG

Another group of Uruks. This time, they’re of the Mordor variety. I’ve got a ton of Isengard Uruk-Hai, bu only a small number of Mordor’s Black Uruks. I guess that’s what happens when one type is available in an affordable plastic kit while the other is only available in metal with a very limited number of sculpts (3!) for the first several years.

Mordor Black Uruk-Hai - Lord of the Rings: SBG

I’ve seen some nice work online on these sculpts featuring a lot of browns, but I wanted to keep my own Black Uruks more literal and stick with black-greys, just using brown as a weathering colour and for the spots of fur on a couple of the models. It also lets the weathered, slightly rusted metal of their armour pieces stand out a little more and not look like they’re also made of leather. Their flesh is painted simply, using a bluish shade of grey inspired by the films and also to help distinguish their skin from their wargear. I wanted their eyes to look particularly dark, so just a glint of white reflection on a black base, rather than the usual outline-whites-pupils thing that we do.

Mordor Black Uruk-Hai - Lord of the Rings: SBG

I only gave three of the models shields, which are an option in SBG. In games we’ll either consider them uniformly equipped with or without the shields or play WSIWYG. More important to me was to make the duplicated models a little more unique where possible – not always easy when dealing with multiples of metal sculpts. The Mordor shields of the eye are pressmoulds of the shields from Citadel’s ME-44 Uruk-Hai models from their original Lord of the Rings range from the 1980’s. I painted the eye icons in the usual metallic way, then painted the red quite roughly on them, leaving some metal showing due to paint chips and indifferent paintwork by the Uruk troops.

Mordor Black Uruk-Hai - Lord of the Rings: SBG

Ten in total. One solid unit of Black Uruks for a Mordor force in Lord of the Rings games

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

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.

Citadel LotR: Castellans of Dol Guldur (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

Citadel Lord of the Rings - Castellans of Dol Guldur

The original pair painted in late 2015. Not shown here before.

The story behind these models joining the painting challenge is simple. I had 2 of these models from ages ago, and always planned to have them lead the Black Númenóreans. I only had two of them, though – and I wanted the third sculpt because a) collector, and b) aesthetics. With all of the changes that GW has been making in the last couple of years, I thought they might be discontinued, especially given the ridiculous prices people are asking for them on eBay. But no – they’re still for sale, and indeed – the model I’m after (Sword and Dagger) is specifically still available. It’s right there on the picture. A shame, going by the webpage, it seemed that the third one may have been discontinued as it’s not pictured with the “models will be supplied at random” disclaimer that the GW pages used to have.

So I ordered it and received a blister with 2 duplicate sculpts. As in, not only a sculpt that I already had, but two of the same one in the blister. I tried to contact GWAU’s mail order number a couple of times a week (when I remembered, after work when I got home early enough) for over a month and could not get an answer or even a callback. I eventually got onto someone, after well over a month and the guy had a bit of attitude, telling me that he’d been moving. Which.. doesn’t really explain why nobody answered their customer service line, or made callbacks. Anyway, I explained my issue, and as it was close to 5pm on a Friday, he said that it’d be hard for him to get down to the warehouse to check, because they were finishing up for the week. So call back next week.

Citadel Lord of the Rings - Castellans of Dol Guldur

The new guys that Sam managed to get to me.

So back to the same, and a couple of weeks later I managed to have the phone answer there again, and it was a different guy who was much more helpful. I explained my issue again and he suggested that I could look on a swap group on facebook, or similar. When I pressed him and also let him know that the blister was still unopened (we’re a couple of months after receiving it at this stage) and told him that I really wasn’t keen on paying more postage to get the figures that are pictured on the website, he gave me the details to return them and said that he’d have a look with the warehouse guys.

Though by now we’re into the start of December, and the craziness that happens at that time of year, so I actually mailed them back in the quiet time between Christmas and New Year’s. A couple of weeks later (completely understandable given the time of year and what it does to the post) I received a little box in the post with a blister containing the correct model. So thank you to Sam at GWAU for sorting it out in the end. I do wonder what’s happening there though – as on the rare occasions I’ve had issues I needed to contact mail order for in the past they answered the phone pretty quickly, and things were sorted with lightning speed (and maybe a photo emailed to show the exact issue). Hopefully they can get it back together.

All four Castellans of Dol Guldur

All four Castellans of Dol Guldur.

So now we roll around to February, and the 6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge over on Dakka that I’ve been coordinating. My “pledges” are to complete a unit/hero/warmachine/monster/etc each month for both Undead and Gondor. Now complete means just that – and it means I can motivate myself to finish off figures that have been part-painted for ages, or the last couple of models from a unit and so forth. While painting their robes on my lunch break at work the other day I realised that these guys finish off the two units of Castellans/Black Númenóreans that I started months ago, and so they count – since they’ll be used in Marouda’s Undead army with the Soul Reaver Infantry statline – essentially Vampiric infantry. I think they work well as Medieval-Fantasy Vampiric types who will drain your soul rather than just your blood. Not all vampires have to be 19th century aristocrats, after all….

Citadel Lord of the Rings, Castellans of Dol Guldur, Black Númenórean Warriors

Castellans of Dol Guldur & Black Númenórean Warriors in loose “SBG” Skirmish formation.

I painted the Númenóreans some time ago last year over a period of time. I shared the first few on the blog, as well as the standard bearer conversions (not much of a conversion, but hey). Later on I finished even more of the warriors but didn’t feel a need to write another post showing off identical models to the ones I’d already shown.

A KoW regiment of rather evil infantry.

Citadel Lord of the Rings, Castellans of Dol Guldur, Black Númenórean Warriors

And the second unit. Fitting these into a game will be a challenge, points-wise!

The eagle-eyed amongst you will note that there’s one guy missing from the back rank in the second regiment. I appear to have misplaced one of my Black Númenórean Warriors. Not a worry here, but on forums whenever I point out some minor thing like that, there’s always some socially-inept person that feels a need to post “I saw that”. Well, between the Reaper forums and the LotR ones, anyway. Yeah, thanks. Well done you. 😉  So I’ll have to either find the little bastard, or failing that – locate another Black Númenórean and paint him to finish the unit. Again.

Citadel Lord of the Rings, Castellans of Dol Guldur, Black Númenórean Warriors

The new recruits, ready for the table!

Let’s face it though, even I think that painting 2 non-character models in a month for half of a painting challenge is a bit pissweak, so I’ll be trying to paint that RPE Skeleton Ballista I showed the other day as well for the Undead component.

Citadel LotR Black Númenórean Standard Bearers

Standard Bearers, you ask? Yeah. GW Never made any, but that’s not important. They only produced three sculpts of Black Númenórean Warriors, and that was it. As fate would have it, I had two Warriors of the same sculpt who both had their swords broken off. I really wasn’t sure what to do with them for awhile. Repairing those swords was right out since drilling into sword blades is a fool’s errand. Make a polearm? Drop an axe in there? Bin both and just replace the models entirely? Ah, maybe it’d work to try and put a standard in there?

So I did. It worked.

Citadel LotR Black Númenórean Warrior Standard Bearer

Citadel LotR Black Númenórean Warrior Standard Bearer

Originally, I’d hoped to freehand an inscription into the flag, but it was just too small and ragged to do so. I spent a couple of hours working out an appropriate inscription, translating it into a bastardised mixture of Adûnaic and Black Speech (to stand in for Black Adûnaic, and because the available vocabulary of both are very limited) and even worked out how to write them in Adunaroth, thanks to another speculative page online. Then it was too big for the bloody banner, and so I just painted in the Eye of Sauron instead. Blah. Yes, the angle of the drapery and skulls look a little odd. at first. That is until you realise that he’s in the midst of thrusting that banner skywards at an angle, and that’s why it’s all trailing behind at such an angle. You see? Reasons!

Citadel LotR Black Númenórean Warrior Standard Bearer

Citadel LotR Black Númenórean Warrior Standard Bearer

But what to add? What to use? Whatever it was, it needed to be spiky and unpleasant. After rejecting the Dark Elven banners that I had, I settled on these two, from the GW Chaos Marauders sprue. Both looked spiky and evil enough to pass for the fallen men of Númenór – and fit in well enough with the GW models. Sure, the skulls are a little big, but they must be from non-humans. Olog-Hai or something, right?

Citadel LotR Black Númenórean Warrior Standards

A clearer shot of the banner and standard device.

In the end, I managed to turn two junk models into what will become the centrepieces of their unit(s). As with the Wildmen, Golgfag’s Ogres and quite a few other models from the last year or so, models I disliked for whatever reason have become models I’m really pleased with – which is always especially satisfying! I’ll get some full unit shots of these guys and their cohorts up soon. First I have to finalise their leaders, and GW Mail order sent me the wrong blister, so I need to get that sorted out first. GWAU’s customer service is really hard to get hold of these days for some reason – I’ve been trying to get the guy on the phone for three weeks and only succeeded once, just before he went home on a Friday night over a week ago…